After a serious accident, you may be suffering from serious injuries, and your vehicle could be badly damaged. The crash was not your fault, and you should not have to pay your medical bills and auto repair costs yourself, so you file an insurance claim.
In Illinois, you have two choices: filing the claim with your own auto insurance company or with the other driver’s insurer. The latter type of claim is called a third-party claim. While it may be the best move in your situation, be aware that insurance companies do not treat third-party claims the same as first-party claims (claims filed by one of their customers).
Comparing fault after a Chicago car wreck
Once you file a third-party claim, the insurance company will investigate your crash and try to determine who was at fault. In some cases, both drivers share the blame. Illinois’ personal injury laws follow the comparative negligence rule, which states a claimant can collect damages as long as they are 50 percent or less at fault for the accident. However, the amount of damages the claimant is entitled to is reduced by their percentage of responsibility. So if the insurance company concludes that their customer was 75 percent at fault and you were 25 percent at fault, they might offer 75 percent of your claimed damages as a settlement.
In your claim, you should provide as much information as possible to show the extent of your damages and how the other driver was responsible.
Think before signing away your claim
If the insurance company makes a settlement offer for your personal injuries, it will also require you to sign a release for damages. This prevents you from filing a lawsuit or seeking additional compensation beyond what the company is offering. Before signing the release, you need to make sure the settlement offer is reasonable, which you can discuss with a personal injury attorney.