Accidents happen unexpectedly. When they happen, there are many things to consider. Health and safety are the most immediate concerns, followed by recovering compensation for personal injuries and property damage. As soon as possible, individuals involved in an auto accident should get an attorney to begin this process.
An individual should get an attorney for a car accident when the following circumstances exist:
- Liability is unclear or in dispute. An attorney can help organize the evidence to clear up the dispute and show the chain of events and circumstances that led to the injury or damage to property. Without question or exception, an individual should hire an attorney for a car accident if they have been served with a lawsuit.
- An insurance settlement has been offered. All insurance settlements should be reviewed by an attorney. Adjusters often “low-ball” estimates for property repair and long-term care for injuries. An attorney can review the settlement offer and determine whether or not it will leave the individual exposed to the costs associated with long-term care and treatment. This is important whether or not it is a lump sum payment or structured settlement.
- An insurance claim has been denied. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to deny claims based on technicalities. Many times, these technicalities are minor and insignificant. However, by denying the claim insurance companies hope they will go away. An attorney can help fight the denial and help an individual receive the just and fair compensation they need to recover from the accident.
- Extenuating circumstances are present. An auto accident can have a ripple effect on an individual’s life. It may impact an individual’s ability to care for loved ones, or to perform services they normally could. An attorney can factor these into the settlement equation.
- Lost wages are involved. Any injury that takes an individual away from work will have a negative impact on the individual’s financial situation. These costs must be factored into any settlement offer. An auto accident attorney can help calculate the immediate loss. Moreover, if serious injuries are involved that cause permanent disability, an attorney can help forecast the long-term impact on an individual’s income and ability to work in their profession of choice.
Considering the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years in Illinois. If an individual is involved in an accident, they should contact an attorney regardless of circumstances. They should maintain records related to the accident and any expenses that have resulted from the accident. Consulting an attorney can provide long-term protection should the other party(ies) to the accident file a lawsuit against the individual within the two year timeframe. An attorney can help review the incident report, insurance paperwork, and medical records. These can be used to determine whether or not their is the potential for long-term legal exposure that an individual should be aware of.
When hiring an attorney for a car accident, individuals should look for the following:
- Knowledge of personal injury law. Personal injury law in Illinois evolves every year. For this reason, it is best to hire an attorney whose practice is based in personal injury law. This helps ensure that the attorney is aware of the changes to the law that are relevant to an individual’s particular circumstances.
- Case history. In particular, individuals should hire an attorney who has experience to the type of accident an individual was involved in and the personal injuries they have sustained. It is always best to hire an attorney who has knowledge of the medical conditions associated with the accident. This can help with the long-term care an individual may require.
- Reputation. An individual should chose an attorney whose reputation and case management style match an individual’s desired outcome. This can make it more comfortable, and most importantly, efficient, as an individual pursues the claim from start to finish.
- Support, assistants, and assistance. A personal injury claim can have a lot of moving parts. An individual should hire an attorney for a car accident that has a team in place to help manage these parts and maintain the chain of evidence. This team should include medical professionals, support staff, and legal researchers. Working together, this team will help ensure that the injuries are properly treated and documented. A strong team makes it possible for the most current medical knowledge and laws to be applied during the pursuit of the claim.
The bottom line is that an individual should contact an attorney following any automobile accident. This can help an individual understand their legal options and the compensation they may be entitled to. Hiring an attorney is also the most effective and efficient way to ensure that the accident is properly documented and that records related to any property damage or personal injuries are organized and maintained.