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Winnebago County car accident attorney for insurance claimsSerious auto accident cases involve a variety of difficult problems. In addition to the damage done to your car, you may be badly injured. You will almost certainly have to deal with a complex insurance claim.

Nobody wants to handle an insurance claim, but having an experienced attorney on your side can help you navigate your car insurance accident paperwork. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when they are dealing with a car accident insurance claim and how to avoid them:

Not Researching the True Value of Your Car

If your car has been totaled, your insurance company will have to pay you the amount of money your car is worth. However, insurance companies have an interest in paying you as little as possible – meaning they may try to lowball you on the value of your car. You are more likely to get a check for the true value of your car if you do your own research to find out what your car is worth. Then, if your insurance company offers you less than your research indicates you should receive, you can counter their offer with your own.

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Winnebago County car crash injury attorneysIt may seem obvious that you should seek medical attention if you are injured in a car crash, but the reality is that many injury victims choose not to do so in the immediate aftermath. Some are concerned about the costs of their treatment, while others may be unaware of the extent or severity of their injuries. Unfortunately, forgoing medical treatment can have serious repercussions for both the injury victim’s health and their chances of recovering full compensation in a personal injury claim.

Medical Reasons for Seeking Treatment

Regardless of how minor your injuries may seem, it is a good idea to get examined by a doctor who can help you better understand your condition. Some car accident injuries can be difficult to detect, and many have the potential to become more serious over time. For example:

  • What seems like a routine headache could be a sign of a traumatic brain injury like a concussion, which could have lasting physical and mental effects.
  • Pain in the chest or abdomen could be a sign of organ damage or other internal injuries, which if left untreated can lead to infection, excessive blood loss, or impairment of bodily functions.
  • Pain in the neck, back, or limbs could be a sign of soft tissue injuries, herniated disks, or fractured bones. Without the proper treatment and rehabilitation, these injuries could cause ongoing pain and mobility issues.

For any of these types of injuries, early intervention can be crucial to your ability to make a full or substantial recovery.

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Rockford injury lawyersThe majority of car accidents are caused by human error. Taking a turn too fast, running a red light, driving while intoxicated, or texting and driving may all lead to injury-causing crashes. However, not every collision is the result of poor driving. In some cases, a crash is caused or aggravated by defective vehicle components. If you or a loved one were harmed in an auto accident, it is important to understand how vehicle defects may have played a role.

When is a Vehicle or Vehicle Part Considered Defective?

Just like all other consumer products, motor vehicles cannot present unreasonable risks to buyers. If a vehicle or vehicle component is defective and that defect causes an individual to be injured or killed, the party responsible for the defect may be liable for damages.

Vehicle defects typically fall into one of two categories: design defects or manufacturing defects. A design defect occurs when a product was unreasonably unsafe from its inception. Every product in that particular line of products may need to be recalled and fixed or replaced.  A manufacturing defect occurs when a mistake during the manufacturing process causes a vehicle component to function incorrectly or contain unreasonable safety hazards.

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Rockford dangerous airbag injury attorneysAirbags represent an extremely important advancement in the field of automotive safety. During an accident, the airbag deploys in less than a second to cushion the passengers and prevent them from hitting their head on the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield. While these devices are estimated to prevent vehicle occupant death by approximately 30 percent, airbags can also cause serious injuries during a crash. If you or a loved one suffered an airbag-related injury in a car accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages.

Injuries Caused by Airbag Deployment

Airbags often prevent much more serious and even life-threatening injuries from occurring during a crash, however, these devices do not prevent injuries entirely. An airbag works by using an ignitor to fill the bag with gas such as argon or nitrogen during a crash. The chemicals contained in an airbag can cause lung problems or burns. The bag may also cause injuries including to the eyes, face, torso, and arms including abrasions, lacerations, and fractures. If you suffered injuries in a car accident because of a functioning airbag, the party responsible for the accident is likely liable for your injuries. The liable party may be another driver, the employer of the driver, a commercial business like a trucking company, or even a government entity.

Injuries Caused by Defective Airbags

Airbags do not always work as intended. The most infamous example of airbag malfunctions is a defect that caused some Takata airbags to explode or underinflate during a collision. Over 400 injuries and 26 deaths have been linked to Takata airbags installed in dozens of different makes and models of passenger vehicles. Airbag defects that can cause injuries include:

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Rockford personal injury attorneysWinter weather is in full force in the Rockford area, and icy roads and deep snow can make driving a treacherous task. “Pile-ups” or car accidents involving multiple vehicles are not uncommon during this time of year. These accidents cannot only lead to painful and often deadly injuries, they also present complex legal and financial issues. If you or a loved one were involved in a multi-car accident, you may have concerns about liability and damages. Will you be expected to pay for other motorists’ damages? Will you be compensated for your own damages? Read on to learn more about the unique issues involved in multiple-vehicle accidents.

Establishing Fault for a Multiple-Car Collision

Accidents involving three or more vehicles can cause severe and deadly injuries as well as costly property damage. Before a car accident victim can recover financial compensation for their damages, the liable party must be established. The greater number of factors that contributed to an accident, the harder it is to establish fault. A multiple car accident may involve situations such as:

  • A vehicle rear-ends another vehicle and causes it to collide with a third vehicle.  
  • Two vehicles collide and one of the vehicles is pushed into oncoming traffic where a secondary collision occurs.
  • Drivers swerve to avoid stopped vehicles on the road, fallen truck cargo, or other obstacles and cause an accident.
  • Establishing fault in accidents such as these is much harder than establishing fault in accidents involving only two motorists. Fault for a multi-car pile up may lie with one or more drivers, a commercial company such as a trucking company, or even a government entity such as a city or state.

Shared Liability in Pile-up Accidents

In many multiple-vehicle accidents, there is more than one liable party. Illinois follows a legal doctrine called “modified comparative negligence” in car accident injury cases involving shared liability. If a party is found to be more than 50 percent at fault for an accident, that party is prohibited from recovering compensation for damages. If the party is less than 50 percent responsible for the accident, the amount of compensation he or she may be entitled to is reduced by his or her portion of fault.

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