Car Accidents

Personal Attention From An Illinois Car Accident Lawyer

An attorney ready to work with you to get the results you need

A car accident can happen anywhere – on the interstate, near campus or on a side street in any neighborhood in and around Champaign-Urbana. What happens next is a common story. People are left injured. There are  hospital stays and doctor appointments. Medical expenses add up quickly and become overwhelming. The Cerasa Law Firm P.C. can help.

Attorney Michael Cerasa knows the impact a car crash can have on victims and their families. He understands the challenges and obstacles they face when trying to recover financial compensation. He founded his own firm so he could personally guide victims through the legal process and help them take on the insurance companies.

Car crashes are usually caused by negligent drivers. These includes drivers who were texting, speeding, operating recklessly or driving under the influence. The problem is that these drivers typically deny doing anything wrong and refuse to accept responsibility for what happened. Where does that leave you?

It leave you having to prove you were injured by a negligent driver. Insurance companies may try to minimize your injuries or claim they were pre-existing. They may even try to blame you for causing the accident.

That is not acceptable. Attorney Cerasa used to work for big law firms and knows how to build strong cases that insurance companies have to take seriously. He offers clients experienced representation and personal attention. If you were hurt in a car accident, he is dedicated to helping you recover the compensation you deserve.


Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?

After an accident, your priority is to get your life back on track and heal from your injuries. However, you only get one shot at a financial recovery, and it's important to your physical recovery that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Don't make the mistake of settling too quickly or not taking all of the factors that should be figured into a settlement into account.

The job of a lawyer is to make sure that you are treated fairly and that you have the financial resources to make yourself whole again. Insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their best interests. You need an attorney who can fight back against insurance company tactics to help you recover the compensation you deserve.


How much does a lawyer cost?

If you have been hurt in an accident, it's very important to have someone on your side to make sure that your rights are protected. But you are also probably wondering if you can afford an experienced attorney. When you hire a firm that offers free consultations and works on a contingency fee basis, the answer is yes.

During a free initial consultation, you can get your questions answered without cost or any obligation to move forward. And with a contingency fee arrangement, there are no upfront costs. Your legal fees are a percentage of the recovery secured on your behalf. If you don’t win your case, you don’t pay.


Do I have to speak to the insurance company?

If you have been in an accident in Champaign, Urbana or anywhere in Central Illinois, you probably have questions about what happens next. You may have already been contacted by either your insurance carrier or the auto insurance company of the other driver(s) involved in the accident. They may want to ask you some questions or ask you to make a statement.

Before you agree to signing anything or speaking to anyone, talk to a lawyer who has your best interests in mind. Insurance companies often try to get you to say something that can be used against you later. It’s a tactic they use to try to pay you as little as possible. If you’re contacted by an insurance company, politely decline to answer questions until you talk to a lawyer.


Should I accept a settlement offer?

The unfortunate reality anyone who has been in an accident is forced to deal with is that the insurance company's financial interest is to close out your case file as quickly, and for as little cost, as possible. The bottom line is that insurance companies are always looking for ways to protect their profit margins.

That might mean pressuring you into taking a settlement before the full extent of the injury is known, or not considering all of the factors that should contribute to your settlement. The simple fact is, while the representatives you speak with from the insurance company will all be very friendly, they do NOT have your best interest, or long-term healing in mind. Talk to a lawyer before agreeing to any settlement offer.


How much money can I get after a car accident?

Evaluating a case is complex and subjective. Obviously, car accidents don't come with a clear price tag. Calculating the total amount that an injury victim should be paid is a complicated process that requires knowledge and expertise. There are some items that will contribute to the settlement that are very straightforward, such as:

  • The cost to fix the damage to or replace your car
  • The hospital bills for treatments that have been completed
  • Missed wages from time you were unable to work

However, in more serious accidents, the amounts that need to be calculated are much more complex. It can be very difficult to assign a concrete price to issues like pain and suffering and future hospital and rehabilitation costs. Other considerations may include compensation for future lost wages due to decreased ability to earn or for the loss of the general ability to be independent. An attorney can review your case and give you an idea of how much to expect.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident, learn more about how attorney Cerasa can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.


Car Accidents > Lyft and Uber Accidents

Lyft and Uber Accidents

An Illinois lawyer who will fight for your rights

If you have been involved in a car accident involving an Uber or Lyft car, it’s important to get trusted legal advice as soon as possible. The laws dictating how insurance works for these new transportation companies are not always clear, and you only get one shot at a financial recovery for your injuries.

Attorney Michael Cerasa of The Cerasa Law Firm P.C. is very familiar with these laws and how these companies respond to accidents. He can guide you through the legal process to ensure you are treated fairly and help you recover the compensation you deserve.


Experience handling complex cases

Lyft and Uber went from being virtually unknown years ago to quickly positioning themselves to replace traditional taxi-cabs. They reshaped the personal transportation industry seemingly overnight, but these changes have created several questions about what happens when one of their cars gets into an accident.

These companies have really blurred the lines between employee and independent contractor, as well as the lines between when someone is and is not “working.” This is of course very important from an insurance standpoint, since the insurance company will treat the claim differently. There are basically three different insurance “situations”:

  • When the driver is unavailable to pick up passengers, they are covered by their own personal auto insurance policy, just like any other driver.
  • When the driver is available to, but has not yet picked up a passenger, they are primarily covered by their regular auto insurance policy but also have additional coverage of up to $50,000 per injury for a total of $100,000 and up to $25,000 in property damage.
  • Once the driver has the passenger in the car, they are covered by a $1 million liability policy and a $1 million uninsured/underinsured policy.

Instead of being full-time employees, drivers are actually classified as independent contractors, or third-party service providers. This distinction is important because the companies can use it as a defense when it comes to being responsible for their driver's actions. Generally, a company is responsible for the actions of its employees, however they are generally NOT responsible for the actions of independent contractors that they hire.

While there are a million potential scenarios that would be covered by different insurance policies, generally Lyft and Uber accidents can be put into one of two categories:


A passenger is injured

If you are injured as a passenger in a Lyft or Uber car, the insurance should cover up to $1 million, even if the accident was caused by the other driver, but the other driver didn't have insurance. However, you are not allowed to sue Lyft or Uber for more than the $1 million limit, even if the driver was acting irresponsibly. Normally, if the drivers were classified as employees, they would have unlimited liability, but because the drivers are classified as independent contractors, the companies are able to set a limit for the damages that they have to pay out.


A bystander is injured

In the case that you were injured either as a driver or passenger in another car that was involved in an accident with a Lyft or Uber car, the insurance coverage will depend on whether or not the car was actively carrying a passenger.

There are several potential issues that can arise when someone is injured and a Lyft or Uber is involved. Because of the confusing nature of the insurance policies that cover Lyft and Uber cars, it's important that you do not sign or agree to anything without speaking with an experienced attorney first.

If you were hurt in an Illinois accident involving one of these ridesharing companies, learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.Car Accidents > Do I Need A Car Accident Lawyer?


Do I Need A Car Accident Lawyer?

Call the experienced Illinois lawyer who knows how to win cases


If you have been injured in a car accident, you likely have several questions about how to get your car repaired and your medical bills paid. You are also probably wondering about missed wages from times when you could not work or if you are eligible for compensation for your pain and suffering.

Another thing you may be wondering is if you will need a lawyer. The Cerasa Law Firm P.C. knows that recovering financial compensation after a crash can be complicated. Attorney Michael Cerasa can guide you through the legal process to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Every accident case is a little bit different, but there is one thing that can be said about all of them; if you are offered an early settlement check from your insurance company, talk to a lawyer immediately.


Why would I need a lawyer if the insurance company is offering me money?

One thing that people who have been involved in an accident need to be aware of is that insurance companies will work very hard at protecting their profits. The only reason that they would offer you money, especially right after the accident, is to get you to settle for less than you are owed.

Accidents do not come with a clear price tag. It takes time to determine the full cost of medical treatments and other compensation that you are owed. Accepting a check from the insurance company will more than likely relieve them of any future responsibility.

You only get one chance at making a full financial recovery, make sure you have a lawyer to help get you every penny you are owed.


The insurance company is not on your side

Insurance companies spend millions, in some cases billions of dollars per year in advertising. This isn't just because they want your business. It's also because they want to convince you that they have your back, that they will protect you if anything ever happens.

The reality is that  insurance companies make money when they bring in monthly premiums and do not have to pay out claims. They will typically go to great lengths to devalue, delay and even outright deny legitimate claims. Getting a fair settlement that will fully cover your injuries without a lawyer is difficult.


How can a lawyer help me?

Aside from showing the insurance companies that they will have to take your claim seriously, a lawyer can help you by:

  • Ensuring you have access to all medical treatments that are required, both now and in the future
  • Working with doctors that will give a fair assessment of your recovery and (if applicable) disability. The doctors that the insurance company provides will likely push the idea that you will make a full recovery regardless of whether that is the case or not.
  • Making a fair assessment of, and having the experience to negotiate for, any compensation related to pain and suffering. While missed wages and medical costs can be calculated or estimated, there are other issues like pain and suffering or emotional toll that are not as clear-cut, and injury victims typically have to fight to receive them.
  • Helping you meet any critical deadlines and generally helping you understand what to expect from the recovery process. You already have to deal with your physical recovery, you do not need to be dealing with the additional stress of navigating your way through the legal and financial aspects of your injury.

Whether you have one or two questions, or one-hundred questions, attorney Michael Cerasa can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.


Car Accidents > What To Do After A Car Accident

What To Do After A Car Accident

An experienced Illinois lawyer who can guide you through the process

Things can get pretty hectic and confusing after you’ve been in a car accident. You need medical treatment for your injuries. You may need to miss time from work. Then you need to sort things out with the insurance company. You may not know what to do next. The Cerasa Law Firm P.C. can help.

Attorney Michael Cerasa understands the impact a car accident can have on your life. He works with you to get your life back on track and ensures that the insurance companies treat you fairly. He’s ready to guide you through legal process every step of the way.


Immediately after the accident

After an accident it can be difficult to think clearly and make good decisions as emotions are running high. It is crucial to try to stay calm. Contact the police or other law enforcement. Do not admit fault or assign fault to the other driver. Stay polite and courteous. Give the police the most accurate information you can provide.


Do I need to file a police report after an accident?

For accidents involving injury, death or damage greater than $500 (almost any accident outside of a very minor fender bender will have damage greater than $500) a police officer will need to submit a report and should be called right away. For very minor accidents or where no police investigation was conducted the driver must file a report within 10 days.


If someone is injured in the accident, who is responsible?

The relationship between who was at fault in an auto accident, who will pay for the medical bills and property damage, and how much each driver's insurance policy will pay are very complex. An experienced attorney can review the details of your accident and give you an idea of how Illinois law applies to your case, and your options for pursuing compensation.


Will I need to go to court?

The overwhelming majority of auto accident cases do NOT end up in court. Instead, a settlement is reached between the injured party and the insurance company (or companies) found responsible to pay. While your case will likely not end up in court, there is still a fair amount of investigation, documentation and negotiating that will affect how your claim turns out. The insurance companies will have a team of lawyers working to protect their profits, and it's a good idea to have a lawyer on your side to protect your rights.


How will the amount of my settlement be determined?

There are several factors that can affect the amount of an insurance settlement from an injury sustained in an auto accident. Some of them include:

  • The severity of the injuries sustained from the crash
  • The costs of past and future medical expenses
  • Who was at fault in the accident
  • The type of insurance coverage both parties had at the time of the accident
  • The evidence and documentation (pictures, police reports, medical reports, etc.) that each driver can provide to support their case

In addition to the factors listed above, the experience and familiarity your attorney has with settling auto claims can have a major impact. Every case has an acceptable range, having an experienced lawyer on your side helps ensure that you receive the top end of the range instead of the bare minimum that the insurance company can settle for without legal repercussions.

Take steps to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We can help you understand how Illinois law applies to your case, and your options for moving forward. If you are represented by attorney Cerasa, there is no upfront fee. If we don’t recover compensation, you owe us nothing.


Car Accidents > Pedestrian Accidents

Illinois Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

When you’ve been injured, we’re ready to fight for you

When pedestrians are hurt in a car accident, it’s a tragic event for everyone involved. Whether you were the person injured in the accident, or have lost a loved one because of someone else's negligence, you have rights. It’s important to talk to an experienced  pedestrian accident attorney in order to hold the right people responsible and take the next steps forward.

The Cerasa Law Firm P.C. delivers a personal touch. We understand that these matters are emotional and devastating for victims, and we want to help. Our clients can count on working one-on-one with their attorney—taking the time to discuss their situation with their actual counsel instead of a paralegal or assistant. We want to work with you to move on from this difficult movement.


Recovering financial compensation for the injured

It can be difficult thinking of finances when dealing with an accident, but neglecting these matters will only cause more stress down the line. When you hire an attorney, you can focus your energy on recovering and moving on. Your lawyer can investigate the accident and determines an estimate of what you are owed for the damages.

Depending on your situation, you could be owed recovery for many types of damages after a pedestrian accident:

  • Medical expenses, including long-term care and cost of medical equipment
  • Emotional trauma, pain, and suffering
  • Loss of income as a result of the accident
  • Loss of consortium
  • Cost of funeral expenses if the victim suffered wrongful death

Recovering compensation can be a complicated process. Negligent drivers often deny doing anything wrong, even though they were speeding, texting or operating recklessly. Insurance companies will challenge your claim and question the extent of your injuries. Why? Because they want to pay you as little as possible.

Another tactic insurance companies like to use is to offer you a settlement. That may not sound like a bad thing, especially as your medical expenses are starting to add up. The problem is that their offer will fall far short of covering all of the damages you suffered. It’s just another way for them to try to save money.


Personal attention and big firm results

Our legal team investigates your pedestrian accident to get the facts. We examine accident reports, gather evidence and interview witnesses. Attorney Cerasa is determined to help you recover the financial compensation you need and deserve – whether that is through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.

In Illinois, you have a limited time after the date of an accident to file an injury claim. Take the time you need to receive critical medical care and take stock of what has happened. It’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Evidence can disappear and details can be forgotten, which is why most injury cases are more successful the earlier they are filed.

Accidents remind us that life is full of the unexpected, and that can make it difficult to concentrate on what's next. Attorney Michael Cerasa has the compassion and experience to act as your guide through the legal process. You can take back some control of this situation and make plans for a brighter future.

If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident in Champaign, Urbana or Central Illinois, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.