A motor vehicle accident can leave you in pain and unsure of what to do next. You may wonder if you have to go to court for a Chicago car accident or if you need to hire an experienced car accident lawyer to help you with your lawsuit. Based on the severity of your car accident injuries, negotiations with insurance adjusters, you may or may not need to go to court. You’re never required to hire a lawyer, but some car crash victims hire legal representation so they can focus on their recovery.
Most car accident insurance claims are typically resolved before a lawsuit is filed, but not all car accident cases are settled outside of court. Maybe both parties cannot agree on who is at fault for the accident. They may agree the victim was injured but disagree on the amount of compensation the victim should receive for their bodily injuries and losses.
Do you have questions about going to court following a car accident? Let the seasoned car accident lawyers at CCAL explain your rights. For a free initial consultation call our Chicago law office today at (312) 300-2515.
Do You Have To Go To Court After a Car Accident in Chicago?
Fortunately, you may settle your vehicle accident claim with your insurance company, which means you won’t have to take your car accident claim to trial. Although Illinois is a fault state, so the at-fault party is financially liable, your insurer can help.
After a motor vehicle crash, you must notify the insurance company. You must report that there was an accident and that the other driver is liable, then you can file an insurance claim. You can file your claim through your insurer, as a first-party claim, or through the other party’s insurer, as a third-party claim.
In both cases, the at-fault party will cover your damages. Even though you file with your own insurance provider, they may pursue compensation from the other insurance company to get your losses fully covered.
However, not every car accident claim can be handled so easily. It’s essential to note that insurance companies aren’t always on your side. Often, they may prioritize making profits over your recovery. Here, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit in court. The other insurance company may refuse to pay your insurance company the amount owed, or your insurer may use dishonest tactics to avoid paying the full settlement you’re entitled to.
If the insurance company representatives are unwilling to help when they should, you’ll need to take your claim to trial in Chicago. Your accident claim will give you the opportunity to fight back against them. However, you’ll need help to succeed. Make sure you hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you recover maximum compensation.
Is It Better To Settle or Go To Court For a Chicago Car Accident?
According to statistics, nearly 95 percent of personal injury lawsuits settle before trial, and because a substantial number of personal injury cases arise from auto accidents, these numbers hold true for motor vehicle accident lawsuits, too.
Even though in most car crash cases the plaintiff sues the negligent driver, it’s rare for the defendant to pay out any judgment if the plaintiff wins. Instead, it’s the defendant’s auto insurance company that pays. Often, it's in the insurer's interest to resolve a car accident claim as soon as possible.
However, just because it's in the insurer’s best interest to resolve an auto accident claim quickly through settlement, this doesn't mean it's in your best interest to do so too. Insurance companies are in the business of paying as little as possible after a car accident. Their goal is to pay a litigant as little as possible, get the release signed, and close the car accident claim. So, you shouldn’t accept any settlement until you understand the full scope and extent of your damages, and until the insurance adjuster comes to the negotiating table with an offer that covers your losses.
Court trials are unpredictable. Anything can happen, no matter how strong a case the injured party or at-fault driver has. To avoid unexpected outcomes and to control their risks, plaintiffs and defendants and their respective insurance companies and attorneys will look to settle a car accident lawsuit. Although neither party may get exactly what it wants, settlement brings certainty. The plaintiff avoids walking away with nothing, and the defendant avoids a possible massive verdict for the injured person.
What Damages Can You Claim in a Car Accident Case in Illinois?
When you file an auto accident claim, you can seek two types of damages: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the tangible expenses you suffered because of the car crash, while non-economic damages are the non-monetary and emotional losses.
Economic damages include past and future medical expenses, lost income during your recovery time, disability accommodations, property damage, physical therapy, and even transportation expenses.
Non-economic damages include:
- Loss of future earning ability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Disfigurement because of your personal injuries, and
- Physical and mental pain and suffering.
Sometimes, you may also recover punitive damages. Judges award punitive damages to punish the liable party for their willful and wanton, intentional, or fraudulent behavior. For example, drunk driving or distracted driving may make up punitive damages in motor vehicle accident lawsuits.
Calculating the financial losses you’re entitled to can be difficult, but your motor vehicle attorney from CCAL will help you establish which damages you’re entitled to and come up with an estimated amount to gauge settlement offers against.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Claim in Chicago?
In Illinois, all civil lawsuits must adhere to a statute of limitations, or a time limit by which you must file your claim, or the judge will probably dismiss your case. Statutes of limitations may seem restrictive, but they help preserve evidence and witness testimony.
You have two years from the date of your crash to file your claim in Chicago. If your car accident case involves a county or city government agency, you have only one year to file. Contact our experienced Chicago auto accident attorneys today at (312) 300-2515 to make sure you file your claim before this deadline lapses.
Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
After an automobile crash, you have many things to do and think about. You may have to seek medical care, you may need to repair or replace your vehicle, and you have to worry about your current loss of income. However, you need not worry about receiving the financial compensation you deserve.
Our experienced car accident attorneys have handled hundreds of auto accident cases in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, and throughout Chicago. We'll help you through every step of the legal process and stand by you when you need it most.
A car accident attorney will protect your legal right to sue. If you sustained bodily injuries or your property was damaged in a car crash, you may pursue financial compensation from the at-fault party. However, you must treat litigation as a privilege because in Chicago you’ll lose your right to sue if you don’t meet the deadlines specified by Illinois law.
Our Chicago auto accident lawyers will make sure your car accident case moves forward and follows the important legal deadline. This deadline is called the statute of limitations, and it protects your right to sue. It’s essential to note that a pending insurance claim won’t “pause” this legal deadline. Thus, after a car collision, it’s best to hire a Chicago auto accident lawyer as soon as possible.
An auto accident lawyer will prove liability. Personal injury lawyers are trained in determining liability and proving negligence. The skilled auto accident lawyers at CCAL have handled thousands of car accident cases in Cook County, Lake County, Dupage County, Kane County, and throughout Illinois, and they have the extensive experience you need to recover a fair settlement.
It’s not wise to establish liability on your own. Even though you were involved in the motor vehicle collision, you may not have an objective and factual stance on the events of the crash. An experienced attorney can help you prove negligence through the following four elements:
- Duty of Care: You and your car crash attorney must prove that the at-fault driver owed you a legal duty of care. In the event of a car crash, the legal duty of care would have been to drive with reasonable care and to adhere to traffic laws, just like every other driver.
- Breach of Duty of Care: If the liable driver was speeding, impaired by drugs or alcohol, or was unfit to drive, your auto accident lawyer will argue that they breached their duty of reasonable care.
- Causation: To win a car accident negligence case, your automobile accident attorney must prove that the at-fault party’s actions directly caused your injury.
- Damages: Also, you must prove that you were injured because of the defendant’s actions.
Negotiating a Settlement
According to a study by Nolo, 9 out of 10 people who hired a lawyer received a settlement compared to the 5 out of 10 who negotiated on their own. The same study also found that car crash victims who hired an attorney received an average compensation of $77,600 in settlement compared to $17,600 for those who handled their own crash cases, so it’s worth hiring a lawyer for your car accident case.
Also, you’re more likely to recover more money with a motor vehicle crash lawyer because they understand the tricks that insurance adjusters and insurance company representatives may use to shirk their legal responsibility.
Representation in Court
Further, lawyers are better judges of when to stop negotiations and go to trial. If you’re representing yourself, you may jump the gun and make the mistake of going to trial without preparation, which could cost you money, time, and effort.
Self-representation in court is like driving a vehicle with no steering wheel – you may know what you need to do, but you have no control over what will happen.
Call Our Experienced Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Today for Legal Advice!
You can’t control what reckless drivers do. But you can take control of your life after a motor vehicle collision by filing an auto accident lawsuit. The road to recovery begins by contacting an auto accident attorney who will protect your rights and fight fiercely to recover seek the fair compensation you need to cover your property damage, medical expense, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other financial damages.
The personal injury lawyers in Chicago at CCAL have decades of experience helping injured victims and their families in Chicago and throughout Illinois recover insurance settlement, and we can help you too. To schedule a free initial consultation, call our personal injury law firm today at (312) 300-2515, or fill our contact form to learn how we can help.