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IL accident lawyerBeing in a car accident can have a profound impact on your life. Injuries may lead to long-term pain and suffering, loss of functioning, reduced independence, and other negative consequences. In addition to the physical pain and emotional anguish caused in a serious car accident, being hurt in a crash can also lead to major financial harm. Neck injuries are very common in car accidents – especially rear-end and T-bone accidents. Even a low-speed accident can lead to neck injuries that cause months or years of painful symptoms. If you or a loved one suffered a neck injury in an accident or the accident aggravated an existing neck injury, you may be able to seek financial compensation.

What Types of Neck Injuries May Be Caused by a Car Accident?

Most people rarely think about it, but the neck has a tremendously important function. Not only does the neck control the movement of the head, but it also encompasses important nerves, muscles, and bones. An injury to the soft tissue, muscles, ligaments, tendons, or vertebrae in the neck can lead to significant disability. Some of the most common neck injuries caused by car accidents include:

  • Whiplash – When the head suddenly moves forward or backward in a crash, the soft tissues of the neck can become significantly damaged. Whiplash can be extremely painful, but it is often difficult to prove because the injury does not show up on x-rays.
  • Injuries to spinal discs – The vertebrae of the neck and spine are sandwiched between fluid-filled discs that absorb shock and prevent damage to the vertebrae and spinal cord. A car accident can cause the discs to slip out of place, tear, rupture, or otherwise become damaged. Herniated discs can be severely painful -especially if the disc puts pressure on the nerves of the spinal cord.
  • Nerve damage – Nerves are responsible for sending signals throughout the body. Damage to nerves in the neck and back can cause significant disability. If nerves are stretched, torn, or otherwise harmed in a car accident, the victim may experience pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of function in certain body parts.

Damages in a Neck Injury Claim

If your car accident was caused by the negligent or illegal actions of another party such as a drunk driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. The most common damage in a car accident claim includes medical expenses, lost income from missed work, impairment to the victim’s future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. However, to recover compensation, you will need to show that:

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IL injury lawyerAlthough most rarely consider it, getting into a car is statistically one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis. Car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other traffic accidents lead to severe injuries and death every day in the United States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Americans spend over 1 million days in the hospital every year because of traffic accidents. In 2012, car accident injuries led to an estimated $18 billion dollars in expenses. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you may wonder which medical expenses may be recoverable through a personal injury claim.

Past Medical Expenses

Being hurt in a car accident is a traumatic ordeal. After the initial shock caused by the accident wears off, an injured car accident victim may experience a secondary shock from the medical bills incurred by the accident. The first expenses may people encounter after a car accident are ambulance fees and emergency room bills. They may then accumulate medical bills related to hospitalization, diagnostic tests like laboratory blood tests, x-rays, or CT scans, surgery, and more. A personal injury claim may enable you to recover compensation for these medical expenses.

Ongoing and Future Medical Expenses

If your injuries are severe or have led to long-term or permanent disability, you may also be facing considerable future medical costs. A personal injury claim may allow you to recover compensation for the estimated medical expenses you will encounter in the future. This may include compensation for physical therapy, occupational therapy, or vocational therapy as well as ongoing psychological treatment. The cost of in-home health aides and nursing care may be recoverable. If your injuries required you to purchase assistive equipment like a wheelchair or hospital bed or make modifications to your home or vehicle, the costs of these items may also be recoverable.

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IL accident lawyerBeing involved in a car accident is a distressing experience regardless of the circumstances. However, hit and run accidents are often especially traumatic. Illinois law requires motorists to stop and exchange contact and car insurance information whenever they are in an accident causing property damage or personal injury. Unfortunately, some drivers attempt to evade responsibility for an accident by speeding away from the accident scene. If you or a loved one were hurt in a hit and run accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and pursue the compensation you need to cover accident-related costs.

Can I File a Claim Even if the At-Fault Driver Cannot Be Located?

In the moments after a traumatic car accident, most people are in a state of shock. They may be disoriented or even knocked unconscious by the force of the impact. Taking note of the at-fault driver’s vehicle or license plate number may simply not be possible. Without this information, it can be difficult for law enforcement to catch the driver and for you to recover compensation through the driver’s insurance company. Footage from dash cameras or nearby security cameras and other types of evidence may help to locate a hit and run driver, but there are many cases in which hit and run drivers are never brought to justice. Fortunately, you may still be able to recover compensation after a hit and run accident even if the driver cannot be located.

Bringing a Claim Against Your Own Insurance Company

The at-fault driver’s car insurance company is typically on the hook for costs resulting from a car accident. In a hit and run accident, obtaining compensation from the at-fault party’s insurer may not be possible. However, you may be able to recover financial compensation through your own insurance company. If you have liability insurance in Illinois, you also have uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is intended to cover costs caused by someone without insurance or someone who has too little insurance. Unfortunately, insurance companies often offer settlements that do not fully compensate injured victims for their damages. A personal injury attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance company and seek compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost income, property damage, and more.

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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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