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How to Claim Damages

June 5, 2024

If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident in Illinois, your costs will begin to add up very quickly, making it very important to understand how to claim damages. Along with the financial costs, you may find that your injuries impact your life in other ways as well. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, damages may be available to you; and, if you have a claim, you can hire a lawyer to help you claim these damages at no out-of-pocket cost. 

Here’s what you need to know about how to claim damages in Illinois: 

5 Steps for Claiming Damages After an Accident in Illinois

Claiming damages after a serious accident is a complicated process. This makes it important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. Your lawyer will be able to take steps that you won’t know to take on your own, and your lawyer will be able to use his or her abilities to help make sure you don’t settle for less than you are owed.

But, while your lawyer will be able to take many steps for you, there are some steps you will need to take as well. For example, here are five important steps for claiming damages after an accident in Illinois: 

1. Take Action As Soon As Possible 

When you have a claim for damages, it is important to take action as soon as possible. While Illinois’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years (in most cases), you do not want to wait anywhere near this long to seek the damages you deserve. Instead, you should see a doctor immediately, and you should schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. This will help minimize the chances of unnecessary issues getting in the way of your financial recovery. 

2. Document the Financial Costs of Your Accident

In order to claim damages after an accident, you need evidence of the losses you are entitled to recover. This includes all of the financial costs you incur as a result of your injuries. With this in mind, you should get in the habit of collecting documentation of your costs as you incur them. This includes collecting documentation such as:

  • Medical bills and receipts
  • Receipts for prescriptions and medical supplies 
  • Receipts for transportation costs related to the accident (i.e., the cost of driving to the hospital or getting a ride if your car is in the shop)
  • Receipts for other costs you incur as a result of the accident (i.e., hiring someone to clean your house or mow your lawn)
  • Employment records showing your lost income

These are just examples. If you receive any records that you think may be relevant to calculating your damages, you should be sure to keep them to share with your lawyer.

3. Document the Accident’s Non-Financial Effects

Along with collecting documentation of your financial costs, you should also document the accident’s non-financial effects. If you have a personal injury claim in Illinois, you are entitled to damages for these “costs” as well, including your:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of companionship and consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement 

To document these non-financial effects, you can keep a log or journal where you take notes on a daily basis. When you take notes, take your time—the more details you can write down, the better. 

4. Protect Yourself Against the Insurance Companies

If you are entitled to claim damages for your accident, the insurance companies are not on your side. They will fight your claim by all means available, and they will do everything they can to pay you as little as possible. With this in mind, you need to be smart about protecting yourself. 

Once you report your accident, let your lawyer talk to the insurance companies for you, and don’t accept any payment unless your lawyer advises otherwise. 

5. Work Closely with Your Lawyer to Pursue Your Claim for Damages 

Working closely with an experienced personal injury lawyer is one of the most important things you can do when pursuing a claim for damages. Your lawyer will need information and input from you at various stages of the process; and, the more you do to help your lawyer, the more he or she will be able to do on your behalf. 

Contact Us for a FREE Consultation About Your Damages Claim in Illinois 

Dealing with the aftermath of a serious injury can be overwhelming. You may be facing pain, disability, high medical bills, and time away from work you can’t afford. Do you need to know more about claiming damages after an accident in Illinois? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly.

Contact the personal injury attorneys at Coplan + Crane today online or at 708-358-8080 to schedule a FREE case evaluation. We serve clients across Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas.