Why to Contact an Attorney if You Have Been Injured in an Accident
If you or someone in your family has been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. In the wake of a serious injury, your first priority is to take care of yourself and your family. Consulting with a lawyer may be the last thing on your mind, but obtaining legal advice quickly can prove critical, especially if you face medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation, and/or pain and suffering as a result of your injuries.
Police and Insurance Company Investigations
When a severe injury occurs in an accident, an investigation will begin immediately to determine exactly what happened. The police may be involved along with insurance company investigators, but they have different objectives. The police want to determine if a crime was committed, while the insurance company is focused on who was liable. You want to speak with an attorney before giving a statement to an insurance claims agent. If you mistakenly say the wrong thing, it could affect your ability to obtain full and fair compensation for your losses.
Negotiating with an Insurance Company Over Payout
Few people have experience with the process of obtaining compensation for a personal injury. An insurance company might push you to accept a quick settlement, but this may not be in your best interests. The long-term costs of an injury can be far greater than you might realize at first.
Extensive negotiations are often required to reach a settlement, and an experienced personal injury attorney is in a much better position to develop detailed estimates of your long-term damages and negotiate what is fair.
If the at-fault party is not cooperative, your lawyer may have to file a lawsuit to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Time Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
In Illinois, you generally have two years from the date an injury occurs to file a personal injury lawsuit, but the sooner an attorney is entrusted to look out for you, all the better. The police are only looking for evidence of a crime that may have been committed, such as drunk driving. The insurance company is looking out for its own financial interests and to minimize the amount they have to pay out. Your attorney will focus on protecting you.
Evidence in Personal Injury Cases
Evidence preservation is another reason to consult a lawyer quickly after an injury occurs. In order to win a personal injury lawsuit, you have to prove that your injuries were the direct result of the other party’s negligence or wrongdoing.
An experienced personal injury attorney will know exactly what types of evidence should be collected and will take swift action to secure it. For example, people’s memories fade quickly, so witnesses must be interviewed as soon as possible. If possible, security videos and photographs of the accident scene must also be obtained.
If your injuries occurred during the commission of a crime, the police will investigate to the extent necessary to convict the suspect. However, personal injury lawsuits are a matter of civil law, not criminal law. The police's responsibility is limited to criminal matters.
Ultimately, it is up to you and your legal team to prove who was at fault and build a case that illustrates that.
Consult an Orland Park Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a family member has been injured by another party’s negligence, you need to act quickly. To speak with a knowledgeable Cook County personal injury attorney, call the Orland Park office of Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000 for a free consultation.