You’ll have much to think about after being involved in a car accident in Illinois – paying for vehicle repairs, medical bills, and supporting yourself and your family while you’re out of work.
You don’t have to pay these expenses out of pocket, and you don’t have to struggle and worry about future bills any longer. If you were injured in a car crash due to another driver’s negligence, you are entitled to pursue compensation through a lawsuit. It’s important to hold the at-fault party accountable for injuring you or damaging your property.
When you need someone to stand up and defend you, call our nationally-recognized attorneys at Langdon & Emison. Our car accident lawyers in Chicago have handled dozens of car accident injury cases for clients throughout Illinois. We are strategic in our methods, diligent in our follow-through, and relentless in recovering the compensation you need to move past the accident.
There is no clear-cut answer to the question, “How long does it take to get a settlement after an accident?” Most car accident cases that don’t make it to court can be settled within a matter of weeks or months. If a case goes to trial, the amount of time to reach a settlement vastly increases – it may be years before you receive compensation.
We’ll keep you updated throughout the legal process and will represent you to the best of our ability. With Langdon & Emison, you won’t be on the outside looking in – we treat our clients like people, not cases.
Read on to learn more about your legal options after a Chicago car wreck and the steps Langdon & Emison will take to defend you. Call us at (312) 855-0700 or contact us online today.
Illinois Statute of Limitations
Before you hire a lawyer and begin the litigation process, it’s important to understand how much time you have to file a lawsuit. Don’t assume that you have all the time in the world and decide to put off the initial filing. If you do so and miss the deadline, you won’t be able to sue for compensation.
In Illinois, the statute of limitations (deadline) to file a car accident lawsuit is two years after the date of the accident. This statute of limitations affects all personal injury cases in Illinois and can be found in 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes section 5/13-202. The two-year lawsuit deadline applies to anyone injured in a crash – drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
The Illinois statute of limitations is different for wrongful death lawsuits. If someone died in a car crash, their spouse or family member must file within one year from the date of the accident, or within the time limit that the state sets for the case.
If you wish to file a property damage lawsuit, Illinois law 735 ILCS 13-205 mandates that you do so within five years of the accident date.
Auto Accident Settlement Timeline
1. File an insurance claim.
If you were involved in a Chicago car accident and believe the other driver was at fault, the first step in the legal process is to file a claim against their insurance policy. This is known as a third-party insurance claim, and in many cases, you can make the claim online or over the phone.
At this point, you should consider hiring a Chicago auto accident lawyer. An attorney at Langdon & Emison will assist you in filing the formal insurance claim and help you plan the next steps in your legal journey to receive compensation.
Filing an insurance claim is different than filing a lawsuit. You should file the insurance claim as soon as possible after the accident.
Illinois law states that the insurance company must provide you the forms necessary to complete the claim within 15 working days of your request. Once the insurance company has received your completed forms, they have 60 days to investigate your case and approve or deny the claim.
2. Cooperate strategically with the insurance company.
After you file an insurance claim, the company is required to conduct an investigation into the case. As mentioned above, the insurance company has 60 days from the filing date to investigate. This deadline helps prevent the insurance company from ignoring or delaying a decision.
During the investigation, the insurance company will probably contact you to ask questions. It’s in your best interest to have a car accident attorney from Langdon & Emison with you during these questions.
If you do not have an attorney, the insurance company may try to misconstrue your words and use them against you. This will not happen if an attorney is present to protect your rights and best interests.
3. Conduct an investigation with your lawyer and calculate damages.
This is where it’s beneficial to have a Chicago auto accident lawyer from Langdon & Emison help you. The insurance company doesn’t have your best interests in mind, so their investigation may result in incorrect or unfair conclusions. Your attorney will conduct an independent investigation and collect evidence including:
Findings from accident reconstruction experts
Vehicle inspections to test the vehicle for malfunctioning parts or defects
Medical reports that prove your injuries resulted from the crash
This evidence will help challenge the insurance company’s conclusions or denial of your claim. After conducting the investigation, you and your attorney will estimate your past and future expenses so you know how much to ask for in negotiations with the insurance company. When calculating damages, your attorney will factor in:
Vehicle and property repairs
Keep in mind that the investigation and calculating process may take weeks to complete. Your Chicago personal injury lawyer at Langdon & Emison will work hard to move the process forward as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality.
4. Send a demand letter to the insurance company.
After your attorney has all the information and evidence they can possibly acquire, they will help you write and send a demand letter to the insurance company. In the letter, you’ll outline what the accident has already cost you and what you, your attorney, and your doctor estimate it will cost you in the future.
Insurance companies don’t have to respond to demand letters. Some companies may ignore the letter outright, but an aggressive attorney will make sure they respond. Other lawyers may stop reaching out to the insurance carrier after weeks or months of not hearing back, but our lawyers at Langdon & Emison won’t tolerate foot-dragging. We will make sure the insurance company treats you with the respect you deserve.
5. Receive an approval or denial.
After the insurance company finishes its investigation of your case (remember, in Illinois, they have 60 days to do so), they will either approve or deny your claim. If they approve, your lawyer will then enter into settlement negotiations with the other driver’s lawyer and their insurance company.
If they deny your claim, you can appeal and continue your efforts to receive compensation. You’ll need to find out why the insurance company denied your claim, review all the evidence you submitted, and write a letter outlining why their decision contradicts the evidence of the case.
6. Enter into settlement negotiations.
If the insurance company approves your claim, you and your attorney will move forward in negotiations. Often, insurance offers a much lower settlement than what your claim is worth. Your attorney at Langdon & Emison will negotiate relentlessly to receive equitable payment based on the evidence and facts of your case.
This process may last just one day if the settlement is satisfactory, but it may take weeks or even months to settle. If the insurance company refuses to make an offer, you and your attorney may file a lawsuit. Most car accident cases are settled out of court, but sometimes there is no other option.
Keep in mind that a trial will greatly increase the amount of time before you may receive compensation. However, you and your attorney will discuss what is best for you and your case.
Langdon & Emison – Your Car Accident Lawyer in Chicago
Don’t let the insurance company cheat you out of the compensation you need. At Langdon & Emison, we won’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. Our nationally-recognized attorneys have won proper restitution for hundreds of clients in the Chicago area, including clients in Cook County, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, and Lake County.
Don’t settle for less; contact Langdon & Emison today for a consultation at no cost to you. Call (312) 855-0700 or contact us online.