According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are approximately 40 times more likely to be victims of deadly accidents than passenger vehicles. With that in mind, our lawyers would like to take one last chance to provide some helpful information on the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, in the hope that it will help our readers have a safe and enjoyable summer.
Brake Lights That Are Difficult to See-This is especially dangerous for motorcycles because riders often decrease their speed by downshifting, or simply letting off the throttle, and this doesn’t activate their brake light. When riding behind a motorcycle, it is important to be ready to slow down, even in the absence of a visual warning.
For many people, buying a car is one of the most important moments of their lives. Cars tend to equal freedom and independence, after all, not to mention a way to travel to work, school, family and friends. With that said, it should be noted that owning a vehicle is as much a responsibility as it is a boon to your lie. That means that there are things you must do in order to maintain your vehicle and protect yourself and others. One of the most important of these is ensuring that your insurance is sufficient.
What’s required in Illinois?
Every state has different rules regarding car insurance. In Illinois, there are two different kinds of insurance for motor vehicles that you are required to carry – body and liability coverage and property coverage. Body and liability cover is insurance that, as the name implies, covers deaths or injuries stemming from a car accident that you caused. Property insurance, on the other hand, covers things like damage to the property of another person involved in the accident, including things like the vehicle, yards, fences, personal items, and pets.
The state of Illinois only requires that you maintain the minimum of each kind of insurance coverage in order to remain in good standing with the law. That means that you must purchase the following:
- $20,000 in property insurance (for each accident that occurs)
- $25,000 in liability insurance that covers the death or injury of a single person
- $50,000 in liability coverage to cover fatalities and injuries (for each accident that occurs)
Make sure to speak with your insurance broker to ensure that you meet the minimum insurance requirements set forth by the state. Additionally, you must carry your proof of insurance on your person at all times. Without it, you are not fully complying with the law.
Optional vs. Necessary Insurance Coverage
It is important to keep in mind that simply complying with the state law means carrying the bare minimum in insurance, not actually purchasing enough to cover yourself in the event of an accident. To ensure you have adequate security against car accidents, consider investing in voluntary insurance policies like:
- Medical Payments
- Under-insured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Should you find yourself under-insured or uninsured, you could see your license suspended as well as be required to pay an expensive fine. You might also find yourself on the receiving end of civil penalties like a judgement finding you to be responsible for damages and injuries caused by the negligence you displayed when causing the accident in question.
How much insurance do I need?
As indicated above, the state minimums for auto insurance are $20,000 for property insurance, $25,000 for liability (injury or death), and $50,000 in liability (injury and fatalities), or 20/25/50. Most professionals will tell you that you should consider upping these amounts to 100/300/100, respectively, if you have a savings account and are in the middle class. Should you be wealthy and have more expensive assets, then consider investing in 250/500/100. What these higher coverage limits do is help protect your assets should you be found at fault for an accident.
Optional Policies and When to Consider Them
There are a number of optional policies that you can opt to add to your insurance policy. Under-insured motorist coverage, for example, is vital if you have no way to pay for medical care or damage done to your vehicle should you end up in an accident. If you have collision coverage and health insurance, this kind of policy is perhaps a bit more “optional”, but it is still an important one to consider as it helps keep your out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum.
Many people would prefer to avoid collision and comprehensive insurance policies because they are the more expensive additions. It is important to invest in them if your vehicle is ten years old or less, and especially if you have some kind of loan against the vehicle (in which case the lender in question will often dictate a minimum amount of collision/comprehensive coverage to maintain). This kind of optional policy is what helps pay for damage to your vehicle after an accident.
Finally, medical payment coverage is the policy that will help pay for your medical bills should you be injured in an accident. This is especially important if you have no health insurance or if your insurance is inadequate. While this policy addition can be pricey, that cost pales in comparison to the amount of money you could find yourself spending on medical payments should you be injured without it.
Remember that insurance only covers as much as you’re willing to pay for – and after the insurance runs out, you will end up paying for excess expenses. That money will come from your assets and finances. In order to help avoid this, make sure that you maintain adequate insurance coverage at all times.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, contact the experts at Frederick & Hagle today! We offer free consultations at 1.800.642.1227.
If so, you might have already realized just how quickly you can fall into debt and just how far your stress levels can rise. This is especially true if you needed to seek medical treatment for your injuries. And if the injuries were so severe that you found yourself unable to work normal hours, then you might have landed in an impossibly difficult financial situation that just seems to get worse and worse. When that happens, you might consider pursuing compensation for your lost wages and other expenses and injuries via a personal injury claim.
There are two main forms of damages your lawyer can help you pursue: punitive damages and compensatory damages. This is only the tip of the iceberg, however, as compensatory damages can be broken down even further to reference very specific issues. In order to have the best chance at receiving the kind of compensation you deserve, consider reaching out to experienced attorneys like those at Frederick and Hagle. We understand personal injury law, and we will work hard to ensure that your rights and needs are looked after.
Let’s take a look at the different forms of compensation available through personal injury claims and why you might or might not qualify for certain benefits depending upon the nature of your case.
Punitive vs. Compensatory Damages
Punitive damages and compensatory damages are not one in the same. In fact, each type of damage is awarded independently from the other by the jury or the judge in charge of listening to the case and coming to a decision. The differences between the two kinds of damages are as follows:
- Punitive Damages. These kinds of damages are saved for cases where purposeful acts of harm and malice, or even gross negligence so extreme that it borders on purposeful, are in play. They are also not necessarily considered compensation for the victim, but rather as a kind of punishment levied against the defendant. Note that these damages are still fairly controversial, however they have increased in popularity over the past few years and are more common than they used to be.
- Compensatory Damages. These damages are awarded to victims as a way to compensate for their time, medical costs, physical injuries, lost benefits or wages, damage to reputation, or emotional distress caused as a result of the accident in question. These damages are awarded as compensation to victims.
Comparative Negligence and Compensation
In the state of Illinois, comparative negligence is enforced in the courts. Comparative damage states that a party that has been injured in an accident and is seeking compensation can only collect damages if they are no more than 50% at fault for the injuries. If they are determined to have been even 51% responsible for them, then they will be unable to collect compensation via compensatory damages. In addition, the victim’s compensation will be reduced according to how “at fault” they were for the accident in question. That means that even if you are found to be 50% or less at fault for your own injuries, the amount of compensation you receive will go lower as your percentage of fault increases.
To put it more clearly, let’s take a situation where a victim would receive $50,000 in compensatory damages, but they have been found to be exactly 10% at fault for the injuries. The court will reduce their compensation accordingly by removing 10% of $50,000. That means that they will receive $5,000 less than they might have otherwise received had they not been found to be at fault.
If this sounds like a fairly big issue for victims, that is because it is! Many defense attorneys will seek to use the concept of comparative damages to lower the amount of compensation the victim receives. That is why it is important that victims seek out a skilled personal injury attorney familiar with comparative negligence in order to ensure they receive the compensation to which they are entitled.
It should be noted at this point that one major way victims can be found at fault for their injuries is via “assumption of risk”. This means that they willingly put themselves at risk of a known danger. If this is true of your case – or even if it isn’t – it is especially important to seek out an attorney to help you file and argue your claim.
Different Forms of Compensatory Damages
When it comes to compensatory damages, they can include one to three things. These include:
- Economic Damages
- Medical Costs
- Loss of Future Earnings
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Personal Property
- Legal Fees
- Loss in Value
- This is a loss in the victim’s overall performance, and is most commonly seen in breach of contract lawsuits.
- Non-Economic Damages
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress (Mental Anguish)
As briefly mentioned above, punitive damages are given when the jury or the judge find that the defendant deserves punishment for their actions. This is not the case in all claims. In fact, punitive damages are fairly rare except in the cases of malicious intent or gross negligence.
Punitive damages are awarded when certain factors are present. The defendant’s acts must have been reprehensible, for example, to the extent where they should serve as a public example warning others away from repeating their course of action. Other elements to look for include:
- More than simple negligence.
- Damages that are proportionate to the amount of compensatory damages awarded.
Punitive damage amounts are left up to the discretion of the judge in question, and rarely exceed four times what the victim was awarded in compensatory damages.
Reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney today!
For more information about your personal injury case and how we can help you receive the compensation to which you are entitled, reach out to us at Frederick and Hagle! Our knowledgeable and passionate attorneys are ready to help, and we offer free initial consultations! Contact us at 217.367.6092 or 800.642.1227 today!
If you’ve been in a car accident, you know how important it is to have auto insurance. This is especially true if you were at fault in the accident. Illinois is an at-fault state, which means if you caused the accident, you will have to pay for the damage done to the any other vehicle involved and provide compensation for any injuries anyone else suffered. Continue reading “Auto Insurance and Traffic Accidents in Illinois”
When it comes to things most people hope they never experience while driving, rollover crashes tend to rank pretty highly. The sad reality, however, is that they are not an uncommon occurrence. According to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports, at least 280,000 rollover accidents happen every year. Between them, they are responsible for the deaths of over 10,000 people. Continue reading “Rollover Motor Vehicle Accidents”
On behalf of Frederick & Hagle posted in Motorcycle Accidents on Wednesday, August 3, 2016.of
Motorcyclists are among the least protected travelers on roadways. As a result, if a motorcycle collision occurs, the odds are high that serious or fatal injuries may be an outcome for the individuals involved. Continue reading “Illinois motorcycle collision causes death, injuries”
On behalf of Frederick & Hagle posted in Motorcycle Accidents on Wednesday, June 22, 2016.of
When drivers attempt to make left turns, they cross other lanes of traffic. Although it may seem like a simple maneuver, a left turn could bring a vehicle into the paths of other drivers, and, as a result, a car or motorcycle accident could occur. Continue reading “Motorcycle accident claims life of Illinois man”
On behalf of Frederick & Hagle posted in Motorcycle Accidents on Friday, May 20, 2016.of
It was recently reported that a crash in Illinois resulted in serious injuries to two individuals after a motorcycle was struck by a vehicle. Reports stated that the motorcycle accident took place at approximately 3:30 p.m. when a car was traveling north and the motorcycle was traveling south. Continue reading “Motorcycle accident leaves 2 seriously injured in Illinois”
On behalf of Frederick & Hagle posted in Motorcycle Accidents on Friday, April 8, 2016.of
It is not unusual for motorcycle accidents to end in fatalities. Riders on these small vehicles are far less protected than occupants of larger automobiles. Therefore, when a crash takes place, it is more likely that serious injuries will result. Continue reading “Motorcycle collision in Illinois leaves woman with fatal injuries”
On behalf of Frederick & Hagle posted in Motorcycle Accidents on Tuesday, October 6, 2015.of
Suffering serious injuries in an accident is an outcome that many drivers hope to avoid. Unfortunately, a car or motorcycle accident can take place at any time and have harrowing results. An injured party could face long-term effects that could cause considerable hindrances. Continue reading “Illinois man injured after motorcycle accident”