I was in a car accident on I 90 yesterday. A lady was changing lanes and she side swiped my car at highway speeds. Anyway the ISP investigated the accident and no traffic citations were issued. The Illinois State Trooper said that he could not determine who was at fault in the accident because both stories seem plausible. I said she hit me and she said that I hit her. I think its very clear from the damage to my car who was at fault. I was wondering what happens in cases like this? In the past I was in accidents where it was very clear who was at fault. I was rear ended and the other person paid to fix the car and I rear ended someone and I paid for the accident. I was also hit when I was driving my moms van and it was the other persons fault. I also heard that the ISP is not very big on giving out tickets for car accidents and I do not know if that was true are not. To sum everything up do you know what is the result for accidents like this or would I have to talk to my claim rep about this?
Thanks for your question Jim. The Illinois State Police investigates thousands of car crashes every year, and our policy is to issue citations to drivers who are at fault, whenever that determination can be made. Often vehicles are moved from a scene due to traffic, etc. Also an officer may have several calls to handle, and the amount of time he can spend on investigating each is limited, except in very serious or fatal crashes.
Troopers interview the drivers and witnesses involved, and also try to analyze the damage and any road marks or other evidence to determine who is at fault. As you can imagine, this is sometimes difficult, or it is evident that more than one party is at fault. As you experienced, the officer is often also presented with different accounts of the event from those involved. That said, if there is clear evidence of who was at fault, the Trooper should issue a citation. Be sure to point out any observations or potential evidence to your insurance investigator.
Ultimately, determination of who will pay for damage falls to the insurance companies. This is true even in cases where a citation has been issued. The citation is a process in criminal or traffic court, whereas damages, etc. are a civil process. There are situations where even when a citation is issued, it can't be introduced into a civil process. Insurance companies routinely work these determinations out among themselves. An attorney or perhaps your insurance agent could shed more light on this for you, but that is my basic understanding of the situation.
I hope this helps to answer your question, and that everything works out to your satisfaction.