When someone else causes you to be involved in an accident, that person should cover all of your losses. This means paying damages for any bodily injuries you sustain. It also means compensating you for any harm to your property. In other words, the at-fault driver – or, in reality, the driver’s insurance company – should pay for your vehicle repairs or replacement.
Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes try to lowball or deny legitimate claims. To make sure your vehicle is properly repaired or that you get the full value of your car, you should be sure to consult with an experienced accident lawyer before you settle your claim.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we have extensive experience with car accident claims in Chicago and throughout Illinois, including those in which recovery has been sought for damaged or “totaled” vehicles. Find out how we can help you seek a recovery for your vehicle repair or replacement by calling us today or contacting us online. We can provide a free consultation about your case.
Vehicle Repair or Replacement Damages
After a car accident, your vehicle repair or replacement should be covered by an insurance policy – regardless of who was at fault for the crash.
- If the other driver was at fault – First, you can seek payment from the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. In 2013, Illinois law required that drivers carry a minimum of $15,000 in insurance coverage to pay for any property damage that they cause in an accident.
Second, if the other driver has no insurance or if the driver’s insurance doesn’t cover all of your losses, you can turn to your own uninsured motorist / underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) policy to pay for your vehicle damage or replacement.
Keep in mind: Illinois law requires insurance companies to offer you UM / UIM coverage, but you can waive it. Often, people aren’t aware whether they have this coverage. This is why it is important to have an attorney review your insurance policy.
Also, even though you have paid premiums to your insurance company to have UM / UIM coverage, the insurer may be reluctant to pay. An attorney can be helpful in this instance, too, by dealing directly with the insurer on your behalf.
- If you were at fault – Even though you may have caused your own crash, your losses will be covered if you have purchased optional “collision” insurance coverage. Again, an attorney can review your insurance policy and help you to determine what you are entitled to receive.
Whether you are dealing with your own insurer or the insurance company of the other driver, you need to be sure that you get enough money to actually replace your vehicle or to cover the costs of the repairs in full.
The insurance company will usually be the one to make the decision about whether your car should be repaired or replaced, and this decision will be made based on the extent of the damage.
If the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the car or is too expensive to be worthwhile, then your car will be declared a “total loss,” and you will be offered a set amount of money that the insurer believes the vehicle is worth to replace.
Often, there are disputes about whether your car should be declared a total loss or not. There are also disputes or disagreements in many cases about how much repairs should cost. You do not need to accept the amount of money offered by the insurer for either repair or replacement, but you can instead work to negotiate a better deal.
If an insurance company refuses to be fair to you in offering you a reasonable amount of money, you can pursue a legal claim. How you do this will depend upon whether you are fighting your own insurer or the insurer of the other driver.
If you are fighting your own insurer, for example, then you may have a “bad faith” cause of action, while handling a claim against the other party’s insurer requires a different legal process. An experienced car accident lawyer can assist in either situation and help you to obtain the compensation you deserve.
A Chicago Accident Lawyer Can Help with Your Vehicle Repair / Replacement Claim
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our attorneys have helped many clients in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois to take on their own insurers or the insurance companies of drivers who caused them to be involved in a wreck.
No matter what type of claim you are making, we can fight on your behalf and strive to make sure that the insurance company covers the full extent of your property damage.
To learn more about how we can help you to get your car repaired or replaced in a timely manner and with full insurance coverage, give us a call or contact us online today.