Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injury in Illinois. In McHenry County alone, there were more than 4,700 car wrecks in 2012. If you have been hurt by a negligent driver, Illinois law gives you the right to hold that person accountable in court. With more than 30 years of experience helping injured residents of communities like Barrington, Fox River Grove, and Woodstock, McHenry County car accident attorney Robert H. Hanaford can help you pursue the money you need to recover from a crash.Protect Your Rights by Filing a Negligence Lawsuit
The path that many accident victims use to seek justice is a negligence lawsuit. Illinois law allows plaintiffs in these claims to recover damages by proving four elements:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff;
- The defendant failed to comply with the required standard of care;
- The defendant’s breach was the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries; and
- The plaintiff incurred actual damages as a result of the accident.
Regarding the first element, the specific duty is determined by the relationship between the parties. In typical situations, such as highway driving, people simply owe a duty of reasonable care to avoid exposing others around them to foreseeable hazards. Illinois courts have interpreted this to mean behaving in the same way that the ordinary person would act under similar circumstances. When an individual or entity behaves unreasonably, he or she has breached the duty. This can happen in countless ways on the road, including speeding, distracted driving, or running a red light.
The third element of a negligence claim, causation, may be complicated. For the victim to recover, the defendant’s actions must have directly caused the victim’s injuries. There are two sub-elements called actual and legal cause. Actual cause means that the plaintiff’s injury would have been avoided if the defendant had not breached the duty of care. Proximate cause means that the harm was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s acts or omissions.
To hold a negligent driver liable, a victim finally must prove that he or she incurred quantifiable damages. These can be both objective and subjective forms of harm. Objective costs might include medical expenses, damage to a vehicle or other property, and lost wages or lost earning capacity. More subjective damages might try to account for the pain and suffering that the victim experienced after the accident.
To gain access to compensation, however, it is essential to file your negligence lawsuit within the time frame required by Illinois law. Evidence also can decay or disappear with time, so you should not hesitate to consult a knowledgeable McHenry County car accident lawyer to find out if you have a claim.McHenry County Lawyer Helping Car Accident Victims
Many people injured in accidents don’t know what to do next. An experienced car crash attorney can help you determine who was at fault in a McHenry County collision and pursue the compensation that will help you get back to where you were before the accident. In 30 years of practice, Robert H. Hanaford has helped numerous clients from Cook County, Lake County, and throughout Illinois. Call 312-899-9020 in Chicago, 847-516-5297 in McHenry County, or our 24/7 line at 312-636-4807. Alternately, you can contact us online to schedule a free consultation with McHenry County car accident attorney Robert H. Hanaford today.