What to Expect During a Chicago Car Accident Case

During a Chicago car accident case, you can expect to undergo medical evaluations and treatment while dealing continuously with the insurance companies. Your lawyer can make the case less stressful by managing every stage, including gathering evidence, settlement negotiations with insurance adjusters, and taking your case to trial if necessary. Knowing what to expect during a car accident case can help you negotiate your case successfully.

Chicago, IL - Man Killed, Others Hurt in Crash on Playfield Dr What to Expect During a Chicago Car Accident Case

For personalized advice and guidance on how to proceed with your car accident case in Illinois, contact the Chicago lawyers at Ankin Law by dialing 312-600-0000.

Timeline of a Car Accident Case in Chicago

In 2022, 59,795 crashes resulted in injuries in Illinois. When you’re injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the negligent party. Your car accident case will go through several stages before reaching a resolution.

Undergoing Treatment for Injuries

Timely medical treatment is a top priority in any car accident case. Medical care following an accident safeguards your health. The medical records created by the treating doctor detailing your injuries serve as critical evidence in your case, showing the nature and extent of your injuries. Without medical records, it will be difficult to prove your injuries resulted from the accident.

You should expect prolonged treatment if you were involved in an accident and sustained serious injuries. Your treatment could include undergoing surgeries or other medical procedures and attending several therapy sessions.

Building Your Case

You must actively build your car accident case, even as you focus on recovering from your injuries. While most car accident cases end in settlements, building a solid legal case as though you’re taking it to trial will increase your chances of receiving fair settlement compensation. This case-building process requires time, diligence, and attention to detail, making it necessary to consult a car accident lawyer to help.

The lawyer you retain could be the difference between winning and losing your car accident case. Speak to an auto accident lawyer before opening a claim with the insurance company. Remember, insurance adjusters are not on your side. They work for the insurance company, maximizing the company’s profits by minimizing the value of claims as much as possible. Therefore, you can expect them to do everything in their power to limit your compensation.

Tactics insurers may utilize to hurt your case include:

  • Quick settlement offer: At times, the at-fault driver’s insurance company sends a crash victim a settlement offer soon after an accident. The insurance adjuster may pressure the victim to accept the low initial settlement offer before the victim is fully ready or consults an attorney.
  • Request for a recorded statement: The other driver’s insurance company adjuster can reach out to you soon after the accident to ask for a recorded statement. The insurance company can use your words against you to its advantage.
  • Contest some aspects of your case: The insurance company can attack the validity of your case, for example, by contending that your injuries are from a preexisting condition or blaming you for the crash, in an attempt to discourage you from pursuing compensation.
  • Delays: Insurers often employ delay tactics to tire victims out to the point of accepting to settle quicker and for less.

Car accident attorneys expect to encounter these tactics and know how to overcome them. You can avoid these tactics by letting an attorney represent you and sending insurance company representatives to the attorney when they approach you.

Investigation and Gathering of Evidence

Your lawyer will investigate your case to understand how the accident happened, who is at fault, and the extent of your injuries and accident-related losses. Evidence collection is crucial to establishing liability, the extent of your damages, and the overall success of your case. Your lawyer will gather as much evidence as possible during his or her investigation to build an evidence-heavy car accident case.

Your attorney could secure crash scene photographs and video footage related to the accident from traffic cameras, nearby establishments, cell phones, or dash cams. Your attorney could also re-interview witnesses, get your medical records, and coordinate with law enforcement to get the relevant Illinois car accident police report.

Calculate the Cost of Your Damages

A car accident lawyer knows how to claim emotional injury for a car accident, ensuring your non-economic damages and future estimated losses are included in calculating the cost of your accident-related damages. Your lawyer documents every form of harm suffered from the accident using medical bills and receipts, imaging test results of your injuries, expert testimonies, invoices for vehicle repairs or replacement, lost income documents, and changes to your life. He or she will then calculate the total value of your damages accurately and proceed with demanding that amount from the offending driver’s insurer.

Demand Letter and Settlement Negotiations

After your attorney has built your case, he or she will send the insurance company a demand letter. Your attorney will include information about your accident, injuries, damages suffered, and the insured’s liability for the crash and supporting evidence in the demand package. Car insurance companies investigate accident claims once they’re submitted.

Settlement negotiations commence, usually involving parties making offers and counteroffers, exchanging the relevant supporting evidence and documentation, and working toward an agreeable settlement.

A lawyer who handles car accident settlements in Chicago will advise you whether an insurance company’s offer is worth accepting or negotiations should continue. Your case will end if you accept a settlement offer after successful negotiations.

Filing a Lawsuit

If a settlement agreement can’t be reached, your car accident attorney will file a lawsuit in court. Filing a lawsuit doesn’t mean your case must go through the trial process. It could signal your seriousness about pursuing compensation. As a result, insurance adjusters could be forced to offer a fair settlement to avoid high litigation costs, the uncertainty of the trial process, and having to pay substantial compensation following an unfavorable jury verdict. Your attorney will continue negotiations with the liable insurers after filing the lawsuit.

Your lawyer will file a complaint against the at-fault party to begin the lawsuit. After that, you’ll enter the discovery phase. During discovery, both parties learn about each other’s claims, arguments, and evidence. It includes interrogatories, depositions, and requesting additional records and documents. Either party can file a motion before or after discovery requesting the court to do something, such as a motion for summary judgment or to dismiss a claim or entire case. A motion may be insignificant or affect the outcome of your case. Your lawyer will update you if a motion is filed and advise you accordingly.

During a trial, both sides will present their evidence and arguments. When the case concludes, the judge or jury will determine if the defendant is liable for the accident and your injuries and how much compensation you should be paid. After the verdict is delivered, the losing side could appeal the case.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Illinois

What you do immediately after a car accident can have long-term consequences and affect your ability to collect maximum compensation later. Consequently, knowing the proper steps to take and mistakes to avoid is critical. Below are the steps you should take following a car accident in Illinois:

Check Everyone for Injuries

If possible, examine yourself and other vehicle occupants for injuries. Call 911 if anyone’s hurt.

Move to a Safe Place

If you can safely do so, move your car away from other vehicles to a safe area off the road.

Call the Police

Contact the police to report the accident. The police report is one of the crucial pieces of evidence needed for a car accident injury claim. If the police respond and come to the scene, they’ll file a report with the state officials. If police don’t come to the scene, you’ll need to file an accident report with the Illinois State Police within 10 days of the incident.

Document the Scene

Take photos and videos of the scene, including damages to the vehicles and other property, injuries, and road and weather conditions. Get the names and contact details of eyewitnesses.

Exchange Information

Swap vital information with the other driver. Avoid accusations, apologies, admitting fault, and confrontations, as those could hurt your case. Limit conversations to information exchange and the safety of the individuals involved in the accident.

Seek Medical Treatment

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you aren’t visibly injured. Seeking medical attention soon after an accident makes it easier to link your injuries to the accident.

Speak to a Lawyer

Consult a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. An experienced lawyer will investigate to determine if you have a viable claim and help you navigate your case more effectively to secure maximum compensation for your claim.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident in Chicago, contact us at Ankin Law to schedule a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers.

Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
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