BAD WEATHER & ROAD CONDITIONS
ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS IN NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS
Poor road conditions and weather can both contribute to vehicular accidents, and in some cases, be the main cause. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), a whopping 73% of Illinois roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing drivers in the state annual vehicle repair and operating costs of $2.4 billion, or $292 per vehicle. That’s the highest percentage in the nation. Neighboring Indiana comes in at just 17%.
If your vehicle has been damaged after hitting a pothole and careening into a tree, who’s liable for that? If snow causes your car to skid off the road and you suffer injuries, can you seek compensation? Can anyone get compensation for these types of damages and injuries?
The car accident and personal injury attorneys at our firm, Marker & Crannell, have extensive knowledge and experience in all types of vehicular accident claims. We can help you exercise your full rights to recover compensation for injuries, property damage, and any additional pain and suffering you’ve been forced to endure. Our firm is proud to serve accident victims in the communities of Naperville, Romeoville, Bolingbrook, Joliet, Aurora, Plainfield, and other nearby areas of Illinois.
Automobile Insurance Laws in Illinois
Illinois is considered an at-fault auto insurance state. This means that if another party is at fault, you can file a claim against them for injuries and damages. This gives you three options after an accident:
You can file a claim with your own insurance company. Your insurance company will then likely file a subrogation claim against the other party’s insurance company
You can file a third-party claim directly with the at-fault party’s insurance company
You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in civil court
Illinois’ Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
In Illinois, fault is determined proportionately using the state’s modified comparative negligence standard. Generally, this means that each driver, or party to the accident, will be assessed a personal percentage of fault. If anyone seeks compensation, each driver will be responsible for damages that equate to their level of fault in the accident.
For example, if you’re rear-ended at a stoplight but one of your brake lights wasn’t functioning, the court may find you to be 20% at fault for the accident. This means that you can only recover 80% of the total compensation you are awarded for any damages or injuries. If that total is $100,000, for instance, the insurance company or court will deduct 20% to account for your level of fault in causing the accident, or $20,000 — leaving you with $80,000 in compensation.
If your percentage of fault, or negligence, rises to 50 percent or more, you will not be able to recover anything from the other party.
Weather-Related Driving Requirements in Illinois
As many Illinois drivers know, weather conditions can be quite challenging at times. The Secretary of State recently released “Illinois 2021 Rules of the Road” to emphasize the various laws and driving standards that apply year-round. The document contains specific sections on driving in the fog, rain, high winds, and winter in general.
These sections emphasize driving more slowly and increasing the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you while turning off cruise control. In the rain, Illinois law specifically requires that your vehicle’s headlights must be on if you’re using your windshield wipers.
Regardless of the weather conditions, a driver is always responsible for operating their vehicle in a way that allows them to maintain control over it. In snowy or raining conditions that might mean driving slower and leaving more room between you and the vehicle in front of you - failing to do so constitutes negligence.
Liability for Road Conditions
In addition to the pothole example in the opening section, other road conditions can make driving more dangerous and accident-prone. Other hazards include:
Road debris remaining from other accidents, or from fallen trees and downed power lines
Damaged utility lines such as broken water mains or leaking gas lines
Improperly maintained roads such as uneven pavement, potholes, or worn bridges that can cause tire blowouts or other mechanical failures
Foliage that blocks drivers’ views when entering or exiting a highway
Road construction equipment that poses obstacles to safe driving while not being properly isolated or blocked off
Malfunctioning traffic signals
The maintenance of roads, highways, and expressways is typically the responsibility of the state, county, or municipality in which you are traveling. While government entities are often immune to civil lawsuits, claims based on poor road maintenance — a valid form of negligence — are sometimes possible.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), for instance, says this about filing a claim for road-related accidents, “IDOT evaluates each claim based upon strict standards on negligence and liability established by the Illinois Court of Claims.” One of these standards is that IDOT must have been alerted to the hazard prior to the accident and then failed to repair it in a reasonable amount of time.
Get the Guidance You Need Today
If you’re going to file any type of accident claim in Illinois, various statutes of limitations and claim filing deadlines (especially when it comes to government agencies) typically mean that the sooner you take action, the better your chances of winning a successful claim.
If you or someone you know has been injured and/or a vehicle has been damaged due to weather or road conditions, you have the right to pursue compensation. The legal process of pursuing a claim may seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to face these challenges on your own. Call or reach out to our firm, Marker & Crannell, today to schedule your own free case consultation. We’d be happy to sit down with you, discuss the details of your case, and go over our approach to help you seek justice.
WEATHER & ROAD CONDITION ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS SERVING NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to poor weather or road conditions, you can rely on our firm to provide you with the guidance and representation you need. We can walk you through the entire claims process, even if it leads to a personal injury lawsuit. If you live in Naperville or the neighboring areas of Romeoville, Bolingbrook, Joliet, Aurora, or Plainfield, Illinois, call us today. We will meet with you, examine the details of your case, and present you with the best options you have for obtaining the compensation you deserve.