Total Car Loss Claims in Illinois
The risk of suffering a car crash may be greater than you think. According to data published by the Illinois Department of Transportation, from 2010 to 2020, there were 3,255,039 vehicle crashes in Illinois, an average of just under 296,000 crashes each year. A total of 246,752 traffic crashes occurred in the state during 2020 alone.
Vehicle damage is common in car crashes. But even relatively minor auto crashes can be traumatic events for their victims. Personal and financial stress is elevated when the crash results in major damage to your vehicle. Auto insurance is designed to cover the costs of your vehicle if it is damaged.
Car Insurance and Total Loss
When you buy insurance, you have an expectation that if you have a claim, your insurer will pay the claim in line with the law. Too often, however, especially when a car is rendered a “total loss,” insurance companies fail to do so. What then?
What to expect when your insurance company decides to “total” your car
If your car is totaled in an accident, your insurance company may declare the car a total loss. What constitutes a “total loss” of a vehicle is subject to varying policy definitions, and it does not appear to be specifically defined in Illinois law, but generally occurs when the cost of repairs exceeds the actual cash value of the vehicle minus its salvage value in its damaged state.
The amount an insurance company will pay out is based on state law and the terms of your policy.
If your vehicle is declared a total loss, under Illinois law, your insurance company is required to replace it or pay you the retail value of the insured vehicle, less any applicable deductible. If you purchase a replacement vehicle within 30 days after payment of the claim and you timely notify the insurer (within 33 days after the receipt of payment of the claim), under Illinois law, the insurer is required to also pay applicable sales taxes and mandatory state title and transfer costs. You must actually replace the vehicle and then provide documentation of the replacement to the insurer. If those steps are followed, then the insurer is required to pay sales tax and fees.
When settling total loss claims, some insurance companies neglect to include certain costs in their settlement payments:
- Sales tax
- Title fees
- Title registration fees
- License plate transfer fees
You may be entitled to additional damages if the insurer fails to factor in your actual costs and fees into your settlement. Where it appears that the insurance company has failed to include these items as a general practice, moreover, a class action lawsuit may be appropriate to recover on your behalf and for all other persons similarly affected. And for that, Anderson + Wanca can help.
Call Anderson + Wanca for Total Loss Vehicle Claims in Illinois
Anderson + Wanca is a boutique class action litigation law firm. Our consumer rights attorneys at Anderson + Wanca have years of experience with class action litigation, including fighting for the rights of insureds whose total loss claims have been improperly underpaid. If you believe you have been wronged by an insurance company in connection with your total loss claim, or if you just want to be sure you have been offered a proper settlement, contact our attorneys at Anderson + Wanca. We will review your insurance policy, settlement documents, and the invoice for your replacement vehicle to see if you are being offered a fair settlement and, if not, to determine if there is a potential for a class action claim that our firm could advance on your behalf at no monetary cost to you.
Anderson + Wanca works with licensed attorneys in Illinois and throughout the United States.