What recourse do I have if my car was rear-ended by a guy with a 3rd rate insurance company?

The insurance company has quoted me an estimate for damages and then issued a check for less than the amount quoted. Also, the amount is no where near enough to cover the expense of repairing my car.

Asked on September 12, 2016 under Accident Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You have the right to sue the at fault driver (and someone who rear ends you is almost always at fault, and hence liable, in the law's eyes, since that person is responsible for maintaining a safe following distance) for the full amount of your damage: i.e. the entire provable cost to repair, so long as that cost is reasonable. If you want to sue, you can't cash the insurance check if there is also a settlement agreement in which you agree to settle all claims and give up your right to sue in exchange for the payment; in this case, you would disregard or return the check, then sue the at fault driver for all the money (e.g. all the repair costs) you believe they owe. However, if the check was sent to you without any settlement agreement at all, you could take the money and then sue for the unpaid or additional balance; be sure, however, before doing this, that there truly is *no* agreement to settle the case and the check was sent with "no strings attached."

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