Free Consultation: (312) 924-7575

​How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for a Car Accident?

If you or a loved one was recently involved in a car accident, you might be wondering if you should hire a car accident attorney. Unfortunately, many car accident victims across the United States don’t contact an attorney after suffering injuries because they are afraid they can’t afford one or think it will simply be too expensive or not worth it.

This is a common and frustrating myth for attorneys and victims alike as it is unfounded. Injured parties should know that they don’t need money to start their claim and how attorney’s fees work in personal injuries.

Free Initial Consults

Nearly all personal injury attorneys, including car accident attorneys, offer injured parties and their families free initial consultations. Sometimes these are done in person, and sometimes on the phone. However, the bottom line is that it costs nothing to meet with a qualified car accident attorney to discuss your potential claim and receive sound legal advice.

During this consultation, the attorney will ask many questions about your accident and injuries to determine if you have an injury claim worth pursuing. If you do, then you have the option to hire them to handle your claim. Your consult remains accessible even if you don’t have a claim worth pursuing or choose not to hire the attorney for any reason. You’ve lost nothing by meeting with a car accident attorney.

Contingency Fees

In addition, most car accident attorneys have contingency fee arrangements. Contingency fee arrangements allow injured individuals to afford reputable legal representation against corporate giants and merciless insurance carriers. With a contingency fee agreement, there are little or no charges for the injured party to worry about until the case is completely over.

Most car accident clients think a contingency fee means their lawyer will receive one-third of the final settlement, and they will receive the other two-thirds. However, it’s slightly more complex than that. So it’s possible that medical liens and additional costs will also come out of your final payout.

It’s your attorney’s job to explain precisely how they will calculate their fees and what else might come from any potential settlement or court verdict you stand to receive. Even though lawyers are legally required to explain their fee structure, the client is responsible for reviewing and understanding the fee agreement before they sign it.

With contingency fees, receiving payment for the work your lawyer does on your case relies on them obtaining compensation on your behalf. They don’t get paid anything unless or until they receive a settlement or a court award.

If they cannot get compensation for your claim, they don’t receive any payment at all, and you don’t owe them a penny when your case concludes. If a car accident attorney agrees to represent you, you can be reasonably confident they can obtain compensation for you. If they didn’t think they could, they wouldn’t agree to represent you on a contingency basis.

How Much Are Contingency Fees?

There is no standard or set required amount that car accident attorneys must charge for their services. The rate car accident attorneys charge for contingency fees varies depending on the practice, the region, and other variables. The ethical rules require that a lawyer’s fees are “reasonable” for the legal work they provide. Therefore, a lawyer should charge a reasonable percentage of your financial recovery as their fee.

Some attorneys charge more if the case goes to court. While this might seem discouraging, keep in mind that most car accident victims receive more compensation for their damages when they hire an attorney to represent them – even after they have paid their attorney.

Be aware that this percentage may or may not include other administrative or records fees. For example, some attorneys and law firms absorb these into their pricing structure, while others charge separately.

When you hire your attorney, you will sign a contract that states exactly what their fees are and how they will calculate them. There should be no surprises once your case resolves regarding what you owe your attorney from your settlement or court award.

Other Costs Attorneys Might Charge in Accident Claims

Although most car accident attorneys don’t charge you their service fees until it comes out of whatever they win on your behalf, other fees are often involved with accident claims.

Those can include:

  • Postage fees
  • Filing fees
  • Photocopying expenses
  • Costs of obtaining copies of medical records
  • Expert witness or investigator fees
  • Costs associated with depositions, transcripts, and trial exhibits

Don’t let the thought of these fees keep you from getting the legal help you need, either. Most car accident lawyers don’t charge for the extra fees and expenses as they come. They may cover those costs for the time being, then deduct them from your settlement or award once they receive it, as they do with their contingency fees.

Note that additional fees are frequently higher the longer your case goes on. Be sure to inquire about these fees during the initial consultation with your potential lawyer. However, paying higher fees will likely be worth it if your lawyer works longer to obtain a higher settlement for you.

How Your Attorney Gets Paid When They Resolve Your Case

Suppose your car accident attorney is successful and wins you money in your case. In that case, they will usually receive your settlement check or court award directly. This way, they can take out their percentage as their contingency fee for the services they rendered.

After receiving your settlement check, your lawyer should contact you. They will give you an itemized list showing their own fee, any other costs or expenses involved in the case, and any medical liens they paid on your behalf. You will then receive the remaining balance from your settlement.

This process benefits injured claimants because it allows you to get paid without worrying about paying your attorney out of pocket. It also helps decrease the stress about fees or costs while your case is ongoing.

What is Your Claim Worth?

This is a common question among recent car accident victims. When you meet with an attorney for your initial consultation, they can discuss with you what your claim might be worth.

The value of your claim can depend on many factors, including:

  • The type and extent of your injuries and damages
  • Where you live
  • Recent similar cases in your area
  • The strength of your claim
  • The applicable insurance policies
  • Who is responsible for your injuries

The compensation you receive should cover your economic and your non-economic damages, including:

  • Lost wages and income
  • Property damage
  • Medical expenses
  • Attorney and legal fees
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Humiliation
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

Choosing the Right Car Accident Attorney

Choosing a car accident lawyer to handle your car accident claim can be one of the most important decisions you make in your life. Hiring the wrong attorney—someone who isn’t experienced or lacks negotiation, advocacy skills, or the compassion you need can be extremely detrimental to your injury claim. This means not receiving the compensation you deserve at all or receiving less than you are entitled to receive.

Far too often, injured claimants pick the first attorney that shows up in their internet search browser or the one they saw on a bus advertisement. Sometimes they may get lucky, and the random one they choose will be the right one for them. But how do you choose the right car accident lawyer for you? It’s best not to leave it to chance. Selecting the right attorney is about more than just costs.

What Types of Law Does the Attorney Practice?

Some attorneys and law firms dabble in many types of law. For example, they might assist clients with estate planning, divorces, child support enforcement, and personal injury. While there’s nothing wrong with practicing in multiple areas of the law, you might not get the representation you are hoping for if you hire an attorney who does this as opposed to someone who focuses solely on personal injury law.

For example, car accident lawyers who focus just on personal injury or car accidents have more experience working in the personal injury field and, therefore, more exposure to local courts and judges and lawyers for the opposition.

How Long Have They Been in Practice?

Generally, the longer someone has been doing something, the better they become at it. The same is true for personal injury attorneys. The longer they have been in practice, the more negotiating skills they might have to fairly settle your claim out of court. Experienced attorneys don’t shy away from taking your case into litigation if that’s what it takes to receive the compensation you deserve.

How Do They Get Paid?

Most car accident victims don’t have the cash to pay their car accident lawyer upfront for their services. Thankfully, most car accident attorneys understand and respect that you may not have money to pay for legal expenses upfront after your involvement in a car accident.

After all, you likely have medical bills you must cover, and you may not even be earning a paycheck while recovering from your injuries. So before you meet with a car accident attorney, find out if they charge for initial consultations and if they work on contingency fees. This will be extremely important if you don’t have the money to pay an attorney right now.

Are They Financially Stable?

If your claim involves catastrophic injuries such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or a spinal cord injury (SCI), it will be a lot more complex and expensive to settle or litigate. For example, your car accident lawyer might need to advance payments to consultants and specialists, such as medical experts and actuarial accountants.

Even though they will receive these funds back once they successfully negotiate a claim, they must pay for these essential personal injury services upfront. Suppose an attorney or their law firm doesn’t have money to pay for the necessary specialists upfront. In that case, their client’s claim won’t be successful.

Do They Have Time for Your Case Now?

Finding an experienced car accident lawyer who has time to work on your case now is crucial. Many large firms will take on hundreds of personal injury claims at once. The new cases they take on get pushed to the back burner until they settle the old ones.

During this time, they can lose valuable evidence in support of claims and even ignore clients who want a case update. Sometimes they might even miss deadlines. By hiring a car accident lawyer who has the time to work on your case now, you can ensure they will not ignore your matter. The investigation into your accident will start soon, and no deadlines in your case will be ignored or missed.

Are They in Good Standing?

Is your potential car accident attorney in good standing with your state’s bar association? Have or are they facing disciplinary action? Take the time to do some research, google their name, and read their reviews to see what people are saying.

How Does the Attorney Make You Feel?

Sometimes choosing the right car accident lawyer comes down to trusting your gut. You need a car accident attorney you can feel comfortable speaking to and bringing up any questions or concerns you might have.

After all, they will need to know some private details of your life, such as information about your injuries, finances, and relationships. You want to hire someone you can trust and speak with openly. If, for whatever reason, you just don’t feel comfortable with an attorney or your gut is telling you no, keep looking.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today

Car Accident Attorney, Gary Annes
Car Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in a car accident, don’t put off contacting an experienced car accident attorney. Instead, you can maximize your compensation by hiring an attorney sooner rather than later and not paying anything upfront for their services.

Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442 Phone: (312) 924-7575

​Why Do I Need a Medical Exam if I Feel Uninjured After a Car Accident?

Most people don’t enjoy going to the doctor. However, at times it’s certainly necessary. Being involved in any motor vehicle collision is one of those times. Even if you aren’t experiencing pain or other symptoms or your pain is mild. Even if your car suffered minor damage. Even if you think you just have some bumps and scrapes. Even if you don’t have health insurance or a primary care provider, you must seek medical attention after being in a car accident and contact a car accident lawyer, but why?

The Importance of Early Medical Intervention

Car crash victims should rely on their medical teams to provide them with a timely and accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. To do this, it’s crucial for individuals injured in a car crash to seek medical care as soon as possible.

Some injuries don’t start to reveal symptoms until later. Other injuries can be severe or potentially fatal but do not have noticeable symptoms, such as internal bleeding or organ damage. The sooner an injured person reaches out for medical care, the better off they will be medically and legally speaking.

Suppose you get rear-ended at a stop light. After the accident, you are still processing what happened and don’t notice any pain or other symptoms. The next day your back is a little sore but not enough to concern you, so you don’t go to the doctor. Ten days later, you wake up and can barely get out of bed. You go to the emergency room and learn that you have three slipped discs due to your car accident.

In that case, the at-fault party’s auto insurance company will likely fight to pay for your injuries. They will argue that you did something else during those ten days to cause your slipped discs and that your injury isn’t the result of the car accident.

It’s much easier for your attorney to link your injuries to the accident if you seek medical care immediately. Even if the doctor isn’t sure of a diagnosis immediately, having your accident and any pain or other symptoms documented in your medical records will serve as evidence for your claim.

Don’t worry if you don’t have health insurance; the at-fault party’s insurance company is liable for your medical bills, and your car accident attorney can help ensure these bills get paid.

Information to Provide to Your Doctor Post-Car Accident

Medical providers are well-versed in what types of injuries might arise after specific incidents. For example, they know that a fall victim might be at risk for a head injury or a broken bone. They know that abuse victims might have wounds in various stages of healing or spiral fractures. When it comes to motor vehicle collisions, there can be countless different types of injuries.

The type, location, and severity of an injury depend on many factors, such as:

  • The speed at the vehicles were traveling at the time of the collision
  • The types and sizes of vehicles involved
  • How the vehicles landed
  • If the victim was restrained or thrown from the vehicle
  • If their vehicle’s airbags deployed

Sometimes, your body may mask your symptoms, and you may not detect that you’ve suffered a severe injury. After being involved in any motor vehicle collision, it’s critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have pain or other symptoms, it’s still in your best interests to go. Whether you go to the emergency room, an urgent care center, or a doctor’s office, this step can benefit your health and any future legal claim you might have.

Not only is seeing a doctor essential but also what you tell them. Giving them the correct information can help them provide an accurate diagnosis and formulate a successful treatment plan. This documentation will also help maximize your compensation.

Your Medical History

The doctor who treats you needs to have your medical history, including what medications you take, any ongoing conditions, recent diagnoses, and any past trauma, significant injuries, or surgeries. Even if you think something in your history won’t impact your treatment after a wreck, you should still share the details with your provider. You may be unaware of how something in your history might affect what is going on now.

The Crash Details

Don’t simply tell your doctor, “My back is bothering me.” Let them know you were in a motor vehicle collision and explain the specifics. Your legal claim needs to have the reason for your injuries documented in your medical records. For instance, you can start by telling them, “I was stopped at a red light when a bus rear-ended me. The impact pushed my car forward into the intersection, and another vehicle hit my driver’s side doors.”

Keep in mind that you should refrain from embellishing your story. Avoid speculating about the exact speed the other vehicle was traveling or if they were intoxicated at the time. Sometimes, insurance companies try to use a victim’s imprecise statements to damage their credibility. To prevent this, only discuss the facts you know with certainty.

You should describe how the car crash occurred as best as you can.

Provide as many details as possible, and include:

  • The types of vehicles involved
  • Where you were sitting in the vehicle
  • If you were wearing your seatbelt
  • If the airbags deployed
  • What caused the accident and how it unfolded
  • What part of your vehicle got hit
  • What parts of the vehicle were damaged, and to what extent
  • Any immediate symptoms you had and when

Your Symptoms

Initially and over the entire course of your treatment, keep your doctor informed and updated about your symptoms. Don’t downplay what you experience but don’t overstate your symptoms either.

Describe the pain you’re feeling in detail:

  • What does the pain feel like?
  • Where is your pain, and does it radiate to other areas?
  • How often do you feel it?
  • How intense is it?
  • What makes it worse?
  • What makes it better?

Tell your doctor if:

  • You are experiencing stiffness, and where
  • You have lost any range of motion
  • You cannot complete normal daily activities such as hygiene, cleaning, cooking, or driving.

You should also inform your doctor if your pain or any other symptom worsens or improves with treatment. Having these details documented in your medical record can help ensure you receive a full and fair settlement for your injuries. For example, if you cannot take care of yourself for several weeks due to your back injury, you deserve compensation specifically for this.

What You Do for a Living

Another vital piece of information your doctor should know is the nature of your job and its physical demands. Even primarily sedentary tasks may be impossible for you to do because of pain or stiffness. The duties associated with your job don’t have to be physically arduous for you to need to stay home while you heal or limit your activity. This information will help your doctor understand what, if any, limitations or work restrictions you should have. It will also help substantiate lost wages as damages in your claim.

Common Medical Issues Post-Automobile Accident

Whiplash

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries suffered by car crash victims. The sudden and severe force placed on the neck in a crash can damage the neck’s muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The bones between the vertebrae or the intervertebral joints can become damaged, and nerve roots can become inflamed. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes to whiplash injuries. The most effective treatment is time.

Back Injuries

Back problems often appear later than other types of injuries, making it imperative that those injured in a crash seek medical care as soon as possible, even if they don’t think they suffered an injury.

Spinal Cord Injuries

A traumatic accident can severely damage the spinal cord or the nerves connected to the spinal canal. These injuries can cause changes in strength, sensation, and other physiological functions in and around the injury area. In fact, a severe spinal injury may cause partial and complete loss of movement in the limbs, causing temporary or permanent disability.

Head Injuries

One of the most concerning injuries in any type of incident is a head injury, specifically a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI can lead to permanent brain damage as well as sleep disorders, severe headaches, and seizures. The sooner the treatment, the better the outcome regarding head injuries.

Broken Bones

The force of a collision can impact the body in many ways, causing bones to break or snap under pressure. Ribs, legs, arms, wrists, shoulders, knees, and ankles commonly suffer fractures in automobile wrecks.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is one of the most concerning yet least obvious injuries someone involved in a car crash might suffer. Undiagnosed and untreated internal bleeding can lead to severe organ damage and death. Even if someone feels fine after a motor vehicle collision, they should still receive a medical examination to check for internal bleeding.

Burns

Some vehicle wrecks result in fires due to gasoline or other substances, such as those carried by tanker trucks. If the victim becomes trapped, even momentarily, in the fire area, they can suffer severe burns or smoke inhalation injuries.

Mental Health Issues

Although commonly overlooked, mental health issues are no less critical than other injuries. For example, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common among people involved in car accidents. Some medical conditions, such as paralysis, can also lead to psychological and emotional anguish for someone after an auto collision.

What if You Have a Pre-Existing Injury?

Too many people who suffer an injury in a motor vehicle accident make the mistake of thinking that they won’t qualify for compensation since they suffered a previous similar injury. Even if you had a similar injury or injured the same area of your body, you still have the right to seek compensation. In fact, the law establishes that negligent parties take other people as they are when they cause an incident.

If the new injury exacerbates an old injury, the person who caused the incident can be held responsible. Remember that insurance companies will try to use prior injuries as an excuse not to pay you the total amount of your damages. An experienced car accident attorney can help you reach the best possible outcome in your claim, even if you have a pre-existing injury.

How Much Time Do You Have to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident?

Getting medical care should always be a priority after an injury accident. Once you are medically stable, you can pursue your legal options. While your doctor may be unsure how long your injuries will take to heal, you have limited time to exercise your legal options for financial recovery.

Each state enacts its statute of limitations for personal injury claims. The statute of limitations is a deadline imposed for filing a lawsuit after suffering a personal injury, such as injuries in a motor vehicle accident.

If you miss this strict deadline, you no longer have the right to pursue compensation through the court system. However, when you hire a knowledgeable car accident attorney, they will know the deadline for filing your claim and ensure that your claim gets filed on time if a lawsuit becomes necessary.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Truck Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

As you can see, car accident injury claims can be highly complex. You need to seek medical care and follow your doctor’s advice to receive the compensation you deserve. Not only do you need the help of medical providers after a car accident, but you also need representation from an experienced car accident lawyer to maximize your compensation. Don’t wait to reach out to an attorney after being involved in a car accident.

Reaching out to a lawyer sooner can ensure you meet all the deadlines for your case and have access to strong evidence. It can also relieve stress from your shoulders so you can focus on your injuries.


Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442 Phone: (312) 924-7575

​Who Decides Who’s at Fault in a Car Accident?

In every city across America, it’s an everyday occurrence; one car hitting another. When this happens, who is at fault? Sometimes the answer isn’t apparent, and various parties may be the ones to decide at different stages. Fault might be determined at the accident scene, in a police report, by the car insurance companies covering the involved drivers, or even in a courtroom by a judge or a jury.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 5.25 million police-reported crashes in one recent year. These accidents resulted in approximately 2.28 million people injured and almost 39,000 fatalities.

Over 3.6 million of the crashes resulted in property damage only. Unfortunately, even accidents that only result in property damage can result in many headaches about who is at fault and which driver should pay the other’s damages.

If you or someone you love was recently involved in a motor vehicle accident, your life got much more complicated and stressful. However, the good news is that an experienced car accident lawyer and support you during this time, helping you seek compensation for your injuries.

Your attorney can determine who is at fault for your accident and work towards convincing the appropriate parties responsible for your damages that they need to offer you a full and fair settlement.

Possible Scenarios to Determine Who Is at Fault

The Drivers

The first scenario is that the drivers involved in the accident can decide together at the scene who was at fault. This process usually involves one driver readily admitting fault and being willing to take the blame. However, taking this route to determine fault is highly inadvisable.

Many drivers are in shock and quite shaken up at the scene of the accident; this is not the time or place to accept or place blame for the accident. You don’t want to accept blame in the heat of the moment and then later decide that you are not the at-fault party. Even saying something as simple as “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t see you coming” can place the blame on you.

Speak politely to the other driver(s) involved, exchange information, and call the police. Don’t discuss what happened.

The Police Report

After an accident causing injuries or property damage, it’s best, and often legally necessary, that you call law enforcement to come to draft an accident report. When they arrive, they will determine if anyone is hurt and get them medical attention, then they will begin assessing the accident scene.

Examining the damage to all involved vehicles and where the vehicles landed can help give them clues as to which party is at fault for the accident. The police officer will usually draw or create a diagram of the scene.

They will also talk to all involved parties and eyewitnesses at the scene who can help determine what caused the accident. Officers will also be looking to determine if anyone broke the law in causing the accident, such as speeding or running a red light. If a driver breaks the law, leading to an accident, the fault will likely land on them, as this establishes negligence. Traffic laws create a duty for drivers to obey them. When they don’t follow them, and people get hurt, the driver is liable for their negligence.

It’s worth noting that police reports aren’t infallible. However, they are documents that auto insurance companies will undoubtedly read. It’s proof that the accident occurred and can give trustworthy details. While police reports cannot be evidence in litigation, they can certainly serve as important evidence of the fault in insurance claims.

The Insurance Companies

If you have collision coverage on your auto insurance policy, you can file a collision claim, no matter whose fault the accident is. When you do this, your insurance company will perform its own investigation. If they believe the other driver is at fault, they will contact the other driver’s insurance company to seek what is known as subrogation to pay for your claim. If their efforts are successful, you will get your deductible back.

If the two insurance companies can’t agree, they may take their dispute to arbitration. During this process, an arbitrator will determine who was at fault for the accident and how much they should owe for the damages they caused.

Your Attorney and the Insurance Company’s Attorneys

After an accident, you should exercise your right to meet with a skilled car accident attorney. Even if you aren’t sure your injuries are severe enough or that your car was damaged enough, it’s always in your best interest to review your potential case with an attorney. Otherwise, you might leave money on the table you are entitled to receive.

If the attorney agrees that you have a valid claim, they can help you file and pursue one with the other party’s insurance company. When this happens, most claims settle outside of court between the car accident victim’s attorney and the auto insurance company’s attorneys. While it may take a few months or even over a year, they can usually reach an acceptable settlement agreement so you can receive compensation for your damages.

Typically, with a settlement, the paying party doesn’t admit fault or liability. Instead, they are paying a settlement to avoid going to court. So while it might feel like you need the other party to admit their fault and be accountable for the harm they caused you, you likely won’t get this result. But the good news is that you can receive compensation for your damages that will pay for your medical bills and pain and suffering.

Settling a car accident case is often the best option for injured victims. It helps resolve the matter sooner so you can pay your bills and move on with your life. It keeps you from having the stress of a trial and needing to speak in front of the court. It also keeps your personal details out of public court records.

Insurance companies also prefer settlements as they are less of an investment of time and money compared to going to trial. Settlements can help the insurance company or their client protect their reputation. They also give them and you more control over the resolution of the claim. Going to trial puts the outcome entirely in the hands of the court or jury, and you never know what will happen.

The Civil Court

In the small percentage of car accident cases that don’t settle outside of civil court, a judge or a jury will hear the case at trial, and they will decide who is at fault.

They will reach their conclusion after hearing and examining evidence from both sides, including evidence such as:

  • Testimony from eyewitnesses
  • Testimony from expert witnesses
  • Testimony from the drivers
  • The police report
  • Surveillance camera footage
  • Pictures or videos of the scene of the accident
  • Pictures of your injuries
  • Medical reports
  • Other documents and records, such as cell phone records

Either party has the right to appeal the court’s decision, which can drag the case on for several more years.

How Should You Determine Fault in Your Car Accident?

The best way to determine who is at fault for your motor vehicle accident is to contact a well-versed car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will gather relevant evidence and use their resources to conduct a thorough investigation. Their goal is to say with certainty what happened to cause your car accident and who is liable. They can use the evidence to support the results of their investigation and negotiate a full and fair settlement on your behalf.

Potential Liability in a Car Accident

Many times, car accidents aren’t as simple as blaming one driver. There can be multiple parties at fault, even parties who aren’t or who have never been to the scene of the accident. This situation can complicate an accident investigation and is a further reason to hire an experienced attorney to manage your claim on your behalf.

For example, you can hold these parties liable for your damages after a motor vehicle accident:

  • Other drivers on the road
  • Employers for other drivers on the road
  • Vehicle owners, such as a trucking or delivery company
  • Government agencies responsible for road surface conditions, traffic signals, or road signs
  • Vehicle or vehicle parts manufacturers

When you hire an attorney to represent you, they will identify all potentially liable parties and determine their insurance coverages. This knowledge will help maximize your claim to ensure you get the highest compensation possible for your damages.

Recovering Damages in Motor Vehicle Accident Injury Cases

Suppose you file a motor vehicle accident injury claim, and your attorney negotiates a fair settlement, or the court returns a verdict in your favor providing you with a monetary award. In that case, you can recover the following losses:

Medical Expenses

Severe car accidents cause injured victims to run up medical bills for:

  • Ambulance rides
  • Emergency department visits
  • Diagnostic scans
  • X-rays
  • Surgery
  • Aftercare
  • Prescription medications

Future Medical Expenses

Severe car accident injuries might require weeks or months for their healing and recover. Accident victims might need further surgeries or treatments and follow-up care after a settlement or going to trial. Future medical treatment can include long-term care for catastrophic injuries or lifelong treatment for a chronic condition resulting from a bad car accident.

Rehabilitative Service Bills

Severe injuries frequently necessitate weeks or months of physical or other therapy for victims to regain their abilities—if they can even recover.

The victim can receive compensation for expected physical therapy and any assistive devices or technologies necessary to function.

Examples of assistive devices include:

  • Crutches
  • Wheelchairs
  • Canes
  • Walkers
  • Prosthetic limbs

Assistive technology refers to computer programs that help victims recover sensory functions, such as speech or hearing loss from a severe accident.

Lost Wages and Income

Depending on the severity of a motor vehicle accident and the resulting injuries, an injured individual might miss several days, weeks, or even months of work time. Even though employee sick leave and PIP insurance can cover their missed wages for a short period, extended leaves of absence mean additional lost wages.

Even once an injured car accident victim returns to work, their medical providers might still limit their work hours or activities, making it take longer to return to work full-time to their pre-accident status. Only full-time and regular part-time employees routinely include lost wages in car accident claims.

Lost Earning Capacity

Lost earning capacity refers to future lost wages. Much like future medical costs, an extensive recovery period can cause an injured individual to miss work after their settlement or trial date. Lost earning capacity applies especially to motor vehicle accident injuries causing permanent disability.

Catastrophic injuries result in disabilities that keep an injured person from ever returning to work or requiring a change of career, potentially forcing a salary reduction. When an injured individual suffers paralysis, amputation, or another life-changing injury, the claim often includes lost earning capacity.

Pain and Suffering

Injury accident claims often include compensation for pain and suffering if severe injuries result from the accident. Pain and suffering include real physical pain and mental anguish resulting from decreased quality of life and dealing with a severe injury.

Loss of Consortium

Catastrophic vehicle accidents can cause much strain and stress on a marital relationship. The resulting injuries can create a physical and emotional wedge between even the most loving spouses. Car accident injury victims whose marriage suffers because of their injuries have the right to sue for loss of consortium with a spouse.

Scarring and Disfigurement

Car Accident Attorney, Gary Annes
Car Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

Another type of non-economic loss from car accident claims includes the embarrassment, humiliation, and anger stemming from scars and disfigurement. This compensation is often appropriate for accident injury victims suffering from burns or amputations.

Take advantage of the compensation you are entitled to receive for your damages. Contact a skilled car accident attorney today for the help you need.

Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442 Phone: (312) 924-7575

​What Happens When a Car Accident Exceeds Insurance Limits?

Civil laws in every state allow injured victims to seek compensation for their injuries after a car accident. How much they can seek or receive ultimately depends on the specifics of the case—such as how severe their injuries are, what their out-of-pocket costs were, and how the accident occurred. There are typically many unknowns when it comes to how much a case is worth until a car accident lawyer can begin the financial recovery process.

Sometimes, the value of an injured party’s damages exceeds the available insurance policy limits. A car accident lawyer can assess how insurance limits might affect your claim.

Determining Fault in a Car Accident

Before you know what insurance limits apply, you need to determine who is liable for the accident and your injuries.

There are four essential elements to establishing fault and proving negligence in a car accident case:

  • Duty of care: The other driver had a legal duty of care, such as stopping at a red light or yielding to oncoming traffic before turning left. A duty of care is most easily established by the driver breaking the law as that sets the reasonable standard of care.
  • Breach of duty: The other driver breached their duty of care through negligence or intent.
  • Causation: Their breach of duty resulted in the accident.
  • Damages: The accident resulted in compensable losses and expenses that are collectively known as damages and include medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

A seasoned car accident lawyer can help establish the at-fault party’s duty of care, show how their actions or inactions led to the car wreck, and pursue compensation for the injured party’s resulting damages.

Evidence Supporting Fault

Common types of evidence used to show fault in a car accident case include:

  • Photo or video evidence from the accident scene taken by police officers, eyewitnesses, or even injured motorists or their passengers
  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Expert witness reports
  • Damage reports

Depending on the accident and various other circumstances, it’s possible that the police report might indicate who is at fault. However, this isn’t always the deciding factor. Car accident attorneys often recreate the accident scene to identify precisely what happened and whether the evidence points to another responsible party.

Car Accident Damages

The value of a car accident claim is based mainly on its damages. Damages are the financial representation of the inconveniences and tangible or intangible losses the injured victim(s) suffer as a result of the accident. Damages can either be economic (special) or non-economic (general).

Economic Damages

Economic damages include current and future financial losses such as:

  • Past and future lost wages and income, due to injuries that keep someone from working or taking time off to attend medical appointments.
  • Past and future medical expenses, including ambulance, hospital, physician, specialists, therapy, medications, medical devices or equipment, surgery, and a host of other bills
  • Replacement service expenses, including childcare, pet care, laundry, housekeeping, grocery shopping, and yard work while you were unable to perform them due to your injuries.
  • Property damage if your vehicle was damaged or you lost your wedding ring or other valuables in the accident.

Economic damages all have an inherent value. If you suffered an injury in a car accident, you deserve to receive the exact value of your economic damages in your recovery.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages generally represent your intangible losses. Since they don’t have a predetermined value, they can present challenges to evaluate.

They can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Humiliation
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of a body part or function

There are different ways your car accident lawyer can determine the value of your non-economic damages. One of the most common ways is to use a multiplier. If your injuries are relatively minor and you will likely make a full recovery, your multiplier can be lower. However, the highest multiplier will be appropriate if you suffer catastrophic injuries that will change your life.

You then multiply the value of your economic damages by the given multiplier to determine the value of your non-economic damages. To determine the full value of your claim, add your economic and non-economic damages together. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee what you can or should receive, but it can give you a rough estimate of how much your claim is worth.

If your damages include at least one of the following, you might have a high-dollar car accident claim:

  • Severe mental anguish: The more severe your suffering, the higher your compensation for pain and suffering should be. Injured individuals who use mental health services after their accident are more likely to receive what they deserve for their mental anguish. For example, someone diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who sees a therapist or psychiatrist for treatment will generally receive more than someone who has a diagnosis but doesn’t seek treatment.
  • Permanent injuries or immense or long-term pain: Non-economic damages are typically greater for claimants who suffer severe or long-term pain or permanent physical injuries, such as scarring, disfigurement, amputations, or paralysis.
  • Shocking events: Injuries arising from shocking or traumatic events can lead to higher-value general damages. For example, if you were in a horrific car accident, you likely deserve more compensation than someone who wasn’t.

Determining the value of your non-economic damages is personal. No one else can do it for you. You’re the one who experiences the damages and must live with the consequences. The problem becomes convincing the insurance company or their attorneys to pay what you believe to be fair compensation for your damages. This is one reason why it’s crucial to have a seasoned car accident lawyer on your side as you pursue compensation. They know what you claim should be worth and fight to get you what you deserve.

Punitive Damages

Some car accident cases involve more than just the previously mentioned compensable damages. They require punitive damages. These types of damages are rare, and only a judge can award them. They apply in cases where the at-fault party conducted themselves in a highly careless manner with blatant disregard for the safety of others.

Punitive damages aim to penalize the offending party and keep them and others from repeating the same dangerous behaviors. For example, cases involving intoxicated drivers or drivers running from law enforcement when they caused an accident are often subject to punitive damages. These are in addition to any criminal penalties that might apply.

Other Factors Affecting Your Claim’s Value

Depending on the type and specifics of your accident and injuries, many other potential factors will help determine how much compensation you can recover. The experience and skills of the car accident lawyer who represents you can impact the value of your claim. The steps you do or don’t take after your accident can increase or decrease how much you receive.

Other relevant factors include:

  • Insurance policy limits
  • Whether there are pre-existing conditions that might contribute to your injuries
  • If there is evidence to substantiate witness testimony, such as photographs of your injuries or property damage
  • Admissions from the other party as to liability
  • The extent of your injuries
  • How your injuries might impact your life long-term
  • If you are back at work or can return to work eventually
  • If you had unnecessary medical expenses
  • If there are multiple at-fault or injured parties involved in the accident

What if Damages in a Car Accident Exceed the Insurance Limits?

Sometimes, in an especially traumatic accident with catastrophic injuries or if the negligent party had little or no auto insurance coverage, the value of the victim’s damages exceeds the insurance limits.

If this happens, the injured party will most definitely want a well-versed car accident attorney on their side to help fight to maximize their compensation. You might file an insurance claim on your own insurance policy, such as under collision or bodily injury. However, if you don’t have that coverage or you have exhausted those coverage limits, you do have some other options that a reputable lawyer can help with.

File a Lawsuit Against the Other Driver

The other driver’s insurance carrier is partially responsible for your compensation since that’s how insurance works after a car accident. Motorists pay their insurers to cover their financial responsibility on their behalf up to certain limits. However, even with auto insurance coverage, the liable motorist is ultimately the person responsible for the accident and your damages.

Considering this, if the amount of your damages exceed their policy limits, you might be entitled to file a lawsuit against the other driver in an attempt to recover the excess funds you deserve.

However, always keep in mind that most motorists won’t have large amounts of cash available to afford civil car accident judgments. That’s why they have insurance, to begin with. So, the financial position of the liable driver factors into the decision of whether or not to pursue a lawsuit against them. An experienced attorney can obtain crucial information to help you make this decision.

If your accident was a hit-and-run accident, your lawyer can help you work with local law enforcement to locate the driver. Unfortunately, many hit-and-run drivers don’t have insurance coverage, making it more challenging to collect compensation from them. They are unlikely to have any valuable assets to go after. Even still, your attorney can file a lawsuit against them.

If necessary, they can also help you with various methods of receiving compensation if the jury awards you compensation.

These methods might include:

  • Garnishing their wages
  • Placing liens on their property
  • Levying their bank accounts

File a Lawsuit Against Other Liable Parties

In some car accidents, multiple parties are responsible. If this applies to yours, you might recover compensation from more than one car insurance policy.

For instance, suppose the driver of a food delivery service vehicle caused your injuries while they were performing their job duties. In that case, you may file a lawsuit against the food delivery service as well as the individual driver. An experienced car accident lawyer can review the facts of your accident to determine if you can pursue compensation from multiple parties.

Parties who might be responsible for a car accident, in addition to a driver’s employer, include:

  • The vehicle’s owner (if different from the driver or their employer)
  • Government agencies
  • Vehicle manufacturers
  • Vehicle parts manufacturers
  • Other drivers who contributed to the accident

File a Bad Faith Lawsuit Against the Car Insurance Company

Most states have laws requiring insurance companies to settle claims within the policy limits if they can do so. However, insurance companies sometimes refuse to pay anything on a claim if it exceeds policy limits for their insured driver.

If the insurer doesn’t make a good faith attempt to settle your claim, you have the right to file a bad faith lawsuit against them. If your claim goes to court, a judge or jury can potentially award you more compensation than the policy limits for the at-fault driver. In that case, the insurance carrier must compensate you with whatever dollar amount the court determines is appropriate for your damages under your circumstances.

Want to Know What Your Claim is Worth? Contact a Seasoned Car Accident Lawyer Today

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Truck Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

Being in a car accident is extremely stressful, in part due to financial strains. You have your regular bills to pay that are now more stressful due to medical bills. You may not know when or if you’ll receive your next paycheck if you’ve been off of work recovering from your injuries. Always speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible to evaluate your claim and determine your next steps.

Suppose your claim’s damages exceed the available insurance policy limits. In that case, your attorney can discuss your options with you and ensure to maximize whatever compensation you stand to receive.

If you or someone you love was recently in a car accident and you haven’t yet contacted a car accident attorney, now is the time to do so.


Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442 Phone: (312) 924-7575

​What Happens if You Get PTSD After a Car Accident?

Car accidents often leave behind much destruction in their wake. While some people may think that the least of these is emotional distress, in some cases, it’s the worst of the damages an accident victim suffers.

Motor vehicle collisions can render cars and other objects such as trees, light poles, fire hydrants, and stop signs unrecognizable. They can also cause severe physical injuries sometimes involving amputations, scarring, or another disfigurement necessitating a lifetime of medical care.

Even still, the emotional pain and suffering that some individuals will live with for decades to come should be recognized and compensated accordingly. An experienced car accident lawyer can help address such damages in your car accident claim or that of a loved one.

Psychological Injuries and Mental Trauma

Some accident victims suffer injuries that are not visible, even using state-of-the-art diagnostic tools. This is because they are psychological injuries. Even though they are invisible, they are no less concerning or critical. They require treatment, some longer and more intense than others.

Common symptoms and conditions of psychological injuries and mental trauma after a truck crash can include:

  • Inability to enjoy everyday activities
  • Withdrawing from social events and human interactions
  • High levels of stress and anxiety
  • Mood swings ranging from anger to sadness to guilt
  • Nightmares and disrupted sleep patterns, such as insomnia
  • Developing new fears or phobias such as the fear of riding in a car
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Some patients will need months or years of counseling, group therapy, and medication to recover. Others may never fully recover.

What is PTSD?

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder, a psychiatric disorder that frequently occurs in individuals who have experienced or witnessed a rather traumatic event or series of events—car accidents included. PTSD can impact a person’s mental, physical, social, and spiritual well-being. About 3.5 percent of U.S. adults receive a PTSD diagnosis annually.

Individuals diagnosed with PTSD experience heightened and distressing feelings and thoughts about the triggering experience long after the experience is over. They often feel detached or estranged from others around them, have flashbacks or nightmares of the event, and feel anger, sadness, and fear. Sometimes something ordinary, like a loud noise or someone accidentally touching them, can cause a strong adverse reaction that doesn’t make sense to others.

The good news is that there are many effective treatments for PTSD, including therapies and medications. However, some people with PTSD need therapy and medication for quite a while, and those costs can quickly add up. Car accident victims diagnosed with PTSD deserve compensation for their emotional distress-related damages.

Suppose you are diagnosed with PTSD or another type of mental or emotional disorder arising from your experience in a motor vehicle accident. In that case, having strong representation from an experienced car accident lawyer is a must. They will know how to effectively obtain a full and fair settlement that includes damages for your emotional distress.

Unfortunately, convincing insurance companies of the reality of types of disorders is often an uphill battle since there are no tangible diagnostic tests to prove their existence. Therefore, your lawyer will rely heavily on your mental health records and treatment providers and possibly even expert witnesses in the mental health field.

Whatever you do, don’t forgo or delay seeking treatment for PTSD. Your health and well-being are most important. Your attorney can help ensure you get the treatment you need and receive compensation for your medical bills, so they do not add any more stress to your life.

What Is Emotional Distress?

You may have heard of the term “pain and suffering” in reference to damages in a personal injury claim or, more specifically, a car accident claim. Emotional distress falls under the umbrella of pain and suffering. Generally, those injured in car accidents seek monetary damages for things like medical expenses, prescriptions, property damage, and lost wages.

While these are crucial pieces of any injury claim, they leave out pain and suffering, which depending on the specifics of the case, can include:

  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional distress and injuries
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment in life
  • Physical impairment

Emotional distress is an extremely adverse emotional reaction arising from another party’s negligent or intentional conduct for which the victim can seek damages. For example, someone with emotional distress after a car accident may be afraid of driving in poor weather conditions, being a passenger in a vehicle, or placing their children in a vehicle with another driver. Those with PTSD are suffering a severe form of emotional distress.

Along with these tangible fears, some accident victims who suffer emotional distress may also experience panic attacks, guilt, suicidal ideations, and other crippling thoughts and emotions that take a severe toll on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Others may be unable to go to work or even care for themselves or their children.

Anyone who believes they may be suffering from emotional distress after their involvement in a motor vehicle accident should discuss their symptoms with a licensed medical professional. Just as their physical health is a priority, so is their emotional and mental health.

In addition, these victims should also consult with a compassionate and experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Florida law allows victims suffering emotional distress to seek damages for it. Their attorney can ensure that damages for their emotional pain and suffering are part of their demand for compensation. Receiving full and fair compensation for emotional damages is just as critical as receiving them for other damages.

However, it’s essential to note that most emotional distress claims require you to have also sustained physical injuries due to the incident. Although some cases have recently permitted victims to recover emotional distress damages without providing any evidence or claims of physical harm, these usually are non-motor vehicle accident cases, such as sexual abuse or defamation cases.

Documenting Emotional Distress

A key factor in claiming damages for emotional distress is documenting their effect on your life. Your medical and work records are just one piece of this puzzle. It’s also a good idea to keep a personal journal to back up your case. Detailed, thorough documentation of your distress will make it easier to recover damages.

Journal about your thoughts, fears, activities you can’t participate in or have difficulty completing, and certain things that trigger you. Be sure to include any physical symptoms that might also stem from your emotional distress. An electronic health tracker that monitors your heart rate and sleeping habits can also be helpful. In addition, make sure you are honest with your medical and mental health providers about all of your symptoms.

Proving Emotional Distress

Proving emotional distress is often challenging, requiring the expertise of a seasoned car accident lawyer.

If your claim involves any of the following, you have a strong case for emotional distress:

  • Physical effects, including digestive problems, ulcers, cognitive impairment, fatigue, headaches, frequent infections, or cold sores
  • Psychological effects, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD
  • Mental health provider confirmation, a new diagnosis, prescription drug, or therapy sought
  • Severe intensity distress that interferes with activities of daily living, driving, self-care, concentration, school, work, or family care
  • Extended duration of emotional distress with symptoms lasting months or even years

The more severe the car accident and your physical injuries are, the more likely you will receive compensation for emotional distress.

Your compassionate car accident attorney will use many different pieces of evidence to help prove your emotional distress claim, such as:

  • Testimony of your mental health professionals
  • Copies of medical and mental health records
  • Daily symptom diaries
  • Witness testimony
  • Published medical research

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

Unfortunately, there are no laws, calculators, universal guidelines, or instructions to determine how much someone should receive for their pain and suffering after a car accident. “Fair and reasonable” terms often address how much a victim should receive, but these are subjective terms.

One way to calculate pain and suffering damages is to use a multiplier. This method’s basis is that someone’s pain and suffering damages are worth a multiple of their total medical expenses and lost earnings. In other words, the value of an injured individual’s economic damages helps determine how much their non-economic damages are worth.

A lower multiplier will likely apply to your compensation if you suffered only mild injuries. If you suffered severe injuries, you can use a higher multiplier. For example, someone who sustains a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord injury (SCI) should receive more compensation for their pain and suffering, and a higher multiplier will apply.

You’re likely to have a lower multiplier if you:

  • Sustained only soft tissue injuries, including sprains, muscle strains, ligament pulls, and bruising
  • Had higher expenses for your medical diagnosis than those for your medical treatment
  • Sought treatment from people who aren’t doctors, such as assistant therapists or chiropractors
  • Needed only a few medical visits and didn’t need any prescription medications
  • Could return to your normal life after a brief period
  • Don’t have any permanent injuries, loss of use, or visible scars
  • Didn’t need extra help caring for yourself

In cases that involve a higher multiplier, one or more of the following usually exists:

  • Broken bones or injuries to the hard tissues of your body or nerve or spine damage
  • Joint injuries, especially those that require surgery or reconstruction
  • Either short-term or long-term medications are necessary
  • The need for many follow-up appointments or injuries that require an extended recovery time
  • Medical costs that are more for treatment than for diagnosis
  • Permanent loss of use of one or more body functions or parts, or permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Injuries that impact daily life and cause you to depend on others in ways you didn’t before or cause you to miss important things such as vacations, school, recreational activities, or hobbies—of which PTSD can be one.

Factors That Affect Your Compensation

The correct value of pain and suffering damages is left open to interpretation, although some factors can change their worth.

Common factors that can affect the value of your pain and suffering compensation include whether the victim:

  • Is likable and credible
  • Will be a good witness
  • Gives truthful and consistent testimony about their injuries
  • Exaggerates their claims of pain and suffering
  • Has their physician’s or psychiatrists support for their claims of pain and suffering
  • Has a diagnosis, injuries, and claims that make common sense
  • Has a criminal record

The applicable insurance coverage can also affect how much a victim will receive. When filing a claim with an insurance company, the injured person will never receive more from them than the policy’s limits allow. If your state has damage caps that limit how much compensation a personal injury victim can receive, your compensation won’t exceed those limits.

Are You Suffering From PTSD or Emotional Distress After a Car Accident? Call a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer Today

Car Accident Attorney, Gary Annes
Car Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can have lasting implications. Even after your physical injuries heal, you may have lasting emotional ones that need care. Just because emotional distress can’t often be seen and doesn’t have an inherent value doesn’t mean that victims who suffer emotionally shouldn’t receive compensation for their pain.

However, many auto insurance companies see mental and emotional wounds as an easy way to escape paying for your injuries and treatments. Considering this, it’s best not to handle your car accident claim alone.

Instead, enlist a compassionate and experienced car accident lawyer who understands the implications of PTSD and emotional/mental injuries after a traumatic experience like a motor vehicle collision. Never assume that your case isn’t worth much, always meet with an attorney to find out more about your potential claim.


Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442 Phone: (312) 924-7575

​What Evidence Might Help My Car Accident Case?

Even though an injury car accident case is civil and not criminal, evidence is still necessary to prove that you deserve compensation. Without evidence to prove who caused or is liable for your accident and that you suffered injuries and damages, you won’t receive maximum compensation for your car accident case without a car accident lawyer‘s help.

Attorneys Collect Evidence for You

Evidence is critical to the success of a car accident injury claim.

You’ll need it to prove the elements of negligence, which include:

  • Duty: The at-fault party owed you a duty of care for example, to drive the speed limit
  • Breach of duty: The at-fault party failed to uphold their duty
  • Causation: Their breach led to your injuries
  • Damages: Your injuries caused compensable damages

An experienced car accident attorney will know what evidence is necessary to establish how the at-fault party caused your injuries and the extent of your damages.

An attorney can:

  • Contact witnesses for sworn statements
  • File formal legal requests, known as subpoenas, to obtain surveillance camera footage
  • Run asset checks on the at-fault party
  • Request medical records
  • Hire expert witnesses if necessary
  • Obtain police or incident reports

The more evidence you have supporting your claim, the more likely you will receive the compensation you deserve. The best way to build the strongest possible case is to seek assistance from a car accident lawyer immediately.

Proving Compensatory Damages

Car accident injury victims can’t just say they suffer damages from the car accident and expect to receive compensation. Injury law requires that they prove how another person’s or party’s actions led to their injuries and damages.

More specifically, they must prove that:

  • They suffered damages
  • Their damages were the result of the other party’s negligence
  • The value of their damages

You must prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence in a car accident case. You must establish that your version is more likely to be true than not to be true. Another way to look at it is that you must show that over 50 percent of the credible evidence is in your favor.

Demonstrating Special Damages

Special damages are usually simple to prove. Save your medical bills and receipts for out-of-pocket expenses such as prescriptions, durable medical equipment, or chiropractic care. Employer and tax records can help prove your lost wages.

You can establish how much the at-fault party owes for your lost income with a letter from your employer.

The letter should detail:

  • Your normal pay rate
  • How many hours you missed
  • Your total amount of lost wages resulting from your injury

If applicable, your employer should discuss lost opportunities for overtime and any paid vacation or sick leave, sometimes known as PTO (paid time off), you used because of your injury.

Even if you’re self-employed, you still have a claim for lost income. You might need tax returns, profit and loss statements, and evidence of lost assignments after your injury to demonstrate your financial losses. Any documentation showing lost income after your car accident can help support your claim.

If you have damaged property, save receipts or written estimates for the out-of-pocket expenses for repairs or replacements.

The Challenge of Proving General Damages

Non-economic or general damages are frequently referred to as “pain and suffering.”

However, they can also include:

  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Humiliation
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium

General damages are certainly harder to prove as there might not be concrete evidence of their existence. Insurance companies are naturally suspicious of general damages since they don’t have any method to measure someone’s distress or suffering.

However, general damages are just as crucial to a car accident claim as special damages. The impacts of general damages can be permanent and even more difficult for victims to deal with than special damages.

Evidence in support of your general damages might include testimony from:

  • Yourself
  • Your treating doctors
  • A mental healthcare provider
  • Family or friends who knew you before the accident

Using other cases similar to yours as examples is sometimes helpful in receiving fair compensation for general damages. Showing what victims of similar accidents and injuries receive for their general damages can establish a starting point for negotiating a settlement with an insurance adjuster. Your car accident attorney will have experience doing this.

Types of Evidence in a Car Accident Claim

Law Enforcement’s Accident Report

After a motor vehicle accident, it’s always best to call the local law enforcement agency so they can come to the scene and draft a report. In many jurisdictions, this is mandatory if someone has suffered an injury, died, or if there is property damage.

Law enforcement officers will survey the scene, take pictures and measurements, and speak to all involved parties and any available witnesses. They will use all of this evidence to conclude what led to the accident, how it occurred, and who is responsible. If anyone was speeding or drunk driving, the officer will also note that in the accident report. If the liable party broke the law, this can serve as evidence to support their breach of duty.

Once the report is complete, which can take a few days, you and your attorney can obtain a copy. Although they can still have some errors and omissions, this report provides credible facts that can serve as evidence in a car accident claim. Police reports can help establish who is at fault and why and that you suffered injuries.

Medical Bills and Statements

Receiving compensation for your claim requires a financial paper trail. The insurance company won’t reimburse you if you can’t prove your injury costs.

Types of bills victims frequently overlook as evidence include:

  • Mental health care you sought after the accident
  • Diagnostic bills from labs, radiology departments, and radiologists
  • Ambulance bills, if you received emergency care
  • Hospital bills, including those for surgery or inpatient stays
  • Ancillary care such as chiropractors and physical or occupational therapists
  • Over-the-counter medication and prescription receipts, including the out-of-pocket price
  • Medical device receipts for crutches, braces, or wheelchairs

Receipts for replacement services also count as evidence to receive compensation. For example, if you can’t care for your children or participate in routine housekeeping or yard care activities and had to hire someone to complete these tasks for you. You should also retain the proof of any transportation or food expenses related to receiving medical care.

Medical Records

Without medical records, it’s impossible to link your injuries to your car accident. You need medical records to establish a reason for your medical expenses. Follow the protocol of the rendering provider to receive your records.

Under the law, you must consent to obtain copies of your medical records or to send them to a third party, such as a car insurance company or law firm. Your car accident attorney can help you obtain these records.

Nearly every party sending medical bills should have medical records about your injuries. It might be helpful to make a sequential list of your medical care, surgeries, therapies, and treatments since the accident to ensure you and your attorney collect all necessary medical records for evidence.

Photos and Videos

Pictures and videos are essential pieces of evidence in your claim. Today’s technology makes it possible to document accidents in this valuable way. Whenever possible, get pictures or videos at the car accident scene. Include any special conditions in the area, such as a large pothole or a tree blocking the view.

Take pictures and videos of your injuries right after the accident, as they heal, and after they heal. Be aware of the light conditions and use your cell phone’s camera settings to produce an optimal photo. Photographic evidence of your property damage is also helpful.

Your Notes

Detailed notes can make a significant difference in a car accident case. A legal notepad, journal, or even a simple notebook will work. Alternatively, you can also type your notes. Make a thorough narrative of the accident from your perspective as soon as possible. Waiting too long to document your account can cause you to forget or recall details incorrectly.

What Is a Witness?

In a personal injury case, there are two types of witnesses. One is an eyewitness or a lay witness at the scene when the injury occurred. An eyewitness to an event often knows facts that may not be available in any other way, such as what events led up to an accident.

A car accident eyewitness can be another driver, a passerby, a construction worker, or someone in the area for another reason. Injured individuals can help their claim by finding witnesses to their car accident and getting their contact information. In some car accident cases, police officers or paramedics that came to the scene of the accident can also get called as witnesses.

The second type of witness is an expert witness. They provide expert knowledge about the case and can clarify the facts about your case or injuries. They are typically most beneficial in medical malpractice cases.

Depending on the extent of the car accident and your injuries, you may or may not benefit from an expert witness. However, a good eyewitness can be vital to the success of your claim.

What Makes a Good Eyewitness?

The liable party’s insurance company is more likely to offer you a fair settlement with a strong witness on your side. But certain witnesses will be more believable than others. If a witness isn’t trustworthy, they won’t help your case.

A good witness::

  • Was near the incident when it happened
  • Doesn’t have a personal bias or a predetermined opinion about the victim or the property owner
  • Doesn’t have a personal or financial interest in the claim’s outcome
  • Gives specific details
  • Didn’t know the injured person before the accident
  • Is someone the victim limits their contact with after the accident to prevent any assumption bias

What Witnesses Should Avoid When Giving Statements

There are several things effective witnesses should avoid when they give statements.

For example:

  • Guesses. Anything not personally observed is a guess. Witnesses shouldn’t guess, but they can write or talk about anything they observed.
  • Opinions. It’s not up to the witness to decide what happened. A statement shouldn’t include arguments, personal opinions, or draw conclusions. A witness should only write or talk about the facts.
  • Feelings. A witness statement must remain neutral. Feelings about the outcome of the claim or sympathy for the victim shouldn’t be in a witness statement.

Guesses, personal opinions, or attitudes about the victim, the liable party, law enforcement, or anyone involved in the accident doesn’t add reliable or valuable information to the claim.

Witness Statements

Whenever possible, the witness should provide their statement immediately after the incident or as soon as possible. A witness’s memory can easily fade as time moves on. Sometimes their memory can also fill in blanks with details they didn’t observe.

However, resolving a disputed car accident injury claim can take months or even years. Providing an actual statement helps the witness to recall the events of what happened. Statements can refresh their future recollection and allow them to give true, accurate, and precise facts about what they saw.

A witness statement offers a detailed explanation of:

  • What they observed
  • Specific facts about the accident

A witness statement provides another view of what happened, helps those investigating the accident, and can refresh the witness’ memory if they need to state or testify about what happened months or years after the car accident.

An Experienced Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Car Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

Evidence is crucial to prove all elements of negligence in a car accident claim. An experienced car accident attorney can help ensure that you have the necessary evidence to prove your claim and maximize your compensation.

If you or a loved one recently suffered an injury in a car accident, seek legal help as soon as possible to preserve your rights and options.

Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442 Phone: (312) 924-7575

​Injured in an Uber Accident – Who is Liable?

In the past decade, motor vehicle accident fatalities reached nearly 33,000. While this figure might seem high, it was its lowest since 1949. Accident specialists attributed this significant decrease to public education programs that encouraged seatbelt use and discouraged drinking and driving.

Unfortunately, in a recent year, this figure climbed to almost 37,500. What contributed to an increase of over 4,000 road fatalities a year?

Surprisingly, researchers determined that ridesharing services accounted for approximately 3 percent of the annual increase in traffic fatalities. In addition, the cost of these accidents has risen to between $5.33 billion and $13.25 billion each year. While there are fewer vehicles on the road with the arrival of rideshare platforms and their widespread use, rideshare drivers are usually at a higher risk of being in an accident.

Whether you’re a loyal Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare customer, you know how convenient a rideshare service is. It can eliminate the need for a rental vehicle while on vacation or getting your car repaired; it can take the hassle out of finding a designated driver, the stress out of your work commute, and simply save time. The use of rideshare services has significantly increased in the last several years. A study from the Pew Research Center found that over 35 percent of Americans have used a service such as Uber or Lyft.

However, rideshare accidents are some of the most legally complex accidents on U.S. roadways today. If you were involved in such an accident, no matter if you were a driver or passenger in another vehicle or the passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you need reliable legal representation in addition to medical care for your injuries.

If you were recently in a rideshare accident, you might wonder who is responsible for paying your damages. Liability in these accidents is often confusing and best determined by a seasoned Uber car accident attorney. Attorneys have the resources and experience required to perform a complete investigation to determine liability in your Uber or other rideshare company accident.

Who Can I Hold Liable for My Uber Accident Injuries?

Liability or the legal responsibility to pay for your injuries and damages will depend on the specifics of your accident.

Factors that can shift liability include:

  • Who caused the accident
  • If the rideshare driver was on the rideshare app or otherwise “working” at the time of the accident
  • If the rideshare driver has their own insurance coverage

The legal aspects of rideshare accidents can quickly grow complicated. To a significant extent, getting the compensation you deserve depends on the legal help you receive. When you hire a reputable Uber accident attorney, they will conduct a comprehensive investigation regarding your accident, which will help determine liability. Once they know who the liable parties are, your lawyer can also locate the applicable insurance policies and coverage so that they can seek compensation on your behalf.

Rideshare Services Must Have Insurance Policies Under State Laws

Uber drivers connect to the digital network and provide passenger rides as agreed in their written contract with the company. Through their contracted drivers, these companies transport millions of passengers daily across the U.S. Most states have enacted laws requiring rideshare drivers to have insurance coverage while using the rideshare platform.

Even though Uber and Lyft don’t own or operate their vehicles or employ or manage their drivers, they are still accountable for providing some insurance coverage to drivers and passengers under some circumstances. They must obtain liability insurance to cover the negligent actions of their drivers resulting in passengers’ personal injuries or wrongful deaths.

Who Pays for Your Damages?

As previously stated, Uber and Lyft are only responsible for providing their insurance coverage in certain circumstances:

  • If you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle accident caused by another driver, you can hold the other driver liable for the damages arising from your car accident, not your Uber driver.
  • If you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle accident caused by your driver or another driver, their insurance will cover the damages. If they don’t have enough coverage to pay for all of the damages, the rideshare company policy will kick in.
  • If you are a driver or passenger of another vehicle involved in an accident with a rideshare driver who isn’t currently using the platform, transporting a passenger, or en route to pick up a passenger, the rideshare driver will be solely liable for damages.
  • In rare circumstances, a rideshare passenger can be to blame for the accident. For example, suppose they were inebriated and tried to grab the steering wheel or harm the driver. In that case, the passenger can be liable for any resulting damages to the driver or anyone else involved in the accident.

You should also note that sometimes multiple parties can be liable for one accident. For example, perhaps your rideshare driver and another driver were both at fault. Both of their insurance companies can be responsible for compensating you in these cases.

If a Rideshare Driver Hit Your Vehicle, Can You Sue the Rideshare Company?

Uber and Lyft are often successful in their attempts to shield themselves from facing lawsuits for accidents when a driver did not have an active fare. They do this by categorizing their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. Adopting this position benefits the rideshare company in many ways; however, it’s not in the best interests of rideshare passengers and drivers. Even still, a lawsuit might be successful against the company itself under some circumstances.

For instance, if the rideshare company fails to enforce its own driver qualification requirements, it can be negligent in causing your accident. Suppose the rideshare driver causes an accident they might have avoided if the company had performed their due diligence and proper checks such as driving records or criminal background checks.

In that case, the rideshare company can be liable because they allowed the driver to provide rides through their app. However, these cases can be complicated and usually require the experience of a well-versed Uber car accident attorney.

What Causes Uber Accidents?

Rideshare accidents can result from anything that causes a typical passenger vehicle accident.

However, rideshare drivers are more accident-prone for several reasons, including:

  • Being in a rush to pick up and drop off passengers
  • Focusing on their rideshare platform app or navigational technology
  • Driving in unfamiliar areas
  • Fatigue from driving off-hours and often moonlighting from another job
  • Dropping passengers off or picking them up in the bus, bicycle, or passenger lanes

When you hire a knowledgeable Uber accident lawyer, they can help determine the cause of your accident and who should be held accountable.

Is the Uber App that My Driver Uses Considered a Driving Distraction?

Rideshare apps can be considered a distraction. Distracted driving is a severe issue for all drivers. However, Uber drivers must use this distraction to complete their job.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), three categories of distractions can exist while driving:

  • Visual distractions require a driver to take their eyes off the road and their surroundings
  • Manual distractions require a driver to take their hands off the vehicle’s steering wheel
  • Cognitive distractions take a driver’s mental focus away from the necessary mental work of driving

Unfortunately, using a mobile device for any reason, including being on the Uber app while behind the wheel, involves all three types of distractions. There’s no denying that rideshare apps cause distractions to the drivers who use them.

What to Do After Being in an Uber Accident

Your steps after being involved in an Uber accident can impact your injury claim.

Whether you are a rideshare passenger, another driver, or the passenger in another vehicle:

  • Report the accident to law enforcement; if a police officer doesn’t come to the scene, you can report it later.
  • Seek medical attention, even if you do not feel injured at the time, as some injuries may not cause pain or symptoms right away
  • Report the accident on the Uber app or website —however, only give factual details as what you say can be used against you.
  • Make notes on your phone about how the accident occurred and any details you remember.
  • Take photographs and videos at the scene and of your injuries, as these can be evidence.
  • Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible

What Not to Do After Being in an Uber Accident

There are also specific actions you shouldn’t take after being involved in an Uber accident.

Taking any of these actions can jeopardize your claim and devalue your compensation, no matter who is at fault for what happened:

  • Don’t admit fault or apologize
  • Don’t discuss the accident with the other parties involved
  • Don’t post about the accident on social media
  • Don’t speak to the insurance company or adjuster without first speaking to an Uber accident attorney
  • Don’t tell anyone that you aren’t injured or that you feel fine
  • Don’t agree to a settlement without speaking with a lawyer
  • Don’t sign any documents or paperwork without getting legal advice first

What Is the Timeline of Uber Accident Claims?

A statute of limitations is a legal deadline for filing personal injury claims. Since an Uber accident is a motor vehicle accident, it falls under the same deadline as other car accident deadlines within your state. Each state can impose its own statute of limitations. Some have as few as one to two years, and others have as many as four-year statutes of limitations. The bottom line is that time is short.

The state where your Uber accident occurred will determine how long you have to file a lawsuit. If you live in one state and your Uber accident happened while you were on vacation in another state, the statute of limitations for your non-resident state will apply.

Other factors can affect the timeline of your claim. For example, if you didn’t learn about your injuries right away or your minor child suffered injuries, the deadlines might change. The best way to know how long you have is to have a lawyer assess your circumstances.

Not filing your Uber accident claim within the correct time frame can be severely detrimental. You most likely won’t receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Thus, promptly consulting with an Uber car accident attorney after being in an accident is always in your best interest.

Common Injuries in Uber Crashes

Uber accidents can often have devastating consequences. Some minor injuries, but others can be extremely painful and even life-altering.

Common injuries include:

All accident victims should know that just because they don’t have pain or symptoms doesn’t mean they don’t have injuries. Sometimes, the shock and adrenaline from being in the accident can mask symptoms, and sometimes symptoms don’t show up right away, even though they can be a sign of a severe injury. Therefore, no matter the extent of your injuries, the damages to your vehicle, or your lack of symptoms and pain, seeking medical care should be just as much of a priority as seeking legal help after an Uber accident.

Getting the medical care you need will help strengthen your injury claim, as your accident and injuries will be on your permanent medical record as evidence of what happened.

Contact an Experienced Uber Accident Lawyer Today

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Uber Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

It can sometimes be clear who is responsible for a rideshare accident. Nonetheless, obtaining full financial recovery for your damages can still be challenging. Rideshare companies and their insurers do not make it easy for accident victims to receive compensation.

For legal help, you can trust, contact an experienced Uber car accident lawyer. By working with an attorney, you can recover maximum compensation for your damages.


Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442 Phone: (312) 924-7575

​How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

Every year, the U.S. sees about 6.75 million car accidents, or approximately 18,510 crashes daily. Injuries from car accidents are the most common types of personal injury claims, and it’s easy to see why. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that 4.8 million injuries sustained in 3.4 million motor vehicle accidents involving over six million vehicles required medical care in one recent year alone.

The price tag for these injuries was estimated at over $473.2 billion and included:

  • Medical costs
  • Property damage to vehicles
  • Wage and productivity losses
  • Administrative expenses
  • Employer costs

These are generally the hard costs of a motor vehicle accident, but they don’t include other costs such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. Car accident victims have many damages that they deserve to receive full and fair compensation for.

However, they only have a limited amount of time to make an injury claim. If they fail to make their claim on time or don’t file a lawsuit within their state’s deadline, they cannot receive compensation.

If you or someone you love was involved in an injury accident, you might wonder how long you have after a car accident to claim an injury. Since this answer can vary, the best thing to do is consult with a skilled car accident attorney in your area. They will review all the facts of your case and be well-versed in your state’s laws so that they can guide you on the right path to receiving compensation.

Seek Medical Care ASAP

It’s imperative to seek medical care after being involved in a car accident of any type or severity. If you suffer severe injuries, take the ambulance to the hospital. Now isn’t the time to worry about the expense; your well-being is more important than anything else. If you don’t take the ambulance to the hospital, seek medical care from an urgent care center or your own doctor as soon as possible—ideally within the next several hours.

You can still have serious injuries even if you aren’t experiencing any pain or other symptoms. After a car accident, you may experience an adrenaline rush that masks the pain and other symptoms of injuries—even potentially serious ones. You can still have life-threatening injuries such as internal bleeding. If you don’t seek medical care as soon as possible, you can risk your health and well-being as well as your injury claim.

It’s difficult to claim an injury if you didn’t prioritize seeking medical care after your car accident. Suppose you start to experience back pain a week or two after your accident. Upon seeing your doctor, they diagnose you with a slipped disc. You know it’s from the car accident. However, since you didn’t see a doctor right away, the insurance company for the other party will likely try to say that you did something after the accident to cause your slipped disc. In that case, you may not get the compensation you deserve.

Injuries that Can Appear Later

For various reasons, some injuries don’t initially have symptoms. However, this isn’t a measure of their severity or the importance of medical attention. If you were recently in a motor vehicle accident, you should see a doctor even if you feel fine. You might have one or more of the following common late-appearing motor vehicle accident injuries.

Internal Organ Injuries

External forces can push against internal organs in an accident, including the pressure of a seat belt, airbag, or dashboard. The kidneys, liver, spleen, intestines, lungs, and heart can also suffer injuries even without much visible external damage to the body or significant symptoms. In fact, quite some time might pass before internal injuries show any signs or symptoms, such as the loss of a bodily function caused by organ damage or slow internal bleeding.

Symptoms of internal injuries:

  • Cold and sweaty skin (early signs of shock)
  • Tenderness over the injured area
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rigid abdomen
  • Right-sided abdominal pain and right shoulder pain (liver)
  • Left arm and shoulder pain (spleen)
  • Bloody urine (kidney)

Whiplash

Whiplash occurs due to the abrupt and unexpected force placed on the neck, shoulders, and back in a motor vehicle accident.

Whiplash symptoms can include:

  • Neck pain
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Stiffness in the neck, shoulders, or back
  • Increased pain with neck movement
  • Headaches, usually starting at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness or pain in the upper back, shoulder, or arms
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Dizziness
  • Problems concentrating
  • Problems sleeping
  • Fatigue

Concussions

Concussions are common car accident injuries as they can happen from the head hitting something or even from the sheer force of the accident itself. For example, the brain hitting the inside of the hard skull can cause severe and irreversible damage in some instances.

Concussion symptoms often include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision or other visual disturbances
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unclear thinking
  • Trouble remembering new information
  • Decreased energy
  • Altered sleeping patterns
  • Balance problems

Back Injuries

Back injuries, including ruptured or herniated discs, often don’t have symptoms immediately.

Even a minor accident or one at low speeds and little force involved can cause a back injury and damage the back:

  • Bones (vertebrae)
  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Discs
  • Ligaments
  • Nerves

Back injury symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Headaches
  • Numbness and tingling to the back, neck, shoulders, or arms
  • Decreased mobility
  • Muscle spasms
  • Body stiffness
  • Troubles walking, standing, or sitting

Follow Your Doctor’s Advice

In addition to seeking medical care, you can further substantiate your injury claim by following the advice of your medical team. If your doctor tells you not to lift more than 10 pounds, not to go back to work yet, or not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle do what they tell you.

Suppose the insurance company finds out that you weren’t listening to your doctor and doing what is medically best for you. In that case, it will weaken your injury claim, and you won’t be able to maximize your compensation. It gives the impression that you either aren’t injured or don’t care much about your injury if you don’t care about your injury, the insurance company certainly won’t.

Why File an Injury Claim

If you don’t file an injury claim, you are the one who will have to pay your medical bills, determine how you will get by if you have lost wages, and deal with your pain and suffering. Filing an injury claim is the right of all injury accident victims who don’t deserve to have to absorb the costs and other damages associated with a car accident that wasn’t their fault.

The value of your accident claim primarily depends on your damages, which vary from case to case. Damages are the losses, inconveniences, and expenses you suffer from the accident. There are generally two types of damages; economic and non-economic.

Economic damages account for all your financial losses or expenses associated with your accident. They have inherent value.

For example:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future lost wages and income
  • Necessary household or childcare services that you are unable to perform
  • Property damage

Non-economic damages are more difficult to value. They don’t have a predetermined worth, like medical bills or lost wages.

Non-economic damages are subjective and can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Humiliation

A car accident lawyer can estimate what your claim might be worth by reviewing the types of damages you incurred. They can help ensure that your account for each of your damages in your case, consider them during settlement negotiations, and, if necessary, explain them to a jury.

Insurance Company Requirements

Depending on the party liable for your injuries and their insurance policy and company, you might be under a deadline to report your injury to them. Many insurance companies require claimants to report an injury accident right away or within 30 days. It’s best not to waste any time in doing so though you should not necessarily make the report yourself.

Preferably, hire a car accident attorney right away who can identify who is at fault for your accident and ensure they file the claim with the correct insurance company. This helps prevent you from saying something that you assume is harmless but that the insurance adjuster records and uses against you to minimize your settlement or even deny your claim.

The Statute of Limitations

State laws only give personal injury victims a set amount of time to file a lawsuit if one becomes necessary meaning your claim doesn’t settle outside of court. When you pursue a personal injury claim, you don’t know how long your claim will take or if it will settle outside of court.

Therefore, you must begin your claim with the state’s legal deadline in the back of your mind and remember that the clock is ticking. Each state can set its own statute of limitations. However, most are between one and four years after the date of the injury. If your claim is against a government employee or entity, you may have an even shorter deadline for initiating a claim or lawsuit.

Having a knowledgeable car accident lawyer by your side will ensure that your claim is filed on time, no matter what type it is. While your attorney will work towards settling your claim, so you don’t have to take your case to trial unless you want to, they will work against this deadline.

If you miss this crucial deadline, it’s highly unlikely that you can receive compensation for your injuries as you won’t have the backing of the law. There’s no motivation for the liable party or their insurance company to provide you with compensation anymore, and you have no recourse.

What Happens After You Report the Accident to the Insurance Company?

The insurance company will begin its own investigation into your accident to determine how it happened and who is liable. Depending on the severity of your injuries and the accident, you might receive a phone call from the other party’s insurance company requesting that you provide a recorded statement.

Suppose you have already hired a car accident lawyer. In that case, you can simply inform them that you have retained an attorney and refer them to speak with them. If you haven’t yet secured legal counsel, it’s best to politely decline to give a recorded statement and keep in mind that anything you say can potentially be used against you.

The adjuster might offer you an extremely low settlement around this time. Even if you really need the money now, it’s best to speak to a well-versed car accident lawyer first, as it’s unlikely that you are being offered a fair settlement for your damages.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Car Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

You should take steps to begin an injury claim as soon as you realize you suffered an injury; don’t wait. No matter how big or small your accident or how severe or minor your injuries are, it’s always best to discuss the details of your car accident and injuries with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. You may think that your losses are minor or that you don’t have a valid personal injury claim, only to find out when it’s too late that you did have a valid claim or had severe injuries that deserve compensation.

The sooner you contact an attorney, the better your chances of receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries. If you have legal representation, you are less likely to be taken advantage of by the other side’s insurance company. However, with the help of an attorney, you can ensure that your claim gets filed within your state’s personal injury statute of limitations and that you don’t miss any insurance company deadlines.

Most car accident attorneys offer free legal consultations to review your claim. Anyone involved in a car accident can benefit from an attorney reviewing their case.


Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575

​How Can You Tell Who Hit Who in a Car Accident?

In one recent year alone, motor vehicle accidents caused 4.8 million medically consulted injuries. In addition, the total costs for motor-vehicle injuries were over $473 billion. This estimation includes the costs of wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, motor-vehicle property damage, administrative expenses, and employer losses.

When damages and injuries arise from a car accident, someone must pay them. When someone hits you or does something to cause an accident then contact a car accident lawyer, you shouldn’t have to pay for the expenses.

Determining Fault in a Car Accident

Attorneys can use several pieces of evidence in an accident investigation to prove who was at fault in causing an automobile collision.

The Police Report

No matter the jurisdiction, drivers involved in an accident that results in injuries or fatalities must report it to the nearest police or sheriff’s department immediately. Suppose a driver can’t make the report due to their injuries or otherwise being incapacitated. In that case, their passengers should do it on their behalf. Also, someone should call law enforcement if a vehicle has such serious damage that the driver needs a tow truck.

Once they arrive on the scene, law enforcement officers will begin a preliminary investigation into what caused the motor vehicle accident.

They will:

Police might determine the cause of the accident by:

  • The extent of damage to the vehicles
  • The point and angle of impact
  • The road conditions
  • Where the vehicle(s) ended up after colliding

During their investigation, the police will try to determine if any drivers broke traffic or other laws leading up to the accident.

For example:

  • Did a driver run a red light?
  • Did a driver merge without looking to see if there were vehicles in the other lane?
  • Was either driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

This is a crucial aspect of any motor vehicle accident investigation, as a legal violation might point to the cause of an accident. If a driver did break the law, they will likely receive a warning or a ticket. For injured parties, this is good news because the at-fault driver breaking the law is one way an attorney can establish negligence in a car accident claim.

Whenever possible, law enforcement officers should speak to the drivers, passengers, and eyewitnesses and obtain written statements from them. In addition, anyone who the police interview should give objective and accurate information without making assumptions about who can be at fault for the accident.

After their investigation is complete, the police will write an accident report. Not only does this report include a lot of relevant information, it typically offers the officer’s opinion about who hit who and who is responsible for the accident.

Even if no one suffered an injury or died in an accident, you should still file a written report with the appropriate law enforcement agency within five days. In many jurisdictions, this is also a legal requirement. Making such a report is also essential to protect yourself.

For example, you may not seem to have injuries immediately after the accident. Still, several days later, you can start to experience symptoms and find out you do have a diagnosed injury. Having made the police report will help corroborate your injuries.

Eyewitnesses

Even though the police will likely have spoken to eyewitnesses, you and your attorney can also attempt to do so. Sometimes their names and contact information will be listed on the police report.

If drivers or passengers can, they can also collect that information directly from any eyewitnesses at the scene. Their accounts can be invaluable in piecing together what happened to cause the accident and, therefore, who is at fault. In fact, it’s better to speak to eyewitnesses as soon as possible and get their statements, as memories can quickly fade. Your attorney can contact them for a recorded statement.

Pictures and Videos of the Accident Scene

Smartphones come in handy after an accident. It’s now easier than ever to grab your phone and take pictures or videos of the accident scene. Suppose you aren’t able to do so. In that case, your attorney can use pictures taken by a passenger or an eyewitness or even within the police report. You can even return to the scene within the next few days to take pictures that might still reveal skid marks from your car or the way one road intersects with another.

You never know what might serve as valuable evidence in your claim. Try to take pictures or videos from the perspective of each driver in the moments leading up to the accident. Capture photos of traffic signs, lane markings, traffic lights, roadside objects, barriers, and any potential visual obstructions. Don’t forget to take pictures of the road’s surface, also, including any road imperfections like potholes. Even if taken after you return to the scene, all of these depictions can provide crucial clues as to who hit who.

Your Injuries

You should also take pictures of your injuries. They will serve as proof of the physical damage the car accident caused you and will help document the type and extent of your injuries. In addition, your injuries can help indicate who hit who by showing how your body moved in the accident or which side or area of your body sustained injuries.

Always understand that it’s not only the pictures of your injuries that can establish who and what caused the accident. Anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident should see a licensed physician as soon as possible to receive a diagnosis and any necessary treatment.

You should seek medical evaluation even if you don’t feel injured or experience any injury symptoms. It’s entirely possible to suffer injuries in ways you won’t feel pain or discomfort or experience noticeable symptoms, such as with a concussion, or to suffer injuries in ways that will show up later, such as soft tissue injuries. Internal bleeding and organ damage are severe and even life-threatening injuries that frequently won’t present with many symptoms, but skipping out on medical care can prove deadly.

Doctors and nurses record note about your injuries and your descriptions of how they happened. These go in your medical records and can be submitted as evidence later. Additionally, if who hit who is in question, testimony from a medical care provider about how your injuries likely happened or the mechanism that caused them can help identify the truth.

Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance cameras are in more public places than ever before. Not only are they found in traffic, but they are also common at businesses and even private residences. There’s always a chance that your accident or what led up to it was on a surveillance camera. Law enforcement will often check to see if your accident was on camera, but you can also check. The sooner, the better, as many of these cameras only save the footage for a few days or weeks. There is no better proof of how an accident occurred than video evidence.

Forensic Analysis

Some accidents are quite complex, requiring the expertise of a forensic analyst to perform a thorough accident evaluation using the available evidence. These analysts can often determine the probable trajectory and speed of the vehicles involved, the point of impact, and who hit who by examining photos, videos, police reports, medical records, and eyewitness accounts of the accident.

Why Who Hit Who Matters

When you suffered an injury in an accident that isn’t your fault, the liable party should pay for your damages. In short, determining who hit who helps to determine legal liability. The more accuracy with which a car accident attorney can answer that question, the better the lawyer’s odds of identifying all parties with potential legal liability to their client, and the higher the likelihood they can recover the full amount of compensation the law allows on behalf of their injured client.

In many accidents, the driver of the car that hit you must assume legal liability for anyone seriously injured in the collision. Typically, that driver will have liability insurance that compensates those the insured driver injured.

Sometimes the driver who did the hitting isn’t the only party with potential legal liability for a car accident. For instance, when a commercial vehicle does the hitting, its owner and the driver’s employer can have legal liability for the resulting injuries as per state laws. Employers generally have legal responsibility for the behavior of their employees, whether behind the wheel or otherwise. They are also accountable for ensuring their employees have safe vehicles to drive.

“Who hit who?” can also help determine liability on the part of the hitting vehicle’s manufacturer. If, for instance, it appears that one vehicle hit another because the first vehicle’s brakes malfunctioned or failed, then that vehicle’s maker can face strict liability according to the state’s product liability laws. These statutes hold manufacturers liable for damages if a vehicle’s defect makes it unreasonably dangerous to the general public who will use it or have exposure to it.

What if the Insurance Company Doesn’t Offer a Fair Settlement?

Insurance companies whose insured drivers hit someone often attempt to pay injured parties less than they deserve. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the auto insurance business; the less money insurance companies have to pay in claims, the more money they can keep for themselves as a profit. So there’s an inherent conflict of interest.

As such, insurance companies and their adjusters frequently employ sneaky tactics to trick injured motor vehicle accident victims into settling for much less compensation than they deserve for their injuries. Insurance companies may blame the victims for the accident or argue the type or extent of their injuries.

They swoop in and offer quick, lowball settlements before injured parties have time to seek the sound advice of a car accident attorney. They want victims to need the cash right away and therefore be willing to forgo valuable legal rights in return for a quick settlement.

However, those injured in car accidents must always speak with an experienced car accident attorney before discussing with an insurance carrier. Attorneys are well-versed in negotiating full and fair settlements with insurers on behalf of their injured clients. Having legal representation helps level the playing field and safeguards accident victims from insurance company trickery. Insurance companies are much less likely to play tricks on injured claimants when they have their own legal counsel involved. They know that the attorney will quickly recognize their tricks and shut them down.

In addition, car accident lawyers work with investigative teams and expert witnesses as necessary on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes showing a difficult insurance company who-hit-who in a car accident calls for extensive research and piecing together evidence from several sources. Lawyers excel at these tasks.

What are At-Fault Parties Liable For?

At-fault parties in a motor vehicle collision (or their insurance companies on their behalf) are liable for the economic and non-economic or compensatory damages the victims incur due to the accident.

Economic damages include:

  • Past and future lost wages and income
  • Past and future medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Other out-of-pocket accident-related expenses

Non-economic damages include:

While economic damages are worth their face value, non-economic damages can be difficult to put a price tag on. Typically, they are worth between 1.5 and five times the value of the injured party’s economic damages, depending on the type and severity of their injuries or resulting disabilities.

Call an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Car Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

If you were recently involved in a car accident and suffered injuries, consult with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. You want to exercise your legal rights while the evidence to prove who caused the accident is still fresh and available.


Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575

​What Do I Do After a Hit and Run Accident?

All traffic collisions are stressful, but some are more devastating than others, such as hit-and-runs. These accidents are complicated and more nuanced as the at-fault driver flees the scene, attempting to escape responsibility for their actions and leaving any victims to tend to themselves.

Not only do the injured parties lack help at the scene, but they also don’t have important resources they might use to recover physically and financially from their injuries.

Hit-and-run victims frequently have more worries and questions than answers and help.

Injured parties need to know:

  • They have legal rights and options as they seek compensation and justice.
  • A highly experienced car accident lawyer can aggressively advocate their rights and help them obtain the best possible outcomes in their situation.

Hit and Runs: What You Need to Know

A hit-and-run occurs when a driver causes a crash and leaves the scene. Under state laws, anyone involved in a vehicle wreck has to stop at the scene, whether it is with another vehicle, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian. Leaving the scene without stopping and taking steps to ensure others’ safety and exchanging information is illegal.

Still, drivers leave without stopping for various reasons, including:

  • Lack of any auto insurance coverage or the legally required amounts of coverage
  • Being in the process of committing another crime, such as driving a stolen vehicle
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Panicking or being concerned that they will face blame for the accident
  • Having a warrant out for their arrest

No matter the reason for leaving the wreck scene, multiple problems are ignited when someone does this. Unfortunately, those problems don’t just impact the person who left; they affect those injured or drivers who incurred property damage in the crash.

If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a hit and run, we are here to help. You can’t change someone else’s poor decisions, but you control what you do next to help yourself. One of the first steps you should take is to call an experienced car accident attorney.

Who Pays for Damages in a Hit and Run?

In other types of crashes, the at-fault driver and their insurance carrier typically end up paying for your losses. Also known as damages, they might include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, when the at-fault driver flees the scene leaving no information, how can the injured parties file a claim on their insurance policy? Sadly, there’s really no way they can. Instead, they are left dealing with the expenses and hardships of the crash on their own.

The Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates that nearly 13 percent, or one in eight, of all drivers in America, are currently uninsured. If an uninsured driver causes an accident, they are more likely to leave the scene or not bother to stop at all to avoid further legal repercussions.

For insurance purposes, a hit-and-run accident are like an accident in which the negligent party did not have auto insurance coverage. The problem with uninsured drivers and hit-and-run accidents is that when an accident occurs, no matter whose fault it is, the known driver or the driver with insurance faces the monetary burden of the accident. If this happens to you, you need the services of a reliable car accident lawyer who will fight for you.

What is a Hit and Run Accident?

An average of 682,000 hit-and-run accidents happen each year, or about one every minute, according to AAA researchers. These accidents are increasingly common. Even ones that do not cause injury or death can cause thousands of dollars in property damage.

The three general types of hit-and-run accidents include:

  • A motorist leaves the scene of a crash involving more than one driver
  • A motorist leaves the scene after hitting a parked vehicle
  • A motorist leaves the scene after hitting a pedestrian, cyclist, or another road user

State laws demand that all drivers stay at the scene whenever there is an accident, even a minor one. If they do not stay to exchange relevant information and contact local law enforcement when required (usually required if there are injuries, fatalities, or property damage), they can receive a misdemeanor or even felony conviction and a hefty fine. Even still, some drivers leave the scene of the accident immediately. Perhaps they do not have insurance, are wanted by law enforcement, are in denial, or don’t want to accept responsibility for the accident.

Recovering Compensation After a Hit-and-Run Accident

Once the other driver has left the scene, unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to hold them accountable. However, you should absolutely still file a police report. It’s possible that there are witnesses or surveillance camera footage that can help locate the driver.

If the police find that driver, they will hold them criminally accountable for their actions, and you can pursue a civil claim against them or their insurance company for compensation. But in many cases, the police never find them.

For this reason, many states mandate uninsured motorist insurance coverage. In some states, it will be part of your policy unless you elect to reject this coverage in writing. The good news is that you can use uninsured motorist coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering after a hit-and-run accident. Even if this coverage is not mandatory, you can choose to carry it with your other auto insurance coverage, and this is always wise.

If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, you can file a claim with your insurer. However, even though you are insured, many auto insurance companies will use several tactics to deny your claim or decrease its value. Suppose you feel that your insurance company is not living up to their agreement with you. In that case, you need to hire a skilled car accident attorney to ensure you are getting full and fair compensation for your damages from the accident.

If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you might still file a claim under other types of coverage on your policy. So it’s always a good idea to check with your insurance company and an attorney.

What Motorists Should Know About Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage

To access your coverage and enforce your full legal rights, you should know these things about UM coverage:

  • In many states, insurance companies must give you UM coverage unless you reject it in writing.
  • You might not access UM coverage if you were using your vehicle for business purposes when the crash happened.
  • If you were involved in a hit-and-run crash, most insurance policies require you to file a police report to access UM coverage.
  • If you let someone else drive your car, that driver and all their passengers typically have coverage under your UM policy.
  • The UM policy should cover all of your family members living in your home.
  • Your minor children have coverage even if they don’t live with you.
  • Even if your child attends college out of town, they usually have coverage.
  • You have limited time to file a claim after the accident.
  • In some states, UM won’t cover property damage, but your insurance company will allow you to use your collision coverage to pay for the damages.

What Should You Do if You’re in a Hit-and-Run Crash?

If you find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident, stay at the scene even if the other party doesn’t. After you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident, every moment counts.

As quickly as you can:

  • Make sure you’re safe: Check to see if you or any other passengers have injuries. If someone is hurt, call 911 immediately for help before taking any further steps. If your vehicle is in a dangerous location and can move it, move it. If you can’t move it, attempt to get you and your passengers out of the vehicle and into a safe area.
  • Gather information: Once you’re safe and the EMS is on their way, write down as much information as you can on the other car and driver, including their physical description and the make, model, and color of their vehicle, license plate number, and their direction of travel. Written documentation is imperative, so you don’t have to rely on memory alone. You can record notes on your smartphone if you don’t have anything to write with. Additionally, if there are any witnesses nearby, ask if they’d be willing to provide a statement to the police and get their contact information.
  • Take pictures or videos: If possible, take pictures or videos of the damage to your vehicle, the accident scene, and any injuries you have. These can serve as evidence and may help locate the hit-and-run driver.
  • Call the police: Even if no one has visible injuries, you should call the police to make a report of the accident. You will need the report for insurance purposes to prove that the accident happened. Calling as soon as possible can increase the chances that the hit-and-run driver will be found and allow the police to collect fresh evidence. The police will come out and make a report. You should ask for a copy once available, as your insurance company will usually require a police report as part of your UM claim.
  • Contact your auto insurance company: Once the police finish their investigation and you can leave the scene, contact your auto insurer and file a claim. The sooner you make the report, the better your memory of the accident will be. Call the same day as the accident if you can. With most insurance companies, you have 30 days to file a claim.

Damages in a Hit-and-Run Accident

Damages in a hit-and-run accident are similar to those in any motor vehicle accident. They will depend on the severity of the accident and the types of injuries the victims sustained.

Special damages have an inherent monetary value, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damages
  • Lost wages and income

General damages are those that don’t come with a pre-assigned value.

They are often simply called pain and suffering, but can also include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Humiliation
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

A hit-and-run victim can receive compensation for both special and general damages, either through an insurance claim or by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver (if the police located the driver).

Even if the police find the hit-and-run driver and the driver faces criminal charges, you still need to seek compensation for your damages on the civil side. A possible conviction for the liable driver won’t pay for your damages.

Some hit-and-run cases may qualify for punitive damages. Only a judge or jury can award these damages, as they only apply in personal injury cases when the liable party with extreme disregard for someone’s safety and well-being. In some cases, leaving the scene of an accident can trigger punitive damages. Instead of compensating the victim for their damages, punitive damages punish the liable party and attempt to prevent them and others from similar conduct in the future.

Were You the Victim of a Hit-and-Run Car Accident? Call an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer to Help

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Hit and Run Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

Don’t make the mistake of assuming your own insurance company will treat you fairly after a hit-and-run accident or that the driver will be found and held accountable. Instead, speak to a trusted legal advocate to determine your next steps. They can help you identify all sources of potential compensation so that you receive the money you deserve for your damages.

Car accident lawyers know how to identify all sources of compensation, even in a complicated hit-and-run case. Reach out for a free case evaluation today.


Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575