man rubs neck after car crash - Coplan and Crane

How Does Insurance Work in a Car Accident?

August 18, 2023

When you get injured in a car accident in Illinois, recovering your losses usually involves dealing with insurance companies. All drivers are required to carry auto insurance under Illinois law, and auto insurance covers accidents resulting from all forms of driver negligence. 

But, obtaining insurance coverage after a car accident isn’t simply a matter of filing a claim. Even if you are clearly entitled to financial compensation, the insurance companies will still do everything they can to avoid paying what they owe. They also won’t calculate your losses for you; so, even if they acknowledge liability, it will still be up to you to make sure you receive the full coverage you deserve. 

How Auto Insurance Works After a Car Accident in Illinois

With this in mind, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, it is important to know what you can expect from your insurance claim. Here is an overview of how auto insurance works after a car accident in Illinois: 

There Are Three Main Types of Auto Insurance Coverage for Accident-Related Injuries 

In Illinois, there are three main types of auto insurance that cover accident-related injuries. There are additional types of auto insurance that cover property damage, rental costs, and other accident-related expenses, but we’re only focusing on injury coverage here. These three types of coverage are:

  • Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) – Bodily injury liability insurance covers accident victims when the insured driver is at fault in an accident. For example, if you get hit by a distracted or speeding driver and the driver has BIL insurance, you should be able to file a claim under the driver’s BIL policy. 
  • Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) – Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance provide coverage when you get injured in an accident that is someone else’s fault and that person either (i) doesn’t have BIL insurance, or (ii) doesn’t have enough BIL insurance to cover the costs of your injuries. This is coverage that you buy to protect yourself in the event of an accident that is someone else’s fault. 
  • Medical Payments – Medical payments insurance provides coverage regardless of who was at fault in a collision. However, while BIL, UM, and UIM insurance cover all of the financial and non-financial costs of accident victims’ injuries, medical payments insurance covers hospital and doctor’s bills only. 

Under Illinois law, all drivers are required to have BIL insurance with coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Illinois law also requires all drivers to carry UM insurance, and the same minimum coverage amounts apply. UIM is only required if you increase your UM coverage, and medical payments coverage is optional. 

You Can File One or More Claims After a Car Accident 

When you get injured in a car accident, you can (and should) take advantage of all of the types of insurance that are available to you. For example, if you have medical payments coverage, you can use this “no fault” insurance to help cover your expenses in the short term. If the other driver was at fault (and has insurance), you can file a BIL claim; and, if necessary, you can seek coverage under your UM or UIM policy. 

While medical payments insurance provides coverage regardless of fault, BIL, UM, and UIM claims all require proof of negligence. This means that you will need evidence that the other driver was at fault, and this means that you should hire a lawyer to conduct an investigation as soon as possible. 

Negotiating an Insurance Settlement (or Going to Court)

In the vast majority of cases, resolving your claim after a car accident will involve entering into an insurance settlement. When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will calculate your losses for you, and then your lawyer will negotiate for a favorable settlement on your behalf. However, car accident claims do occasionally go to court. If the insurance companies are unwilling to offer a fair settlement, then your best option may be to take your claim (or claims) to trial. 

Regardless of how your case progresses, you will need to make informed decisions along the way, and you will need to avoid falling for the insurance companies’ defense tactics. While you can try to deal with the insurance companies on your own, you can also hire a lawyer to deal with them for you—and you can do so at no out-of-pocket cost

Discuss Your Claim with a Car Accident Lawyer at Coplan + Crane

If you need to know more about how to deal with insurance companies after a car accident in Illinois, we invite you to get in touch. For a FREE, no-obligation consultation, call (708) 358-8080 or get in touch online today. We serve clients throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas.