Hiring a lawyer to handle their car crash claims may be the difference between people obtaining favorable settlements that meet their needs or not.
In 2014 alone, 296,049 auto accidents occurred on the roads across Illinois, the state’s Department of Transportation reports. Motor vehicle collisions may have ranging effects, from little or no vehicular damage to serious injuries or death for those involved. Some who experience this type of jarring event choose to speak with law enforcement and the insurance companies themselves. However, there are several benefits to hiring a personal injury lawyer following an auto accident to aid in the claims process.
Dealing with the insurance company
Their slogans, the conversations they have with them and even their tone when talking may make the insurance company representatives seem as though they genuinely care about people following auto collisions. However, they are typically looking out for the company’s bottom line ahead of everything else. Personal injury lawyers may have experience negotiating with and going up against large insurance companies and their legal teams. Unlike the average person, who may be easily intimidated, an attorney may not be pushed into agreeing to an unfair settlement.
Navigating the rules and procedures
When the responsible driver is uninsured and in other situations, people may be unable to reach a settlement and choose to take legal action. Even when the case is clear cut, there are laws and procedures that must be followed for people’s claims to be heard. For example, the state of Illinois puts a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims. People may lose their right to file a lawsuit if they do not initiate the process within that time frame. Attorneys who handle serious injury claims resulting from car accidents may be familiar with the state’s claim filing requirements. In addition to helping people build a case for liability, lawyers may also ensure they meet any associated deadlines and submit the appropriate motions.
Should people choose to take legal action against another driver for negligence, they are left with the burden of proof. Therefore, they must demonstrate certain circumstances existed, including the following:
- The driver owed them a duty of care
- The driver breached this duty of care
- Injuries were sustained
- The injuries were caused as a result of the breached duty of care
These elements help establish legal liability, which will help the court determine whether or not to award compensatory damages. Lawyers who focus their practice on personal injury are familiar with the types of evidence they are allowed to present, how to argue negligence before a judge or jury, and how to use expert testimony to build a case for negligence on the part of another driver.
Maintaining victim rights
When people are injured in Illinois auto accidents, they may suffer serious injuries, requiring time off work to recover and extensive medical treatment. Often, this leads to medical bills they were not expecting and lost wages they cannot afford. Depending on the situation, however, the responsible driver may be financially liable. Working with an attorney may help people who have been injured in a car wreck understand their rights and options for seeking compensation.