Automobile Accidents: The Illinois System

In the United States about 119 people will die in a car accident every single day. This comes out to a fatal crash occurring approximately every 12 minutes. According to the last Department of Transportation statistics, in 2007 there were 2.5 million injuries reported as a result of a car accident. There were also 4 million reports of property damage resulting from car accidents. These numbers are significant to the Department of Transportation and to insurance adjustors, but when you have been hurt in an accident, your number one priority is your own recovery. At Willens Law Offices, your recovery is our number one priority as well. Here is some helpful information to help you ensure that you receive full compensation for your injuries.

Insurance Companies

The insurance business is a billion dollar industry, thanks in no small part to the number of accidents that happen on Illinois roads. The insurance adjustors will see your claim as one of several million case files that come across their desk. An insurer’s main goal is generally to turn a profit, not to pay you an overly generous settlement for your injuries. Knowing this from the start can help you avoid the common misconception that the adjuster is there to help you. It is a common practice for adjusters to offer you less than your claim is worth and pressure you into accepting that offer. If you agree to do so, you could be forfeiting several hundreds or even thousands of dollars that you are rightfully entitled to. Having an experienced team of attorneys advocate your position is the only way to ensure that you are receiving a full and fair settlement from an insurance company.

Fault System

Illinois insurance operates on a “fault” system. This means that whoever was at fault for the accident will be responsible for compensating for all damage that resulted from the accident. Because of this, it is beneficial for insurance adjusters to prove that their insured was not the driver who was at fault, in order to be held responsible for compensation. An adjuster will do this through an insurance investigation. This investigation generally involves inspection of the property damage and personal injuries. It will also involve asking you technical questions that may be worded in extremely complex ways. Remember that you are not required to answer their questions or volunteer information; instead, you can have your own personal injury attorney answer everything on your behalf.

Modified Comparative Negligence

In a comparative negligence state you are entitled to damages, even if you are partially to blame for your own injuries. In a true comparative negligence system you could be 90 percent at fault, and would still be entitled to 10 percent of your damages. Illinois law adheres to a slightly modified system. So long as you are less than 50 percent at fault for your injuries, you are still entitled to compensation. Your damages award will simply be reduced by the percentage you contributed to your own injury. Ultimately, even if the insurance company can show that you are only 10 percent at fault, you may still be able to recover the remaining 90 percent of the award. This is another reason why it is important to have an advocate to negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf.

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When you are injured in a car accident, your recovery is your number one concern. Our number one concern is fighting for your right to compensation. Contact Willens Law Offices today for a free consultation.

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