How Does The Car Accident Settlement Process Work?

If you or somebody you love has been injured in a car accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver, you are likely entitled to various types of compensation for your losses. The vast majority of car accident cases in Illinois are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers.

However, this process can be complicated. If you have been in an accident, you need to know how this process works and how best to protect yourself to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Here, we want to discuss the car accident settlement process as well as whether or not you need a Chicago car accident attorney.

There Will be an Investigation

Insurance carriers require that the accidents be reported to them very soon after the incident occurs. Once a report has been made, the insurance carrier will assign a claims adjuster to conduct an investigation. This process can be time-consuming, particularly for more serious accidents.

It is strongly recommended that an injury victim works with a skilled attorney who can help them throughout the entire process. An attorney can use their resources and legal expertise to properly investigate the incident and ensure that their client is treated fairly. Some of the evidence that an attorney will gather, and that will be used by all parties, can include the following:

  • Photograph taken after the crash occurs
  • Video surveillance from nearby homes or businesses
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • The police report
  • The damaged vehicles
  • Vehicle “black box” data
  • Mobile device data

It may also be necessary for an attorney to employ assistance from an accident reconstruction expert who can use the gathered evidence as well as their mathematical and scientific knowledge to help show what happened.

A Demand Letter Needs to be Sent

An attorney will work with trusted medical and financial experts to correctly calculate their client’s total expected losses. After the victim has reached maximum medical improvement, an attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance carrier of the at-fault party. This will include a request for compensation for medical bills, lost income, property damage, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering losses, and more.

Responding to the Demand Letter

The insurance carrier will eventually respond to the demand letter, and they will likely send back a counteroffer that is much lower than the initial demand. In some cases, the insurance carrier may deny the claim altogether. In these cases, there are a few things that will happen. First, an attorney will begin negotiations with the insurance carrier in an attempt to reach a favorable outcome for their client. If this is not possible, an attorney will prepare to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver.

Preparing for a Possible Trial

If the insurance carrier or the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement or denies a claim, the victim and their attorney will have to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover the compensation they are entitled to. When this happens, the case will enter the civil court system, and the discovery phase will begin. We need to point out that cases that go this far will take much longer to conclude. However, choosing to go to trial may be the best route for the injury victim to recover full compensation for their losses, but remember that you might have to pay taxes on your settlement.