Belleville Car Accident Lawyers
All accidents, including “fender-benders,” have the potential to cause an injury, even if it isn’t immediately noticeable. If you have been injured in an accident, then you will likely incur medical costs associated with treating them. What can happen in the accident and afterward is important to your claim and your recovery.
Car Accident Statistics for Belleville
Belleville was above the state average for Illinois in both 2016 and 2017 for fatal crashes and is also above average for fatal crashes where alcohol was involved. The location types varied but many occurred on busy thoroughfares such as State Road 13 and I-94.
Accidents Due To Weather
The climate in Illinois causes dangerous driving conditions as roads become wet or even impassable for a variety of reasons, such as snow and rain. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, every year over 116,800 people are injured and over 1,300 are killed on icy, slushy, or snow-covered roads, and 15 percent of all weather-related accidents occur when it is sleeting. But in addition to the roads being wet, they can be damaged by heavy snowfall and snow salt over time, making some more dangerous than others.
Crash Statistics for Illinois
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 21.5 percent of the 311,679 crashes that occurred in 2017 resulted in injuries, and 14.2 percent of crashes involved what is called an A-injury, which include fractures, chest, pelvis, and abdominal wounds and trauma. While motorcycle crashes only accounted for 1.1 percent of all total crashes that year, 15.4 percent of them were fatal. 37.9 percent of all crashes resulting in an injury involved excessive speeding.
Car Accident Law in Illinois
The laws regarding vehicle crashes can be complex, so it is best to speak with an attorney who can explain them in more detail. Here are two key things to know:
After an accident, it is important to determine who caused the accident and why, such as whether or not the driver was intoxicated. In Illinois, the person who is deemed at-fault for the accident has to pay a percentage of what damage or injury they are liable for.
Illinois requires that all drivers have some form of liability insurance that meets certain minimum coverage requirements, such as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL). Drivers are encouraged to add optional insurance coverage, such as uninsured property damage, comprehensive, collision, and medical. Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UIM) protection is automatically included in all insurance policies sold in the state of Illinois.
Common Injuries After Car Accidents
Any kind of accident can lead to an injury. Numerous injuries are not apparent immediately after the accident. In order to protect yourself, it is important to remember that if the police, paramedics, or EMTs ask you if you are injured, you respond that you are unsure rather than answering “no.” Some injuries do not appear until hours, days, and sometimes even months later even though they were caused by the accident. Typically, car accident injuries are caused by the impact of some part of the car striking the driver or passengers, but can also result from flying objects, broken glass, or shards of metal.
1. Head Injuries
Because of the sudden nature of accidents, the brain moves rapidly and harshly against the skull. The result of this movement could be internal bleeding, concussion, or other types of brain damage. While you should report any loss of consciousness to the police or first responders when they arrive, be aware that you can still suffer from a concussion even if you do not lose consciousness or become confused or dazed. Other injuries include lacerations and bruises to the head and face, which may be able to heal within a few days or weeks. Skull fractures and jaw injuries are typically more severe and take much longer to heal. It is important to seek medical attention to ensure that you do not have any.
2. Neck, Back, and Spinal Injuries
Whiplash is one of the most common neck injuries resulting from the impact of a car accident. Pain from whiplash usually starts within 24 hours but later onset is possible. The pain may go away on its own or could last for years. Symptoms include severe headaches and excruciating neck pain that radiates to the arm. The cause is from ligaments and muscles being stretched or torn
Injuries of the spine refer to injuries to the bones that encase the spinal cord, which is the bundle of essential nerves to move and have control over the body. Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe and permanent and include paralysis. Injuries to the spine, however, include herniated discs or spinal cord fractures. The vertebrae can become fractured during the accident and even shift places. In either case, the sufferer may experience radiating pain to specific areas of the body, numbness and an inability to control bodily functions and organs, such as the bladder. Neck injuries include herniated discs, muscle and ligament sprains, cervical bone fractures, fractures in the vertebrae, or spinal cord injuries. Common symptoms include pain, reduced range of motion, burning sensations that go down one’s arm, numbness, and weakness.
3. Chest Injuries
The two most common chest injuries result from hitting the steering wheel and the forceful restraint of the seat belt. Injuries range from muscle strains to fractured ribs and sternum. Organ damage can include punctured lungs, a ruptured diaphragm, and spleen and liver damage. Chest injuries can also be caused by the rapid expansion of the vehicle’s airbag.
4. Leg and Arm Injuries
The impact of hitting the interior of the car compresses the nerves. The result can be nerve damage, which is characterized as numbness or tingling in an arm. Other injuries include muscle strains, fractures, and injuries to knees from hitting the seat in front of the dashboard. These may require surgery in order to fix it. Injury to the soft tissue and around joints are typically bruises, scrapes, lacerations, or sprains.
5. Abdominal and Pelvic Injuries
These types of injuries can be both impact and penetration injuries. The force of the impact causes blood vessels to burst in impact injuries while penetration injuries can be caused by debris piercing the skin and organs. While most times it will be very clear that someone is experiencing internal bleeding, but non-severe trauma can cause stomach bleeding. Symptoms that may not show up until later are dizziness or fainting, blood in urine, hernias, a purple coloration of the skin called ecchymosis, and both pain and swelling.
6. Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can be the result of chemicals coming in contact with the victim; when the vehicle catches fire; or the victim comes in contact with steam, melting polymers or hot metal. While efforts have been made to improve the integrity of fuel-containment systems in cars, exposed gas still poses a substantial fire risk to those who have been involved in an accident. The severity of these injuries can range from first-degree to life-threatening third-degree burns. Not only burn extremely painful for the sufferer, but they can lead to scarring and impaired mobility, as well as psychological trauma.
Many of the injuries listed require surgery, hospital stays, physical therapy, and additional procedures if necessary. These life-saving treatments can become costly and may result in loss of work wages.
If you are experiencing distress, depression or extreme anxiety after the accident then, you may be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD from a car accident can manifest in debilitating fear of driving, making it difficult for the sufferer to go to work or run basic errands. PTSD requires a diagnosis by a licensed psychologist who can help the sufferer heal mentally and emotionally.
What To Do If You Are Involved in a Car Accident
Everything that follows a car accident will affect your claim. Your demeanor can play a part in certain legal outcomes. Witnesses may report reactions from the people involved in the accident or other bystanders and if there was any threatening or erratic words or behavior from any of those involved in the accident. It is important to stay calm and follow these important steps:
- Call the police. If you are in a car accident where there could be potential injuries you will want to dial 911. When the police and first responders arrive they will interview all drivers, passengers, and witnesses and record other details to be used in their police reports, such as weather and road conditions. Be sure to answer questions they have to the best of your ability, and certainly do not make any false claims or guesses. You want to comply with the officer and state exactly what happened. Even if there is no apparent damage, having a police report is valuable and in some cases necessary to file insurance claims.
- Do not move the vehicle(s) unless traffic is being obstructed. Protect yourself by putting on your flashers or setting up flares but keep the vehicles the way they are so officers can get an accurate look at the scene.
- Take pictures of the scene. Important details to capture are bodily injuries, skid marks, damaged property, street signs, or guard rails, license plates of all vehicles involved, and the vehicles themselves. Take pictures from a variety of angles such as panoramics, wide angles, and close-ups of details, such as lacerations. It is also a good idea to take pictures of traffic signs or signals that can connect the at-fault driver to the accident, and pictures of the passengers and other parties involved in the accident. It is also good to keep taking pictures of injuries over time, especially if they worsen.
- Seek medical attention. Most of the time medical first responders are sent out to scenes of crashes to assess any damage or harm done to drivers, pedestrians, or bystanders. It’s important to understand the distinction between answering “no” and “not sure” when asked if you have been injured. If you are genuinely not sure then answer just that to ensure you get checked. It’s better to be on the safe side and be examined by a medical professional before soreness, pain, or swelling occur later.
- Exchange the right information if the police are not present. In case you cannot get an officer to write a report then you need to exchange auto insurance information with the others involved in the accident. Information obtained should include their full name, address, phone number, and email address. If there were any witnesses then you will want to get their information, too.
Frequently Asked Questions About Belleville Car Accidents
The following questions and answers are just a sample of some of the most common questions that we are happy to answer during our free initial consultations with prospective clients. Of course, even the specific answers that we are able to provide during these consultations will evolve and come into sharper focus as our work together progresses, but be aware that the following answers are simply intended to provide you with an idea of what you can expect. These answers are not to be taken as legal advice.
Is it required that I work with an attorney for a personal injury claim?
There is no legal requirement for anyone to ever work with an attorney in the United States, but that does not mean that it is a good idea to represent yourself. The legal system in the United States is a complicated and extensive system that takes years of experience to understand. When you are focusing on recovering from your injuries, the last thing that you should be doing is taking on the stress of US tort law.
When you are working with an experienced and reputable Belleville car accident attorney, you send a signal to the defendant and their legal team that you know your rights, and you know how to fight for what you deserve. We want to make sure that you are able to focus on your personal needs while we handle the legal legwork.
How much is my case worth?
Car accident claims are divided into two distinct categories: economic damages, and non-economic damages. Both of these categories are equally important in your case but will need to be handled separately in order to reach a clear calculation of the final damages that we believe you deserve. However, even after we have reached our own conclusions, we will need to negotiate aggressively to reach an out-of-court settlement or may need to take our case to trial in order to get you what you are entitled to.
Will I need to go to trial in order to get the compensation I deserve?
The actual numbers are unclear, for a variety of reasons, but some calculations suggest that only 5% of all personal injury claims result in a trial. The other 95% is either settled out of court entirely or settled after a lawsuit is filed but before a trial. Even if you are unable to reach a settlement agreement before filing a lawsuit, there are many opportunities before a trial date is set to reach an agreement.
Why Choose Us?
Any accident can lead to injuries that can either be apparent at the time of the crash or hours, days and in some cases even years later. Seeking medical attention for these injuries can be costly. Working with the insurance companies can get very complex and confusing especially if the other driver is claiming that you’re at fault, so it is vital to hire an experienced and competent attorney.
The attorneys at Hipskind & McAninch, L.L.C. have received prestigious awards and recognition. Both have been recognized as a member of The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, a Top Ten Attorney in Personal Injury according to the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys (NAOPIA), and have been included in Illinois Super Lawyers® Rising StarsSM list from 2016-2019.
Our client satisfaction is also another top reason why people refer others to us. We not only have a 5-star rating on Avvo but were also given the 10 Best Client Satisfaction Award in 2015.
A car accident can change someone’s life. We understand how complex this process can be and are here to help maximize your injury settlement. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys.