In Illinois, the law is clear. If you are injured in a car accident, even if it’s partially your fault, you are entitled to compensation.
However, getting that compensation can be tricky. Insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying out, and they have teams of lawyers on their side. That’s where we come in.
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we have years of experience fighting insurance companies and winning cases for our clients. Don’t try to go it alone after an accident – call us instead and let us take care of everything. You must focus on healing and getting back on your feet.
Call a Joliet personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation on how to handle your car accident to get maximum compensation.
How We Can Help
If you’ve been involved in an accident, there are two main issues to address. The first is proving who was at fault. A skilled car accident lawyer like those at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help prove who was really at fault for the accident.
The second issue relates to getting the proper compensation. It’s not enough to simply know who was at fault; you must also understand how much the insurance company is legally obligated to pay you. This can be complicated, but our experienced car accident lawyers live and breathe these calculations every day.
We know what you’re entitled to receive after a car accident – don’t take that knowledge lightly!
Call a Joliet Car Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one, you need to speak with a car accident lawyer immediately.
Insurance companies can be ruthless and will do everything they can to get out of paying damages. Call the professionals at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates today for more information on how we can help you.
We have 22 offices across Illinois, including one in Joliet. All of our car accident lawyers are licensed to practice in the state of Illinois. We’re not a huge firm, but we have extensive experience in fighting insurance companies.
When you work with us, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our car accident lawyers in Joliet. You can reach us at (800) 985-1819.
What to Do After a Car Crash
If you have been involved in a car accident, there are certain things you should do right away to protect your legal rights.
Immediately following the crash:
- Seek medical attention, even if you feel fine. Always err on the side of caution. If the doctor recommends follow-up care later down the line, that will be easier to do if you act quickly.
- Call the police. They will begin creating a police report that you will request a copy of after the accident. When you speak to the police, stick to basic facts. Do not make guesses or assumptions and do not say anything that can be construed as admitting fault.
- Take pictures at the scene. Try to take as many photos as you can from multiple angles and distances before your memory gets fuzzy or conditions change.
- Get contact information from other drivers and passengers involved in the crash as well as witnesses. Collect phone numbers, addresses, insurance information, etc.
- Take down important details about what happened leading up to the crash and how the accident occurred. You can also take down details from those involved in the crash, such as eyewitness accounts. Write everything down as soon as possible after the accident to make sure you don’t forget anything.
- Call an experienced car accident lawyer in Joliet before speaking with anyone at the insurance company.
Maximum Compensation for Your Car Accident Injuries
The at-fault driver’s insurer may offer you an amount that covers your medical bills and lost wages but does not account for the full extent of your injuries, such as future care or pain and suffering. It’s important to understand what is being offered.
Don’t sign any documents without first speaking with an experienced car accident lawyer in Joliet. Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates has been helping car accident victims get maximum compensation for their injuries for over 40 years. An experienced Joliet car accident lawyer will be able to determine how much is owed to you based on your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, future medical expenses (if any), permanent injuries, and more.
The Difference Between a Settlement and a Verdict
One of the first questions most people have is about whether they are getting a settlement or a verdict.
A settlement involves coming to an agreement on an amount with no admission of liability on the insurance company’s part, whereas a verdict means that the defendant is found negligent by a jury or judge and court-ordered to pay damages for your injuries. If you want the insurance company to admit liability, you’ll need an experienced Joliet car accident lawyer to help you through the litigation process.
When should I get a lawyer for my car accident?
It’s important to get an attorney as soon as possible after a car crash to protect your rights and enforce your legal claims. The insurance company for the other driver will try to contact you first.
Often they want to record you answering their questions. They do this to help themselves, not you. They might offer you a settlement right away that doesn’t account for all your injuries and lost wages.
After you speak with an experienced car accident lawyer in Joliet, they will advise you on whether the offer is fair or if it’s in your best interest to wait for a verdict instead of settling for less. For more information on how to determine if you are owed compensation after a car accident, call our office at (800) 985-1819.
What types of damages can I recover from my car accident?
There are economic damages such as the medical expenses you have already paid, estimated future medical bills, and any lost wages due to missed work. Economic damages are calculated by adding up all of your past and future expenses to see how much money you have lost or been forced to spend because of the car accident.
Once the accident is over, your injuries will require time to heal, and this can take months or years. The insurance company will try to offer you a settlement for less than what you deserve to avoid going through a lawsuit since it often means that they will owe you more money.
Non-economic damages can be difficult to calculate. This category covers your pain and suffering, which can’t be measured by money alone. It also includes things like loss of consortium if you were in a relationship with someone who was injured by the crash, and any permanent disability caused by the accident. We have decades of experience to evaluate your non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing. They are only awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were especially negligent or reckless. In Illinois, punitive damages can only be considered if the judge determines that there are sufficient facts established in the legal process called discovery to satisfy the legal criteria for a punitive damage claim. Our experienced lawyers know how to determine whether your case may qualify for punitive damages.
Wrongful Death and Survival Damages
If your loved one has died because of the defendant’s negligent actions, you or a designated representative may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for “pecuniary damages”.
The term “pecuniary injuries” includes money, goods, and services received by the next of kin of the deceased. When there are surviving children, it also includes the instruction, moral training, and superintendence of education that the children would have received from the deceased parent.
“Pecuniary injuries” has also been held to include the loss of consortium by the surviving spouse, the loss of a minor child’s society by the parents, the loss of an unmarried adult child’s society by the parents, the loss of a parent’s society by an adult child, and the proven loss of a sibling’s society.
The Survival Act of Illinois allows an appointed representative of decedent’s estate to recover compensation for damages incurred while the plaintiff was alive after an injury for things like medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering.
For more information on how to determine if you or a loved one’s estate is owed compensation after a car accident, call our office for advice from experienced car accident lawyers in Joliet.
How much can I expect to recover from my car accident?
It depends on the injuries involved and the damages you’ve suffered. Part of the job of a Joliet car accident lawyer is to determine what you’re owed in terms of compensation before an offer is made by the defendant’s insurance company.
The other driver or their insurer will usually make a lowball offer to resolve your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. This is why you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side to fight for your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
What is comparative negligence in Illinois?
If you are found to be partially at fault for the car accident, it does not affect your right to make a claim. Illinois uses a modified comparative negligence rule where the amount of compensation is reduced by your portion of responsibility.
For instance, if you’re found to be 40% responsible for the crash while the other driver was 60% at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 40%. That means you could still recover 60% of the damages you’ve suffered from the crash.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are often caused by sudden, high-impact collisions. Not only can these types of injuries be extremely severe, but they can also have long-term effects including memory loss and cognitive difficulties. Traumatic brain injuries include concussions, which can cause memory problems and damage your ability to focus or concentrate.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Car accidents can cause a variety of spinal cord injuries, including fractures and sprains. The most severe cases involve complete or partial damage to the spinal cord that results in paralysis. For example, a paralyzed victim often cannot move two or more limbs and may be forced to use a wheelchair for the rest of their life due to permanent nerve damage.
If you’re involved in a high-impact collision that causes whiplash, it can also cause serious back injuries including herniated disks, pinched nerves, and fractures. These types of injuries can be extremely painful, and can also cause long-term or even permanent nerve damage.
Car accidents can cause a variety of neck injuries including sprains and fractures. Neck injuries are often caused by whiplash—the sudden, sharp motion of your head that typically occurs during high-impact collisions such as rear-end crashes. These types of injuries can be extremely painful and may lead to long-term or permanent problems.
Burns usually occur when fuel from a vehicle involved in the accident ignites or the body comes in contact with hot engine parts. Burn injuries should be treated by hospital staff and may require surgery.
Soft Tissue Injuries
These types of injuries may include sprains and strains as well as general aches and pains that can occur after a car accident. The most common type of soft tissue injury is whiplash.
Emotional and Psychological Damage
Victims of car accidents often suffer injuries that an ER doctor can’t see – psychological trauma. Car accidents can result in a variety of emotional and psychological issues, including anxiety and depression. If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence – or you lost a loved one due to their wrongdoing – you may be overwhelmed by feelings of stress, anger, and hopelessness.
You may also suffer from long-term insomnia or nightmares due to the trauma you experienced in your car accident. Finally, guilt and self-blame can exacerbate psychological issues caused by a car accident. Even if you weren’t at fault, you may be wracked by thoughts about what you could have done differently.
Common Types of Car Accidents
A common type of automobile accident, rear-end collisions often occur when a driver fails to stop in time and crashes into the rear of the car in front of them. These types of accidents are most likely due to one driver failing to pay attention or speeding. However, they can also be caused by mechanical failure.
A head-on collision occurs when one the front of one vehicle collides with the front of another. These types of accidents are often due to a driver falling asleep at the wheel or intoxicated drivers swerving by accident into the wrong lane. Head-on collisions can result in serious injuries, such as paralysis, and even death.
A T-bone accident involves the front of one vehicle crashing into the side of another, forming a “T” shape. These types of accidents are often due to speeding or failure to obey traffic signals. A T-bone accident is potentially fatal, as the sides of cars are not meant to withstand the force of a crash.
A sideswipe accident is when the front of one car “swipes” the side of a car with their vehicle, resulting in damage to both vehicles’ outer parts such as doors and fenders. These types of accidents are typically due to drivers not paying attention or following too closely. It can also happen when drivers are not paying attention before merging lanes.
Single car accidents are different from the other types of accidents discussed. These accidents typically occur due to mechanical failure, running off the road, or falling asleep at the wheel.
While they are less common than head-on collisions or rear-end collisions, they can still be extremely dangerous for victims and lead to injuries that require extensive medical treatment. Even in a single-car accident, the driver may not be at fault for their damages. It could be due to poor road maintenance, another driver forcing them to drive off the road, or faulty mechanics.
Car Accident Questions and Answers
Why should I hire a car accident lawyer in Joliet?
If you have been hurt, lost a loved one, or had your property damaged by someone else’s negligent conduct, the law protects your right to pursue compensation for any losses you incur. An experienced car injury lawyer may be able to help victims recover compensation by informing them about their legal rights and remedies under Illinois law.
What should I tell insurance after a car accident?
Illinois law requires drivers to have liability insurance. This means, if you are involved in a car accident, the other driver’s probably has insurance. If the other driver was negligent, that insurance company will have to pay for your medical treatment, lost wages, pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment experienced from your injuries.
Their insurance will often ask to take a recording of you answering their questions. They are trying to gather information to help them pay you less. They may even give you a settlement offer.
You are not required to speak to the other person’s insurance. It’s important not to give a recorded statement, and always talk to an injury attorney before providing any information to the other driver’s insurance company. You can be sure they are not working for you. We are.
What should I tell the police on the scene of a car accident?
The police are required to attend to the scene of a car accident that has caused any damage or injury. However, the police are not on anyone’s side. They are not actively working to help you prove the other driver was at fault.
The police may ask you to go to the station for a follow up or to take down your statement. Before making official statements, speak to an accident attorney from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates.
I don’t feel injured. Should I still seek medical attention?
You may not notice any sign of injury at first, but that doesn’t mean you are not hurt. Latent injuries, where signs of injury do not appear until hours or days after an accident, are relatively common. Seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident, even if you’re not in pain. A doctor may be able to detect an injury you had not yet noticed, which can keep the injury from getting worse and becoming more painful and expensive.
In any case, you need to seek medical attention to get damages for your injuries. This will prove the validity of your claim and determine your economic damages.
The other driver’s insurance company has contacted me. What should I say?
No matter how much you may want to get your medical bills paid by the other party’s insurance company, you should not give a statement until after speaking with an accident attorney from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates.
Insurance companies protect their own interests, which includes paying as little as possible for damages caused by the other driver. The other driver’s insurance company may offer you a low settlement amount to try and get you to settle your case quickly. Don’t take their first offer.
It is best not to make any statements before consulting with an accident attorney from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates.
How long do I have to file a claim?
In Illinois there are laws that limit the amount of time you have to seek money for your injuries. Usually you have two years from the date of a car accident to file a claim. However, there are some instances, like where your claim is against the government, where you may have only 1 year to seek compensation. Once the time has passed, you will be unable to pursue restitution for any losses suffered as a result of the other driver’s negligent conduct.
Accordingly, it is important to contact a car injury attorney at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates as soon as possible after your accident. We can answer the specific questions you have based on the facts of your case. We are here for you. Call (800) 985-1819 now.