Questions and Answers— The 5 Most Asked Questions
- What is my case worth?
- How much will it cost me?
- Will my case go to court?
- How long will it take?
- What about my doctor bills?
- What should I do in the event of an auto accident?
- Who should I contact after an auto accident?
Q. What is my case worth?
A. Careful investigation of the facts and the law must be done before we can determine the dollar value of your case. Just as doctors must conduct tests and take x-rays, we must do some background work. Once the work is completed we can present you with a professional opinion about the dollar amount of your case.
Q. How much will it cost me?
A. We advance all the court and litigation expenses for you. This is a valuable service that we give our clients.
We handle your case on contingency fee basis. That means we take a percentage of the money that we get for you. We do not get paid unless we win your case, settle it, or get a jury verdict. The contingent fee is the key to the courthouse for the injured victim.
Q. Will my case go to court?
A. Our experience is that over 90% of our cases are settled without a trial. Cases settle at different stages. Some are settled early, others do not settle until the day of the trial, or during the trial.
Many insurance companies wait as long as they can before they offer a fair settlement. These companies know that they earn interest on the money they keep. They have hundreds or thousands of cases. So if, by delay, they can earn an extra few hundred dollars of interest on each case, they make a lot of extra money. That is how they play the game.
We prepare each case with the aim that it will result in a full trial. We never assume that a case will be settled. We are committed to preparing the strongest and best case that we can.
Q. How long will it take?
A. Insurance companies like to delay payment for as long as they can. Our goal is to attempt to settle cases as soon as possible. Each case is different, so we cannot give an exact time frame for individual cases.
Q. What about my doctor bills?
A. To get your bills paid quickly, they should be submitted to your health insurance or to your car insurance provider. The medical payments part of your automobile policy will often cover your bills if you are in an accident.
WHAT Should I Do In The Event Of An Auto Accident?
- DO get the names, addresses, and drivers license numbers of all the drivers involved in the accident.
- DO take photos of your injuries, your car, and the scene of the accident.
- DO check to see if any of the drivers appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- DO get the names and addresses of all the passengers in the vehicles.
- DO get the names and addresses of any pedestrians involved in the accident.
- DO get the names of the people involved in the accident who report any personal injury.
- DO get the names and addresses of witnesses at the scene.
- DO make a note of the location, time, and weather conditions of the accident.
- DO make note if there was anything “wrong” with the vehicles before the accident, i.e. broken headlight, bald tires, etc…
- DO make a note of anyone admitting responsibility for the accident.
- DO call your own insurance agent and notify him of the accident, but DO NOT give a detailed statement to him.
- DO call your lawyer right away so that he can advise you and so that he may begin an investigation right away.
- DO NOT give a statement to any insurance agent or adjuster.
- DO NOT admit any fault or wrongdoing to the police. Just give the police basic information for their report.
- DO NOT talk to the other driver about the accident.
Note: Move your car if it is blocking traffic. You do not have to wait for the police to come before moving it. Stand away from the car and stay out of the roadway until the police or medical personnel arrive at the scene.
Who Do I Contact After An Auto Accident?
Police– In the state of Illinois, if any personal injury occurs in an auto accident, a police report must be filed. A police report is also required when property damage exceeds $500. The manner of making the report can vary. To be safe, at least a telephone call to the local police should be made shortly after an accident to determine local practice and the information you are required to provide.
Insurance Company– Most auto insurance companies require their policyholders to promptly report every accident. The insurance company will want to gather all of the basic information concerning the accident. We suggest that if you and/or your passengers were injured in the accident, or believe the company will try to claim “you’re not covered” or you have any concerns about the adequacy of your coverage, you should contact an attorney before you go much further, and certainly before you give the insurance company permission to record your conversation. However, bear in mind that failure to provide information to your insurance company on a timely basis – your policy will set out how quickly you must notify the company – could result in the loss of coverage for the accident.
Illinois Secretary of State– The Department of Motor Vehicles maintains auto accident reports. This report must be filed within 10 days of the accident. Failure to file such a required report could lead to the suspension of your driving privileges. Your driver’s license could be taken from you, regardless of fault, if you do not promptly file a report with your states DMV. If you or someone was injured, it may make sense to speak to a lawyer BEFORE filing that report.