How Do You Prove Fault in a Car Accident in Chicago?
In Illinois, motorists can be sued for the car accidents they cause. There are several different forms of damages that victims can have compensated for. However, for your Chicago car accident lawyer to prevail, there are several key elements that must be established.
For another driver to be held responsible for your car accident in Chicago, you must present evidence that proves your collision happened as a result of their negligence. Furthermore, you must prove that you suffered injuries because of your accident and those injuries produced verifiable damages. The types of evidence utilized in your case can vary depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident.
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Key Elements of a Car Accident Lawsuit in Chicago
There are four key elements that must be established in order to recover monetary damages in a Chicago car accident case. First, you must establish that the defendant was under a duty of care. All drivers must exercise reasonable care when behind the wheel. In other words, you are not supposed to behave in a way that would cause injury to other motorists sharing the roadway.
Second, you must prove that the other driver breached their duty of care. Simply put, you must demonstrate that the other driver acted negligently. There are several different ways that a driver can breach their duty of care. For instance, they may breach this duty by driving distracted, speeding, or disobeying traffic signals.
Next, you must prove that your accident occurred because the defendant breached their duty of care. There is a wide array of evidence that can be used to show that your crash was caused by another driver’s negligence. However, parties in control of important evidence may be hesitant to cooperate. Accordingly, support from an experienced Chicago car accident attorney can be highly valuable when investigating your crash and gathering evidence to support your case.
Finally, you must prove that you sustained injuries because of your accident and those injuries caused you to incur damages. You must present evidence proving that but for the defendant’s actions, you would not have been hurt. Furthermore, you must show that your injury led to either economic or non-economic damages.
Examples of Evidence Used to Prove Fault for a Car Accident in Chicago
There are several different types of evidence that can be used to prove that another driver is to blame for your car accident. The following are all examples of evidence that may be used to prove fault in your case:
Physical Evidence from the Scene
In some cases, physical evidence from the scene of your accident can be used to prove fault. As an example, drug paraphernalia found in another motorist’s vehicle may be used to assert that they were intoxicated when your collision happened. However, some evidence may be difficult to preserve or too large to bring into court. In such cases, other forms of evidentiary documentation are permitted.
Photos from the Scene
Photos from the scene of your car crash can also be used to establish fault. For instance, photos of your crushed vehicle may be used to show that another driver was speeding when they hit you. Further, photos of skid marks near your vehicle may demonstrate that you attempted to avoid the collision.
Additionally, photos from the scene of your car accident may be used to disprove a defendant’s argument. For instance, the defendant in your case may state that your crash happened because of rainy weather. In that case, photos from the scene depicting clear weather could be utilized to discredit the other driver’s assertion.
Witness statements are a highly valuable type of evidence that can be used to prove fault for your accident. Both written and oral statements can be used to explain how or why your crash occurred. For instance, a witness may state that your accident happened because another motorist failed to yield the right-of-way when making a left turn. Further, a witness statement may help establish that your crash occurred because another driver was speeding. In the immediate aftermath of your crash, you should attempt to retrieve contact information for potential eyewitnesses if you can.
Similar to witness statements, surveillance footage can help establish fault by explaining the events that unfolded before, during, and after your car accident. There are several potential sources of relevant surveillance footage. For instance, a doorbell camera on someone’s home may record a crash that happens in a residential neighborhood. Additionally, a business’s security camera may capture footage of an accident that happened in their parking lot.
In any case, it is important to search for relevant surveillance footage quickly after your accident. Parties in control of such footage may not store it for long.
Expert Witness Statements
Finally, statements from expert witnesses may be utilized when proving fault for your car crash. Expert witnesses are considered experts if they have completed the requisite education, training, and experience in their respective field. They are usually called on to explain complex theories of fault. As an example, you may summon an accident reconstruction expert to identify the at-fault party for a crash that happened at an intersection.