Car Accident FAQ’s

  1. Do I need an attorney?
  2. When should I contact an attorney?
  3. If I am unhappy with my present attorney can I switch attorneys? How much will it cost to change attorneys?
  4. What information should I obtain after an auto accident?
  5. What should I not do after an auto accident?
  6. When should I get treatment after an auto accident?
  7. Do I need to contact my insurance company about the accident?
  8. How much money can I expect to receive from my auto accident claim?
  9. How long does it take to settle an auto accident claim?
  10. What happens if the other driver is not insured or has minimal coverage?
  11. Is there a time limit in which I have to file my auto accident claim?


1. Do I need an attorney?

Immediately after being injured in an auto accident, you are thrown into complicated, unfriendly, and often times, frustrating legal system. The insurance company of the driver responsible for the accident has a team of adjusters, investigators and attorneys who are working hard to pay you as little as possible.

Many accident victims choose to handle their claims on their own because they don’t want to go through the “hassle” of hiring an attorney. Others may have had a bad experience with an other attorney and feel they can resolve the claim without the assistance of an attorney.

Bottom line…getting compensation from an insurance company after being injured in an auto accident isn’t easy. Only an experienced personal injury attorney can “level the playing field” and ensure your receive the maximum in compensation for your injuries. For more information on why you need an attorney click here.

2. When should I contact an attorney?

It is important to contact an attorney as soon as your are able. An experienced Personal Injury attorney will begin the process of preserving any evidence, obtaining police reports and contacting any witnesses to the accident.

By contacting Donald W. Fohrman & Associates, Ltd., one of our experienced Personal Injury attorneys will advise you on how to protect your rights and preserve any evidence to maximize your recovery. We are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

3. If I am unhappy with my present attorney can I switch attorneys? How much will it cost to change attorneys?

If you feel that you are not being properly represented by your current attorney, you have an absolute right to fire your attorney and hire a new attorney, without any cost to you.

We will be happy to provide you with a second opinion as to whether we believe your claim is being handled properly by your current attorney. We will take over your claim and we will pay your attorney for his time and costs from our fee. It does not cost you a penny to change attorneys.

4. What information should I obtain after an auto accident?

  1. It is important to get from all drivers involved in the accident, their name, address, telephone number; the license number, make and model of the cars involved; and the name, policy number and contact information for their insurance companies.
  2. Names and addresses of any passengers in the other vehicles.
  3. The name, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses.
  4. Write down any statements made by the driver who is responsible for the accident (“Sorry, it was my fault,” “I was talking on my cell phone,” “My coffee just spilled,”)
  5. Record the actual location and time of the accident.
  6. Record the weather conditions.
  7. If the police were called to the scene of the accident, obtain the officer’s name and badge number and the city in which the officer works.
  8. If the police issued a violation to the other driver, ask the officer what type of violation was issued and the court date.
  9. Record the damage to your vehicle and all the other vehicles involved. If possible, take pictures of all the vehicles.
  10. If an ambulance has been called to the scene of the accident, obtain the name of the ambulance company or the municipality

5. What should I not do after an auto accident?

  1. Never give a statement, recorded or otherwise to the other driver’s insurance company without first consulting a personal injury attorney.
  2. Never give your insurance company a recorded statement without first consulting with a personal injury attorney
  3. Never admit responsibility for the accident to anyone at the accident scene.
  4. If you are issued a ticket it is okay to sign the ticket. This is not an admission of guilt.
  5. Do not plead guilty when you appear in court. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney prior to your court date. They can best advise you on how to handle your court appearance.
  6. If you were clearly not at fault, never leave the scene of the accident without first notifying the police. It is important for the preservation of your rights that the police document the circumstances of the accident.

6. When should I get treatment after an auto accident?

It is important to seek medical treatment immediately after an accident even if you feel you are not seriously injured. Frequently, symptoms do not become apparent for several hours after an accident. Make sure you tell the examining doctor that you were just in an auto accident.

Unfortunately, may accident victims wait to get treatment for days sometimes weeks after an accident. Waiting to get treatment is not only bad for your physical well being, but will hurt your chances of getting a fair settlement for your injuries. The insurance companies and their attorneys frequently question a claim for injuries when medical treatment was delayed for months after an accident.

7. Do I need to contact my insurance company about the accident?

Every auto insurance company requires you to contact them with the details of an accident . They will want information including the description of the other driver’s automobile (make & model, license plate #) dates, time, place, injuries, if any and any information you have from the other driver about their insurance coverage (name of carrier, policy #, telephone number of their insurance agent). However, you should never agree to give a recorded statement to any insurance company representative without first consulting with an experienced Personal Injury attorney.

8. How much money can I expect to receive from my auto accident claim?

It is difficult for any lawyer to estimate the value of your case until certain facts are known. In order to give you an accurate monetary assessment of your claim we would need to know the extent of your injuries (hospitalization, surgery,etc.), how much time you lost from work, whether your injuries are permanent in nature (determined by your treating physician) and the limits of the responsible party’s insurance coverage .

If you can provide us with the above factors, we will be glad to give you an estimate as to the value of your claim.

9. How long does it take to settle an auto accident claim?

There are no laws that require an auto accident be settled by a certain time. Generally, the settlement process cannot begin until you have completed all your medical treatment. After completing your medical treatment we will contact the insurance company with a settlement demand. (It generally takes three to four months to settle an automobile claim unless there are complicated circumstances.) If the insurance company refuses to pay what we believe to be a fair settlement, we will then file a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit will increase, considerably, the amount of time in which it takes to get you fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries.

10. What happens if the other driver is not insured or has minimal coverage?

Check with your insurance agent to see if you purchased underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. If you do have this type of coverage, you can file a claim with your insurance company for any damages that exceed the other driver’s coverage up to the limits of your coverage.

11. Is there a time limit in which I have to file my auto accident claim?

In Illinois, a lawsuit must be filed within two (2) years of the accident.

If your case is against a city or municipality, there might also be notice requirements in addition to filing a lawsuit. An experienced Personal Injury attorney will make sure that all notice requirements are met and that your rights are protected