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How long can insurance investigate an accident???

Chicago, IL |

My car was in a hit and run i was the one hit luckily someone got the persons plate numbers who hit me now i filed police report and hes liable and all the thing is hes in the hospital because he had a stroke supposedly when he hit my car yet he still drove off. I have liabilty insurance so they are not going to fix my car he is fully covered His insurance has taken a month and still has not given me a response to wheter they will pay for my car or not they already came and got an estimate they say they have to wait for the guy who hit me his medical report at this point I dont know what to do the insurance agent is saying it cood be another week or another month can someone give me some advice to what to do???

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

The answer is typically a "reasonable time". If you do not wish to conslut an attorney, I would look to file a complaint with your insurance commisioner for bad faith claims practices.

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Posted

Do you have collision damage coverage on your car? In most states, if you do, your own insurance company must pay to fix your car (minus your deductible) if you make the claim to them, and then they make their claim against the driver at fault and also recover your deductible and give it to you. Your insurance company owes you what is called a first party good faith obligation because you have a contract with them. The other driver's insurance company has a lesser duty to deal with you because you don't have a contract with them. Check with an Illinois attorney. However, if you were not hurt in the accident getting local counsel may not be a workable idea. One approach you can take is to call your own insurance company and demand that they pay to fix your car and establish whether they are going to absolutely refusedto do so. I have found in my practice that sometimes an insurance company in this situation tries to do what you say they did, but if the insured or their attorney pushes them, they back down and pay. Good luck.

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Posted

If the driver of the other vehicle did indeed have a stroke just prior to colliding with you, that could seriously hurt your chances of prevailing in a suit against that driver. It does not seem unreasonable for the insurance company to investigate the drivers' medical condition before making a determination as to whether they will accept responsibility. In order for you to collect against the other driver, you must prove that he was at fault, or negligent and that his negligence caused the wreck. You may need to consult with an attorney or your insurance company to have either of them start an investigation into whether the driver had any warning of an impending stroke and drove despite the risk. If the stroke came with no warning, you may have a tough time articulating what that driver did wrong and why he should be responsible for the wreck.

The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable.

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Posted

It looks to me like the insurance carrier for the adverse driver is looking to establish an "act of God" defense, claiming that their insured was not negligent in causing the collision. For example, if they could somehow prove, through their insured's medical records, that he suffered a stroke or heart attack just prior to the collision and that this medical emergency caused the driver to have the collision, there would not be negligence on their insured's part and you would not have a viable claim.

I suggest that you file a complaint with your state's insurance commissioners office about the inordinate delays in resolving your claim. This may put some pressure on them to resolve this matter in your favor. They would need to obtain expert medical testimony to support this type of defense and that may not be easy to obtain quickly and it certainly will not be cheap for them. It may be cheaper for them to pay your claim. I suggest you put pressure on the insurance carrier as soon as possible.

Legal Disclaimer:

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to insure proper advice is received.

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Posted

The short answer is insurance companies like to "play" with people who don't have lawyers. They assume that if they drag things out long enough, those people will get frustrated, blow a statute of limitations, or otherwise give up or lose interest.

Keeping in mind that there are "rules" that insurers must pay claims within a reasonable time and in "good faith," most know that unrepresented claimants don't know of these laws and don't bother to feel pressure to move quickly.

If you get yourself a lawyer, it generally speeds the process.

A month is a long time but not inherently unreasonable based upon case law out there. This is a tough one because so many intergovenmental agencies may be involved and they work slowly. Plus, remember that insurers are often fearful of getting burned by "fake" hit and run situations, so they investigate them thoroughly.

Call me if you have questions. 773.944.9737.

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Posted

Mr. Hoffman has given you a good answer. The rest of the answers come from lawyers outside of Illinois who have little understanding of the law in our state.

You would be well advised to consult with an Illinois lawyer soon. It sounds to me like the insurance company here is dancing you around. It will certainly cost you money to have a lawyer work for you, but you won't have to pay anything up front. Almost all lawyers in cases like yours work for a percentage of the recovery: a contingent fee. A lawyer will get you results. You're getting nowhere on your own.

Good luck if you ignore me.

Donald Nathan
www.donaldnathanlaw.com
630-758-1500

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