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Single-Car Accidents: The Basics

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Single Car Accident Infographic


In the News: Fatal Rollover Crash on I-90 Near Schaumburg

In the early morning hours of June 28, 2020, a driver was killed in a one-car crash on Interstate 90 near Roselle Road in Schaumburg, Illinois.  Dennis La was driving in the eastbound lane of the highway and, for unknown reasons, lost control of his vehicle, resulting in an impact with the embankment.  After coming into contact with the median barrier, Mr. La’s vehicle rolled over and ultimately came to a stop on its roof.  Mr. La passed away later that evening according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. 

With the sole occupant of the vehicle deceased, it is unclear what caused the accident.  Of course, no charges were brought and the Illinois State Police have characterized the event as a terrible accident.  

Single Car Accident Infographic

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Illinois Auto Accident Fatality Statistics

The rates for auto accident fatalities in Illinois are stark. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), in 2018, 1,031 people perished in car accidents in Illinois.  Of those deaths, 309 (nearly 30%), were due to alcohol-impaired driving.  The silver lining to these striking statistics is that the numbers have improved from years past.  IDOT reported that in 2019 there were only 948 deaths related to motor vehicle accidents in the State of Illinois.

In Illinois, who is considered at fault for a single car accident?

In Illinois, single car accidents usually fit under a theory called “negligence per se.”  This means that the law often presumes someone who is driving a vehicle and is involved in an accident that does not involve any other vehicles, pedestrians or exigent circumstances, is at-fault for the accident.  While negligence per se most often appears in situations involving drunk or drugged driving, it also commonly comes up in single car accidents. 

Some Circumstances Are Out of a Driver’s Control

However, just because there was a single car accident does not mean that the driver was at fault.  Many single car accidents involve circumstances that are outside of the driver’s control.  For example, accidents involving deer or other wildlife are not always avoidable.  Similarly, if there is a mechanical failure with a vehicle – such as the brakes failing or a tire suddenly exploding – the driver may not have the time, or be legitimately able to control the vehicle.

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How to Decide which Insurance Policy to Pursue in a Single Car Accident

For passengers involved in single-car accidents, the choice of who to sue and which insurance policies to pursue is quite simple. If the driver of the vehicle was clearly at fault for the accident, then the injured passenger would file a lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle.  Many single car accidents result from the most common causes of accidents, such as speeding, distractions, and drowsy driving.  If these or other factors are the result of the accident, the driver of the vehicle should absolutely be named as a defendant.

Illinois Law Requires Basic Auto Insurance

Under Illinois law, every driver must have at least basic auto insurance coverage to help cover personal injuries and property damage that occur in an auto accident.  As of April 20, 2020, Illinois Law required that drivers carry at least $25,000.00 in coverage.  This means that if you are injured by a driver in a single vehicle accident who carried the State Minimum Coverage, his or her insurance company is only required to pay out up to $25,000.00 in personal injury damages.

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How to Deal with an Uninsured Driver

Of course, just because it is required by law, does not mean that every driver is insured. Unfortunately, there are countless uninsured drivers on Schaumburg roads every day.  If an uninsured individual causes a single vehicle auto accident resulting in injuries, there is another option to recover for your injuries 

The most prudent choice when injured by an uninsured driver in a single vehicle accident is to pursue one’s own insurance for uninsured motorist benefits.  Most insurance companies offer these policies in their standard insurance packages. Policies for injuries caused by uninsured drivers generally cover $25,000.00 to $50,000.00 per person, but can be substantially more.  While uninsured motorist coverage may slightly increase your auto insurance rate, it’s essential to obtain this coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones from the unexpected.  

Single Car Accidents and Illinois Law

Single vehicle accidents cause numerous fatalities in Illinois every year, and while those numbers have improved in recent years, they still make up a substantial portion of all motor vehicle fatalities in Illinois.  When a driver causes a single vehicle accident and there are no other explanations for the accident, the injured party can rely on the legal theory of “negligence per se” when seeking a judgment for money damages.  However, just because the driver caused a single vehicle accident, does not mean that you are guaranteed to recover financially – especially if the driver was uninsured.  For this reason, it is essential that drivers carry uninsured motorist coverage to protect themselves from intoxicated, dangerous, and uninsured drivers.  

It is important to remember:

  1. Single car accidents are all too often in the news and make up a substantial portion of auto accident fatalities in Illinois
  2. If the driver is at fault in a single-car accident, an injured passenger can file a suit against the driver
  3. Illinois Law requires that drivers carry at least $25,000 to cover personal injuries
  4. If a driver is uninsured, the injured party may be covered by their own auto insurance if they have uninsured motorist coverage
  5. If you are injured in an accident involving one car, be sure to get help from an experienced Chicago auto accident attorney

Get Help from an Experienced Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured by a driver in a single vehicle accident, contact The Kryder Law Group, LLC. immediately for your free and confidential consultation.

 

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