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IL injury lawyerWhen most people think about car accidents, they picture accidents that occur on highways and roads. However, many car accidents occur in parking lots. Motorists in parking lots are often traveling at lower speeds than they would on the road, but serious and even deadly parking lot accidents still occur. If you or a loved one were hurt in a parking lot accident, you may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim.

Liability for a Parking Lot Collision

A parking lot accident can leave an injured person with expensive medical bills, vehicle damage, and other costs. Before you can seek compensation for a parking lot accident, you and your attorney will need to establish how the accident occurred and who is at fault. Liability for a parking lot accident claim can fall to a number of parties. Often, another driver is at fault. However, if the parking lot accident was caused or exacerbated by defects with the parking lot itself, the owner of the parking lot may also be liable. It is also possible that the injured person shares fault for the accident. Fortunately, Illinois is modified comparative negligence state. This means that you may still be entitled to compensation for an accident even if you contributed to the accident. As long as you are not more than 51 percent at fault, you may still be able to recover partial damages.

Proving the Elements Needed to Win Your Claim

There are four main elements in a parking lot accident claim. First is that the defendant owed a duty of care. All drivers have a duty to watch out for pedestrians, yield the right-of-way when appropriate, and drive in a safe, responsible manner. The second element is the breach of duty. Next is causation. You and your attorney will need to show that the defendant’s actions caused your injuries. Finally, you will need to show that you sustained damages. Damages may include vehicle damage, medical bills, lost income from missed work, and more. Evidence such as security camera footage, police reports, eyewitness statements, and medical records are often used to establish each of these elements in a personal injury claim.

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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 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 lawyerParking lots can be chaotic – especially when drivers are not following proper parking lot protocol. Drivers may cut across parking spaces, travel the wrong way, fail to yield to pedestrians and make other risky maneuvers. Although vehicles moving through parking lots are typically traveling at low speeds, there is still a potential for car accidents involving serious injuries or even fatalities. If you or a loved one were involved in a parking lot car accident, you may have questions about how liability is determined and whether you or your loved one are entitled to compensation.

Right of Way Rules in Parking Lots

Before you can recover compensation through a personal injury claim, you and your lawyer will need to determine the party or parties responsible for the accident. Liability for a parking lot accident is largely dependent on right of way rules. Drivers in “feeder lanes” or side lanes are expected to yield to drivers in the main thoroughfares. Drivers exiting a parking space must yield to all other vehicles. Every driver should be attentive to their surroundings and watchful for pedestrians. Children are especially vulnerable to injury in parking lots. Not only do children often run and dart between vehicles, they are also smaller and less visible to drivers.

Distracted Drivers and Unlawful Drivers

Despite countless public service announcements and programs designed to curb distracted driving, texting and driving and other forms of distracted driving continue to be a problem. If a driver was looking at his or her phone, GPS, or radio dial instead of looking at the road at the time of the accident, he or she may be considered negligent. If the other driver was intoxicated, he or she will almost certainly be considered at-fault for the accident. However, proving that a driver was distracted, inebriated, or otherwise not following the law is not always easy. Your lawyer may use police reports, surveillance footage, photographs of the accident, and other types of evidence to prove fault.

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IL accident lawyerIf you have ever been in a serious motor vehicle accident, you know just how disorientating the experience can be. In the span of only a few seconds, your world is completely turned upside down. Understandably, it can be difficult to remember exactly what happened during a major car accident. This is especially true if you suffered a head injury or went into shock during the accident. Accident reconstruction is a process through which experts investigate and analyze evidence to draw conclusions about the events that led up to an accident. Personal injury attorneys often work closely with accident reconstructionists to establish what actions were taken by motorists involved in the accident and when these actions occurred.

Gathering Evidence to Support Your Claim

Proving that the defendant’s actions led to the plaintiff's injuries is often the most difficult part of winning a personal injury lawsuit. Many personal injury claims involve a great deal of “he-said-she-said.” For example, a truck driver may claim that he started braking immediately after seeing a stopped car on the road while the driver of the stopped car insists that the truck driver hit his car at full speed. An accident reconstructionist can use physical evidence such as skid marks, the location of debris, leaked vehicle fluid, and the data from the truck’s event data recorder (EDR) to determine when the truck driver applied the brakes. The accident reconstructionist may be able to show that the trucker only applied the brakes seconds before the collision occurred. Conclusions reached through accident reconstruction along with data from the truck driver’s cell phone may show that distracted driving played a major role in the collision. This is just one example of how accident reconstruction may be used to support a personal injury claim. Accident reconstructionists may also use 3-d laser scanning, computer models, and other tools to investigate exactly what happened during a car accident.

Contact a Waukegan Car Accident Lawyer

The sooner your lawyer can start gathering evidence through accident reconstruction, the better your chances of proving the responsible party’s negligence and winning your personal injury claim. Whether you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, truck accident, pedestrian accident, or another type of car accident, delaying the investigation can significantly reduce the quality of the evidence available. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a skilled Lake County personal injury attorney today. Call Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. at 847-662-3303 to get started.

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