If another driver was responsible for causing you to engage in a collision in Chicago, you can file a claim with their insurance company if you are looking to recover compensation for your losses (i.e. damages). Losses might include vehicle repairs, medical expenses, etc. You may also be entitled to file a claim with the other motorist’s insurer even if you were partially responsible for the accident.
The State of Illinois follows a comparative negligence law which means that more than one person can be at fault in an accident and can still collect damages. The Illinois Department of Insurance says that under this law, you are typically entitled to recover compensation if you are 50% or less at fault for the crash. Therefore, if it is determined that you were 25% at fault for the collision, while you can still file a claim under the other driver’s insurance policy, your settlement would be reduced by your percentage of fault.
What happens once I file a claim with the other driver’s insurer?
When a driver files a claim under another motorist’s auto policy in the State of Illinois, it is considered a third-party claim. Once you file an accident claim, it doesn’t mean the insurer will process it and pay you for your damages. The company must first investigate the accident and determine whether their insured is responsible for the injuries and/or damages you suffered. If the company finds that their policyholder did, in fact, cause the crash, then a settlement will be offered.
Now, the insurance company typically won’t pay you until you sign a “release for damages.” When you sign a release, you are acknowledging that you agree to the amount offered and this is the only amount of money you will ever receive from the other driver and their insurer. Before signing a “release for damages,” be sure you consult with a Chicago, IL accident lawyer first who can determine if the settlement amount is fair.
It is always best for you to speak with an accident attorney in Chicago before signing any type of agreement as your claim might not be ready to be settled. For example, if you suffered injuries and your medical care is ongoing, you might not know how much the bills will amount to until you have reached the end of treatment. If this is the case, then you may wish to wait to settle your claim until you know what the true value of your damages is.
Important: If the insurer becomes persistent in getting you to settle the claim, you shouldn’t feel pressured to sign a “release for damages” until you are ready to do so. Once an insurer determines their policyholder is liable for an accident, the company will try and settle the claim quickly so that it can close. Unfortunately, this doesn’t exactly give you the amount of time you might need to assess your losses/damages. Therefore, if you aren’t ready to settle or want to be sure you are being awarded a fair amount, let an accident lawyer in Chicago, IL review the settlement letter you received.
If you are ready to speak with a Chicago, IL accident lawyer now who can assist you with the claims process and ensure the company is handling your claim fairly, contact the Budin Law Offices today. The lawyers at this firm can determine what your car accident claim is worth and even help you recover this amount.
Budin Law Offices can be reached at:
1 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2165
Chicago, IL 60602