Experienced Illinois Car Accident Lawyers Explain the Ways to Recovery Compensation in a Car Accident in Springfield
One of the most common causes of personal injuries in the United States and Illinois is a motor vehicle accident. Each year in the United States there are roughly 6.1 million traffic accidents resulting in approximately 43,000 fatalities and 2.5 million personal injuries. In Illinois, statistics reveal that there are over 1,200 fatalities each year. Those who are not wrongfully killed often face significant personal injuries including those that are disabling, permanent, and life-changing. Despite these injuries, the experienced car accident lawyers in Springfield at the Noll Law Office know that defense lawyers and insurance adjusters may not fairly compensate victims or their families for these injuries. As a result, victims and their families will need to often pursue their legal remedies through the courts by using one of the ways to recover compensation in a car accident in Springfield, Illinois.
There are several different ways in which to do so, all of which depend on many different factors. Although some personal injury law firms will use a cookie-cutter approach to handling a car accident case in Illinois, the Noll Law Office does not. Their fifth-generation lawyers handle each case with the dedication and personalized that is required by law and expected by victims and their families. They offer FREE consultations and case evaluations and only recover the costs of litigation and their lawyer fees after they make a recovery for you. To learn more about how their experienced car accident lawyers in Springfield can help you, call them for help at (217) 414-8889.
What Can You Recover in a Car Accident Case in Illinois?
Generally, victims and their families in a car accident case can recover something called “damages.” This is a legal term that references what a party to a lawsuit is seeking and can be awarded. Although there are many different types of possible damages in a lawsuit, in a personal injury action, damages are generally awarded in monetary compensation. This compensation can include the following:
- Past pain and suffering
- Future pain and suffering
- Medical bills in the past or future
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage
- Medical equipment or devices
- Punitive damages, and
- Other damages that cause a loss that is recognized by Illinois law and possibly obtainable by a car accident lawyer in Springfield like one of those at the Noll Law Office.
Getting Damages in Illinois: Ways I Can Recover Compensation in a Car Accident Case
There are several ways in which a victim of a car accident in Illinois could recover compensation for his or her damages. Generally, there are four ways to recover compensation, which are possible in nearly all cases. However, each type has a strength and weaknesses that may be relevant depending on your injuries, liability factors, and legal issues.
These four ways to recover compensation in car accident cases in Springfield or Illinois include the following:
A settlement is the most common and often most advantageous way to recover compensation in a personal injury case. This occurs when parties agree to resolve their claim for a sum of money. It is beneficial to all parties because it gives them some control over the outcome of their dispute, instead of relying on a jury or judge.
The best type of settlement for a plaintiff is a pre-action settlement, which means that the settlement occurs before the commencement of a formal lawsuit. This is the best type of outcome because it often saves victims and their families a significant amount of money in not having to litigate a case by filing papers in court, engaging in discovery, holding deposition, motion practice, and a trial or appeal. It is also beneficial because it allows victims and their families to recover compensation closer to their car accident, meaning they do not need to wait years for compensation in a pre-action settlement. There are also some legal protections for settlements under Illinois law, assisting victims to recover compensation promptly.
But even if a case is not settled before a lawsuit is commenced, it still can at any point of the litigation – including during trial, after trial, or on appeal. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of cases are settled before trial. Sometimes all it takes is a deposition (examination before trial) or paper discovery (medical records) to convince a defendant that they should settle their case with you.
Although the vast majority of cases do settle, some will go to verdict. A verdict is a judgment on a case that resolves it (at least at the trial level). Most personal injury verdicts are rendered by a jury, but they could also be rendered by a judge from what is known as a “bench trial” or “bench decision.”
One of the strengths of a verdict is the power it wields. A verdict is the best legal outcome in any case because it means that a judge or jury reviewed the law and facts, and found in your favor. It is an adjudication often on the merits which can be registered against a defendant to begin accruing interest. There are ways that you can garnish wages or collect other assets from a defendant to ensure payment if the insurance coverage is inadequate. The legal presumptions protecting a judgment are also strong, many automatically favoring what the jury or judge did and making it harder to overturn. However, it is not impossible, and a defendant could still make some types of post-trial motions or appeal a verdict that is wrong on the law or the facts to a significant degree.
More similar to a settlement than a verdict, mediation is a formal process whereby the parties agree to go to a mediator to hear the arguments, evaluate the law, and help guide the parties to a just and fair agreement. Mediation is non-binding, unless the parties stipulate otherwise (which is very rare to do), and is a more intense way of trying to settle a case. Most mediators will run a mediation like a settlement conference with the parties, but some may even ask questions or be more involved in the matter – trying to flush out weaknesses in each party’s case but also highlighting strengths in the other party’s position.
Mediations can help parties get to a settlement where they are close but just not coming to terms. In addition, mediation can help parties who are very far apart realize that they have some weaknesses in their case and that they should start to negotiate. Further, mediations can be held at any time – including pre-action – and therefore help resolve a case quickly and before engaging in formal litigation which can be expensive. These are very strong advantages for all parties.
However, a weakness of mediation is that it will cost the parties money that they wouldn’t necessarily spend if they were having settlement conferences before a court. Mediations can also result in parties “showing their cards” and allowing the other party to see how you may attempt to prove your case at trial. Thus, some cases with complicated facts, medicine, or liability issues may not necessarily be ripe for mediation.
More similar to a verdict than a settlement, arbitrations are like mediations except they are often binding (unless the parties agree otherwise, which is rare). This means that the parties will be bound by the decision of an arbitrator, no matter what it is. The law also makes it very difficult to overturn an arbitrator’s decision, where even factual or legal inaccuracies may still not be sufficient to overturn an arbitrator’s decision. This reason, coupled with the fact that it costs the parties extra money to do this, are disadvantages.
However, arbitrations do have advantages. One main advantage is that the parties can agree to hire an arbitrator who specializes in a very complex area of law or who has extensive knowledge of handling a very complex personal injury (like a traumatic brain injury). Thus, in very complex cases, arbitrators also are a better option than relying on a lay jury or even a judge who may not have the same level of experience or familiarity with a type of law or injury. Indeed, judges handle many different types of cases, with personal injury just being a small subset, whereas an arbitrator may only handle personal injury cases and may further limit causes to certain issues or injuries – like your case. Thus, arbitrations are often advantageous in complex cases.
Furthermore, arbitrations are also advantageous because they can occur pre-action or at any other time. This means that the parties could still spend money on an arbitrator and save money by not having to litigate a case. For some victims who are seriously injured in complex cases, arbitrations may be a perfect solution if the right arbitrator is available and within budget.
Not Sure Which of the Ways to Recover Compensation in a Car Accident in Springfield are Right For You? Call the Noll Law Office
Pursuing compensation for a personal injury claim, especially a car accident in Illinois, can be complicated. This is particularly true if your injuries, medical bills, and lost wages are significant or catastrophic. Do not try to determine which outcome is best for you, contact an experienced car accident lawyer in Springfield like one of those at the Noll Law Office.
Their compassionate and dedicated legal team will evaluate your case and determine what your legal options may be. They’ll weigh your options too, answering your questions and assisting your family with what to do next after a reckless defendant harmed you. To learn more about how their experienced team can help, contact them today by dialing (217) 414-8889.