Chicago Auto Accident Attorney
June 25, 2019
An auto accident occurs when a motor vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or obstructions such as trees, utility poles, or road debris. In 2005 alone, there were over 6.4 million auto accidents across the United States, resulting in thousands of fatalities and over $230 billion in damages, and it’s estimated that these accidents result in one fatality every thirteen minutes in the U.S.
At Agruss Law Firm, LLC, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to negligence, contact our office today for a free consultation.
2016 Illinois Auto Accident Statistics
In 2016 alone, auto accidents in Illinois resulted in 1,017 deaths, and over 20% of these (211) occurred in Cook County; the county also reported over 27,000 injuries from auto accidents in 2016, about 3,200 of which were “significant in nature.” Nationwide, there were over 40,000 traffic-related fatalities in 2016 – an increase from about 35,000 in 2015 and about 32,700 in 2014 – and these accidents are estimated to cost the country as much as $871 billion per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Board.
Common Causes of Accidents
Auto accidents happen in many ways and a wide range of circumstances. Some involve drivers who are angry, fatigued, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while others result from lack of focus – even for a split second – and other avoidable mental mistakes associated with distraction. At Agruss Law Firm, LLC, we have helped thousands of victims of auto accidents to see justice served and be compensated for their injuries and losses, and some common causes of these accidents include:
- Aggression – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that auto accidents involving aggressive driving result in over 11,000 fatalities per year.
- Distracted driving – In 2015, the NHTSA estimated that auto accidents involving distractions – especially cell phone use – resulted in over 391,000 injury cases and 3,477 fatalities.
- Fatigue – AAA estimated that fatigued driving was a factor in 21% of all fatal auto accidents in 2014.
- Inexperienced drivers – Teenage drivers have consistently higher accident-rates than other age groups, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that drivers between 16 and 19 years of age are up to three times more likely to die in an auto accident than drivers above 20 years of age.
- Intoxicated driving – Alcohol was a factor in about 40% of all fatal traffic accidents in 2014, according to the NHTSA, and a survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that over 10 million people have admitted to driving under the influence of an illegal drug.
- Speeding – Speeding was a factor in about 28% of all fatal traffic accidents in 2014, according to the NHTSA.
Auto Accident FAQ
- What should I do after an auto accident?
- What is my timeframe for filing a lawsuit?
- Am I required to have auto insurance in Illinois?
- What are the costs of hiring an attorney?
- Can I be compensated for lost wages?
Types of Auto Accidents
To be compensated for your injuries and losses, it must be established that the other driver was negligent and that this negligence directly caused the accident. This can be straightforward or rather complicated depending on the circumstances of the accident. Common types of auto accidents include:
- Head-on collisions – When the fronts of two vehicles collide, such as when a driver veers into the oncoming lane or misjudges a turn.
- Hit-and-runs – When a driver strikes a pedestrian or another vehicle and immediately leaves the scene of the accident.
- Intersection accidents – These occur in a variety of ways and often involve traffic law violations or improper turns.
- Left-turn accidents – These occur when a driver attempting to turn left collides with a vehicle in the oncoming lane, and either the turning driver or oncoming driver may be liable for the accident depending on certain circumstances.
- Rear-end accidents – When the front of a vehicle collides with the rear of another vehicle, which can be caused by multiple forms of negligence, such as distracted, fatigued, or intoxicated driving.
- Road construction accidents – When an accident is caused in full or in part by obstructions in construction zones, such as debris or improperly-placed cones or markers.
- Rollovers – When a driver loses control and the vehicle “rolls over”, meaning to flip upside-down and sometimes back again.
- Sideswipes – When the side of a vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle, which has a variety of causes and is more common in high-traffic areas and at busy intersections.
- Vehicle-defect accidents – Accidents resulting from a vehicle’s defective design or manufacture, and these may result in a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Common Injuries in Chicago Auto Accidents
In 2014 alone, over 84,000 people in Illinois were injured in auto accidents (according to the Illinois Department of Transportation), and over 11,700 suffered a “significant injury” which prevented them from resuming their daily activities from before the accident; these are categorized as “A” injury accidents. Injuries sustained in auto accidents can vary greatly, and here are some of the most common significant injuries:
- Amputation of limbs
- Back/neck injuries
- Bone fractures
- Brain injuries
- Joint injuries
Applicable Laws for Illinois Auto Accidents
There are numerous laws which may apply to you based on the circumstances of your accident, and one of the most important is Illinois’s statute of limitations (735 ILCS 5/13-202), which states that your personal injury claim must be filed within two (2) years of the date of the accident or you will be permanently barred from filing for that accident.
The legal responsibilities of Illinois drivers are outlined in the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code 625 ILCC 5, and Chapter 11 in particular addresses the regularly-updated “Rules of the Road.” Also, remember that Illinois uses a system of “modified comparative fault” for auto accidents, meaning that your compensation for an accident may be reduced by your percentage of fault for that accident, such as recovering 80% of your compensation for an accident which was deemed 20% your fault.
Understanding Insurance Companies
Whether or not this is your first time pursuing a personal injury claim for an accident, there are some important things about insurance companies to keep in mind. First, the insurance companies are NOT on your side; their constant goal, day-in and day-out, is to pay out as little as possible for injury claims or deny them entirely. They make their money both from what is saved on injury claim payouts and what is gained from premiums, so they have a vested interest in keeping your settlement low, all in the name of profit.
Each and every personal injury claim is at risk of marginalization or outright dismissal, and insurance companies are well-prepared with attorneys and adjusters of their own who understand and serve the insurer’s bottom line. This is why the assistance of an experienced attorney is essential to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses: those who negotiate alone have slim chances of full compensation, and once a settlement offer is accepted, you can never file another claim or earn more compensation for the same accident.
Those who negotiate alone are often tempted to take the very first settlement-offer from the insurance company, especially when it seems like a high amount at first glance, and this is dangerous for a second reason: not only does accepting an offer close the claim for good but if it is a lowballed (deliberately low and insufficient) amount, it may not cover all your losses and expenses, especially possible future medical expenses if your injuries result in any long-term complications.
Chicago Personal injury attorneys understand that some injuries may produce lingering symptoms, result in lasting complications, or require long-term medical care, and these are important factors which are taken into account for your case. Remember, the insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible for your claim, if not deny it outright, and having an experienced attorney on your side ensures that your rights are protected and you can receive full compensation for your losses, including lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Compensation after an Accident
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses by filing a personal injury claim. Studies have found that the average settlement is three times higher for those who are represented by an attorney than for those who negotiate alone, so contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation.
Although every case is different and depends on unique circumstances, here are some common forms of compensation for victims of an accident:
- Medical expenses – These may include both immediate and future expenses for care such as ambulance transport, doctors’ visits, emergency room/hospital care, medications, physical therapy, and surgery.
- Lost wages – You may be eligible to recover both past and future wages (and related benefits) which you could not and will not earn due to your injury.
- Property damage – This refers to the damage done to your vehicle in the accident, as well as damage to any personal belongings within the vehicle.
- Disfigurement/disability – If an accident-victim is left with scarring or other visible injuries (disfigurement) or cannot attend to previous activities due to a disability, a claim for either may be presented.
- Wrongful death – The Illinois Wrongful Death Act allows the family of the deceased victim of an accident to be compensated for funeral expenses, lost financial support, and loss of consortium/companionship.
- Pain and suffering/emotional distress – These are “non-economic” categories of compensation for the physical and/or emotional pain and distress experienced by the victim of the accident. In jury trials, compensation for pain and suffering may depend on the testimony of the plaintiff and his/her physicians.
- Punitive damages – In cases in which the at-fault party was extremely reckless, such as drunk driving cases, the judge may allow the pursuit of “punitive damages” which are intended to punish the at-fault party.
Preparing for Every Case
Most personal injury claims are settled out-of-court with the insurance company before a trial by jury is necessary. However, we thoroughly prepare each case for the possibility of a trial and our invested time and resources consistently result in larger settlements for our clients.
Here are some of the steps we take in the investigation and prosecution of personal injury claims for auto accidents:
- Collecting police reports
- Speaking to witnesses and securing witness statements
- Ordering medical documents and records
- Obtaining photographs of the scene of the accident, injuries, and vehicular damage
- Hiring accident-investigators and accident-reconstruction experts
- Retrieving data from “black box” computers
- Meeting with treating physicians and requesting reports on the causation and permanency of injuries
- Communicating directly with the insurance companies
Get a Free Review
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation. We are an Illinois statewide-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have been injured in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, we are not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-free promise is that simple. There is no risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.
Cities We Serve
In addition to the Chicago area, we also serve the following cities:
Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
June 25, 2019
When a person can no longer live independently, a decision must be made about the best alternative arrangement for care. Such a decision often must be made during a time of crisis, frequently when the person is ready to leave the hospital after a serious illness or operation. Illinois has approximately 1,200 long-term care facilities serving more than 100,000 residents, from the young to the elderly.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is responsible for licensing, regulating, and conducting annual inspections of this facilities. The IDPH’s Bureau of Long-Term Care is responsible for making sure nursing homes comply with the provisions of the state Nursing Home Care Act. The IDPH’s 24-hour a day Nursing Home Hotline receives nearly 19,000 calls a year, and as a result, staff respond to more than 5,000 complaints per year.
More and more Americans now reside in nursing homes as the Baby Boomer generation ages, and as life expectancy increases. While Americans now live longer, they do not necessarily live active lives and many are becoming dependent on caregivers. This has resulted in a massively growing nursing home industry. Unfortunately, the number of injury and accident claims from nursing home abuse, negligence and mistreatment has also grown over the years.
Nursing home cases are generally the result of either neglect or abuse. Neglect occurs when a caregiver is negligent or indifferent to the safety and well-being of residents under their care. In many cases, the neglect is not intentional but the result of under-staffing. Nursing home cases also frequently involve abuse, which includes mental, physical or sexual abuse.
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides rights to residents in long-term care facilities. Residents are entitled to the following protections:
- No resident shall be abused or neglected.
- A resident shall be permitted to wear their own clothes and keep their own personal belongings in their rooms.
- A resident shall be permitted to retain the services of the resident’s own personal physician.
- A resident shall be permitted respect and privacy in the resident’s medical and personal care program.
- Neither restraints nor confinements shall be employed for the purpose of punishment or for the convenience of any facility personnel.
- A resident shall not be given unnecessary drugs.
- A resident shall be permitted to manage their our financial affairs.
- Every resident shall be permitted to freely communicate with others by mail, telephone, and by having visitors.
- A resident shall be permitted the free exercise of religion.
- A resident shall be permitted to present grievances on behalf of himself or others. The administrator shall provide all residents or their representatives with the name, address, and telephone number of the appropriate State governmental office where complaints may be lodged.
- No resident shall be subjected to unlawful discrimination.
Common Nursing Home Cases
While there are many federal and state regulations, including the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, designed to protect residents of nursing homes, violations occur every day that compromise the health, dignity and well-being of vulnerable residents. Negligence and abuse in a nursing home may come in many forms. Agruss Law Firm, LLC represents residents and families of wrongfully killed individuals in cases that involve:
- Financial exploitation
- Medication errors
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Physical or sexual abuse or assault
- Chemical or physical restraints
- Verbal abuse
- Wandering and elopement
- Bed sores, pressure sores or decubitus ulcers
Nursing home residents who sustain injury as the result of neglect or abuse, along with their families, may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical expenses, disability or disfigurement, pain and suffering, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, and loss of affection and love if a wrongful death is the result.
Warning Signs of Abuse or Neglect
Unfortunately, many residents of nursing homes lack the ability to communicate their abuse or neglect. Many times, neglect or abuse in a nursing home presents several warning signs that family members should be aware of. This includes rapid and unexplained weight loss, unexplained injuries or bruises, emotional withdrawal or out of character agitation, the development of bed sores, the use of sedatives and medication to replace supervision and the inability of caretakers to explain the patient’s condition. Over-medication may be noticed through lethargy, involuntary muscle movement, seizure, or even sudden death.
Contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, Today
If you believe a loved one has been abused or neglected at a long-term care facility, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for a free consultation. We are a Chicago injury law firm representing individuals and families who have suffered an injury or loss due to an accident. Agruss Law Firm, LLC, will handle your personal injury case quickly, will advise you every step of the way, and will not hesitate to go to trial for you.
Lastly, Agruss Law Firm, LLC, does not get paid attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. Therefore, you have nothing to risk when you hire us–just the opportunity to seek justice.
June 26, 2019
Dog bites are often gruesome injuries, and victims may suffer from permanent scars, serious infections, torn skin or muscle and even death. Unfortunately, children are the most common victims of serious dog bite injuries across the United States, as their height makes their head and neck easy targets for vicious animals. Children are also more likely to approach strange dogs.
Children between 5 and 9 are the most likely targets of a vicious dog, and young victims are also unable to fend off an attack. There are approximately 75 million dogs in the United States. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates around 4.5 million dog bites occur every year in this country, although this estimate is probably low. Close to 900,000 victims seek emergency care at a hospital every year, while 30,000 must undergo reconstructive surgery. Up to 20 people die from dog bites every year. If you or someone you love has been hurt by a dog bite or dog attack, you need experienced legal representation. In many cases, you will be going up against the insurance company that providers homeowner’s or renter’s coverage to the dog’s owner, not the owner him or herself.
At Agruss Law Firm, LLC, we are prepared to represent you and protect your rights. We prepare each case as if it were going to trial, which often times resolves cases quicker and provides the best possible results for clients. This strategy is especially important in personal injury cases.
Insurance Coverage for Dog Bites
While dog attack lawsuits are usually brought against the owner’s insurance company, many policies exclude certain breeds identified as being especially dangerous. The following breeds are routinely excluded from insurance policies:
- Pit Bulls and mixes
- Presa Canarios
- German Shepherds
- Chow Chows
- Doberman Pinschers
- Wolf hybrids
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Some dog owners choose to carry personal umbrella liability insurance, which offers coverage extending past homeowner’s insurance. In such cases, the policy may offer coverage for dog bite injuries. Meanwhile, breeders, animal trainers and veterinarians usually carry professional insurance. If you were injured by a dog at a business or store, the landlord’s liability insurance should cover the injuries.
Illinois Dog Bite Law
Every state has enacted laws regarding dog bites and vicious dog attacks. In Illinois, owners, harborers, and keepers of dogs are liable for injuries to people, whether or not the injury was caused by a bite, without negligence on the part of the owner. Illinois has a strict liability statute, as owners can be held liable for injuries caused by their dog whether or not they knew or had reason to know their dog was dangerous.
In Illinois, you must prove lack of trespassing on the the owner’s property and lack of provocation, meaning you did not act in a way to cause the dog to attack you. You do not need to prove previous aggressive behavior. If you have been injured by a dog bite or attack, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for a free consultation. We are a Chicago injury law firm representing individuals and families who have suffered an injury or loss due to an accident.
Agruss Law Firm, LLC, will handle your personal injury case quickly, will advise you every step of the way, and will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Agruss Law Firm, LLC, does not get paid attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. Therefore, you have nothing to risk when you hire us–just the opportunity to seek justice.
Chicago Motorcycle Accident Attorney
June 27, 2019
Dealing with insurance companies after a traffic accident can be challenging, but for motorcyclists, this uphill battle is even tougher. Many insurers take a “deny and defend” approach to injured motorcyclists to reduce settlements or deny them outright, and without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, motorcyclists risk being under-compensated or not receiving a settlement at all. If you’ve been injured in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Due to simple exposure, motorcyclists incur a greater risk of injury or death in an accident than drivers and passengers of cars and trucks. In 2015 alone, about 88,000 American motorcyclists were injured in accidents and 4,976 lost their lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and in 2014, 2,693 motorcyclists in Illinois were injured in accidents and 118 lost their lives. The U.S. Department of Transportation also claims that both the number of motorcycles on the road and motorcyclist-fatalities have more than doubled nationwide in the past ten years.
Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) studied over one-million motorcyclist injuries between 2001 and 2008, and the most common non-fatal injuries fall into four categories:
- Upper trunk – Injuries to the back, chest, and shoulders.
- Lower trunk – Injuries to the hands and arms; this is typically the least-common category for injury.
- Head and neck – Injuries in this category were reported by 22% of injured motorcyclists.
- Lower extremities – Injuries to the legs and feet; these injuries were reported by 30% of injured motorcyclists.
It’s estimated that over 35% of Illinois motorcyclists who have been injured in an accident suffered an “A” injury, meaning one which prevents them from carrying out the same activities from before the accident occurred. “A” injuries may include: back/neck injuries, brain injuries, fractures, internal organ damage, joint injuries, lacerations, loss of limbs, and paralysis.
While Illinois is one of the only states in the U.S. which does not legally require motorcyclists to wear helmets, we strongly recommend helmet-use to reduce your risk of serious injury or death in an accident. Studies have repeatedly shown that motorcyclists who wear helmets are less likely to die or suffer a serious head injury in an accident than those who do not, so protect yourself and encourage your motorcycle-loving friends and loved ones to do the same.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
To be compensated for your injuries and losses in a motorcycle accident, you must establish that the other driver was negligent and his/her negligence directly resulted in the accident and your injuries. Common types of accidents resulting from negligence include head-on accidents, intersection accidents, lane-change accidents, “left turn” accidents, rear-end accidents, and sideswipes, and here some common forms of driver negligence:
- Visual distraction/failure to look out for motorcyclists;
- Distracted driving;
- Failure to follow traffic signs/signals;
- Failure to yield;
- Intoxicated driving;
- Speeding/reckless driving;
- “Road rage,” especially when a driver directly targets a motorcyclist.
How We Help
Establishing a personal injury case can be a complex process, and our attorneys conduct thorough investigations, consult with experts, and gather a wide variety of information and data to ensure that your settlement fully compensates you for your injuries and losses. In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be reached with the insurance company, we will go to trial and fight for your rights until the very end.
Here are some of the steps we take to build your case:
- Consulting with accident-reconstructionist experts to recreate the accident
- Gathering photographs of the scene of the accident and vehicular damage
- Ordering medical bills and records
- Ordering police reports
- Requesting copies of traffic light sequencing
- Reviewing computerized recordings within vehicles, also known as “black boxes”
- Speaking to insurance carriers on your behalf
- Taking statements from witnesses of the accident
If your accident resulted from the other driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses, including:
- Medical expenses – This includes all medical care incurred directly due to the accident (including ongoing/long-term care) such as ambulance trips, assistive medical devices, emergency room treatment, medications, nursing care, and rehabilitative/surgical expenses.
- Lost wages – Includes income you would have earned if you had not missed work to recover from the accident, and may also include future lost wages if you cannot return to the same job you held prior to the accident.
- Pain and suffering – You may be entitled to compensation for physical and/or psychological pain and suffering which resulted directly from the accident.
- Wrongful death – If a motorcyclist dies in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, the motorcyclist’s family may file a claim on his/her behalf under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act.
Get a Free Review
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another person or business entity, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have been injured in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, we are not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-free promise is that simple. There is nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.
Chicago Rideshare Accident Attorney
Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way many people get around. Previously limited to busses, taxis, or the subway, now with the touch of a button on a smartphone, would-be passengers can order a peer-to-peer ride which will appear usually within minutes. There is no doubt that ridesharing is convenient and affordable. However, this convenience does not come without risk.
By 2010, just before ridesharing services became widespread, the total number of fatal car accidents sank to 32,885 nationwide, the lowest since 1949 according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A 2018 study by the University of Chicago and Rice University researchers shows that once companies like Uber and Lyft began aggressively expanding, the number of fatal car accidents nationwide increased 2-3%.
In addition to the increase in auto accidents, rideshare companies have received negative press due to other types of legal issues, including theft, violent assaults, and sexual assaults on passengers by their drivers.
At Agruss Law Firm, LLC, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to negligence, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Other Types of Rideshare
Ridesharing isn’t limited to just motor vehicles anymore. Since 2013, the Chicagoland area has been home to the Lyft-owned bicycle sharing system Divvy. Divvy has 580 stations and 5,800 across Chicago, allowing natives and tourists to experience what the city has to offer via bicycle 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
E-Scooters, or electric scooters, are another rideshare service that Chicago has recently implemented in a pilot program that was initially to run from June-October 2019 with 10 scooter vendors. Available from 5am-10pm, scooters are located via the appropriate company app and unlocked for use, then they can be parked anywhere (no docking station needed), subject to the same parking requirements as a personal bicycle.
The E-Scooter pilot program has proven popular with non-drivers around the city, and even with 21 emergency room visits in the first two weeks of the program, the E-Scooter program looks to be something that will remain in Chicago for the long term.
Divvy and E-Scooters have very few regulations, only requiring that those using the services be at least 16-years old. Riders do not need to have a license, nor do they need to prove that they understand the rules of the road, and helmets, while provided at some service stations, are not required.
Across the U.S. there are 600-800 fatal bicycle accidents annually, with 75% of these accidents occurring in major metropolitan cities like Chicago. Both E-Scooters and Divvy bicycles are popular alternative methods of ridesharing, but they too are subject to the same causes of other rideshare accidents and these accidents are often more serious and deadly.
Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents
Rideshare accidents happen for many of the same reasons as any other vehicle accident. Drivers for Uber and Lyft are often struggling to make ends meet, which means they are spending long hours behind the wheel and could be struggling with fatigue, or they could be distracted by their cellphone or GPS system trying to navigate in an unfamiliar area. Those that are using Divvy or E-Scooters are much smaller, less protected, and more difficult to see, putting them at-risk for serious accidents and injuries.
At Agruss Law Firm, LLC, we have helped thousands of victims of auto accidents to see justice served and be compensated for their injuries and losses, and some common causes of these accidents include:
- Speeding-Rideshare drivers that are trying to complete their route as quickly as possible may be tempted to drive faster than is legal.
- Distracted driving-Rideshare drivers or riders can be distracted by any number of things including their passengers, a GPS system, their cellphone, or time limits.
- Driver fatigue-Rideshare drivers often work for both Uber and Lyft, putting them on the road for long hours, especially when they can receive incentives the more routes that they complete. While Chicago regulates the number of hours a rideshare driver can be working to 10 hours in a 24-hour period (9 ILCS 115-190), a tired driver is just as dangerous as a drunk driver.
- Inexperience-Both Uber and Lyft only require their drivers to have a minimum of one (1) year experience as a licensed driver depending on their age. An inexperienced driver or rider may not know how to handle challenging road situations, especially when rideshare companies do not require special training for any of their drivers or riders.
- Driving under the influence-Driver sobriety is expected, but not guaranteed. Drunk driving puts everyone on the roadways at-risk.
Rideshare Accident FAQ’s
- Can I sue Uber/Lyft after an accident?
- Does Uber/Lyft screen their drivers?
- Are rideshare drivers/riders required to have special training?
- What should I do if I’m in an accident with Uber/Lyft/Divvy/E-Scooters?
- Will I lose access to ridesharing apps if I file a claim against the company?
- What are the costs of hiring a lawyer?
Rideshare Driver Requirements
To drive for Uber of Lyft in Chicago, drivers are required to meet certain requirements, which are similar for both rideshare companies. These basic requirements include:
- The driver must be at least 21 years old with a social security number
- Be licensed to drive in the U.S. for at least one year, or three years if they are under the age of 23
- Have access to a 4-door vehicle that is less than 15-years old and has no cosmetic damage and passes a vehicle inspection
- Have in-state auto insurance with the driver’s name on the policy
- Have an in-state license plate with valid registration
- Pass a background and motor vehicle check
Uber and Lyft run similar background checks on their potential drivers. This background check, which is run using a candidate’s name and social security number, looks into their driving and criminal background for the past seven years and includes such things as the following:
- Major moving violations-DUI’s and reckless driving
- Minor moving violations-Speeding tickets or failure to obey traffic laws
- Criminal convictions-Felonies, violent crimes, rape, or other sexual offenses
For a driver to be hired by a rideshare company they cannot have any major moving violations in the past seven years, less than three minor moving violations in the past three years, and no criminal convictions.
Uber and Lyft do not perform these background checks themselves, instead contracting them out to a third-party background checking company at no fee to the potential rideshare driver, however both Uber and Lyft have the final say in hiring a driver.
The background checks that both companies use have come under fire, though. Some experts worry that the background check is too general and should be conducted in a similar fashion as the background checks that commercial drivers are required to undergo and pay for on their own. And, because Uber and Lyft do not require an interview with a potential driver, these experts worry that some crucial red flags could be missed.
Rideshare Insurance Issues
Rideshare drivers are not considered employees of the company they drive for but are instead considered third-party contractors. This can make for some difficulty in determining who is responsible for the damages following a rideshare accident.
Both Uber and Lyft have similar policies regarding their drivers and auto insurance. To drive for either rideshare company, the driver must carry Illinois’ state minimum in personal auto insurance, which will apply when the driver is not considered “on app” or working. When the driver is working, or “on app”, a supplemental insurance policy will be provided by the rideshare company and coverage will vary depending on when the accident happened during the ride.
Offline or app is off
- Personal auto insurance coverage applies
Available or waiting for a ride request
- $50,000 in bodily injury per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
En route to pick up riders and during trips
- $1,000,000 third-party liability
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
- Contingent comprehensive and collision up to the actual cash value of the vehicle ($1,000 deductible)
While rideshare companies have made transportation easier, they have made it more difficult to pursue compensation for your damages and injuries following a rideshare accident because of the various insurance companies involved. Remember, insurance companies are a business first and foremost and their goal is to make as much money as possible while paying you, the victim, as little as possible.
If you have never been involved in any type of rideshare accident, you may be unaware of the tactics that insurance companies will use to either lowball you (offer a settlement that is deliberately much less than you are asking for), or find a way to dismiss your claim totally, especially if the rideshare company disputes the claim of liability. If you are negotiating alone, you may also be tempted to take the first offer that the insurance company representing the rideshare provider gives to you. This amount might appear adequate, but if you accept this offer and it doesn’t cover all of your expenses, including future or long-term accident-related medical complications, you cannot file another claim or receive any further compensation for that accident.
Personal injury lawyers understand the complexities of rideshare accidents, how to negotiate with insurance companies, and they can help to determine what compensation is fair for your unique rideshare accident. Having an experienced attorney on your side ensures that your rights are protected, and you can receive full compensation for your losses, including lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Compensation After A Rideshare Accident
If you’ve been injured in a rideshare accident due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages and injuries. Contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation to discuss your case and determine what compensation you may receive.
While each personal injury case will be unique, studies show that the average settlement is three times higher for those that utilize the help of an attorney than when they try to negotiate alone. Some of the most common forms of compensation you may expect following a rideshare accident include:
- Medical expenses-This includes medical immediately following the accident as well as future medical expenses that are related to your rideshare accident.
- Lost wages-You may be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages following your accident, future lost wages, and lost opportunities you could not earn due to your accident.
- Disfigurement/disability-If a rideshare accident victim is left with visible scarring, a permanent disability, or their life was altered in a manner that they cannot attend to pre-accident activities, they may have a claim for either.
- Emotional distress/pain and suffering-Depending on the severity and type of rideshare accident, an accident victim may be able to recover these “non-economic” damages.
- Punitive damages-If the behavior of a rideshare driver can be shown to be especially egregious or reckless, such as cases involving driving under the influence, a judge may award punitive damages to punish the driver, dissuade them from continuing such behavior in the future, and making an example of their behavior to others.
- Wrongful death-The Illinois Wrongful Death Act allows the next of kin of a deceased rideshare accident victim to be compensated for such things as pain and suffering of the decedent prior to their death, medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium, and loss of financial support.
Preparing for a Rideshare Accident Case
Rideshare cases are unique in that when a passenger accepts a ride from a rideshare driver, they automatically accept the terms and conditions for that rideshare company. Both Uber and Lyft have similar terms that state many legal claims brought against them shall be held in arbitration or small claims court.
However, depending on the severity and seriousness of a rideshare accident, a trial against Uber of Lyft could be possible. The lawyers at Agruss Law Firm, LLC thoroughly prepare for each case as if they could go to trial, which consistently results in larger settlements.
Some of the steps that we take to prepare for a rideshare accident case include:
- Collecting police reports
- Speaking with witnesses and securing their statements
- Obtaining medical records and discussing permanency of injuries
- Hiring accident experts and investigators
- Photographing the accident scene, vehicles involved, and injuries
- Communicating with the insurance company or companies
Free Rideshare Accident Case Review
Following a rideshare accident, you may be unsure where to turn. Rideshare companies are notorious for trying to shift the blame away from themselves and deny any liability for your injuries and damages. The insurance company representing the rideshare provider may offer you very little for your injuries or deny your claim completely. A rideshare accident case can be both frustrating and confusing.
If you or a loved one was injured in a rideshare accident due to negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages and injuries. Contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation. We are an Illinois statewide-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have been injured in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, we are not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-free promise is that simple. There is no risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.
Cities We Serve
In addition to the Chicago area, Agruss Law Firm, LLC serves the following cities: