If you have been injured in an auto accident or suffered the loss of a family member because of someone else’s carelessness, you are probably wondering whether you have a car accident claim. To recover monetary compensation, you must prove three things.
Three Basic Requirements for an Auto Accident Claim
1. The responsible party was careless (negligent). For example, if a car driver crashed into another vehicle or a pedestrian because they ignored a stop sign, the driver may be considered negligent.
2. The driver’s negligence led to death or injury. In the above example, if the pedestrian sustained a broken leg and severe back pain as a result of the crash, the driver’s negligence may be considered to have caused the personal injury. However, the burden to prove the causation rests with the accident victim.
3. The crash resulted in the accident suffering legally recognizable damages. In the above example, if the victim’s broken leg and back pain resulted in medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering, this would satisfy the damages requirement. Click here to learn more about these and other types of compensatory damages.
Important Factors in Determining Who Is Legally at Fault
Courts will review many factors to determine what caused your accident and who may be responsible for paying your damages.
In most Illinois car accident claims, the collision was the result of another driver’s negligence. Examples of negligence include:
• Not following traffic signs
• Disobeying traffic signals
• Failure to use a turn signal
• Driving too fast for the weather conditions
• Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• Improper lane changes
• Careless passing
Vehicle and Equipment Manufacturers
When an accident results from an equipment malfunction, the manufacturer of the part or vehicle may be liable for any damages stemming from the accident. These are referred to as product liability lawsuits. Examples of product liability claims arising after an Illinois car accident include:
• Defective brakes
• Defective tires
• Defective cruise control
• Defective transmission
• Unintended acceleration
• Vehicle fires
Governments are responsible for maintaining roads. When a government fails to maintain a road adequately, it can lead to dangerous situations that put all motorists at risk. In these cases, the government responsible for the road’s maintenance may be liable for any damages brought about by the accident. Examples of government liability in a car accident case include:
• Malfunctioning traffic lights
• Missing traffic signs
• Poorly placed signage
• Overgrown trees that obscure road signs
• Worn lane markings
• Poor lighting