Car Accidents: Frequently Asked Questions
After a car accident, drivers and passengers may be seriously injured. Those involved and family members should be capable of answering the most common questions about auto accidents and compensation for injuries.
Q. What information is most important after a car accident?
A. In any car accident even a minor one, it is important to talk to the other drivers of motor vehicles involved in the crash. A person involved in the collision should exchange names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance information with all others involved. That would include writing down the driver’s license numbers, state issued plate number and whether the person driving was the owner of the motor vehicle.
Assume that the police would respond to a call and arrive at the crash scene. Ask the police officers for their contact information as well as a copy of the incident report or a report number for future reference. Make notes about how the occurrence took place and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of each witness that may be willing to come forward. If you have the ability, take photographs of the place of the crash, the vehicles involved and their positions at the crash scene.
Q. What can be done to preserve evidence of the facts of the automobile accident?
A. Although injuries may be severe, the practicalities of taking photographs and asking question of witnesses may not be possible. If it is possible, photographs of the scene are critical. In addition, photographs of the vehicles involved, depicting the damage to each and all the information about the persons involved should be recorded somehow. If it’s not possible to do that at the scene, it is suggested that persons involved in accidents like these return to the scene and take photographs of the intersection, or the streets or road or highways where the crash took place. Make sure that you contact an attorney soon after the car crash as possible so that you may receive accurate advice directly from an experienced attorney.
Q. Should the police be called?
A. The police should be always notified of a car accident, even if it’s a low impact, incidental crash. The police will prepare a crash report, incident report or police report that can document the names, addresses, phone numbers, and license numbers of each of the participants in the motor vehicle crash. You should also hire a lawyer to investigate and give advice to you as to what steps need to be taken.
Q. If the other driver’s insurance adjuster should call me, should I speak to them?
It is never advisable to give a telephone statement to the other driver’s insurance adjuster. Even though it seems innocent enough, those statements are never helpful. In the event that you receive that telephone call, refer the person to your attorney or simply state that you are in the process of hiring an attorney and would prefer not speaking to anyone until you have hired an attorney to assist you.
Q. What makes a successful automobile accident claim?
A. The first and foremost is to contact an experienced car accident attorney to help sort through the nuances of a car accident. That includes receiving all medical attention, reporting the incident to the person’s insurance carrier and to preserve as much as possible all of the evidence involved. This includes photographs, names, addresses and telephone numbers of witnesses and other parties involved. That may include passengers in other vehicles.
Q. When will my automobile accident claim be settled and resolved?
A. In many cases automobile accidents reveal an obvious party at fault. In practice, once all of the facts are retrieved, the medical records, lost time from work and all other specifics of the person’s injuries are made available to the insurance adjuster for the party at fault, cases like that often settle for a fair and reasonable amount. It is always up to the client to determine what is best for him or her in terms of settlement. It is also important to remember that many times even though the party at fault makes a settlement offer, it may not include the out-of-pocket expenses to cover the damage to the vehicles or medical expenses that may not have been covered by the medical insurance. In any event, there may be hospital or physician liens that may be negotiated as well as subrogation claims made by health insurance carriers, all of which are part of the lawyer’s job in resolving. If the liability issues are unclear, cases like that may lead to lawsuits. In any event, no claims should be settled without having all of the medical information, including bills, reports and other damages, including lost time from work in hand. It is also critical to know that the injured party’s medical condition has plateaued or the injuries have resolved. Investigation of the accident should include interviewing witnesses to the occurrence.
Q. What type of compensation would an injured person receive in an automobile accident?
A. In combination of all medical bills, lost time from work, pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of normal life, loss of society and other damages are available in Illinois for a person who was injured in an automobile accident. Every case is different. The value of a case is dependent on these damage items as well as the degree of fault and the nature and extent of the injuries. All of these factors must be weighed carefully.
Q. If I were partially at fault for the accident., but the other party was more at fault, can I recover?
A. In Illinois, comparative fault is the rule. That means that if you were injured in an automobile accident but you were less than 50% at fault, you can still recover for damages that you have suffered, including lost time from your job or lost income. The threshold is 50% at fault. In a jury case, the total damages would be reduced by the contributory fault percentage that was found as to the plaintiff or the party who brought the lawsuit.
Q. Can I recover from an uninsured motorist?
A. In Illinois, it is required that automobile insurers provide for uninsured motorist coverage which means that if you were injured by an uninsured motorist, you may recover from your own insurer for your injuries, lost time from work and other damages that you have suffered.
If you or someone you know have been injured in a car accident, please call us for a free immediate consultation. Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Chicago and Illinois car accidents for more than 40 years.
Kreisman Law Offices has prevailed in trials and settlements in Chicago, Illinois and surrounding areas and successfully resolved cases for severely injured clients for over these many years.
With our years of experience in trying and settling automobile accident cases, Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients and have achieved unsurpassed results. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online. There is no charge for a consultation that will include an evaluation of your case, assessment of your damages such as lost income, lost wages, medical and hospital bills, past and future pain and suffering, loss of normal life and wrongful death.