According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were nearly 313,000 automobile accidents in Illinois in 2019. Over 20% of these accidents resulted in injuries. With so many car crashes in the state, it is imperative that you know how to separate fact from fiction when it comes to seeking damages and filing a car accident claim.
As a car accident attorney at Dodds Law Office, PC, I am committed to educating my clients about their rights and helping them pursue favorable resolutions to their car accident claims. With an office centrally located in Bloomington, Illinois, I provide experienced legal representation to accident victims throughout the state, including Decatur, Peoria, Lincoln, Pekin, Urbana, and Champaign.
Debunking Common Misconceptions
About the Car Accident Claims Process
If you were involved in a car accident, it is critical to remember that you have legal rights. You may be eligible to receive financial compensation for your damages and losses. However, it is crucial to make sure that you rely on factual information about the car accident claims process. Below is the list of common misconceptions that I routinely come across as a car accident lawyer.
- Misconception #1: “My insurance company will cover all of my damages and costs.” One of the first questions I hear from accident victims is “Who will pay for damages after a car accident?” An injured driver’s insurance policy will generally cover their damages and losses in no-fault states. However, Illinois follows the fault-based system, which means you must file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company to obtain compensation; thus, proving the other party’s fault is a key element in the car accident claims process. In order to establish the other driver’s fault, you need to prove that (a) the driver owed you a duty of care, (b) their negligent conduct resulted in a breach of that duty, (c) the negligent act led to the accident, and (d) you suffered damages as a result.
- Misconception #2: “I do not need medical attention if I feel okay after the accident.” Unfortunately, too many victims of car crashes do not seek immediate medical attention. Failure to get medical care in a timely manner could impede your physical recovery, as well as jeopardize your personal injury claim. That is why it is always a good idea to seek medical attention after the accident, even if you feel okay or think your injuries are minor. Your health is one of your most valuable assets, so make certain you get it checked out.
- Misconception #3: “I do not have to file a police report if my car crash is minor.” That depends on what you consider to be a “minor” crash. Under Illinois law, motorists must file an accident report if their crash results in injuries, death, or at least $1,500 in property damage. So, is it necessary to report the accident if you or the other party was injured? Yes. Illinois law requires drivers to file an accident report with the state’s Department of Transportation within 10 days after the collision.
- Misconception #4: “I cannot obtain compensation because I was partially at fault for the accident.” Wrong. Illinois law permits motorists to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation even if they were partially at fault for the accident. However, under the state’s modified comparative negligence rule, you can only recover damages if your fault for the accident is less than 50%. The recoverable amount will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
- Misconception #5: “I can sue the at-fault party whenever I want to.” There is a limited window of time to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The time limit, which is commonly referred to as the statute of limitations, is determined by state law. In Illinois, you generally have two years from the date of your injury to file a legal claim against the at-fault driver. It is vital to begin working on your legal case as quickly as possible so that you do not lose your right to seek compensation.
- Misconception #6: “I do not need an attorney to help me with a personal injury claim.” While you can technically file a personal injury claim without legal counsel, working with an attorney gives you a tremendous advantage; without one, no insurance company will take you seriously. Your attorney will prepare and file the necessary paperwork, gather evidence, help you negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, and go to trial if necessary.
As a personal injury attorney who handles car accident claims throughout the state of Illinois, I can guide you through the claims process and ensure that you are in a position to move forward.
Compassionate Legal Guidance
With so many misconceptions surrounding car accidents, it is vital to seek legal counsel from an attorney who is capable of guiding you through the claims process. At Dodds Law Office, PC, I am dedicated to providing each client with compassionate legal guidance and fighting for fair and full compensation on behalf of my clients in Bloomington, Illinois, and other parts of the state. Contact me today to schedule an appointment.
ing to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were nearly 313,000 automobile …