Do you have an insurance claim from a car accident that has been dragging on? It might feel like your case is taking forever in the hands of the insurance company. If so, it may be time to talk with a Chicago area lawyer about your personal injury claim. Insurance companies are notorious for taking advantage of people who don’t know their rights. Allowing a case to drag on endlessly is part of an ongoing effort to wear people down. Not only do insurance companies want to hold on to their money for as long as they can, but they are hoping that you will give up or go away.
That being said, there can sometimes be some legitimate reasons that your case is taking what seems like forever. For instance, medical records companies can be holding things up. But at the end of the day, insurance companies are in absolutely no hurry. This is especially true once you’ve made it clear that you won’t accept a very low sum from them for serious injuries.
Why does it feel like the insurance company is stalling?
When an insurance company receives your claim, their main objective is delay. They want to avoid paying out any money at all costs, unless they think you will take a really quick and cheap amount offered early on. Beyond that, they have different tactics to try to drag things on. They also know that many people are unaware of the existence of statutes of limitations. Wait too long to sue, and you’ve blown it. It doesn’t just feel like the insurance company is stalling on your injury claim, often, they actually are. Enough is Enough.
The insurance companies have a major advantage over you. They can stall, delay and manipulate all sorts of information for months or years – while you are under pressure to pay your own bills. Insurance companies have an in-house staff of supervisors, adjusters, managers and executives whose job it is to stonewall every legitimate claim they receive. You don’t have an army to help you fight them…so what can you do? Depending on your situation, it might be time to get a lawyer involved.
Should I hire a lawyer for my personal injury claim?
Working with an insurance company can be very frustrating, but when you hire a lawyer to represent you, it means that you never have to directly deal with the insurance company or their lawyers. Insurance adjusters know that most people don’t have a clue about insurance. Lawyers know the right way to present a claim and when is the right time to present it. And if that doesn’t work, they can prepare a lawsuit for you. Your attorney will take care of everything for you, leaving you free to focus on getting better instead of fighting with the insurance company.
It might be time to hire a lawyer for your personal injury case in any of these instances:
- You have been in a car accident that was someone else’s fault and you suspect that you have injuries that will affect your quality of life.
- You have been offered a settlement from the insurance company for less than the full value of your medical bills.
- You have been offered a settlement from the insurance company that does not take anything into account other than the amount of your bills, but you’ve endured pain, suffering and maybe even lost income.
- You are sick of getting the run around and think that the insurance company is deliberately stalling.
- You are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know what to do.
- You are being treated disrespectfully by an insurance adjuster.
- You are being asked to sign something which doesn’t feel like the right thing to do.
- You have a serious injury that may require long term medical care.
- You are approaching the statute of limitations- or the date by which you need to take your claim to court or else forever lose your rights.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of questions someone should ask themselves if they are considering hiring a personal injury lawyer. A good rule of thumb, however, is that the more questions you answer with “yes”, the greater the likelihood that it would be worthwhile to contact a Chicago area attorney who practices personal injury law.
Not all Accident Victims need a Lawyer
Not every accident claim requires a lawyer. We like to be up front and honest about that. It only makes sense to hire a lawyer if doing so will add value to your case. For example, if you were lucky enough to escape without injuries and only need to have your car fixed, these matters are much harder for insurance companies to dispute because of services like Kelley Blue Book. Hiring a lawyer for simple property damage claims might be a waste of money if you are willing to invest some time into it yourself.
There are several situations other where it might be advisable not to hire a personal injury lawyer:
- If one has been injured and the accident was clearly their fault and no other people will be held accountable for it.
- If one’s injuries were very minimal and they can receive fair compensation quickly from the insurance company without an attorney.
- If one does not have the time, energy or patience to dedicate to working with a lawyer.
How long will it take to finish my personal injury claim?
You might be wondering if there is anything that could speed up the process or make it go more smoothly for you. The truth is that while some cases do settle quickly, others can drag on for months or even years before reaching a resolution. It all depends on factors like whether both parties are willing to negotiate and how complex your case is (i.e., whether there were multiple cars involved, if the accident was partly your fault, etc).
Where you are at with your medical care also plays a huge factor. There are many steps that need to be taken before negotiations begin. Settlement negotiations usually do not even begin until you are either done with your medical treatment or have reached maximum medical improvement, or MMI. MMI is medical lingo that means there isn’t much more that the doctors can do for you.
The statute of limitations must also be on your radar at all times. Once a lawsuit is filed, your case will take longer. Filing a lawsuit might be exactly what is needed, depending on all circumstances. From that point on, some cases settle very quickly once the defense lawyer comes in, and if a trial is necessary, it can take a few years. Your attorney should keep you informed as to all time frames, so that you can make the best decisions possible for your case.
Right now, you probably don’t have time for long, drawn-out negotiations with insurance companies – especially when it comes to getting reimbursed for your medical expenses. Pursuing an injury claim does require patience, regardless of whether or not you hire a law firm to help you. However, hiring an attorney is often the first step of getting the insurance company to sit up and take notice that your case is serious and you mean business.
Give us a call at 630 250-8813 if you are considering hiring an attorney to step in on your Illinois personal injury claim.