Car Accidents: Top Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long can my car sit at the repair shop?
A: Not long or you will incur large fees. 

If your car has been towed from the scene or is otherwise in a repair shop, it can incur massive daily fines for being there. These fines are ultimately your responsibility! Our goal is to make sure the person who caused this accident ultimately pays for this. But sometimes things fall through. Maybe the other driver’s insurance company will deny that it was their fault. Maybe the other driver forgot to pay their monthly insurance premium. Even if there is valid insurance coverage, they are only responsible for paying for ‘a reasonable amount of time’ at the tow yard. That usually means only a couple of weeks. You can lose your car completely if you let it sit there too long! We recommend you call the other driver’s insurance company daily to see what’s going on with your car. Don’t talk to them about your injury, just your car. Don’t hesitate to call Chig Legal if you’re concerned it’s not getting fixed!  Remember, we’re here to help.

 

Q: I got ticketed for no insurance. What do I do?!
A: You may need to appear in court and may need a criminal defense lawyer.

Driving without insurance is against the law in Illinois, so you likely received a ticket for this. Even if the car accident wasn’t your fault, the police officer probably asked you for your driver’s license, your registration, and your proof of insurance. If you failed to provide these documents, you likely got a ticket. If you didn’t have auto insurance at the exact time the accident occurred, buying insurance right afterwards won’t help you fight that ticket. You need to get insurance in order to comply with the law, but don’t think that if you buy it right away, the ticket will always go away. The judges and prosecutors usually check the time at which policies are purchased.

If you are concerned about how this ticket can affect your driving record or if you’d like to try and fight the ticket, call Chig Legal for a free consultation.

 

Q: I was in an auto accident that wasn’t my fault, but I didn’t have insurance. Does this matter?
A: Most likely not, for your ability to be compensated for your injuries.

You likely got ticketed for this which is a criminal charge that may require you to go to court or pay a fine. However, as long as the accident wasn’t your fault, that doesn’t impact your ability to recover compensation from the at-fault driver for damage to your car and for your injuries. If they injured you or damaged your property, they, or their insurance company, are responsible for paying for those damages, regardless of whether you were insured or not. However, if both you and the other driver had no insurance, then recovering any money is a bit more difficult.

 

Q: The insurance company still won’t fix my vehicle or get it out of the tow yard, what do I do?
A: Generally, you want to get it out of the tow yard.

This is a major problem. Your vehicle is likely incurring hefty charges for sitting at that tow yard.  Sometimes the insurance company doesn’t send money directly to the shops. You may have to pay first, then get reimbursed later. The other driver’s insurance won’t pay for more than a few weeks’ or even days worth of charges, even if it’s their own fault for letting it sit there too long.

In an auto accident, the person who caused the accident is ultimately responsible for paying for the damage they caused. That means fixing your vehicle or paying you so you can get your vehicle fixed. They are also responsible for paying for reasonable charges for towing and storage fees.  However, sometimes the insurance company just doesn’t do their job quickly and this can end up causing massive headaches for you.

 

Q: I was injured in an auto accident and I don’t have any health insurance, what are my options?
A: Find doctors that will treat patients with no insurance who have been in an accident, they may put a ‘lien’ on your legal file, but you can still get treatment.

If you have no health insurance and were injured in an auto accident, you have a tough road ahead of you but there is help! See if there are any local clinics, minute clinics, or urgent care clinics nearby. Tell the doctors you call that you have no insurance and often they can give you discounted rates. If you are in severe pain and need to go to an emergency room, go! Ultimately the person who caused your auto accident is responsible for paying for the damages they caused, which includes your medical bills. The cost of medical treatment can be scary, call us today to go over what your options are. You’re not alone. 

 

Q: Why do I need an Injury Attorney?
A: Because you need to be “made whole” from your loss and there are a lot of complicating factors including the law, insurance companies, and doctors.

We make sure that you receive what is fair in response to what was taken from you. All items of damages that can be accounted for, will be accounted for. Medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of normal life, property damage, wage loss or loss of income, loss of consortium, future loss of income, future medical bills, future pain and suffering, just to name a few. We also know what the fair value is for what’s been taken from you.  There are many other complications that we deal with so you don’t have to such as reimbursement to your health insurance providers, Union health plans, government programs such as medicare and medicaid, etc.

 

Q: Who pays to fix my car after an auto accident?
A: Ideally, the other driver’s insurance company if they were at-fault. 

If the other driver was at fault for the auto accident, then his or her insurance company will typically get an estimate done (either by sending an agent to your vehicle or by telling you to take your vehicle to an agent). Then depending on the estimate a few things can happen:

If the estimate shows it costs more to fix the vehicle than the vehicle is worth, it will be considered a “total loss” and they will cut you a check for the “fair market value” of the vehicle.

If the estimate shows it costs less to fix the vehicle than the vehicle is worth, one of two things will happen:

  1. They will cut you a check for the amount they estimate it will cost to repair and you can either keep the check to spend on what you want or take it to get it repaired at the shop of your choice.

OR

  1. They will tell you the name a shop to take it to and that shop will fix it. The insurance company will pay the shop directly.

If you have full-coverage insurance, you can also opt to have your own insurance take care of this. Sometimes people do this because they feel their own insurance will treat them better than the at-fault driver’s insurance. Similar steps as above take place, but you may have to also pay your $500 or $1,000 deductible.  Your insurance company will then try and recover that money for you, from the at-fault driver’s insurance.

 

Q: The check the insurance company sent me for my totaled vehicle for my auto accident is less than the loan on my vehicle, what do I do? I’m paying a loan for a vehicle I no longer have!
A: You’ll likely have to keep paying on the loan. 

This is tough. Before you cash that check or sign anything, you should call Chig Legal. This is the type of situation that “Gap Insurance” exists to help with after a car accident. Gap Insurance is usually not standard. Since the at-fault driver and their insurance company are only responsible for paying for the “fair market value” of your vehicle, it won’t always cover your loan. Remember, people can take out 5-year, 10-year, or even longer loans. People can put down $0 or $10,000 when buying a car. So, the amount left on your loan doesn’t really reflect the “fair market value” of your vehicle. Car accidents are tough. Get yourself a tough lawyer who will make it right! 

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