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Car accidents are among the leading causes of death and catastrophic injury in the United States every year with an average of 6 million accidents and 3 million deaths, and cost an average of $230.6 billion per year. Tragically, a driver’s negligence often destroys a victim’s way of life and often prevents victims from earning a living and supporting their family.
Fortunately, the law requires negligent drivers and their insurance companies to pay fair compensation to the innocent victims they harm. The legal team at Alex Mendoza Law is comprised of some of the most successful car accident attorneys in Chicago and throughout the State of Illinois and Indiana.
The Alex Mendoza Law car accident litigation team combines years of experience in complex automobile litigation with the use of modern technology to achieve the best possible results for every client using our Chicago personal injury attorney.
Table of Contents
- Finding The Best Car Accidents Injury Attorney Is Easier Than You Think.
- What is a Car Accident Attorney and When and How Might They Help You?
- Do I need a lawyer for my car crash?
- Why should I consult a personal injury lawyer for my accident?
- When should one hire an attorney after being in an accident?
- Who are the best car accident injury lawyers?
- The Legal Process For Car Accidents
- How does the personal injury claim process work?
- How long do I have to file a claim after a car accident?
- How long will my personal injury lawsuit take?
- Is Filing a Car Accident Claim Worth It?
- What is my personal injury case worth?
- How are personal injury claims calculated?
- What is the average settlement for car accident cases?
- Can I File a Car Accident Claim By Myself or Do It Yourself?
- Lawsuits / At Fault / Liabilities
- Can someone sue me for a car accident?
- For example: can I lose my house due to an at-fault car accident?
- Can you sue for property damage in a car accident?
- I was in a car accident. Should I pursue a personal injury claim?
- How do I find a personal injury car accident lawyer?
- How do I choose a car accident lawyer for judicial proceedings?
- How can a car accident lawyer help?
- Other Important Car Accident Questions and Advice
- What advice can you offer to handle a minor car accident?
- Experienced and Knowledgeable Indiana Car Accident Lawyer
Finding The Best Car Accidents Injury Attorney Is Easier Than You Think.
Yes, finding the best car accidents injury attorney can be done. Of course, it takes a little leg work on your part. But you want to be sure that you hire a competent, efficient and knowledgeable auto accident attorney.
Simply put, a car accident attorney is one who is familiar with personal injury law as it pertains to automobile accidents.
This attorney has practiced law and handled auto accident cases for years. She is familiar with the different insurance companies that provide auto accident coverage in your state. In addition, she is familiar with the types of injuries people get in auto accidents.
An experienced car accident attorney knows how to investigate and auto accident. Moreover, she will make sure she gets all relevant police reports and statements of all witnesses. Additionally, she will also collect information on the damage to cars involved in the accident.
She will make sure you see a doctor for your injuries. If you need a specialist, she will make sure you see one. If the accident was caused by road design or some other hazard, she will arrange to have an expert examine the accident scene. Personal injury attorneys get paid on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay them upfront. They only get paid if they get a recovery for you.
Do I need a lawyer for my car crash?
Definitely. YES! You do not want to handle your own personal injury claim. An experienced personal injury attorney who has a track record of handling car accident cases in your area will best serve you. Remember, insurance companies have lawyers that represent them. Therefore, you do not want to have to deal with the insurance company lawyer by yourself. Additionally, there may be laws, court rules or prior case law that will impact your case. You will not have the legal knowledge to deal with that. If there were more than two cars involved, which driver was at fault? How will you prove that you were not at fault at all? If it was a truck accident, was there anything wrong with the truck’s brakes? Had the truck driver taken rest breaks, as the law requires?
Why should I consult a personal injury lawyer for my accident?
An experienced personal injury lawyer from a reputable law firm will be by your side during your car accident case. He will organize the evidence to present your case in a way most favorable to you. Also, he will prepare you to testify. Last, he will interview and prepare any witnesses to testify.
He will handle settlement negotiations for you from a position of strength.
If the case cannot be settled, he will prepare the case for trial.
Consequently, hiring a car accident attorney to represent you is the most important thing you can do to ensure you get fairly compensated. And you deserve to be compensated for your injuries, such as pain and suffering.
When should one hire an attorney after being in an accident?
Immediately! While, depending on the state, you will have one to three years from the date of the accident to file suit, you may need an attorney right away. For instance, if the accident was caused by road construction, your attorney will want to get pictures of the scene before it changes.
As another example, if the accident involved a truck, your attorney would want to get that truck inspected right away.
Likewise, if an expert is needed, the expert will have to inspect the accident scene before someone changes it.
It will take time to gather police reports, statements of witnesses, etc.
Consequently, the sooner you hire a personal injury lawyer for your auto accident case, the better.
Who are the best car accident injury lawyers?
The best car accident injury attorneys share several characteristics.
They communicate well. They also listen to your story. Then they tell you in simple English what your case is about. They tell you the strengths of your case.
But they also tell you what the weak points are.
They are experienced with personal injury law in general, and car accident cases in particular. Don’t hesitate to ask about their experience. Additionally, it is a good idea to ask them for references, too.
They have neat offices. They don’t have a lot of loose paper covering their desk. Their secretaries and legal assistants have neat desks too.
And they give you an initial free consultation, too.
The Legal Process For Car Accidents
Typically, the legal process begins with your lawyer sending a letter to the other driver(s) involved in your accident. The letter advises that the lawyer represents you regarding the injuries sustained in the recent car accident.
The letter requests the other driver to forward a copy to his insurance carrier.
Notwithstanding the above, in certain circumstances, your lawyer might get the police report with the names and addresses of the other drivers and immediately file a suit. For instance, if you didn’t hire a lawyer immediately after the accident, and there was a statute of limitations issue, your lawyer might sue first to protect your interests.
Once your suit is filed, it goes on the civil docket for the court in which suit was filed. In some states, auto accident cases are handled different from other civil cases.
In some states, it can take one or two years for a case to get on a trial calendar. However, in other states, it will only take a few months. Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic, courts were closed for much of 2020-21. Therefore, many courts across the country have a backlog of civil cases. While the case makes its way through the court docket, the parties take “discovery.” That means they exchange information. For instance, your attorney will provide the defendants with all your medical records relating to your injuries. Likewise, if your attorney hired experts to reconstruct the accident scene, your attorney sends their reports to defense counsel. As another example, if you are making a lost wage claim, your attorney will send proof of that claim to the defense counsel.
You will likely be examined by a doctor on behalf of the insurance company. Defense counsel will send that doctor’s report to your attorney.
After discovery is complete, you will wait to get assigned a trial date. Meanwhile, in some states litigants have to go through mediation and/or arbitration to see if they can settle the case.
Additionally, the judge assigned to the case may also conduct settlement conferences to try to resolve the case before trial.
How does the personal injury claim process work?
Once the insurance company gets the letter from your lawyer, or a copy of a lawsuit, they set up a claim file.
Next, the adjuster assigned to the claim gets the police reports and witness statements. If there are photos or reports about the accident scene, he will collect those. Certainly, he will get a statement from his insured driver.
He will also get any of your medical records, probably from your attorney.
Once he has gathered the records, he sits down with his supervisor. They evaluate the claim and put a settlement value on the case.
He then attempts to settle the case, negotiating with your lawyer.
How long do I have to file a claim after a car accident?
If you’re filing a claim with your insurance company, your policy will tell you when the claim must be filed.
There is no real time limit on filing a claim with another driver’s insurance company.
However, every state has a statute of limitations regarding personal injury suits. It’s usually two or three years. Consequently, if you do not file your personal injury lawsuit within that time, your suit may get dismissed.
How long will my personal injury lawsuit take?
That varies from state to state, as discussed earlier.
Is Filing a Car Accident Claim Worth It?
Yes! In many cases.
If a car accident causes you minor injuries, you still need to see a doctor. For example, some injuries may not immediately show symptoms. In addition, other injuries may appear to be minor at first but then get more serious.
If you truly only have minor injuries, be thankful.
What is my personal injury case worth?
It depends. For example, how severely were you injured? Did you recover from your injuries within a few weeks? Or were your injuries long term and you will need treatment and physical therapy for months? Who caused the accident? For example, if you were stopped at a red light and a car rear-ended you, that driver was probably solely responsible for the accident. However, when accident victims partially cause the accident, the value of their personal injury case is lower.
How are personal injury claims calculated?
There are several factors that go into the calculation of the value of a personal injury claim:.
- The seriousness of the plaintiff’s injuries;
- Who caused the accident;
- Did the plaintiff partially cause the accident;
- How much were the plaintiff’s medical bills;
- How much time at work di the plaintiff miss because of his injuries;
- Does the plaintiff have any permanent injuries;
- Were there any special circumstances involved? For instance was the defendant driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he caused the accident?
What is the average settlement for car accident cases?
Given the variables listed above, it is very difficult to say what an “average” settlement is. .
It all depends on the factors listed above.
Can I File a Car Accident Claim By Myself or Do It Yourself?
You can file a claim with the insurance company yourself..
But do you really want to do that?.
Remember, you’ll be dealing with insurance adjusters who negotiate claims for injured people for their living.
Moreover, they also have the insurance company lawyers to back them up and give them legal advice. .
What if your car accident was caused by the mechanical failure of your car or that of another driver? Do you know how to investigate and prove that?.
As another example, what if a municipal bus or truck driver caused the accident? There are special rules you have to follow to sue a government agency or employee. Do you know what they are?.
What if you have a workers compensation claim? Do you know how to handle that by yourself?
For theses reasons, and many more, you need an experienced personal inury attorney to handle your case.
Lawsuits / At Fault / Liabilities
Car accidents that result in injuries can be complicated legal cases. Who caused the accident? If there were multiple drivers involved, which one caused the accident? Did any of the other drivers also partially cause of the accident?
The determination as to which driver caused the accident in a multi-car accident may require a thorough investigation. For instance, the damage to each car will have to be examined. An expert may have to be hired to reconstruct the accident scene.
In addition, investigators may have to interview the other drivers and passengers in the cars.
As another example, eyewitnesses will have to be located and interviewed. The attorneys representing the various drivers will have to collect all police reports regarding the accident.
Can someone sue me for a car accident?
The answer is-yes. Of course, someone can.
If a car accident injures a person, that person will likely make a claim against any and all drivers who caused the accident.
The good news is that is what car insurance is for. Assuming you have car insurance, you car insurance carrier will hire a lawyer to represent you.
For example: can I lose my house due to an at-fault car accident?
In theory, yes. If you don’t have car insurance for some reason, and you injured a person in a car accident, the injured person could sue you. If they win the suit, they will enter a judgment against you.
If you don’t have money to pay the judgment, they can attach any assets you have to satisfy the judgment.
That may include your house.
However, as said above, that is why you have car insurance. Therefore, if you’re going to drive a car, make sure you make your insurance payments on time.
Can you sue for property damage in a car accident?
Certainly. In terms of damage to your car, if the other drive had property damage coverage, you could sue the driver.
However, if the other driver did not have property damage coverage, you would file a claim with your own carrier under your collision coverage.
Of course, you would be responsible for any deductible.
If the accident resulted in damage to personal property, like expensive jewelry, a laptop, etc., you could make a property damage claim as part of your lawsuit.
I was in a car accident. Should I pursue a personal injury claim?
Yes, without a doubt. If the negligence of another driver caused an accident and you were injured, you have every right to seek compensation.
Hopefully, you were not seriously injured.
On the other hand, if the accident did seriously injure you, you’ll be facing missing time from work, medical bills and possibly lingering injuries.
Therefore, as a victim of someone else’s negligence, you should file a claim..
How do I find a personal injury car accident lawyer?
To find an experienced personal injury attorney, you can go to the website of the state bar association of your state to get a listing of attorneys.
Additionally, you can google “personal injury attorney” or “car accident attorney” near me to find an attorney. Lastly, Martindale Hubble publishes a directory of attorneys across the country. They list the attorneys’ specialties.
How do I choose a car accident lawyer for judicial proceedings?
In fact, most attorneys never go to court or handle lawsuits. They do real estate closings, draft contracts and wills or help clients buy and sell businesses. In reality, if a car accident injured you, you will hope to settle the case with the insurance company of the negligent driver.
However, if you can’t settle the case, your attorney may have to go to trial to get you the money you deserve.
Moreover, your attorney will have to put together a strong claim for you to convince the insurance company they should settle.
Therefore, you need an experienced trial attorney to handle your car accident case.
Consequently, when you first meet your potential attorney, ask him if he goes to court regularly. Which courts does he go to? How many jury trials has he had?
Were any of his cases ever reported in the local newspapers? What are some of the big car accident cases he has handled?
Actually, experienced car accident lawyers will feature that information on their website or have brochures in the lobby discussing their major personal injury wins.
How can a car accident lawyer help?
An experienced car accident lawyer can help in many different ways.
He can collect and organize all relevant evidence and more:
- Gather witness statements, photos of accident scene, police reports and records;
- Analyze the details of the accident and develop theories of liability versus the negligent party/parties;
- Direct you to the right doctors for examination and treatment’;
- Select the proper court to file your lawsuit;
- Prepare arguments to the negligent driver’s insurance company as to why the case should be settled in your favor;
- Prepare the case for mediation/arbitration/trial;
In short, he can prepare your case so you get the compensation you deserve.
Other Important Car Accident Questions and Advice
Here are some questions you should ask an attorney before you hire her to represent you in a car accident case:
Should I pursue this case?
How much will you charge?
Will you work on my case-or will a junior attorney handle it?
How long will the case take?
How can I make my case better?
What advice can you offer to handle a minor car accident?
What’s minor? Have you seen a doctor?
In fact, if a car accident injured you, you should always see a doctor. You could have injuries for which symptoms have not appeared yet.
Conversely, you could have injuries for which the symptoms get worse over time.
Even if you only have minor injuries, you stand a better chance of getting a fair settlement if you at least let an attorney write a letter to the insurance carrier.
Remember, the insurance company doesn’t want to pay lawyers to handle small cases either. They like to settle small cases so they can work on the big ones.
So, speak to a car accident attorney before you try to settle a “minor” case on your own.
Experienced and Knowledgeable Indiana Car Accident Lawyer
If you, a close friend or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in Indiana, you need an experienced Indiana car accident attorney. We will investigate the accident, determine who caused the accident and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us at our Hammond office at 219-200-2000 or online at alexmendozalaw.com for a free consultation.
Why Do I Need An Attorney?
At Alex Mendoza Law, we value our clients. In other words, we believe life is sacred. We believe your health is invaluable and sometimes irreversible. And we believe that you deserve a fierce, passionate and determined legal team. While the insurance company may just see you as a greedy person taking advantage of the system, we know that’s not true.
<h3>Fierce, Passionate, and Determined</h3>
At Alex Mendoza Law, LLC, our lawyers are always looking for ways to get an edge over the competition. In fact, when we’re not in the office working hard on your case, we’re attending the top plaintiff lawyer conferences in the country; Or we are studying the research by experts in the field to learn the psychology behind what motivates jurors to do right by plaintiffs. In short, it means we go into every single personal injury case with a game-plan that works. So, let’s discuss your case and get you connected today.
Who Are Our Clients?
What Kind of Cases Do You Handle?
Alex Mendoza Law handles automobile, motorcycle, and semi-truck collisions, slip and falls, and sexual abuse cases. If you’ve been injured or harmed, physically or mentally, because of someone else’s negligence or intentional conduct, let us help! Our skilled attorneys are licensed in Indiana and Illinois, with offices conveniently located in Hammond, Indiana, and downtown Chicago, in the loop. Learn more about our firm, and look at our Google business page to see dozens of reviews from satisfied clients.