If You Have Been Injured in An Accident - FAQ

  1. Should I give my statement to the insurnace company for the person who hit me?
  2. What do I do if I received a ticket?
  3. Should I go to court regarding a ticket the other party received?
  4. Do I need an attorney?
  5. When should I hire an attorney?
  6. Who will pay my medical bills?
  7. What if the person who hit me did not have auto insurance?
  8. What if the person who hit me fled the scene and never got caught?
  9. What if I was a pedestrian and was hit by an uninsured driver?
  10. What if I am seriously hurt and the person who hit me has only the Illinois minimum $20,000 of insurance?
  11. What about the damage to my car?

 

QUESTION: SHOULD I GIVE A STATEMENT TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY FOR THE PERSON WHO HIT ME?

ANSWER: No! Remember, the person from the insurance company who calls you or even comes to your home is trained at taking statements, asking questions a certain way, and getting the information that best helps the insurance company. Insurance adjusters and their investigators want to get information that can help them – not just information about the crash, but information about your injuries. NOTE: As an example, a client of mine had fractured his hip in a crash, but was not overly concerned about what he termed an “ache in his arm”. Later, as his hip began to heal, he began to notice the achiness and pain in his arm, ND it was discovered that he indeed had a fractured elbow. The pain and issues with his hip had taken his concentration away from his arm injury, however. Had he given a statement to the insurance company, who would have asked him about his injuries, he may not have even mentioned his arm because, to him, it felt insignificant. The statement would have created a record that he did not hurt his arm at all, and down the road, the insurance company would have taken the position that his elbow was fractured some other way, and would not have voluntarily compensated him for the medical bills, pain, suffering and disability relating to his elbow.

QUESTION: WHAT DO I DO IF I RECEIVED A TICKET?

ANSWER: Have a lawyer go to court and represent you. Generally, a traffic ticket is based on the police officer’s impression of what happened to cause the crash, after the officer talks to the person’s involved, talks to witnesses, and looks at the vehicles and the scene of the crash. A ticket does not mean that the officer is correct in his impression, however. If you have been injured in a crash, we will go to court with you to protect your interests. We have extensive experience handling all motor vehicle citations.

QUESTION: SHOULD I GO TO COURT REGARDING A TICKET THE OTHER PARTY RECEIVED?

ANSWER: This depends on a number of factors. If you go to court, you are appearing there as a “complaining witness” against the person who has been charged with an offense. If you appear in court, you may have to discuss your case with a prosecutor, or testify at a trial, and be cross-examined by an attorney for the person who received the citation. No private attorney can represent you in court when you are a complaining witness – because in traffic court, your attorney is the prosecutor, who represents the State or City bringing the charges. However, we can help you through this process by advising you of the best course to take, and if you need to be present in court, we can be there for you to discuss the case with the prosecutor and help you through this.

QUESTION: DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?

ANSWER: Yes. As you can see from the questions above, there are numerous aspects of your case to deal with that are better handled through an attorney. We understand when you are injured, it can be a difficult time to go through, but we can help you through this tough time every step of the way.

QUESTION: WHEN SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY?

ANSWER: As soon as possible. We can deal with the insurance company so you don’t have to. We can help you through traffic court if citations are issued. We can assist you with the repair of your car – as a free service to though who we represent who are injured. We can also begin gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, obtaining statements and police reports, and doing what is necessary, early on , to establish that the other party was at fault for the crash.

QUESTION: WHO WILL PAY MY MEDICAL BILLS?

ANSWER: Ultimately, the insurance company for the other party will pay your medical bills when your case is resolved. Sometimes, in “minor” cases, an insurance company will offer to pay your medical bills “for thirty days” or some other time period. Although this offer seems genuine, what it does is keeps you in constant contact with the insurance company, allows them to constantly monitor your treatment, and then they end the payments because they feel you should be better. There are other options that allow you to receive the treatment you need, for as long as you need it. Your own health insurance coverage will pay your bills. Your own auto insurance policy probably has “medical payments” coverage. Under this coverage, your own insurance company will pay your medical bills, up to whatever limit of coverage you purchased. Hospitals and doctors will treat you and send a lien to your attorney and the other insurance company. (A lien is a document requiring the insurance company to include the doctor or hospital on any settlement check so the doctor or hospital gets paid.) We can assist you in the various methods of having your medical bills paid or providing your medical providers with some security that the bills will be paid in the future, so your bills are not sent to collection agencies and your credit is not adversely affected.

QUESTION: WHAT IF THE PERSON WHO HIT ME DID NOT HAVE AUTO INSURANCE?

ANSWER: You can make a claim against your own insurance company. If you had your own auto insurance on your vehicle, then you have “Uninsured Motorist Coverage”. This is coverage you have purchased in a certain dollar limit. The coverage provides that if the person who hit you is uninsured, your own insurance company will pay the damages that the other party is legally obligated to pay.

QUESTION: WHAT IF THE PERSON WHO HIT ME FLED THE SCENE AND NEVER GOT CAUGHT?

ANSWER: You can make a claim against your own insurance company. A hit-and-run driver is treated the same, under the law, as an uninsured motorist. If you had your own auto insurance on your vehicle, then you have “Uninsured Motorist Coverage”. This is coverage you have purchased in a certain dollar limit. The coverage provides that if the person who hit you is uninsured, your own insurance company will pay the damages that the other party is legally obligated to pay.

QUESTION: WHAT IF I WAS A PEDESTIRAN AND WAS HIT BY AN UNINSURED DRIVER?

ANSWER: You can make a claim against your own insurance company, even if you were not in your vehicle. All that matters is that your injuries were caused by the other party’s negligent use or operation of an uninsured vehicle.

QUESTION: WHAT IF I AM SERIOUSLY HURT AND THE PERSON WHO HIT ME HAS ONLY THE ILLINOIS MINIMUM $20,OOO OF INSURANCE?

ANSWER: You can make a claim against your own insurance company, if you have “Underinsured Motorist Coverage”, for an amount in excess of $20,000, your insurance company will pay the damages, over $20,000 that the other party is legally obligated to pay you, up to the limit you have purchased. Check your insurance policy declarations page for the limit you purchased.

QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT THE DAMAGE TO MY CAR?

ANSWER: If you have been injured and have retained our firm, we will help you get your car repaired, or determine what the fair value of your car is if it is a total loss. We offer this service FREE OF CHARGE to our clients. When you have been hurt, you have so much to worry about. We will deal with the insurance company on your behalf to make arrangements for your car to be looked at, an estimate of repairs made, your car repaired and the repairs paid for. If your car is a total loss, we will deal with the insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement regarding the value of your car, make arrangements for a rental vehicle and payment to you. Again, we provide this service at NO CHARGE TO OUR CLIENTS who we represent in an injury claim.

The latest from our blog...

Motorcycles Are Everywhere

Summer is in full swing and that means more motorcycles on Illinois roadways. Many motorcyclist enthusiasts say it is the feeling of the open road all around them that attracts ...

Read more...

AAA Study: Hangover Effect of Distracted Driving

The dangers of distracted driving have been well publicized. Laws have been enacted, as well as hundreds—if not thousands—of safety campaigns produced alerting drivers of just how deadly this driving ...

Read more...

Drunk Driving Crashes and Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Summer is here and that means lots of cookouts, family get-togethers, beach days, and vacations. At many of these social gatherings alcohol is served, and all too often, drivers make ...

Read more...

Successful Cases

More Settlements

James A. Payonk, Jr.

~ Attorney at Law ~

10705 W 159th St.
Orland Park, Illinois 60467

(708) 633-6005