If you've been physically injured as a result of a car accident where another driver is at fault, damages to your vehicle may be the last thing on your mind. Medical costs and recovery, along with loss of employment and potential emotional trauma are all, often times, more than one individual can handle at any given time. Yet, once immediate medical care is sought, it is also very important to address the damage sustained by your vehicle so that value can be assessed immediately. In addition to the Illinois Statute of Limitations in car accident cases, you should also consider the amount of time it may take to file a claim for vehicle damages, whether that is with the at-fault driver's insurer or your own (as in the case of uninsured drivers). There are several considerations that come into play when one suffers vehicle damage in a car accident where another driver is at fault.
One important thing to consider is the value of your damaged vehicle prior to the accident. Should the car be totaled and the cost of repair exceed the fair market value of the vehicle at the time of the accident, the at-fault driver's insurer will only offer you the fair market value of the vehicle, leaving you without a car yet still responsible for paying the balance of the car loan.
You could take the preventative step of buying Gap Insurance (prior to any accident's, of course), which covers the difference between the fair market value of your vehicle and the amount you owe on your car loan should your car be totaled. In that case, the at-fault driver's insurer would be responsible for paying you for the value of your car prior to the accident and your insurer (per your Gap Insurance rider) would be responsible for paying the balance to your car loan servicer.
You do still have some recourse if you do not have Gap Insurance at the time of the accident, however. If you feel the insurer's valuation is less than the true fair market value of your vehicle, you may wish to consult with an experienced car accident attorney like those at Panio law offices who can negotiate on your behalf with the insurer to recoup the highest value to which you are entitled.
Panio Law Office attorneys have extensive experience in negotiating damages with car insurers and, if necessary, with litigating these matters. We've seen the gamut of these cases and understand the issues at hand and can help you recover the highest amount of damages to which you are entitled.
If you have questions about filing car accident or personal injury claims, call us at (312) 313-0305. We can help.