Personal Injury in IllinoisPage Overview
If you are injured in a car accident, you may find yourself in the market for a personal-injury attorney. These lawyers specialize in the Illinois laws that protect those who have suffered physical or emotional damage due to the actions or negligence of others.
Even if you have auto insurance coverage, your insurance company isn't necessarily your best ally in the case of an accident―especially if blame is unclear or if you may be at fault. A personal-injury attorney can protect your interests until the situation becomes clearer, or make sure you are not victimized by someone else's attorney.
If you are injured, you will have to prove (even to your own insurance company) the extent of your injuries, the necessity of medical care or therapy, and your other losses. It is to your insurer's advantage to minimize all of these costs in its evaluation. A personal-injury attorney can help even out the playing field between you, your insurance company, the other party's insurance company, and the other party's lawyer.
Personal-injury lawyers are especially useful in the case of soft-tissue damage. Broken bones show up instantly on X-rays―but not all injuries do. Although such injuries can be debilitating and chronic if not properly cared for (and sometimes even if they are), many insurance companies will suspect fraud if there is reported pain but no incontrovertible proof of injury.
In addition, soft-tissue injuries may not manifest tnemselves until 24 to 72 hours after an accident, or even later―often after you have already told your insurance adjuster that you are OK. As a rule, if you are in an accident, avoid saying "I'm OK" right after the incident. "I don't know" is a better answer, as well as being more accurate. Most people are jolted by being in an acccident, and some will even be in a mild state of shock. This is not the time to be doing self-analysis of your injuries.
Even insurance companies often admit that clients with attorneys receive larger settlements and better care than clients without them. It's natural and good business practice for insurers to want to settle claims as cheaply as possible. The person without a lawyer will almost invariably be offered less. And unless you've been in a lot of injury accidents, you probably don't have the necessary experience to know what is fair for your situation.
If in doubt, contact a few Illinois personal-injury attorneys to see what they have to say about your particular situation.
Consult the following pages for further information about personal-injury claims and forms:
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- Notice of Intent of Claim for Personal Injury: This form is an announcement of intent to file a personal injury claim. Presenting it in a timely manner can preserve some of your rights, but it also puts the party on alert that a claim is coming.
- Form for Application to Sue or Defend as a Poor Person
- Illinois Court of Claims Rules and Statutes
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