If you or a family member are a recent car accident victim and plan to sue the other driver, you will want to ensure that you find a competent personal injury attorney who has experience litigating these kinds of accidents. This article will discuss what some of the best car accident attorneys in Chicago have in common to give you an idea of the type of attorney you should hire for legal representation in your personal injury claim.
What does a car accident attorney do?
A car accident attorney is a personal injury attorney who typically engages in some of the following duties:
- Communicating with the other driver’s insurance company
- Communicating with your health care providers to make sure they provide any necessary medical information so that you can prove damages in your car accident claim
- Obtaining the necessary evidence to help determine which party was at fault for the accident
- Organizing your medical bills and records of your car accident injuries
- Presenting the evidence in your case in court in order to prove liability and damages
- Negotiating with lien holders on your claim (such as health, disability, or workers’ compensation insurers) to potentially reduce the amount of those liens
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters for a satisfactory settlement offer among the parties
What do the best accident attorneys in Chicago have in common?
It can be difficult to determine which attorney in Illinois, and even just the Chicago area alone, is the best one for you to hire. Fortunately, the best Chicago car accident lawyers will likely have the following qualities in common:
- They have experience and get results. The best auto accident attorneys will have significant experience litigating these kinds of cases. This could be represented by the number of years of experience they have with these cases (10+ years, for example) and/or the number of cases they have successfully litigated (for example, they have won over 100 of these cases in their career). You will want to hire an attorney who has a track record of successful litigation.
- They charge on a contingency basis. The best car accident attorneys in Chicago will not charge you a dime unless and until you win your case in court. The best attorneys will also not try to charge any additional hidden fees, as some other attorneys do. You will want to hire an attorney who is completely upfront about any fees they plan to charge you.
- They have good reviews. The best car accident attorneys in Chicago have good reviews which reflect their experience. This is very important, as reviews from people who have actually used the attorney’s services are much more likely to be upfront about the type of service they received than attorneys are likely to be. However, do not solely depend on reviews. Disgruntled former clients who may not have been satisfied with the attorney’s services could leave a review that is untrue or misleading. Conversely, if you see several negative reviews, you can probably assume that at least some of these reviews are genuine.
- They have a team of professionals. The best Chicago auto accident lawyers will have a team of professionals they work with. Personal injury attorneys typically have an extensive team of professionals they consult with to help them with things like gathering evidence and preparing a strong case. You will want to know that your attorney has a strong personal injury team that can step in when needed to ensure that your case does not fall to the way side.
- They communicate well and make themselves available for their clients. The best car accident attorneys in Chicago engage in effective communication with their clients. Communication is key within the attorney-client relationship. You will want to hire an attorney who will have time for you and your case and who will be available to answer any questions or concerns you might have. A good attorney will frequently communicate with you about the status of your case and alert you of any upcoming deadlines.
- They take a genuine interest in you and your car accident case. The best car accident attorneys in Chicago will be genuinely interested in you and your case. After you are injured in a car accident, you don’t want to go to an attorney who will make you feel like just another client they need to quickly dispose of. You want to find an attorney who will make you feel important and valued. A good attorney will intently listen to your experience and will show some level of empathy for what you endured. Additionally, a good attorney will respect your emotions and will frequently ask for your input regarding the trajectory of your case.
What kinds of questions should I ask the attorney during my consultation?
Either before or during your first consultation appointment, injured victims of car accidents should consider asking the attorney some of the following questions:
- “What steps should I take to protect my case?” This is important, because you do not want to inadvertently take any actions (such as discarding potential evidence) that may damage your personal injury case. An attorney will let you know exactly what steps to take. You may also want to inquire about what you should do if the other driver’s insurance company offers to settle.
- “Are there any deadlines that I need to meet?” Personal injury cases can be very time-sensitive. An attorney will be able to provide you with any applicable deadlines to ensure that they are met.
- “What type of evidence do you need?” An attorney will be able to let you know exactly what type of evidence will be relevant and helpful in determining liability in your case.
- “How long will it take for my case to be resolved?” Before you decide to go through with a lawsuit, you will need to be prepared for the length of time that your case may take to resolve. Keep in mind that when personal injury cases go to court, they may take weeks, months, or even years to be fully resolved. Be prepared to hear the attorney’s honest answer.
- “What do you plan to do for my case?” You will want to be clear about what the attorney is planning to do for your case that you cannot do on your own. You are paying for the attorney’s services, so you need to ensure that you will be receiving the specific type of help that you are seeking.
- “What kind of damages am I entitled to receive?” Before moving forward with a lawsuit, you will need to know the specific types of damages you may be entitled to receive if you win in court, whether it’s damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, wrongful death, property damage, or others.
- “Will my case actually go to trial?” Most personal injury cases do not go to trial. Instead, they are usually resolved by settlement outside of the courtroom. You will want to know the attorney’s intended strategy regarding your case. On the one hand, if you believe your case should go to trial, you should communicate this to the attorney. On the other hand, attorneys have more knowledge and experience regarding which types of personal injury cases will be successful in court and which ones will not.
- “How often do you plan to communicate with me about my case?” Communication is crucial in attorney-client relationships. You will want to choose an attorney who will be able to frequently communicate with you regarding the status of your case and who will be able to answer any questions you have about your case in a timely manner.
- “What are your fees?” This is one of the most important questions. You will need to know upfront how much the attorney plans to charge you for representing your case. It would also be helpful to determine whether they expect to be paid hourly or whether there is a flat fee. Additionally, you should inquire as to whether they work on a contingency basis. If an attorney works on a contingency basis, you typically do not have to pay anything unless you win your case in court. If the attorney does work on a contingency basis, you will need to know what percentage of your award amount they will take.
What kind of evidence do I need to bring with me to my first consultation appointment?
Before heading to your first consultation appointment with a personal injury lawyer, you may want to gather some evidence stemming from the motor vehicle accident to provide the attorney with a better picture of what occurred and to better allow them to create a proper narrative for your car accident lawsuit. Some of the following information and documentation can be helpful to bring with you:
- Any pictures you took of the accident scene right after it occurred. It would be especially helpful if you have pictures of both your vehicle and the vehicle(s) of other motorists involved in the accident. It may also be helpful to provide any pictures you took of the surrounding landscape at the time of the accident, such as traffic lights, street corner signs, or intersections.
- Any information that you recorded after the traffic accident occurred. It would be helpful to bring in copies of any information you may have documented after the incident occurred. This may include what led up to the accident from your point of view, what the weather conditions were like, road conditions, how the other driver appeared at the time (for example, if they were drunk driving), if they were going over the speed limit, what you did immediately following the accident, etc. do the attorney understands your side of the story. You should also bring in any contact and insurance policy information you took down from the other driver(s) involved, unless they were an uninsured driver.
- Any information that you obtained from nearby witnesses after the accident occurred. If applicable, make sure to bring in any information you recorded regarding statements of witnesses who may have seen the accident occur. It would be especially helpful if you had the witnesses’ full names and contact information.
- Any police reports that were made after the accident occurred. This would not be difficult for an attorney to find on his own, but if you want to be proactive, it will not hurt to bring in a copy of any police reports that were filed as a result of the accident.
Keep in mind that prior to your case evaluation appointment with a Chicago car accident attorney, you can always ask the attorney what specific information or evidence they would like for you to bring to the first meeting.
Were You Recently Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Our Firm
If you or a loved one were recently injured in a car crash, the law office of Palermo Law Group can help. Serious injuries as a result of an Illinois car accident involving a negligent driver means you have the right to compensation for your pain and suffering and/or medical expenses. Our Oak Brook personal injury law firm consists of a knowledgeable legal team with over 25 years of experience handling personal injury cases resulting from car accidents. We will do our best to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation appointment.