Car accident lawsuits are inherently confusing. This reason alone is why accident victims are encouraged to hire a personal injury attorney to assist them with their case.
If you have been injured in a car accident, regardless of the stage you are in, you are most likely going to have a few questions. To ensure that you get as much information as possible upfront, we have compiled a list of these common questions, along with answers, for you to review.
These questions and answers do not supplement actual legal advice. Therefore, it is best to consult with a personal injury lawyer any time you have questions about a potential lawsuit. While waiting for your consultation, here is a list of the common questions and answers other victims have requested in the past.
The insurance company has requested a written statement – do I have to provide one?
The answer will depend on which insurance company is asking for this statement. If it is your own insurance company, you may be required to provide a statement. However, it is still within your right to request that you consult an attorney before doing so. Realize that you are not required by law to furnish a written statement, and you should be cautious about doing so until you have an attorney representing your case.
After a car accident, do I really need an attorney?
Insurance companies have attorneys working for them, and they work on the assumption that you will not hire your own attorney. They fight to make sure you do not get the settlement you deserve for your injuries. Therefore, it is always best to hire an attorney. An attorney does cost money, but legal representation ensures that you receive the compensation you deserve.
How much does a personal injury attorney cost?
Every attorney charges different fees, but most will work on a contingency basis. This means that the attorneys are only paid if they win your case. Therefore, there is not much to lose when hiring an attorney.
Contingency fees are a percentage of the settlement recovered by the attorney. To find out what your attorney may charge, you will want to review the agreement and see what contingency percentage is requested.
What damages am I eligible to collect on?
Every case is different; some damages do not apply to all cases. In general, most victims can sue for damages that include medical costs, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of personal property during the accident, loss of enjoyment, lost wages, and care for children.
Again, it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney to find out which damages your case qualifies for, and how likely you are to receive compensation for those damages.
Should I contact the police after a car accident?
Yes, you should. You are required by law to report a car accident to the local authorities, even if the damage is minor. The police will then instruct you on what to do next. Sometimes, if the damage is minor, the officer will give you a case number over the phone and then you will be allowed to leave the scene. Other times, you must wait for police to arrive and do an official police report at the scene of the accident. Do not leave the scene until you have contacted the police and have been given permission. Doing so could constitute a hit and run, even if you were not the one who caused the accident.
What information should I gather at the accident scene?
If you are seriously injured, you may not be able to gather all of the necessary information. However, do your best to collect the following:
- The date, time, and location of the accident.
- The injuries that you suffered, including minor ones.
- The insurance information of the driver who caused the incident.
- The names of all parties involved.
- The names of all witnesses for the incident.
- A description of your vehicle and the other party’s vehicle, including license plate information (if you can obtain that).
How do I know that the other driver was at-fault for the accident?
Sometimes, a car accident is not as straightforward and determining fault requires an expert. Common activities that are acts of negligence can include:
- Not paying attention to the road’s current conditions, such as speeding during a snowstorm.
- Texting or talking on the phone while driving.
- Speeding or driving recklessly.
- Not using proper signals or failing to obey the rules of the road.
- Aggressive driving behaviors.
- Defective vehicle equipment that leads to an accident.
- Not maintaining the vehicle.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescription or over-the-counter medications).
What steps should I take a few days after the accident?
Immediately after the accident, you know to seek medical attention. However, for the days following the accident, there are some steps you should take, including:
- Get a copy of the accident report from police or request that a friend collect it for you.
- Receive a property damage valuation from your own automobile insurance company. This valuation estimates the damage to your vehicle and how much it may cost to repair.
- Write down your visits to the doctor or hospital, the date and time you were seen, the medical professional treating you, your symptoms, and the treatments you have completed. Also, any medications or treatment plans created by your physician should be recorded.
- Write down a list of all out-of-pocket expenses, as well as keeping copies of the receipts.
- Record how many days of work you missed, how many hours, and approximately how much money that cost you.
How will I pay for medical treatments while waiting for a settlement?
Usually, your automobile insurance or health insurance will pay for the treatments while you await your settlement. However, they may then place a lien on the settlement to be reimbursed for costs associated with the accident.
When do I know it is the right time to settle?
You should never settle until medical treatments are concluded and you have spoken with a personal injury attorney. An attorney can ensure that your costs are covered for the full extent of your injuries. After all, if you settle before knowing the full extent, you may receive significantly less than you should have.
Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you were injured in an auto accident, the team at Malman Law is here to help. Schedule your no-obligation consultation with our team today. We can answer your questions, help put your mind at ease, and advocate for your right to compensation while you focus on recovering.
Call or contact us today – we are here 24 hours per day, seven days per week.