Disputed Liability in Illinois Insurance Claims

The cause of every car crash in Illinois is not clear cut. Many auto accidents are the result of two or more drivers making mistakes. The question insurance companies will argue about is whether you or the other driver was at fault for the crash. Insurance companies can save money if they successfully dispute an insurance claim. 

Insurance companies make money when disputing an insurance claim through one of two common methods. The first method is an outright denial of liability and then fighting the case in court. The company will pay less in attorneys’ fees (which the company writes off as the cost of doing business anyway) than will pay in a claim if its attorneys successfully argue that you committed an act of negligence, thereby causing the accident. Therefore, the insurance company’s lawyers will argue, you are not entitled to receive any money for your losses. 

The company does not have to prove you are 100% at fault for the crash to avoid liability. Rather, the company may use Illinois’ rules of comparative negligence to argue that you were 50% or more responsible for the crash and, as a consequence, you are not eligible to recover anything. 

The second method of limiting financial exposure in insurance claims is related to the first. The insurance company’s adjusters can factor your relative fault in causing the accident as justification for making a lowball offer to settle. They know they have the law on their side and couch their offer such that you should feel grateful for receiving a settlement in the first place because your alleged bad driving caused the accident, in part anyway. 

The insurance industry sets you up to fail unless you purchase adequate coverage. When you buy insurance coverage, the company is betting on you not to use it. They will gladly collect your premium and put it in their coffers and hope that you never call upon the company to pay damages for you. But, having the appropriate amount of first-party coverage, for which you pay a premium can help you maneuver around Illinois’ comparative negligence laws.