30 Jan, 2024

Is It Worth Suing After a Car Accident in Bloomington, IL?

Author Todd A. Strong
Car crash from car accident on the road in a city between saloon versus pickup
Car crash from car accident on the road in a city between saloon versus pickup

If the other driver does not have insurance, you may have to sue the driver to recover compensation. However, the other driver may have no assets for you to recover compensation. In this case, it's usually better to file a claim with your own uninsured motorist insurance policy, if you have one.

What Happens After a Car Accident?

After an accident, there are certain steps you should take. Some of these steps are immediate, while others are part of the post-accident phase.

Steps to Take Directly After an Accident

These steps will simplify your post-accident experience and ensure you receive the necessary assistance.

Ensure Safety

After a car accident, prioritize safety. Assess the situation and seek medical attention if anyone is injured. If the accident is minor, safely move your vehicle off the road to prevent further accidents. Use hazard lights or warning triangles to signal other drivers if the vehicles are inoperable.

Report the Accident

It is imperative to notify the local law enforcement agency about the accident. Reach out to the police and give them precise and comprehensive details regarding the incident.

When an accident occurs, the officers dispatched to the scene will compile an official accident report. This report is a crucial document that can serve as a pivotal piece of evidence in any legal proceedings that may follow.

It is important to cooperate with law enforcement when they arrive at the scene. Answer their questions truthfully and provide all requested information. The police report will include their assessment of the accident, statements from parties involved, and any citations issued.

Document the Scene

You should document the scene by taking clear photos of all vehicles involved from various angles, including any visible damage, and wide shots of the overall scene. Document the positions of the vehicles before they are moved, if possible. Photograph any visible injuries and collect contact information from witnesses. Such information can be valuable in determining fault and supporting personal injury claims.

Exchange Information

After ensuring that everyone involved in the accident is safe, you should exchange the following information with the other parties:

  • Names of all parties involved
  • Contact information, including phone number and addresses
  • Driver’s license number
  • Vehicle information, including license plate number, make, model, and year
  • Insurance company name and policy number of parties involved

It is crucial to avoid admitting fault or discussing who is to blame for the accident. Even if you believe you were at fault, the full circumstances may not be clear, and liability determination should be left to the legal representatives and insurance companies.

Steps in the Post-Accident Phase

After an accident, there are crucial steps you should take to ensure a successful insurance claim or lawsuit.

Seek Medical Treatment for Latent Injuries

Car accidents can have both physical and emotional repercussions. Even if you don't experience immediate physical symptoms, your body may produce chemicals as a way of dealing with the traumatic event, which can mask any physical pain you may have experienced. As a result, hours or even days after the accident, you may begin to feel pain from injuries you didn't even realize you had suffered.

Getting proper medical care is crucial for two reasons. First, your doctor is in the best position to determine the extent of your injuries and prescribe the best treatment for you.

Second, records of your doctor appointments are the best way to document your injuries, the duration of your treatment, and the course of your recovery. It's crucial to have this verification when filing a claim for your injuries. In a personal injury case, medical expenses and treatment costs are significant factors, so having proper documentation is essential in determining damages.

Delaying medical treatment may lead to the negligent party arguing that the injuries were not caused by the accident. The argument may become stronger as the time between the accident and a medical assessment of the condition lengthens.

Collect Documentation

Collecting and preserving documentation is crucial after an accident. It can help you obtain a better settlement by providing the necessary evidence, and ensuring that your attorney has all the information needed to present a strong case to the insurance company.

Documenting your injuries can be critical when it comes to proving that you are not at fault in a car accident. Without proper documentation, it can be challenging to determine who is at fault, unless one of the parties admits fault at the scene. To establish who is responsible for the accident, you need to have proper documentation, such as photos of the vehicle, the accident location, and skid marks on the road.

In addition to establishing fault, you must also justify the amount of damages that you are seeking compensation for. Proper documentation, including medical bills and receipts, payment records to show the time missed from work and lost earnings, and any other expenses related to your injuries and treatment, is crucial. Such documentation allows you to accurately quantify your damages and provide proof of your expenses to justify your damages claim.

Without taking the necessary steps to preserve evidence of your injuries and their effects, you may struggle to recover any compensation that you could have otherwise collected.

Report the Accident

It is crucial to inform your insurance company about any accident, regardless of who caused it. Failing to do so may impact your ability to make a claim in the future. Depending on the severity of the damage to property or injuries sustained, you might have to notify law enforcement. Even if you are not required to call the police, having them at the scene can be beneficial, as their investigation can provide valuable evidence to support your claim.

Seek Legal Assistance

Although not every car accident requires legal action, it is wise to seek legal representation to safeguard your rights. A legal professional can evaluate the circumstances leading to the accident and determine who is liable, ensuring compliance with Illinois’ statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits.

A car accident lawyer can play a vital role in negotiating with insurance companies. A lawyer will know how Bloomington car accident settlements are calculated, negotiate for a fair settlement, and guide you through the litigation process if necessary. A personal injury attorney can file a lawsuit to recover damages.

What Are the Benefits of Filing a Lawsuit?

In case of a serious car crash in Illinois, you may wonder who will pay your medical bills. Unfortunately, you are personally responsible for ensuring that the bills get paid. However, there are sources that can contribute to paying for the damages. These may include your own financial resources, insurance coverage, the at-fault driver's insurance, and the at-fault driver themselves, depending on the circumstances.

Typically, the at-fault driver is liable for compensating you for any damages caused by the accident. The driver is personally responsible for the damages, but their insurance may cover the costs if they have sufficient coverage. You may have the option to negotiate a settlement amount with the other driver or their insurance company, or to file a lawsuit against either one to claim compensation for your damages.

If you are unable to settle for a reasonable amount out of court, your personal injury lawyer can evaluate the viability of your case in court. If they feel that you have a strong case, it may be worthwhile to escalate the situation and take it to trial. Taking your case to court and presenting convincing proof may result in a substantially larger settlement. Filing a lawsuit can help to recover compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages and diminished earning capacity. Your attorney may also help you understand how to file a lawsuit for chronic pain syndrome after a crash.

Compensation for Medical Expenses

Healthcare treatments can be costly, so in your lawsuit, you may seek compensation for the medical expenses you have incurred. To receive reimbursement, you must prove that your treatment and care were necessary and reasonable. Some examples of medical expenses that may be covered include:

  • Bills related to ambulance, emergency room, and hospital visits
  • Expenses incurred for surgeries, therapies, and consultations with doctors
  • Costs associated with prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs
  • Charges for medical equipment, including items such as crutches, wheelchairs, respirators, hospital beds, and portable toilets
  • Fees for medical supplies
  • Expenses related to future medical treatments required for permanent disabilities or impairments

It's essential to keep detailed records, such as receipts, bills, and invoices, to provide evidence of both the charge and payment.

Lost Wages and Future Earning Capacity

If you have suffered an accident or personal injury and are unable to work, you may experience a loss of earnings. This loss is included in the damages claimed in a lawsuit, as it represents the income you would have earned had you not been injured. Loss of earnings includes the lost income, wages, and benefits from the date of your injury until the date you return to work. The value of the loss of earnings equals the amount you would have earned if the other party had not caused your injury.

To prove a loss of income, you will need documents that verify your income before the injury. You may verify your wages or salary, the average number of hours you work, or the amount you would have earned if you were able to work, using a statement from your employer.

To claim future lost wages, you need to estimate how much you would have earned and provide medical evidence that explains how your condition prevents you from working.

If you have permanent injuries, your damages will include future lost wages. If your impairment prevents you from earning as much as before, your damages will include diminished earning capacity. You can claim compensation for the difference between what you would have been able to earn, and what you may be able to earn after your injuries.

Why Should You Consult With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney After an Accident?

After an accident, prioritize your medical treatment and recovery instead of worrying about fighting the legal system. Handling a car accident case on your own can be challenging, which is why hiring a car accident attorney may be a wise decision.

What does a Bloomington car accident lawyer do? A car accident attorney is well-versed in the legal process and can provide you with guidance throughout the case. He or she can assist you in building a strong case, negotiating a settlement on your behalf, or litigating to obtain compensation for your damages. By having legal representation, your chances of success are higher, and you can expect to receive greater compensation.

Personalized Guidance Based on Individual Circumstances

Every accident is unique and has its own set of individual circumstances.

An experienced lawyer will adapt their skills to your circumstances and create a personalized strategy for your needs. He or she can assess the merits of your claim, determine what evidence is required to prove your case, and collect that evidence. Your lawyer will also be able to determine what damages are fair for your claim and either negotiate a fair settlement or litigate to recover appropriate compensation.

As you navigate suing after a car accident, an Illinois personal injury attorney can also help guide you through applicable laws, deadlines, and the civil court process. He or she can educate you on your rights as a victim, and keep you well-informed throughout the legal process.

About The Author

Photo of Todd A. Strong
Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.