Motor vehicle accidents can change your life forever in a matter of seconds. Tens of thousands of Americans die in motor vehicle accidents every year and many more suffer severe or catastrophic injuries. Apart from the devastation of losing a loved one in a crash, surviving victims and their families may never fully recover from the physical and emotional impacts of the accident. Sometimes, these crashes are unavoidable, but more often than not, motor vehicle accidents are caused by the mistake or negligence of one of the drivers involved. A little more vigilance, a little more caution, and it all could have been avoided.
Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents
The process of accident claims varies depending on the type of motor vehicle involved, especially if a corporation owned the vehicle. We know the unique challenges of these categories of motor vehicle accidents and are ready to represent any individual hurt in:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Boating Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Accidents with Commercial Vehicles
- Pedestrian Accidents
Our experienced Chicago injury lawyers at Sklare Law Group understand how much these accidents affect the lives of the victims and their families. We represent innocent people who suffered severe injuries as a result of another driver’s negligence and misconduct. We know how to successfully pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.
If you've been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, we urge you to speak with our injury attorneys as soon as possible. Please call the Sklare Law Group today at (800) LAW-0300 for a FREE consultation. We serve clients throughout Northern Illinois including Chicago, Cicero, Berwyn, and Oak Park.
There are many factors that come into play during a motor vehicle accident claim, and it’s important for you to know these details:
- What to Do After an Accident
- Illinois Motor Vehicle Accident Laws
- Uber and Lyft Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Why It’s Important to Have a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Represent You
What to Do After an Motor Vehicle Accident
Motor vehicle accidents have a jarring effect on everyone involved. Time seems to slow down and speed up all at once, and shock may leave you thinking your injuries are minimal.
You should be prepared for an auto or truck or other motor vehicle accident and follow these steps:
- Seek Medical Attention Immediately: No matter how minor your accident is if anyone seems injured, or sustained a head, neck or back injury, you need to call emergency personnel to ensure you are indeed safe and out of immediate medical danger.
- Contact the Police: In any accident, you will need to call the police in order to file an accident report. Whatever you do, do not leave the scene of the accident. It’s vital that you wait for a police officer to arrive to go over the details of the crash. However, if severe injuries are involved, going to the hospital is your top priority.
- Exchange Information With the Other Driver: While you wait for the authorities to arrive, take this time to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s). This should include:
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Insurance companies
- Insurance policy numbers
- Make, model, year of all vehicles
- Vehicle identification numbers (VIN)
- Photograph the Damage: Use your phone to document the damage to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle. This will help immensely when it comes to dealing with both insurance companies. Our lawyers can use the photographs to reconstruct the accident and determine what circumstances may have led to the accident in the first place.
- Keep Track of Your Losses, Expenses and Injuries: Your car may be damaged or totaled, which is important to document, but your injuries can quickly add up, as well as any emotional distress caused by the traumatic event. Keep close track of your medical expenses, and see a medical professional for any injuries you notice in the days or weeks following the accident. Your damages could also include:
- Lost wages
- Permanent disability
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Illinois Motor Vehicle Accident Laws
Each state has specific laws regarding motor vehicle accidents and who is at fault. Illinois is a “fault” state when it comes to car insurance and lawsuits, meaning the party (driver) found to be responsible for the accident is held liable for paying for any damages incurred by the driver not at fault. Essentially, the driver that is found to be at fault must pay for your injuries and any property damage from the accident.
You can begin this process by filing a claim with your insurance company, and a representative will then approach the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can also accomplish this by calling the other driver’s insurance company directly, but the best route to take is to speak with one of our accident attorneys about filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver—this ensures that you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve instead of the settlement amount the insurance company chooses.
Under Illinois law, you are also required to have liability insurance for your registered vehicle. The minimum coverage all drivers must carry includes:
- $15,000 in property damage coverage
- $20,000 for one person’s injury or wrongful death (whether a pedestrian, a passenger or another driver)
- $40,000 for more than one person’s injury or death involved in the accident
If the at-fault driver who caused your accident didn’t have insurance that covered your total damages and expenses, we can legally pursue them to hold them personally liable. Additionally, uninsured motorist coverage is required in Illinois.
Our Chicago-area accident attorneys can help you through the process of filing a claim against the driver who caused your injuries or the death of a loved one to hold both the at-fault driver and their insurance company accountable for your pain and suffering.
Lyft and Uber Accidents
Using a rideshare service is fast, easy and may cost less than a cab. Unfortunately, accidents involving Uber and Lyft vehicles are of course possible. If you are the passenger, a pedestrian or another driver on the road and are injured in such a crash, you need immediate answers about whose insurance covers your injuries and property damage, and in what amount.
The experienced Chicago lawyers at Sklare Law Group can help you determine:
- Who is liable for the crash
- Which insurance policies cover your injuries
- Which insurance policies cover property damage (if you were in another vehicle involved or on a bicycle)
- What compensation you may be owed
- How you can pursue payment of your medical bills
Were you a passenger? Generally, when you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, you are covered by those companies' liability and uninsured/under-insured motorist policies. You should be covered regardless of your driver's fault, or lack of fault, in causing the crash. If you were a passenger, our attorneys can determine if your own insurance policy, the rideshare company's insurance policy or the other responsible motorist's insurance policy will cover you.
Were you in another vehicle? If an Uber or Lyft vehicle caused the accident that involved you and your vehicle, the rideshare company's policy may include liability and bodily injury coverage for you. It's dependant on a few factors, including whether the rideshare driver was logged on to the company app, whether they were logged on and en route to pick up a passenger, whether they were actively transporting a passenger, or whether they were not working and not logged on to the app. In the first three scenarios, the company's insurance plan may provide coverage.
Were you a pedestrian? Pedestrians, like the drivers of other vehicles, may be owed compensation if they are hit by an Uber or Lyft driver. Our lawyers will investigate the cause of the accident and who is responsible. Any driver who hits you while you are a pedestrian, if they are at fault, should be held responsible for the injuries they cause. We can determine if the insurance policy of Lyft or Uber, or the driver's personal insurance policy are in play.
Minimum Insurance Coverage
As Transportation Network Providers (TNPs), Uber and Lyft are required by Illinois to provide the following minimum coverages:
- No less than $1 million per occurrence for primary non-contributory Commercial General Liability insurance
- No less than $1 million per occurrence in Commercial Automobile Liability coverage, which covers liability only AFTER the driver has accepted the ride request from the passenger through the app or during transportation of the passenger
Even with these rules in place, it's rarely cut and dry after you are involved in a crash. Rideshare company drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees. As such, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft look closely at whether they have any liability in accidents involving their drivers.
What To Do If You Are In A Rideshare Accident
After a crash in an Uber or Lyft, things you should do next include:
- Call the police if your driver has not done so already
- If you or your companions appear to be hurt, call an ambulance
- Make sure you get the driver's full name and identifying information
- If you can safely do so, take pictures of the scene and your injuries – again, ONLY if it is safe for you to do so
- Wait for responding police officers and provide them with complete information
- Ask the responding police officer how and when you can obtain a copy of the police report
- Schedule a checkup with your doctor, even if you don't think you are seriously hurt – you could have underlying injuries
- Call Sklare Law Group as soon as possible
Your case evaluation with us is completely free. Once we learn more about what happened, we can let you know what your options are for pursuing maximum compensation.
Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents
The tragic reality of operating a motor vehicle is that you can do everything right and still end up in an accident. You can only control yourself—you can't influence the way other drivers behave, which means you're at the mercy of the worst driver on the road.
Some of the most common causes of accidents are:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Driving while tired
- Substance abuse
- Texting and driving
- Hazardous weather conditions
- Construction zones
It's a terrible irony that the reckless, negligent drivers often suffer fewer consequences for their actions than their victims do. Well, our auto accident attorneys can't change the past and prevent the accident from ever taking place. But, we can provide you with the representation you deserve and make an argument for accountability.
Why It’s Important to Have an Experienced Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney Represent You
It’s easy for accident claims to become convoluted, and you may find yourself with less than what you’re owed when the dust settles. Injuries can hinder you for the rest of your life and require long-term medical care as well as harm to your quality of life and ability to earn a living. Insurance representatives may attempt to convince you to settle your case quickly before you realize the full extent of the damage to your person and/or property. Additionally, when motor vehicle accident claims involve the death of a loved one, it’s impossible to put an adequate number on your loss.
There are many more reasons to reach out to our Chicago injury attorneys following your accident including:
- We offer experienced motor vehicle accident representation with only your best interests in mind.
- You have the potential to receive a higher settlement amount than if you were to speak directly to the insurance company.
- You will have peace of mind knowing you are in good hands so you can focus on recovering from your accident or coping with the loss of a loved one.
- An uninsured driver was responsible.
- The accident involved a commercial vehicle or pedestrians.
When you choose the Sklare Law Group, you don't just get the advantages of our decades of experience and proven track record of success. You also get a law firm that is committed to putting your needs first, listening to your concerns, answering your questions and representing you with skill, passion and determination.
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, please call our law firm today at (800) LAW-0300 for your FREE consultation. Sklare Law Group serves clients throughout Northern Illinois including Chicago, Cicero, Berwyn, Oak Park and surrounding areas.