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Salvi & Maher, L.L.C.

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IL car accident lawyerLosing a spouse in a fatal car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident is a nightmarish experience to endure. Not only must the surviving spouse deal with profound grief and sorrow, he or she must also deal with the financial fallout caused by the death. If you have lost a spouse in an auto accident, you may be unsure of how you will pay for your loved one’s medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses resulting from the death. You may also worry about how you will pay your mortgage and other bills without your loved one’s financial support. A wrongful death claim may enable you to recover financial compensation for these and other expenses.

What Is a Wrongful Death?

Illinois law allows surviving family members to bring a wrongful death claim and pursue damages if their loved one’s death was:

  • Caused by another party’s negligent or wrongful act and
  • Had the deceased person survived, he or she would have been entitled to bring a legal action for damages
  • A wrongful death claim can be thought of as a personal injury claim that is brought on a deceased person’s behalf. A successful wrongful death claim may be possible if your spouse died in a car accident involving:
  • Distracted driving including texting while driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Reckless driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Road defects
  • Vehicle defects
  • Other types of negligence

Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim

A wrongful death claim is a civil claim that may or may not accompany criminal charges against the at-fault driver. Not only can a wrongful death claim enable you to recover possibly financial compensation, it can also help hold a negligent or reckless driver accountable for the harm he or she caused. Though a wrongful death claim, you may be entitled to compensation for:

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IL accident lawyerEven mild-mannered individuals sometimes experience aggravation or anger behind the wheel. Traffic jams, inattentive drivers, and other frustrations can make driving an exasperating experience. However, when a person allows their frustration to turn into road rage, dangerous or even deadly traffic accidents can result. If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident caused by road rage, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. You could be entitled to compensation for your vehicle damage, medical expenses, missed work, pain and suffering, and more.

Car Accidents Involving Reckless Driving

Reckless driving puts the lives of other motorists, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists in danger. Because of this, reckless driving is a criminal offense in Illinois punishable by heavy fees and possible jail time. According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, a person commits the offense of reckless driving if he or she:

  • Drives with an intentional or reckless disregard for the safety of people and property or
  • Uses an incline to cause a vehicle to become airborne

Reckless driving may include traveling at speeds well above the posted speed limit, swerving between lanes without signaling, performing stunts like “donuts” on public roads, and driving aggressively.

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IL accident lawyerWhen you are visiting a neighbor, friend, or family member’s home, the last thing you probably expect is to suffer a serious injury. However, many people find themselves in this very situation. If you were injured in a fall accident, fire, or another incident while on another person’s property, you may wonder whether the other person is responsible for the costs incurred by your injury. The answer to this question largely depends on the circumstances of your injury and whether the property owner’s negligence contributed to the accident.

Injuries Caused by Property Owner Negligence

A property owner cannot prevent every injury on his or her property. After all, accidents do happen. However, property owners do have an obligation to keep their premises free of unreasonable hazards. If an unsafe condition does exist on someone’s property, the property owner should warn any guests to the property so that they can take the appropriate action to avoid injury. If a property owner, including a homeowner, fails to prevent foreseeable injuries on his or her property, it is possible that he or she will be liable for the costs incurred by those injuries. Dangerous conditions such as damaged stairs, loose handrails, slippery floors, icy walkways, or insufficient fire alarms may lead guests to be severely injured. If a property owner knew or should have known about a hazardous condition on his or her property and a guest was harmed because of the hazardous condition, the property owner may be responsible for the costs incurred by the injury. Fortunately, most homeowners have homeowner’s insurance which will cover the costs resulting from a guest’s injury.

Bringing a Claim Against the Property Owner’s Homeowner’s Insurance

If you suffered injuries that resulted in expensive medical bills and other costs while visiting someone else’s property, that person’s homeowner’s insurance may be liable for your damages. If you choose to bring a premises liability claim and pursue financial compensation, you will most likely be bringing the legal action against the insurance company – not the actual property owner. You may be entitled to compensation for your:

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IL accident lawyerCar insurance is required by law, but unfortunately, that does not stop many drivers from driving without insurance. Typically, when a driver causes an accident, his or her insurance company is responsible for covering the costs incurred by that accident. If the driver does not have insurance or has too little coverage, the situation becomes more complicated. If you were hurt in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, you may need to bring a claim against your own insurance company to obtain compensation.

Car Accidents Caused by Motorists Without Insurance

Driving without car insurance in Illinois is unlawful. If caught, a driver without state-required liability insurance may be fined up to $4,500 and have his or her driver’s license suspended. Driving while uninsured also puts a substantial burden on anyone who suffers injury or property damage in an accident caused by the uninsured driver. If you or a loved one were hurt in a car accident and the other driver does not have insurance, you may be worried that you will be on the hook for all of the expenses incurred in the accident. You may be facing expensive medical bills, property damage, lost income from missed work, and other costs. Fortunately, you may be able to bring a claim against your own insurance company to recoup the costs caused by the accident.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Illinois car insurance companies must offer specific coverage for situations exactly like the one you or your loved one is facing. If you have “full coverage” car insurance, you also have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UMI). To recover compensation for an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you will need to file a claim with your own insurer. This process is not always as straightforward as it may seem, however. Many insurance companies offer payouts that do not cover the full extent of the injured person’s damages. A personal injury lawyer can help you with the claims process and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, you may need to file a lawsuit.

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IL injury lawyerDrunk driving accidents often result in catastrophic consequences. If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a car accident caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol, you may be exploring your opportunities for financial compensation. You may already know that you have the option of bringing a claim against the at-fault driver. However, you may not be aware of an Illinois law that allows an injured person to bring a personal injury claim against a bar or restaurant. Under Illinois dram shop liability laws, you may be able to recover compensation by suing the establishment that served the drunk driver alcohol.

Illinois Dram Shop Liability Laws

Illinois’ Dram Shop Act, also called the Liquor Control Act, allows a person injured by the actions of an inebriated person to bring a claim for damages against the bar, restaurant, or other establishment that served the intoxicated person alcohol. To bring a claim under dram shop laws, you and your attorney will need to prove that:

  • The establishment sold alcohol to the at-fault driver and the driver consumed it.
  • The alcohol provided by the establishment was the cause of the driver’s intoxication.
  • The driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
  • The injuries you sustained were caused by the driver’s intoxication.
  • You sustained damages as a result of the accident such as property damage, medical bills, or lost wages.

Personal injury claims brought under dram shop laws are most likely to be successful if it can be demonstrated that the establishment knew or should have known that the driver was already intoxicated when he or she was served alcohol.

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