Here, we provide general responses to some of the most common questions we receive from clients about auto accidents. To get more specific information about your auto accident in Illinois, you can also contact Serpico, Petrosino, DiPiero & O'Shea, Ltd. to schedule a free initial consultation. You can do so by filling out our online form or calling (312)-207-0000.
What Types of Auto Accidents Are There?
The types of auto accidents are the same pretty much anywhere, and they include single car accidents or collisions between other vehicles, people, property, or animals.
- Single auto accident
- Multi-car accident
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Hit and run accidents
- Rideshare accidents
- Public transit accidents
- Wildlife-vehicle collisions
- Car accidents involving pets
- Car accidents involving children
How Do I Get Compensation for an Auto Accident?
One of the main things that accident victims have to worry about is being fairly compensated for their injuries. There are two main ways that this will generally happen, and each has its own pros and cons.
In an auto accident, resolving a case in a settlement means accepting the amount of money that an insurance company offers. One of the main benefits of handling a case this way is that it will typically end a case much quicker than going through the court system. In addition, a client and their attorney have a good deal of power during this process–they can negotiate until they get the amount they want and reject any settlement that isn't acceptable.
Going to Court
If a victim doesn't receive a fair settlement offer, they may need to file a lawsuit to get their compensation. Lawsuits may result in a higher payout, but they typically take much longer, and there is no guarantee that a court will side with you.
After a Car Collision in Illinois, Who Do I Sue?
There are many parties who might be liable for your injuries, and ultimately it will depend on the facts of your specific case. An experienced lawyer will be able to help determine who the best person or people are to seek compensation from.
If the other driver was driving under the influence or failing to obey the rules of the road, they could potentially be held liable. Additionally, a car manufacturer could be held liable if their car malfunctioned, and in some cases, a government entity could even be held liable if the conditions on the road are what causes a crash.
Should I Release Medical Records to Another Driver's Insurance Adjuster?
Generally, it is important to remember that the other insurance adjuster involved in the case wants to pay you as little as possible. While they may ultimately need to see your records, they only need to see specific records pertaining to your accident. If records are not necessary, but the insurance company receives them, they could use any health information against you. An attorney can help edit this request to ensure that only records needed are released.
Further, it is always important to have an attorney with you when you speak to your own insurance company. You want to give only the facts. Your own insurer has its own company as its priority, too, and so it also wants to prevent a payout. This is especially true when you need to file a first-party claim with your own insurance.
How Much Money Can I Get from an Auto Accident Claim?
This is a very popular question -- everyone wants to know how much they could get from their auto accident claim in Illinois. Unfortunately, one answer to this question does not exist. Any settlement or jury award will be based on the unique facts and circumstances of your case. Settlements can range anywhere from hundreds of dollars to millions of dollars or more. It also depends on the attorney you hire. Some are more inclined to settle as quickly as possible while others are willing to fight at all costs to ensure you receive maximum compensation.
If I Don't Feel Hurt after an Auto Accident, Do I Have to See a Doctor?
Certain injuries might not present symptoms immediately after an accident, and getting to a medical professional can catch those injuries. In addition, an opposing attorney or insurance adjuster might try to argue that a delay in seeking medical treatment means that a victim's injuries were not actually from the accident. Going to the doctor after an accident can cut against these kinds of arguments.
What Should I Do after an Auto Accident?
First and foremost, you should contact emergency services and seek medical attention. But you also want to:
- Exchange information with the other parties to the accident, which includes names, insurance, driver's license, phone numbers.
- Gather evidence, like pictures and video of the scene, the surrounding location, the vehicles, property damage, injuries (if any).
- Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses as well as a brief recorded statement, if you are able to do so because their recollection will be best on the scene and preservation of it will be best if recorded either in writing or by video.
- Consult with an attorney so that you can obtain a good understanding of whether you have a compensable case and how to go about pursuing what you are legally owed.
What Should I Not Do After an Auto Accident?
In juxtaposition to what you should do if in a car collision, here is what you should not do.
- You should never leave the scene of an accident. If you leave a scene, especially when someone is injured, it is a hit and run, a criminal offense. You must stay with your vehicle and contact emergency personnel if someone is injured.
- You should not leave your vehicle where it can pose a risk to others. If you can, move the vehicle to a safe location. If you cannot move it on your own, contact someone who can.
- You should not ignore calling 911. Even when no one is injured, you should still contact 911. The police will investigate and write a report that can later be used to help identify liability.
- Do not forget to exchange information. Try not to let fear or anxiety get the best of you. You really need to obtain contact and insurance information from the other party involved in the collision. Insurance will be critical to recovery of compensation.
- Do not underestimate your injuries. Some injuries are delayed (like whiplash) while other injuries may not seem serious (like bruising as there may be internal bleeding). You should get checked out by a doctor.
- Do not admit fault. Even if you think or know you are at fault, do not admit it. The other party may have contributed in some way, too. In comparative negligence states, you can still recover in most situations if both parties contributed to the accident.
- Do not contact or give a statement or documents to the other party's insurance company. You must speak to your own insurance company, but you are not obligated to do the same with any other insurance company. To do so could jeopardize your case. Either your attorney or your own insurance company can communicate with the other party's auto insurer.
How Much Will an Auto Accident Attorney Cost?
Here's another question where everyone wants to know how much they will have to pay -- many are reluctant because they are already financially vulnerable and hiring an attorney without the assurances of winning is a scary matter. One thing to consider is an attorney who takes on these cases on an hourly or contingency basis. Also, the complexity of your case may indicate steeper costs because expert testimony and other costs may be required.
Contact an Auto Accident Lawyer in Illinois Today
If you've been in an auto accident and are considering filing a lawsuit, contact one of our personal injury attorneys at Serpico, Petrosino, DiPiero & O'Shea, Ltd. today for a free initial consultation. We can answer your questions, put together a strong case, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call (312)-207-0000 today or fill out our online form today.