Whether it’s a fatal crash or a minor wreck, your chance of getting in any kind of motor vehicle accident is markedly increased in Illinois. There were 11% more traffic fatalities in the state during the first quarter of 2020 than there were in the comparable time period the previous year. To make matters worse, Illinois motor vehicle laws are highly complex and can complicate your ability to recover damages.
Comparative fault theory is a prime example of this complexity, wherein each driver is assigned a percentage of the blame. This can lead to judgments under which victims receive little or no compensation at all. There is a lot at stake, so let’s examine how the laws are set up.
Illinois’s Complicated Motor Vehicle Laws
Insurance companies are for-profit business entities who employ adjusters and lawyers who have the sole purpose of reducing or denying your claim. It is never a good idea to take on the insurance companies alone, especially in states like Illinois, that comply with the modified comparative fault theory.
Under this theory, if the plaintiff is 51% or more liable for the crash, then he or she may not be entitled to compensation. This means you could walk away from a serious accident with zero compensation for your losses, even if the other driver is 49% responsible. When a judge rules that the defendant is partially at fault, damages increase or decrease in direct proportion to the percentage of blame they are held liable for. This makes compensation amounts variable and unpredictable at best.
It’s in your best interest to hire experienced attorneys, like those at Mahoney & Mahoney, to help you navigate Illinois’s complicated motor vehicle laws.
Illinois Accident FAQs
All persons operating a motor vehicle have a legal responsibility to drive with reasonable care and are required to obey traffic laws. When that duty of care is violated, the victim can sue the at-fault driver for negligence. To prove negligence, certain conditions must be met:
- The plaintiff owed you a duty of care, since all drivers are obligated to obey traffic laws.
- The at-fault driver breached that duty of care.
- This means proving that a reasonable driver would not behave the way the negligent party did. Sometimes a breach is easy to prove, such as in cases of distracted driving when the at-fault driver was, for example, texting and driving or under the influence of alcohol.
- Any injury or property damage you suffered is a direct result of the other driver’s negligence.
- A victim with a pre-existing injury must show that the wreck was the main reason for the problem getting worse.
- The breach of care caused you financial loss. Your lawyer will need to prove that the losses you incurred were caused by the wreck. Losses may include vehicle repairs, physicians bills, or lost income.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
The statute of limitations in Illinois, or time limit to file a case after an automobile accident, is 2 years. But, as with everything related to laws governing accidents in Illinois, there are exceptions to this rule. The filing deadline changes in fatal accidents, and the family of the deceased person has one year to file. Alternatively, if you did not sustain personal injury in the wreck and are suing for only vehicle damage, you have up to 5 years to file your case.
Legal counsel will need time to thoroughly research the circumstances surrounding your accident, so victims should file a claim as soon as possible in all cases. Taking on the insurance companies is a tall order, but you can be successful with the right representation.