Decatur Car Accidents
There are well over 80,000 residents in Decatur, a fast-growing city. Highways that travel through Decatur include I-72, U.S. Route 51, U.S. Route 36, Illinois Route 121, Illinois Route 105, and Illinois Route 48. After a car accident that causes injuries, you may be able to recover damages. You should try to gather any evidence that you can at the site of the accident and make sure that the police are called to the scene. You should get identity and insurance information for all of the drivers involved in the accident, and you should not make assumptions about whose fault it was or apologize. If you were injured in a car crash, you should consult a Decatur car accident lawyer to understand your options.Bringing a Car Accident Claim for Your Injuries
In Illinois, you are required to sue within two years after the cause of action has accrued. The date on which the cause of action accrues may be delayed until the plaintiff has reason to know of the injuries, but in most cases, victims of car accidents know of their injuries right away. They may have broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, soft tissue injuries, disc herniation, paralysis, or other catastrophic injuries.
There are some car accidents that are simple and straightforward. However, in other cases, the causes of the accident are more complex. To recover damages from another driver, you will most likely need to establish their negligence by showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the other driver owed you a duty, this duty was breached, and the accident resulted from the breach. For example, if you are driving down a Decatur road with the right of way, and another driver is texting while driving and does not stop at a stop sign, but instead T-bones your car, a car accident attorney in the Decatur area likely can help you show negligence. For another example, if you are traveling down the road, and another driver is trying to look at a map and drifts into your lane, colliding head-on with you, this is also likely to be found to be negligence by a jury.
Often, a defendant raises the defense of comparative negligence. An Illinois jury will look at each driver’s potential fault for an accident and assign a percentage of fault to the defendant and the plaintiff. It will also award damages, but these damages are reduced by an amount that is proportionate to your percentage of fault. If you are found to have been more than 50% at fault, you will be barred from receiving a damages award.
In some cases, multiple people are to blame for an accident. For example, a chain reaction accident is sometimes a result of multiple drivers failing to leave sufficient following room. For another example, if one car strikes another, the other car may spin out and have a secondary or even tertiary collision with other cars. The jury will assign each person alleged to be at fault a percentage of responsibility. A Decatur car accident attorney can help you investigate the case and bring all of the appropriate parties into the claim.
The state has adopted a modified doctrine of joint and several liability, in which a defendant who is less than 25% responsible will be only severally responsible for noneconomic damages. However, defendants whose fault is 25% or more will be jointly and severally liable for all of the damages. For example, a defendant who is 35% responsible could be on the hook for 100% of a $250,000 damages award, which may be helpful because a defendant who is 65% responsible but who has no insurance and assets may not be able to pay any of it.
In some cases, there are other potential defendants. There may be negligent entrustment if the owner of a car entrusts it to somebody whom he knows or should know is likely to use it in a way that creates an unreasonable danger to others.Consult a Knowledgeable Car Accident Lawyer in Decatur
If you were injured in a serious car crash in the Decatur area, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we are ready to help you explore your options and fight for your rights. You can call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.