If you have been injured in a car accident in Chicago, there are some important facts you need to know. Here is a list of 25 key pieces of information prepared by the Chicago car accident lawyers at Malman Law:
1. You Should Always Call 911 After a Car Accident in Chicago.
Whenever you are involved in a car accident, you should always call 911. Tell the dispatcher where you are, and let him or her know that you need a police officer to respond to the scene of the accident. If necessary, ask for an ambulance to be dispatched to the accident scene as well.
2. You Should Also Always Seek Medical Attention.
Even if you do not believe that you need to ride to the hospital in an ambulance, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible. The forces involved in a car accident can cause severe trauma, and you may need treatment even if you currently feel fine.
3. It is Important to Retain as Much Information about the Accident as Possible.
Be sure to keep any information you recorded at the scene of the accident. This includes any photos and video you took with your phone, as well as the other driver’s vehicle information and any witnesses’ contact information. As soon as you can, write down as many details about the accident as you can remember.
4. You Should Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company.
You will need to report the accident to your insurance company. You can file a claim using your insurance company’s phone app (if it has one), or you can call the claims phone number on the back of your insurance card.
5. You Should Not Give Your Insurance Company a Recorded Statement.
When reporting the accident to your insurer, you should strictly stick to the facts. Report when and where the accident happened, but do not say anything about how you think the accident happened or who you believe might have been to blame. If you give the insurance company a recorded statement, it will only use this statement against you.
6. There are Other Mistakes You Need to Avoid as Well.
In addition to giving a recorded statement to your insurance company, there are some other mistakes you need to avoid as well. Learn more: What are the Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident in Chicago?
7. Most Car Accidents are the Result of Driver Negligence.
Driving mistakes are the most-common cause of car accidents in Chicago. In legal terms, a mistake that leads to a car accident is known as “negligence.” If someone else’s negligence is responsible for your injuries, you are entitled to just compensation under Illinois law.
8. Driver Negligence Can Take Many Different Forms.
Common forms of driver negligence include speeding, running red lights and stop signs, merging without looking, distracted driving, drunk driving, and falling asleep behind the wheel. In recent years, texting while driving has grown to become one of the leading causes of serious and fatal collisions.
9. Proving Driver Negligence (or Another Form of Fault) Requires a Thorough Investigation.
Regardless of the specific type of negligence that is to blame for your injuries, you will need proof in order to recover just compensation. In order to collect this proof, it is imperative that you hire a law firm to conduct an investigation as soon as possible.
10. You Should Never Assume that You were at Fault in a Car Accident.
No matter what happened, you should never assume that you were at fault (or even partially at fault) in a car accident. There are far too many potential factors for you to reach a sound conclusion until you have the results of your law firm’s investigation.
11. Even if You Were Partially at Fault, You Could Still have a Claim for Financial Compensation.
Furthermore, even if you were partially at fault, you could still be entitled to partial compensation. Since car accidents often cause substantial losses, even recovering a portion of your losses could still mean securing a sizable financial settlement or verdict.
12. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payment (MedPay) Insurance Can Provide No-Fault Coverage for Some of Your Expenses.
If you have PIP or MedPay under your auto insurance policy, this should provide no-fault coverage for a portion of your medical expenses and lost wages. This is called “no-fault” coverage because your insurance company is supposed to pay regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
13. Securing PIP or MedPay Coverage Is Not Always as Easy as it Should Be.
However, securing PIP or MedPay coverage can still be a challenge. Your insurance company may try to deny payment (or pay you as little as possible), so it is a good idea to let your law firm handle your no-fault insurance claim as well.
14. Most Successful Car Accident Claims Result in Insurance Settlements.
Whether you are limited to filing a PIP or MedPay claim or you are entitled to full fault-based compensation, your claim is likely to result in an insurance settlement. The vast majority of successful insurance claims settle without going to trial.
15. But, Some Car Accident Claims Go to Trial.
But, when you file a car accident claim, it is important to understand that going to trial may be necessary. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, you will need a lawyer who is prepared to fight for your rights in court.
16. In Order to Maximize Your Financial Recovery, You Need to Know the Full Extent of Your Losses.
Before you even think about settling, you need to know what your claim is worth. In Illinois, car accident victims are entitled to recover all of their financial and non-financial losses.
17. Your Car Accident Claim Should Cover Your Future Losses in Addition to the Losses You have Incurred to Date.
Your claim for compensation should include your current and future losses. In fact, in cases involving severe traumatic injuries, accident victims’ future losses will typically exceed their losses through the date of their settlement or verdict.
18. Once You Settle, Your Car Accident Claim is Over.
Once you settle, your claim is over. As a result, before you accept an insurance check, you need to speak with your lawyer to make sure you are not waiving your right to additional compensation.
19. The Insurance Companies Do Not have to (and Will Not) Inform You of What Constitutes a Just Settlement.
No matter what they say on television, the insurance companies are not there to help you. When you file a claim, their only goal is to settle your claim for as little as possible.
20. Illinois has a Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims.
Under Illinois law, you have two years from the date of your car accident to file a claim for just compensation. Once this “statute of limitations” expires, you will not be able to file a claim.
21. Waiting Too Long to File a Claim Can Jeopardize Your Financial Recovery.
While Illinois’s statute of limitations for car accident claims may be two years, you do not want to wait any longer than necessary to file your claim. To protect your legal rights, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
22. There are Many Ways an Experienced Lawyer Can Help with Your Car Accident Claim.
From helping you choose a doctor to calculating your future losses and dealing with the insurance companies, there are many ways an experienced lawyer can assist with your claim.
23. It Should Cost You Nothing Out of Pocket to Hire a Lawyer for Your Claim.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you, you should not be asked to pay anything out of pocket. With contingency-fee representation, you only pay if you win.
24. Your Lawyer Should Be Willing to Come to You if You are Injured or Unable to Travel to Downtown Chicago.
If you need to speak with a lawyer but are unable to get downtown, your lawyer should be willing to come to you. At Malman Law, we routinely meet with new clients all over the Chicago area.
25. Scheduling a Free Initial Consultation is the First Step on the Road to Recovery.
To protect your legal rights after a car accident in Chicago, your first step is simply to schedule a free initial consultation. At Malman Law, members of our legal team are available to speak with you 24/7, and we can act quickly to make sure we have the information we need to win the financial compensation you deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer at Malman Law
Were you injured in a car accident in the Chicago area? If so, we encourage you to contact us immediately to discuss your case. To speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at Malman Law, call 888-625-6265 or get in touch online today.