Millions of Americans suffer car crash injuries in crashes every year. Thousands die. Some wrecks are unavoidable, but most crashes could be prevented. They are caused by someone’s careless acts.
We Answer These Questions On This Page
The personal injury lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. have decades of experience with helping injured victims and their families in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Clients know they can trust us with their case while they focus on getting better.
Our attorneys strive to ensure our clients are fully compensated for their losses. We have recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients, with 215 verdicts or car accident settlements of $1 million or more. Our results include:
TALK TO AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY
We take pride in the professional, friendly service we provide to every client. We may work quickly and aggressively - but we always take the time to talk with our clients about their case.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today. Call or submit our online form. Our consultations are always free, and they carry no obligations.
Studies have shown that auto accident victims recover more in damages when represented by an attorney than when they attempt to deal with an auto insurance company on their own.
The reality is that an accident lawyer can provide a variety of services that are aimed at recovering the maximum amount for you and your family after a car accident. These services include:
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we provide free consultations. We do not charge for our legal services unless we obtain a recovery for you. Our firm has a record of success, including 208 cases that have resulted in awards of $1 million or more.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we believe it is crucial to conduct an immediate, thorough investigation of a car wreck so as to ensure that no evidence is lost or destroyed. It is critical you contact a Chicago car accident attorney immediately about your car accident claim.
We can collect extensive evidence in your case, including:
We can also consult with highly qualified experts who can help us to determine:
Our goal is to compile enough evidence to establish a solid car accident claim and make the best case possible for full and fair compensation. We aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and use a skilled approach to representing our clients in the courtroom.
As we pursue compensation for our crash clients, our attorneys can search through all possible options, including:
As we stress to each of our clients: Do not speak with the insurance company unless you have first talked with an attorney. You do not want to say or sign anything that will cost you the chance to obtain a just recovery for your losses after a car crash.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we will conduct a comprehensive review of your case to determine the full extent of your losses and the proper value of your motor vehicle accident claim. We can then negotiate directly with the insurance company or go to court on your behalf to obtain a car accident settlement.
We can also carefully resolve any healthcare, workers’ compensation or other liens that may be attached to your recovery after an auto accident.
Do you know what the insurance company should pay you for your car accident? Do you know the elements of damage to claim under the law? Do you know what your case’s value is? Do you know what to do if the insurance company denies your claim?
An experienced car accident attorney from Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. will know how to stop an insurance company from taking advantage of you and seek maximum compensation for your injuries. We work with car accident victims, insurance policies and insurance adjusters every day.
Insurance companies are profit-minded businesses. They also work with car accident victims and insurance policies every day. They do not have your best interests in mind. They have an incentive to pay you as little as possible. If you are on your own and lack familiarity with the legal process, you are simply outmatched.
But when you retain a personal injury attorney, insurance companies must work through your attorney to resolve your case. Your attorney will work to investigate the accident, including photos, witness statements, traffic court, records and bill requests. Your attorney will also determine what damages you should be paid for the cost of your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, scarring and more.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we can provide a free, no-obligation consultation about your case. Then you can make decisions based on our experience instead of taking what a profit-minded insurance adjuster hands you. Simply contact us today to get started.
The compensation you receive in a car accident lawsuit – whether through a verdict or settlement – should make you “whole.” In other words, it should come as close as possible to returning you to the position you were in before being injured by another person’s negligent driving. This amount will differ from case to case.
To determine the amount of damages that should be recovered in your case, your lawyer will examine many factors, including:
You may also be eligible to recover punitive damages. Unlike the above damages, these damages are not aimed at making you whole but rather at punishing the party who harmed you in an auto accident and deterring future misconduct. These damages typically are awarded where the at-fault party engaged in reckless or intentional misconduct such as drunk driving or road rage.
If you have lost a loved one in a crash, you would seek wrongful death damages, which consists of “just and fair compensation” for your own losses, including the loss of money, goods and services provided by your loved one.
It is important to note that any recovery would be limited to the amount of available insurance coverage, including the at-fault party’s liability coverage and your own insurance such as uninsured / underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) coverage.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our attorney fees are paid from the settlement or court award we obtain for you. We only receive this payment at the end of the case, and only if we are successful. Simply put: We don’t get paid until you do.
The payment does not come out of your own pocket. Instead, it is deducted from the check the insurance company writes if and when we obtain a recovery for you. If we do not obtain a recovery for you, you pay us nothing for our services.
The American Bar Association describes this as a “contingency” or “contingent” fee. The legal fee is contingent, or depends, on the result the law firm obtains for you and the amount of the recovery.
When we agree to pursue a claim for you, and you agree to have us represent you, we will enter into a contract that states that we will receive a percentage of any settlement or court award from the case plus repayment for costs.
You should note that Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. has a record of obtaining results for our clients in a wide range of personal injury and wrongful death cases, including 200 cases resulting in awards of $1 million or more.
We begin each case with a free and confidential consultation. This consultation allows us to answer questions you may have about your legal rights and options. It also allows us to review the facts of your case and help you to decide whether pursing a car accident claim is in your best interests. To receive a consultation, simply call or contact us online.
What your insurance company might pay you starts with what your policy entails.
Most of the auto insurance drivers are required to buy in Illinois is liability insurance. This coverage makes payments for injuries the policyholder causes others. So, typically, if you are in an accident caused by someone else, you seek a settlement through that driver’s liability insurance.
However, as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates, more than 12 percent of drivers lack required insurance. Even if they have the requisite coverage, it may be at the minimum levels and fail to cover the full amount of your losses. In fact, this tends to happen in severe accidents.
If the driver lacks insurance or has inadequate insurance, you can turn to your uninsured / underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. At a minimum, your uninsured (UM) policy should pay $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident for bodily injury caused by an uninsured motorist. Of course, you may have purchased more than the minimum. Your coverage would depend on the amount you purchased. If you have higher underinsured limits than the at-fault driver, you may be able to collect the difference between the policies.
So, yes – if you have coverage that applies, you can probably collect some money from your insurance company after a crash caused by another driver.
The question is: How much will you recover? You would like to get the maximum amount that your coverage provides. However, your insurer would like to pay you less – perhaps much less.
Even when you have what looks like a simple, straightforward claim, you can usually benefit from having help from a car accident attorney from Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C.
If you already received a settlement offer from your insurer, do not sign or agree to anything before contacting one of our attorneys for a free review of the offer and a legal consultation about your case. Contact us today.
Under the Illinois Dram Shop Act, you can recover damages from a bar, restaurant, store or any other business licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in our state if the business is found to have contributed to the drunk driving accident that injured you.
To recover damages against a bar in a Dram Shop Act claim, you would need to prove five elements:
If you can establish those elements, you can recover damages for bodily injury or the death of a loved one as well as for the loss of society or loss of means of support. Loss of society means the loss of one’s love, companionship, comfort and protection.
The damages you can recover in a Dram Shop Act claim are subject to statutory caps. The limits that apply to accidents which occurred on or after January 20, 2015, are:
You are limited to only one recovery. So, let’s say you suffer $100,000 in damages in a drunk driving accident. If you recover $80,000 in damages from the drunk driver, you would be limited to recovering $20,000 in damages from the bar.
You would not be barred from a recovery if you contributed to the accident. However, you would be barred if it was found that you actively contributed to the driver’s intoxication by encouraging the driver to consume alcohol.
A criminal charge, which is aimed at punishing the drunk driver, and a civil law claim, which is aimed at making the drunk driver’s victim whole again, are totally separate legal matters.
If a drunk driver causes your accident they can be held responsible for any losses others have suffered in a crash. This includes your injuries and losses and those of other motorists, pedestrians or passengers injured in the crash.
If you have been hurt in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, a personal injury lawsuit is likely to be necessary for you to obtain the compensation you deserve for your losses.
Through a lawsuit against a drunk driver, you may be able to obtain compensation for:
It is important for you to understand that, while it obviously helps your case, the driver does not have to be convicted of DUI for you to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit. If you were injured because of the driver’s negligence or recklessness, you have a valid claim for compensation for your injuries and damages.
Under certain circumstances, other parties who facilitated a drunk driver’s consumption of alcohol may also be held liable for your injuries and losses such as the bar, restaurant or store – or even a social host – that served the driver
In addition to pursing compensation through the driver’s auto insurance policy, you can sue the driver personally for punitive damages. If proven, the driver would have to pay you the punitive damages awarded.
Any time there are indications that drinking and driving led to a car accident that left you injured, you should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney experienced with drunk driving accident cases. Contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. can help you, starting with a free, no-obligation legal consultation.
If your teenager or any family member was injured in an auto accident resulting from the driver’s negligence, including texting while at the wheel, you could be entitled to damages for the injuries.
One of the most dangerous situations a driver can place themselves, their passengers and others in is texting while driving. A texting driver is simply not paying attention to the road.
In 2009, Illinois enacted a law that prohibits sending or reading text messages and e-mail while driving. As of January 2014, Illinois will ban all use of hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel.
Texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving are acts of negligence, if not recklessness. Drivers who endanger others through this kind of behavior should be held accountable for the harm they cause in car accidents, and those who are injured deserve to be compensated for their losses.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) dedicates a detailed website to the problem of distracted driving at distraction.gov.
Our firm provides extensive information on texting accidents as well as distracted driving in general.
In Illinois, you must bring a legal claim within a specific time period after a motor vehicle accident. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations that applies to your case will depend on the type of claim you assert.
The following are the Illinois statutes of limitations that often arise in motor vehicle accident cases:
If you are suing a local government agency in Illinois, you must bring the action within one year from the date of the accident.
Exceptions may apply to your case. For instance, if a person has a legal “disability” such as being under the age of 18, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until after the disability has been removed.
Yes, you can. Whether you were wearing a helmet has no impact on the negligence displayed by the motorist.
The same legal principles in other personal injury lawsuits apply to bike-car collisions. To prevail in the lawsuit, you must show the driver was at fault and drove negligently, and you must prove the extent of your damages.
If you have been seriously injured by a negligent driver while riding your bicycle, or if a member of your family has been killed or seriously injured, you should hire a personal injury attorney experienced with bicycle accidents to look at your case.
To learn more, please see our Bicycle Accidents section.
Not unless you have first spoken with a lawyer and given the lawyer a chance to review the insurance company’s offer first.
You should never accept an insurance settlement or sign anything that an insurance company representative offers to you without the advice of a lawyer who is experienced with the type of accident you have been involved in. You could be giving up money you deserve.
You may not be getting fairly and fully compensated for your injuries and expenses, including:
The car accident attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., can sit down with you and review your circumstances to determine whether you are entitled to a better settlement for your losses.
If we are hired to assist you, we will work tirelessly to ensure you are fairly compensated. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Even though your own negligence may have contributed to your car accident, you may still be able to recover damages. Whether you are eligible – and the amount you can recover – will depend on the extent of your fault.
Under Illinois’ modified comparative negligence law, you can recover damages as long as you are less than 50 percent at fault for the injuries you have suffered. However, your damages will be reduced according to the percentage of fault attributed to you. If you are more than 50 percent at fault, you are barred from recovering anything.
So, let’s say you are sitting at a red light. When the light turns green, you delay going. A driver approaching your car from the rear fails to notice you are stopped because he or she is texting while driving. You suffer $100,000 in damages in the rear-end collision.
If your delay is found to have contributed 10 percent to the crash, you would not be barred from a recovery. However, your recovery would be reduced by 10 percent. As a result, the most you could recover would be $90,000.
Comparative negligence may be an issue when negotiating a settlement with an insurance company. Your lawyer’s role will be to make sure that no undue blame is placed on you and to seek the full amount you are due.
It is crucial to meet with an attorney as soon as possible after you are injured in a crash. The attorney can conduct a thorough review of your case and determine whether it would be in your best interest to pursue an auto accident lawsuit.
When a lawyer reviews your case, the lawyer will focus on three basic factors: Fault, damages and insurance.
First, the lawyer will examine whether another party was at fault for the crash. Fault means that another driver caused the crash. Examples are:
The lawyer will also look at whether you were partially at fault for the crash. Under Illinois law, you would be barred from a recovery if you were more than 50 percent at fault.
Second, the lawyer will determine the amount of damages involved in your case, including:
If the amount is minimal, an attorney may advise against pursuing a lawsuit.
Third, the lawyer will review insurance coverage available in your case, including the at-fault party’s liability coverage and, perhaps, your own coverage. For example, you may need to turn to your own uninsured / underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) coverage to pay for your damages.
If, after considering all of these factors, a lawyer advises you to go forward with an auto accident lawsuit, the lawyer will work aggressively to obtain full and fair compensation for you.
Typically, you can expect a car accident lawsuit to go through the following stages after your initial consultation with a lawyer:
Many factors go into the amount of time it takes to resolve a car accident lawsuit. These factors include:
It is important to work with an attorney who will make sure that you receive the medical care and treatment you need while resolution of your case is pending, keep you updated about the progress of your case and work toward resolving your case as efficiently as possible.
You can use your own uninsured motorist portion of a policy of insurance that you have with your own automobile. If you do not have a car, but you live at home with your parents, you may be able to use the policy of insurance on a parent’s vehicle. There is always the possibility of suing the other driver and collecting the money from the driver personally, but a search of assets will reveal whether the person could ever afford to pay a judgment against him or her.
Yes, you can still recover your lost wages, even if you didn’t miss out on any money because you used sick or vacation time. Those sick and vacation days were earned by you, and you still deserve compensation. It is irrelevant and inadmissible under the collateral source rule in Illinois to admit into evidence the fact that you used sick, personal or vacation days when you were off work due to an injury.
The damages will vary from case to case, but economic damages usually include medical bills and wage loss. Other non-economic damages may include pain & suffering, loss of a normal life, or disability and disfigurement (i.e. scarring). You can also seek damages that are reasonably likely to occur in the future if the foundation is laid by a qualified medical doctor to a reasonable degree of medical certainty. Your spouse may also have his or her own claim for the loss of services, companionship, or relationship, etc., which is called a loss of consortium.
How and where you get your car repaired may be dictated by your insurance company.
Among the first steps to take after a car accident is contacting your insurer. The company may have specific requirements for filing a claim, including getting vehicle damage estimates. You will need to follow those steps.
For instance, the insurer may have certain Chicago garages it wants you to use for estimates or the actual repair work on your car. If you have a shop you prefer, you may be able to get them to agree to your using it, or the insurer may refuse to go over the amount estimated by the repair shop it chose.
Please note: Before your car is towed or taken by you to a garage for repairs, it needs to be examined for important evidence about your car crash. This is why contacting a car accident lawyer is also among the first steps to take after a car accident.
If Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is working on your case soon enough, we can examine your car before evidence it contains is disturbed or destroyed. We can also examine the other driver’s car for potentially important evidence before it is lost – even if we need to get a court order to do so.
Another important consideration regarding repairs is what the insurance adjuster decides about your car. You may be told that it is “totaled.” This means the adjuster thinks the cost to repair your car is more than it is worth – or more than the company is willing to pay. The insurance company will provide an actual cash value (ACV) for your car, which is what it wants to pay you.
The ACV may well be less than what your car is worth, or your vehicle may actually be repairable.
You can challenge an adjuster’s decision that your car is totaled, and you can challenge the ACV put on a totaled car. You can also accept the ACV for your “totaled” car and have it repaired with that money plus your own. You will need to weigh the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting the insurer’s offer.
A car accident attorney from Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. can start to help you immediately after you contact us about your crash. We can help establish an ACV for your car and protect your rights to proper compensation for your damaged vehicle or help you to have it repaired.
We can also help you take steps to protect a potential injury claim and avoid mistakes that will hurt your claim.
If you have been in a car accident, contact us today for experienced and dedicated legal help.
A car accident can result in heavy financial losses. According to Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the average costs of crashes during one recent year were:
(An “A” injury crash is one that results in car crash injuries that prevent a victim from walking, driving or “normally continuing the activities he/she was capable of performing before the injury occurred.”)
The amount that can be recovered in a car accident lawsuit in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois will depend on the case’s unique facts and legal issues, including the availability of insurance coverage. However, the damages typically sought in a car accident lawsuit are:
All past and future wages that you lose because your injuries prevent you from being able to work and earn a living. Compensation should include all bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits and income you would have earned through self-employment.
If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you may be able to seek coverage of all medical costs as well as:
If your own negligence partially contributed to an auto accident, you may still be able to recover damages. Your recovery would be reduced according to your percentage of fault. If you were 51 percent or more at fault, you would be barred from recovering anything unless the other party was engaged in reckless conduct such as drunk driving.
Key steps to take and mistakes to avoid if you have been in a crash in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois.
Following up the Do’s and Don’ts of car accidents is this downloadable pdf on the 6 key steps to take after a car accident. If you have been in a car wreck before then you know how stressful and chaotic it can be. Follow these steps to insure you are properly covered after you have been in an accident.
You are not alone when it comes to getting into a car accident. Many others face the same challenges as you after a crash.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reports that 296,049 auto accidents occurred in our state in one recent year, or a rate of 811 crashes per day. Those crashes caused:
The following car accident facts break it down by county. The majority of those crashes – 69 percent – occurred in Cook County and its five bordering counties. As these stats show, driving can be especially dangerous in Chicago and surrounding areas, which may be due in part to the high volume of traffic, heavy road construction and large number of pedestrians and bicyclists who share the road with vehicles in our region:
The key is to take charge after an auto accident. You must act right away to protect your legal rights and increase your chances of obtaining a full recovery for the physical, mental and financial harm you have suffered. Like many others who have been impacted by a crash, you can move on in life with a sense of security.
The types of car accidents that we most commonly encounter when working with injured victims and their families in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois include:
IDOT reports that roughly one-third (30.4 percent) of the state’s fatal crashes during a recent year involved alcohol. In some circumstances, the establishment or social host who provided alcohol to the person who caused the crash can be held accountable.
When a person tries to multi-task behind the wheel, it can lead to a crash. Talking on a phone and texting while driving are common examples. Distracted driving also includes interacting with other passengers, eating and drinking, putting on makeup or any other activity that takes one’s attention away from driving.
Speeding factors into roughly one-third of Illinois auto accidents, IDOT reports. A driver can cause a crash when he or she drives above the posted speed limit or goes too fast for weather and road conditions.
Many car accidents are not caused by driver error but rather by a defective automobile or automotive part such as brakes, tires, or steering. In some cases, a crash victim’s injuries are made worse by a defective safety feature such as an airbag or seatbelt.
Even slight misplacement of equipment or road markers in a highway construction zone can create a hazard that endangers the safety of motorists and workers alike. A government agency or its contractors may ultimately be held responsible for.
A driver can cause devastating harm by using poor judgment and attempting to pass a vehicle on a two-lane road or by drifting across the center line due to impairment caused by distraction, alcohol or fatigue.
Commercial truck drivers often cause crashes due to speeding, fatigue, distraction or impairment. Many crashes involving large tractor-trailers (or semis) can be traced to mechanical defects. These crashes can result in severe and often fatal injuries due to the size and weight difference between trucks and passenger cars.
Careless mistakes by car drivers and motorcycle riders alike can lead to deadly accidents, including following too closely or trying to share the same lane. IDOT reports that motorcycle crashes accounted for 16 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities during a recent year.
A driver failing to keep a proper lookout, rushing to beat a red light or turning with an obstructed view are common causes of crashes that occur at intersections in Chicago and other areas of Illinois.
A driver can cause devastating harm by using poor judgment and attempting to pass a vehicle on a two-lane road or by drifting across the center line due to impairment caused by distraction, alcohol or fatigue.
Distracted driving is a particular concern when it comes to young, inexperienced drivers. A recently published AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that distraction played a role in 58 percent of teen crashes, including 76 percent of rear-end accidents.
Fatigue can have an impairing effect on a driver that is on par with alcohol or drugs. In fact, one recently published study estimated that fatigue plays a role in 6-10 percent of all motor vehicle accidents.
IDOT statistics show that these are the most common type of car accident in our state. In a recent year, there were 84,000 rear-end collisions in Illinois. They often are caused by a driver “tailgating” a car in front or failing to pay attention as he or she approaches a red light or stop sign at an intersection.
Speeding, running a red light, tailgating, weaving in-and-out of traffic, refusing to yield the right of way – these are all forms of reckless driving (also called “aggressive driving”) that puts others in danger.