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If you get in a car accident that results in serious injury, you might wonder who pays for medical bills after a car accident. You are responsible for ensuring the bills are paid when you seek medical treatment. However, financial recovery is a combination of your funds, your health insurance, your auto insurance, the at-fault driver's insurance, and the at-fault driver themselves. This is particularly true if you hire an Illinois car accident attorney to assist with your claim.
There are many types of car accident injuries that victims suffer. These injuries range in severity, and heavily influence the value of a car accident claim. More severe injuries can increase a victim’s losses, and have a long-term effect on his or her life. It’s important to be aware of the impact of car accident injuries and what kind of compensation those injuries qualify for when starting a claim. 
Car accident settlement amounts depend on factors such as the insurance coverage held by the motorists involved, liability, and the severity of the injuries and property damage. However, other factors may also play a role. For example, punitive damages may be calculated in a settlement if the other party was acting recklessly and in conscious disregard to others.
If you were injured in a trucking accident in Chicago, Berwyn, Oak Lawn, Cicero, or a nearby community, call the injury attorneys at Lloyd Miller Law for a free consultation.

How to Document Injuries in a Car Accident

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Male motorist involved in car accident taking picture of damage for insurance claim. Injuries in a car accident

After suffering injuries in a car accident, seek medical attention without delay. This will enable you to undergo a thorough examination and receive treatment for physical injuries resulting from the accident. Seeking immediate medical care can also help in creating a detailed medical record documenting your injuries, which can be used to substantiate claims for compensation that you may wish to make later on.

Male motorist involved in car accident taking picture of damage for insurance claim. Injuries in a car accident

Why It Is Important to Seek Medical Assessment After an Accident

You should visit a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident to safeguard your health. Some injuries may not show symptoms until days after the incident. In certain cases, such as internal injuries, failing to seek medical attention could result in an avoidable medical emergency.

Additionally, seeking medical treatment after a car accident will result in official medical records documenting your injuries. This documentation will establish a causal connection between your injuries and the accident that caused them. Without proper medical documentation, the insurance company may dispute the severity of your injuries or argue that they were not caused by the accident. Therefore, seeking medical treatment after an accident is a crucial step in protecting your legal right to receive compensation for your injuries.

Communicate With the Medical Professional About All Symptoms and Pain

Victims may believe that recovering from an injury is a long and painful process, and therefore adopt an attitude of toughing it out. However, this attitude can backfire when making a legal claim. In the insurance claims business, if a complaint or problem doesn’t appear in the medical records, it doesn’t exist. Insurance companies and juries won’t believe that an individual is in pain just because he or she says so. They need to read about the pain in the medical records. Insurance companies and juries will review the medical records to see how soon the pain was reported after the injury and how long it was reported.

Be honest with the doctor about the injury and the pain. Don’t communicate that the injury is better if it is still causing discomfort. Doctors cannot treat patients properly unless they get a full picture of the symptoms and pain levels. It is important to communicate about all symptoms and pain, both for your medical recovery, and for medical records when making a claim.

Request a Detailed Medical Report

Requesting a detailed medical report may provide documentation of your injuries and assist in recovering full compensation from the at-fault party or the insurance company

Medical reports and records are documents that provide information about the diagnosis and treatment of an injury or illness. They typically contain details such as treatment dates, doctor’s appointments, and the physician’s opinion about your injury. Other important information that can be found in medical records includes:

  • The expected outcome of treatment.
  • Costs associated with your treatment.
  • An analysis of your treatment.
  • Assessments of your current medical state.
  • Details of future medical treatment and estimates of associated costs.

Medical records can affect a car accident claim in three ways.

Prove Your Injuries Resulted from the Accident

Medical records are an essential part of any car accident claim. They serve as strong evidence linking your injuries to the accident.

This can make it more difficult for the at-fault party’s insurance company to deny liability or attempt to make a lower settlement offer.

Prove Your Injuries Were Not Due to a Pre-Existing Condition

It is common for the insurance company of the at-fault party to deny liability by stating that the claimant’s injuries or pain and suffering are due to a pre-existing medical condition. This issue is often seen in personal injury cases, where the injured party cannot provide enough evidence to prove that the injuries are indeed related to the accident.

However, medical records can be used as evidence to show that the injuries were caused by the car accident and did not exist prior to it. The right documentation should include the physician’s opinion stating that the injuries are new and were caused by the recent crash.

Quantify the Value of Your Claim

Medical records are an important source of information when it comes to calculating the cost of injuries sustained from a car accident. These records contain details about the financial expenses incurred during the treatment of the injury, such as ambulatory services, surgeries, treatments, prescriptions, rehabilitation, and hospital visits. The data from these records can be used by your car accident attorney to determine the value of your claim and support your request for a settlement.

Hire Legal Representation

You have the right to hire legal representation at any point during the process of making an insurance claim or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. Seeking the help of a legal professional can benefit your claim in a number of ways.

A lawyer can assist in investigating the accident, gathering evidence to prove negligence on the part of the other driver, and handling negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf. He or she can advise you about what happens when you go to court for a car accident. This can relieve you of the burden of the legal process, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

Illinois Laws and Regulations

If you have been in a car accident in Illinois, it’s important to know the basics of Illinois’ motor vehicle accident laws.

Insurance Requirements

Illinois law requires most vehicles operated or registered in the state to be covered by liability insurance. Liability insurance pays for your injuries and property damage when the other driver is at fault. The minimum coverages are $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person, $50,000 for bodily injury or death per accident, and $20,000 for property damage per accident

Fault

Illinois is a fault-based state, meaning the person who is at fault for a car accident is legally responsible for all resulting injuries, property damage, and other losses. If you’re injured or your property is damaged in an Illinois car wreck, you can bring an insurance claim or file a lawsuit against the responsible driver. If a driver causes an accident, the driver can be sued for negligence.

To prove negligence in Illinois, you must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • The other driver owed a duty of care. All drivers owe others on the road a duty to drive with a reasonable degree of care.
  • The other driver breached the duty. You’ll have to show that the driver failed to drive with a reasonable degree of care. For example, the driver was texting while driving or ran a red light.
  • The other driver’s conduct caused the accident. In other words, if the driver had not acted that way, the accident would not have happened.
  • You suffered damages as a result of the driver’s conduct.

There may be instances where you were partly at fault. Illinois follows comparative fault, meaning both parties may be found to share blame for an accident. Under the Illinois comparative fault rule, your damages are reduced by a percentage equal to your share of the total fault. However, if your share of the fault is more than 50%, you won’t be able to recover any damages.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations sets the time limit for filing a lawsuit. In Illinois, you have two years from the date of a car accident to file a lawsuit based on a personal injury. If the accident results in a fatality and a wrongful death lawsuit, the same two-year deadline applies. But the wrongful death statute of limitations clock starts running on the day of the accident victim’s death. You have five years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit based on property damage.

If you fail to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out, the court will dismiss your claim. In this case, You won’t be able to recover any damages based on the accident.

Having legal representation increases your chances of having a successful insurance claim, proving fault, or ensuring that your claim is filed before the statute of limitations runs out. Your legal representative will have knowledge of Illinois laws and regulations and how they apply to your claim.

Communicate With Insurance Companies

If you get into a car accident, the first step to getting compensation is to file a claim with either your own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company.

When you hire a lawyer to represent you in your car accident case, he or she may contact the insurance company and let them know that you now have legal representation. After that, the insurance company must communicate with your lawyer instead of directly with you. This saves you time and stress, and protects your rights. An experienced attorney knows why car insurance claims get denied and how to respond to insurance company inquiries in a way that won’t hurt your case.

For example, if the insurance company asks for an official statement from you regarding the accident, your attorney can help you write a statement that accurately represents your side of the story. If the insurance company requests access to your medical records, your attorney can review the request to make sure they only get the information they need to process your claim. If you get a settlement offer, your attorney can help you review it to make sure it’s a fair amount.

In most cases, a car accident lawsuit will settle out of court. This means the insurance company for the party at fault will pay the injured party in exchange for dropping the legal claim. However, just because lawsuits typically settle out of court doesn’t mean that it’s easy to get the best settlement possible. A skilled lawyer can negotiate a settlement that is in your best interest. A lawyer can help you navigate the process, determine the limits of your insurance policy, and intercede on your behalf with the insurance company. Claims that are negotiated by lawyers typically result in higher payouts.

Additional Evidence That Can Help Support Your Injury Claim

Your claim will depend on the strength of evidence that you have to support it. Therefore, after an accident, you should collect the following evidence:

Witness Testimonies

A witness is someone who saw or heard the incident. Witnesses can provide essential evidence of the accident’s details. Therefore, it’s crucial to obtain contact information of any witnesses present at the accident scene. This way, they can provide car accident witness statements for legal proceedings if required.

The Police Report

If you have been in an accident, it’s essential to report it to the local law enforcement agency. They can provide you with a copy of the police report, which contains vital information like the date, time, and location of the accident, statements from the involved parties, and any citations issued. This report is an official document that can serve as strong evidence in your personal injury claim.

Expenses Related to Medical Treatment and Injury Recovery

To accurately calculate and quantify your claim, maintain precise records of your medical expenses. The first step towards staying organized is to identify all the medical expenses that are eligible for compensation. These may include surgical expenses, emergency room visits, appointments with doctors and specialists, physical and other therapies, diagnostic tests, mental health treatments, prescription and over-the-counter medications, medical devices and equipment such as braces, crutches, and wound dressings, and ambulance rides. Additionally, modifications to a home or vehicle to accommodate a disability may qualify as damages.

It is advisable to file all bills, receipts, and invoices in a dedicated location as soon as you receive them to ensure that you keep track of them. You should also discuss with your attorney the best way to organize your bills to make it easier for them to review and calculate your expenses when determining the value of your claim.

About the Author

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Over 35 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Over 35 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar
About the Author

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Over 35 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar