Across the country over the past decade or so, the number of car accidents has risen significantly; one factor that contributes to this overall trend is drivers’ use of mobile phones while driving. Mobile phones and other distractions in cars take drivers’ attention away from the road for precious seconds at a time, which can lead to many of the numerous accidents in and around Granite City every year.
If you write and send text messages while you should be focusing on the road and other drivers all around you, you are up to 23 times more likely to get involved in a car crash. Despite this message being sent to experienced as well as inexperienced drivers, and the very serious consequences of being caught, texting and driving remains a huge problem.
Illinois Car Accident Laws
Many states have different laws regarding car accidents, car insurance, and how soon you need to report a car accident. Below, you will find some of the laws that address these issues in Illinois.
- Car insurance coverage: Anyone who lives in Illinois and owns a working vehicle is legally required to carry at least $25,000/$50,000 bodily and $20,000 property insurance coverage. Visitors driving in Illinois are required to comply with state laws where their vehicle is registered. Any driver that does not have adequate coverage may be given a ticket.
- Hit and run: If you are involved in a car accident in Illinois, you must stop; leaving the scene of the accident may lead to legal ramifications and fines for you. However, if you were hit and the other driver attempts to leave the scene (i.e., “hit and run”), you are allowed to try to find them.
- Comparative fault: When fault is questioned, or when each driver is partially at fault for the accident, things can get confusing. If you were found less than 50 percent at fault, you may be able to seek financial damages; if you were found more than 50 percent at fault, you may not recover damages. Insurance companies sometimes decrease the amount you are awarded by the percentage you were found at fault; for example, if you were awarded $10,000, but you were found 30 percent at fault, you may only receive $7,000. If responsibility is up for debate, we strongly recommend that you find an experienced attorney to help with your case.
- Time limit: Because Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations, if you have been injured in a car accident, you should file a personal injury claim as soon as possible after the accident. If you fail to make your claim within the two year time frame, you may not be able to proceed.
In the Event of an Accident
There are some steps you should take if you are ever involved in an accident; these steps will help protect you and anyone else involved.
- If it is at all possible, pull your vehicle to the side of the road, out of the way of traffic.
- Call 911. Report the location and nature of the crash to the emergency dispatcher so that law enforcement officials will be able to find you quickly and easily. If you suspect or know about any injuries, the dispatcher will respond accordingly, sending an ambulance and/or alerting the local fire department to your location.
- Trade contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved. Make sure you get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of anyone involved or injured, driver’s license numbers of all drivers, plus descriptions and license plate numbers of all vehicles.
- Make your own report of the accident, including as many details as you can, including but not limited to the events leading up to the accident, where the accident occurred, and the weather and road conditions. You may also be required or asked to provide a report to your local police department.
- Keep an accurate record of your injuries (both physical and mental/emotional) after the accident. Include times and places you felt pain or anxiety, plus any doctor’s appointments and time that you were unable to go to or perform your duties at work.
Call a Granite City, Illinois Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been involved in any type of vehicular accident, you should discuss your case with a knowledgeable attorney with the Walton Telken Foster law firm. We offer free consultations, when you can come into our office to meet with one of our lawyers, tell them the details of your case, and get information about your rights and options. Depending on the specifics of your situation, the attorney may be able to give you some idea of the potential path your case may take; keep in mind, however, that each case is unique, and not all details may be predicted.
Regardless of your circumstances, we would advise you to speak to an attorney before (a) accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company, or (b) making statements of any kind. More often than not, settlement offers that come soon after an accident will benefit the insurance company more than you, as they work hard to preserve their funds, and do not have your best interest in mind. Making statements such as “I’m sorry” may lead others to believe that you accept responsibility for the accident, which can end up costing you a lot of money; that is why we typically advise our clients to refrain from making any statements.