Car Accident Lawyer Columbia, IL

Columbia, Illinois is a small charming town just south of Saint Louis. There are very few car accidents in this middle-class rural community and drivers can get a good deal on insurance. However, drivers have access to interstate 255, route 50, and highway Route 3 from this town and they all lead to places with far more dangerous roads.

If you are injured in an accident on one of those roads due to the negligence of another driver, you are going to need to file an insurance claim. If you want to get all of the money that you deserve, you should hire a personal injury lawyer

The injury lawyers at Hipskind and McAninch are well-versed in insurance laws in Illinois. If you or a loved one has been in an accident recently, we can help you get a fair settlement. 

Photo of a Crashed Car

What You Should Know About Driving in Illinois

Illinois has some very dangerous roads, such as the Stevenson Expressway, where kids are known to throw rocks at passing vehicles and chemical spills are not at all uncommon. The Elgin O’Hare Expressway is also known for its many collisions.

In the year 2020, there were 1,194 deaths on the state’s highways. This is even more than there were in New York, which is a much more populous state. Accidents happen here often and insurance companies are overwhelmed with claims. Hence, if another driver causes you to have an accident, you must do your very best to establish that they are at fault. You must also prove how much the injuries cost you in both time and money.

Collecting Evidence at the Scene 

Having an accident is an extremely jarring experience. It is not uncommon for a person to go into shock. Unfortunately, it is one of the most important times to collect evidence for an insurance claim.

You are legally required to contact the police and wait for them to arrive after an accident. When a law enforcement officer arrives at the scene, they will ask you questions about the crash. You should never tell them that you caused the accident even if you think you might have. There are many factors of which you are likely to be unaware. You do not have to answer any question the officer asks you although you should be very polite to them.

You and the other drivers in the accident must exchange insurance information. Take pictures if you can and get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.

Why Collecting Evidence Is Important

In the state of Illinois, a person who causes an automobile accident is responsible for paying the related bills. The state has an insurance rule called modified comparative negligence. This means that if a person is 50% or less responsible for an accident, they can collect insurance money. A person can be compensated for the percentage of the accident that the other driver caused. For example, if you caused 20% of the accident, the other driver’s insurance company would pay you for 80% of your bills. If you were 60% responsible for the accident, you would not be able to get anything.

If you go on the internet and search for “car accident attorney Centreville, IL.” you may be overwhelmed by the choices. There are many reasons you should choose us. 

When you come to the offices of Hipskind and McAninch for your free consultation, we will look at all the evidence you have collected and tell you if we can take your case. We have a team of legal researchers who can help to strengthen your case. If the evidence you have is not perfect, our researchers will work hard to uncover facts that can prove you were not at fault to an insurance company. 

Save Your Bills

Proving that you are not at fault in a car accident is only half the battle when it comes to insurance. Save a copy of every medical bill that you get including those for physical therapy and alternative treatments. Save receipts from all the medications you take whether they are prescription or non-prescription.

Get your doctors to write you a detailed report of your progress. Insurance companies will often try to make it look as though your injuries were caused by a pre-existing condition or that you did not take the proper steps to care for your injuries. It is also very important to have copies of x-rays and MRIs.

You will need prescription medication after an injury especially if you have had surgery. You should save the receipts for any medications that you take. Doctor’s appointments may cause you to miss quite a bit of work. Document any hours you have missed. You can do this by asking your company’s HR director to write you a letter stating the number of hours you have lost.

If your injuries are especially severe, you may be able to get money for non-economic damages. This is known as pain and suffering. Pain and suffering money is only awarded to people who have permanent injuries or who have been disfigured due to an accident. Insurance companies never want to pay these types of damages. It is a good idea to seek treatment from mental health professionals and keep a diary if you believe you should get this type of compensation.  We will be able to use mental health reports and journal entries as evidence when negotiating with an insurance company.

Photo of Firefighters at a Car Accident Site

Filing a Claim

When you file a claim, your case will be assigned to an adjuster. The adjuster will review the evidence you have and decide if they should approve of your claim or deny it. If they approve your claim, they will offer you a certain settlement amount. In most cases, they will try to short-change you. Hence, you should always contact us before accepting the settlement. 

The attorneys at  Hipskind and McAninch worked for big corporations before they started representing individuals. They know what arguments an insurance company will use and how to combat those arguments. They will argue voraciously on your behalf to get you a better settlement. Call us today.