Chicago car accident lawyer

What happens if your Chicago car accident lawyer wins your case?

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 10 minutes

What happens if your Chicago car accident lawyer wins your case?

If you’ve been injured in an accident in the Chicago area, then you may be interested in pursuing legal action against the offending parties — but before you do, it’s likely that you have many questions and concerns about the process.  For example, you’re probably wondering what happens if your Chicago car accident lawyer wins your case.  Do you have to pay anything to your attorney if you win?  Is the car accident lawsuit over?

We understand that litigating a car accident claim can be confusing and overwhelming for those who are not familiar with the process.  Let’s take a brief look at some of the basic questions that a Chicago car accident plaintiff is likely to have.  Read on to learn more about car accidents and the basic legal issues relating to pursuing a car accident lawsuit!

Winning a case: what happens?

When you “win” a case (either by securing a damages award in court, or by settling the case with the defendants), then you will be entitled to compensation.  That compensation will be secured by your Chicago car accident lawyer.  In other words, they will take the steps necessary to ensure that the liable parties actually distribute the necessary compensation so that you can receive your payout.

Beyond that, your lawyer (assuming that they are working on a contingency fee basis) will take a percentage cut of the total compensation.  This typically ranges from 25 to 40 percent of the compensation amount, but can vary further depending on what you negotiated with your attorney when you hired them.

Contingency fee arrangements are extremely common in personal injury law (e.g., car accident lawsuits and other car crash issues), as they have a number of advantages.

First, you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket or up-front.  Instead, your attorney will litigate the case “for free” at first.  They only get paid if and when you get paid.  If you “lose,” then they don’t get paid.

Second, this dynamic puts pressure on your attorney to act efficiently, and to maximize your damages.  The faster they can secure you a maximum payout, the better they get paid, too (and the sooner they get paid).  That means they’re incentivized to help you win big.  So don’t be afraid of entering into a contingency fee arrangement — it’s standard in car accident disputes (for good reason).

Can I Get Car Accident Damages in Illinois if I’m Partially at-Fault?

Most car accident cases are a little more complex than they might seem at first glance. As a car accident victim, you might be partially at-fault for your accident — in other words, you might still be able to place most of the blame on the at fault driver who injured you, but some of the blame might fall on you, too. In those situations, Illinois law provides adequate solutions so that you can still be compensated for your personal injury claim.

For an car accident injury claim — as with any personal injury claim — the state of Illinois implements the principle of “modified comparative fault.” This principle is rather simple. It allows the injury victim to sue and recover damages even if they’re partially at-fault. The damages will simply be reduced by the fault percentage, so maximum compensation will be capped. Further, the principle bars recovery altogether if the injury victim is 51 percent at-fault (or more).

That’s a lot of legalese! So let’s use an example to clarify.

Suppose that you were in a car crash due to a negligent driver, and you sustained severe injuries as a result. Though it was a serious car accident, and you’re not to blame for how the accident occurred, the court finds that — because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident — you are partially at-fault for having sustained serious injuries. The court determines that you are 25 percent responsible for your car accident injury.

Given that your damages claim was $100,000, your actual car accident compensation will have to be reduced at the top end by 25 percent, leaving you with a maximum compensation amount of $75,000. So yes, while you aren’t the fully at fault party, your car accident claims (whether in the form of a car accident settlement or a trial award) will lead to slightly reduced compensation.

Don’t Rely on Insurers to Pay a Fair Settlement

In America, we’re often taught to talk to our car insurance contacts as soon as we’ve gotten into an accident — but whether you’re dealing with your own insurance, or the other driver’s insurance company, you could be undermining your own payout by engaging in unprotected communication with an insurer.

See, insurance companies make greater profits when they can underpay claims, or even when an insurance company denies a legitimate claim outright. And they maximize their profits by having their insurance adjusters talk to you after an accident in an attempt to identify factors that could allow them to deny or underpay your claim. This is often why injured victims get paid less than they deserve.

Attorneys can help in this regard. They not only do the research and evidence-gathering to determine how much your car accident claim worth or “value range” is, but they also work as advocates who can communicate on your behalf. They’ll handle all negotiations with the insurance company so that no statements are made that could potentially undermine your claims.

That’s why it’s important to get in touch with an attorney before you have any lengthy discussions with the insurance company. After all, innocuous statements you make could come back to bite you.

Multiple Defendants Can Be Held Liable

Chicago car accident cases are not always going to be straightforward. Though we might think that the other driver is the only liable party, there are often many parties who can be held responsible for the injury victim’s losses. Skilled injury lawyers know how to navigate these strategic opportunities and will generally take steps to sue all relevant and potentially-liable parties.

Besides the other driver, defendants (that you might be entitled to sue for damages) may include the following parties:

  • The other driver’s employer, if the other driver was acting within the course and scope of their employment.
  • The City, if the roadway exposed you to an unreasonable risk of injury under the circumstances.
  • The auto manufacturer, if some vehicular defect contributed to the accident. They may be aggressive and hostile to discourage other auto accident victims from coming forward.
  • And more

Suing other parties can be a useful legal strategy for a number of reasons, but especially so that you can gain access to “deep pockets” — simply put, not every defendant has substantial insurance coverage with which to pay out all your losses. By identifying a defendant who has substantial insurance coverage (i.e., the City, or a business entity), you can maximize compensation in your lawsuit and avoid a low payout that doesn’t properly cover your losses.

How many car accidents happen a day in Illinois?

As per the latest statistics reported by the Illinois Department of Transportation (in 2021), there were a total of 810 car crash incidents per day in the state.  Looking deeper, these accidents led to 216 injuries per day and more than three deaths per day.  Clearly, Illinois roads pose significant risks for car accident injuries.  As such, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself — and in the event that you suffered car accident injuries, to pursue legal action against the offending parties (by working with an experienced car accident lawyer).

What is the statute of limitations for an accident in Illinois?

In Illinois — and by extension, Chicago — the “standard” statute of limitations period for a car accident claim is two years from the date of the accident.  The statute of limitations period operates like a strict deadline.  If you do not file your claim before the applicable deadline, then the court will find that you have relinquished your right to sue for damages.  In other words, you won’t have an opportunity to secure compensation under the law.

Given the severe and adverse consequences of a delay, it’s critical that you move forward in a timely manner.  An experienced Chicago car accident lawyer can help, as they have a legal duty to help you navigate your claims in a timely manner — once you hire a car accident attorney, it’s their responsibility to work with you to develop your claims and file them before the statute of limitations period for your car accident case passes.

Does Illinois have caps on damages?

The state of Illinois does not have any caps on personal injury damages (like those arising from a car accident) — as such, any lawsuit you bring based on a car accident case in Chicago will not be artificially limited with respect to your damages claim.

Illinois has allowed damages in auto accidents to be determined by the court.  This means that to secure the maximum possible damages in a motor vehicle accident dispute, you’ll have to convince the court that your damages are accurate and well-supported by the evidence.

Damages are a reflection of the losses you sustained as a consequence of the defendant’s negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct.  Car accident cases vary, and so do damages. That being said, car accident victims may include the following as part of their damages claim:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of property
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • And more

With the aid of a skilled Chicago car accident lawyer, you can craft a persuasive argument for damages that maximizes your potential recovery.  An experienced car accident attorney is key to successfully covering your losses.

Chicago Has Unique Road Dangers to Look Out For

Though Chicago has changed greatly over the years, it remains one of the most populous and busiest cities in North America — it’s no surprise, then, that its roadways are among the most dangerous, too.

There are a number of dangerous roadways in Chicago — from portions of Route 66 (which was once known as the “Bloody 66”) to the intersection where Western Avenue meets Peterson Avenue — but the most dangerous of all is the intersection where Stony Island Avenue meets South Chicago Avenue.

The Stony Island intersection is by far the most dangerous in Chicago, with over 60 accidents occurring at the intersection per year.  So if you’ve been injured in an accident at the Stony Island intersection, or on any other roadway in the Chicago area, be sure to get in touch with a skilled Chicago car accident lawyer who can help you litigate your claims.

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Legal Consultation

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Chicago, then you may be entitled to significant damages as compensation for your losses.  But pursuing a car accident legal claim can be intimidating and complex for the first-time plaintiff — and the dispute may morph and change over time.  As such, it’s important to work with qualified Chicago car accident lawyers who can help you navigate the dispute effectively and efficiently.

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected to an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer in our network.  They’ll be able to provide you a free initial consultation, during which you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your case in detail and better understand your legal options.  There’s no obligation to continue if you decide against it, so there’s really no downside to calling in to talk about your case — even briefly.

We look forward to assisting you with your car accident claim.

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can assist you no matter when your accident occurs.

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