This is the first post in a series of articles about handling car accident cases in Peoria, Illinois. Serious car accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries or death. If the accident was caused by the negligence of another, victims and their families may be entitled to compensation for the damages they have incurred as a result. Many crash victims have little experience with the legal process and may not know how to proceed. The goal of this series is to provide general information about what individuals may expect from the legal process after an accident has occurred. Handling car accident cases, especially when injuries are severe, can involve complicated legal theories, lengthy negotiations with insurance companies, and potential litigation. It is imperative, therefore, to enlist the assistance of experienced personal injury counsel to assist you throughout the process. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
This series will review the following key topics:
- How Illinois’ comparative fault laws may impact a car accident case
- Why settlement negotiations can delay filing a lawsuit after a car accident
- The importance of discovery in car crash cases
- The use of expert witnesses in an auto accident case
- What to expect during a car accident trial
- How to calculate damages following a car accident
Individuals who have been injured in car accidents and their families should understand these concepts for a variety of reasons. First, many people incorrectly believe that if a crash victim was partially responsible for an accident, they cannot seek damages from other responsible parties. In Illinois, however, comparative fault laws allow the injured party to recover a portion of their damages so long as they were not more than fifty percent liable for the crash. Second, before filing a lawsuit, the victim’s attorney will attempt to negotiate settlement terms with the responsible party’s insurance company. Depending upon the facts of the case and the nature of the victim’s injuries, it may be difficult or impossible to reach a settlement quickly. Third, to establish the liability of the other driver or the damages suffered by the victim, plaintiffs must present objective evidence. This is often gathered methodically by their attorney using discovery, the formal legal process of requesting documentation, taking depositions, or seeking disclosure of information from third parties. The process is extremely important to the success or failure of a case. Next, car accident cases often require the use of expert witnesses, such as reconstructionists, physicians, and economists to demonstrate liability and damages. Fifth, the victim and their family should have a basic understanding of what to expect should their case proceed to trial. Finally, accurately quantifying the victim’s damages can be challenging, particularly in serious injury accidents where they may require long-term treatment or suffer permanent damage. A lawyer with personal injury knowledge and experience can assist you each step of the way.
If you need assistance, contact our Peoria, Illinois office to speak with an attorney. I have experience representing car accident victims and their families seeking the compensation to which they are entitled. Our firm also serves clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.