When Is It Too Late to Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident?

Illinois has a statute of limitations for accident claims, after which it may be too late to get a lawyer for a car accident and recover compensation from liable parties. If you’re involved in a car accident and want to seek compensation, hiring a lawyer right away helps ensure you file your claim well before the statute of limitations passes.

When Should You Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident and sustain injuries, you can recover compensation from negligent drivers or other liable parties. However, you have a limited amount of time to file a claim for compensation if you have sustained damages. Hiring a car accident lawyer early on in your case could help increase your chances of successfully filing a claim and recovering full compensation in the time you need it.

Is It Worth Getting a Lawyer for a Car Accident?

In many cases, it’s worth it to hire a car accident lawyer. While not every car accident requires the help of an attorney, there are circumstances when it’s best to hire legal counsel to help handle a case. These circumstances may include the following:

You Have Sustained Serious Injuries

In cases involving minor injuries, you may be able to negotiate with insurers without the help of an attorney due to the lower amount of compensation at stake. However, some cases may involve more serious injuries and disabilities that make calculating compensation more complex. If your injuries have impacted your life in more significant ways, you may be eligible for more compensation than what insurers want to pay. An attorney to help handle negotiations may increase your chances of getting full compensation. Your car accident lawyer will take all factors into consideration when determining the damages involved.

You Lost Wages Due to Time Off from Work

In some instances, individuals may need to miss work to recover following an accident. This can culminate in lost wages. If you missed any work because of your injuries, you should consider hiring an attorney to help seek compensation for lost income.

You’re Unable to Pay for Medical Care

More serious injuries will lead to higher payments to cover medical treatment, which could wind up being more than what you’re able to pay. However, insurance companies should pay enough compensation to help cover these costs. If you find that you’re unable to pay and insurers aren’t paying enough compensation for treatment, an attorney can help ensure that you receive fast and fair compensation to cover your medical costs.

You Need Help Negotiating with Insurers

If your accident involves substantial damages or complicated circumstances, you may not be able to negotiate effectively with insurers on your own. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters aren’t on the victim’s side in a car accident case. They want to minimize payouts as much as possible and will often attempt to reach the lowest settlement that the claimant will accept. Even if the initial offer seems like a high amount, you may be able to recover more based on the damages you sustained. This is why you should consult with an attorney to discuss the options available to you.

What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?

If you’re new to the concept of hiring an attorney, you might be asking, “what does a car accident lawyer do?” When working with an attorney, you can benefit in a number of ways. An accident lawyer will help you:

  • Understand your legal rights following a crash
  • Negotiate with insurers to recover a fair settlement
  • Collect evidence to support your claim, including medical records, witness statements, and police reports
  • Calculate all the damages involved, including economic and non-economic damages
  • Provide representation in court if the case goes to trial
  • Prepare you for a deposition when necessary

Ultimately, a car accident lawyer can help navigate nearly every aspect of a car accident case. In the process, victims can focus more on making a full recovery while their attorneys handle all the legal details of their case. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?

Every accident case has a statute of limitations, which gives victims a limited amount of time to file a claim or lawsuit. Once this time limit passes, victims may be unable to file for compensation. Even if they are still able to file, they may have a much more difficult time recovering full compensation.

The statute of limitations for car accidents varies from state to state. In Illinois, victims have two years to file a claim. The sooner you reach out to an attorney and prepare to file, the higher your chances will be of getting full compensation if you have a valid claim.

How Much Is It to Hire a Car Accident Attorney?

You may also wonder, “how much does a car accident lawyer cost?” A reliable car accident attorney, like other personal injury lawyers, typically works on a contingency fee basis. This means the attorney won’t charge the client any amount of money until they’ve reached a settlement and the client has received compensation. 

Lawyers who work on contingency will charge a fee comprising a percentage of the settlement amount. This helps ensure that the attorney works in favor of the client, seeing as they don’t receive payment unless they succeed with the case. This is also why an attorney will want to meet with the prospective client in a free consultation to discuss their case and determine whether it’s worth handling. 

Don’t Delay When Hiring a Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one gets involved in a car accident and you believe you’ll need to get a lawyer for a car accident, it’s important to schedule a consultation as soon as possible. Doing so will help you initiate your case and avoid exceeding the statute of limitations.

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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