Car Accidents and Bodily Injury Claims
Bodily Injury Insurance covers medical bills, lost wages and even legal fees after an accident. But is it enough? And when should you get a lawyer?
After a car accident the part of insurance that is responsible for paying emergency services, hospital care, future medical expenses, lost wages and even legal bills, is called bodily injury coverage.
In Illinois every driver is legally required to have this insurance coverage – at least $25,000 worth. But not every driver has insurance, or enough insurance, and sometimes the value doesn’t cover all your costs.
And to make matters worse, insurance companies don’t always play fair, or pay a reasonable amount for an accident. Sometimes they try to pay as little as possible.
In this article we’ll go into when you might want to get a lawyer involved in your claim, or lawsuit, and how a lawyer can help.
If you’ve been in an accident and are working through a bodily injury claim, or you’re not getting treated fairly by the insurance company, we can help. You can call us at any time 24/7 and talk to a car accident attorney — (815) 964-8303.
More About Auto Accidents and Injuries:
- 6 Things to do After a Car Accident
- Car Accident Attorneys – Accidents we Work
- Underinsured & Uninsured Claims and Lawsuits
- DUI Accidents
- Truck, Motorcycle and Boat Accidents
Insurance Claims and Talking with Insurance Companies – Even Your Own
- Never Admit Fault
- Report the Accident to the Insurance Companies Involved
- Keep Records of Your Conversations
- Be Cautious When Providing Written Information
- Hire an Attorney If You’re Not Getting Treated Right
It’s important to remember that insurance companies are businesses, and that some of them try to pay the least amount needed after an accident. Your insurance company included.
With this in mind it’s important that you treat your conversations with your insurance company, and the at-fault driver’s insurance company as business transactions. The things we say and do after an accident can impact your ability to recover damages.
Never Admit Fault
When talking with insurance companies, it’s never a good idea to admit fault, even if you believe you might be to blame for the accident.
There are many factors that contribute to car accidents, even some that you might not be aware of at that time.
Furthermore, you might not be thinking correctly. Immediate injuries are easier to detect. But some injuries don’t always show up right away, such as Traumatic Brain Injuries – Read More About Traumatic Brain Injuries and what to be aware of for delayed injuries.
Reporting to Insurance Companies
Don’t wait to report an accident. Some insurance companies have a time limit on reporting accidents and every state has its own set of rules.
In Illinois any accident involving bodily injury, or death needs to be reported within 10-days to the Illinois Department of Transportation. In addition, any accident that contains over $1,500 in property damage also needs to be reported.
Generally, if you tell your insurance company about the accident they will report it to the State but be sure to clarify this with them first.
It’s always a good idea to read through your own insurance documentation and clarify your own insurance policy time limit. It might be the case that you have to file a claim with your own insurance if the other driver doesn’t have any. Doing this can prevent any delay or other legal issues you might face.
Keep Records of Conversations
Writing down what happened after an accident or any conversations as they happen is very important. Keeping records is a powerful asset to have if your insurance claim turns into a lawsuit. These records are valuable as they are recorded while any occurrence is fresh in your mind.
It’s also a good idea to write down or take images of any ID’s, insurance cards or other documentation you can get. Taking pictures or video of the scene of the accident is helpful too. For more information read – What to do After a Automotive Accident.
Be Cautious When Providing Information to Insurance Companies
Remember that the insurance company is a business and their primary goal is to pay out as little as possible. There is a chance that they are looking for ways to find you partially at-fault, or that your injuries aren’t as serious.
It’s not a good idea to answer any questions about your health. Some injuries don’t show up right away, and even if you feel just fine – you don’t have to answer these questions. Getting you to answer that you “feel fine” can be used against you later to delegitimize your claim.
Or if they ask you for your version of the accident. What you remember right after the accident can be different days later. This is a way they can try to lock you into a specific version of the accident.
And remember – It’s okay to tell insurance companies you don’t know what happened.
Hire an Attorney if You’re Not Getting Treated Right
If at any point in time you feel that your claim is not getting fair treatment you have the right to hire an attorney. Oftentimes just having an attorney communicate with the insurance company is enough for them to start treating you right.
Our attorneys have seen their fair share of insurance tactics. There is no need for you to be subjected to this. Our consultation is free and we don’t get paid unless you win.
Difference Between a Bodily Injury Claim and Lawsuit
A bodily injury claim turns into a lawsuit when you and the insurance company can’t agree on the appropriate amount for the claim.
From what we see the majority of bodily injury claims are paid out with no issue. Anyone who has been injured in a car accident can file a claim. There is a bit of paperwork and an agreement that has to be made.
There are times that we see insurance companies rushing to finalize a claim, giving low offers, or high pressure tactics. If this happens it’s likely a good idea to contact our car accident attorney. But just contacting an attorney doesn’t mean that it will become a lawsuit.
Getting an attorney as legal representation to your claim can mean a much easier time for you. An attorney can spot any inaccuracies or red flags, extend the time needed for a proper medical evaluation, or get the insurance company to up their offer to a more reasonable sum.
When It’s A Lawsuit
A bodily injury lawsuit means that you’re legally filing a dispute against the insurance company with the governing body, generally the state. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to see a trail, or even a judge – or even any legal action at all. There is a good chance the insurance company will settle out of court.
But when they don’t, an attorney familiar with car accidents can give you the best guidance, piece of mind, and a proper estimation of your claims value. A good attorney will also process your case as if it were going to trial – more work for the attorney, but also bigger and better outcomes.
An attorney will also do all the filing, paperwork, and give you a timeline of events. You’ll likely never need to speak to anyone else but the attorney.
A very valuable source when you’ve been dealing with insurance companies.
Never Delay in Pursuing a Claim or Asking Questions
In Illinois, injury victims must file their claims with the court within two years (2-years) of the date of an accident. The statute of limitations will prevent claims from proceeding if the plaintiff files after that time expired.
Insurance companies also have deadlines for reporting accidents, so it is important not to wait too long before taking action.
In some cases, such as those involving government entities, the timeline for filing is shorter. Speaking to a lawyer is the first step in starting the process.
What Will an Attorney Do to Help After an Injury?
Attorneys provide many valuable services to individuals who suffer from injuries in a car crash.
- Your attorney should carry out a thorough investigation into the accident in order to gather all necessary evidence for building a litigation strategy.
- Your attorney should also be able to communicate with experts in fields, including accident reconstruction and medical professionals. These experts might be useful in proving liability or in illustrating the extent of your injuries and damages.
- Your attorney can also evaluate your insurance policy and other people’s policies to ensure that you receive all coverage to which you are entitled.
- If you are pursuing your claim in court, your attorney is responsible for filing all documents related to your case.
- A dedicated personal injury attorney will provide you with a realistic evaluation of your claim, answer your questions, and help you navigate the process in court or arbitration.
Personal injury claims are incredibly stressful, but an attorney will help you by taking much of the responsibility for pursuing your claim so that your focus remains on taking care of yourself and your family, and healing from the injuries you suffered.
Hiring Rockford Car Accident Lawyers
At Rockford Personal Injury Lawyers, we pride ourselves on staying on top of changes in insurance regulations, case law, and industry trends. This helps us fight back against the insurance industry’s tactics used to devalue and hack away at the compensation owed to the hurt and injured.
For a free, no-hassle, honest consultation about how we may be able to help you or a loved one in making a successful bodily injury insurance claim call, text message, or email us 24/7/365 at (815) 964-8303.