How much is my case worth?
Beware of the attorney who, at the first client meeting, tells you how much he thinks your case is worth. This is a classic tactic of attorneys who are known to over-promise and under-deliver. This attorney has also probably rarely stepped foot in a courtroom or handled a personal injury case, since all personal injury attorneys know that case value depends on dozens of factors.
When we open your case, we cannot give you an accurate estimate of the value of your claim. It is only after we gather all the necessary materials, including medical records, police reports, witness statements and photographs of the vehicles, that we are able to give you an accurate snapshot of what we believe would be a reasonable settlement offer. Valuation of a case involves a number of factors, including the amount of medical bills incurred, the amount of wages lost (if any), the nature of the injuries suffered, and the degree of the opponent’s negligence. Rest assured, it is our mission to secure the maximum possible recovery for each unique client.
When will my case be settled?
An attorney should never begin negotiations on your behalf until your medical treatment is finished. The first priority must always be to follow your doctor’s orders and physically recover as best you can. After your medical treatment is completed, we will gather all the necessary information and begin negotiations with the insurance company. These negotiations often take several months. If the case has not been settled after a period of several months, our next step is to file a lawsuit on your behalf. Many cases are settled out of court, but many others are settled after filing a lawsuit but before trial. Of course, we are always open to settling your case before trial, but we must prepare each case as if it will be litigated in front of a jury. Insurance companies often “lowball” law firms who they know are scared to prosecute their client’s case in front of a jury. It is critical to have an attorney who is respected by insurance companies and their lawyers as a true trial lawyer who will go to bat for you in front of a jury.
How will I be informed about my case?
It is our mission to keep you informed about every major development in your case. Open and frequent communication between attorney and client is critical. While we would like to talk to you every week, this often is not practical, since personal injury claims sometimes take quite some time to resolve. Rest assured that we are zealously working on your behalf. Of course, you are always welcome to call or email us, and we will answer your questions promptly.
My health insurance carrier paid for most of my bills. Do I still have a case?
Yes. Illinois recognizes the “collateral source rule,” which says that a negligent driver does not get the benefit of payments from a collateral or outside source, such as health insurance or charity. Rather, Illinois law imposes a responsibility on that driver and their insurance company to fairly compensate the injured person. While you may need to repay your health insurance carrier, the law says that an injured person’s damages are absolutely not reduced in any way by these “collateral source” payments. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your injuries, your medical care, the amount of money you may need to pay back, and the available insurance to determine whether your case is economically feasible to pursue. Because we work on a contingent fee and no fees are earned unless we negotiate a settlement from the other party’s insurance company, it is everyone’s best interest for us to evaluate your case accurately and give you a true picture of what you can expect if you pursue a case.