Numerous car accidents occur annually in Joliet, many caused by at least one driver’s negligence. Drivers are legally required to exercise reasonable care and follow traffic laws. When drivers fail to exercise reasonable care, severe injuries can occur.
Some car accidents are unavoidable. The roads of Joliet are filled with careless motorists whose conduct causes car accidents. These accidents can cause severe injuries to responsible drivers who are following the rules of the road. Victims of another driver’s negligence can recover financial compensation. Victims may incur several types of damages after a crash, but getting compensation is not always easy. Accordingly, our car accident lawyers can help you understand your case better and fight for the damages available in a car accident lawsuit.
If you or a family member were injured in a crash, get help recovering the compensation you deserve by calling the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 584-5378 for a free case review.
Common Causes of Joliet, IL Car Accidents
Various forms of careless conduct may be considered negligent for drivers. Drivers are expected to use reasonable care and follow traffic laws when operating their vehicles. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to abide by this standard. The following are common forms of negligence that cause car accidents in Joliet:
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Improper lane changes
- Failing to obey street signs or signals
- Wrong-way driving
- Braking abruptly
- Reckless driving
However, many other forms of negligence might lead to car accidents. If you suspect you have been injured in a car accident because of another driver’s negligence, our car accident lawyers can help assess the validity of your case.
Types of Car Accidents You Might Experience in Joliet, IL
When initially talking to an attorney about your case, you should discuss the nature of your accident. Put differently, talk about what kind of accident you were involved in. Were you hit from behind or the front? Did someone’s car flip over? Did the other driver even stop? These factors may help you determine the best way to handle your claims.
A T-bone collision occurs when one vehicle strikes another from the side at almost a 90-degree angle. These types of accidents can be extreme, especially when the other car hits you at a high rate of speed. Injuries might vary depending on which side of your vehicle was hit.
Often, T-bone crashes happen in intersections. Perhaps you were traveling through an intersection when you had a green light, but another driver who should have stopped at a red light did not stop and struck you from the side.
In other T-bone crashes, the driver that is hit is the one at fault. For example, maybe you were pulling through an intersection when you had the right to do so, and another driver got in the way because they failed to stop at the light. They might pull right in front of you, leaving you no time to stop, and you might hit them. Even though your car hit theirs, they should still be held liable because they caused the collision.
Another very common type of accident is a rear-end collision. Some rear-end accidents are only minor fender benders, while others are extremely dangerous and cause severe injuries. The severity of your rear-end collision often depends on how fast the drivers were going when the crash occurred. If you were at a complete stop when someone crashed into you from behind at a high speed, you might be badly hurt and need emergency medical care.
Many rear-end accidents happen in places where drivers must come to a stop. Red lights, stop signs, and places where drivers must yield are common locations for rear-end crashes. Many such accidents happen because the driver from behind is not paying attention and does not notice the driver ahead of them stop.
Rollover accidents can be especially severe as they involve vehicle flipping over, sometimes multiple times. These kinds of accidents might be linked to numerous kinds of negligent driving. You might be T-boned, sideswiped, or hit from behind before your car rolls over.
Part of what makes rollovers so dangerous is that the sides and top of the car might be crushed inward. When this happens, the vehicle’s occupants are more likely to be injured.
Head-on collisions are often regarded as some of the most dangerous road accidents. These crashes happen when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions crash directly into each other. Head-on crashes at high rates of speed are known to be extremely dangerous, and some people do not survive or are very badly hurt.
Often, vehicles in head-on crashes are totaled and cannot be salvaged. Meanwhile, the drivers are usually dealing with intense medical treatment. Many such accidents happen when one driver negligently swerves or drifts into the wrong lane of traffic.
Sideswipes can be very frightening accidents because they often happen while both vehicles are still moving, sometimes at very fast speeds. A sideswipe accident occurs when one vehicle sort of brushes up against another. The accident is far more severe than it sounds. Remember, this is metal scraping on metal, and the car that is hit might swerve off the road or into other vehicles.
Many sideswiping accidents happen while both vehicles are moving. For example, you might be sideswiped by a vehicle trying to pass you in the adjacent lane of traffic. They also happen to parked cars in parking lanes, or vehicles stopped on the shoulder.
Where Car Accidents Might Happen Around Joliet, IL
Car accidents can happen anywhere. Joliet is the third largest city in the State of Illinois. As such, it gets a lot of traffic in and out of town. Major highways like N Larking Avenue, also known as Illinois State Route 7, and Interstate 80 are common areas for accidents. Joliet is very near to the major metropolitan area of Chicago, and there are numerous highways and interstates that crisscross the area.
In addition, accidents are frequent occurrences on local city streets, like Glenwood Ave, that run through Joliet. Streets like this that span large city sections are hotspots for serious and minor collisions.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Joliet, IL
Car accidents occur unexpectedly. The experience of a crash can be shocking and disorienting for victims. However, it is important to remain composed in the moments after an accident.
The time period immediately after a car accident can be hectic. However, there are certain steps car accident victims should take after a crash to protect their interests. Victims can contact our car accident lawyers for further assistance with the following steps to take after an accident.
Stay at the Scene
You should find a safe space and remain at the scene of a car accident. Fleeing the scene of a crash will harm your ability to recover compensation. Furthermore, you may be charged with a hit and run.
Your top priority after an accident should be tending to any injuries. By calling 911, victims will be able to have the dispatcher send emergency services to anyone who requires immediate medical attention. Furthermore, a police officer will visit the scene and write up a report about the accident. A police report may provide crucial information for your future lawsuit.
Next, you may exchange contact and insurance information with all other parties to an accident. Contact information should include names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and email addresses. Furthermore, contact information for any witnesses to an accident should be collected. Witness testimony can also be highly beneficial to our car accident lawyers when building a case.
When conversing with witnesses and other parties to an accident, it is important not to apologize or admit fault. Unfortunately, such statements may be construed as an admission of fault in a car accident lawsuit.
Document the Scene of the Crash
It will also be valuable to document the scene of the crash after a car accident. When proving fault, it may be valuable to establish the circumstances surrounding an accident, such as road conditions, weather, or time of day. Furthermore, photo documentation can be used to prove the extent of property damage related to an accident.
Documenting the accident scene by taking photos and videos can be extremely beneficial. Furthermore, victims are encouraged to make their own recollections of an accident while their memory is fresh. Documenting the accident may help you prove the circumstances surrounding the crash, such as weather and road conditions. Furthermore, photo documentation may help when accounting for the cost of property damage stemming from an accident. Our car accident lawyers can offer further advice and counsel regarding what information to document after a car accident.
Seek Medical Treatment
Even if you do not believe you suffered an injury, you should seek a medical assessment after a car accident. Many injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, might not manifest until weeks later. Furthermore, injuries should not be left to heal on their own. Insurance companies may use a delay in treatment to dispute your claim.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Finally, you should notify your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident. Your insurance company can establish its own deadline for filing a claim. Waiting to notify your insurance company of an accident could affect your ability to recover compensation, especially if you were injured because of an uninsured motorist.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident in Joliet, IL
On the contrary, there are certain actions drivers may take that will hurt their chances of recovering damages after an accident. Insurance companies will look for any reason to decrease the value of a claim. Car crash victims in Joliet should avoid making the following mistakes after an accident.
Do Not Admit Fault
It can be natural for drivers to apologize after a crash even when they are not at fault. However, these statements can be construed as admissions of fault. Drivers should keep their composure after an accident and avoid apologizing if they are not at fault.
Do Not Accept an Early Settlement Offer
Insurance companies wish to settle cases as soon as possible. Accordingly, insurance adjusters may make low settlement offers quickly after crashes. Drivers should always wait to determine the full extent of their injuries before agreeing to settle. Many medical injuries may not arise until days after an accident. Furthermore, some forms of property damage may not be discovered until well after a crash when a mechanic gets a chance to look at your vehicle. Our car accident lawyers can help victims calculate the full extent of their damages after an accident.
Additionally, car accident victims do not need to speak with other drivers’ insurance companies after accidents. If other insurance companies call drivers for statements, they should decline and refer them to their Joliet car accident lawyer.
Do Not Delay Treatment
Car crash victims should seek medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident. Some victims may wait to see if injuries heal on their own. However, it is important for doctors to document victims’ injuries if the victim is to receive compensation. Furthermore, insurance companies may use a delay in treatment to complicate the settlement process or claim the injuries were not linked to the crash. Our car accident lawyers can help victims find the right physicians to treat their injuries promptly after a crash.
Damages Available in Joliet, IL Car Accident Cases
The first category of damages available to plaintiffs in Joliet car accident lawsuits is referred to as economic damages. These damages are based on quantifiable monetary expenses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage related to the accident.
Victims are also often entitled to non-economic damages suffered because of an accident. Non-economic damages include losses for physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Although these damages do not have a clear financial cost, they are no less impactful than economic damages. Our car accident lawyers will fight for victims to recover the non-economic damages they deserve.
Proving Fault in a Joliet, IL Car Accident Case
In order to recover damages from an at-fault driver, you must present evidence that another driver’s negligent conduct was the cause of your injuries. Medical records, surveillance footage, eyewitness testimony, accident reports, crash site photographs, and other sources of information may all be used. Our car accident lawyers can help gather the multitude of evidence required to support your claim.
Furthermore, insurance companies can use the vast resources at their disposal to refute your claim. They may hire defense attorneys, private investigators, doctors, and other expert witnesses who will attempt to decrease the value of your case. Accordingly, the assistance of experienced car accident lawyers can also benefit you when negotiating for fair compensation.
What Happens if You Are Partially to Blame for a Car Accident in Joliet, IL?
While car accidents often result from one driver’s negligent behavior, it is not unusual for accident victims to contribute to the accident. Perhaps they were speeding when the other driver hit them, thus making the overall collision worse. In such cases, Illinois’ rules on contributory negligence kick in.
According to 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/2-1116(c), a plaintiff can be somewhat responsible for the car accident that injured them and still sue the other driver for damages. However, the plaintiff’s damages will likely be decreased according to their share of the responsibility. For example, suppose you were speeding when the accident happened, and the court determined you contributed to about 10% of the accident. This means your overall damages will be lowered by 10%.
At a certain point, recovery is no longer allowed. If the plaintiff is more than 50% contributorily negligent, the recovery of any damages is prohibited. In fact, the defendant might turn the case around and sue the plaintiff for damages.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases in Joliet, IL
A statute of limitations establishes the time limits for filing a lawsuit. In Joliet, IL, victims have two years from the date of their accident to file a car accident lawsuit. However, evidence may become harder to gather over time. It is better for car crash victims to contact our lawyers as soon as possible to begin building their case and gathering evidence. Waiting to file a lawsuit can cause you to miss out on compensation.
What Your Attorney Can Do for You in a Joliet, IL Car Accident Case
Your attorney can help you maximize compensation while reducing various other expenses. A major part of your lawyer’s job revolves around damages. Your attorney should be helping you identify and evaluate all possible damages in your case to maximize potential compensation.
Our car accident attorneys might also be able to help you reduce certain expenses, like medical bills, to lower your overall costs after the accident. For example, we can demand itemized lists of medical care and procedures from the hospital where you were treated. If there are any procedures or costs that are unnecessary and excessive, we can help you challenge them. If not, we can make sure they are included in your damages.
Our Joliet, IL Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you suffered an injury because of a car accident, seek assistance from our car accident lawyers by calling Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 584-5378 for a free case review.