A car wreck happens in a split second, but it can alter your whole life.
Unfortunately, there’s no reversing an accident. That’s why you deserve a fair damage award – both to compensate for your hardship and secure your future.
Unfortunately, when it comes to compensation, insurance companies in Chicago are not always so understanding.
That’s why it can really help to have a car accident lawyer by your side to fight for you.
Here are some questions to help you determine if you should get a car wreck lawyer.
1. How serious are your damages?
If you’ve been severely injured or suffered extensive damages, it’s definitely worth seeing how a lawyer can help you.
However, if your damages are below a couple thousand dollars, your case will likely end up in a small claims court. In such cases, a higher payoff may not justify the legal fees.
But think carefully before you accept compensation.
Minor injuries from car crashes often worsen – and if you’ve already settled, you won’t be able to get the damage award you deserve.
2. Do you have the time to collect adequate evidence?
When it comes to a car accident, gathering evidence can be laborious. You’ll need to:
- Collect witness statements.
- Obtain police reports.
- Collect photographs of the scene.
- Obtain all medical reports.
- Get a quote for motor vehicle repair.
It’s a lot of work to handle, especially if you’re injured. Your attorney can alleviate that stress.
Many car accident attorneys even have reconstructive technology to recreate the accident. Your lawyer will know how to examine evidence to create the most compelling case possible.
3. Do you feel up to the task of proving the other driver’s liability?
In a car accident case, proving liability takes four steps.
- Duty of Care
When a driver gets behind the wheel, it is their responsibility to follow traffic laws to keep those around them safe. That is their duty of care.
- Breach of Duty
The driver failed to do this in some way. Maybe they were texting; maybe they ran a red light. Either way, they’ve breached their duty of care.
Now it comes to you. Here’s where cause is linked to effect the reason you’re injured is due to this driver’s behavior.
The driver’s negligent behavior on the road has led to suffering on your account either through damage of property, physical injury, or both.In order to prove the defendant liable, all four of these steps need to apply. Your lawyer will constantly keep these conditions in mind as they build evidence for your case.
4. Are you ready to negotiate with an insurance adjuster?
Insurance adjusters are hired by the insurance company, and their job is to make your damage award as low as possible.
Illinois uses modified comparative negligence law, which means you’ll receive reduced compensation if you’re found partially liable.
For example, if the insurance adjustor states that you are 30% responsible for the accident, then you’ll only receive 70% of a possible settlement award.
Other times, insurance adjusters will deliberately try to drag out a settlement to capitalize on your impatience.)
Dealing with insurance adjusters can be aggravating. Often, the threat of litigation is enough to make them take your claim more seriously.
5. Do you know how much your case is worth?
Calculating damages in a car accident case can be complicated.
In Chicago, you can receive settlement money for all physical damages, but also for emotional damages. Your lawyer will help you calculate a “pain and suffering” factor, which entitles you to a larger settlement.
Remember that most car accident lawyers work on contingency fees, which means they’ll receive a percentage of your settlement money. The bigger your payoff is, the bigger your lawyer’s is as well. That also means if the case is lost, you won’t pay a cent.
So, is it worth it?
If you’ve suffered extensive damages in a car accident, a lawyer’s skills can help you secure just compensation.
Many Chicago law offices offer a free case evaluation, and the lawyer will let you know how they can help you.
With your case in the right hands, you can focus on what’s really important – recovering from the shock of the accident, spending time with your loved ones, and returning to a normal way of life.