Oak Lawn, IL Car Accident Lawyer

Unfortunately, car accidents are nothing unusual around Oak Lawn and the surrounding Chicago suburbs. Even though accidents are relatively common, they should not be dismissed so quickly, as you might have a strong legal claim for compensation.

Damages in car accident cases can be substantial. Compensatory damages for medical bills and vehicle damage could spell financial ruin, and non-economic injuries like pain and suffering might be significant. While the driver who caused the accident may be sued for damages, you should also consider other parties, like the manufacturer of faulty car parts or even the local government for failing to keep the roads safe. Evidence is the beating heart of your lawsuit, and an attorney can help you find what you need to prove the defendant is responsible for your injuries. Our attorneys can discuss your case at our offices or remotely.

Set up a confidential case review, in person or remotely, with our car accident lawyers by calling the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.

Damages You Might Claim After a Car Accident in Oak Lawn, IL

Discussing damages with an attorney can help you avoid overlooking injuries or losses that might not be obvious or immediately apparent. Many people tend to zero in on big damages like high medical bills while overlooking the small expenses that add up over time. On top of that, there are various categories of damages, including economic, non-economic, and possibly punitive.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to make up for the plaintiff’s losses, expenses, and injuries and make them “whole” again, at least in a legal sense. Compensatory damages are often divided into categories of economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are based on your financial losses that directly result from the car accident. As mentioned before, medical bills are perhaps the most noticeable and significant economic damages in these kinds of cases. Even if you have health insurance to pay your medical expenses, you might still be burdened with high deductibles. You should also claim the cost of replacing your vehicle and any income you lost from missing work.

Some smaller economic losses that might add up over time include travel expenses to get to your doctors. Not everyone lives near a hospital, or they need to see specialists that are very far away. Travel expenses, including gas, flights, and lodging, may be added to your economic damages.

Non-economic damages are more amorphous as they are based on your experienced during and after the crash and are often unrelated to money. Widely known examples of non-economic damages are pain and suffering, which may be physical and emotional. You can also claim humiliation, loss of enjoyment of your life, and even reputational damage.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded to plaintiffs but do not actually compensate for any losses or damages. This extra damages award is designed to punish defendants for bad behavior. However, the bad behavior in question must be beyond mere negligence. Under 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/2-1115.05(a), cases where punitive damages are awarded must involve an evil motive from the defendant or outrageous indifference to the consequences and harmful risks of their behavior.

Punitive damages are famous for being very high but rarely awarded. Punitive damages might not necessarily be awarded if the defendant is held liable. If they are awarded, they are capped at a certain amount. You cannot recover punitive damages in excess of 3 times the value of your economic damages. So, if your economic losses amount to $50,000, your total punitive damages cannot be more than $150,000.

The Parties Responsible in Car Accident Cases in Oak Lawn, IL

Figuring out who is responsible for a car accident can be very difficult. A lot of car accidents involve multiple vehicles, drivers, and passengers, and everyone might be pointing the finger of blame at someone else. Explain how your accident happened to your attorney to begin understanding who should be held liable and why.


Usually, the liable party is another driver involved in the accident. In cases where only two vehicles are involved, one other driver might be to blame. In multi-vehicle crashes where there might be several drivers, several drivers might be responsible. These situations can be very tricky as some drivers might have been driving negligently while others were not.

To figure out which drivers should be held liable, we can examine how they were driving shortly before the accident. Did any other drivers receive traffic citations for things like speeding, running lights, or failing to signal? When several drivers commit traffic violations, these violations can come together and create a much larger accident.

Third Parties

In some situations, a third party not present at the accident might be responsible. This is often the case in product liability cases, where a faulty part or vehicle caused the accident. For example, if the accident happened because the new tires you recently had installed on your vehicle were defective and blew out, you might sue the manufacturer of the tires. If the tires blew out because they were installed incorrectly, you might sue the mechanic shop that put them on your car.

The Government

In less typical cases, the government itself might be to blame. Nobody owns public roads or highways. Instead, they fall under the control of the government. Local roads tend to be maintained by local or county officials, while state officials maintain state highways. You might sue the state or local government depending on where or how your accident happened.

For example, the government should be held responsible if a car accident happens because the traffic light at an intersection malfunctions. Unfortunately, suing the government is rarely easy. In addition to the normal deadline under the statute of limitations, you must submit notice of your claim within 1 year of the accident. Otherwise, you might not be able to sue the government at all.

What Our Oak Lawn, IL Car Accident Lawyers Can Do to Help

Our legal team can help you figure out which parties should be sued, how much your damages are worth, and where to find evidence to support your claims. Lawsuits are notoriously difficult to handle, and the evidence you need rarely just falls into place. An attorney with experience can help you find what you need and develop effective legal strategies to get you the compensation you deserve. Our team can meet in person or remotely over the phone or online to discuss your claims.

Contact Our Oak Lawn, IL Car Accident Attorneys for Assistance Now

Set up a confidential case review, in person or remotely, with our car accident lawyers by calling the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.