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Should I hire an attorney for my car accident?

When it comes to unexpected situations that can change a life forever, traffic accidents are among some of the most devastating around. Because they involve heavy, large machinery moving at fast speeds, it perhaps makes sense that the injuries traffic accidents inflict upon their victims are often catastrophic in nature. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident of some kind, it’s important to reach out to an experienced attorney who can help. With that said, you might be wondering exactly when you should hire an attorney. Let’s look at some of the considerations to undertake when making your decision.

Who is liable for the accident?

If the liability in your case is crystal clear, that can help the process move smoothly. In the event that the liability is shared or unclear, however, you might find yourself facing an uphill legal climb. This can be a serious issue, especially if you have medical bills or property damage to cover (not to mention lost wages if your injuries have left you unable to complete your normal shifts). Whether you are looking to secure your compensation or help ensure that the responsible person is held accountable, an attorney can help.

Insurance Has Offered (or Denied) a Claim

Insurance can be incredibly difficult to deal with. Keep in mind that their main interest is in ensuring that they keep as much money in their coffers as possible, not what is best for you. That means that they will do their best to pay out as little as they can if they offer a settlement. They will often deny a claim outright, leaving victims feeling as though there is no recourse. A lawyer can help you handle insurance claims and do their bests to secure the compensation you need to recover. If your claim has been denied – and even if you have been offered a settlement – you should hire an attorney.

You are Facing Extenuating Circumstances

Finally, if you are facing extenuating circumstances, you should reach out to an attorney for help. This means that if you are facing issues with lost wages or even problems with caring for loved ones after an injury from a car accident, a lawyer can help. Remember that insurance claims tend to calculate immediate losses, not complicated issues like lost work, caregiver fees, and extended projected medical fees. An expert can help make sure that you receive the compensation that you need to move on with your life.

Statute of Limitations

Something else to keep in mind when working through your traffic accident claim is the statute of limitations. You want to make sure that you understand how much time you must file a personal injury claim. In Illinois, this is generally within two years from the accident. Regardless, contacting an attorney can help you stay on top of any important due dates. It should be noted that a lawyer can also help protect you if you are concerned that someone might file a personal injury claim against you within the statute of limitations.

If you need help with your traffic accident personal injury case, the attorneys at Frederick & Hagle can help. We have the experience, knowledge, case history, support, and reputation needed to fight for your best interests. Contact us today for more information!

Auto Accidents and Private Property: Who is at Fault?

Automobile accidents are incredibly serious issues that can have catastrophic consequences. This is as true of accidents that occur on private property as it is of accidents that occur on a public thoroughfare. That is not to say that the two don’t have any differences at all, of course. Determining who is responsible for the accident can be more difficult with accidents that occur on private property. It is important that you understand your rights during this difficult time and are able to determine who is liable for the accident.

Who is at-fault?

When someone drives or otherwise behaves negligently and leads to the damage of person or property, they might be held liable for the victim’s losses. This does not change when the accident takes place on private property. Note that this can encompass situations where the accident was not caused by another individual physically striking your vehicle. If a privately-owned parking lot fails to mark blind spots or to ensure that the proper number of “no stop” or “yield” signs are in place, for example, then they very well might be found liable for accidents that occur in the lot.

Depending upon the property owner in question, you might find that gathering information about your accident, including camera footage, if available, that shows you were not at fault, to be quite difficult. A property owner who has an active stake in ensuring that you (and not they) are found to be liable for your own damages, for example, is less likely to willingly help you prove that the accident was not your fault. That is where an experienced attorney familiar with the laws governing auto accidents and private property comes in handy.

Auto accidents can happen to anyone. Even the most cautious of drivers can find themselves caught off-guard and put into a bad situation. If you have been the victim of an automobile accident on private property, the attorneys at Frederick and Hagle can help. Our experienced legal experts understand how to determine who is at fault for accidents as well as how best to ensure you receive proper compensation.

Reach out to us today at 217-367-6092 for more information!

Driving and Texting: Proving Fault

In the state of Illinois, it is illegal to text while driving. That is not to say that everyone follows the rules, of course, and that means that accidents caused by this easily avoidable issue continue to be a serious problem. Despite the rising knowledge and caution regarding just how dangerous texting and driving can be, it remains an issue that leads to thousands of injuries every year. And, unfortunately, this can be a difficult case to prove. If you have been injured in an accident with someone who was texting on their cellphone while driving, it’s time to reach out to an experienced attorney who understands how best to pursue these kinds of cases.

Find a Witness

For obvious reasons, it can be hard to definitively and convincingly claim that you saw the other driver on their cellphone right before the accident happened. Most people will assume that you were watching the road and had no idea what was happening. With that in mind, it becomes very important to find witnesses to the accident who can help corroborate your assertions. This is true even if all you can do is prove that the other driver was on their cellphone as opposed to definitely texting. This witness might be another driver, someone who was on the side of the road and saw the accident, or even a passenger in one of the vehicles involved.

Cameras and Evidence

Another potential resource at your disposal when it comes to proving that the other driver was texting and driving is via cameras. There are a few different scenarios that might yield this result. First of all, are there cameras in the area where the accident occurred? Look into the stores and businesses nearby as well as any street lights you passed. You might very well find that one or more cameras recorded the accident and show the other party texting on their phone. Additionally, don’t forget to check any potential dash cam footage that you might have. Depending upon the accident in question, it’s possible that you could have recorded the crime yourself (or, at the very least, might find potential witnesses who did).

Text Logs

This isn’t always a feasible option, but if possible, ask for text logs of the other driver. This can show timestamps that match your story about their texting and driving habits. Sometimes you might even receive correspondence from the person with whom the other driver was texting. Their word can do wonders for your case.

Social Media and Technology

Keep in mind that “texting” doesn’t always mean exchanging literal texts with someone. In fact, someone typing on their phone could very well be updating their social media accounts. Check profiles to see if you can find time stamps that would show the driver was online around the time of the accident.

If you have been involved in an accident, reach out to Frederick and Hagle, Attorneys at Law, for expert representation today!

 

Automobile Safety

If you had to pick a place to sit during a car accident, where would you choose? Many people would opt for the backseat. That could very well be a mistake, however, because recent research has found that passengers sitting in the backseat are as much as 46% more like to be fatally injured in a motor vehicle accident than individuals in the front seat.

What makes the backseat so risky?

As technology has developed over the past decade, so too has the structure and safety of the front-end of vehicles. This is largely due to changes in electronic stability controls, structural changes, and side airbags. With that said, the backseat has not adapted at the same pace. Perhaps this is why fatalities from individuals sitting in the front seat of significantly fallen, fatalities from people sitting in the back have not. Mentioned briefly above, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has stated that individuals in the backseat are killed in car crashes 46% more often than those in the front seat. Note that this risk increases with age. The backseat is still the safest place for young children who are 13 years old and younger – but for every year over that threshold, the risk incurred by sitting in the backseat increases.

Backseat Safety

Many people miss wearing their seatbelts when they are in the backseat. This is likely brought on by a false sense of security that the backseat is “safe” and they are less likely to experience injuries. Seatbelt laws also don’t typically pertain to backseat passengers, which means that passengers can choose whether they want to wear them or not without breaking the law. And, of course, backseat seatbelts are often less comfortable than those in the front seat, leading to many individuals who prefer to ride without them.

It is important to note that passengers can still be seriously injured in the backseat. At Frederick & Hagle, we see many backseat passengers suffering from injuries like facial lacerations, neck and head injuries, broken bones, and chest injuries.

Injuries and Accidents

Studies have shown that adults 55 years or older have an increased risk of dying from backseat injuries, and that’s even if they are wearing their seatbelt properly. When they fail to wear their seatbelt at all, the risk is even higher. In 2015, this danger was illustrated tragically well with the death of John Forbes Nash, Jr. and Bob Simon. Nash was the mathematician who inspired the movie A Beautiful Mind and Simon was a popular 60 Minutes correspondent. The public was devastated at these losses, but many people still neglect to wear their seatbelts and take precautions when riding in the backseat.

Personal Injury Claims in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, personal injury law covers auto accident injuries, although a wrongful death case might be established should it possible to prove negligence. Personal injury lawsuits are covered by civil court, and there is a two-year statute of limitations in effect (from the date of the accident) usually limits when cases can be filed. There are also several different statutes of limitations that might apply depending upon the case in question, which is why contacting an experienced attorney is such a good idea.

For more information about how Frederick & Hagle can help you understand the court process, contact us today!

Illinois Motor Vehicle Insurance

If you, or any of your loved ones, have been involved in a car accident, you might wonder how, exactly, you can expect auto insurance to work. To answer that concern, it is important to understand that Illinois is classified as a “fault car insurance state”. That means that the individual who is found at fault – the person who caused the accident – must compensate those who were injured or had property damaged as a result. In generally, the auto insurance carrier of the individual found at fault will pay for the aforementioned costs.

At Frederick & Hagle, attorneys at law, we have experience working with insurance companies to help ensure that our clients receive compensation. Let’s take a look at some of the insurance requirements for auto insurance in Illinois.

Car Insurance Requirements in Illinois

If you have a motor vehicle registered in Illinois and live in Illinois, there are certain requirements/laws that you must follow. As a driver, you are required to carry a minimum of $20,000 of insurance coverage in case anyone is injured or dies in an accident (including you or someone else). You must also carry a minimum of $40,000 in coverage that will cover the death or injury of more than one person as the result of an auto accident. Finally, you must carry $15,000 in coverage to cover property damages incurred as a result of an auto accident.

Note that these are minimums, and it is advisable to carry more than this in coverage. This is because, should you be found at-fault in an auto accident, you could be found personally liable for any damages that exceed the amount of your insurance coverage.

Uninsured Driver Coverage

In Illinois, it is required that your insurance policy contain uninsured motorist coverage. As the name implies, uninsured motorist coverage is used to help compensate you in the event that are in an accident with an uninsured driver. Instead of attempting to seek damages from their insurance company, you seek help from your own. Consider this a “safety net” of sorts. Note that while Illinois law does require that your uninsured motorist coverage be equal in limits to your policy for Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, you can make the decision to select a smaller limit. Should you opt for this, you must make that selection in writing. The lowest limit that Illinois law allows is $40,000 per accident or $20,000 per person.

Hire an Auto Accident Attorney in Illinois

If you have found yourself in an auto accident and need help to seek compensation, reach out to Frederick & Hagle, attorneys at law, today for a free initial consultation.

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