What to Do After a Car Accident in Illinois That is Your Fault

Friday, September 8, 2023

What to Do After a Car Accident in Illinois That is Your Fault

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

A car accident can put the business of everyday life into perspective. You may be in the middle of running errands, only to be interrupted by another driver crashing into you. You are left in utter shock, with your vehicle badly damaged. Instead of finishing your errands, you will not be plagued with contacting the police and your car insurance company.

You may assume you cannot receive compensation if you are partially at fault for an accident. The Chicago car accident lawyers at Malman Law would like to discuss what to do after a car accident that is your fault in Illinois.

Fault versus No-Fault States

Which insurance company will pay out depends on if the drivers live in a “fault” or “no-fault” state:

  • Fault state: The person responsible for the accident will have to pay out damages to anyone injured in the accident (usually, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay)
  • No-Fault state: Each individual driver’s car insurance will cover the cost of that driver’s damages

Thirty-eight states have fault insurance laws, including Illinois. If you live in Illinois, you will have to pay for any injuries or vehicle damage that the other driver has sustained if you are more than 50% at fault for your car accident.

Modified Comparative Negligence

In most vehicle accidents, more than one person is liable for the collision. Many states recognize that accidents are not “black and white” and that responsibility for the crash can often be attributed to more than one driver.

Illinois and 32 other states practice modified comparative negligence. This entails you receiving compensation in an accident when you are partially at fault.

Negligence laws bar recovery if your percentage of fault exceeds a certain threshold. According to Illinois law, if you are more than 50% liable for an accident, then you will be unable to recover damages.

For instance, if you claimed $25,000 for bodily injury, but insurance determines that you were found 20% at fault for the accident, then your damages would be reduced by $5,000. You would only be able to recover $20,000 on your claim.

What Can I Do if My Vehicle Was Damaged?

Your car insurance will cover the other motorist’s damages if you are at fault for the accident. You may wonder how you will cover the cost of repairing your vehicle.

Illinois insurance policies offer collision coverage, allowing you to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident. It does not matter which driver is at fault.

Most policies have a deductible that applies. So, if you are in an accident that causes $10,000 worth of vehicle damage, but your deductible is $1,000, then once you pay the $1,000 deductible, your policy will cover the remaining $9,000.

Can I Make a Bodily Injury Claim if I am At Fault for the Accident?

Illinois has a medical payment option (Med Pay), which will cover medical and funeral costs for your passengers and yourself. This coverage pays even if you are entirely at fault for an accident.

Many drivers only buy the minimum required insurance, which is often insufficient. Too many drivers would rather keep their premiums low, thinking that buying optional coverage is a waste of money, which they will most likely never need.

Although Med Pay is optional, purchasing this extra coverage is still a wise choice. It will probably be too late when you realize that you require this coverage.

What Damages Will I Be Able to Receive?

You may be entitled to damages depending on the circumstances of your accident. Damages are intended to reimburse an individual for any injuries or losses that he or she endured due to the accident. Damages are designed to make a person “whole” again.

In most accidents, the victim will be able to receive compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are the actual losses that a person suffered. Unlike punitive damages, which are intended to punish the wrongdoer, compensatory damages are designed to compensate the victim for specific losses.

Compensatory damages are classified into two groups: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are financial losses that are easily quantifiable.

Economic damages may include:

  • Emergency room and ambulatory care;
  • Rehabilitation;
  • Long-term medical treatment;
  • Lost wages;
  • In-home care

In contrast, noneconomic damages compensate a person for any hardships that affect their quality of life. Due to noneconomic damages being more subjective, they are often more difficult to recover.

Noneconomic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship, love, and support
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of society

Although no actual monetary loss is associated with noneconomic damages, the attorneys at Malman Law know that your loss is no less severe. We will not shy away from asking for the noneconomic damages which you deserve.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, rated on a scale from 1 to 5, we would multiply your total economic damages by that number to determine your noneconomic damages. This is known as the multiplier method.

Will My Car Insurance Premium Increase if I Cause an Accident?

If you are at fault for an accident, you can expect your annual insurance premium to increase by about $750.

Some policies offer “accident forgiveness,” which must be purchased ahead of time. It would allow your premium not to increase following an accident, but is only offered by certain insurance carriers.

Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

You can file a car insurance claim without an attorney, but hiring legal counsel will save money in the long run. An attorney will help you get the most money out of your car insurance claim, even if you are responsible for the crash.

Not hiring an attorney simply because you want to save legal fees will ultimately cost you more. A Chicago car accident lawyer will assist you in submitting your claim to your insurer, allowing the process to run smoothly.

Contact a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Today

A car accident can put the brakes on your life. Even if you contributed to the accident, you may still be able to receive compensation for your medical bills and vehicle repairs. You need trusted legal guidance. Contact Malman Law today to schedule your free consultation.


Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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