Frequently Asked Questions
After an injury or an accident occurs, it can be difficult and confusing to keep track of all of the information that is relevant to your case and that may be useful now or in the future. At Spiros Law, P.C., we understand the stress that comes with trying to find quality information resources after an accident, and we want our clients to have quick, easy access to basic legal information. Therefore, as a service to our present and potential clients, we have collected the following list of frequently asked questions that we have heard from our clients.
We hope that this information is useful in helping you better understand the field of personal injury law. We will update the list periodically with new questions, so if your topic of interest is not listed now, check back in the future. The following questions and answers are not intended to be taken as legal advice. To speak with a knowledgeable and qualified attorney about any questions you may have, contact the Kankakee personal injury lawyers of Spiros Law, P.C. at (815) 929-9292.
- Can I get help paying my medical bills?
- How can I show that a defective product led to my injury?
- How can Spiros Law, P.C. simplify the process of dealing with insurance companies?
- How do I know if I have a valid personal injury claim?
- How do I prove fault in my personal injury case?
- How do insurance adjusters assign blame after a car accident?
- How do personal injury lawyers make money?
- How long do I have to file a personal injury claim?
- How Long Do I Have to File Suit?
- I’ve been injured. How can a lawyer help?
- If I have an offer from an insurance company, why would I need a lawyer?
- What are the signs of nursing home abuse?
- What damages can I recover in a personal injury case?
- What does a police accident report contain?
- What if the person who hit me doesn’t have insurance?
- What information is necessary for a successful personal injury case?
- What is a free consultation?
- What is liability?
- What is medical malpractice?
- What is my case worth?
- What is negligence?
- What is personal injury?
- What qualifies as medical malpractice?
- What should I do after an accident?
- Who Can I Expect to Talk to at Spiros Law?
- Who determines fault after a car accident?
- Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
Can I get help paying my medical bills?
You may think that hiring a lawyer is just another expense that you can’t afford after an accident, but this is not true. Spiros Law, P.C. will handle your claim on a contingency fee basis. This means that we will cover all the costs of your case up front, and simply take a fraction of your final settlement as payment at the very end.
When you hire a lawyer, they will also take over all communications with collectors, insurance companies, and medical providers. This takes the stress of these calls off your plate, allowing you to spend your time and energy on your recovery, while also protecting your rights. Insurers often use aggressive, even predatory tactics to trick accident victims into making damaging statements or agreeing to unfair terms. A lawyer will ensure that this does not happen to you.
A lawyer may also be able to actually reduce the cost of your medical bills. After the conclusion of your case, we will evaluate the cost of your bills, our fees, and the total settlement amount. In order to give you as much money as possible, we may reduce our own fees, and we may contact the medical providers to negotiate the bills.
Perhaps most importantly, your lawyer will be able to make sure your settlement covers your needs. Insurance companies will often offer lowball settlements that undervalue your claim. Your settlement should cover all your accident-related expenses, including past and future medical bills, past and future lost income, compensation for pain and suffering, and more. A lawyer with experience handling personal injury claims will know how to estimate the future costs of your injuries to understand what your compensation should look like. If the insurance companies refuse to offer the appropriate amount, your lawyer will be able to negotiate to get you the amount you deserve. Usually, going to court is not necessary in civil cases, but if insurance still refuses to offer you the full amount of money that you deserve, your lawyer can prepare your claim for trial and advocate for you in court. With a lawyer’s help, you are far more likely to get the full amount of money that you deserve.
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Illinois and you are struggling to pay your medical expenses, do not panic. Contact Spiros Law, P.C. today at (815) 929-9292 for help.
How can I show that a defective product led to my injury?
If your serious injuries have been caused by a defective product, you can hold the manufacturer liable for your suffering. However, proving that their product directly led to your injury can sometimes be difficult. Manufacturers often claim that consumer injuries occur because they misused the product or are in some way responsible for their own injuries. An experienced lawyer can help you demonstrate to the court how a product defect led to your injury.
How can Spiros Law, P.C. simplify the process of dealing with insurance companies?
At Spiros Law, P.C., we understand that the aftermath of an injury can be an extremely stressful time for you and your family. Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with and will often try to underpay you or deny your claim after you’ve been injured. We want to prevent you from being overwhelmed by insurance companies, and we’re ready to take your case and get you the coverage you need. We can help you:
Figure out what coverage is available
Knowing what kind of coverage is available to you after you’ve been injured is just one step toward recovery that the experienced attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. can assist you with. We know how to handle insurance companies, and can navigate the ins and outs of your coverage policy to ensure you are being treated fairly. Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP), and Medical Payments coverage (MedPay), are optional in Illinois, as well as in most other states, but may be beneficial to you in the case of an accident. Regardless of your coverage, we can help you file your claim without the stress of figuring out the complexities by yourself. You can rest assured that we will uncover all of your options when you are facing a personal injury settlement.
Meet the statute of limitations
A personal injury claim must be filed within two years of the accrual of claims in the state of Illinois. While usually this means the statute of limitations starts the day of the accident in which injuries were sustained, sometimes the statute of limitations starts when the injuries are discovered, which could reasonably be at a later time. This is called the discovery rule, and may be applicable to your case. Additionally, sometimes it is possible for the statute of limitations to be tolled, meaning temporarily stopped, if the plaintiff was less than 18 years old at the time of the accident. The statute of limitations is in place to prevent evidence from being lost and to ensure that the threat of a lawsuit isn’t always hanging in the air. At Spiros Law, P.C., we can help you understand all of these possibilities and how the statute of limitations applies to your case.
Pay medical bills and get lien reductions
A lien is interest in medical costs from health care providers and insurance companies for patients with personal injury settlements. Health care providers will often collect liens when the injured person does not have health insurance or if their insurance will not cover all of their medical expenses. If you have MedPay under your auto insurance, you might also have to pay a lien. We can help you understand how liens affect your case as well as describe your options for paying medical bills. We’re committed to helping reduce your medical payments so you can focus on moving forward from your accident.
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Illinois and would like to learn more about how an attorney can help you deal with insurance companies, contact Spiros Law, P.C. for a free consultation by calling (815) 929-9292 or online.
How do I know if I have a valid personal injury claim?
If you or someone you love has been hurt in an accident caused by the reckless or negligent behavior of another individual, you may be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim in civil court. Common cases include slip-and-fall accidents, vehicle collisions, construction injuries, and many other common accidents.
How do I prove fault in my personal injury case?
Proving liability works similarly with all types of personal injury cases. Under federal law, to prove liability after an accident, the injured individual (the plaintiff) must show three things. First, they must prove that the responsible party (the defendant) had a duty to act in a certain manner, typically a manner that would have prevented the accident. Secondly, the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty, ultimately causing the accident. Lastly, the plaintiff must prove that their injuries and damages are related to the accident caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
How do insurance adjusters assign blame after a car accident?
Insurance adjusters take a number of factors into consideration when they examine an accident: road conditions, tire marks, witness reports and so forth. Sometimes, one driver is found to be fully at fault. However, it is common for the blame to be split between multiple parties. It is difficult to assign blame because adjusters do not possess perfect judgment and insurance companies are out to make a profit.
How do personal injury lawyers make money?
When you have sustained a serious injury because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to take legal action against them to recover damages for your medical bills and suffering. Without the help of a lawyer, it can be extremely difficult to make a winning case for the other person’s liability. After you win your case, your lawyer requests a small percentage of the damages as a fee. In the long run, however, you stand to receive much more than you would without a lawyer’s help.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim?
The time limit you have to file a personal injury claim is called the statute of limitations and is dictated by state law. The length of statutes of limitations varies from state to state. In Illinois, you typically have two years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury, medical malpractice, or wrongful death claim. After the two years have passed, your claim will no longer be valid. However, there are some exceptions. In some cases, the statute of limitations might begin to run its course the day the accident occurs. In other cases, a discovery period is allowed, meaning that the statute of limitations begins on the date the injury was or should have been discovered.
How Long Do I Have to File Suit?
In order to successfully bring a lawsuit, you must file suit within a specified time limit, called the statute of limitations. How long you have to file suit will vary depending on the type of case you are bringing and the state you are bringing it in. Below is a list of different types of suits and the time frame you have to file a timely lawsuit in Illinois:
- Personal Injury – The statute of limitations is two years for personal injury claims. This means you have two years from the date of the accident or incident that caused your injury to file suit.
- Medical Malpractice – Medical malpractice claims also have a two year statute of limitations. However, in some medical malpractice claims, you may not be immediately aware of your injuries or their cause. In this case, you are required to bring a lawsuit within two years of when you discovered, or should have discovered, your injuries. No claim may be brought more than four years after the incident of medical malpractice, even if you discover your injury later.
- Car Accidents – Car accident claims are a type of personal injury claim, so you have two years from the date of the accident to file suit.
- Defective Drugs & Devices – Although a defective drug or device may seem somewhat similar to a medical malpractice lawsuit, for the purposes of the statute of limitations, the time frame is two years from the date you know, or should know, of your injury with a much longer ten or twelve year outer limit. If you do not discover your injury from an implanted device for years after it is implanted, you still may be able to make a timely claim.
- Trucking Accidents – As with other vehicle accidents, the statute of limitations for trucking accidents is two years from the date of the accident.
- Nursing Home Abuse – Nursing home abuse cases are another form of injury case where the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the incident.
- Product Liability – If a person has been injured, the statute of limitations is two years.
- Premises Liability – As with product liability, a claim of personal injury has a two-year statute of limitations.
- Sexual Assault – Most sexual assault cases have a two year statute of limitations on the civil side. Note that on the criminal side, certain types of assault, such as childhood sexual abuse, can and should be reported to the authorities regardless of how much time has passed.
- Wrongful Death – In Illinois, wrongful death actions normally must be filed within one year of the deceased person’s death. This may be different than the date of the accident which caused their death.
- Workers’ Compensation – You must file a workers’ compensation claim within three years of the date you were injured, or within two years from the last payment of compensation from the job, whichever is longer.
To ensure you don’t miss your time window to file a claim, be sure to reach out to a lawyer from Spiros Law, P.C. as soon as possible to get started.
I’ve been injured. How can a lawyer help?
Thousands of people are injured every year due to the negligence of others. If you believe someone is responsible for your injuries, you may be able to seek damages for your medical bills and suffering.
If I have an offer from an insurance company, why would I need a lawyer?
When you are dealing with an insurance company after suffering an injury, the insurer is only interested in minimizing costs and managing risk. An insurance company will do everything to resolve a claim before going to court. They will want to settle quickly and easily, releasing the other party from any further liability.
The insurer will most likely contact you immediately after an accident during a time when you are feeling overwhelmed about your situation, are suffering from an injury, losing income from missing work, and receiving steep medical bills. In this situation, you may be tempted to take the money they offer you to get immediate relief. However, this settlement award may be for much less than what your claim is worth. Insurance companies know that injury victims are desperate, and take advantage of this vulnerability in order to pay far less than they deserve.
One major way insurance companies attempt to minimize settlements is by undervaluing medical expenses. Your settlement should reflect the full amount of your medical expenses, including future expenses. It should cover ambulance rides, emergency room visits, doctor appointments, surgeries, medications, therapy, medical devices, modifications to your home, and more. If your injury will affect you for the rest of your life, the settlement should include compensation for your future medical expenses. Many insurance companies only include compensation for bills you have already incurred in their initial settlement offer. If they do include compensation for future expenses, they will often far undervalue future costs.
Having a lawyer on your side can protect you against both of these scenarios. Your lawyer can investigate your accident, examine your medical records, and consult with experts to come to an accurate estimate of your medical costs, both past and future. Lawyers who have handled personal injury claims in the past know how to estimate future costs, something you are unlikely to know how to do. From there, they will be able to evaluate any settlement offer that an insurance company makes in order to determine if it is acceptable.
An experienced lawyer will also be able to negotiate with insurance agents and opposing lawyers on your behalf if they refuse to make an appropriate offer. They can gather the necessary evidence to refute any claims the opposition makes. By handling communications on your behalf, they can ensure that you don’t say anything to damage your claim. They can also prepare your claim for trial. Though most civil claims never make it to court, it is important that you are prepared for trial in case the insurance company refuses to offer an appropriate settlement. Going to trial may be the only way to recover the full amount of compensation you need and deserve.
What are the signs of nursing home abuse?
While physical abuse leaves visible signs of mistreatment like bruises and scars, psychological abuse can be just as damaging and much harder to notice. Residents of nursing homes are especially at risk for both of these forms of abuse and are easily affected by neglect. If they need assistance with eating and staying clean, negligent caretakers can cause serious harm.
What damages can I recover in a personal injury case?
Recoverable damages depend on the extent of harm, which usually varies from case to case. Generally, recoverable damages in a personal injury case include pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, loss of earnings, caretaking expenses, and medical expenses. Speaking with an attorney will help you determine which damages you may be able to recover. The attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. are prepared to evaluate your case and answer any questions you may have.
What does a police accident report contain?
After an accident, the police officers who arrive at the scene will attempt to note as much information as possible. This typically includes the location, time, and weather conditions of the accident, information about the vehicles and drivers, information from witnesses, and even a crash diagram. Police reports are only preliminary, however: insurance adjusters will also get involved.
What if the person who hit me doesn’t have insurance?
In Illinois, the person who causes a car accident is responsible for paying for the damages. Usually, this payment will come from their insurance policy. However, sometimes the at-fault party does not have insurance, or does not have enough to cover the full extent of your damages. Even though automobile insurance is required, other drivers do not always follow the law. This results in many accidents involving uninsured motorists. In fact, statistics show that over thirteen percent of Illinois drivers do not have car insurance.
When this happens, you still have options for recovery under your own insurance policy. Depending on your situation, you may file a claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
All drivers who carry the required automobile insurance automatically have coverage of $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident to take account of the uninsured motorists on the roads.
If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, you will be able to make a claim with your own policy under the uninsured motorist coverage. Your own insurance company would then be responsible for paying the claim, which may pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
It is important to note that you can request more uninsured motorist coverage from your insurance company if you so choose. This can help ensure that you are covered no matter how serious of an accident you find yourself involved in.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If another driver only carries a policy with the minimum amount of coverage ($25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident), it is possible that their policy will not cover the full extent of your damages. Underinsured motorist coverage is similar to uninsured motorist coverage in that if the limits of the other driver’s policy are too low, your own policy can be used to compensate you. Underinsured motorist coverage can be used on top of the recovery you get from the other driver’s insurance policy to bring you up to the full compensation you deserve for medical costs, time off work, and physical and psychological pain and suffering.
What information is necessary for a successful personal injury case?
Although personal injury law is complex, two of the most important parts of a successful case are demonstrating the extent of your injuries to the court and proving the other person’s liability for your injuries. To show the extent of your injuries, you will need to work with your doctors to gather medical bills, test results, and doctors’ opinions. You will also need to gather evidence about the circumstances of your injury and the other person’s involvement.
What is a free consultation?
If you have been injured in an accident and you want to discuss your legal options, Spiros Law, P.C. would like to sit down with you. We offer a free consultation to discuss your accident, the impact it has had on your life in terms of medical expenses, pain and suffering, and your ability to work.
There is no cost for the consultation, and you are under no obligation if you decide not to continue working with us. But if we do work together, we will take your case on a contingency fee basis, which means you will not pay us a retainer or any other fees. Spiros Law, P.C. will get paid out of the settlement money you win from your personal injury case.
An accident can disrupt your life in many ways. Sitting down with us is an opportunity for you to ask any legal questions you may have, including how the personal injury claims process works. We will ask you about the extent of your injuries, what your prognosis is, and how the injuries you sustained in the accident have affected your daily life. We will give you frank feedback about what happens when you file a claim against an insurance company.
The purpose of the consultation is to determine if you have a valid case against the other party. Was the other party solely responsible for the accident, or were you or another party partly responsible? We will want to see any police report that may have been filed as a result of the accident. We will also want to see any medical records you can provide detailing your injuries and any possible prognosis. Has your physician discussed any future treatment and/or rehabilitative services stemming from the accident? Are you able to go back to work, or are there limitations to what work you can do after the accident? Will the accident affect your future earnings?
We can answer your questions about your case
The injury attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. have the experience and skill you need on your side if you’ve been hurt due to someone else’s negligence. We have a good sense of whether you are likely to be able to collect damages from the other party, and what factors may limit your settlement.
Many people will try to use the free consultation to find out how much money they will get from the insurance company, which is an important question. We can estimate your possible settlement amount as we gather all the pertinent information, which may not be possible in our first meeting. One thing we cannot do is guarantee you will win your case or guarantee a specific settlement amount. We need to investigate the accident, the liabilities of the parties involved, and the nature of your injuries before we can give you an estimate of how much your case is worth.
Your injury accident disrupted your life. Talking to Spiros Law, P.C. about your case and your future is an important first step to taking control of your life after your accident.
What is liability?
During a personal injury case, a judge or jury may determine that an individual, business, or other entity is responsible for another person’s injuries. If the plaintiff’s attorney is able to prove that the defendant is responsible or liable for injury, the defendant will typically be required to compensate the injured party for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, or other damages.
What is my injury case worth?
Is there reliable information available about how to estimate the value of your personal injury case? In other words, how large of a settlement could you reasonably anticipate? When you speak with an experienced injury attorney about your case, the following information will be necessary for determining what your case might be worth.
- Medical expenses: You should include all your medical expenses, even if you won’t be paying for all of them out of your own pocket.
- Lost earnings: If you were out of work for a period of time to recover from the accident, including all lost earnings. If you used paid time off benefits, include the dollar amount as if you were not paid for the lost days. If you are going to miss work due to future medical treatment, include an estimate of those lost wages, also.
- Estimate all future medical costs: You will need to get a treatment plan from your physician, and it is a good idea to talk to your medical insurance company to determine the costs of future treatment and rehabilitation.
- Maximize your medical insurance expenses: The insurance company will try to get you to agree to the lowest settlement they can. One of the ways they do that is to undervalue your medical expenses. Don’t let them get away with it.
Be sure to include all of the expenses you have already incurred, including the ambulance, emergency room expenses, all appointments with your physician, medications and medical devices like casts, braces, crutches or a walker, etcetera.
This is the point where the insurance company can take advantage: they may try to only include some of the incurred medical expenses in the settlement amount. If your accident was severe enough to necessitate future expenses such as medical treatments, rehabilitative services, a wheelchair, modifications to your home, or any other expense related to the accident, then these costs should be included in the settlement amount. These future expenses should also be reflected in a higher multiplier.
What is negligence?
Personal injury claims often rely on proving negligence on the part of the defendant. If a person fails to act in a manner consistent with that of a reasonable individual and someone is injured as a result, the individual may be accused of negligence. A judge or jury may decide that a person was negligent if he or she failed to protect others from unreasonable harm or injury.
What is personal injury?
The legal term “personal injury” refers to injuries to the body or mind, in contrast to damage to property. This term usually refers to cases in which one person suffers an injury because of another party’s negligence.
What qualifies as medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional acts in a way that deviates from standard practices, resulting in an injury. Medical standards are designed to ensure patients’ safety; a doctor who acts against these standards puts patients at risk.
What should I do after an accident?
It can be difficult to stay focused in the immediate aftermath of an accident. If you can, try to remember or write down as many details of the accident as possible. What did you see before, during, and after the accident? Were there witnesses? Every piece of information you can contribute helps in the event that you choose to take legal action.
Who Can I Expect to Talk to at Spiros Law, P.C.?
When you first call Spiros Law, P.C., you can expect to get a 100% free consultation. Here, an experienced attorney will listen to your story and provide you with information on the best way to proceed with your case.
When you hire Spiros Law, P.C. to represent you after an accident, your rights will be protected by an enthusiastic legal team made up of experienced attorneys, paralegals, legal nurse consultants, private investigators, and legal secretaries. This team will be dedicated to providing you with the highest quality service while always being available to comfort you by answering whatever questions you have regarding your case.
Since we are committed to creating and fostering close and personal relationships with each of our clients, the attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. will regularly schedule and hold in-person meetings to discuss the status of our clients’ cases. We encourage you to keep in contact and to use all forms of electronic communication between appointments in order to have your questions answered or to receive any other information on your case.
Our Attorneys are Always Available and Quick to Respond to Messages
In order to adequately and aggressively represent you as a client, we are dedicated to always answering any questions you might have or providing status updates on your case. Our goal is to help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries. In order to do this, the legal teams at Spiros Law, P.C. are always available for you and will quickly respond to any messages when we cannot be immediately reached. Upon receiving your message, we will promptly return your call or email and provide you with information to answer your questions and ease your mind.
Our Dedicated Legal Assistants Are Qualified to Offer Help and Answer Questions You Might Have About the Case
At Spiros Law, P.C., we take pride in having friendly legal assistants and secretaries that are always willing to offer a helping hand. The majority of our legal assistants have extensive experience working in a legal office setting and providing excellent customer service. They assist in maintaining our attorneys’ files and obtaining records and reports, such as medical records, workers’ compensation reports, and others. Additionally, they have the knowledge to assist our attorneys in drafting legal documents and conducting pre-trial discovery.
When you choose Spiros Law, P.C., you are choosing legal assistants with years of experience in helping to handle personal injury cases. With this, you can rest assured that you are in good hands when it comes to pursuing compensation for your injuries.
Who determines fault after a car accident?
In the aftermath of a car accident, it can be difficult to tell who is at fault. After responding to an accident, police officers file initial reports with a preliminary assignment of blame. Employees of insurance companies then investigate the scene to get a better picture of what happened.
Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
Serious injuries may require hiring an experienced attorney. Negotiating a settlement on your own with insurance companies may leave you with less money to pay your medical bills and recover lost income from missing work. Only a qualified personal injury lawyer can obtain the amount of compensation you deserve if you become seriously injured or disabled due to someone else’s negligence.
Even if your personal injury claim is valid, the insurance company may try to offer you less money than you deserve, or refuse to pay at all. If this occurs, you need a skilled personal injury lawyer on your side to fight on your behalf.
Your Injuries are Severe
The settlement amount you receive is based on the medical bills you incur and the length of time it takes for recovery. If these expenses increase, you are more likely to reach the policy limits of the negligent party’s insurance, and they may only be able to pay a portion of what is deserved. Hiring a lawyer will ensure you obtain a fair settlement needed for a full recovery of your injuries.
You Require Long Term Care or Become Permanently Disabled
If your injury requires long-term care or has left you disabled, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will be able to figure out how much your injuries are worth, as well as determine how your injuries will impact your future earning capacity. A lawyer with experience in the field will know how to estimate future expenses to ensure you get the full amount of compensation you need.
Several Parties are Involved or the Issue of Liability is Unclear
If you were involved in an accident where several parties are liable, your personal injury case becomes more complicated. When many parties are involved in an accident, issues regarding insurance liability can be difficult to navigate. You could also be a target for insurance claims from the other parties involved in the accident. In Illinois, if you are found to be partially responsible for your injuries, your settlement will be reduced in proportion to your fault. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault for your injuries, you will be barred from collecting any compensation whatsoever. You need an injury lawyer to protect you against cross-claims or counter-claims by the other parties involved.
The Insurance Company Acts in Bad Faith or Refuses to Pay
Some insurance companies will not offer a fair settlement or may decide to not settle at all. You may be stuck paying for your own bills, and face the prospect of financial ruin. If you are unable to receive a decent settlement offer, a lawyer can help. A lawyer can help you find options to negotiate with your creditors or obtain a discount for medical debt, as well as negotiate with the insurance to ensure that you receive a settlement to cover current and future medical expenses for your injuries. If necessary, they can even take the insurance company to court.