When you get in a car accident, you can sustain extensive injuries like traumatic brain injury, whiplash, amputation, and more. Devastating injuries often result in surgery, costly medical bills, lost income and earning capacity, pain and suffering, trauma, and more.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Naperville, you may have a legal claim. Your first call should be to the personal injury legal team at Mike Agruss Law for a free case evaluation. We handle all kinds of collision cases, including pedestrian accidents and Uber & Lyft accidents. Call us today.
First Steps After A Naperville Car Accident
A car accident can be painful and overwhelming, and it can be challenging to know what steps you need to take to build a solid case to be fairly compensated. If you are injured, emotions can run high, and knowing what to do next may not always be clear.
There are a few initial steps you should take after an accident. Keep the following information handy so you don’t forget it.
Don’t Leave the Scene
Never leave the scene of an accident unless you have severe medical injuries that need immediate treatment. If you leave, especially if someone has sustained injuries or died, you can be charged with serious criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver.
Make Sure Drivers and Passengers Are Fine
Before determining how damaged your car is, check on everyone involved first. If someone needs medical attention, call an ambulance immediately. If a person cannot move or is unconscious, never move them unless absolutely necessary in case they have spinal injuries.
Call the Police
Any time there is a car accident, especially if someone is injured or there is a death, you must call the police. They will file a police report with all the relevant information your attorney will need to help assess your case.
Get Contact Information
Get the names, numbers, emails, license plate numbers, addresses, and insurance information from any driver involved. If there are passengers, get their contact information as well. When speaking to others, be polite and respectful, and never admit fault or place blame. Even if you are trying to be friendly, the insurance company can use anything you say to undervalue or deny your claim. Establishing fault can take time, and admitting guilt can make things harder for you.
One of the best pieces of evidence you can collect is photographs of the accident scene and your injuries. Try to take pictures immediately after the accident to show the extent of damage sustained in the accident.
Get Witness Testimony
If there are witnesses, make sure you get their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
Call Your Insurance Company
By law, you need to inform your insurance company any time you’ve been in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Tell them your honest account of what happened and your injuries. If you try to change the truth and the insurance company determines that you lied, you can get in serious trouble and be denied coverage.
Keep Your Medical Records
Suppose you have seen any doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals to treat your accident-related injuries. In that case, you need to keep a detailed account of your visits, medications, and treatments. This is especially important if you have mounting medical bills that you should not cover.
Physical injuries can be easy to document, but it’s harder to prove pain and suffering. Keep a record of how the accident-related injuries have impacted your quality of life. Missing work, being unable to participate in your daily routines, and being unable to be a good companion, father, or spouse because of your recovery are all events that are covered.
Property Damage Valuation
Get a copy of your insurance company’s damage valuation. If you feel that they have undervalued your car, you can fight for more by getting replacement quotes or independent repair estimates. Your Naperville car accident lawyer can help you get a fair valuation.
Don’t Post About the Accident on Social Media
Don’t discuss the details with anyone but your car accident attorney, your insurance company, and the cops. If the other driver’s insurance company wants to speak with you, refer them to your attorney. Don’t post any details on social media, as the insurance company can and will use them to deny your claim.
Don’t Take Early Settlement Offers
One tactic insurance companies use to get out of paying the total amount owed to you is offering an early settlement offer before you have assessed the extent of your injuries. You may need ongoing medication, therapy, and treatment that isn’t immediately obvious right after the accident. It’s better to consult with your attorney before agreeing to any settlement offers.
Hire a Naperville Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, you may need the experience of a skilled Naperville personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can help maximize your settlement and defend you if you are at fault. At Mike Agruss Law, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid until you have received a settlement.
Proving Fault After A Car Accident
In order for your Naperville car accident attorney to determine which party is liable for the damages and injuries incurred, all evidence of the car accident must be collected. This includes the police report, pictures, witness statements, the condition of the road, traffic conditions, the other driver’s BAC, your medical records, and more. They will speak with the insurance claims adjuster, expert accident reconstructionists, and law enforcement to determine fault.
The police report generally helps determine fault as it typically states whether there was sufficient evidence to show that one party violated any traffic laws. Since Illinois is an at-fault state, any statements made by either driver at the scene can be used against them later if evidence shows them to be at fault.
For example, if a driver was hit by someone who ran a red light and approached the at-fault driver to offer support and words of comfort, their statements could be twisted by the other driver. When the police come to document the scene, the driver who ran the red light might claim their light was green and that the victim admitted fault since they apologized right after the accident.
How Our Car Accident Lawyers Help You
You may think that if you have collected your evidence, followed your doctor’s advice, and saved all of your medical bills, you will be able to get a fair settlement from your insurance company. This is not always the case.
After the insurance company reviews the evidence you have collected, they will make you a settlement offer. Insurance adjusters are often tight-fisted. The adjuster works for the insurance company, which is a business that wants to keep its money. The first offer the insurance company makes is likely to be too low.
You should always talk to an attorney before you accept the insurance company’s offer. Our attorneys can tell you if the settlement amount is fair or not. If they think you deserve more money, they can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
A trained personal injury attorney will have many years of experience in negotiating with insurance companies. They will be up to date on all of the laws that affect the insurance industry and accident settlements in the state of Illinois.
If they cannot get a fair settlement through negotiations, they can represent you in court. Not only are our attorneys trained litigators, but they also can subpoena records.
Subpoenaing records is often a huge advantage when building a court case. For example, if you believe the other driver caused the accident that injured you because they were texting and driving, an attorney can subpoena the other driver’s phone records.
Valuating Car Accident Settlements Compensation
Knowing exactly how much you should get in a settlement can be challenging. You want to get compensation for all of your medical bills and add in expenses for extra services and the time you have missed away from work. However, you may be entitled to more compensation if the injuries you suffered were very severe, such as brain injuries.
If you are going to need ongoing medical treatment after an accident, you should be able to get compensation for future medical bills. If you have been permanently disabled or disfigured due to an accident, you should get compensation for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is a legal term that applies to non-monetary damages.
Recent Naperville Auto Accidents
Unfortunately, auto accidents are not uncommon in Naperville, Illinois. There are over eight and a half million drivers in the land of Lincoln. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 246,752 vehicle crashes in 2020. This was less than there had been in previous years due to the pandemic. There is plenty of cargo hauled through the state, and truck accidents are common.
Most Common Types of Accidents
Also according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, over 11% of fatal crashes were Motorcycle accidents. Teen drivers are at high risk for accidents, especially if they are under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.
Naperville Red Light Enforcement Program
The state of Illinois has many red-light cameras. These cameras take pictures of all the cars that cross the intersection. They capture drivers who go through red lights. These videos are of an enormous advantage when trying to prove fault in an insurance claim. These cameras are rather controversial, and some criminal attorneys are trying to get rid of them.
Statute of Limitations in Illinois Car Accidents
The statute of limitations is the legal amount of time you have to take action after an accident. For example, you could be the victim of a car accident and want to recover damages from the responsible party. In Illinois, you would only have two years to file a claim for your injuries or the wrongful death of a family member. Exceeding this time frame means you will not be able to recover any compensation.
The statute of limitations starts the day the car accident occurs, but if the crash were fatal, the clock would start ticking on the date of the victim’s death. The timeframe could be extended if the decedent did not immediately succumb to their injuries.
Mike Agruss Law: Naperville Car Accident Lawyers
Car accidents can be particularly overwhelming because they happen suddenly. One second, you’re in the midst of your daily routine, and before you know it, your car is totaled, and you are looking at weeks, months, even years of medical treatment and recovery.
In the meantime, you are unable to work and pay your bills. Depending on the extent of your injuries, it could be a long time before you can return to work, if ever.
In your personal life, your friends and family must now adjust to the abrupt change in your role as a contributing member of your household. Your spouse may now have to struggle to do everything without your assistance, and one on one relationships may suffer.
If someone else was responsible for these new changes in your life, they should be held accountable. You shouldn’t have to face the financial mountain on your own. At Mike Agruss Law, we can help you pick up the pieces and restore your life. Call us today so we can look over the facts of your case and determine your next steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
I was involved in a car accident: do I need legal help?
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is always a good idea to talk to a personal injury attorney. A lawyer will be able to tell you how much you should get for your injuries. They will be able to negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf, and they will be able to represent you in court if need be the case.
How long do I have to file a claim?
There is not a set amount of time for filing a car accident insurance claim in Illinois. However, there is a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits.
How do negligence laws work in Illinois?
Illinois is a fault state when it comes to insurance. More specifically, it is a modified comparative fault state. This means that a driver who is more than 51% responsible for an accident is not entitled to insurance compensation.
If you were less than 51% at fault, you can collect damages. You will simply subtract the percentage of your fault in the accident. For example, if you caused 20% of an accident and the other driver caused 80%, the other driver’s insurance company should pay 80% of your bill.
How does “fault” work in a car accident case in Illinois?
In the state of Illinois, a person who is responsible for a car accident is responsible for the accident’s bills. Each party is responsible for the portion of the accident they caused and may only collect insurance money for the portion of the accident that they did not cause. If a driver is over 51% responsible for an accident, they may not collect insurance money.
What kind of compensation can I expect for car accident injuries?
There is no set amount that an injured party should receive after an accident. However, if another person caused your injuries, their insurance company should pay for your medical bills.
How are car accident settlements paid out?
Once you have agreed upon a settlement amount, an insurance company will send your attorney a check for the settlement amount. The attorney will take their fee out of this amount and send you the rest.
How do negotiated car accident settlements work?
When you file an insurance claim, the insurance company will approve or deny your claim. If they approve, they will offer you a settlement amount. If this amount is too low, you will hire an attorney on a contingency basis. The attorney will call the insurance adjuster, and they will negotiate a better deal.
If they reach an acceptable deal, the insurance company will pay the attorney that amount. The Naperville personal injury lawyer will send you a check minus the agreed-upon contingency fee.
How long can I expect my case to take?
Once you file a claim, an insurance company has 15 days to acknowledge it. Once you settle, they have 30 days to pay you. If you and the insurance company are unable to reach a settlement, you may have to go to court. A court case can take months or even years.
What are the insurance requirements for your car in Illinois?
The state of Illinois requires a driver to have $25,000 for the injury or death of a single person in a collision and $50,000 for injury or death to more than one person. You are required to have $20,000 of insurance for property damage.
What do I do if I was involved in an accident with an unattended car?
You are required to leave a note if you have done damage to an unattended vehicle in the state of Illinois. If you do not, you may face criminal charges.
What do I need to do to file a lawsuit after a car accident in Illinois?
The first thing you should do is call Mike Agruss Law. We will file the suit in the appropriate court. The court will be determined by the jurisdiction where the accident took place and the amount of money that you are suing for.
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