Although the state of Illinois requires drivers to purchase a minimum insurance policy, it can be very complicated to know how your coverage comes into play in the event of a crash. Whether you’ve been injured in a car crash or are at fault for causing an accident, you should understand how insurance claims are processed in Illinois.
Insurance requirements vary by state, so it’s essential to realize how no-fault and at-fault policies work. Although they essentially function the same, policies from either system offer different coverages.
As the name implies, no-fault insurance pays claims no matter who is at fault in an accident. The policies cover injuries and medical expenses but not damage to property. No-fault insurance is sometimes called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. Some states require PIP policies, and they are optional in other states.
Where no-fault insurance pays for injuries but not property, at-fault policies encompass all damages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Most states requiring at-fault policies have drivers carry minimum coverage for property damage and injury liability.
While filing claims in either policy can be similar, there are key differences between no-fault and at-fault policies. No-fault policies will have the policyholder injured in a crash file a claim with their insurance company, while at-fault policies will have the injured party file with the at-fault driver’s insurance.
No-fault states may require you to exhaust all your PIP insurance before you can file with the at-fault driver’s company.
In legal terms, negligence happens when someone fails to act appropriately in a situation where another person would have acted appropriately. A driver will have the “duty of care” to follow road laws and signs to keep other drivers safe. If they choose to speed or ignore those signs, they’ve breached that duty of care and will be considered negligent.
Negligence can lead to car accidents, which puts the fault on the negligent driver. More than one person can also share fault in an accident.
Illinois operates under comparative negligence laws, meaning any potential payout you’d receive from an accident could be affected by how responsible you were for the accident. You must be less than 50% at fault for the accident to receive compensation.
If you’re able to collect compensation but are found to be at some degree of fault, your payout will be reduced accordingly. For instance, if you’re to be awarded $100,000, but are found 20% responsible, you’ll receive 80% of the payout, or $80,000.
Illinois’s system is fault-based, so you’ll file a claim through the traditional tort system. After an accident, you’ll send a claim to the negligent driver’s insurance company. If they refuse to make a fair payment or pay at all, you’ll need to file a lawsuit.
A lawyer can help you build your case, so hiring one after the accident is critical. They’ll review any evidence from the day of the crash and act as an intermediary between you and the authorities, your insurance company, or the other driver’s insurance company. Should the matter go to court, your lawyer will argue your case and present evidence on your behalf.
Car accidents are stressful enough for you to have to navigate the world of insurance claims and get the compensation you need to recover from them. You can find help from an Illinois personal injury lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.