Car accidents may well be among the most unpredictable things in this world. One minute you’re driving along the highway and the next minute someone is pulling you out of your car and you have a bad concussion and blurring vision. You wake up in a hospital bed, with totally no clue how you made it there. You have a broken arm, blunt wound to your abdomen, with two broken ribs and you can hardly feel your legs. The police come in moments later after you wake up to take a statement and you hardly remember what happened.
These are among the many stories people have after experiencing an accident. After that, it’s all about the medical cost and bills. Most people do not have the cash to pay for the hospital charges which skyrocket each passing day. Medical bills can be from scheduled doctor’s appointments, physiotherapy, and medical treatment. Insurance companies are supposed to pay for compensation for injuries incurred during the accident as well car damages. However, most insurance companies would rather avoid paying for any insurance claim even if they are at fault party.
Should I hire a lawyer for a car accident? The answer is yes, you should. Going to court and representing yourself is totally allowed. Who knows you may even get a good settlement, but going into a courthouse without a car accident lawyer is risky. If you need a better personal injury claim settlement that can help you carter for medical fees, unemployment and sustain you during recovery, a car accident lawyer is your best bet.
The defendant’s lawyers are equipped and they have access to every professional by their side. They have doctors and forensic officers that enable them to make a case that aimed at reducing the amount of money they should pay you. However, with an experienced Chicago car accident attorney, you have a greater chance of getting higher compensation.
Experienced lawyers understand the laws and court procedures revolving around car accident cases. They have dedicated their lives to helping you in court as well as in out-of-court settlements. They carry out investigations beforehand, make the calls relevant and work towards you getting you a better settlement. They are keen on details and hence they are not easily surprised by tactics used by the defendant’s side.
What to do After a Car Accident
Accidents can cause a lot of confusion. After an accident, you are likely to not understand what has happened or where you are after regaining consciousness. However, in the situation where you are feeling well and you are able to quickly respond to the situation here are a few things you need to do.
The first step is to check for injuries. Check yourself first for any injuries you could have suffered as a result of the accident. Do you have any cuts or abrasions to your skin? Do you feel pain anywhere? Are you dizzy or feeling sick? Your health is the most important thing in such an occurrence. If you feel any of the above symptoms it is best to go to the hospital as quickly as possible.
The second step, check the safety of every passage with you in the car as well as the safety of the at-fault driver. By checking on them, you will get rid of any doubt that anyone has been hurt, and then you can proceed to check for the extent of damage to your car. Once you’re done check if there is any oil spillage on both your cars. Do not move the cars, they are evidence by themselves.
The third step, call the police. The police are the first point of contact. They are able to come and arrive at the scene of the accident faster and are equipped with other faculties such as the fire brigade and the ambulance. They also take the liberty of calling your family and informing them about the accident. The other step taken by the police is that they are able to come and take a record of the accident, document it for use by the court when it comes to insurance, and also show whose fault it was, hence it gives you an upper hand since it saves some paperwork.
The fourth step, call a personal injury lawyer. This is a crucial step. The lawyer can visit the site of the accident, take pictures, gather evidence, take phone numbers from witnesses who are willing to testify to the case, talk to an eye witness and get as much help as possible for your case. The lawyer on your behalf can talk to the insurance company about the accident, and notify them on your behalf. Since the lawyer knows what to say without taking the blame, it will help in building your case.
Gather as much evidence as you can even before you get in touch with your lawyer. Start by gathering information from the crowd. Collect all data from pictures to videos of the car accident and even phone numbers. This is important as it will help in strengthening your case. Note that the insurance company is liable for damage suffered after an accident.
Finally, go to the hospital for a check-up. Some people choose not to go for check-ups because they are either tired or don’t see the need to spend money for a check-up while they feel absolutely fine. After an accident, you should ensure that you visit a hospital so you go through a thorough check-up for any small yet fatal injuries. Your health should be your number one priority and hence going for a check-up not only proves useful in noting a problem but also helps in saving money when the condition has proven fatal, later after the accident. Many people may ignore minor injuries and they later develop into something more serious.
Aim For the Highest Compensation Possible
The sole purpose of insurance companies is to make a profit. They are purely profit-making businesses. They sell their ideas to you as their target market, using good market techniques they lure you on how you will receive compensation if you ever got into an accident, but immediately you get into one, they turn their backs on you. They aim to give you a low insurance compensation, by either showing you that you are not capable of getting highly compensated or by showing you that you were also at fault at the time of the accident.
They have a group of professionals all ready to implement their tactics and inform you that it is impossible to get good compensation. Some insurance companies try to drag the process so the injured party will be desperate enough to accept a low compensation.
What you need to know is that it is your right to get fair compensation. As a result of an injury, you have had to incur hospital bills, pay for trips to physiotherapy as well as pay for the sessions, you have been out of work due to a broken leg. Getting low-balled by insurance companies will only help you pay for immediate bills but it will not help you to take care of medical expenses in the long run. Hiring a good car accident lawyer can help you get enough coverage for food and finances for the spending you and your family have had to incur when you didn’t have a job.
An experienced car accident lawyer will be in charge of taking care of your needs. He will take every cost into consideration. They’ll consider the time that you are likely to take for you to recover, how long you may be out of work, cash that is used for transport to and from the hospital for medical care if there is any person employed to take care of your needs. The car accident lawyer will use all of the above information to help you get maximum compensation.
It is also important to know that a person represented by a car accident lawyer has a higher chance of receiving higher compensation than a person without legal representation. It has been proven that car accident lawyers who have experience representing their clients in court bring out the best of the case to the judge helping are able to get a favorable outcome.
Going into the Chicago court system without a lawyer may prove to be more expensive than you thought. It’s also important to note that some expenses come much later after the case has proceeded. This includes post-traumatic stress disorder may take some time to set in, minor injury costs that turn out to be major injuries, requiring admission, surgery, therapy, and a high cost of prescription drugs. All this may be very stressful for you, hence to curb all this, ensure that hiring a car accident lawyer is a priority to you.
Do Not Ignore Minor Injuries
Most people ignore a minor car accident. Many times they occur when a person is in a hurry and he or she wants to get home after a long day of work or is late for an interview. At such a time a person rarely thinks of the most important yet minute things, hence after being involved in an accident, you may postpone either making a complaint or end up not making a complaint at all. It is risky if you develop issues later on and want to file a car accident claim since it will be more difficult to prove that you developed injuries as a result of the accident.
Did you know that you are required to report every accident to the police, whether small or big? By not filing a report you are breaking the law and you are liable for a fine if not more than that.
The other most important thing is that when you report a case to the police it gives you a ground to claim compensation. Without informing the insurance company, you are not eligible for any insurance coverage.
Minor injuries may look minor but they can lead to very serious and threatening conditions. These conditions can include; internal bleeding, cracked bones, and even blunt object injuries that could cause conditions like fractured ribs. You also need to take care of medical bills that will be incurred as a result of physiotherapy and counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder. You are as well likely to incur charges for imaging and lab tests that would be often carried out as well as major and minor surgeries expenses.
At times an insurance company will ensure will make you an offer for compensation early on. While offering you compensation at the same time they will ensure that you receive a small amount of money to avoid charges that may present themselves later. Insurance companies have a lot of tricks up their sleeves but with the help of a lawyer, you can face them and have a positive outcome in your claim.
The Chicago injury attorney will calculate all charges that have been paid, that are still being paid and those may arise even later as a result of the accident. It is crucial as an accident victim to go to the hospital after any accident occurs so a thorough check on your body is carried out, and ensure that you are in great health. Even minor scratches and bruises are physical injuries that should be checked and treated.
The Insurance Company is Your Competitor
The first person that will be blamed for an accident will be the driver at fault. In reality, the driver caused the accident and you will be driving your frustration to the driver at fault, but this may be the wrong route. The focus should not be entirely on the driver, but rather the insurance company. The driver at fault has insured their car and you will be up against the insurance company in court.
The insurance company has great resources on their side to ensure that they make the best of this process. Their aim is to reduce your claim, by discrediting everything possible.
Having a lawyer on your side may balance the equation and ensure you get an even better chance of a higher settlement. Your lawyer will go head-on with the insurance company and negotiate on your behalf through mediation if possible. Negotiation can be requested by the court or parties may be willing to settle the issue out of court. Even after it has become impossible to get a good settlement during mediation, the lawyer can represent you in court and help defend your claim.
Mistakes People Make after Getting into an Accident
Here are some of the common mistakes people make.
Driving Away After an Accident
Driving away is not the best course of action after a minor car accident. When you drive away in such situations you make yourself liable and will face charges for a hit and run accident. You may be the driver not at fault but by driving away you may be charged with a court fine or even worse. By driving away you limit your chance of getting a proper case, the insurance company will use this against you and say that you caused the accident. Since there is no proof to say otherwise, ensure that you protect your interests, by remaining report the case to the police and informing your lawyer so they can help you further pursue the case.
Not Calling a Lawyer
When you decide to go through the case alone, you may put yourself in a very difficult situation. The defendant can corner you and make you think that you have no option. An experienced car accident lawyer will help you get a good settlement since they understand how such cases work and they have both the knowledge and expertise. Ensure that your lawyer takes the step to call the insurance company on your behalf. This way you remove the direct contact between the insurance company and you.
Never Accept the First Deal
Most individuals would choose a deal if it fits into what they wanted. Let’s say they wanted a certain amount and the insurance company offered that it only feels right to accept the offer and end the process. But no, for the insurance company to give a certain amount as the first deal, it means that they know you are way above that. Be mindful of body language and avoid showing interest in the first deal. Instead, remain neutral.
Not Going for a Hospital Check Up
You should consider your health. You can get into an accident but due to the adrenaline levels, you realize later that you have a persistent chest pain that has worsened after some time.
At our firm we handle cases just like yours. Give our Cook County car accident attorneys a call and schedule an initial consultation. We would love to listen to your case and answer all your car accident claims questions.