Rear-end collisions are common in Chicago, particularly in heavy traffic areas. Serious rear-end crashes can cause catastrophic injuries or death, especially when a large commercial truck hits a much lighter passenger vehicle from behind.
Our mission at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is to:
- Ensure you understand and protect your rights;
- Have your injuries acknowledged and hold responsible parties accountable; and
- Tenaciously pursue the compensation you deserve to the fullest extent of the law.
Our team of Chicago rear-end accident lawyers has decades of experience and a high success rate in recovering settlements and verdicts for our clients. If you were injured in a rear-end accident, schedule a consultation to find out how we can help.
Steps to take after being rear-ended
The steps you take in the immediate aftermath of a rear-end accident can help establish fault and bolster your case if you file a personal injury claim. Be sure to keep the following in mind.
1. Move your vehicle to a safer location
If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road and out of traffic. If that’s not possible, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers and exit your vehicle to wait in a safe location for emergency personnel.
2. Check yourself and your passenger(s) for injuries
Don’t try to move anyone who is injured or appears to be in pain as this can worsen their injury.
3. Call 911 and ask for police and an ambulance
If the accident resulted in property damage or bodily injury, or if the other driver appears to be intoxicated, call 911. A police report will serve as vital evidence if you pursue legal action against the other driver.
4. Tell your side of the story to the responding police officer
Make sure to explain what happened in detail, but don’t make any statements that could be interpreted as admitting fault.
5. Notify your insurance company
Let your insurance company know about the accident as soon as possible. This will allow them to begin processing any applicable claims.
6. Gather evidence at the scene
If you are able, take photos and/or videos of the scene, including any property damage and injuries sustained. You should also collect contact information from any witnesses who may have seen the accident.
7. Visit Urgent Care or your primary care physician
Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s important to get checked out right away. Getting prompt medical attention can help document your injuries and ensure that you receive an accurate diagnosis.
8. Meet with a car accident attorney to understand your legal options
Once you’ve taken the appropriate steps at the scene, it’s time to consider your legal options. A knowledgeable Chicago rear-end accident lawyer can provide guidance on filing a claim and pursuing maximum compensation for your injuries.
Make sure you file a claim on time
Illinois has a strict two-year statute of limitations on filing personal injury claims. That means that if you don’t file your claim within two years of the date of your accident, you risk forfeiting your right to pursue a legal remedy.
There are some instances when your deadline to file may be different, so it’s best that you consult with an experienced attorney right away to determine your deadline to file a claim.
Possible damages you can claim
The goal of a personal injury claim is to recover compensation for the losses you’ve sustained due to another’s negligence. These losses are known as damages and are divided into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are tangible losses that can be quantified with a dollar amount. Common examples include past and future medical bills, lost wages, and lost earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are more subjective losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages generally require expert testimony to calculate the amount of compensation that’s appropriate.
Parties who may be liable for your injury
To recover compensation for your injuries, your attorney will need to identify who was responsible for the rear-end accident (more than one party may be liable).
In a rear-end accident, the most common party to be liable is the driver of the car that collided with you. However, other drivers may be held liable as well, such as a driver who rear-ended the driver who rear-ended you, or the manufacturer of the car if it’s found to be defective in some way.
Other potentially liable parties include the municipal agency responsible for road maintenance or the employer of a driver who was working at the time of the accident.
How our Chicago attorneys prove negligence
Proving negligence in a personal injury case involves establishing four elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Our attorneys will conduct an investigation to collect evidence and build a strong case on your behalf.
We’ll examine police reports, interview witnesses, review medical records, and analyze any available surveillance footage to establish that the other driver owed you a duty of care and breached their duty, resulting in your injuries. If necessary, we’ll also consult with experts to provide further clarity on the facts of the case.
We fight the insurance company to get you maximum compensation
Unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t always willing to provide appropriate compensation for injury victims.
That’s where we come in. We’ll aggressively negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to get you the maximum amount of compensation that you’re owed. If they refuse to offer a fair settlement, we’re not afraid to take your case to court and fight for your best interests in front of a jury.
Causes of rear-end accidents in Chicago
Many rear-end collisions result from the negligence of the driver behind. In addition to tailgating, common causes of rear-end accidents include:
Following too closely is a common cause of rear-end collisions in Chicago. When drivers fail to allow enough space between their vehicle and the one ahead, there may not be enough time to stop to avoid a crash.
Someone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may cause a rear-end crash due to slow response time.
Driver distraction can lead to traffic crashes, including rear-end accidents. For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting takes a driver’s attention off the road for five seconds at a time, which is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field at 55 mph.
The faster a vehicle is traveling, the more time and distance are required to stop. Driving at excessive speeds is a common cause of rear-end accidents.
Common car accident injuries
No matter the cause, rear-end collisions often cause serious injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Partial or full paralysis
“Invisible” injuries, such as chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety, are also common outcomes of a car accident. These types of injuries can be particularly difficult to prove and quantify, so it’s crucial to hire an experienced Chicago rear-end collision lawyer who understands how to handle such cases.
“Dos” and “don’ts” of dealing with insurance after a crash
Although our attorneys will take care of most of the correspondence with the insurance company, there may be times when you’ll need to speak with them directly. If so, keep these dos and don’ts in mind.
- Be polite and professional when speaking with insurance adjusters.
- Stick to the facts and only share basic information about the accident.
- Take detailed notes of all conversations, including the date and time.
- Refer questions to your attorney.
- Admit fault or apologize for the accident.
- Sign any document from the insurance company without consulting your attorney.
- Provide any recorded statements to the insurance company.
- Accept a settlement without consulting your attorney first.
It’s better to be safe than sorry when dealing with insurance companies, and our experienced attorneys are here to help you every step of the way.
Cost of hiring a Chicago rear-end accident lawyer
When you’re injured in a car accident, the last thing you want to worry about is the cost of legal representation. Fortunately, our Chicago rear-end accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront. You only pay a fee if we’re able to secure compensation on your behalf.
We also offer free consultations, so you can get an overview of your case and answers to your questions with no obligation. After we discuss the details of your case, we can provide an honest estimate of the costs associated with pursuing your legal claim.
Why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible
If you don’t think you’re injured or your injuries seem minor, you may be tempted to put off medical treatment. However, even minor injuries can be more serious than they appear and should be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible.
This is especially true for rear-end accident injuries, which can be difficult to evaluate without a full physical exam. Prompt medical attention can prevent your injuries from becoming worse and ensure that you get the proper care and treatment you need.
Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after a rear-end accident can also improve the chances of recovering compensation. Insurance companies may argue that any injury sustained after the accident was not caused by the crash, so it’s important to have direct evidence of the timeline of your injuries.
Why work with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates
The Chicago car accident attorneys with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates have over 350 years of combined experience helping accident victims recover the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. And those years have paid off for our clients, with over a billion dollars recovered in verdicts and settlements.
We understand the pain, frustration, and confusion that can accompany a rear-end accident. That’s why we strive to provide the highest level of personalized service and attention to each and every one of our clients throughout their cases. The results are a long track record of successful outcomes for our clients and a reputation as one of the top personal injury law firms in Illinois.
Our Chicago rear-end accident attorneys are here to help
After a rear-end accident with injuries, it is in your best interests to have a team of experienced Chicago car accident attorneys on your side. Connect with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates to find out what we can do to help you recover full and fair compensation for your losses by calling (800) 985-1819.