A personal injury claim is filed with an at-fault party’s insurance company to recover compensation for damages. If this is unsuccessful, though, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed against the individual. Some may be able to handle filing a claim without an Illinois injury attorney in Johnsburg, but cases involving serious injuries or significant damages and those that result in a lawsuit generally benefit from legal counsel.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Most cases begin with a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance. When dealing with an insurance adjuster, efforts may be made to diminish the damages or even outright deny them. This is where a well-prepared claim with ample evidence can be very helpful to demonstrate the other party’s liability.
In an accident case this might include:
- a copy of the police report;
- statements from witnesses;
- photographs; and
- other information that demonstrates fault.
Even if the insurance company does agree that its policyholder was at fault for the crash, the value of the claim will need to be determined. Both sides might have very different views of what is considered a fair settlement.
When filing a claim, it’s important to know ahead of time the actual costs associated with the accident and any additional damages that are being sought (such as disability, mental anguish). Keep in mind that the total amount may be disputed by the insurance company.
The claimant (and his/her Illinois injury attorney in Johnsburg) will enter negotiations with the insurance company. If a settlement cannot be reached, a personal injury claim may turn into a personal injury lawsuit. This may also be the case if the at-fault driver’s coverage does not cover the full extent of damages (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering), or if the at-fault driver does not have any insurance coverage.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Negotiations can stretch for weeks or months. The problem with this is that it may cut into the limited time allowed for filing a lawsuit. This is known as the statute of limitations. In Illinois, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the time of injury.
If an Illinois injury attorney in Johnsburg was not hired in the personal injury claim process, now would be the time to do so, as a personal injury lawsuit can be much more complex than a claim.
A complaint will be filed to explain the plaintiff’s side of things such as what happened, why the other party was at fault and the types of damages sustained. An answer is then filed by the defendant as to whether or not there is an agreement or disagreement with the complaint.
The next stage of a lawsuit is fact-finding and discovery. This is when all relevant information, records and documentation are assembled and exchanged.
Before even moving into a trial, there is still an opportunity to negotiate the personal injury lawsuit. Reaching a settlement is usually the goal of both sides, as it save time and money. If a settlement cannot be reached, an Illinois injury attorney in Johnsburg will argue the case for the plaintiff at trial, and it will be up to a court to hear the case and make a decision.
Legal Counsel with an Illinois Injury Attorney in Johnsburg for a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
It’s important that when selecting an attorney to choose one who has handled similar personal injury cases and is willing to take the claim to lawsuit if necessary. An Illinois injury attorney in Johnsburg at Franks & Rechenberg, PC can help injured victims with his/her personal injury claims or lawsuits and offers free consultation. Call 847-854-7700.