Chicago Car Accident Lawyer
Serving Cook and DuPage Counties

Car Accident Personal Injury Claims

Whether you were on Interstate 90, Route 53, Northwest Highway or Michigan Avenue – if you’ve been injured in an accident you need to act fast but be prudent. If your car accident injury was due to the negligence of another driver, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim to be compensated for damages based on the crash. Be aware, the insurance company of the driver who was at-fault will require proof that their client was the cause of the car accident and proof that you were injured and/or your car was damaged. The insurance company will do whatever it takes not to compensate you to the fullest degree for the damages you incurred.

At the point of the accident and after you need to take the right steps to protect yourself and your potential case:

At the scene of the accident

  • Check for injuries and call 911 (never agree with anyone who asks you not to notify police or insurance company).
  • Do not admit to fault even if you believe that you made an error. Be careful what you say and do not make any comments or statements that could be used against you.
  • Gather evidence by taking pictures of cars, roads and any damages to the area (guardrails, trees, objects, etc.).
  • Collect name, address, phone numbers and insurance information from drivers involved in the accident and names / information of police officers at the scene.
  • Get names and contact information of eye witnesses. Ask them to sign a statement,or get a video recording,of what happened. An independent / unbiased witness is extremely valuable by adding unbiased credibility to your personal injury case. Witnesses are not legally obligated to stay at the scene or give a statement.
  • If paramedics suggest taking you to the hospital, it’s in your best interest to go with them and not refuse help.

After the accident

  • Seek immediate medical attention even if you believe you are okay. While some injuries are visible, others may not be and could be potentially life threatening. Not seeking medical attention could have serious consequences and negatively impact your injury claim. If you wait, the insurance company can argue that the injury was not caused by the accident and that it happened after the accident.
  • Document your side of the story. Write down everything that happened while it’s fresh in your mind. Doing so immediately following the accident will be important when you contact insurance companies and start the claim process.

Begin Claim Process

  • With notes in hand, contact your insurance company. Many policies have a clause agreeing that you will notify the insurance company when you’re in an accident and you agree to cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation of the accident.
  • Your insurance company has a duty to defend you against a lawsuit if the other driver decides to hire an attorney and pursue. Depending on your policy coverage, you may qualify and get help with medical bills and car repairs.
  • Notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company and in cases where you are severely injured, it’s advisable to hire a personal injury attorney to contact the insurer regarding your claim and handle all of the communications with the company.

Handle Claim's Adjuster

  • Once the claim is filed an insurance adjuster is assigned to investigate what happened and determine how much the claim is worth. The adjuster works for the insurance company and not for you. The adjusters will attempt to keep any payout as low as possible so the insurance company is more profitable. On the flip side, the adjuster also wants to avoid a personal injury lawsuit. If the lawsuit makes it to trial then a judge or jury will make the decision on liability and compensation which could be significantly higher. Ultimately the insurance adjuster’s job is to get the claimant to accept the lowest settlement offer possible and not filing a lawsuit.
  • The claims adjuster will ask lots of questions and the same question in different ways to see if your answer remains the same. When dealing with an insurance claims adjuster, be very careful of giving a recorded statement and know you are not obligated to do so. You always have the right to speak with an attorney if you have any concerns about giving a recorded statement.

Orginize for Max Recovery

  • Make sure you retain and have available clear evidence of fault (photographs, witness statements) and copy of police report.
  • Save all medical records, itemized statements of all bills paid including out-of-pocket expenses for parking, gas, mileage and any other expenses related to treatment.
  • Keep track of lost work due to the accident and injury.
  • Keep copies of any correspondence between you and the insurance company and document any phone calls between you and the insurance company (adjusters, attorneys, etc).

Create Demand Letter

  • Your demand letter should clearly explain to the insurance company what actually happened based on your accounting of the accident and what it will take to settle your claim.
  • Make sure the letter is objective and professional and includes documentation proving your claim.
  • If you hire a personal injury attorney, they have in-depth experience writing successful demand letters.

Car Accident Legal Compensation

It is very important for injury victims to understand the different types and value of damages incurred from a car accident claim. Victims can often make the mistake of accepting settlement offers without first finding out how much their claim might be worth. This type of mistake can leave them with significantly lower amounts than what they might have otherwise recovered. Properly valuing injury claims may necessitate the help of claims valuation experts who can work with your personal injury attorney. There are many different types of damages that can happen in a car accident:

  • Automotive Repairs (or fair market value if deemed a Total Loss)
  • Medical Bills
  • Loss of Earning Capacity (past and future)
  • Pain and Suffering (physical and emotional stress as a result of injury)
  • Mental Anguish (psychological trauma inflicted upon victim)
  • Loss of Consortium (deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship (including affection and sexual relations due to injuries)
  • Punitive Damages
  • Wrongful Death

Car Accident Lawsuit Statute of Limitations

  • Personal injury: Two Years from the date of the car accident
  • Property damage: Five years from the date of the car accident
  • Lawsuits that might have different time lengths per their statutes of limitations include the following:
    • Cases involving medical malpractice
    • Cases involving breach of contract
    • Cases involving warranties
    • Cases involving products liability

Illinois Comparative Fault Laws

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence or fault, you have the right to seek financial compensation via a personal injury claim against the person and/or their insurance company. Should you fail to resolve the personal injury claim with the at-fault party, you may need to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve. In order to get successful outcome in any personal injury case, you need to prove that the other party was at fault for your injuries. Whether the case gets settled through the insurance claims process, a private settlement or in court, the assignment of liability depends on who was more at fault. Illinois is a comparative fault state and any victim who is less than 50% responsible for an accident can recover for their injuries and property damage.

  • Comparative Fault determines how the blame will be divided for any personal injuries or property damage for a given accident and, how the victim’s compensation will be impacted if  judged to have contributed to the accident.
  • Modified Comparative Negligence is a theory of comparative fault that holds that Plaintiff (injured) can obtain damages from a Defendant provided the Plaintiff’s degree of fault is not more than 50%. If a Plaintiff is determined to have been 50% at fault or more for the incident, then he or she would not be able to obtain compensation for personal injuries from the Defendant.

Furthermore, Illinois’ modified comparative negligence laws will also reduce an injured Plaintiff’s compensation in proportion to his or her degree of fault.

Contact an Illinois Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another person, our experienced attorneys can help you get compensation for the damages you suffered. There’s no fee unless we obtain compensation.

Get a free case review by calling  866-699-3339 ‌or‌ ‌complete‌ ‌the‌‌ ‌case‌ ‌request‌ ‌form‌.‌  

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