Most likely, you will not have to go to court for a truck accident. The vast majority of Chicago personal injury cases stemming from collision-related injuries reach a settlement without ever going to trial.
The fact that your case will likely never go to trial benefits you in several ways. First, by settling out of court, you will avoid the hefty expense of a trial. Some liability trials can drag on for long periods of time. This not only delays your receiving the compensation you seek but also racks up your total court costs, which can chip away at any court award you get from the trial.
In addition, when a judge or jury deliberates and decides your case, you enjoy no flexibility in the outcome. You would not be able to negotiate for more compensation as you would outside of court. Furthermore, the jury could decide to award you nothing at all. When this happens, your opportunity to recover damages closes.
The finality of a court’s decision also can work against the defendant’s insurance company, which will ultimately cover the cost of any court decision for compensation. The insurance industry is heavily risk-averse, and juries are unpredictable. Any insurer would rather not gamble with the chance that a jury will sympathize with your case and give you a substantial award, which translates to a high payout for the insurance company.
However, keep in mind that the insurance company’s interest in quickly settling your claim does not mean they will offer to pay you the true value of your damages. Like any business, insurers prioritize profits. Their profits come from selling insurance policies, not from paying out large claim settlements.
The defendant’s insurance company benefits from sophisticated technology that tells them the value of your case. Additionally, the adjusters benefit from decades of experience that helps them attempt to justify substantially undervaluing your claim—or even dismissing it altogether.
If you receive a call from the defendant’s insurer, be extremely careful with what you say. The representative will likely come across as sensitive, even sympathetic to your plight. However, they talk this way to lull you into a false sense of confidence so you will divulge information they can use to undermine your claim.
Strongly consider working with a lawyer before you speak with any insurance company. Certainly, do not agree to a settlement offer, as the amount the company proposes represents a fraction of your damages, and the insurer knows it. Once you sign off on their settlement offer, you cannot go back to collect additional compensation upon discovering your losses are greater than you realized.
A truck accident lawyer can ensure that you have accounted for every way in which you have suffered losses from the collision. They will arrive at the amount you should demand in a fair settlement by gathering medical records for all your accident-related injuries. Medical experts can step in to speak to ongoing and future treatments that should be factored into your settlement.
Your lawyer will obtain wage statements from your employer to determine the sum of wages you have lost while recovering from your accident. The attorney can also bring in an occupational therapy expert who can testify to how your injuries will impact your ability to work—whether at the same job you once had or in any other type of gainful employment.
Law firms also collaborate with experts in the field of psychology who they can ask to report on the extent to which your accident injury has affected you (and is expected to still) affect you emotionally.
Finally, your lawyer has access to formulas that can be used to assign a dollar amount to your pain and suffering.
The total for all these damages will reach a level that no insurance company will offer you coming out of the gate. On the other hand, your attorney can present these losses in a demand letter and present it to the insurance company. Most likely, the insurance adjuster will respond with a counteroffer. At this point, your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf to arrive at a fair settlement.
Only if the adjuster refuses to agree to a fair settlement will your attorney file a lawsuit on your behalf to have the matter of your compensation decided in court. They will need to do this before Illinois’ statute of limitations under 735 ILCS 5/12-1102 expires, so the sooner they get started, the better. Even in this scenario, you can expect that the defendant will push for a settlement before the trial begins.
Having an attorney in your corner can level the playing field in your pursuit of compensation after your truck accident.
The Kryder Law Group, LLC works on a contingency-fee-basis, so we collect legal fees only when and if we win you money via an insurance settlement or court award.
Call us today for a free case review at (312) 223-1700.