When you have been injured by another person, receiving compensation is the result of either a successful lawsuit or a settlement agreement. While lawsuits may attract more attention and interest, most legal disputes will be resolved through a settlement.

Settlements offer greater predictability, lower fees, and quicker resolutions than lawsuits, which makes them favored by plaintiffs and defendants alike. There is also a higher likelihood that a settlement will be discussed in your own personal injury case.

The defendant in your situation may offer you a specific amount for damages in return for your agreement to drop your lawsuit. The compensation value the defendant offers you — and the amount for which your case will settle — will depend on three key factors.

Settlement Amounts Are Tied to the Facts of Your Case

The three factors that impact your settlement’s value are unique to your case. Suppose that you are injured in a car crash when a negligent driver runs a red light. Even if another person is hurt under similar circumstances at the exact same intersection, the value of compensation the two of you could receive might be dramatically different.

This disparity in outcomes occurs because, despite the similarities, there are distinct circumstances at play in every case. These differences have a greater effect on how much your case is worth than where your accident takes place or how many people are involved. These determinative facts include the following:

1. The Strength of the Evidence Supporting Your Claims

If your case were to go to trial, your success would depend on whether you had witnesses and evidence available to prove the truth of your claims. This includes proving not just who was at fault but also the amount of damages you need to be fully compensated.

The more persuasive this evidence is in your case, the more likely the defendant will be to want to settle your case on favorable terms. You’ll want to have credible witnesses who clearly point to the defendant’s fault and objective medical records that support your claim for damages. With those key pieces of evidence, a defendant will be more eager to avoid a trial and the large potential judgment that might come with it.

Conversely, perhaps there are no witnesses to your accident besides yourself, the available evidence is inconclusive on the issue of fault, or there is room to doubt that you were injured as much as you claim.

In such a situation, you may still receive a settlement offer. However, the amount you are offered may be less than you could expect in a case with clearer evidence.

2. The Extent of Your Physical Injuries

A personal injury accident will often leave you with physical and mental or emotional harm. However, it is easier to assign a value to broken bones and brain trauma than the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder or anxiety. As a result, the more severe your physical injuries, the more compensation you could receive through a settlement.

If you are shaken up but have no physical injuries, it will be more difficult to receive a larger settlement. You will need to produce compelling evidence that your mental injuries have dramatically impacted your quality of life to support a larger settlement award.

3. Your and the Defendant’s Desire to Avoid Trial

A trial represents risk, and each person’s or company’s risk tolerance is different. For the injured plaintiff, going to trial runs the risk that the judge or jury will not rule in their favor or will not award them as much compensation as they believe they deserve.

For defendants, a trial could result in an adverse judgment requiring them to pay significant amounts of compensation to the plaintiff. These charges would be incurred on top of attorney’s fees and other costs incidental to trial that they would bear regardless of the outcome.

If you are more comfortable with taking your case to trial than the defendant, you are in a good position to achieve a larger settlement. However, if your defendant is more comfortable with the risks of trial than you, then you may end up settling your case for a lower amount just to take advantage of the security and finality that a settlement offers.

The Difference an Experienced Attorney Makes in Your Case

Having legal counsel to represent you throughout your personal injury case can also make a difference in the outcome of your lawsuit. The experienced team at The Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC can help you understand the value of your case and decide on a reasonable settlement amount.

We are also able to vigorously and competently represent your interests at trial if no reasonable settlement can be reached. We are committed to helping you obtain full and fair compensation for all of your losses.

Car driving on the highway: the most common causes of car accidents in Illinois.

Statistics regarding motor vehicle accidents in the United States of America are shocking. According to the NHTSA, 36,096 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2019, and many others were left with injuries. In the same year, an estimated 1,010 people died, and 89,133 people suffered injuries in motor vehicle accidents in Illinois.

While some car accidents are unavoidable, many car accidents are avoidable. Most car accidents in America are caused by driver negligence. Unfortunately, too many motorists engage in negligent behaviors while on the road, resulting in accidents that cause injuries and death.

Below are some of the most common causes of car accidents in Illinois and throughout the U.S.

1. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in Illinois and throughout the U.S.

According to the NHTSA, more than 2,800 people in America died in 2019 in crashes that involved a distracted motorist. Distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in another activity that takes their attention away from driving. Many people know that texting and driving is distracted driving. However, not many people know that behaviors such as using a navigation system while driving, eating while driving, applying makeup while driving, and talking with other passengers are forms of distracted driving.

The CDC states that anything that takes a driver’s attention away from driving can be a distraction. There are three main types of distractions. They are visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. A visual distraction occurs when a driver takes their eyes off the road. A manual distraction occurs when a driver takes their hand(s) off the steering wheel. And finally, a cognitive distraction occurs when a driver takes their mind off driving.

2. Drunk Driving

A driver who gets behind the wheel while drunk is a danger to themselves and other road users. According to the NHTSA, approximately 32 people in America die every day in drunk driving accidents. That means that every 45 minutes, one person loses their life in a drunk driving accident. Here in Illinois, of the 938 fatal traffic crashes that occurred in 2019, it is estimated that 27.1% of them involved alcohol.

Alcohol impairs thinking and reduces the brain’s functions. It also impairs muscle coordination and reasoning. For a driver to operate a vehicle safely, they need to be thinking clearly, and their brain needs to be functioning well. To drive a car safely, a driver needs to be reasoning well, and they need to be able to coordinate muscle movements. For example, a driver must be able to execute and coordinate muscular movements to control the vehicle.

3. Drowsy Driving

Drowsy or fatigued driving is another common cause of car accidents in Illinois and throughout America. The human body needs enough sleep. When a driver misses many hours of sleep, it becomes hard for them to perform well when behind the wheel. Drowsy driving is especially a problem with trucks. Because trucks transporting cargo usually get paid by the load, truck drivers may choose to stay behind the wheel when they should be resting. Unfortunately, this can result in catastrophic accidents. For example, when a tired truck driver hits a passenger vehicle, the results can be disastrous because trucks are much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles.

According to studies, missing many hours of sleep can impact a driver’s ability to drive the same way as drinking too much alcohol. Studies suggest that staying up for at least eighteen hours is the same as having a BAC of 0.05%. And staying up for at least twenty-four hours is the same as having a BAC of 0.10%.

4. Following Too Closely

Rear-end accidents are quite common in Illinois. Often, rear-end collisions happen because of an unsafe driving practice known as “tailgating.” When the car behind follows the car in front too closely, the driver behind is said to be tailgating. This behavior is considered negligent. According to Illinois law, it is an offense for a vehicle to follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent.

5. Speeding

Excessive speed is to blame for a lot of car accidents. Unfortunately, many drivers do not see the problem with driving faster than the posted speed limit. Drivers need to remember that the faster a person drives, the slower their reaction time. In other words, speeding increases the chances of an accident happening.

6. Unsafe Lane Changes

Before passing another vehicle, a driver must ensure they have enough room to get in front of the other car. If there is not enough room to pass a vehicle and get in front of them, it is best to avoid passing. Also, drivers should always use their blinkers when changing lanes to let other road users know they are about to change lanes. For example, if you change lanes without indicating, the other drivers cannot adjust their driving accordingly, and that can result in an accident.

7. Failure To Yield

In Illinois, “failure to yield” car accidents happen quite a lot. Unfortunately, such accidents can result in severe injuries and even death. According to the law, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to avoid causing an accident. For example, in Illinois, when two cars approach an intersection from different roads at the same time, the driver on the left is required to yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right.

8. Aggressive Driving

Speeding, unsafe lane changes, failure to yield the right of way, and tailgating can be forms of aggressive driving. Other forms of aggressive driving that can cause accidents include;

  • Running red lights
  • Failing to obey stop signs
  • Ignoring signals from other motorists
  • Driving illegally on the shoulder

Contact the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC for Legal Help

We hope you’ve found this information on the most common causes of car accidents in Illinois helpful. Injured car accident victims and surviving family members deserve compensation. It is your right as an injured car accident victim or surviving family member of someone who died in a car crash to recover compensation from an at-fault party.

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in an Illinois car accident because of another driver’s negligence, contact our qualified auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC.. We can help you recover the compensation you deserve.