a car accident in Chicago | Coplan and Crane

Who Do I Sue After a Car Accident?

December 30, 2022

Knowing who to sue after a car accident can make the difference between recovering the full and fair compensation to which you may be entitled under the law or receiving much less than you deserve – or nothing at all.

Determining liability and proving fault after a car wreck can be extremely complex, requiring the knowledge, skill, and resources of an experienced attorney. The Chicago car accident lawyers at Coplan + Crane have extensive experience with a range of cases. Our firm has helped accident victims in Illinois for decades. We help our clients pursue the maximum compensation they deserve to move forward after a crash.

Determining Liability In a Car Accident Case

In order to sue after a car accident, you must first determine who is at fault for the crash. Car accident attorneys examine every fact in an accident to understand what party or parties may have contributed to the wreck. When determining liability, a lawyer will look at evidence such as:

  • Witness testimony
  • Police reports
  • Traffic surveillance footage
  • Photographic evidence of:
    • Bodily injuries
    • Property damage
    • Road conditions
    • Traffic lights and traffic signs
    • Skid marks
    • Debris from the collision
    • The perspective of each driver

In most car accidents, liability falls on one or more of the drivers involved. However, this isn’t always the case – and even when it is, it doesn’t make recovering compensation an easy task.

Depending on the details of a crash, one or more of the following parties could share liability:

  • The driver of the other vehicle
  • The municipal authority responsible for a dangerous road
  • The employer of a negligent driver who was on the clock
  • The vendor that sold alcohol to a drunk driver
  • The manufacturer of a defective vehicle or automotive part

Every situation listed above carries its own unique challenges. An experienced car accident lawyer will investigate the facts in your situation and identify all of the parties who may have played a role in your accident and subsequent injuries. In some cases, fault is shared by multiple parties. Your attorney will explain your situation and help determine who can be held liable.

Modified Comparative Negligence in Illinois

States have generally adopted one of two types of negligence systems in car accident cases: the comparative negligence system or the contributory negligence system. Illinois adheres to modified comparative negligence (see 735 ILCS 5/2-1116) as the standard for recovery of damages.

Under the system of contributory negligence, if a person is found to be even 1% responsible for the accident, they are barred from recovering any compensation whatsoever. Under comparative negligence, an injured party is permitted to share some degree of fault in a crash and still recover damages – although they are reduced in relation to the percentage of fault. For example, if your case settles for $100,000 and you were found to be 40% at fault, you will be awarded $60,000.

Under Illinois’ modified comparative negligence system, however, there is a threshold of fault. When the threshold of fault is surpassed, a not-guilty verdict is automatically given to the defense. In Illinois, if you are found to be more than 51% responsible for your accident, your case will be settled in favor of the defense.

Speak with a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer for FREE

If you were hurt in a car wreck, you may be facing, pain, disability, high medical bills, and time away from work you and your family cannot afford. The Chicago car accident lawyers at Coplan + Crane understand the hardships you may be facing during this difficult time. We are committed to helping you pursue the justice and compensation you need to get back on track.

Legal victories are not given; they are the result of hard work, meticulous preparation, and an unwavering commitment to justice. The attorneys at Coplan + Crane have built a reputation for excellence in a range of auto accident claims because we never take a cookie-cutter approach to legal representation. We give every client and every case the respect and attention they deserve.

It’s important to act quickly. You only have a limited time in which to bring legal action for a car accident in Illinois. If you fail to act within the time limit you will miss your opportunity to obtain financial compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses. Even if two years seems like a long time, it passes quickly and strong cases take time to prepare. The insurance company may already be building its case against you. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can evaluate the merits of your case, investigate the facts surrounding your accident, and negotiate with the insurance companies. If a fair settlement cannot be reached with the insurance company, we may recommend taking your case before a judge and jury to pursue the full value of your losses.

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Contact our office today online or at (708) 358-8080 for a FREE case review. We serve clients throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas.