If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident, the emotional and financial burden can sometimes feel worse than the injuries themselves. With legal advice from an experienced lawyer, you may recover compensation to help with the costs of your injuries, and make up for your pain and suffering.
A fundamental aspect of moving past this accident is talking to an attorney who can inform you about your legal options. With help from one of our Naperville car accident lawyers, you’ll realize that the legal process isn’t as challenging and you’ll be in a better position to make smart choices that’ll lead to a more favorable outcome.
To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us today at (312) 300-2515, or chat with us online to see how we can help.
How Do I Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?
According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 319,146 crashes in 2018, and 21.1% of those accidents caused personal injuries, and less than 1% resulted in fatal crashes. The earlier you can settle your car accident claim, the sooner you can start focusing on your recovery journey.
However, just like most people, you’re wondering if hiring an attorney is necessary. Here’s how you can settle your case without a lawyer so you can make the right decision for your needs and finances.
Evaluate the Value of Your Damages
Before you work on your settlement, make sure you have a clear picture of the damages you suffered. The damages go beyond physical damage to your car and any injuries you sustained. Add all the expenses you’ve incurred since the accident happened. Include everything from medical expenses and car repairs to lost income. Also, add future expenses to your total list of damages.
However, it’s crucial to note that establishing the exact total of your damages is daunting. So, you must think of every expense you have incurred to get the maximum settlement. There’s no harm in over demanding as long as you’re ready to justify your claims.
Talk to the Insurance Adjuster
Before you can work towards a settlement, you must speak with the insurance adjuster to find out what the insurance company will cover once you file your claim. They’ll look at your medical bills and any damage to your vehicle. With this information, they’ll calculate a payment that’s fair in their eyes. However, it’s rare for those payments to be enough right from the start. So, you must negotiate with the insurance company to get a fair settlement.
Draft Your Demand Letter
Once you know what the insurance company will pay, it’s time to draft your demand letter. This’ll give you the chance to explain why your settlement is too low and why you need more money. Explain the extent of your injuries and damages in as much detail as you can, and use actual numbers if possible. Also, explain why the at-fault party is responsible for the extra expense and why their insurance company should pay you what you’re owed.
However, it’s rare for the demand letter to be enough to increase your settlement, but it’s a starting point. It signals to the other party that you’re ready to fight. Once the other party receives your letter, they’ll submit a counter-offer. You’re free to accept the offer or continue negotiating. If you decide to continue negotiating, you may need to take your case to court to get the money you deserve.
Do Thorough Research Before Going to Court
Before going to court, do your research. Know the costs you’ll incur taking your case to court. There are court fees, administrative costs, and the potential for more lost income because you’ll spend time in court instead of at work.
If possible, settle your case out of court. However, if you decide to go to court, research the settlements other drives in your position received in previous car accident lawsuits. This’ll increase your chances of winning. After hearing your case, the judge will make a verdict on how much settlement you deserve. If you proved your claims well, that settlement will be higher than what the insurance company offered you initially. Once you accept the settlement, you’ll close your claim and move forward with your recovery.
Know that Self-Representation isn’t Always Best
Although it’s possible to represent yourself in court and settle a car accident lawsuit without hiring a lawyer, this isn’t always the best idea. Car accident attorneys have extensive experience and skills to help their clients get the maximum settlement. Even better, they can simplify the settlement process so you can get your compensation quickly. If you end up going to trial, an attorney can represent you and argue on your behalf against the at-fault party's experienced legal team.
Now that you know how to settle a car accident case without a lawyer, this doesn’t mean you should go it alone. Instead of trying to represent yourself, the legal team at CCAL can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Is Hiring a Naperville Car Accident Attorney Worth It?
Most people are reluctant to hire an attorney because of costs. Often, you hear about exorbitant attorney fees plus other paperwork expenses.
However, this shouldn’t be a concern in a personal injury case because personal injury lawyers charge on a contingency fee basis. Thus, you’ll only be billed a certain percentage of your settlement, when you recover your compensation. This percentage is standard across the industry, thus personal injury lawyer rates are more or less within the same range across the field.
This means you don’t risk a huge chunk of money when you hire an injury attorney. This motivates your attorney to handle your claim successfully because they’ll only get paid once you win your compensation.
This is perhaps the reason injury claimants with injury attorneys get bigger settlements. Research shows that personal injury claimants with attorneys received two to three times more than those without an attorney. This clearly shows that hiring a personal injury attorney is worth it.
How Much Money Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?
How much you can receive for pain and suffering is a complex question. The amount you can sue for pain and suffering depends on the following factors:
- Whether it’s an auto accident, workplace accident, or an injury suffered in a public place;
- The degree of permanent disability suffered from the injury;
- Whether there are multiple injuries;
- Whether the legislation applies.
If your injury suit lies under the motor vehicle, workplace, or public place accident regulation, the money you can sue for pain and suffering is capped.
When these caps were first introduced, they stated that the maximum amount an injured person could get for pain and suffering is $250, 000, and all injuries should be scaled back from this amount.
That amount increases yearly, but only slightly. For instance, a standard whiplash injury with an injury scale value of 8 increased from $12,530 in 2019 to $12,880 in 2020.
You’re likely to get the maximum amount you can for pain and suffering if you engage a car accident attorney. That’s because pain and suffering is complex to prove and you’ll need medical evidence to support your claims, including clinical records, reports, and test results.
Can I Sue If I wasn’t Injured in a Car Accident?
Car accident victims who don’t sustain any injuries in an auto accident may need to file a lawsuit to recover property damages and other related costs. This legal action is only necessary if there was significant damage to your car, but the insurer adjuster refuses to pay you to repair or replace it. Here, you must prove the other driver caused the accident and the damage to your car to pursue this type of case. Most personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations and can help you understand if this is a good option.
After most auto accidents, the injured person will file an insurance claim to recover compensation for the damages suffered. Often, this claim includes medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. However, if you were not injured, these damages won’t be available to you. But you can still file an insurance claim to hold the at-fault driver liable for your property damages, rental car costs, and other related expenses.
To hold the at-fault party liable for the repair or replacement of your vehicle, you must prove fault and negligence. This evidence requires proving that:
- The driver had a legal obligation to follow certain traffic rules;
- The driver failed to follow those rules and caused the accident;
- You suffered property damages because of the accident.
A Naperville car accident attorney can help you secure evidence to support your claims. Also, a lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. Your car accident lawyer will also help you calculate the value of your car and document other damages so you have solid evidence to negotiate for a fair settlement.
Contact a Naperville Car Accident Lawyer Today!
At Chicago Car Accident Lawyers, we fight for the rights of car accident victims throughout Chicago, Illinois. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, you’re likely concerned about getting quality medical care. However, being unable to go to work can affect your lifestyle, and the mounting medical and household bills can quickly become stressful. With a lot at stake, it’s crucial to have the powerful legal representation our Chicago car accident attorneys provide.