In the aftermath of a car accident, the prospect of phoning an attorney’s office and getting representation for your case can seem daunting, especially if your accident resulted in significant physical or emotional stress. Can you even afford an attorney? Will they honestly fight for your fair compensation? What are your odds of winning? These and many more questions go through the heads of most people involved in a traumatic car accident, and you are not alone in feeling a little overwhelmed by the process.
When working with an attorney, you can ask certain questions about your case right away that will set your mind at ease and give you more insights into the process of filing a car accident claim.
It’s important to note that the attorney you hire should be experienced in car accident litigation, with a strong record of successful cases and the kind of personality you feel you can be open and honest with.
Once you have found the right person, here are some basic questions you will want to ask them as you start the process of filing a claim.
How long should I wait to file a claim?
You should file a claim as soon as possible. That said, in the State of Illinois, you have two years from the date of the accident to file. This is known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies state by state, and sometimes according to the details of each individual case. It’s also important to note that this statute of limitations can be shorter if the accident was caused by a state or local government employee. Typically in those cases, a claim must be filed within one year of the accident.
What documentation does my attorney need?
As much as possible, preferably. Records of medical visits made, photos of the accident, written statements from witnesses, and police reports are just a few of the relevant materials your attorney will need to successfully investigate and pursue your claim.
How long will it take to settle my claim?
The short answer is, it varies. Settling a claim can take anywhere from a few weeks to one year or longer and is dependent on many different factors. While some cases can be settled without a lawsuit, many people have to file a suit in order for a settlement to be reached. Your attorney will be able to give you a more specific time frame once they have reviewed your case and documents and understand the details of your specific accident.
What things can I be compensated for?
An attorney will be able to answer this question based on your personal injuries, damages to your vehicle or items inside the vehicle, as well as any emotional stress and/or trauma you may have undergone as a direct result of the accident.
How much compensation can I get?
That will depend a lot on the specific details of your case. For example, if a car accident results in a back injury which requires major surgery, you may receive more than you would for an injury that only needed one or two trips to the chiropractor.
Should I accept an offer from the other insurance company?
Never sign any document or accept any offer from the other driver’s insurance company without first consulting your attorney. Do not offer any statement to them without your attorney’s consent.
What are the fees?
Those vary from one lawyer to the next. At a firm like Clifford Law Offices, an initial consultation to discuss your case with an attorney is free. From there, your lawyer may work on what’s called a contingency fee basis, meaning they take a portion of the settlement collected at the end of the case, if the case is successful. Be sure to ask upfront so you don’t find yourself with surprise costs at any point during the process of filing a claim.
The right attorney can provide you with detailed answers to all of these questions based on your specific case. Remember, you do not have to go through this process alone. Clifford Law Offices has a longstanding history of successfully representing victims of car accidents. If you or someone you love has been injured and needs an attorney, please reach out to us today or call 312-899-9090.