Insurance companies have endless resources to fight claims. However, if you hire an attorney to help with a car accident case, you have the full resources of the law firm working for you. Therefore, when you retain legal representation, you even the playing field with the insurance company.
Some car accident cases do not require you to hire a car accident lawyer. However, you can always benefit from meeting with a Chicago personal injury attorney after a collision. An injury lawyer will evaluate your case during a free consultation and advise you on the best options for recovering compensation for car accident injuries.
Other situations almost always require the expertise of an experienced Chicago car accident attorney. If you find yourself facing any of the following issues, you might need to hire a lawyer to protect your best interests.
You Are Being Blamed for Causing the Car Accident
A common reason for denying an injury claim is that the victim caused the accident. Insurance companies often shift the blame for the car crash to the victim.
Because Illinois is a fault-based state for personal injury claims, you have the burden of proving that the other person caused your injury to receive money for damages. However, if the insurance company proves that you were more than 50% at fault for the car wreck, Illinois modified comparative fault laws bar you from receiving compensation for your claim.
If you are 50% or less at fault, you can receive the value of your damages minus an amount equal to your percentage of responsibility.
Because contributory fault can significantly reduce the amount an insurance company has to pay for your case, an insurance adjuster will search for evidence to prove you contributed to the cause of the crash. In some cases, the adjuster might twist your statements to imply fault.
You can protect yourself by talking with a lawyer before you make a formal statement or answer questions for the insurance company. Never admit fault or apologize for the crash at the accident scene. Keep your statement to the police brief and to the point, and do not include information about what you were doing before the crash (e.g., reaching for a coffee cup, talking on your cell phone, etc.).
Your Injuries Are Severe, or You Have a Permanent Impairment
Most car accident settlements include compensation for economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages. You can also receive compensation for the non-economic damages that result from a car accident, including pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
Generally, severe injuries increase the value of an accident claim because treatment costs more. The medical bills for a permanent impairment are also higher. Furthermore, traumatic injuries cause more suffering, loss of income, and other damages.
Cases involving severe injuries and disabilities often require hiring medical specialists and other expert witnesses to assist. When you hire a Chicago injury lawyer, they take care of this step for you.
Also, the insurance company knows that an experienced personal injury lawyer understands how much your claim is worth. Therefore, the insurance company cannot undervalue damages like it usually does when dealing with someone handling their case without an attorney.
The Insurance Company Denied Your Claim
Illinois drivers are required to have a minimum amount of automobile insurance. When a driver causes an accident, the injured party files an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. The insurance company investigates the claim to determine liability.
The insurance company might give one or more reasons for denying a claim, including, but not limited to:
- The insurance policy does not cover the driver or the incident.
- You did not file a claim before the deadline.
- The accident did not cause your injuries, or you are exaggerating your injuries.
- There is insufficient evidence proving causation and fault.
- You contributed to the cause of the crash.
- The policy was not in effect on the accident date.
If an insurance company denies your car accident claim for any reason, it is in your best interest to seek legal advice immediately. You have limited time to file a car accident lawsuit in Illinois. The insurance company might be dragging out the case to let the deadline pass so you cannot pursue a claim.
Other Factors That Indicate You Need To Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Chicago, IL
You might need to hire a car accident lawyer for many reasons. While you can always benefit from legal advice, some situations that strongly indicate you need a personal injury attorney include:
- Your child was injured in a car accident
- Multiple vehicles were involved in the crash
- You do not know how much your case is worth or what damages to seek
- A government employee or vehicle caused the accident
- The crash involved a large truck or commercial vehicle
- The statute of limitations is about to expire
- Your accident occurred outside of Illinois
If you doubt whether you need to hire a lawyer, it is best to take advantage of a free consultation to talk with an attorney. Then, once you understand the process and the factors in your case, you can decide to hire a lawyer or represent yourself.
What Should You Look for When Hiring a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer?
When you search for a car accident attorney, you want to choose one that is the right person to handle your injury claim. Some things to keep in mind include:
- You want an attorney with substantial experience handling cases similar to yours. Experience is one of the most important factors when choosing an attorney.
- The attorney needs to have good communication skills. Effective client-attorney communication improves your chance of winning your case. Good communication skills also signify a skilled negotiator and trial lawyer.
- Choose a lawyer who is passionate about working for injured victims. Attorneys who have dedicated their law practice to personal injury cases are fierce advocates for injured victims and their families.
- Ensure that the lawyer is authorized to practice law in Illinois. You want an attorney with good working knowledge of Illinois personal injury laws and our court system.
Before meeting with an attorney, examine their website and check online reviews. You can get a sense of the attorney by doing a little research. However, meeting them gives you the best sense of whether you trust this person and can work with them.
How Can a Chicago Car Accident Attorney Help You After a Collision?
Handling a personal injury claim can be time-consuming, expensive, and confusing for an accident victim.
Hiring a car accident lawyer means that you have someone who:
- Gives you legal advice and straightforward answers to your questions
- Analyzes your case and explains the best options for receiving compensation for damages
- Conducts an independent investigation to gather evidence proving that the other party caused the car wreck
- Completes and files all documents for your case
- Handles the insurance company and negotiates settlements
- Guides you through the complicated process of filing a personal injury claim
- Calculates the correct value for damages to determine how much your claim is worth
- Works with top experts in their fields to strengthen your case, as necessary
- Protects your best interest throughout the process
The above list is not a complete overview of how a lawyer can help you with a car accident claim. Each case is unique.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers
Contact our law firm at (312) 929-2884 to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer at Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers. We are here to help you with your car accident claim.