Even if you have had a clean driving record for years, it is possible that one day you could make a mistake and cause a collision. Accidents, after all, are not intentional. Maybe you did not see another vehicle in your blind spot or you thought you had more time to turn. Whatever the reason, if your actions behind the wheel led to a crash, it is likely that the other driver will make a claim against your auto insurance policy. You may be relieved to know that is what your insurance is there for, to pay for property damage or personal injuries you accidentally cause. But what happens when your auto insurance refuses to pay the person’s claim? You could end up personally responsible for a sizable recovery.
If your auto insurance provider refuses to pay a third-party claim, you may have to wait to see what happens through a personal injury lawsuit against you. Your insurance company is not required to approve every third-party claim made against your policy. Once the claim is made, your insurer will investigate the accident and determine fault. It can deny a claim when it believes you are not at fault, less than 50 percent at fault, or it has some other valid defense to the claim. However, when your insurer denies the other driver’s claim, this puts you in the position of potentially being sued for personal injury claims. When you are taken to court over a car accident, the other driver can seek damages higher than your policy amount. If you are sued, your insurer now must defend you in court, but you might want to get your own attorney.
The lawyer for the insurance company is there to defend you, but he or she is also there to protect the insurer and promote the insurer’s interests. If the insurer refuses to approve the claim and then refuses to settle even after a suit is filed, you should contact a private auto accident attorney to receive an independent opinion of the situation. By working with an attorney at Staver Law Firm, you can ensure that your insurer is not acting in bad faith and putting you in a dangerous position.
If your insurance company is acting in bad faith or violating a provision of the Illinois Insurance Code or Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, you may have your own legal claim against the company.
If you lose the court battle and become personally responsible for paying some damages to the other driver, you should speak with your attorney to see if your insurer acted appropriately and within the law throughout the claims and court process. Your insurance company may have done nothing wrong, but it is also possible that your insurer behaved illegally in not settling and better protecting you from your current situation.
Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. If your insurer has denied a third-party claim against your policy that you believe it should pay, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 or online to learn more about what you can do.