By Dan Noll on April 10th, 2023 in Car Accident
Important Answers to Why Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Illinois, Explained by Our Car Accident Lawyers in Springfield
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injuries. In fact, there are over 5.4 million car accidents each year in the United States. Although the majority of those accidents are “property damage only” collisions, the same statistics reveal that there are roughly 36,000 fatalities and 1.6 million injuries caused by traffic accidents. This trend has slowly been continuing upwards, with early estimate statistics in the latest year of data to be almost 43,000 fatalities. In many of the cases involving significant property damage, personal injuries, or the wrongful death of an innocent person, a defense lawyer or insurance adjuster will offer compensation to “settle” or “close” the claim. Sometimes this money looks significant – and it can be – leaving many individuals asking why I need a car accident lawyer in Illinois.
Although it may be tempting to accept that money, the experienced car accident lawyers in Springfield at the Noll Law Office know that it is a big mistake.
That’s because defense lawyers and insurance companies are not set up to look out for your rights under the law. Rather, they are looking out for the rights of their clients or they’re insured. Even though you may believe that you are getting a fair or good deal, without someone looking out for you and your rights, you most likely are losing out on obtaining the maximum compensation you may be entitled to under the law or the defendant’s policy.
Am I Required To Hire a Lawyer to Represent Me in My Car Accident Case?
Usually no, there is no legal requirement that you must have a lawyer represent you in your case accident case. If you were injured by another driver or business, you may represent yourself in handling your claim.
There are limited instances where you may be able to handle a car accident claim for a loved one too. As a parent and natural guardian for your child, or if you have guardianship or a power of attorney over another person, you may also handle their claim as the parent/guardian or attorney in fact. That does not make you a lawyer, that just allows you to “step into the shoes” of the individual who has a claim but may not be able to assert it (due to infancy or incompetency/injury). Said differently, you are just acting as that person to make a claim just like you would have if you were the injured party.
However, there are limited instances where you may not be able to do that. For instance, if a child was in the car that you were driving, there is likely going to be a claim of comparative fault against you. That means you cannot represent that child if there is a claim against yourself (which is very common). Further, if a loved one has been rendered incompetent or medically unable to handle a claim, you may not do so for them if you do not have a power of attorney, guardianship, or another type of legal authority to pursue a claim.
Even Though You Can Represent Yourself, You Should Not: It is Not a Level Playing Field With Defense Lawyers and Insurance Adjusters
Although you can represent yourself, and in some instances a loved one, you should not do it. There are many reasons why this is a huge mistake.
1) Defense Lawyers are Well-Trained and Have Legal Experience and Education That You Don’t
It should go without saying, but defense lawyers are well-trained, have a legal education, and are experienced in handling car accident claims. Even if you believe that you have handled multiple car accident insurance claims in the past, they have likely handled hundreds or thousands of claims. Simply put, a non-lawyer will rarely if ever have an advantage over a defense lawyer. You should always seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to represent you when a defense lawyer gets involved in your claim.
2) Insurance Adjusters Are Well-Trained and Usually Have a Defense Lawyer Backing Them Up
Sometimes it may feel like a fair fight when you begin to work with an insurance adjuster because they are not a lawyer. This is especially true if you have handled auto accident claims before. However, insurance adjusters are often taught at national or regional conferences how to lower their client’s liability, minimize damages, and increase your comparative fault. These conferences are often taught by some of the leading defense lawyers in the country or region, and many times other defense lawyers are taught side-by-side with the adjusters.
In addition, although you may only be speaking with an adjuster, oftentimes there is a “silent” defense lawyer reading what you are submitting, advising the adjuster, and helping to deflate your claim without you even knowing there is a lawyer there. This makes it often not a fair fight between a non-lawyer adjuster and a non-lawyer victim. Thus, you should always hire an experienced car accident lawyer to help you.
3) Your Injuries May Make it Difficult to Work on Your Case
Even if you think you are able to still go toe-to-toe with an insurance adjuster or defense lawyer (which you should never do), your injuries from an accident can make it harder to work on your case. This is particularly true if you suffered injuries that affect your cognitive state, such as a brain injury or extreme pain that may disrupt your concentration. Insurance adjusters know this, and may even try to wage a war of attrition against you until you give up.
Even if you continue to fight hard and resist the notion to give up, the other problem becomes that a defense lawyer or adjuster may spin that against you by arguing that you can’t be too injured if you are able to fight this passionately. That is a frustrating argument but it is a valid argument that could affect your claim in front of a jury or judge. This is another reason, even if you think you are able to fight back against a defense lawyer and an insurance adjuster, why you need to hire a car accident lawyer in Illinois.
How Can an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Illinois Help You?
Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer like those at the Noll Law Office after a crash can be beneficial for several reasons, both practical and legal. From a legal standpoint, a car accident lawyer can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive fair compensation for any damages or injuries sustained as a result of the accident. This includes a lawyer knowing the “going rate” for which claims with similar injuries, to similar victims, in similar venues, and with similar liability issues may go for as reasonable compensation.
Further, legal proceedings can be time-consuming and overwhelming for an individual to handle alone – especially if there are significant injuries. Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer can help you understand the full extent of your damages and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf while you focus on recovery and your family. Insurance companies may attempt to settle claims quickly and for less than what is fair, but a lawyer can help ensure that you receive appropriate compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related expenses.
Furthermore, a lawyer can gather evidence and investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine who was at fault. In some cases, this may involve working with accident reconstruction experts or other professionals to build a strong case. There may be some parties that are at fault for your accident that you may not even realize could be liable. That includes municipalities, businesses, manufacturers, and other possible entities. Obtaining legal counsel to help you with this aspect of your case can help significantly.
Still Unsure Why I Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Illinois? Call the Noll Law Office to Schedule a FREE Consultation
If you are still unsure whether you should hire a car accident lawyer in Illinois, you should call the Noll Law Office to schedule a FREE case evaluation and consultation to learn more about what your rights may be and how their experienced car accident lawyers in Springfield can help you. There is no obligation to sign up with their personal injury law firm during your consultation. Their family is dedicated to serving the community, which includes answering questions from concerned citizens who may have been injured in an accident. Now as fifth-generation lawyers, the Noll Law Office prides itself on delivering compassionate but zealous representation.
There is no upfront cost and no financial risk to working with their lawyers, either. They only get paid a percentage of what they recover for you, and only after they recover it. To learn more about how the Noll Law Office can help you, contact them to schedule your free consultation.