After an auto accident, many people may be unsure about their rights to compensation. They may not know how much to ask for and when to file their claim.
If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident, you should understand what to do afterward to protect your right to compensation. A car accident attorney can represent you in negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company.
Do Document the Scene of the Accident
You and your attorney can prove what happened after your accident with high-quality visual evidence. Taking these types of pictures of the cars involved can prove liability in the accident:
- Interior damage, such as airbag deployment, shattered glass, loose car parts, and bloodstains
- Exterior damage to the bumper, headlights, taillights, and windows
- Damage to personal belongings such as cell phones
- License plate numbers of all the cars
- Debris, skid marks, and gouge marks on the pavement
- Traffic control devices and signs
- Weather conditions
If there are injuries, take close-up photos and videos of the victims. Pictures of businesses near the accident site can help your attorney identify which ones to contact in case they need surveillance footage from their security cameras.
Do Know Your State’s Car Accident Laws
Illinois is an at-fault state for car accidents. That means the driver who caused the accident is responsible for the damages, including property damage, medical bills, and lost wages caused by the accident.
All Illinois drivers must carry minimum liability insurance policies of:
- $25,000 for one injured person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $20,000 for property damage
If you’re in an accident, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance to receive compensation for damages they caused. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you can file with your insurance if you have underinsured or uninsured motorists’ coverage.
If your injuries are severe and exceed available insurance coverage, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. A lawsuit allows you to seek maximum damages for your injuries, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and future earnings
- Physical therapy costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Don’t Admit Fault or Apologize to the Other Driver
After the accident, say as little as possible and stick to the facts of the situation. The other party’s insurance company can use what you say against you to reduce or deny your claim.
Illinois uses modified comparative fault, which means you can’t get compensation if you are more than 50% responsible for an accident. When speaking to the other driver, law enforcement, or an insurance agent, do not apologize for the accident or say anything they might interpret as admitting guilt.
Instead, gather information from the driver and witnesses, such as phone numbers and names, and give factual observations regarding road conditions and what you witnessed.
Don’t Accept the Initial Settlement from the Insurance Company
An insurance agent may encourage you to give a recorded statement or accept a settlement. However, it is critical to consult an attorney before speaking with the insurance company if you hope to maximize your compensation and get what you are owed.
The insurance company may attempt to settle as little as possible and avoid paying out a large settlement. If you accept the settlement offer, you waive your right to pursue future car insurance claims related to the accident.
Legal representation can help you obtain the fair settlement you need for your injuries and vehicle damage.
Seek Legal Advice from an Attorney at Nessler & Associates
After an injury accident, contact an attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney from Nessler & Associates can help you understand your rights after a collision and pursue compensation for your damages.
We can negotiate on your behalf with the negligent driver’s insurance company to get you a fair settlement, and if they refuse to pay, we can take your case to court. We’ve won millions for our clients injured in auto accidents and will work to build a strong case for you.
Contact our offices today for a free consultation regarding your next steps after a collision.