When you file a lawsuit, the person or company that you were involved in an accident is the person who is being sued, and in theory, he or she is the one that has to pay the judgment. However, our office only takes on cases where there is liability insurance available or the defendant is a large enough entity that they do not carry insurance (think Commonwealth Edison or the City of Chicago). In cases like that, the insurance company will end up paying the judgment.
One of the strange rules in Illinois law is that the fact that someone has liability insurance cannot be mentioned during the trial of a case, even though almost everyone is aware at some level that there is insurance to cover the accident. In fact, insurance companies get to control the defense of the case and make decisions whether a settlement offer will be made, and if so, at what amount. In short, insurance companies have a tremendous amount of influence as to whether a case ends up going to trial because they are the ones who end up paying the settlement or judgment, up to the defendant’s policy limits.