After an injury, many people file insurance claims to recoup financial losses such as medical bills. While settling with an insurance company is fairly common, it should not be done without some legal guidance.
After an accident or an injury in Illinois, you will likely file a third-party claim with the other person’s insurance company. Alternatively, you might have your own insurance policy that covers your injuries. In either scenario, you may need to prove how your injuries occurred before the insurance company awards any compensation. While a lawyer is not required by law, speaking with one before talking to an insurance company would be wise. Your attorney can help you more effectively negotiate with insurance adjusters to get fair compensation for your injuries. You will also need help assessing your damages, finding evidence, and communicating with the insurance company.
Call the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 to schedule a free review of your claims with our Chicago personal injury lawyers.
Settling an Insurance Claim After a Personal Injury in Chicago
How insurance claims are filed often varies based on the nature of the claim and the rules of the state where the claim arises. Some states have no-fault insurance laws that allow injured people to file claims through their own insurance company without having to prove who was at fault. Illinois is not a no-fault state and adheres to a more typical fault-based insurance system.
Third-party claims are those filed with someone else’s insurance because they caused your accident and injuries. This kind of claim is common after something like a car accident. In such cases, our personal injury attorneys must help you prove that the other person caused the accident and is at fault for your injuries. If you cannot prove fault, the insurance company might deny your claim.
Even if you file a claim with your own insurance, the process is not any easier. For example, if the other driver in a car accident was uninsured, you might file a claim with your own uninsured motorist policy. Even though this is your own insurance, you must present evidence of how the accident happened before getting any compensation.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Settle a Personal Injury Claim with an Insurance Company in Chicago?
Technically, having a lawyer is not legally required when you file an insurance claim. However, proceeding with your claim without a lawyer would be unwise. An attorney can help you navigate the infamously complex insurance process so that you get fair compensation for your injuries and expenses.
Your lawyer can help you begin the claims process by filing your claim. This might sound like a simple step you can handle on your own, but every aspect of the insurance process, even the very first step, is more complex than most people realize. If certain information is missing from your initial filing, your entire claim might be in jeopardy.
Having a lawyer represent your claim also sends a strong message to the insurance company that you mean business. Insurance companies are known for underhanded tactics when dealing with claims, and they will likely try and weasel out of paying any way they can. If you have a lawyer, the insurance companies know that their normal tactics will not work, and they may be under more pressure to reach a favorable settlement.
How to Negotiate an Insurance Settlement After a Personal Injury in Chicago
Negotiating a settlement that adequately covers your damages and provides you with fair compensation is very difficult without a lawyer. Your attorney can help you assess your damages and find the evidence necessary to establish your claims to the insurance company sufficiently.
Assess Your Damages
Before filing your insurance claim, we need a clear picture of your damages and injuries. This is important because the insurance company might only compensate for injuries they are aware of. If we overlook or forget to include certain damages, they may not be compensated at all. Also, having an accurate assessment of your damages lets us know what your claim is worth and how much compensation you rightly deserve. We can use this value as a starting point during settlement negotiations.
Assessing your damages may be difficult on your own. While many people are aware of the big damages (e.g., medical bills, property damage, lost income), people sometimes overlook the smaller damages that can add up to a lot of compensation. For example, injured claimants sometimes do not realize they can claim travel expenses from traveling for medical treatment, including gas, hotels, and flights.
Find Supporting Evidence
Evidence is the backbone of your claim. While you might not need to prove the other person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you might have to prove how they were at fault for the accident, depending upon the nature of our claim.
If your injuries stem from an accident, we can use photos and videos from the accident scene to support your insurance claim. Insurance companies often require a police report before they even entertain the idea of issuing compensation, and your attorney can help you contact the police about your case.
We also need evidence about your injuries. Medical records and details about your treatment from your doctor may be submitted to the insurance company to back up your claim.
Communicating with the Insurance Company
Even communicating with the insurance company is a delicate balancing act. You want to provide the insurance company with enough details for them to approve your claim, but not so much that they start poking holes in your claim in an attempt to avoid paying.
You need a lawyer to help you communicate with the insurance company in a way that is most beneficial to you. You must be careful what you say and how you say it. Even the most innocuous of phrases might be misconstrued and used against you. Avoid talking to anyone from the insurance company on your own. Always go through your attorney.
Call Our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers About Your Claims Today
Call the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 to schedule a free evaluation of your insurance claim with our Illinois personal injury attorneys.