Many people assume that the police officer who investigated the accident and filed the police report is the one who determines fault in a car accident. Technically, the police officer may ticket one driver or both drivers and thereby determine who is at fault. However, this is not the determination of fault that is definitive when it comes to who pays for car accident injuries in Illinois.
Instead, liability, or fault for the accident, will be determined in one of two ways. It may be determined by the insurance company during settlement talks or by the court during the trial process.
How Settlement Negotiations Work
Insurance companies typically don’t provide car accident victims with fair settlements unless the victims and their attorneys fight for fair settlements.
Before you begin negotiations, it’s critical to understand how insurance companies work. Insurance companies profit by paying out as little as possible in settlements. They may take things that you say out of context to try to confuse you and get you to settle for less than your claim is worth.
Illinois insurance companies want to maximize their profits, but they know that Hupy and Abraham accident lawyers mean business and won’t hesitate to reject unfair settlements and go to court to protect our clients. Accordingly, they are often willing to settle our clients’ claims to avoid the uncertainty of litigation. Generally, the settlement process involves:
- Sending the insurance company a demand letter. This letter will explain why the policyholder is liable and what injuries you suffered because of the policyholder’s negligence.
- Providing the insurer with documentation. The insurer won’t accept anything that you say as true simply because you say it. Instead, you need to provide evidence that supports your allegations.
- Negotiating the terms of a settlement. Initial settlement offers typically favor the insurance company. The insurance company may hope that you want to settle quickly and offer you a lower settlement than you deserve. Your attorney may suggest negotiating a higher settlement offer before settling.
- Accepting or denying a settlement offer. Once the insurance company offers its final and best offer, you will need to decide whether to accept the settlement offer and give up your right to any further compensation or reject the settlement offer and go to court.
Your claim is not over if a settlement can’t be reached.
How Courts Decide Car Accident Liability
If you can’t reach an agreement about who caused the crash during settlement negotiations, then your car accident attorney will file a lawsuit and the court will determine liability. The court may consider all relevant evidence, including but not limited to:
- Witness statements
- Accident reconstruction reports
- Vehicle damage
- Information learned through interrogatories, depositions, and requests for production of documents
After liability is established, the court will consider the value of your damages and issue a verdict.
Contact an Illinois Car Accident Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
Determining liability may be complicated, especially if more than one person caused your crash. However, identifying the proper defendants is essential to your recovery. If you make a mistake, the insurance company will refuse to settle, and the court will dismiss your case.
You deserve to make a fair recovery for all of your past and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, and emotional suffering.
Our experienced Illinois car accident lawyers will fight hard to establish liability and get you the compensation you deserve. So far, our lawyers have recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of more than 70,000 clients. We’ve earned more than 250 recognition awards for our work and received more than 600 five-star reviews.
Now, we are ready to work for you. Please contact us today to schedule your free consultation in our Bloomington, Gurnee, or Rockford law office or your home or hospital room. Alternatively, we’d be happy to provide you with a free and confidential virtual consultation to discuss your rights and our Win or It’s Free Guarantee.