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Car accidents are one of the most common sources of catastrophic injuries in the United States. Luckily, Illinois law states that all drivers must purchase insurance to cover medical costs in the face of a collision. Typically, each insurance policy contains several provisions under which an injured person can obtain coverage for their injuries:
Bodily Injury Coverage. In Illinois, most drivers have at least $20,000.00 in bodily injury coverage that can be used to cover injuries when a driver causes an accident. Some policies exceed $1,000,000.00. If a driver commits negligence, such as running a stop sign or driving while intoxicated, and hurts another person, bodily injury coverage can be used to reimburse the injured person’s expenses.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies will not provide bodily injury funds to an injured person until after they have completed medical treatment. This can cause significant problems for an injured person, who may be unable to work after their injuries and therefore have no money to pay for doctor’s appointments. The Car Accident Attorneys at Noll Law Office can assist you in opening, prosecuting, and obtaining the settlement funds associated with your bodily injury claim.
Medical Payments Coverage. In Illinois, most drivers cover a small amount of “medical payments” or “medpay” coverage. This coverage is “no-fault,” and can often claimed no matter who caused the collision. If an injured person’s health insurance company has high deductibles, oftentimes opening a medical payments claim is the best option. The funds can be used while a person’s bodily injury coverage remains pending. Our lawyers can work on your behalf to secure medical payments coverage.
Underinsured / Uninsured Motorists Coverage. Sometimes, a driver may cause an accident and have no insurance, or not enough insurance to cover the medical bills of the persons he hurt. In this case, the injured persons may file for underinsured or uninsured coverage from their own vehicular insurance policies. The claims usually are arbitrated by a panel of three arbitrators. Noll Law Office attorneys will aggressively arbitrate these claims on your behalf, creating the legal exhibits, securing witnesses, and other evidence necessary to provide you with coverage.
Our law office is family owned and operated. We care about our clients and will provide you with a free initial consultation and legal opinion. If you have been injured as a result of a negligent driver, please contact us or call at (217) 414-8889. Remember, you never have to pay for attorney’s fees unless we win your case!
Non-Required Types of Insurance Coverage
Unlike some other states, there are several types of insurance that are not required in Illinois. Medical payment coverage is not required, which is designed to help people hurt in accidents pay for expenses associated with medical treatment or funerals. Another type of coverage not required in Illinois is collision coverage, which helps to repair vehicles that have been damaged in an accident. Comprehensive coverage, which also helps to repair damaged vehicles, is not required in the state of Illinois.
The Illinois Statute of Limitations for Insurance Coverage
One of the many reasons why it is critical for people who have been injured in car accidents to obtain the assistance of a skilled attorney right away is that there is a strict time limit for pursuing a claim.
Legal actions related to injuries in Illinois must be initiated within two years of the cause of action. After this time period, the victim is permanently barred from pursuing a claim. For this reason, it is critical to obtain the assistance of a skilled accident attorney before it is too late.
However, this two year statute of limitations is changed to one year if the person was a government employee working on their job at the time of the accident. That is why it is important to hire an attorney early on in the process in order to determine the applicable statute of limitations.
Why Car Insurance Companies Deny Insurance Claims
Many people who are involved in car accidents in Illinois discover that insurance companies either delay or deny their claims. One of the most common reasons insurance companies give for denying payment is that their insured driver did not actually cause the accident. Because Illinois is classified as an “at-fault” state, the accident victim must be less than 50% at fault for the accident in order to obtain compensation.
Another common reason why accident victims have a difficult time obtaining compensation from their insurance company is that the insurance company might claim the injuries in questions are only loosely connected to the accident.
Some accident victims have their insurance claims denied due to failure to follow the insurance company’s policies for initiating a claim. Other claims are denied because a person fails to promptly inform their insurance company about the accident. Yet another reason that insurance companies deny claims is that the insured driver does not have adequate coverage to compensate the injured driver.
Comparative Negligence in Illinois Car Accidents
If the other driver was entirely responsible for the car accident, it is often must easier for an injured victim to argue that the driver should compensate him or her for injuries incurred.
This can become much more complicated in Illinois, however, if both drivers were partially responsible for the accident. In these situations, the state of Illinois follows a comparative fault rule. Under this rule, the accident victim’s compensation is reduced by a percentage that he or she is responsible for the accident. In situations in which the accident victim is more than 50% at fault, then he or she will be prohibited from obtaining any compensation at all.
How to Respond After a Car Accident
- In addition to understanding the basic details of traffic law, it helps to understand some important steps that you should take immediately following a car accident. Many accident victims feel overwhelmed by the numerous complications that can arise after an accident, but following these steps can help to make sure that nothing ends up weakening your ability to pursue compensation for your injuries.
- Under no circumstances should you ever leave the scene of an accident without first making sure that everyone is okay and that no property damage occurred.
- Avoid creating circumstances that result in an additional accidents. If it is safe to do so, move your vehicles out of the road and to a safe location. Making sure the scene is protected is particularly important at night or in adverse weather conditions.
- Contact law enforcement. Even if no one was seriously injured in the accident, it is still a wise idea to contact law enforcement so that a police report can be written. Police reports can be used as evidence in courts of law and can also help insurance companies decide how compensation should be given. When the officer arrives at the scene of the accident, tell him or her exactly how the accident occurred. Do not lie.
- If you have access to any type of camera, on your smartphone or otherwise, and you can do so without being hurt, you should take photographs of the scene of the accident. Show any property damage that occurred as well as the area surrounding the accident scene. If you have incurred any visible injuries, take photographs of them right away, and then again in 12 hours and 24 hours.
- Exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident. This is particularly important if law enforcement is not at the scene of the accident. Some of the information that you should exchange includes home addresses, names, telephone numbers, license numbers, and insurance carriers. In situations in which there are witnesses to the accident, you should also get their contact information.
- Report the accident. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident occurs. A representative from your insurance company can inform you about the type of plan and coverage that you have.
- Obtain prompt medical attention. In a many situations, physical injuries are not immediately noticeable after a motor vehicle accident. Instead, it often takes accident victims several days before they begin to experience the pain or discomfort associated with an accident. For this reason, it is best to promptly get checked out by a doctor, even if you do not believe that you were injured. Not only does this help keep you healthy, but receiving prompt medical attention also helps to create a record about what injuries you incurred as a result of the accident and will help you down the line should you pursue compensation for your injuries.
- Maintain a File. Keep all of the documents pertaining to your accident as well as other important information in one easy to find and organized file. This paperwork often includes medical bills and insurance claim information.
How Much is Your Car Accident Case Worth?
The exact compensation that you can expect to receive after a car accident depends on the seriousness of your injuries as well as how the accident occurred. Some of the various types of compensation that can be awarded in car accident cases include the following:
- Costs associated with medical bills and treatment of injuries that were caused by the accident
- Wages that you lost because you were unable to work after the accident
- Damage to the driver’s vehicle as well as any other property damage as a result of the accident.
- Non-economic damages, which include things like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.
How Long Does as Illinois Car Accident Case Take to Resolve?
Unfortunately, there is no universal answer as to how long an Illinois car accident case takes to resolve. Instead, the duration is influenced by numerous factors such as the insurance companies involved, who is liable for the car accident, the severity of the injuries caused by the accident, and the medical testimony provided by experts.
Some car accidents cases conclude rather quickly because the victim can resolve matters directly with the responsible driver’s insurance company. In other situations, a case must proceed to a court of law and will take a much longer to resolve. While cases handled by insurance companies might take several months, cases that go to trial can take several years.
Many accident victims understandably want their cases to conclude as quickly as possible so that they can receive the compensation they need to recover. It is important to avoid rushing to resolve a case, however, as you risk settling for much less than you deserve.
Speak with an Experienced Accident Attorney
Our law office is family owned and operated. We care about our clients and will provide you with a free initial consultation and legal opinion. If you have been injured as a result of a negligent driver, please contact us or call at (217) 414-8889. Remember, you never have to pay for attorney’s fees unless we win your case.