If you were not at all responsible for your car accident, it is likely the responsible driver's insurance company will try to settle with you as quickly as possible. It may seem like a good idea to settle quickly in order to avoid the time and expense of filing a lawsuit. However, when you accept a settlement, you sign a release form that waives your right to sue the responsible driver or bring any additional claim relating to your accident. This may not be in your best interest for several reasons.
Before accepting a settlement, you need to be sure that all of your damages will be covered. It typically doesn't take too long to determine how much it will cost to repair your vehicle, but injuries you sustain may not appear for a while. Immediately following a car accident, even if you don't feel that you are injured, the next day you might. The at-fault driver's insurance company may try to settle before you fully understand the scope of your injuries. You may suffer from headaches that seem minor, but could be a sign of neurological damage. You may have to seek additional medical treatment, which will result in more medical expenses and the possibility that you won't be able to work. If you settle too quickly, you may be stuck paying for these things on your own. It is important that you do not settle until your doctor informs you that your medical treatments are complete.
You also may need your own insurance carrier's permission before you sign a release. If the amour in damages you require is greater than what the at-fault driver's insurance policy covers, then you may be able to collect the difference from your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. However, if you sign a release with the other driver's insurance company before discussing it with your own carrier, you may be waiving your ability to collect under your UIM coverage. This is because by signing the release, you waive your right and your insurance company's right to file any other claim against the other company, Therefore, your insurance won't be able to collect any money from the other insurance company to reimburse themselves for what they paid out to you. Most insurance policies require that you get your insurance company's permission before signing a release.
The best way to determine how much you claim is worth and to work toward a fair settlement is by contacting an experienced Chicago car accident attorney from Nemeroff Law Offices. For more information regarding your rights following a car accident in Illinois, call 312.629.8800 or fill out our contact form.