What To Do After A Car Accident in Glenview

what to do in a car accidentIf you are involved in a Glenview auto accident, you may have been the driver who caused the accident rather than the victim. What do you do if you get sued? Check out this blog article on what to do in a car accident. And call for a free consultation if you have any questions at 847-305-4105.

There have been a couple really bad Glenview auto accident cases in the past 60 days. In one accident, a Glenview teenager named Jun Yang was involved in a solo vehicle accident. He had a passenger in the car who was also injured. Yang was 16 years old. I am the father of three teenage daughters, one of whom drives and a second who is about to start driver’s ed. So, this story really impacted me.

Then at the end of June 2018, a construction worker was hit by a truck that was backing up near Crestwood and Carousel drives in Glenview.  According to the Chicago Tribune, the worker suffered serious injuries and was taken to the emergency room at Lutheran General Hospital.

If you are injured in a Glenview auto accident through no fault of your own, there are numerous resources on this website where you can find information on how to proceed. I will shamelessly suggest you should talk to a Glenview car accident lawyer about your case.

But what do you do if you caused the auto accident? In that case, you are the “defendant.” This is the situation we all dread because if you did, in fact, cause the accident:

  • Your car was likely also damaged
  • You have to pay your deductible to get your car fixed
  • You will have to spend a lot of time dealing with the aftermath of the accident, and of course
  • You cannot recover for your “pain and suffering”
  • Your auto insurance rates will likely go up

What are your defenses to have caused the accident?

Your primary defense to having caused a Glenview auto accident (aside from pleading innocence) is to argue that the other driver was comparatively negligent. In the state of Illinois, a driver can recover for their damages if they are not more than 50% responsible for the accident.

If you can prove that the other driver was even slightly drunk, or texting while driving, or otherwise distracted and that they, therefore, were partially at fault for the accident, you can diminish the amount of your responsibility for the accident.

What should you do?

Bottom line is, if you hit someone, call your insurance company immediately. That is why you have auto insurance. You’ve paid premiums for years just in case this situation arises. Let your insurance company and the insurance adjuster do their job. Believe me, they will look for every mechanism possible to deny or reduce your liability.

What if you don’t have auto insurance?

First, if you don’t have auto insurance, you can and likely will be cited by the police officer and will be required to appear in court.

You will be personally “liable” or responsible for the damages you caused. And you may very well get sued. Chances are if you cannot afford auto insurance you can’t afford to hire an attorney to defend you. In this case, you have to hope that the person you hit has adequate limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and collision coverage to get their vehicle fixed.

Regardless, you will likely get a letter from the insurance company which will seek to “subrogate” or obtains reimbursement for the money they paid to their insured.

The bottom line is that before you get in a Glenview auto accident, make sure you have adequate limits of auto insurance. If you want a free consultation on how to best protect yourself, feel free to contact me at 847-305-4105.

Can more than one person be held liable for an auto accident?

A recent case handled by our office addressed the issue of can more than one person be held liable for an auto Glenview auto accident lawyeraccident. If you were involved in an accident where multiple parties were involved, feel free to contact Glenview lawyer Barry Zlotowicz at 312-848-9783 for a free consultation.

Can more than one person be held liable for an auto accident?

The answer seems obvious, doesn’t it? If two parties (defendants) were negligent and caused your injury, they should be held responsible or “liable” for your damages. This is called “Joint and Several Liability.”

  • If the defendants are “jointly liable”, then each defendant could be liable to pay up to and including, ALL OF YOUR DAMAGES. This might be necessary if for example, the other defendant was uninsured or otherwise unable to pay
  • If the parties are “severally liable”, that means that they are only responsible for their fair share of the damages

Why would one defendant be held responsible for ALL the damages?

It is a matter of public policy. If someone is the victim of an auto accident that they did not cause, it is simply fairer to hold the defendants responsible for all the damages, than it is to put the burden on the victim.

What if the defendants were not equally liable?

What if the defendants were not equally liable for the accident? In this situation, Glenview lawyer Barry Zlotowicz and counsel/insurance for all the defendants will apportion liability among the parties. Or, if the case goes to trial, then apportionment would be left to a judge or jury.

The law in Illinois

Some states follow the theory of “pure joint and several liability.” This means that the plaintiff/victim can only recover the specific amount of damages that a defendant is responsible for. So, for example, if your case is worth $100,000 and each defendant is ½ at fault, you can only recover a maximum of $50k from each defendant – NOT $100,000 from one defendant and zero from the other.

Illinois however follows the concept of “modified joint and several liability.” In Illinois, if a defendant is more than twenty-five percent responsible for an accident, then he/she is responsible for up to 100 percent of the victim’s damages (if the other defendant is uninsured, underinsured, or, otherwise unable to pay).

If a defendant is less than 25 percent responsible for an accident, then he/she is responsible for 100 percent of the economic damages (medical bills and lost wages) but only “severally liable” (responsible for their fair share) for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.

It’s very confusing and if you are faced with this situation, please call Glenview lawyer Barry Zlotowicz for a free consultation at 312-848-9783.

It’s easier to understand in a couple of examples:

Scenario 1

Plaintiff A:           0 % liable

$100,000 in medical bills

$100,000 in pain and suffering

Defendant A:     50% liable

$250,000 in insurance

Defendant B:     50% liable

Zero/no insurance

Result:

Defendant A:     Is liable for ALL damages

Liable for 100 percent of ($100,000) medical bills

Liable for $100,000 in pain and suffering

Defendant B:     Liable but has no assets to recover against

Scenario 2

Plaintiff A:           0 % liable

$100,000 in medical bills

$100,000 in pain and suffering

Defendant A:     80% liable

$25,000 in insurance

Defendant B:     20% liable

$250,000 in insurance

Result:                  Defendant A is primarily responsible for the accident but has limited insurance.

As such, Defendant B will have to pay practically all of the medical bills. But, since Defendant B is less than 25 percent responsible for the accident, he only had to pay his several share of the pain and suffering – 20 percent, or $20,000.

It is important to note that in Illinois, if the Plaintiff was more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, she could not have recovered at all for her injuries and damages.

If you were injured through someone else’s negligence and are faced with the question of whether more than one person be held liable for an auto accident, contact Glenview lawyer Barry Zlotowicz at 312-848-9783 for a free consultation.