Being injured in an accident can be a very overwhelming experience. Not only do you have to deal with the pain and suffering caused by your injuries, but you also have to navigate the complex world of insurance claims and personal injury law. To make things even more complicated, every accident is different, which means that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to your questions. However, there are some questions that are more common than others.
The best course of action would be to consult with the best Chicago personal injury attorneys to get the answers and help you need. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 9 of the most common questions injury victims ask, along with some practical answers.
How Will I Pay My Medical Bills?
Even though another party caused your injuries, you are responsible to pay your own medical bills after receiving treatment. Unfortunately, the at-fault party’s insurance company will not pay any medical bills as they are incurred. Assuming your personal injury case is successful, compensation for your medical bills will be included in any final settlement or award in the case, which could be many months or even years later. So how are medical bills handled in the meantime?
If the injury victim has health insurance, we generally recommend that all bills be submitted to health insurance while the case is pending. This way, your medical bills don’t go into collections and potentially harm your credit rating. Keep in mind that your health insurance carrier will have a right to be reimbursed out of any settlement for payments it has made for medical treatment in relation to the accident.
If there is no health insurance available, your attorney may be able to refer you to a network of doctors, specialists, and treatment facilities that will hold off on billing the patient directly and file a lien on the case. In this scenario, the medical provider(s) will be entitled to be paid out of any settlement, and your attorney will negotiate with the medical provider(s) to reduce the amount of their bills. At Drake & Collopy, P.C., we have an extensive network of physicians and medical providers who are able to provide medical treatment on a lien basis.
How Long Will My Case Take?
There are many factors that impact how long you must wait to receive compensation for your injuries if your personal injury claim is successful, including:
- The severity of your injuries;
- The duration of your medical treatment; and
- Whether the case must be litigated in court.
Unfortunately, it takes time to build a strong case. Furthermore, it is important to understand that your case generally cannot be settled while your medical treatment is ongoing. Once you have completed all medical treatment, your attorney will be able to gather all of the necessary medical documentation to submit with a demand package to the insurance company.
Some claims are able to be settled just a few months after your medical treatment is completed. However, others may take several years if the case must be litigated in court and ultimately must go to trial. There is no way to give a specific timeframe for your case. However, we can review the facts of your case and advise you what the typical timeframe is for cases like yours.
If you have been involved in a personal injury accident, our experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys can help you understand the specific timeline for your case.
What If the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Illinois law requires all drivers to carry minimum liability insurance. However, there are drivers on the road who fail to comply with the insurance requirement. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, or if their insurance isn’t enough to cover your damages, you may be able to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company. This is why it is critical not only to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own vehicle, but also that you carry substantial policy limits in the event you sustain serious injuries in an accident.
Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to understand your rights and options. At Drake & Collopy, P.C., we will investigate the available sources of recovery and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
If you are injured in an accident due to another’s fault, you generally need to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you receive proper compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies routinely take advantage of people without representation. An experienced attorney will navigate the legal system for you, build a strong case including any necessary liability and/or medical/damages expert witnesses, and will fight for the compensation you deserve with the insurance company and in court, if necessary. Just as you wouldn’t try to treat a serious medical condition on your own without a medical doctor, it is almost always foolish to try to handle your own personal injury case.
Contact our legal team for a free initial consultation to get more information about your rights and options without obligation.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?
Even though your negligence may have partially led to an accident, it may still be possible for you to recover damages. The amount that you can recover depends on your percentage of fault.
Based on Illinois’s modified comparative negligence law, it is possible to recover damages if you are 50% or less at fault for the accident and the injuries you suffered. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
How Much is My Case Worth?
This is a loaded question that can only be answered in one way: it depends on many different factors, including:
- The severity of the injuries and the amount of pain and suffering they caused (and will continue to cause in the future)
- The amount of all medical bills (including future medical bills, if any)
- The duration and types of medical treatment required to treat the injuries
- Whether the injuries are permanent, will cause permanent limitations, or resulted in disfigurement
- The amount of any loss of earnings due to the injury (including future wage loss), and whether the injuries have reduced the victim’s work-life expectancy
- The jurisdiction in which the case would be tried
- The amount of risk involved in going to trial due to liability issues, causation issues, or any other issued involved in the case
Case values can range from under $2,000 to many millions of dollars. If you have been injured in an accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and give you an estimate of its value once you have completed all medical treatment and all damages are quantifiable.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Recover?
Some of the damages that you may be entitled to include:
- Medical expenses: the cost of all related, reasonable, and necessary medical care, services, and treatment you receive and that you will require in the future.
- Pain and suffering: compensation for the pain you experienced because of the accident and injuries and any future pain and discomfort caused by a permanent condition.
- Lost income: compensation for all lost past and future profits or earnings. This also accounts for commissions, bonuses, fringe benefits, and other types of income you would have received if the injury did not occur.
- Loss of a normal life: if you are rendered disabled due to the accident and injury, you can recover compensation for being unable to participate in your normal life activities.
- Emotional distress: compensation for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health conditions related to the accident and injury.
- Damages for wrongful death: if you have a family member who passes away because of an accident or injury, it may be possible to recover for all related medical costs, pain and suffering by the decedent, loss of financial support, loss of companionship or consortium, and funeral and burial costs.
- Loss of consortium of spouse: compensation to a spouse who has lost the services, companionship, or intimacy of the injury victim because of the spouse’s injuries.
- Punitive damages: damages designed to punish someone for reckless or egregious misconduct.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
The vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved without the need for a trial. Less than five percent of all personal injury cases see the inside of a courtroom. There are many reasons why most cases are settled out of court, including that trials can be costly and time-consuming for both sides.
Going to trial carries some risk, as there is no guarantee that a judge or jury will rule in your favor. In contrast, settling a case out of court provides certainty and can often be done much more quickly than going to trial. Of course, in some situations, taking your case to trial may be the best option if you have been injured and will not otherwise receive adequate compensation for your injuries and damages.
What Should I Say to Insurers If They Call
Generally, you should not give a recorded statement to the insurer without first talking to your lawyer. The insurer will try to use any statements you make against you to reduce or deny your claim. You should also avoid discussing the accident or your injuries with the insurer. If you have questions about dealing with insurers after an accident, speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer for advice.
Stay the Course with an Experienced Chicago Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident, you may have many questions about what to do next. The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Drake & Collopy, P.C. are here to help answer those questions and guide you through the legal process. We understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family, and we are committed to helping you get the compensation you deserve.
Don’t wait to get started on your case! 一 Contact us today for a free consultation. We will review the facts of your accident and answer any questions you may have about the legal process and how we can assist you to obtain the maximum amount of compensation.