How Much is My Car Accident Claim Worth?

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

How Much is My Car Accident Claim Worth?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

After a car accident, you might know that someone else was to blame. You might be certain that you can file a claim against the other driver’s auto insurance policy to recover compensation for your losses. However, how do you know how much compensation to request?

This is a common question because it is not always easy to answer. Below are some factors that help to calculate car accident claims. The best way to get information about your specific case is to contact Malman Law directly for a free case evaluation.

The Medical Care You Needed

The primary component of a car accident claim is medical expenses. If you suffered injuries in a crash caused by another person and needed treatment, you should not be responsible for paying ANY of your medical bills. The driver who caused the accident should be the one to do so. This means your claim should include all medical costs you incurred in relation to your injuries.

Medical bills might include:

  1. Ambulance transportation
  2. Emergency room care and diagnostics
  3. Hospitalization or time in the ICU
  4. Surgical procedures and aftercare
  5. Medication
  6. Medical equipment
  7. Physical and occupational therapy
  8. Home health care

In addition, some people might still be undergoing treatment long after an insurance claim is resolved. This means you also have to consider your future medical expenses. But how do you prove bills that you have not received yet?

Your car accident lawyer can consult with experts who can advise on the medical treatment you will likely require and the associated costs of that treatment.

Lost Earnings

Car accidents can disrupt your life in many ways – including keeping you out of work. Whether you miss a few days or years, you deserve to recover financially from any lost income. You can submit pay statements and other records to prove this amount.

If your injury caused a disability that prevents you from working in the future, you can also seek compensation for future lost earnings. If you needed a lower-paying job because of your injury, you should recover for the difference in earning power you now have. Future lost earnings can also require a consultation with economic and occupational experts to prove your losses.

Intangible Losses

Too many people overlook these losses, as their focus is on the financial expenses they face. However, injuries can affect your life in many different ways, and for severe injuries, you might be able to seek compensation for:

  1. Pain and suffering
  2. Loss of enjoyment of life
  3. Mental and emotional trauma
  4. Permanent disability or disfigurement
  5. Loss of consortium (through your spouse)

An attorney can help you determine how to value and calculate these intangible damages so that you can receive the total amount you deserve for your claim.

Proving Negligence

In any accident, an insurance company will investigate who is at fault. When an injured driver is pursuing damages, it must be proven that the other driver was negligent, causing the accident.

Negligence means that a person failed to do something that anyone of reasonable care would have done. Simply stated, when a person behaves negligently, they are behaving carelessly.

To find one party negligent, the following requirements must be satisfied:

  • Duty: the defendant (person being sued) had a duty of care to the other driver
  • Breach: the defendant behaved in a way to breach that duty of care, either through an act or omission
  • Causation: the injury to the other party (the plaintiff) was a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s actions
  • Damages: as a result of the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff has suffered injuries or losses

Illinois Car Insurance Requirements

Each state has its own minimum requirements regarding the car insurance each driver has to carry.

The following are the minimum requirements for car insurance in Illinois:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person in an accident
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury or death in an accident
  • $20,00 for property damage per accident
  • Covers damage to another person’s car, fences, buildings, utility poles, signs, and/or trees

Drivers who caused another driver’s injuries must be held financially responsible. You comply with the law if you carry these minimum amounts of car insurance as an Illinois driver. However, these minimum coverages often do not cover the medical expenses and losses someone can suffer in a car collision. You may be entitled to higher compensation based on the severity of your injuries.

Illinois is a Tort State

According to the 2020 Illinois Department of Transportation, 58,958 passenger car crashes resulted in injuries and 689 fatal car crashes in Illinois. Unfortunately, the number of fatal car accidents in the state increased dramatically in 2021.

Illinois is a tort or “at-fault” state, meaning that whoever is responsible for causing a car accident must pay for any resulting injuries or property damage. This means you will not file a claim with your car insurance company if you do not share any blame.

Since Illinois follows a standard known as modified comparative negligence, as long as you were 50% or less at fault for the accident, you can still recover compensation. If you are found 30% liable for the accident, the other driver would only be responsible for 70% of your losses.

Taking a Settlement Offer v. Filing a Lawsuit

Never accept an insurance company’s settlement offer without consulting with an attorney. The insurance company’s goal is to pay out as little as possible. The first offer made by an insurance company will not account for your future medical expenses or lost time from work. The initial settlement offer is usually about 40% of your case worth.

In a settlement offer, you may accept an amount that does not entirely compensate you for your injuries or losses. However, taking your car accident claim to court can be risky. If you have a bench trial, you must convince a judge that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. In a jury trial, you must convince twelve peers that the other driver is liable for the collision.

A knowledgeable Chicago car accident lawyer can help you with your car accident claim. They will have the skills to negotiate the best settlement with the insurance company or advise you to bring your case to court.

At Malman Law, we understand that a car accident happens in the blink of an eye. A split-second decision can change your life forever. We will not stand for the harm caused by someone else to threaten your financial future.

Speak with a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you need to file a car accident claim following an injury, you want the assistance of Malman Law. Call (312) 629-0099 or contact us online to consult with a legal team member.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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