If you’re involved or injured in a traffic accident anywhere in the state of Illinois, keep reading. You are about to learn the details of pursuing an insurance claim:

1. when you have not been injured, but your vehicle has been damaged
2. when you have been injured in an accident because of another driver’s negligence
3. how a car accident attorney in Chicago can help

You are also about to learn where you can turn if your insurance company denies your claim – or if the at-fault driver’s company denies your claim if another motorist was at-fault.

WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES AFTER A TRAFFIC CRASH?

If you are injured in a traffic collision because another person was careless, you have two priorities. Seeking medical attention is your absolute first priority after a traffic crash.

Obtain a medical exam within the first 24 hours after any traffic accident, even if you are feeling spectacular. It protects you from any hard-to-detect or latent injury you may have sustained, and it provides documentation if, eventually, you in fact are injured and need to seek compensation.

WHAT’S THE SECOND PRIORITY IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED BY NEGLIGENCE?

If you were injured in an accident because an automobile, truck, or bus driver – or because a bicyclist, skateboarder, motorcyclist, or pedestrian was negligent – take your case at once to a qualified personal injury attorney.

Seeking legal help at once is your second priority – after seeking medical help – when you’re injured in traffic because another person was careless. Injury victims must have the guidance and representation of a reliable injury lawyer as soon as possible after a collision and injury.

Do not record, write, or sign any insurance agreement, statement, or document before you have obtained an attorney’s advice.

Personal injury lawyers are trained, experienced negotiators who handle insurance negotiations routinely on behalf of injury victims, so let your lawyer do all of the talking to the insurance company.

HOW ARE MOST PERSONAL INJURY CASES RESOLVED IN ILLINOIS?

Most injury claims are resolved privately and outside of the courtroom, but if the insurance company does not offer an acceptable settlement amount, your lawyer will take the case to a jury and ask those jurors to award you the compensation that is rightfully yours.

A reliable injury attorney will determine who was at fault in a crash, help injury victims navigate the justice system, and fight for compensation – and for justice – on your behalf.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO AN INJURY LAWYER?

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, and that two-year period begins the day you are injured. But do not wait two years and then frantically try to file a lawsuit at the last minute.

Instead, if you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, speak to an attorney at once. Evidence deteriorates – and so do the memories of eyewitnesses – so you must put your attorney on the case as quickly as possible after you’ve been injured.

If you are an injured victim of a negligent driver, what will it cost you to learn more about your rights? Nothing. That’s right. Personal injury lawyers in Illinois offer the injured victims of negligence a free first legal consultation and case review.

You won’t pay an injury attorney anything upfront, either. If you take legal action and pursue a personal injury claim, you do not pay the attorney until the attorney has recovered a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Every victim of negligence in Illinois is entitled by law to compensation.

WHAT IF YOU ARE NOT INJURED, BUT YOUR VEHICLE IS DAMAGED?

If you have been involved in a traffic accident in the greater Chicago area, and you have not been injured, but your vehicle was destroyed or damaged, you should not in most cases need a lawyer’s help.

Since your health and future will not be at risk, in such cases it is generally more expedient and practical to deal directly with the insurance company yourself.

If you file a property damage claim for your vehicle after a traffic collision, you will likely be contacted – in just days – by an insurance company claims adjuster.

HOW SHOULD YOU DEAL WITH A CLAIMS ADJUSTER?

Most claims adjusters in the Chicago area are helpful and professional. If your claim is only for property damage – and is not a complicated personal injury claim – it will very likely be paid in just a few days, and you will be able to repair or replace your vehicle.

How can you demonstrate to a claims adjuster that the figure you are claiming for damages to your vehicle is the sum that you deserve and need?

First of all, do not let the insurance company intimidate you. Negotiating a property damage claim is your right, and if you are not happy with the company’s first offer, keep negotiating.

HOW DO YOU NEGOTIATE YOUR OWN PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM?

What is the best way to negotiate a property damage claim for your vehicle?

Always make and keep copies of receipts for repairs and upgrades to your vehicle – for precisely this kind of circumstance. Estimates you have obtained from other qualified mechanics and before-and-after pics of the vehicle can also be helpful in your negotiations.

When the documentation and the facts are on your side, you will probably obtain the compensation you need to replace or repair your vehicle, and in most cases, it will not be a great deal of trouble.

If an insurance company does not offer you a reasonable settlement after you have presented the evidence – if you are offered only delays, excuses, and brush-offs – you are probably dealing with insurance “bad faith.”

IF YOU ENCOUNTER “BAD FAITH,” WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

If an insurance company dodges its obligation to you, seek help from an injury attorney with bad faith insurance experience.

Insurance bad faith is rare. In most cases, you will be able to negotiate a damage claim for your vehicle without help from an attorney.

IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED BY A NEGLIGENT DRIVER, WHAT IS YOUR RIGHT?

But if you need to negotiate an injury claim, everything changes. Many injuries that are sustained in traffic collisions are catastrophic and temporarily or permanently disabling.

These victims will require the maximum available compensation – and help from an attorney who knows what it takes to prevail with a personal injury lawsuit.

Having an attorney’s advice and help is your right. Here in Illinois, speak with a skilled personal injury attorney right away if you’ve been injured in traffic by a reckless or negligent driver – because nothing is more important than your health and your future.