The point of car insurance is to cover the financial costs of damage in a car accident. Just how much damage is covered depends on your insurance. In the State of Illinois, you are required to have liability insurance and uninsured motorist insurance. This means that even if you are at fault for an accident, you are covered for damages you cause to another driver under all insurances. No matter what, you are eligible for an insurance claim if the other person is at fault.
If you have purchased additional collision insurance, you may be eligible for a claim if you are at fault. In these cases you must contact your insurance to find out what your policy entails and how much you will be covered. They will determine how much you are owed and who bears the fault of the accident.
What isn’t always apparent in either case is who is at fault. In order for you to be eligible for a claim under the minimum required insurance (that is, liability insurance), the other person must be determined at fault for the accident. Just because police cited you for the accident does not necessarily mean that you will be held at fault for the accident. To prove that the other person is at fault, you have to prove that the damage sustained in the accident was caused by the negligent actions of the other driver. This is generally more difficult to prove if you have been ticketed for negligence during the accident, but it is not impossible.
If the police officer did not see the accident happen and only ticketed you based on the testimony of you and the other driver, they may not have heard the whole story. Perhaps the other driver even lied to the police. In these cases, you can contest the ticket in court and let a judge hear your side of the case. However, if the ticket is upheld, there is an even greater chance that you will be determined at fault.
In other cases, the citation may be valid, but it may not be enough on its own to determine who is at fault. For example, if you get a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, it obviously has no bearing on who is actually at fault. In other cases, it may be less clear. If you were ticketed for speeding, that is a negligent action, but there may be extenuating circumstances that caused you to speed. There also may have been other factors that caused the accident that were the fault of the other driver. It is important to talk these cases over with a lawyer in order to better determine who will be considered at fault.
If you have been in a car accident and received a citation, but do not believe yourself to be at fault, you should consult with an experienced lawyer. We can work with you to build a case against the other driver and hold them at fault for their liability. Just because you were ticketed does not mean you lose your right to an insurance claim automatically, and it definitely does not mean that you should accept fault for the accident without better guidance. Let us help you stick up for yourself against the insurance companies. Call us at (312) 236-2900 for a free evaluation.