You need to know the answers to some important questions before your car crash claim can proceedYou have no choice but to look forward and to do what you can to minimize the damage now that a car accident has already occurred. As you focus on your physical recovery, you must also protect your legal recovery. To that end, you need to know how an Illinois car accident case works and what type of damages you may be able to recover if you are successful in your car accident settlement negotiations or at trial.

Seven Things You Need to Know About Illinois Car Accident Cases

Before you decide to file a car accident case, you should know the answers to the following questions:

  • Will I meet the legal deadlines for filing a claim? This is known as the statute of limitations. Illinois limits the amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit, and if you fail to file your case within that time then you are very unlikely to recover damages in your case.
  • Do I have standing to sue? Only certain people are able to sue after an accident. If you have been injured then you having standing to sue. You may also be able to bring a case on behalf of your minor child or anyone in your legal custody. Additionally, you may have standing to sue if you have a certain relationship with someone who died in the crash.
  • Was I at fault for any part of the accident and, if so, how will that impact my claim? If you are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident then you may be able to recover damages, but your damages may be reduced by the percentage of the crash that is legally attributable to you.
  • Will I need an attorney? You are not legally required to hire an attorney to represent you in an Illinois car accident case, but there are benefits to hiring an experienced lawyer to help you with your claim.
  • Will I need expert witnesses to prove my case? Not every case requires expert witnesses. Whether your case would benefit from an expert—and what type of expert that may be—is something to discuss with an experienced lawyer.
  • How should I deal with the insurance adjuster after my crash? Insurance adjusters are looking to maximize insurance company profits by minimizing your recovery. That is their job. Anything that you say to them may be used against you. Accordingly, it is important to be very cautious about talking with an insurance adjuster after a crash.
  • How do settlements work? You will likely have to work to reach a fair settlement with an insurance company. Find out how the settlement process works so that you can take appropriate actions to protect your recovery.

The answers to these questions may help you decide whether or not you should purse a case, but before you can make an educated decision you need to know what you may receive if your case is successful.

What You May Recover in a Car Accident Case

Typically, damages in an Illinois car accident case may include your past, current, and future…

  • Medical expenses. Your hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, doctors’ visits, assistive medical devices, and other healthcare expenses that were reasonable and necessary to treat your accident injuries should be compensated.
  • Out-of-pocket costs. Your property damage and other bills you incur because of the accident—including such things as household help or transportation expenses—may be compensated in an accident settlement or verdict.
  • Lost income. If you are hurt and you are unable to work at all, unable to work the same hours you did prior to the crash, or unable to work the same job or earn the same income, then you may be entitled to compensation. Compensation may include lost payments from clients or customers, lost wages, lost benefits, lost bonuses, and any other income you could not earn because of your injury.
  • Pain and suffering. Physical pain and emotional suffering are significant damages. They may be difficult to value, but it is possible to do so and you may recover damages for your pain and suffering after an accident injury.

If you can prove that any other damages were caused by another driver’s negligence then you may also be able to recover for those losses. To learn more about the road ahead and what you can do to protect your rights after a crash, please download a FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Automobile Accident Victims, today.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.