In most situations, you will not have to go to court for a car accident. Most car accident claims are resolved through an insurance settlement.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Illinois is an at-fault insurance state, so the at-fault driver is legally responsible for the damages caused by their negligence. Typically, accident victims receive compensation from their accident through a settlement they enter into with the insurance company. In exchange for a certain amount of money, you agree not to take any further legal action against the at-fault driver or the insurance company.
Once you initiate the insurance claim, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to the case. This person works for the insurance company and is invested in helping minimize the value of the claim. They will review the relevant insurance policy and evidence involved in your claim to determine if coverage applies. They may negotiate with you or your legal representative.
For a free legal consultation, call (312) 598-0739
When You May Have to Go to Court for a Car Accident
In many cases, your case will settle out of court; however, there are certain situations in which you might find yourself in court, including:
- The other party disputes fault
- The insurer refuses to offer you a fair settlement
What You Can Expect if You Go to Court
If you are not able to resolve your claim with the insurance company to your satisfaction, your next step may be to file a lawsuit. Your lawyer can help with each stage of this process, including by:
Filing a Complaint
The litigation process officially begins with the filing of a complaint, which sets forth information about you, the other party, the accident, and your legal right to compensation. Your lawyer can prepare your complaint and file it within the applicable statute of limitations.
Obtaining Evidence from the Other Party
Discovery is the formal process of learning about the other side’s proof and defenses. Your personal injury lawyer can gather critical information to help you establish the legal elements of your claim by:
- Requesting the defendant admit to certain allegations
- Requesting the defendant answer written questions under oath
- Requesting the defendant provide certain documents
- Sending out subpoena requests to others who may have relevant information, such as witnesses, your employer, or your healthcare providers
- Examining the defendant or witnesses during a deposition
- Interviewing and examining potential expert witnesses
If your case proceeds to trial, you will need to appear in court. Your lawyer can help you prepare for this and the types of questions you may be asked. Your lawyer will interview potential jurors to make sure that they are not biased against you for any reason. Additionally, your lawyer will present evidence to help establish your claim and examine your witnesses. They will cross-examine the defendant and their witnesses. After the trial, a judge or jury will render a decision in your case.
If either party was not satisfied with the result at trial, your case may be appealed if there were errors made during the trial or litigation process that affected the outcome of the case.
Through this process, your lawyer will represent your interests and try to secure a fair award on your behalf.
Deadline to File a Lawsuit
If you decide to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, you will be subject to the two-year statute of limitations described under 735 ILCS 5/13-202.
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In some cases, you may file a claim against your own insurance company, such as if you are using your comprehensive or uninsured motorist coverage. Your insurance contract may require you to resolve your claim through arbitration, which is a less formal manner that is used to resolve legal matters. A neutral arbitrator or panel of arbitrators evaluate evidence and testimony and make a binding decision outside of court.
Contact Us for Help with Your Claim
While you likely do not have to go to court for a car accident, the entire process can be stressful to manage alone. You do not need to take on these burdens. The team at The Kryder Law Group, LLC can investigate your claim, explore your options for resolving your claims, and help you through the claims process. We can also explain whether you will have to go to court. We provide a free consultation to discuss your legal options in a confidential setting. Call us at (312) 223-1700 to get started.