After an accident, you may be wondering, “do I need a lawyer for a car accident?” A car accident lawyer can provide legal expertise, investigation and negotiation skills, and court representation. An Illinois car accident lawyer can help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
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Immediate Steps to Take After a Car Accident
There are steps you can take to prepare for a car insurance claim or lawsuit to protect yourself after an accident.
Seek Medical Treatment for Injuries
Car accidents can be physically and emotionally traumatic. Even if you don’t experience immediate physical symptoms, your body will naturally produce chemicals as a way of dealing with the traumatic event. This can mask any physical pain you may have experienced. As a result, hours or even days after the accident, you may begin to feel the pain from injuries you didn’t even realize you had suffered.
Proper medical care is crucial for two reasons. First, your doctor is the best person to determine how seriously you are injured and prescribe the best treatment for you. This can help you recover more quickly and make you as comfortable as possible while you are recovering. Second, records of your medical treatment appointments are the best way to document your injuries, the duration of your treatment, and the course of your recovery. It is crucial to have this supporting evidence when filing a claim for your injuries. In a personal injury case, medical expenses and treatment costs are significant factors in determining damages.
Delaying medical treatment could result in the negligent party arguing that your injuries were not caused by the accident. The longer the time between the accident and a medical assessment of your condition, the stronger this argument may become.
Document the Accident Scene and Gather Evidence
While you should stay in your vehicle after a crash, when you are able, you should take photos and videos of the accident scene as evidence for your claim. This allows you to capture the position of the vehicles after the crash, any damage to the vehicles, debris on the road, your injuries, and the surrounding scene. For instance, if there was a traffic light or stop sign, you may consider taking a photo showing the position of the vehicles relative to the light or sign. It is also important to get contact details of any witnesses to the accident. These can be pedestrians or people in other cars. These individuals can support your account of the events leading up to the accident.
If the police come to the scene, they will create a report, and you should get a copy of it since it can be an essential piece of the puzzle for your insurer.
Report the Accident
It’s important to report any accident to your insurer, regardless of who was at fault. If you fail to do so, it may affect your ability to make a claim later on. Depending on the extent of property damage or injuries caused, you may be required to report the accident to law enforcement. Even if it’s not necessary to call the police, it can be helpful to have them at the scene, as their investigation can provide valuable evidence to support your claim.
How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident
In case of a collision, it is crucial to identify the driver whose actions caused the accident. The driver whose conduct resulted in the crash is deemed at fault, and is responsible for reimbursing the victims for their losses. This is why knowing how to prove fault in a car accident claim is important.
The Role of Evidence, Witness Testimony, and Police Reports
Determining fault generally depends on the evidence available. A car accident lawyer knows what to look for when securing evidence and how to leverage the available evidence to achieve a maximized settlement. Types of evidence used in determining fault may include:
A police report is a detailed analysis of an auto accident conducted by law enforcement professionals. It contains important information such as the location, potential causes, and sometimes even a preliminary determination of fault.
Police reports can significantly impact the outcome of determining who was at fault. They can also be used to support witness testimony and other evidence, helping insurance companies and other parties to determine liability for the collision.
Having witness statements can be immensely helpful. They provide a neutral perspective, free from the personal biases of those directly involved in the incident. Witness statements can help to clarify the details of the accident, verify or dispute claims, and highlight any overlooked aspects. However, it is crucial to obtain these statements as soon as possible, as human memory can be unreliable and prone to distortions over time.
Photographic And Video Evidence
Visual evidence can provide an accurate and unchangeable record of what happened after an accident. With technology readily available, it’s possible to capture important moments, vehicle positions, road conditions, and weather, which can be extremely helpful. Such evidence can help recreate the accident scene, making it easier to identify and prove who was at fault.
How Does Comparative Negligence Affect Compensation?
Comparative negligence is a legal concept that determines the degree of responsibility held by each party involved in an accident or injury case. This concept is typically used in personal injury cases where the at-fault person uses comparative negligence as a defense to reduce the amount that he or she is held liable for.
In such cases, the court assesses the actions of each party and assigns a percentage of fault to each person. This percentage of fault is then utilized to determine the amount of compensation each individual is responsible for paying.
For instance, if the other driver is found to be 75% responsible for an accident, and you are 25% responsible, the other driver would only be accountable for paying 75% of the damages.
Illinois follows modified comparative negligence as the standard for recovery of damages. Under this concept, an injured party may recover damages only if he or she is less than 50% at fault for the injury or damages.
Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer in Libertyville, IL
Experiencing a car accident can be a traumatic event, especially with how bad Chicago drivers are. Having a competent car accident lawyer can provide you with legal guidance and help you explore your options.
How the Experience of Car Accident Lawyers Can Help Your Case
It’s important to choose an experienced car accident attorney who can use his or her knowledge to your advantage. A lawyer should know how to obtain evidence and anticipate the tactics that opposing counsel may use.
An experienced car accident lawyer will have knowledge of the laws and regulations that apply to car accidents and insurance claims. They can help you navigate the complex legal system and protect your rights as a car accident victim.
An experienced lawyer will guide you through your legal options step by step.
Maximizing Compensation Available to Car Accident Victims
Compensatory damages are awarded in personal injury lawsuits to help the victim recover losses from an auto accident. There are two types of claims: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate for monetary losses like medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages and other expenses. Non-economic damages compensate for pain and suffering, such as emotional distress, PTSD, anxiety, or depression.
If you were involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to receive economic damages to compensate for monetary losses you incurred as a result. These losses may include medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
To seek economic damages, you will need to provide evidence of the financial losses you suffered due to the accident. This may include receipts, bills, invoices, and any documentation related to lost income resulting from missed work.
Be sure to keep track of all expenses related to the accident and collect all relevant documentation to support your claim.
On the other hand, non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for the pain and suffering you may have experienced due to the accident. This includes emotional distress, PTSD, anxiety, depression, or any other psychological impact the accident may have had on your life.
Calculating non-economic damages can be difficult, as it is hard to put a price tag on emotional pain and suffering. To prove them, you will need to provide evidence of the emotional and psychological impact the accident has had on your life. This may include medical records, reports from mental health professionals, and documentation of any missed work or other financial losses.
Non-economic damage claims can be more challenging to quantify than economic damages. Therefore, it is crucial to have the right legal team on your side to ensure you receive your fair compensation. A car accident lawyer will know how to quantify your non-economic damages. He or she will know what type of evidence to gather to prove your non-economic damages and their extent.