What would you do with a first settlement offer? Car Accident victims should know to reject it, and we’ll tell you why.
Car accidents are traumatic, disruptive and most likely make you want to move on with your life as soon as possible. Wanting to regain the control and balance you had prior to the accident, you may feel tempted to take the first settlement offer you receive from the insurance company.Insurance companies make quick, lowball first settlement offers to try to escape their liability Don’t do it!
Although you may be eager to use the money to pay some bills and put the memory of the accident behind you, you will eventually regret taking that first offer.
Here’s why. What may seem like a lot of money at the moment may not come close to the amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses, and likely does not cover future medical bills.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car crash due to the negligent behavior of another driver, contact our Illinois personal injury law firm, Palermo Law Group, before agreeing to, or signing, any settlement offers.
Is Illinois A No-Fault Car Accident State?
Illinois is NOT a no-fault state and uses a fault-based system for handling car accident cases. An injured driver would generally file an accident claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy after an accident. Like other fault-based states, Illinois requires all drivers to purchase and maintain individual auto insurance policies that meet the state’s minimum requirements for liability coverage. Before a driver can file a claim against another driver’s policy, the claimant must prove fault for the accident.
Proving Fault for a Car Accident in Illinois
Whenever one party causes economic damages or injuries to another party, the injured party can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party in accordance with state laws. Because car accidents are a foreseeable and common risk of driving, states require their drivers to maintain auto insurance to mitigate the cost of damages in a car accident case.If damages exceed the at-fault party’s available liability coverage, the injured party may file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the remainderIf the damages in a car accident fall within the scope of available coverage, there is generally no need for a lawsuit. However, if a victim’s damages exceed the at-fault party’s available liability coverage, the injured party may file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the remainder.
Proving fault for a car accident follows the same steps as any other type of personal injury case. The injured party’s attorney must prove the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff in the given situation, but breached that duty and caused injuries to the plaintiff.
Because of the complexities of Illinois’ personal injury laws, Illinois auto accident victims need to retain a highly experienced Illinois legal team to handle settlement negotiations with insurance companies and to plot a course with the best chance of recovering the compensation the victims deserve.
Don’t let the no-fault law lead you to believe a lowball offer is all you are eligible to receive. Each case is different. Depending upon your circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation for additional medical bills and lost wages.
According to State Laws, the Illinois statute of limitations have a two-year time limit for personal injuries and a five-year time limit for injury to personal property. This time period starts when the injury is discovered, so you have time to seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer.
Never accept a car accident liability settlement offer from an uninsured driver without first speaking with an attorney.
Watch out for Uninsured Settlement Offers
According to the latest available data, 13% of drivers in the United States are uninsured. Under no circumstances should you accept a car accident liability settlement offer from an uninsured driver without first speaking with an attorney. Doing so could impair your ability to recover compensation from your own uninsured driver insurance (if you carry it) and could forfeit your rights to compensation from other parties.
Do I Really Need a Personal Injury Lawyer to Evaluate an Insurance Settlement Offer?
Yes, you do. Do not trust an insurance company to tell you otherwise. An insurance company’s priority is to spend the least amount of money to make your claim go away. Insurers know that when there is a lawyer representing a claimant, chances are greater they will have to spend more money.
How does the right personal injury lawyer help bring about a successful outcome of a personal injury case involving a car accident?
The team at Palermo Law Group can assist you with:Reviewing and investigating your case. The important first step is to figure out where you stand, both factually and legally. The accident details may still be a blur in your mind, but by reviewing police reports and other documentation about the crash, an attorney can determine if you have a claim against others.
Dealing with the other side. When recovering from the physical and emotional distress of a car crash, nothing is more annoying than persistent, unwanted phone calls from insurance companies and others involved in the accident. An attorney can help relieve you of that stress by handling negotiations with the other parties, their insurers, and representatives.
Navigating Illinois law. Lawyers understand how to navigate the Illinois legal system to give claimants the best chance of achieving the maximum compensation available.
Getting through it. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we understand how an accident can turn our clients’ worlds upside down. We value attorney-client relationships and are here to help our clients through a traumatic period of their lives by treating them with respect and empathy.
While you aren’t required to retain a lawyer after an auto accident, hiring one makes financial sense. You have nothing to risk by scheduling a free consultation with an experienced car accident injury attorney. Protect you and your family’s future by contacting our office today.
Common Types of Medical Injuries from Car Accidents
Common types of car accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Torn ligaments
The more serious the injury, the longer the recovery. For many car accident victims, there is no immediate return to the life they once knew. From relearning basic life skills to regaining mobility, recovery requires time. It also can require repeated surgeries, expensive medications, and long-term costs. It is these costs that insurance companies often try to avoid by offering quick, lowball settlements.
A Closer Look at Medical Expenses Over Time
Major medical expenses rarely decrease over time. Instead, the costs associated with medical care tend to increase to unimaginable amounts. Let’s take a close look at certain injuries and the associated expenses involved:
Example One: Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury affects a person’s sensory, motor, and reflex functions. The higher on the spinal cord the damage occurs, the more dysfunction the patient will experience. A spinal cord injury is classified as either complete or incomplete, depending on whether the patient experiences any movement or sensation at or below the point of injury.
The average yearly health care and living expenses associated with a spinal cord injury depend upon the severity of the injury and the age the injury occurred. According to data from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the estimated lifetime costs are:
For patient’s with high tetraplegia (C1-C4) ASIS ABC:
- Age 25: $4.7 million
- Age 50: $2.5 million
For patients with low tetraplegia (C5-C8):
- Age 25: $3.4 million
- Age 50: $2.1 million
Unexpected complications and changes in the patient’s health add additional costs. A home may need modification to accommodate a wheelchair or you may need to relocate your family closer to a medical facility. Accessible methods of transportation are another expensive consideration.
While it is hard to predict a patient’s future needs, it is clear that no accident victim should ever settle for a lowball offer. The offer may make the other party go away but it won’t help you cover your future healthcare needs, which can quickly escalate into the millions.
Example Two: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) define a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts brain function. Car accidents are among the top three leading causes of TBIs.
A severe TBI requires hospitalization and a patient may experience long-term problems with: speech, hearing, vision, coordination, balance, thinking, memory, learning and emotions.
In some cases, outpatient or in-home care are options for rehabilitative therapies such as physical, occupational and speech. In the event a patient needs round-the-clock skilled nursing care, the estimated monthly nursing home costs in Illinois typically range from $3,450 to $11,250 per month, with the median cost running about $62,050 per year.
A severe TBI changes not only the patient’s life—but it also changes the lives of your family. If the patient was the primary financial provider, the loss of income is devastating. Assurance that your loved one receives quality care for the remainder of your life is something a low dollar settlement will provide.
These are just two examples of how a sudden injury can result in a lifetime of expensive care. Your financial future depends upon a highly-skilled personal injury lawyer reviewing the details of your case. Securing the best possible outcome for you is what a dedicated lawyer will do. Securing the best possible outcome for themselves is what an insurance company or uninsured driver will try to do.
Don’t Settle Without a Skilled Car Accident Attorney
A first settlement offer from an insurance company usually isn’t large enough to cover all of your current financial needs, much less future ones. Don’t give in to the temptation to accept it.
There are many factors that will influence the compensation you and your family need and Insurance settlements are not a “one size fits all” proposition. Insurance representatives may try to tell you otherwise, insisting you should take their word for what other car accident victims have received.
You know better.
Your situation is unique to you. You or your loved one’s injuries and medical care needs are not comparable to anyone else’s. A proper settlement must reflect the circumstances surrounding—and resulting from—your specific crash.
Stand firm and know that turning down an initial offer is a smart move. Contacting the experienced car accident attorneys at Palermo Law Group is your next smart move. We have years of experience representing clients in negotiations with insurance companies. While there can never be a guarantee of how a negotiation will turn out, we have succeeded in recovering substantial insurance settlements on behalf of many of our other car accident clients.
Call Palermo Law Group for Help With Your Insurance Claims
At Palermo Law Group, we believe that no Illinois driver, or any driver who visits from another state, should accept an insurance settlement without legal advice from a qualified car accident attorney first. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we know all-too-well the games insurance companies and uninsured drivers try to play to settle a case quickly for an insufficient dollar value.
Don’t fall for insurance companies’ tricks. You deserve every penny of damages the law allows you to collect. Instead of taking a quick settlement, call our team at Palermo Law Group at 630-684-2332 or contact us to set up a free consultation to discuss your legal options. The sooner you meet with us, the better your chances of preserving your rights to recover the fair compensation you deserve.