Car Accidents:

Frequently Asked Questions

What you need to know after a car accident in Illinois

Being in an auto accident is an overwhelming experience for most people. In addition to the daily challenges that come with serious injuries, car accident victims must make decisions and act quickly on financial and legal decisions that could have a lasting effect on their lives.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid are familiar with the common issues that people encounter after car accidents in the Naperville area and throughout Illinois. Our FAQs can help you start learning what you need to know so you can make the right decisions.If you have other questions after reading this page, please contact us to arrange a free consultation.

1. What should I do if I've been injured in a car accident?

If you have been in a car accident, your first priority is calling police and getting medical help for any injuries. Immediate medical attention can help you get proper treatment and can increase your chances of a better financial recovery for your injuries. If you delay seeking medical attention, the at-fault driver's insurance company may argue that you were not really injured in the crash.

Your second step is to notify your insurance agent of the crash. Remember that you do not have to talk to the at-fault driver's insurance company and should not give them any "recorded" statement about how the crash happened. This will only be used against you later. Finally, contact our law office for a free consultation. For more information, see our blog, " Injured in a car accident? Four things you must know."

2. How long do I have to file a claim after a car accident?

In general, you must file a claim within a certain period of time after a car accident or your lawsuit will be barred forever. This is because of a deadline called the "statute of limitations." In Illinois, the statute of limitations can vary by case. It may be as short as one or two years. Different statutes of limitations may apply for children. Your deadline will depend on your facts. Contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after an accident to find out the statute of limitations that may apply in your case. For more information, see our blog on statutes of limitations in car accident cases.

3. What if the other driver was uninsured?

Not every driver has insurance. By some estimates, as many as one in seven motorists may be uninsured. If you are in an accident, there's a chance the other driver may be uninsured or underinsured. In these cases, your vehicle's uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may give you additional compensation. Be aware, however, that Illinois requires a minimum of only $20,000 for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. An injury accident can easily cost more than this amount. Talk to your insurance agent about increasing this type of coverage. For more information, see our page on uninsured.

4. Who will pay my medical expenses after a car accident?

After a car accident, your car insurance or your health insurance coverage may be involved in paying for your medical care. Keep in mind that the at-fault driver's insurance company may seem willing to pay your medical expenses at first, but they won't pay any of your medical bills for your injuries until you sign a release. DON'T DO IT! Signing a release may lose your rights to collect any further recovery from the insurance company for other losses like lost wages and pain and suffering. Remember, you are not obligated to talk to the at-fault driver's insurer. Contact our law firm first and we can explain what insurance may be available to pay your bills and make sure your bills are properly submitted.

5. Do those injured in accidents get more money by hiring an attorney?

The short answer proven by the insurance industry's own research is YES! Often, the at-fault insurance company will immediately tell you that you don't need an attorney, act like your friend and tell you they are looking out for your own interests. But remember they are in the business of keeping their money, not compensating those who deserve it. No matter which law firm you choose, you need an experienced attorney with a proven track record on your side to take care of you and your family. Contact Mathys & Schneid as soon as possible so we can protect YOUR interests, take care of your family and maximize your recovery. For more on this topic, see our blog on how injury victims get more money with an attorney.

6. Should I go to the traffic hearing for an at-fault driver?

If the other driver in a motor vehicle accident has been charged with a traffic violation, he or she may have a traffic hearing soon after the accident. You should attend the traffic hearing. By going to the hearing, you can identify yourself as a witness and find out what happens in the case. In fact, your attendance may force the at-fault driver to plead guilty to the traffic violation, which can help a civil lawsuit for your injuries. It can also pressure the driver's insurance company to take financial responsibility for the accident. Our law firm can explain how to attend the hearing and what to do when you are there. To learn more, see our blog on attending an at-fault driver's traffic hearing.

7. Can a medical expense lien affect my car accident settlement?

A serious injury can cost thousands of dollars in hospital bills. If you or your insurance companies do not pay the bills, your hospital, doctor or other provider could put a medical lien on your personal injury case. The lien gives providers a right to be paid when you collect on your case. Medical liens are one of the most important considerations when your attorney negotiates a settlement. For more information, see our blog entry on medical expense liens.

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