Archive for the ‘ Auto Accidents ’ Category

Common Questions About Car Accidents and Uninsured Drivers

Posted on: July 31, 2017 by in Auto Accidents
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Generally, the law in Illinois requires negligent drivers to pay for the property that they damage and for the injuries that they inflict. Almost everyone thinks that the law is fair, but that does not mean that everyone complies with the law. Some drivers in Illinois have no automobile insurance at all, and far too many traffic accidents and serious injuries are caused by those drivers.

If an uninsured motorist injures you in the state of Illinois, even if you pursue and win a civil personal injury lawsuit, if that driver has no money, you’ll receive nothing. However, that does not mean that you have no legal recourse if you are injured by a negligent, uninsured driver. Even if the driver who injured you is uninsured and genuinely penniless, a good personal injury lawyer can often find another pathway for you to obtain compensation.

Under Illinois law, drivers must carry uninsured motorist coverage with limits that are equal to their bodily injury liability coverage limits – unless they choose lower coverage limits in writing. The minimum uninsured motorist coverage limits are $20,000 per person with a maximum of $40,000 per accident.

That coverage offers some basic protection to those who are injured in a collision with a negligent, uninsured or underinsured motorist, but when the injuries are serious or disabling, the actual amount of the damages can far exceed what that coverage provides.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about traffic accidents, injuries, liability, and uninsured drivers in Illinois. The answers, however, can only be general answers, because the details will be different in every case, so if you are injured by a negligent driver in the greater Chicago area, do not wait. Immediately contact an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney who can explain your options and rights and provide more detailed answers to these frequently asked questions:

Q: What automobile insurance does the law require in Illinois?

A: Illinois requires drivers to carry liability insurance for any vehicle they drive in this state. The minimum liability coverage that a driver must carry is $20,000 for the injury or death of one person, $40,000 for multiple injury victims or deaths in a single collision, and $15,000 for property damage. As mentioned previously, uninsured motorist coverage is also mandatory in Illinois. If you can, it’s smart to obtain a policy with even more coverage. If you are found at fault for a crash with injuries, and the damages exceed your policy’s limits, you might be held personally liable for the difference.

Q: How can drivers be uninsured in Illinois if auto insurance is mandatory?

A: In Illinois, you must have auto insurance to register a vehicle. Some drivers, especially drivers who are broke and feel somewhat desperate, will purchase automobile insurance just to get a vehicle registered, and then they will cancel the policy. Until those drivers are pulled over by a police officer or involved in an accident, they drive penalty-free. The California Department of Insurance tells us that across the United States, 14 percent of all traffic collisions are caused by drivers who are uninsured and that about 16 percent of all motorists in the U.S. have no auto insurance.

Q: If a driver who is uninsured injures you in Illinois, how can compensation be obtained?

A: If you are injured in a collision, and the other driver has no insurance or that driver’s policy is insufficient to compensate you adequately, you and your lawyer will likely examine your own policy first. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance company should pay what you would receive if the negligent driver had insurance, up to the limits of the coverage.

You may also have coverage under a policy purchased by someone else in your family or household. In some cases, finding a policy that adequately covers your injuries can require some effort, but it’s the first step when you’re injured, you can’t work, and the medical expenses start to pile up.

Q: Is there a legal penalty for those who drive without insurance in Illinois?

A: Driving without insurance is a “petty offense” in this state, so no jail time is imposed, but a conviction for driving without insurance in Illinois is punishable with a fine of from $500 to $1,000. Additionally, the driver’s license and the vehicle’s registration will be suspended until the driver can produce proof that he or she has obtained auto insurance. After a first conviction for driving without insurance, a driver’s failure to keep auto insurance coverage can trigger another suspension of the driver’s license.

Q: What happens if you loan your vehicle, which is insured, to an uninsured friend who causes an accident with injuries?

A: As a general rule, auto insurance policies cover the vehicle rather than the person driving it. In Illinois, if you loan your vehicle to someone who drives negligently and causes injury, a claim will probably be made against your auto insurance policy, and you’ll pay more for auto insurance in the future.

However, in some cases, auto insurance companies will not extend coverage to a driver who is not specifically named in the policy. Have your own automobile insurance provider explain precisely what your policy covers before you lend your vehicle to anyone.

Q: What is your recourse if you are injured by a hit-and-run driver?

A: There are a number of reasons why a negligent driver might leave the scene of an accident after causing injuries. Having no insurance is one of the leading reasons. Thus, even if the police are able to identify a hit-and-run driver, there is no reason to assume that the driver will have auto insurance. And if you are injured by a hit-and-run driver who cannot be identified, you may have to make a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage. But first, you should discuss your options and rights with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Q: Are there additional steps you can take to protect yourself and your passengers?

A: You may want to consider a purchasing personal liability umbrella policy (or “PLUP”), which gives you additional coverage beyond uninsured motorist coverage. Generally, personal “umbrella” insurance is liability insurance in excess of other your other insurance policies for losses not covered by the other policies. Every driver in Illinois needs to have sufficient auto insurance coverage.

If you are injured by a negligent driver – whether or not that driver is insured – promptly discuss your case with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. While you recover from serious injuries, anxiety about paying the medical bills is the last thing you need.

Insurance Company Denied Your Claim? Here’s What To Do

Posted on: June 22, 2017 by in Auto Accidents, Car Accidents
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More than ten million automobiles, trucks, and other motor vehicles are registered and insured in the state of Illinois. If you are driving or riding in one of those vehicles and you are injured in a traffic collision, you will probably file an injury claim with an insurance company, either your own company or the other driver’s.

However, in some cases, the insurance company may insist that the insurance policy you are making a claim against does not cover your accident. You may even receive a letter from a company attorney telling you there is no coverage.

Don’t be intimidated. That’s almost always an insurance company’s initial negotiating position – not the end of negotiations but the beginning. If a negligent motorist’s auto insurance company – or your own insurance company – will not pay your claim after you’ve been injured in the state of Illinois or if the company refuses to negotiate with you, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit with the advice and help of an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney.

When an insurance company is not straightforward with you – and even if you don’t end up suing the company – you should still have sound legal advice and the insights of an Illinois personal injury lawyer who routinely battles the insurance companies and knows how they operate. The right attorney can explain your rights and options, and if necessary, advocate on your behalf for the compensation – and for the justice – that are rightly yours.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’RE TOLD THERE’S NO COVERAGE?

So, why would an insurance adjuster tell you that your policy – or the other driver’s policy – does not cover your accident? The adjuster might say that the policy has lapsed or expired, or that the nature or location of the accident makes that accident an exception.

But an insurance company’s claim that there is no coverage does not end your effort to obtain compensation from the company. It’s simply one more element in the overall picture.

If you are told there is no coverage, ask the insurance adjuster to furnish you with an explanation in writing that spells out why the insurance company insists that there is no coverage. The letter should cite the specific provisions in the policy that restrict coverage. The company’s response in writing gives you the opportunity to respond in kind and to challenge the insurance company’s denial of your claim with precise details.

If the insurance adjuster will not provide you with an explanation in writing, write a letter to the adjuster’s manager or claims supervisor. Recount your discussion with the adjuster and the adjuster’s refusal to cooperate with you.

Make a copy of the letter for yourself, and send it “return receipt requested” so that you will have proof that the company received it. Your letter may put pressure on the company to take action, and if you eventually have to take legal action, it’s evidence of the company’s unwillingness to cooperate.

When an adjuster tells you that a policy does not cover your accident and injury, the adjuster may tell you that is the judgment of the insurance company’s lawyers. You may even receive a letter to that effect from an attorney representing the company. Don’t be intimidated – it’s just one attorney’s opinion.

WHAT IF THE INSURANCE COMPANY IS RIGHT AND THERE’S NO COVERAGE?

However, after talking with the adjuster and reading the key sections of the policy, if you suspect that the adjuster is right and the policy offers no coverage, speak to an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. A good personal injury lawyer may be able to identify another party with liability – that is, another potential source of compensation.

If a defective auto part or a poorly-maintained highway had any role in the accident, you make have a claim against the part manufacturer or against the government agency responsible for highway maintenance. If the collision involved a commercial vehicle, liability could potentially be shared by several parties.

From the moment a traffic collision happens, you need to think about liability, insurance coverage, and compensation for damage and injuries. Report any crash with injuries to the police so that you can receive a copy of their traffic crash report. You’re going to need it. Make sure the police include the complete insurance details in their traffic crash report, and then notify your auto insurance company at once.

WHAT IS INSURANCE BAD FAITH?

In the state of Illinois, when an automobile insurance company fails to meet its responsibility to an injury victim and does not exercise “good faith,” that injury victim may file a “bad faith” lawsuit against the insurer.

An insurance company may be operating in bad faith if it handles your claim carelessly or unjustly by giving you no reason – or false reasons – for rejecting your claim or by:

  • endlessly asking for more information in order to keep delaying payment
  • offering you only a small percentage of your claim’s actual value
  • failing to return calls or respond to letters or emails

Sometimes, hiring a lawyer who is experienced with insurance bad faith claims is all it takes to make an insurance company responsive and cooperative. If your bad faith claim against an insurance company prevails, you may be awarded the original amount you were denied plus your attorney fees and any additional monetary penalties ordered by the court against the insurer. Illinois law places a cap on the amount of monetary penalties that can be ordered in insurance bad faith cases.

If you are seriously injured by a negligent driver it may be best to avoid making any statement to the insurance company, agreeing to a settlement, or signing any insurance documents before consulting an Illinois personal injury lawyer. When you’re recovering from serious injuries, you need to focus on your health and let your lawyer handle the legal matters on your behalf.

Auto Collision Repair Shops in Chicago

Posted on: July 21, 2015 by in Auto Accidents
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When you’ve been in a car accident, there’s a lot to think about.  If you need to get your car repaired, you’ll need to find a shop in Chicago, Illinois that specializes in auto collision repair.  Here are a few to get you headed in the right direction.

Euro Collision

Do you have an imported car?  If you need body and frame alignment done as a result of your accident, Euro Collision is a great place to take your car.  They use the Celette straightening bench system, which is recommended by many foreign car companies.  Euro Collision has 3 locations in Chicago, so one should be nearby you.  They can arrange towing to their shop, and they have Enterprise Rent-a-car on site at their facilities.

Metro Collision Experts

This family owned shop has been in business since 1997.  They offer complete auto body service and repairs and can help you get back on the road as soon as possible after your accident. They will work directly with your insurance company to make sure that repairs are complete, and that your vehicle is made whole again.  They can arrange emergency towing 24/7 for you.

Car Care Collision Center

The folks at Car Care Collision Center want you to know that they offer complete auto body service to all makes and models, whether they’re domestic or imports.  They offer FREE 24/7 towing to their shop.  Also…if you’re an UBER driver, they work with UBER’s insurance company and can repair your car for you.

CDE Collision Damage Experts

The expert staff at Collision Damage Experts has been focused on collision damage repair since 1982.  They have 15 different locations, and three of those are in Chicago, IL.  With an excellent reputation for repairing collision damage, these folks even hold continuing education classes for insurance professional on site.  They keep their own staff up to date with training and education as well.  They have Enterprise Rent-a-car onsite.  It’s reassuring to know that they offer a lifetime warranty on repairs, for as long as you own the vehicle.

Erie Collision Center

Wow!  Sixty-Five years in the auto industry as a company!  These folks pride themselves on their accurate in-house estimating, that brings accurate quotes for your repairs.  Their facilities house state of the art collision repair machinery.  Tech savvy, they use the latest technology to bring you the best results for your car.

Perillo Collision and Service Center

The collision experts at Perillo Collision and Service Center have built a strong reputation through their customer experience.  Perillo works on all makes and models, and they accept all insurances.  The can arrange towing, and they offer pickup and delivery service.  Perillo’s goal is to return your car to showroom condition for you.

Making Your Choice

When it comes to repairing your car after an accident, shop around a little and call a few of these places.  Make sure the person that answers the phone is nice, since you will probably need to deal with them often.  Call at least a couple of shops before you make your final decision.  Choosing someone to restore your car to its original condition can be stressful.  Hopefully this gets you started.

Can a passenger recover damages for accident injuries caused by a driver of the same car?

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If you’ve received injuries from a car accident in which you were a passenger, you may be wondering whether you’re eligible to recover damages from the driver. While this hasn’t always been the case in Illinois, our Chicago auto accident attorneys assure that, yes, it is possible to file a claim against one’s own driver.

Before the early 1950s, the law in Illinois didn’t do much to protect passengers. In fact, it specified that injured passengers were not allowed to recover from the driver of their own vehicle. But plaintiff’s lawyers lobbied legislators in the state, explaining that the purpose of car insurance was to allow victims full and fair compensation for their injuries. Today, Illinois law encourages people who are wrongfully injured to seek compensation.

Of course, not everyone agrees with passenger’s rights. Insurance companies will frequently attempt to deny claims by arguing passengers endanger themselves by making poor decisions, such as getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking or has exhibited reckless behavior in the past. This is why it’s so important to enlist the help of an experienced Illinois car accident lawyer when seeking damages. A good attorney understands the legal rights of all parties in an automobile crash – and has the skills and knowledge to defend those rights.

If an at-fault driver is insured, his or her insurance company is responsible for paying damages to parties who are injured as a result of the driver’s negligence – whether those parties are pedestrians on the street, drivers of other vehicles or passengers within the driver’s own vehicle.

If you’ve been injured in an Illinois car accident, speak with an Illinois car accident attorney. Your lawyer can determine whether you have a case against your driver – and, if you do, help you receive maximum compensation for your damages.