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mount-prospect-il-car-crash-lawyer.jpgIntoxicated drivers are famous for causing truly terrible car accidents like head-on collisions and even rollover accidents. When a drunk driver caused your accident, it is very likely that either you or a bystander called the police and they responded to the scene. Most of the time, an intoxicated driver who has caused a crash will be arrested promptly and charged with a DUI. If that is the case, proving your case against them in civil court is likely to be fairly easy. However, if the driver was not criminally charged, this does not mean that you will not be able to prove in civil court that they were intoxicated for the purposes of winning your case against them. If you were hit by a drunk or high driver who escaped criminal liability, it is important that you work with an experienced personal injury lawyer to file a claim against them. 

Why Would an Intoxicated Driver Who Caused an Accident Not be Charged?

The reasons that a driver who causes a car crash due to intoxication may not be arrested vary. It could be that the police did not notice intoxication caused by drugs other than alcohol, as the signs of impairment can be more subtle. Or, the police may not believe that they have enough evidence to be able to prove that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash. For example, if it took the police some time to respond, the responsible driver may have had time between the accident and the officer’s arrival to consume more drugs or alcohol. In other cases, corruption is to blame - the drunk driver may be related to or friends with someone on the force. 

How Can I Prove Intoxication in My Case When There Was No Arrest?

The level of proof needed to hold someone criminally responsible is much higher than the level of proof needed to show civil liability. Even if there is not enough evidence to charge the driver in criminal court and prove beyond reasonable doubt that they were intoxicated, a jury in civil court may still find that it is more likely than not that they were intoxicated. Witness testimony is often important.

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After some car accidentschicago-car-accident-lawyer.jpg, it is very clear whose fault it was. For example, if one driver was going the wrong way down a one-way street, the blame is very clearly on the wrong-way driver. In other accidents, the fault may be shared between two or more drivers. This is often the case with pile-ups, which are rarely caused by one single individual. However, there is usually one driver who is more responsible than others involved. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a careless driver, you may be able to recover compensation even if you were partially at fault. If you believe that your own actions may have contributed to the accident in any way, it is critically important that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible after the accident, and definitely before you speak to an insurance agency. Car insurance companies are notorious for misusing admissions of partial fault in order to deny a valid claim. 

What Does Illinois’ Modified Comparative Negligence Rule Mean?

Illinois uses a system called “modified comparative negligence” to determine how much an injured driver can recover after an accident they had some fault in causing. Generally, if you were less than 50% responsible for the accident, you will still be able to recover compensation. However, the amount of your award will be reduced by the portion of fault you are assigned. 

For example, if the court finds that you were 20% responsible for your accident, and another driver was 80% responsible, you can recover 80% of what you would have been awarded if you had zero fault in the accident. 

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Il injury lawyerIn Illinois, you are required by law to file a police report after most traffic accidents. Aside from being the law, it is generally a very good idea to file a report anyway. Ideally, the police should respond to the scene and conduct their own independent investigation. The results of a police investigation can make or break a car accident claim.

Courts and insurance companies alike tend to take the word of police officers at face value. A report showing that you were not at fault and the other driver was can streamline the process of recovering compensation. If you are able to wait at the scene to give a statement, you should. If your injuries dictate that you must be transported to the hospital right away, do not worry. The police will be able to take your statement later. Your next phone call should be to an attorney.

3 Reasons the Police Report is Critically Important to Your Claim

While some people are understandably hesitant to interact with the police, doing so is a necessity after a motor vehicle crash. A few reasons you really do need to contact the police after a car accident include:

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IL accident lawyerEven at the slow speeds typically involved in parking lot collisions, getting hit by a car while you are walking can be incredibly harmful. A car does not need to be moving very fast at all to seriously injure a pedestrian who does not have the benefit of a car protecting them. Pedestrian accidents are very common in parking lots because vehicles and people on foot are expected to share space. There are no sidewalks in parking lots, so people have to walk through the same areas cars are driving in. Drivers should be well aware that there are people walking around and must take care to avoid them. If you were hit by a car in a parking lot, you should speak to an attorney to find out what rights you may have. You could be entitled to compensation.

What Do I Need to Prove in Order to Recover Damages?

One of the things you will need to demonstrate is that the driver who hit you was negligent. It is fairly rare for a driver who was using the appropriate level of caution to hit a pedestrian, but this is sometimes shown to be the case. Some common types of careless conduct that cause drivers to hit pedestrians in parking lots include:

  • Not looking behind them - Drivers should always be looking in the direction that their vehicle is moving. In parking lots, drivers typically need to back up to leave their spot. Careless drivers will sometimes glance behind them once to see if any other vehicles are coming and then back out without continuing to watch behind them for pedestrians. The driver may try to argue that the pedestrian was not visible to them.
  • Distraction - When leaving a location, drivers are often distracted. They may be looking through a shopping bag, returning a missed call, checking their email, reading over a receipt, or lighting a cigarette. Distracted drivers can easily hit a pedestrian before seeing them.
  • Lack of care - Some drivers majorly let their guards down in parking lots. They figure that they are only driving at slow speeds and do not need to be as careful as they might be on the main road. This is often a mistake.
  • Priorities - Fender-benders are common in parking lots for obvious reasons. Many drivers are very focused on not damaging their cars by colliding with another vehicle rather than watching out for vulnerable pedestrians.

Drivers often attempt to argue that they could not see the pedestrian because another vehicle was blocking their view, or because the pedestrian suddenly stepped behind them. A skilled attorney may be able to overcome this type of argument.

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Arlington height car crash lawyerAnyone who has experienced a Chicago winter can tell you how bad our weather can get. When our city gets a winter storm, the roads can become dangerous very quickly. Even careful drivers can sometimes hit a patch of ice and skid, but most accidents are preventable. During the winter, careful drivers take certain steps to reduce the likelihood of getting into a crash. Negligent drivers may act as if they have not noticed how bad the road conditions are. If you get hurt during a wintertime car accident, contact an attorney. Snow can quickly cover up critical evidence like tire tracks or even pieces of damaged vehicles very quickly. 

What Careless Mistakes Lead to Winter Motor Vehicle Accidents in the Chicago Area?

The first thing our attorneys try to do - after making sure that you are safe and getting any needed medical care - is identify the negligent behavior that caused the at-fault driver to crash into you. Some common examples of negligence we see during the winter include: 

  • Speed - Driving the posted speed limit can amount to negligence if the conditions make it unsafe to drive at that speed. When there is snow or ice or poor visibility, drivers are responsible for slowing down to an appropriate and safe speed. 

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