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How a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Can Help When You’re at Fault

Posted on July 29, 2023 in

If you or a loved one has been found at fault in a car accident, it’s important to recognize that you may be facing serious consequences. An experienced Chicago car accident lawyer from our team at Duncan Law Group is here to provide support and guidance during this challenging time.

Car accidents can occur unexpectedly and suddenly. We never anticipate being in a collision, especially when running errands or going to the store. But the truth is, accidents can happen at any time, anywhere. If you’re responsible for a car accident, you need to know the next steps and what you can do to protect your rights.

What Should You Do if You’ve Been in an Accident?

A car parked on the side of the road with the front end damaged before employing the help of a car accident lawyer.

If you’re involved in a car accident in Chicago, there are several things you should immediately do:

  • Evaluate injuries: Assess the condition of everyone involved. Check for injuries, both your own and those of other parties.
  • Call the police: Contacting the police is necessary, regardless of fault in an accident. They will create an accident report, which is essential for insurance claims or a car accident claim.
  • Move vehicles out of the road if possible: Moving vehicles out of the road can help prevent further accidents. Safety is the top priority for you and everyone involved.
  • Exchange information: Exchanging contact information with the other driver will be necessary for filing and processing insurance claims.
  • Take photos of the accident: Documenting the accident will be instrumental in substantiating your version of events. Take photos of the damage to all vehicles, the condition of the road, and other relevant details. These serve as evidence in a lawsuit and can help a Chicago car accident lawyer build your case.
  • Do not admit fault: Determining fault is a matter for the authorities and insurance companies. Any admission of fault could complicate the claims process.
  • Notify your insurance company: Contact your insurance company to report the accident. Their role is to investigate and make that determination.
  • Don’t understate injuries: Even if you feel fine, you may have more serious injuries that won’t present until later.
  • Go to the doctor: Seeking medical attention is integral to documenting any injuries, no matter how minor. Documenting injuries is essential in the case of a car accident lawsuit.

At-Fault Insurance State: What That Means for Parties Involved

Illinois is an “at-fault” insurance state. If the driver involved is responsible for more than 50 percent of the accident, they’re responsible for any resulting damages. This may include vehicle repairs, medical bills, or other related expenses.

However, if multiple parties share the fault for the accident, comparative negligence allows the victim to seek losses for the percentage of the other driver’s fault. This ensures individuals are only responsible for their share of the blame.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Illinois, these claims can be filed against you.

  1. First-Party Claim: A first-party claim is when the other driver files a claim with their own insurance company. The insurer reviews all of the details surrounding the accident and determines the compensation they are entitled to.
  2. Third-Party Claim: Another option is to file a third-party claim. A third-party claim is when the other driver files with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They will investigate the accident and assess liability to determine compensation.
  3. Civil Lawsuit: The other driver also has the option to file a lawsuit in civil court. A Chicago car accident lawyer can help you protect your rights if this is the case. This can be done in case the insurance company doesn’t compensate the other driver fairly or if there’s a dispute.

You also may receive compensation from the at-fault driver, their employer, or family members of the at-fault driver’s household. This may be the case if they use the vehicle for work or share an insurance policy with family members.

Seeking compensation after an accident in an at-fault insurance state can often involve negotiation and legal proceedings. Our team’s experienced at-fault accident lawyers will help you navigate this process successfully and protect your rights.

What Compensation Can I Receive?

When you’re involved in an accident where you’re at fault, it’s essential to understand what happens next and the compensation you may be entitled to based on the types of damages and insurance coverage you have. Here’s a closer look at the aftermath and potential scenarios:

  1. Insurance Rate Increase: Your insurance premiums will likely increase if you’re at fault in an accident. However, some policies with accident forgiveness may not affect your rates.
  2. Collision Coverage: Collision coverage can give you peace of mind if you’re involved in an accident. Even if you’re at fault, knowing the damage can be repaired or replaced can be a relief; however, this depends on your coverage and policy’s limitations.
  3. Lost Wages Coverage: In Illinois, recovering lost wages due to an accident where you were at fault usually requires personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
  4. Coverage for Accident Injuries: If you have an insurance policy that includes accident injuries, you may be compensated for medical expenses and other related costs, regardless of fault.

In the aftermath of an accident, seeking legal guidance from a Chicago car accident lawyer at Duncan Law Group can help you understand your options, protect your interests, and ensure a fair resolution, especially when questions of fault and liability are involved.

Being at fault in an accident can lead to complex consequences, both financially and legally. Knowing your insurance coverage, rights, and responsibilities is essential to navigate the situation effectively.

Statute of Limitations

A person driving to a Chicago car accident lawyer's office in a rental car after being in an accident.

If you are the at-fault driver in a car accident in Illinois, it’s important to know the statute of limitations.

  • Compensation for Injuries: As the at-fault individual, those injured in the accident have a two-year window from the date of the accident to seek compensation for their injuries.
  • Compensation for Property Damage: The time to seek compensation for property damage, including damage to vehicles or other property affected by the accident, is up to five years from the accident date.

As an at-fault driver, it’s vital to understand these time limits because they can have significant legal and financial implications. Being aware of the statutes of limitations empowers you to navigate the situation responsibly and make informed decisions as you address the consequences of the accident. While facing the aftermath of a car accident can be challenging, knowing the rules and timeframes involved is crucial in managing the situation effectively.

Our Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You

Our car accident attorneys at Duncan Law Group are dedicated to helping you secure the compensation you deserve. Filing a claim after a car accident can be a convoluted process. Insurance companies often try strategies to delay, diminish, or deny your claims. This is why having a resolute Chicago car accident lawyer in your corner is paramount, someone who will champion your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.