Personal Injury Claims & Lawsuit Process in Illinois | Staver
01 At the scene

Starting Your Personal Injury Claim in Chicago

Crashes are unexpected and jarring. You might feel disoriented or dazed, not to mention hurt. Even if it was a minor crash and it seems like any damage is limited to your car, there are ways to protect yourself and your recovery. Take these steps to secure your financial future and your health.

woman on phone after car accident

You get medical care

This is how you start to document your injuries, and how our team gets the evidence we can use to help you. It’s important to follow your doctor’s orders so you can recover as much as you can, as quickly as possible. If you do anything that might delay your recovery or make your injuries worse, an insurer will use this against you.

You start your insurance claim

You have to notify your insurer or the other party’s insurance provider as soon as possible. Insurance companies require notification within a reasonable period. If you wait too long, insurers might try to deny your claim. You don’t have to give a statement right away when you tell your insurer about the accident.

We recommend you stick to the basic facts and politely decline to answer any questions. Your Staver attorney can provide guidance before you talk with an insurer to avoid saying anything that can hurt your case.

You hire a lawyer

Your situation might be so straight forward that you feel you don’t need a lawyer. If you sustained serious injuries and property damage, you’ll need someone relentless to support you. Remember: the insurance company isn’t really on your side.

An insurer is focused on the minimum action they have to take under the policy and the law. They hope to pay out as little as possible on a claim. Having a Staver attorney fight for you can lead to a better settlement offer. We can get right to work once you hire us.

02 Your Lawyer's Next Steps

Your Chicago Accident Lawyer Will Get to Work

While you're working on your physical recovery, our team will be working on securing justice and compensation. We know how traumatic a car crash is, and in our experience, our clients want relief quickly. But it's critical to build a case that's solid. We'll communicate with you every step of the way, and make sure you know your options before we make any decisions. We're here to uplift you through your hardships.

Attorney Jared Staver on phone talking with client

Your lawyer investigates

We can’t stress enough the importance of having an attorney independently investigate the cause of the accident. The insurance company will investigate. But you shouldn’t rely on its findings.

Your Staver lawyer will work to uncover different evidence, view the evidence in a different light, or draw different conclusions. We’ll use our experience to find and review the evidence so that you have the best chance of identifying who is at fault and building a strong case against them.

Your lawyer identifies potential defendants

Personal injury claims can be complicated. There can be two or more people who are at fault for the accident. Your lawyer can dig up all potentially liable parties.

We’ll check if the at-fault party was working at the time or was in someone else’s vehicle. We’ll look for any sign that another party was negligent or is now vicariously liable. A person or business you didn’t know about might be partly to blame for your injuries.

Your lawyer calculates your damages

How much is your case worth? That’s a question best answered by a lawyer. Your economic damages are straightforward. We will add up all of your medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. If your injuries affect your future, your Staver lawyer will add up future medical costs and other expenses too.

Your non-economic damages are less precise. Getting the most for your pain and suffering requires you to be able to show a jury how badly you’ve been hurt and how much it’s impacted your life. We will help you create this evidence by advising you to keep a daily journal or producing a “Day in the Life” video.

Your lawyer sends a demand letter

Your claim begins in earnest once we send the potentially liable parties a demand letter. This is a brief, but carefully crafted, letter telling the recipient they’re responsible for your injuries. In the letter, we will demand a certain amount of compensation based on their damages calculations. Once it’s delivered, we have to wait for the insurance company’s response.

03 Going to court

Taking a Personal Injury Claim to Court in Illinois

Working towards a settlement can be a lengthy process. It's not uncommon for relief to take several months, even years, to arrive after a crash. We'll stand with you as we work towards a settlement, but if the insurance company isn't cooperating, we may need to consider a lawsuit. These are usually a last resort, but they're effective at holding the at-fault party responsible for your damages. We are prepared to fight for you in the courtroom, and fight for your full compensation.

courtroom scene

Your lawyer files a personal injury lawsuit

Sometimes, a demand letter results in immediate insurance settlement negotiations. But more likely than not, you won’t get the response you’re hoping for. That’s why your Staver lawyer’s next step will be to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Most personal injury cases are settled before trial. You should file a lawsuit to show the defendants and their insurers that you’re willing to fight to get the best resolution in your case. You won’t settle quickly for a low offer. Litigation also gives you the benefit of using discovery to learn more about the information the other side has about your claim.

Your lawyer uses discovery

Discovery is the longest phase of litigation. Through depositions (out-of-court interviews), interrogatories (questions), demands to produce documents, and requests for admissions (true or false statements), we will gather more information about your case.

This phase is particularly important if a business is involved in your case. We’ll want to see a lot of business and employment records.

Settlement negotiations or prepare for trial

After discovery, either party might request mediation. This is an out-of-court process during which both sides can negotiate a fair resolution. We’ll often reach settlement agreements for our clients at this time. Insurers are incentivized to settle for a fair amount instead of spending more time and money on a contentious trial.

But if we can’t get the defendants and their insurers to agree to a fair amount, then we’ll prepare for trial. Our team at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., is made up of litigators. We aren’t afraid to go to court and fight for your justice.

You appeal a verdict against you

If we take your case to trial and the jury decides in the defendant’s favor, we’ll immediately review your case for a reason to appeal. We’re looking for something in the trial record that suggests a mistake was made. You can’t appeal a verdict because you don’t like it, or you think it’s unfair.

Even if we didn’t represent you in your original personal injury case, we can review the trial records and advise you on moving forward with an appeal.

04 Have More Questions?

Personal Injury FAQs

The personal injury claims process is complicated, so it's understandable if you still have questions about your case. You might wonder where the lawsuit will need to be filed, if an attorney is really necessary, or what might delay the process. We can give you some answers here, but one of our Chicago car accident lawyers can go over your concerns directly.

man filing paperwork

Where Are Personal Injury Lawsuits Filed?

When a lawsuit becomes necessary to settle your personal injury claim, your attorney can help you understand everything you need to know about the filing process. Knowing where to file your lawsuit is critical. The Illinois Rules of Civil Procedure dictate the jurisdiction of civil claims, and the Staver team will look at every possible venue to ensure your lawsuit is filed correctly. If you were hit by another Chicago resident, your lawsuit should be filed in a Cook County court. But there’s a chance you could have a federal case. We’ll be able to review your case and ensure an accurate filing.

Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable in Illinois?

Your settlement is generally not taxable in Illinois at either a state or federal level. Your Staver lawyer will be able to explain if your payout is taxable, but compensation for physical injuries is not usually taxable. Each case is unique, so it’s critical to review these questions with your lawyer.

What Can Be Used As Evidence in My Claim?

Your evidence will vary based on the circumstances of your claim. Your Staver attorney can explain what makes the most impact for your settlement. You’ll need to consider anything that can prove the other driver caused your damages and the extent of those damages as evidence. That means your medical bills, prescriptions, photos of the crash, videos, or eyewitness statements could be crucial to showing what you lost because of the crash. Your lawyer can craft the case around what evidence is available.

What Could Lower My Claim’s Value?

There are a few things that could lower your settlement amount. Illinois has a comparative negligence statute: your settlement will be lowered by the same amount you share responsibility for your losses. Any liability, up to 50%, can reduce your settlement amount. So if you’re 20% responsible for your crash, any settlement be reduced by 20%. If you’re more than 50% liable, you cannot pursue compensation from the other driver involved.

Do I really Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

You might feel you can pursue a personal injury claim alone. Even with the most clear-cut evidence showing you deserve complete compensation, the insurance company will resist paying you for your losses. By trusting the Staver team, we can help you secure your compensation. Insurance companies will look for any out they can to keep from paying you. We’ll be able to fight them to ensure you get the money you need to recover after your traumatic experience.

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