Regardless of the fact that Illinois requires all drivers to carry liability insurance, it is not always the case. You can, however, obtain compensation through your own automobile insurance company. Most automobile insurance policies provide uninsured motorist coverage which protects you if you are injured by an uninsured driver.
Recovery under an uninsured policy is limited to the amount of coverage you purchased. Always review your policy at each renewal date or at the time of purchase to determine the terms and amount of coverage available.
It is extremely important that you also advise your insurance carrier of an accident in order to establish a claim for medical payment, property damage, and uninsured or underinsured coverage, if needed. When filing a claim with your own insurance carrier, the process is different than with filing a claim with another driver’s insurance company. Your insurance company must treat you fairly and in “good faith.” (For more information with regard to claims filed under an uninsured claim, see Uninsured and Underinsured)
Typically the process begins by either you or your lawyer contacting the other driver’s insurance company and advising of a potential claim. The claims process with the other driver’s insurance company is contentious to say the least. Keep in mind that the other driver’s insurer’s interest is limiting the amount paid to you.
Once we have advised the other driver’s insurance company of our representation of you, they will have opened a claim file, obtained a copy of the police report and may also speak with any witness or witnesses to the accident to better evaluate the accident. Once the issue of liability has been addressed, we will then obtain all the necessary medical records and bills that you incurred as a result of this accident. We typically do not forward any medical records or bills (a/k/a special damages) to the insurance company without first determining that you have completed your medical care. Once this has been determined, we forward the “special damages” to the proper claims adjuster for evaluation. At this point, there is generally a lot of communication between our firm and the insurance company. It is imperative that you keep us advised of all ongoing medical treatment in order that a settlement demand not be made until after your medical condition has been fully treated and evaluated.
Once you have completed your medical treatment, negotiations between the insurer and our firm will ensue. A settlement offer may be made if the other driver’s insurance company agrees that their insured was negligent, in other words, at fault. If, however, they do not agree on the issue of liability or the value of the claim, litigation may be necessary.
If we do proceed with litigation, negotiations may continue during the pendency of the lawsuit. During the discovery process, additional facts are learned which may warrant the insurance company to take a different position. Since there are costs and risks associated in litigation claims, it is in the best interest of both parties to continue to evaluate and negotiate in an effort to resolve a claim.