You didn’t ask to be in a car accident. You didn’t get in your car that fateful day thinking it would end with a smashed vehicle and serious injuries. You certainly didn’t expect to be wondering whether you should speak with a lawyer or file an auto accident lawsuit against the other driver.
But as you try to sort through what happened and wonder how you will recover and pay your bills while missing out on paycheck after paycheck, meeting with an experienced car accident attorney is exactly what you should do as soon as possible. Discussing your case, the circumstances of your accident, and the extent of your injuries with an auto accident lawyer is the best way to find out your options for obtaining compensation, including whether and when you should sue after your accident.
And you want to find out that information as soon after your accident as you can. If you want to know how long after your auto accident can you sue, if you wait too long, you will lose any right to seek damages that could pay for your losses, no matter how serious your injuries or how clearly at fault the other driver was.
Strict Time Limits On Illinois Car Accident Lawsuits
A statute of limitations is a law that sets forth the period within which you must file a lawsuit for a particular type of claim. If you file a lawsuit after the applicable statute of limitations has passed, the court will throw it out.
Different types of claims have different limitations periods. In Illinois, lawsuits seeking to recover compensation for personal injuries, including those from a car accident, must be filed within two years of the date of the accident that caused the injuries.
Meeting With A Lawyer Is Not The Same As Filing A Lawsuit
Too often, car accident injury victims don’t find a lawyer and reach out to them until months or years after their crash. They may be waiting until they fully recover from their injuries. Maybe they are trying to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company and think that this will stop the clock on the statute of limitations (it doesn’t). Sometimes, they may be intimidated by the idea of meeting with a lawyer or getting involved in a court case.
But meeting with a lawyer doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be filing a lawsuit, and it doesn’t mean that you’ll be paying any attorneys’ fees since most Illinois personal injury law firms offer free initial consultations. What it does mean is that you are taking a crucial step to protect yourself and your rights before the expiration of Illinois’ statute of limitations in car accident cases.
Your Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Decide Whether And When To Sue
Not only will meeting with a car accident lawyer help you avoid costly mistakes like missing the statute of limitations, but it is also the best way to determine whether you have a case and whether you should file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries.
While you may have an idea about what happened in your crash, your lawyer understands the law that determines who is responsible for the injuries and damages that resulted from the collision. They know what they need to prove in order to recover compensation and they have the advocacy skills to do so before a judge or jury.
Specifically, to recover compensation in an Illinois car accident lawsuit, an injury victim needs to prove the following elements:
- The other driver was negligent.
- The other driver’s negligence was the direct cause of the crash.
- The accident caused your injuries and losses.
- The amount of claimed damages, including medical costs, past and future lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Filing A Lawsuit Can Increase Your Chances For More Compensation
When you meet with a lawyer to discuss your case, they will ask you questions that will help them evaluate your situation. If they believe you have a viable claim and have not reached an acceptable settlement with the other driver’s insurance company, they may suggest filing a lawsuit to preserve your rights. Filing a lawsuit also puts the other driver’s insurance company on notice that they will not be able to nickel and dime you or get off on the cheap. It allows your lawyer to pursue the evidence needed to build the strongest possible case, which in turn can lead to a higher settlement.
Filing a lawsuit is not the same as having a trial. In fact, almost 95% of personal injury lawsuits, including car accident suits, settle before a trial. But your ability to recover the maximum compensation available for your injuries, whether or not you ultimately file a lawsuit, depends on the experience, determination, and skill of the car accident attorney you choose to represent you.
Have Questions About Whether and When To File A Car Accident Lawsuit? Call Kirk Moyer Today For Answers.
Lake County car accident attorney Kirk Moyer has earned a reputation for service and success representing and recovering substantial damages for injury victims in Gurnee, Libertyville, and throughout Lake County, IL. Please contact Kirk today to arrange for your FREE initial consultation at 847-244-3444.