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) 584-5378.

Where and How Car Accidents Might Occur Around Oak Lawn, IL

As a town in close proximity to Chicago, Oak Lawn has its fair share of traffic. Unfortunately, this means car accidents are a somewhat common occurrence. Many accidents happen along major highways, like U.S. Route 20, otherwise known as West 95th Street. Accidents might also happen along Route 50, also called Cicero Avenue.

Major highways are fairly common locations for car accidents. They can be very dangerous, considering the high rate of speed. Numerous highways run through and around Oak Lawn, and you might be involved in an accident nearby.

A very common cause of accidents is distracted driving. Many drivers today rely on GPS to get around. While GPS devices certainly make it easier to navigate, they can be a distraction, and drivers might get into accidents while looking at their GPS. Driver must also contend with distractions from cell phones. Many car accidents have occurred because someone felt that a text message just could not wait.

Traffic violations are another common concern on our roads and highways. Even something seemingly minor, like failing to signal a turn, could cause a highway disaster. Speeding, turn signals, and general reckless driving are behind many of the accidents that happen around Oak Lawn each year.

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 who 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 experience 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.

Different Car Accident Cases in Oak Lawn, IL

There are countless ways in which a collision on the road might happen. How your accident happened is a crucial detail that you should discuss with your attorney. The direction of traffic, whether your car flipped, where the other driver came from, and other important details all factor into your case.

Head-On Crashes

A head-on accident is often considered one of the most dangerous kinds of accidents. As the name implies, a head-on crash involves two vehicles directly facing each other and crashing at a high rate of speed. Often, drivers and passengers in both vehicles are badly hurt or worse.

Many head-on collisions happen on roads or highways where parallel lanes have traffic moving in opposite directions. Typically, one car negligently drifts or suddenly swerves into the other lane. The other driver often has little time to hit the brakes. It is also possible that one driver loses control of their vehicle and quickly swerves across a median before crashing into another vehicle head-on.

Side-Impact Collisions

If you are not hit by another driver from the front or back, you might be hit from either side. What makes side-impact accidents so scary for drivers is that they often do not see the other car coming at all. As such, the accident is a complete surprise. Side-impact accidents commonly occur in places where traffic lanes cross, such as intersections or even the exits of parking lots.

Many side-impact accidents occur because a negligent driver was not paying attention to the road in front of them. They might have run a red light and accidentally T-boned a car in the intersection. They might instead exit a parking lot in a hurry and strike a passing car on their way out.

Whichever side of your car that was hit will incur the most damage. Similarly, whoever sits on that side of the vehicle might experience very serious injuries.


A rollover crash is when one of the vehicles involved literally rolls over on its side or rolls over completely upside down. These kinds of accidents often happen because of high speeds. You might be hit from any side of your car for a rollover to occur.

Rollover accidents are incredibly dangerous, especially if drivers or passengers are not belted in or their seatbelts come undone. They could be violently tossed about the inside of the car, now full of broken glass and debris. If heavy objects are inside the car, they might also be thrown around and hit someone inside.


Not all accidents involve a direct impact from another car. In some cases, other vehicles kind of slide against a passing vehicle. For example, a driver trying to merge might accidentally slide against the car in the lane next to them if they are not paying attention.

Although two cars sliding against each other does not sound that bad, it can be very dangerous. Remember, this accident involves large, heavy vehicles scraping against each other at high speeds on the road. In some cases, the car that gets hit is parked, and they are sideswiped by a car that passes by too closely.

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 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 Happens When Other Drivers Accuse You of Being At Fault for a Car Accident in Oak Lawn, IL?

There is a pretty good chance that the other driver or drivers involved in your case will try to blame you for the accident. Even if they do not blame you for the entire accident, they might try to claim you were at least partly responsible. If these allegations stick, they might cost you valuable compensation.

Every state has its own law regarding how allegations of contributory negligence are handled in injury cases. In Illinois, such allegations fall under the modified comparative negligence rule under 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/2-1116(c). Under this rule, if a court determines that a plaintiff is somewhat responsible for the accident or injuries involved in their case, the plaintiff’s damages may be reduced. Damages are reduced proportionally to the plaintiff’s share of responsibility. For example, if you are deemed 15% responsible, your total damages and compensation may be reduced by 15%.

There is a limit to how much responsibility a plaintiff may share before they can no longer recover any damages. If you are more than 50% to blame, you may be barred from recovering damages.

If the defendant tries to argue that you contributed to the accident, they are responsible for providing evidence to support their claims. Your lawyer can help you defend yourself against such allegations and keep your damages as high as possible.

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) 584-5378.