Many auto accident victims are unable to recover compensation after an accident because of disputed liability. Insurance companies and courts alike determine who should be responsible—or liable—for an accident by applying the law of negligence to the facts of each case. If it turns out that you negligently caused the accident, you may be denied compensation for your property damage and your injuries.
While hiring a lawyer is not necessary to successfully recover for damages through the insurance claims process, having a capable legal professional at your side can reduce your stress while increasing your chances of recovering a beneficial settlement. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we specialize in getting our clients the compensation they deserve whether through an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
Liability Hinges on Negligence
A driver is negligent when he or she breaches the duty of ordinary care, and in doing so causes injuries to another. A breach of the duty of care occurs whenever a driver fails to operate a vehicle in the same manner as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. Thus, if it’s rainy or foggy, the duty of ordinary care dictates that a driver should drive slowly and apply the brakes earlier than under normal conditions.
In Illinois, any driver who is more than 50% responsible for an accident cannot get any compensation for the accident, and may be responsible for paying the damages of the victims. Drivers who are less than 50% responsible for an accident can get compensation, but will see their damages reduced in proportion of their fault. For example, a driver who is 30% responsible for an accident will receive compensation for only 70% of his or her damages.
Determining Liability is a Complex Matter
If you get into an accident with another driver, and you believe that you were not at fault, you would seek to recover compensation for your damages from the other driver’s insurance company. This is called a third party claim. The other driver’s insurance company will only pay out an award under your third-party claim if it is certain that you did not cause the accident.
For this reason, your third party claim will be the subject of a lengthily investigation. You can better your chances of convincing the insurance company that you are deserving of compensation if you submit evidence along with you claim, such as photos of the accident scene, witness statements, and a copy of the police’s report of the accident.
You May Be Able to get Compensation Faster by Filing a First-Party Claim
Since it may take some time for the other driver’s insurance company to respond to your claim, you might consider filing a first party claim with your own insurance company to get immediate compensation for your damages. But this strategy is only available to drivers who have collision coverage.
If at the conclusion of the investigation, it emerges that you were not responsible for the accident, you won’t have to do a thing—your insurance company will collect the money it paid to you from the other driver’s insurance company through a process called subrogation. If the subrogation action is successful, you will even be entitled to recover any deductible you paid out when recovering under your first party claim.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help in a Liability Dispute
If you don’t have collision insurance, you’ll only be able to recover compensation for your accident by filing a third party claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Trying to convince an insurance company that you are not responsible for an accident can be a stressful endeavor, especially when you are recovering from injuries and trauma from an accident.
The attorneys of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help settle a dispute over whether you should be liable for an accident. If you want help getting compensation after an accident, give Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. a call at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation of your case.