The bustling streets of Chicago can be unforgiving, and unfortunately, car accidents are a common occurrence. If you’ve found yourself the victim of one, navigating the legal landscape to pursue compensation for your injuries by filing a car accident claim can feel overwhelming.
This guide delves into the process of filing a claim, so you understand what to expect. Our Chicago car accident lawyers can handle the legal aspects of your case while you focus on recovering.
Step 1: Protecting Your Health
Following a car accident, your well-being takes precedence. Promptly seek medical attention, regardless of how minor your injuries may seem. Early diagnosis and documentation are crucial for establishing the link between the accident and your injuries. Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention, even if it means visiting the emergency room.
Step 2: Reporting the Accident
In Chicago, you must report any accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,500 within 10 days of the accident. This requirement is outlined in Illinois Vehicle Code § 11-401(a). Failure to comply can jeopardize your ability to file an insurance claim.
Step 3: Documenting the Evidence
Thorough documentation is key to a successful personal injury claim. Gather the following information and evidence.
- Photos: Capture the extent of damage to your vehicle and the accident scene.
- Driver Information: Obtain the at-fault driver’s name, insurance information, and contact details.
- Witness Statements: If anyone witnessed the accident, collect their contact information and statements.
- Medical Records: Request copies of all medical bills, reports, and treatment plans related to your injuries.
- Police Report: Obtain a copy of the official police report for a detailed account of the accident.
Step 4: Contacting the Insurance Company
Even if you’re pursuing compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance, notifying your insurance company about the accident is essential. Your policy may provide benefits like rental car assistance or repairs for your vehicle.
Step 5: Reaching Out to a Lawyer
Navigating the legal intricacies of a personal injury claim can be complex. A Chicago car accident lawyer can help you obtain fair compensation.
Legal assistance from a qualified personal injury lawyer is especially important if:
- Your injuries are severe or require ongoing treatment.
- The accident involves multiple vehicles or complex liability issues.
- You’re unsure about the claims process or facing difficulties negotiating with the insurance company.
Step 6: Filing Your Car Accident Claim
Once you have gathered the necessary evidence and consulted with your lawyer, it’s time to file your claim. This involves submitting a formal demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, outlining the details of the accident, your injuries, and the compensation you are seeking.
Understanding Comparative Fault
Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence system, meaning your compensation may be reduced if you were partially at fault for the accident. However, you can still recover damages as long as your fault percentage is less than 50%. The Illinois Compiled Statutes § 740/1005 outlines the comparative negligence law in detail.
Step 7: Negotiating a Settlement
The insurance company will likely respond to your claim with an initial settlement offer. It’s crucial to remember that this is just the starting point. Your Chicago car accident lawyer can negotiate a fair settlement that reflects the full extent of your damages.
Step 8: Taking Your Case to Court
If negotiations fail and a fair settlement cannot be reached, you may need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This process can be lengthy and complex, and it’s imperative to have experienced legal representation by your side.
Final Step: Receiving Your Compensation
Once your claim is settled or you win your lawsuit, you will finally receive compensation for your injuries. This compensation can cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Let Our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Help You
Pursuing compensation for your injuries after a car accident can feel overwhelming. Do not hesitate to contact Chicago Injury Lawyers at 312-757-8640 for a free case review. Let us handle the legal aspects of your case while you focus on recovering.