Chicago Car Accident Attorney Tells How to Protect Your Rights
Few people are in a better position than a Chicago car accident attorney to talk to you about the facts of an injury in a car crash. And in the State of Illinois, the statistics tell us clearly that car crash injuries are serious business.
About half of the crashes happen in Cook County, and between 100 and 150 people usually are killed in such incidents, including bicycle and pedestrian-related roadway deaths. And this does not include the hundreds and thousands who are injured in a car accident out of the hundreds of thousands of collisions which happe4n in the State every year.
So you’ve been involved in a Chicago Car Accident…
It is natural after a crash to feel upset and shocked. After a crash, your body releases adrenaline, which causes your heart to beat faster, and can make you feel dizzy or nauseous. In circumstances like these, it is hard to be 100% mentally on your game.
That’s why I tell people to remember to do the following things on the scene of a crash.
First, remain calm. Yelling, shouting or getting into an argument at the scene isn’t going to help anything.
Second, if you have your cell phone, take photos of skid marks, of the damaged vehicles, and of any obvious injuries.
Third, if there are any witnesses around, talk to hem. Ask them what they saw. You would be amazed at how at-fault people can change their story of what happened once their insurance company and insurance company lawyer talks to them.
Finally, cooperate with the police and make sure to get a police report regarding the car accident. The police report captures the important information we need to move your case along.
The most important thing, before all others, is to assist injured people and call for help. As our statistics above show, people can be seriously injured or killed in a car crash, so getting an ambulance on scene to assist the people injured is the most important thing to do.
You also need to be honest with yourself about YOUR physical state and whether you are injured. Remeber the adreneline we talked about earlier?
That masks pain, and it also explains why people very typically refuse an ambulance at the scene of a crash, but then need medical assistance after they get home or over the next several days after a crash.If you need help at the scene of a crash, ask for it.
Most of my clients are worried about the inconvenience in their life, and the time and cost of medical care, so they resist getting checked out. Whether it is in an Emergency Room or whether it is by your family doctor or neighborhood clinic, I always encourage people who are feeling the pain to be seen by a doctor right away after a car accident. In fact, most Chicago car accident attorneys are going to tell you the same thing.
Why would that be?
Well, the number one defense to a claim of injury is saying that someone delayed getting medical care after a car crash because they were not really hurt. And they went later because they decided to try to ‘cash in’ on their car accident. They were not really hurt, but they are going to try to collect money anyway.
It amazes me how often this comes up in personal injury cases I handle, no matter how the injury happened (car accident cases and other kinds, too). I do not know why this argument is persuasive. But I can tell you with certainty that if we find ourselves in front of a Jury, the sooner you get in to see a doctor, and the more you follow the doctor’s advice, the less of a chance the Defense will be able to make an issue of whether you were really hurt in your car crash.
The Life of a Chicago Car Accident Case
I am often asked by people “How quickly can my injury case be resolved?” I get this question because no one relishes the idea of going to Court. Well, at least not usually.
The main thing to understand here is that you should never settle your injury case until you have fully recovered or your doctor tells you are stable. In other words, not back to normal, but you are not going to improve much beyond where you are at.
The reason this is important is that you do not want to settle a case when your medical condition is in a state of flux. What if you settle your case, and then a week later, your doctor tells you that you need surgery? Once a case is settled, it is over. That is why Chicago car accident attorneys worth their salt will NOT do a quick settlement of your case without having a full, accurate picture of what the car accident injury is.
Once your treatment has plateaued, then my office orders all of the medical records. We prepare a summary of all the medical and then prepare a demand letter to the insurance company. Getting medical records can take some time, and getting an answer from an insurance company on an offer can take several months.
I always try to get an offer for my clients in their car crash cases BEFORE the typical 2 year deadline to file a lawsuit in most car accident cases in Illinois. If the offer isn’t good enough, we can try to negotiate, but ultimately, the decision to settle or to file a lawsuit is yours.
You should also know that once a case is filed in Court, it can take a year or longer before we go to trial. This is the part where I tell you “the wheels of Justice turn slowly”. We move the case along as quickly as possible, but they take some time.
It is important for you to know that, and also to understand that, once a lawsuit is filed, you will have to answer written questions under oath, and come downtown for a deposition, where the Defense lawyer gets to ask you questions under oath. It also requires your commitment to come to my office to prepare for these things, including trial.
Preparation for a car accident injury trial is the key to winning, and if my client is not willing to do their part, then we have very little chance. I make it as stress-free as possible, and I always make sure my clients are fully comfortable and prepared. But it takes some time and effort as we work as a team.
Being engaged and helping my office when we are working on your case is ther best thing to do to ensure that we get you a good outcome. My office does almost all the work, but we definitely need your cooperation to help us find witnesses and to prepare you for testimony, things like that.
The Chicago car accident attorney you choose to handle your case has to consider the Defenses to the case. And has to prepare to counter them before they are even brought up by the Defense. Increasingly, auto insurers hire lawyers who try to contest whose fault the accident was. They do this mainly by trying to get admissions from you.
This begins even before the lawsuit is filed when the insurance company calls and asks for a recorded statement. They try to get recorded statements before people who have been in a car accident have even had a chance to get legal representation themselves. They will try to get little admissions out of you. That’s why I tell people to NOT give a recorded statement until you get to talk to a lawyer of your own.
Their second ‘bite of the apple’ comes when they take your deposition.That’s why I stress preparation with my clients. By the time you are deposed, you should feel fully prepared, confident and relaxed. This way, you’ll be able to remember exactly what happened and you will not fall into any of their traps.
Hiring a Good Chicago Car Accident Attorney Makes All The Difference.
You want an injury lawyer who has experience, and a proven track record of really taking care of the client.
Positioning the case properly, making sure that we have all the witnesses we need, and making sure that the medical evidence is consistent and persuasive are all things that a lawyer can do for you. And it is best that the lawyer has a lot of car accident experience.
Hiring the right lawyer will decrease your stress and get you the best outcome in your personal injury case. I hope you will give me an opportunity to talk to you to see how I can help.
I offer two option. If you are ready to speak with me, you can call me at at my 24/7/365 toll-free number 888-HURT-318 (888-487-8318) For a free, no-obligation consultation, where I will answer all of your questions and help put your mind at ease.
Or if you aren’t quite ready to speak with a Chicago car accident attorney, I offer injured people a copy of my FREE Injury DVD and Book. Just call me at my 24/7/365 toll-free number 888-HURT-318 (888-487-8318) , and ask for the free injury book, and give us your name and mailing address and I will mail it to you free of charge and no obligation.