You may believe that if another driver causes a car accident, their insurance will compensate for your medical expenditures. However, if you reside in a no-fault state, you may be liable for these expenses even if the accident was not your fault. No matter who was at fault for the collision, every driver in a no-fault state has to claim with their insurance provider. Like most states, Illinois adheres to a fault-based insurance system. The state has laws governing an at-fault or tort system and comparative negligence. The motive is to help reduce the cost of auto insurance and the number of small-claims lawsuits brought about by vehicle collisions.
Insurance laws in the United States
US Insurance laws typically fall into two categories, including fault or no-fault. There are only 12 states that use a no-fault insurance system:
- North Dakota
- New York
- New Jersey
Drivers in these no-fault states cannot depend solely on other drivers’ insurance coverage for their medical expenses after an accident, even if the other driver was at fault. Instead, they must have personal injury protection, also known as “no-fault insurance,” which covers their injuries in the event of a collision. Even in no-fault states, the at-fault driver must pay for the property damage they cause, regardless of where you reside.
On the contrary, at-fault insurance differs from the no-fault auto insurance system. In at-fault states, the driver who caused the collision is responsible for the other party’s injuries and property damage. It also refers to a tort liability insurance system, implying that you can file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance to pay for your injuries. At-fault states typically take longer to process claims than no-fault states do. The delay is because insurers must establish liability following an accident to know which driver’s insurance company is liable for covering the other driver’s injuries.
Car insurance requirements in Illinois
Both fault-based and no-fault insurance laws are prevalent in the United States.
However, Illinois is not a no-fault state, but it is an at-fault or tort state with comparative negligence laws. Drivers are responsible for covering the other party’s damages if they are more than 50% at fault for an accident. According to the doctrine of comparative negligence, the victim may seek compensation for losses up to the percentage of the other driver’s fault. For instance, you have the right to demand 70% of the cost of your losses if the other driver is 70% at fault.
In Illinois, it is a legal requirement for all motorists to have auto liability insurance. The state law specifies the following minimum coverage amounts:
- $25,000 in liability coverage per person for wrongful death and bodily harm
- $50,000 in total accident coverage, including wrongful death and bodily injuries
- $20,000 as property damage liability insurance
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage under your policy must match your liability coverage limits. When struck by an uninsured motorist, this insurance coverage will safeguard you. Illinois has minimum auto insurance requirements that you must fulfill. Otherwise, it could result in a $10,000 fine and license suspension. The risk of driving without insurance is not worth undergoing heavy penalties.
However, drivers can opt to buy more insurance if they so desire. Injury victims are only eligible for compensation up to the policy limits of the at-fault driver; if their damages exceed these limits, the company might not offer an adequate settlement. Nevertheless, they can file personal injury claims for a fair compensation value. Or, submit an insurance claim provided their policy includes the necessary coverage.
Steps to take after an Illinois Car Accident
Unfortunately, car accidents in Illinois are common to see. Some crashes happen because of distracted or intoxicated drivers, while others occur due to overspeeding. Since the state ensues a fault-based system for auto accidents, the moments immediately following the collision are vital. The victims have to gather evidence available right after the incident to prove the driver’s fault. The following steps can help you get ready for your potential claim if you are in a car accident.
Emergency medical care
The priority after every car accident is the safety of the parties involved. If anyone seems injured, call 911 immediately to bring police and emergency medical services to the spot. Ask the responding officer to produce an accident report and be careful not to admit your fault. You can use the official accident report as proof for your future claim.
Photo documenting the accident
No matter how hurried you are, take pictures of your crashed car, injuries, and surroundings. These images demonstrate that the collision occurred and that you incurred substantial losses. The accident-related pictures can help the police with their investigation and the auto insurance company to approve your claim.
Seeking health care provider
The next thing to do is check for injuries on yourself and your passengers. If anyone is hurt, seek medical attention from the emergency personnel or visit the nearest medical center. Even if injuries seem mild, you can’t completely rule out the possibility of serious injury. A critical car accident can mask pain signals with an adrenaline rush. Even hours or days after a collision, injuries that are not immediately obvious may begin to manifest symptoms.
Informing insurance company
Once the injured have received care, it’s time to notify your insurance company of the collision. When the company’s surveyor arrives, show the photographic evidence and medical bills. To avoid claim rejection, give precise information about your accident without any false statements. Remember not to admit the blame for the accident, no matter what the severity of your case.
Seek legal guidance
Whether or not your accident-related injuries are mild, they are valid reasons for making an insurance claim. These can develop into chronic issues over time, making them more severe than they appear. The legal complexities of a damage claim may prompt you to seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney Chicago. Your attorney will review the documentation, compile the paperwork, and represent you in negotiation with the responsible driver’s insurance provider.
Attorney for lawsuits in No-Fault States
Claiming for car accidents in an at-fault state like Illinois can be challenging. However, with the support of a well-experienced attorney, you will know how to handle the circumstance. You must submit some documents to report the incident, such as car repair invoices, insurance policy papers, medical bills for associated injuries, and a police report. To ensure that the entire claim settlement process is quick and effective, your attorney will assist you in completing all required legal formalities. Along with the financial loss, you can also claim for the emotional distress caused by the incident. The lawyer will help evaluate the cost of your economic and non-economic damages.
Insurance claim adjusters often try to settle accident claims for less money than they are worth. Never underestimate their potential because they
will look for your negligence and attempt to close your case by offering a small sum. However, your lawyer will ensure you receive professional advice throughout the process. They will assess, investigate, advocate, and bargain on your behalf. No matter how mild your injuries are, they will work tentatively to get you a fair financial settlement.
Uncertain of the legal proceedings following a car accident in Illinois? At Phillips Law Offices, our knowledgeable attorneys for auto accidents can help. They can stand up for your rights and ensure you get reasonable compensation for your losses.
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