What To Do After A Car Accident in Glenview

what to do in a car accidentIf you are involved in a Glenview auto accident, you may have been the driver who caused the accident rather than the victim. What do you do if you get sued? Check out this blog article on what to do in a car accident. And call for a free consultation if you have any questions at 847-305-4105.

There have been a couple really bad Glenview auto accident cases in the past 60 days. In one accident, a Glenview teenager named Jun Yang was involved in a solo vehicle accident. He had a passenger in the car who was also injured. Yang was 16 years old. I am the father of three teenage daughters, one of whom drives and a second who is about to start driver’s ed. So, this story really impacted me.

Then at the end of June 2018, a construction worker was hit by a truck that was backing up near Crestwood and Carousel drives in Glenview.  According to the Chicago Tribune, the worker suffered serious injuries and was taken to the emergency room at Lutheran General Hospital.

If you are injured in a Glenview auto accident through no fault of your own, there are numerous resources on this website where you can find information on how to proceed. I will shamelessly suggest you should talk to a Glenview car accident lawyer about your case.

But what do you do if you caused the auto accident? In that case, you are the “defendant.” This is the situation we all dread because if you did, in fact, cause the accident:

  • Your car was likely also damaged
  • You have to pay your deductible to get your car fixed
  • You will have to spend a lot of time dealing with the aftermath of the accident, and of course
  • You cannot recover for your “pain and suffering”
  • Your auto insurance rates will likely go up

What are your defenses to have caused the accident?

Your primary defense to having caused a Glenview auto accident (aside from pleading innocence) is to argue that the other driver was comparatively negligent. In the state of Illinois, a driver can recover for their damages if they are not more than 50% responsible for the accident.

If you can prove that the other driver was even slightly drunk, or texting while driving, or otherwise distracted and that they, therefore, were partially at fault for the accident, you can diminish the amount of your responsibility for the accident.

What should you do?

Bottom line is, if you hit someone, call your insurance company immediately. That is why you have auto insurance. You’ve paid premiums for years just in case this situation arises. Let your insurance company and the insurance adjuster do their job. Believe me, they will look for every mechanism possible to deny or reduce your liability.

What if you don’t have auto insurance?

First, if you don’t have auto insurance, you can and likely will be cited by the police officer and will be required to appear in court.

You will be personally “liable” or responsible for the damages you caused. And you may very well get sued. Chances are if you cannot afford auto insurance you can’t afford to hire an attorney to defend you. In this case, you have to hope that the person you hit has adequate limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and collision coverage to get their vehicle fixed.

Regardless, you will likely get a letter from the insurance company which will seek to “subrogate” or obtains reimbursement for the money they paid to their insured.

The bottom line is that before you get in a Glenview auto accident, make sure you have adequate limits of auto insurance. If you want a free consultation on how to best protect yourself, feel free to contact me at 847-305-4105.

Should You File A Claim With Your Auto Insurance?

Frequently, victims of auto accidents want to file a claim solely with the insurance company for the vehicle that caused the accident. Should

Auto Insurance Claim
Should you file a claim with your auto insurance

you file a claim with your auto insurance as well? Yes. To find out why read this article or contact us at 312-848-9783.

Should you file a claim with your auto insurance? 

YES. You should file a claim with your auto insurance even if the accident was not your fault. There are several reasons why filing with your insurance right after an accident is important.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection

First, there are several clauses in your own insurance contract that might be of benefit to you. The most important being your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. We’ve discussed UM and UIM coverage several times on this website. And we have spoken to many groups of people about the need to have adequate amounts of UM and UIM coverage.

In Illinois, if you have auto insurance, you automatically have a minimum of $25,000 in UM/UIM coverage. It is estimated that approximately 15 percent of all drivers in Illinois are uninsured. If the driver who hit you turns out not to have insurance, you will need to have filed a claim with your own insurance or you will be unable to recover for your damages. It happens all the time.

Some people want to wait to file with their own insurance company until after they hear from the defendant’s insurance as to whether there is insurance and if they accepted “liability” or responsibility for the accident.

That is risky. Accident victims often don’t obtain the name of the driver who hit them or the name and policy number of the defendant’s auto insurance. If that’s the case, you have to wait until the police report comes out to get that information and that often takes a long time, especially if it’s the Chicago Police Department.

Some insurance policies have a time limit within which a claim has to be filed in order to utilize uninsured motorist coverage. If you miss that deadline, the insurance company could reject your claim leaving you without any recourse. We have a new client who recently delayed filing a claim with her insurance for over 60 days because she thought she could pursue the defendant’s insurance. When our client finally did file with her insurance, she was denied for filing more than 30 days after the accident. By the time she got to us it was too late.

Medical Payments coverage

Many auto policies include medical payments or “medpay” coverage. Medpay is a clause in your insurance policy that will cover you for the first $2,500 or $5,000 etc. of your medical bills. We often use it to pay our clients’ co-pays or deductibles. You will eventually have to pay your insurance company back for the medpay you use out of the proceeds of your settlement. However, you will usually get a 1/3 reduction off of whatever medpay you use which is a significant benefit to you.

We have heard some attorneys argue that medpay is a waste of money. We disagree. We’ve seen it used too many times to our clients’ benefit to dismiss it so quickly. Especially for what it costs.

In addition, your medpay is “primary”, meaning, medpay must be exhausted before your health insurance will cover your remaining medical bills.

Property Damage

If you have collision coverage, it may also benefit you to file a claim with your own insurance company. The defendant’s insurance company is not going to pay for the repairs to your vehicle until they accept responsibility for the accident. That can take a while.

If you have collision coverage on your own policy, you can get your insurance company to pay for your property damage. This gets you back in your vehicle quicker.  It also avoids the situation where you have to pay for your own tow bill and reduces the amount of storage charges you pay while your car sits at the tow yard. You have a duty to “mitigate” (reduce/diminish) those charges.

If you use your own insurance to pay for the property damage, you will likely have to pay your deductible as discussed in this article. However, you will get reimbursed for your deductible once your insurance company “subrogates” or seeks reimbursement for your property damage from the defendant’s insurance company.

Other Benefits of Filing with your Insurance

Insurance companies have access to resources and tools to research whether a defendant has insurance; they have the manpower to interview witnesses; they can pay for an appraiser to travel to where your vehicle is to inspect it, and so forth. We utilize our clients’ insurance often to assist us in pursuing claims against defendants.

Other Issues

Will my auto insurance rates go up? It is possible. Anyone who tells you 100% that your rates will not go up is not telling the truth. Insurance companies have the ability to raise your rates for no reason, let alone if you are in an accident, even if they are not your fault. But that is a topic for another article.

What if there is no other vehicle involved? If you crash your car into your garage door and it causes $750.00 to your bumper, should you file a claim with your auto insurance? That depends. If you have a $500.00 deductible, it might not be worth it. You will only save $250.00 and this will count as a mark against your insurance which could cause your rates to go up.

Duty to cooperate. If you do file a claim with your insurance company, you have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company to investigate the accident. That might mean giving your insurance company a recorded statement, facilitating an inspection of your car, or undergoing a deposition. If you refuse the above, your coverage could be denied.

Conclusion

Call us today at 312-848-9783 if you are unsure whether you should you file a claim with your auto insurance after an accident. Our consultations are always free and we will come to you if we agree that our firm can help you.