Illinois injury lawyer – Can I sue the insurance company

My name is Barry Zlotowicz and I am an Illinois injury lawyer. I often get asked by clients “can I sue the insurance company?” In this article I Illinois injury lawyerwill address this common question and also briefly discuss when you can in fact sue an insurance company. If you are involved in a dispute with an insurance company, call me today at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.

Who do you sue?

Auto insurance companies can be very difficult to deal with. The insurance company has one goal – to make money. They do this by taking in as much in premium payments as they can while at the same time paying as little as they can for insurance claims.

As such, it should be no surprise that the insurance company will nickel and dime you to every extent possible to save money. They know that the likelihood of someone filing a lawsuit against them is small – the vast majority of cases settle. Few people will file a lawsuit over a couple hundred dollars in property damage.

This often leads to serious frustration when dealing with an insurance company after an auto accident or other personal injury accident. I have received many calls from people who ask: “can I sue the insurance company?”

The answer is….

As an Illinois injury lawyer, I’m very familiar with insurance company tactics. But generally speaking, no matter what the insurance company does, you do not sue the insurance company directly for injuries and damages suffered in an auto accident. Rather, you sue the person who hit you.

Example

Let’s say you are involved in an auto accident with a “John Smith.” Mr. Smith rear-ended you while driving on the Kennedy Expressway. Mr. Smith is insured by Geico Insurance. After the accident, you obtain Mr. Smith’s auto insurance information. You file a claim with Geico and after you finish treating you demand $25,000 to settle your case. Geico offers you only $10,000. You are not happy with the offer. What do you do?

In short, your Illinois injury lawyer will file a lawsuit against John Smith, not Geico Insurance. Geico has a duty to defend Mr. Smith. Therefore, once Mr. Smith is served with your lawsuit, he will call Geico and Geico will pay for a law firm to represent Mr. Smith.

When do you sue the insurance company?

The only time you will hear your Illinois injury lawyer talk about suing the insurance company is when he or she alleges that the insurance company is acting in “bad faith.” It’s a term that’s thrown around a lot by people but as applied to auto insurance claims, it is not used that often.

In short, a bad faith claim in this context usually arises when an auto accident victim files a claim against the defendant driver and there is a reasonable probability that the recovery will be in excess of the insurance policy. Despite this, the insurance company refuses to “tender” or offer the entire insurance policy to settle the case.

If your Illinois injury lawyer files a lawsuit on your behalf and you win an amount in excess of the policy amount, you may be able to file suit against the defendant’s insurance company and recover the entire amount of the verdict plus attorney’s fees and more.

If you want to read more about this topic and the standard for a bad faith claim, check out the Illinois Insurance code 215 ILCS 5/155.

Practical use of bad faith

Most of the times I have used this allegation is when an insurance company engages in significant delays in responding to a demand letter or other request for compensation. In that case, I will send a letter to the insurance company subtly suggesting they are acting inappropriately. An insurance company is usually fairly quick to respond to such a letter. However, this is normally a last resort.

Conclusion

Have a question for an Illinois injury lawyer including can I sue the insurance company? Feel free to contact us today for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Illinois Accident Lawyer – Property damage attorney

Call Illinois accident lawyer Barry Zlotowicz of the Chicago Legal Group today at 847-305-4105 if you are searching for a property damage attorney. We have handled countless property damage claims on behalf of victims of automobile, motorcycle, bicycle and other accidents.

What type of property damage can you recover for?

If you are involved in an auto or other motor vehicle accident, you likely suffered some form of property damage. That could include damage to your vehicle, damage to personal items like your iPhone or GPS, and you will also be forced to pay for a replacement vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired. To obtain help, call an Illinois Accident Lawyer today or continue reading below.

The most common claim is for the damage to your vehicle. Each type of accident is different and raises a different type of issue. If you were hit in your car, there might be damage to your bumper that can’t be seen by an auto insurance appraiser without taking the bumper off. Perhaps you got hit on a $5,000.00 road bicycle. If the bike has a carbon fiber frame, it may require an x-ray to determine if it is cracked. If you were on a motorcycle, you may have many aftermarket parts on the bike. As a property damage attorney, I have seen nearly every issue that can arise.

Common property damage issues

How do you prove your property damage? In a word, documentation. Check out my blog on this topic or check out my YouTube page LawFull for more information on documentation. But in short, obtain photographs of all the property damage as soon as possible. If you are seeking reimbursement for a phone, a pair of riding pants or a leather jacket, find your receipts for the items or provide your Illinois accident lawyer links on Amazon.com or another site so that you can establish the value of your damaged property.

How many estimates do you have to obtain?

In Illinois, there is no specific law regarding how many estimates you have to obtain. It may behoove you to obtain more than one, however. Insurance companies often require more than one and it is not worth fighting them about it. You may not have to get an estimate at all as the auto insurance company may send an appraiser out to inspect your vehicle.

Can I choose where I get my vehicle fixed?

In short, yes you can. However, it may be a good idea to work with the insurance company to get your vehicle fixed with one of their contracted/approved shops. The reason being is that the insurance company will come up with an estimated value of your vehicle. If you take your vehicle to a different shop, the insurance company might refuse to pay more than their own appraiser’s estimate. That could lead to a dispute which may have to be settled in court.

Rental Car and Loss of Use

You are entitled to a rental car for a certain period of time. I’ve had insurance companies come down on all sides of this issue. Some give you a car of comparable quality to the car you were driving. Others pay for a compact. There are also limitations on the amount of time you can be in a rental car. If the insurance adjuster is pressuring you on this, ask them to prove to you that there are limits and/or restrictions on rental car compensation in their insured’s auto policy.

You may also be able to recover from the loss of use of your vehicle. In short, if you have a motorcycle and you can’t ride it for 30 days because of the damage to the vehicle, you can try to seek compensation for that. Insurance companies will frequently pay you the amount it would have cost for you to rent a car during that time period.

Diminished Value

I’ve had clients who were hit shortly after they purchased their cars. There is no Illinois law that dictates that an insurance company has to pay you for the diminished value of your vehicle. However, it’s worth the effort to try and recover for diminished value. You do so through, once again, documentation. You need an expert to document that the value of the car as it sits after being repaired is less than a comparable car that has not been in an accident.

Why Won’t an Illinois Accident Lawyer take my case?

Illinois accident lawyers are compensated for recovering from an injured person’s medical bills, pain, and suffering, lost wages, loss of enjoyment etc. I do not and never will take money from my clients’ property damage settlements. As a result, if a case only involves property damage, there’s not a lot an accident lawyer can do for you.

If you are involved in a property damage only accident, you may have to file in small claims court on your own and/or settle your dispute with the insurance company. If that’s the case, feel free to contact me to discuss your case. I’m happy to be a resource for you.

Should I use my own insurance to pay for my property damage?

I always recommend my clients use their own insurance company to pay for their property damage if they have collision coverage. Yes, you will have to front your deductible. But you will probably get it back (depending on a few factors). This is the quickest way for you to get your car back quickly and set you on the course to returning to your pre-accident status.

Your auto insurance company will then “subrogate” or go after the other insurance company on your behalf, to recover for the costs to your vehicle. Your insurance rates should not increase just because you used your own insurance unless you were at fault for the accident.

Comparative negligence

In Illinois, an accident victim can still recover their damages even if they are partially at fault for the accident. The concept is called comparative negligence. Often an insurance company will try and place a small percentage of fault on you for the accident even if it is not warranted. You are not obligated to accept this if you do not want to. However, be aware that if you do accept partial fault, that your recovery for your property damage will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Thank you for reading my Illinois Accident Lawyer blog article on property damage. If you would like a free consultation on this or any other injury-related issue, please feel free to contact me at 847-305-4105.

Illinois Car Accident Lawyer

My name is Barry Zlotowicz and I am an Illinois car accident lawyer. Our law firm represents people injured in car accidents throughout the

Illinois car accident lawyer
Illinois car accident lawyer

state of Illinois. We have traveled the state from Mount Vernon to Zion, representing car accident victims (motorcycle, bicycle and truck accident victims as well). If you were injured in an Illinois car accident, call us today for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation crash data, as of January 27, 2018, there have already been 66 fatalities as a result of Illinois car accidents in our state. Around one third of the fatalities were the result of a seatbelt not being used or being improperly used.

As an Illinois car accident lawyer, I’ve worked with countless accident victims to help them recover for their injuries and damages. One of the things I tell my clients all the time is:

Focus on Your Health – Not Your Case

What I mean is, there likely is no amount of money that is going to adequately compensate you for your injuries. If you suffer a back sprain that causes pain indefinitely, or you suffer a serious injury like a compound fracture, for example, the pain and discomfort you suffer from cannot and will not be remedied entirely by money. That’s why, I always tell my clients to focus on their health, not their case.

This often comes up when our clients ask if they should get additional medical treatment.  So, for example, let’s take a not so-hypothetical situation. A client signs up an Illinois car accident lawyer to represent them for injuries suffered in a car accident. They suffered a sprained neck in the accident. They treat for eight weeks post-accident, ER visit, primary care physician and physical therapy, then stop treating.

Six months later, the lawyer receives a call from their client who states that they’re suffering significant neck pain. It would seem obvious. The client should go back to the doctor. So, why is this an issue? The reason is that there is now a significant “gap in treatment”  – the amount of time between their last medical treatment and their potential new treatment. This is an issue for an Illinois car accident lawyer because an astute insurance adjuster will capitalize on the gap in order to diminish your claim.

In these cases, we will tell our clients to forget about their case and focus on their health. If they’re having neck pain, get the treatment they need. We may still be able to tie the treatment to injuries suffered in the collision. And even if we do not, our client will have taken steps to remedy their physical condition and that is what is truly important.

Managing auto accident cases can be confusing. Sometimes, your Illinois car accident lawyer will give you information you are not ready for or didn’t expect. For an honest and frank discussion about how to handle your car accident case, contact our office at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.