Chicago Car Accident Attorneys
When you are injured in a car accident, the last thing you want to do is spend hours upon hours fighting with the insurance companies trying to get what you are owed. It is important to hire a capable attorney who will be able to get what you deserve. If you have been involved in an accident, there are some very important steps you need to take to ensure that you will be fully compensated for your damages.
Steps To Take After An Accident
- Get to Safety- After your accident, if you can, always pull over and make yourself seen with cones and flares. If you are injured, do not move and wait for medical assistance.
- Collect Information- Write down the information of any other people involved. This includes the other driver and any witnesses that are on the scene. If you are unable to move, assign the task to someone.
- Do Not Apologize- It doesn't matter if you think you may have been at fault. Do not apologize to anyone at the accident scene. Do not talk about what happened except to the police officer and paramedics.
- Seek Medical Advice- Make sure to go to the emergency room and visit a proper doctor after your accident. Even if your injuries were minor, it is always best to get a professional opinion.
- Call An Attorney- As soon as you are able to, contact an experienced accident attorney. They will able to guide you through the process of filing your claim, gathering important information, and advocate for you to be properly compensated.
How To Prove Fault In A Car Accident
Car accidents are caused by someone’s negligence. Illinois is a “fault” state when it comes to auto accidents. What this means is that the person who was at fault is fully liable for the costs of injuries and property damage that resulted from the accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always play fairly or ethically.
In order to prove fault and liability for the accident, you and your attorney need to collect pertinent information, or evidence. It is helpful to collect the following:
- Police reports
- Witness statements and information
- Photos taken of the accident and your injuries
- Your written recollection of events (to be provided to your attorney only)
Types Of Damages You Can Collect
When you are injured in a car crash, damages typically fall into two categories: general and special damages. They differ in the way they are calculated and the compensation they provide. Below is a basic overview of general and special damages.
I was involved in a car accident, but the insurance company has not paid me yet. Should I contact an attorney?
After you file a claim for car accident injuries, an adjuster from the insurance company must investigate the facts of the accident as well as the potential amount of damages. If you filed a claim with the insurance company and haven't been paid yet, you may have questions. Our attorneys have put together this list of commonly asked questions for auto accident victims that have not been paid.
1. What happens while the insurance adjuster is investigating the claim?
An adjuster's job is to evaluate the worth of the claim. Since the adjuster is hired by the insurance company, they naturally want to keep the payout low (so the insurance company retains more money), while doing what they can to prevent the claim from going to court. An adjuster may try to get you to accept a low offer to avoid a personal injury lawsuit.
Sometimes, this phase drags on when the other party's insurance company disputes the claim. The facts may be on your side, but their insurer doesn't want to pay. A nudge from an attorney can initiate progress.
2. How long will the investigation take?
This varies case by case since all auto accidents are different. If you are frustrated with the amount of time it's taking the adjuster to process your claim, you have every right to speak with a lawyer.
3. How will a lawyer help me during this phase?
The insurance company prefers to keep the payout low. Whenever a car accident attorney gets involved, especially someone with a reputation for aggressive handling of injury claims, the insurance company knows that you are serious about obtaining a fair payout for your injuries.
4. What if I receive an offer and it's lower than I like?
Settlement offers are up for negotiation, and you can always pursue a lawsuit. If the offer is too low, you don't have to take it. If you haven't hired an attorney yet, we strongly recommend you do so for negotiation or to file a lawsuit.
General damages are said be a natural consequence of the defendant’s wrongful action. This means that the injury was the foreseeable result of the at-fault driver’s negligence. Even if the injury was not foreseeable, the victim could still recover. If the victim of the car accident has an existing injury or condition, and the accident exacerbates the existing injury, they can still recover even though it was not foreseeable. For example, if you had arthritis and the car collision caused by another driver’s negligence caused a severe aggravation of the arthritis, the at-fault driver would still be liable for those damages you suffered. General damages are subjectively calculated, as there is no exact formulation for pain, suffering, emotional distress, or disability.
Types of General Damages
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disfigurement
- Physical disability
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship (if wrongful death)
Special damages are to compensate the victim of the accident for any financial injuries that they have suffered as a result of the accident. Special damages differ from general damages in that they require documentation or proof of monetary losses. When you receive any bills as a result of the incident, make sure you make copies and provide them to your attorney as soon as possible.
Types of Special Damages
- Property damages
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Loss of property
Don't Trust The Insurance Company
It is important to remember that the insurance company is not there to help you. They are a business and have their own financial interests in mind when they are dealing with your claim. That’s why you need a knowledgeable lawyer with the expertise in dealing with big insurance companies. Insurance companies will often give unrepresented parties the run-around. We will be able to advocate for you to fight for the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Contact an experienced Chicago car accident attorney
There are serious time limitations on your motor vehicle accident claim. Before you file your claim with the insurance company, contact our car accident attorneys online or call us at (312) 766-1000. We will to listen to your story, provide a free consultation, gather the necessary information and put together a legal strategy so that your claim will be successful.