Recovering More Than Insurance Policy Limits After a Car Crash in Chicago

by | Apr 24, 2024

In the wake of a collision, understanding your rights and options for compensation is crucial. One common concern for car accident victims is whether they can recover more than the insurance policy limits to fully cover their damages.

In this article, we review the strategies and avenues available for getting more than the insurance policy limits after a car crash. While insurance policies provide essential coverage, they often have limits that may not fully compensate for the extensive damages incurred in severe accidents. Fortunately, there are proactive steps and legal avenues individuals can explore to pursue additional compensation beyond these limits.

Read on to explore the process of seeking comprehensive compensation and ensuring that your rights are protected in the aftermath of a car crash.

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Is It Possible to Sue Someone For More Than Their Policy Limits in Illinois?

Yes. In Illinois, it is possible to sue someone for more than their policy limits under certain circumstances. While insurance policy limits typically cap the amount of compensation that can be recovered from an at-fault driver’s insurance company, victims of severe accidents may pursue additional compensation through legal action.

One common scenario where this occurs is when the damages incurred in a car accident exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits. In such cases, the injured party may choose to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver personally to seek compensation for the remaining damages not covered by the insurance policy.

However, it’s very important to consider practical considerations such as the at-fault driver’s financial resources and ability to pay damages beyond their policy limits. Even if a court awards a judgment exceeding the policy limits, collecting the additional compensation may prove challenging if the at-fault driver lacks sufficient assets or income.

NOTE: pursuing a lawsuit beyond the insurance policy limits may involve complex legal proceedings and require skilled legal representation.

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How Do You Determine Liability Beyond Insurance Policy Limits?

Determining liability beyond insurance policy limits involves assessing various factors to establish additional responsibility for damages incurred in a car accident. While insurance policies provide coverage up to certain limits, severe accidents may result in damages exceeding these limits, leaving injured parties seeking compensation from other sources.

An approach often used to determining liability beyond insurance policy limits is to identify other potentially responsible parties involved in the accident. This could include additional at-fault drivers, negligent third parties, or entities whose actions contributed to the accident’s occurrence or severity.

Gathering evidence is important to help establish liability beyond insurance policy limits. This may involve collecting witness statements, accident reports, photographs, video footage, and expert opinions to support the claim that other parties share responsibility for the accident and resulting damages.

Legal principles including comparative negligence may also play a role in determining liability beyond insurance policy limits. In states like Illinois that follow a modified comparative fault system, injured parties may still obtain damages even if they are partially at fault for the accident, provided their degree of fault does not exceed a certain threshold.

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What Are The Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Illinois?

In Illinois, drivers are required to carry minimum car insurance coverage to legally operate a vehicle. These minimum insurance requirements help ensure that drivers have financial protection in the event of a car accident. Following are the important minimum car insurance requirements in Illinois:

  • Liability Insurance: Illinois law mandates that drivers carry liability insurance to cover bodily injury and property damage liability. The minimum liability coverage limits are as follows:
    • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
    • $50,000 for bodily injury per collision
    • $20,000 for property damage per crash
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Illinois also requires vehicle owners to have an uninsured motorist coverage policy to protect drivers in case they are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance. The minimum uninsured motorist coverage limits are:
    • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
    • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

It’s important for drivers in Illinois to ensure that they carry at least the minimum amount of required insurance coverage to comply with state law and avoid potential penalties. However, drivers may choose to purchase additional coverage beyond the minimum requirements for added financial protection in case of an accident.

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How Often Do Car Crash Lawsuit Settlements Exceed Policy Limits?

Car crash lawsuit settlements that exceed policy limits are not uncommon, especially in cases involving severe injuries or significant damages. While insurance policies provide coverage up to certain limits, these limits may not fully compensate victims for their losses in catastrophic accidents. In such instances, injured parties may pursue legal action against the at-fault driver personally to seek additional compensation beyond the insurance policy limits.

For a car crash lawsuit settlement to exceed policy limits, various factors including how severe the accident was, the extent of injuries and damages, the insurance coverage limits involved, and the effectiveness of legal representation are taken into consideration. In cases where the damages far exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits, pursuing legal action against the at-fault driver personally may be necessary to recover full and fair compensation for the injured party’s losses.

Important: While settlements exceeding policy limits are possible, they require thorough investigation, skilled legal representation, and negotiation expertise to achieve a favorable outcome. Consulting with an experienced Chicago auto accident lawyer can provide valuable guidance and advocacy throughout the legal process, helping injured parties pursue maximum compensation for their damages after a car crash.

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When The Limits of a Policy Are Exceeded After a Crash, Who Pays The Difference?

When the limits of an Illinois auto accident policy are exceeded after a crash, determining who pays the difference depends on the specific circumstances of the accident and the parties involved. Here are key points to consider:

  • At-Fault Driver: If the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are insufficient to cover the full extent of damages resulting from the crash, the at-fault driver may be personally responsible for paying the difference. This could involve the at-fault driver’s personal assets or future income being used to satisfy the remaining amount owed to the injured party.
  • Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage: In cases where the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is inadequate, injured parties may turn to their own underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage for additional compensation. This coverage is designed to protect drivers when they are involved in accidents with drivers who have insufficient or no insurance coverage.
  • Legal Action: If the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage and the injured party’s underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage are still insufficient to cover the damages, the injured party may pursue legal action against the at-fault driver personally. This could involve filing a lawsuit to seek compensation for the remaining amount owed, potentially through garnishment of wages or seizure of assets.
  • Third-Party Liability: In some cases, there may be other parties besides the at-fault driver who share responsibility for the accident and resulting damages. These third parties could include vehicle manufacturers, government entities responsible for road maintenance, or businesses that served alcohol to an intoxicated driver. Pursuing claims against these third parties may help injured parties recover additional compensation to cover the shortfall in insurance coverage.

Ultimately, resolving the issue of who pays the difference when policy limits are exceeded after a crash often involves a combination of insurance coverage, legal action, and potential recourse against other liable parties.

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Are There Limits to Pain and Suffering Compensation in Illinois?

No. For car accident victims in the state, Illinois law does not impose specific statutory caps or limits on pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases. However, the state’s legal system does place certain restrictions and guidelines on the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded in civil lawsuits.

One significant limitation on pain and suffering compensation in Illinois is the state’s adherence to the doctrine of comparative negligence. Under comparative negligence, the amount of damages awarded to an injured party may be reduced in proportion to their own degree of fault for the accident. If the injured party is found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, they may be barred from recovering any compensation for their pain and suffering.

Additionally, while not completely relevant in an auto accident case, it’s worth nothing that Illinois law DOES require personal injury cases involving medical malpractice be subject to a statutory cap on non-economic damages. As of 2021, the cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases in Illinois is $500,000 for healthcare practitioners and $1,000,000 for hospitals.

While there are limits to pain and suffering compensation in Illinois, the specific amount that can be awarded in any given case depends on factors such as the severity of the injuries, the impact on the injured party’s life, and the evidence presented to support the claim.

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What Do Auto Insurance Policies in Illinois Usually Cover?

There are several common types of coverage available to Illinois drivers that typically include financial protection. Following is a list of items auto insurance policies usually cover in Illinois:

  • Liability Coverage: Liability coverage is mandatory in Illinois and helps pay for damages if you’re at fault in an accident that causes injury or property damage to others. It typically includes:
    • Bodily injury liability: Covers expenses related to medical services, lost income, and legal fees for injuries to other parties.
    • Property damage liability: Covers costs associated with the replacement or repair of another person’s damaged property.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This coverage protects you if you’re in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have insurance or whose insurance is insufficient to cover your damages.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments Coverage: PIP or medical payments coverage helps pay for medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault in the accident.
  • Collision Coverage: Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle caused by a collision with an object or another vehicle (motorized or other), regardless of fault.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage helps cover damage to your vehicle from incidents other than collisions, such as theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.
  • Optional Coverages: Some additional coverages you may consider adding to your policy include:
  • Rental reimbursement coverage: Pays for the cost of a rental car if your vehicle is being repaired after an accident.
  • Roadside assistance/towing coverage: Covers the cost of towing your vehicle to a repair shop or providing roadside assistance services.
  • Gap insurance: Covers the difference between what you owe on your car loan or lease and the actual cash value of your vehicle if it’s totaled in an accident.

Understanding what auto insurance policies usually cover in Illinois can help you make more-informed decisions when selecting coverage options to meet your needs and protect you financially in the event of an accident. Be sure to review your policy carefully and consider consulting with an insurance agent for personalized guidance.

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What Options Do I Have If Medical Costs Are More Than The Insurance Policy and I Have Other Costs to Cover?

When medical costs after a crash exceed the limits of your insurance policy and you have other expenses to cover, it can create significant financial strain. Here’s what you can consider:

  • Review Your Coverage: Start by reviewing your auto insurance policy to understand the extent of your coverage and the limits for medical expenses. Determine if you have any additional coverages, like personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage, that may help cover medical costs beyond the liability limits.
  • Explore Other Insurance Policies: Check if you have other insurance policies that may provide coverage for medical expenses, such as health insurance or disability insurance. These policies may help cover medical costs that exceed your auto insurance policy limits.
  • Pursue Legal Action: If the at-fault party’s insurance coverage is insufficient to cover your medical expenses and other costs, you may consider pursuing legal action against the at-fault party to seek compensation for the remaining amount owed. Consulting with a licensed auto accident lawyer in Chicago, IL can help you understand your legal options and pursue the compensation you deserve.
  • Negotiate with Healthcare Providers: In some cases, healthcare providers may be willing to negotiate the cost of medical treatment or set up a payment plan to help you manage expenses. Be proactive in communicating with your healthcare providers and exploring options for reducing or managing medical costs.
  • Seek Financial Assistance: If you’re facing financial hardship due to medical expenses and other costs after a crash, consider reaching out to local community resources, charitable organizations, or government assistance programs that may provide financial assistance or support services.

Dealing with medical costs that exceed insurance policy limits can be challenging, but exploring these options can help you manage expenses and seek the financial assistance you need to recover from a crash.

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What Is Umbrella Insurance in Illinois?

In Illinois, umbrella insurance is a type of supplemental liability coverage that provides additional protection beyond the limits of your standard auto, homeowners, or renters insurance policies.

Umbrella insurance serves as a “safety net” by offering extra liability coverage in the event that you are found responsible for causing injury to someone else or damaging their property, and the damages exceed the limits of your primary insurance policies.

For example, if you are involved in a serious car accident where you are at fault and the resulting medical expenses and legal fees exceed the liability limits of your auto insurance policy, umbrella insurance can help cover the remaining costs. Similarly, if someone is injured on your property and sues you for damages that exceed the liability limits of your homeowners or renters insurance, umbrella insurance can provide additional coverage.

Umbrella insurance policies typically offer coverage in increments of one million dollars or more, providing a significant level of protection against costly liability claims.

It’s important to note that umbrella insurance does not cover your own personal injuries or property damage but rather provides additional liability coverage for claims made against you by others.

While umbrella insurance is optional, it can offer valuable peace of mind and financial protection against unforeseen circumstances where you may be held liable for damages beyond the limits of your primary insurance policies. Consulting with an insurance agent can help you determine if umbrella insurance is right for you and ensure that you have adequate protection in place.

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What Are My Options If There Are Multiple Defendants?

When there are multiple defendants in a legal case, you have several options to consider in pursuing your claim. One option is to pursue joint and several liability, which means that each defendant may be held accountable for the total amount of damages that have been awarded, despite their individual level of fault. This can simplify the process of obtaining compensation, as you can potentially recover the full amount of damages from any one defendant, even if others are unable to pay.

Another option is to allocate fault among the defendants based on their respective levels of responsibility for the harm caused. This may involve presenting evidence to demonstrate each defendant’s degree of fault and seeking proportionate compensation from each party.

Additionally, you may choose to settle your claim with one or more defendants outside of court through negotiations or mediation. This can allow you to avoid the time and expense of litigation while still obtaining compensation for your damages.

Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, including the extent of your injuries, the available evidence, and the willingness of the defendants to negotiate. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your options and determine the most effective strategy for pursuing your claim against multiple defendants.

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Are Any Insurance Policies Available in Illinois To Cover Excess Liability?

In Illinois, individuals and businesses have access to insurance policies known as umbrella insurance or excess liability insurance to cover excess liability beyond the limits of their primary insurance policies. Following are some options to consider:

  • Umbrella Insurance: Umbrella insurance is a type of supplemental liability coverage that provides additional protection beyond the limits of your standard auto, homeowners, or renters insurance policies. It serves as a “safety net” by offering extra liability coverage in the event that you are found responsible for causing injury to someone else or damaging their property, and the damages exceed the limits of your primary insurance policies.
  • Excess Liability Insurance: Excess liability insurance is similar to umbrella insurance in that it provides additional liability coverage beyond the limits of your primary insurance policies. However, excess liability insurance typically kicks in after the limits of your primary policies have been exhausted, providing an extra layer of protection for large liability claims.

Both umbrella insurance and excess liability insurance policies typically offer coverage in increments of one million dollars or more, providing a significant level of protection against costly liability claims. These policies can help safeguard your assets and provide peace of mind knowing that you have additional financial protection in place in the event of a lawsuit or catastrophic loss.

It’s important to note that umbrella insurance and excess liability insurance policies are optional and must be purchased separately from your primary insurance policies. Consulting with an insurance agent can help you determine the appropriate amount of coverage for your needs and ensure that you have adequate protection in place to cover excess liability in Illinois.

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Can Negligence Help to Recover More Compensation in an Accident Lawsuit?

Yes. Negligence can play a very important role in determining the amount of compensation you can recover in an accident lawsuit. Following are some reasons how:

  • Establishing Fault: Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to others. In an accident lawsuit, proving that the other party was negligent and at fault for the accident is essential for recovering compensation. This involves demonstrating that the other party owed you a duty of care, breached that duty through their actions or inaction, and directly caused your injuries or damages.
  • Contributory Negligence: In some cases, both parties may share fault for an accident. However, Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence system, which means that your recovery may be reduced if you are found partially at fault for the accident. Under this system, you can still recover compensation as long as your share of fault is less than 50%. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
  • Impact on Compensation: The degree of negligence attributed to the other party can significantly impact the amount of compensation you receive. If the other party’s negligence is clear and egregious, you may be entitled to a higher amount of compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Conversely, if you are partially at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced accordingly.
  • Legal Representation: Successfully navigating the complexities of negligence and liability in an accident lawsuit often requires the expertise of a skilled personal injury attorney. An attorney can investigate the circumstances of the accident, gather evidence to support your claim, and advocate on your behalf to maximize the compensation you receive.

Overall, negligence can be a crucial factor in recovering more compensation in an accident lawsuit. By proving the other party’s negligence and demonstrating the extent of your damages, you can increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome and receiving the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.

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Who Can Help Me Secure a Full Insurance Policy Limits Amount in Illinois?

If you’re seeking assistance to secure the full insurance policy limits amount after an accident, there are several resources available to help you.

Services like Injury Law Support can provide valuable assistance by connecting you with a local accident lawyer who can assess your case, explain your legal rights, and help you understand the options available for pursuing a lawsuit. There are no fees for this service and the lawyers that are part of the Injury Law Support network have been vetted to ensure that only the best lawyers will handle your potential case.

To begin today, fill out the “Free Case Review” form on this page and a local lawyer will contact you to learn more about your incident and how they may be able to help. There are no upfront fees, the call with the lawyer is free and you do not have to proceed with the lawyer if it is determined that they can help.

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