Car accidents can cause property damage to vehicles and buildings and injuries to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Drivers at fault for collisions could be held legally responsible for paying your medical bills, repair costs, and more.
Typically, reimbursement for damages goes through car insurance companies. However, insurance providers will only pay covered losses up to the policy’s limit. This threshold can leave a financial gap if you are the victim of a serious car accident.
An Arlington Heights car accident lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to. One of our personal injury attorneys at The Kryder Law Group can speak to you about the incident and your legal choices.
Responsibility in an Auto Accident
Illinois has at-fault and comparative negligence laws. At-fault means drivers who cause collisions are responsible for paying the medical bills and property damage expenses for the other driver and persons involved in the incident. Other individuals can include passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
The comparative negligence model indicates how much someone is liable for an accident compared to others. For example, someone who is speeding and someone who runs a red light might each be 50 percent responsible for a crash.
Illinois’ contributory negligence statute, 735 ILCS 5/2-1116, states that a plaintiff can seek recoverable damages if they are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. As a plaintiff in a car accident case, you can seek compensation for bodily injury, death, and property damage. Keep in mind that you have the following statutes of limitations on recoverable damage claims:
- Personal injury, two years
- Wrongful death, two years
- Property damage, five years
Insurance adjusters from insurance companies of the drivers determine the percentage of fault based on the evidence you present. However, the court can also decide the percentage of fault if you pursue a lawsuit.
Similarly, other parties can share a portion of the liability even if they were not at the accident. For example, employers could be partially responsible for paying for damages of workers who get into a car accident while on duty or driving a company car.
The city or state could also be legally liable if a broken traffic signal, missing stop sign, or another municipal factor caused the accident. Collisions with public transportation vehicles, such as a bus, could involve the local government paying for related losses.
Compensation Awarded in Car Accident Lawsuits
Insurance companies do not work in your favor. They are for-profit organizations that think about their bottom line before policyholders. Insurance policies have limits, and companies will most likely not pay more than that limit. Likewise, policies typically only cover injuries and property damage, not non-economic losses.
An Arlington Heights car accident attorney can negotiate with insurance representatives on your behalf. The team at The Kryder Law Group will fight for the compensation you need to help you recover.
The Illinois Department of Insurance (IDOI) requires all drivers to have a minimum amount of insurance coverage in case of an auto collision. Drivers must have at least:
- $20,000 worth of coverage to pay for property damage, such as vehicle repairs and replacements.
- $25,000 worth of coverage to pay for the medical bills of one person.
- $50,000 worth of coverage to pay for the medical bills of multiple people.
Drivers may have higher limits or more coverage, such as uninsured motorist coverage. Insurance companies will only pay for what the policy details. They will only cover medical bills and property damage up to the limit.
Car insurance policies might also cover lost wages due to the motor vehicle accident. You or others may have missed work because of an injury or the inability to get to the job. You can also request reimbursement for future lost wages if injuries keep you from earning an income for weeks, months, or permanently.
Insurance policies also do not cover non-economic losses typically. You can also seek compensation for non-economic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lower quality of life
- Physical disfigurement
- Mental impairment
If the at-fault driver does not have enough coverage or does not have insurance, you can sue the driver directly to recover an adequate amount. Suing does not mean you have to go to trial—you can still settle your car accident claim outside of an Arlington Heights court.
What to Expect when Seeking Car Accident Compensation
After an auto accident, drivers have the duty to report the collision if injury or property damage of more than $1,500 occurred. Someone should have called for medical assistance if the motor vehicle collision caused injury to someone.
You should have also exchanged insurance information with the other driver or contact information at least. Photos and videos of the scene of the car accident can also be beneficial and strengthen your claim for compensation. If there were eyewitnesses, getting their names and contact details for a testimonial can also be useful.
Contact your insurance company first to inform them of the auto accident. They will send an insurance adjuster to assess the damage and assign fault. The other driver’s insurance company will do the same. You might also need to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance provider if yours does not do so for you.
Your Arlington Heights car accident claim should include:
- The other driver’s name and policy number
- A copy of the accident report from law enforcement
- Any photos or video evidence of the accident scene
- Records of personal injuries and property damage you suffered
Your medical records, as well as any passengers in your vehicle, will have dates, diagnoses, and treatments. It can include X-rays and other testing information about health conditions suffered in the accident. Medical bills will also illustrate a portion of your economic losses.
Work with an Arlington Heights Car Accident Attorney on Our Team
An Arlington Heights car accident lawyer can review your claim and help you through the process. Our team can ensure the inclusion of all your related losses and negotiate with insurance companies for the highest award possible. Contact The Kryder Law Group about your car accident.