Regardless if you’re at fault in a motor vehicle accident, you must call your insurance company and notify them about what happened. If your car accident results in property damage or bodily injuries, you’ll need to file a car accident claim with the other driver’s insurance company or your own insurer.
Often, insurance companies prefer to minimize the amount they have to pay out in personal injury lawsuits. Thus, when it comes to your insurance claim, it’s crucial to document everything that happened at the accident scene. Here is a little more info on how to file a car accident claim in Illinois.
How Long Do You Have to File an Accident Report in Illinois?
When you’re on the roadway in Illinois or anywhere else, be careful to avoid automobile accidents. However, if you get into an automobile crash, you need to know if you should file a car accident report in Illinois. According to Illinois state laws, a car crash report must be filed for any incident that causes death or bodily injury or results in over $1500 for property damage.
The Illinois Statute 625 ILCS 5/11-408 also requires you to submit an accident report to the Department of Transportation (DOT) within 10 days after the car crash. If you don’t file your car crash report within the stipulated time frame, you may face penalties, including fines, jail time, or your driver’s license may be suspended.
When Should You Report an Accident to Your Insurer?
It’s crucial to note that it’s necessary to report your car crash to your insurance carrier as soon as possible. Most insurance companies require that you report any car accident within a “reasonable” time frame. If possible, report the crash on the same day. If you don’t report a car crash to your auto insurance carrier, you might not receive any financial compensation for the accident.
If the insurance company of the at-fault driver denies your insurance claim or refuses to offer you a fair settlement amount, you may need to file a car accident lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve. In Illinois, the statute of limitations or the time limit for personal injury claims is two years from the date the accident occurs. If a motor vehicle accident victim doesn’t file their lawsuit against the alleged negligent party within the two-year window, they won’t recover the compensation they’re eligible to.
If your car crash claim only involved a dispute over property damage, then you have up to five years from the date the accident occurred to file your auto insurance claim.
What is the Mandatory Insurance Law in Illinois?
Under Illinois’ mandatory insurance law, vehicle owners must carry liability insurance for any vehicle registered in Illinois. If you’re a vehicle owner in the state, the minimum insurance coverage you’re required to carry is:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person in a motor vehicle crash caused by you.
- $50,000 total for all injuries or deaths in a car crash caused by you.
- $20,000 for damage to another person’s property in a crash caused by you.
This basic liability coverage covers the medical expenses, property damage expenses, and other expenses of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who are injured or suffer property damage in a car crash you cause, up to coverage limits. If possible, it’s great to carry more auto insurance coverage to protect yourself in case a serious car accident results in severe car accident injuries and vehicle damage. Because once you exhaust the auto insurance policy limits, you’re financially responsible for the other expenses. Thus, higher insurance limits can protect your personal assets in case of a catastrophic accident.
Further, your liability coverage will also kick in if any family member is driving your car, or if you have allowed another person to use your vehicle. Also, it will cover you if you get into an automobile crash in a rental car.
However, it’s essential to note that liability coverage doesn’t apply to your own personal injuries or vehicle damage following a car accident. So, you need additional coverage to cover that if you’re involved in a car crash and no one else’s insurance coverage applies to your damages. For instance, you can use Med Pay or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to cover your car crash medical bills, and collision insurance coverage can pay for repairs or replacement of your damaged car after a car crash.
What Should You Not Say to an Insurance Adjuster?
An auto accident attorney can be of big help when dealing with an insurance adjuster following a car accident. At CCAL, our Chicago personal injury lawyers work with insurance adjusters daily and we can help you when dealing with an insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters work under orders from insurance companies and they have to follow a set of procedures when processing your car insurance claim. Their responsibility is to settle your personal injury claim with as little hassle and payment as possible. They have to protect the insurance company’s bottom line.
Whether the insurance company representative came to the scene of the accident or you’re on a phone call with them days later, you must be on guard when talking to them. It’s best to let Chicago insurance claim lawyers at CCAL take care of dealing with insurance adjusters. However, if you choose to deal with an insurance adjuster on your own, make sure you don’t say these five things:
- Don’t admit liability. Admitting liability in a car accident insurance claim is telling the insurance company that your injuries or property damage should be attributed to your own negligence. The insurance adjuster may use that information to deny your insurance claim.
- Don’t agree to sign a medical release. If the insurance adjuster asks you to sign a form to allow them to access your medical records, be very cautious. Because allowing insurance adjusters access to your entire medical history may allow them to find about your old injuries or conditions, which they may claim caused your injuries instead of the car accident.
- Don’t say you’ll take the first settlement offer. Often, the first settlement offer is the bare minimum. Insurance adjusters offer low first settlement offers, hoping you’re desperate enough for financial compensation that you’ll take any offer they throw your way. At CCAL, we tell our clients they have a right to full and fair compensation and they should be prepared to fight to receive the compensation they deserve.
- Don’t say you’ll give the insurance adjuster a recorder statement without consulting with an experienced car accident attorney. Often, adjusters ask misleading questions trying to get you to admit your injuries aren’t that serious or you were at fault for the accident. Working with an auto accident lawyer can help you be prepared when giving a statement.
- Don’t badmouth the responsible party. Badmouthing the at-fault party will do you no good. Getting heated about the crash can cause you to slip and say something that could harm your insurance claim.
Contact Our Experienced Chicago Car Accident Lawyers for Legal Advice!
Being involved in a car crash is emotionally and physically taxing. You may wish that the insurance company handles your insurance claim with no effort on your part. However, your attention to detail and vigilance will help you get full and fair compensation. It’s essential to talk to a car accident attorney about your motor vehicle accident because an attorney can advocate for you and push for you to receive maximum compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering.
At CCAL, our Chicago auto accident lawyers know how challenging it is to deal with the aftermath of a car accident. Also, we have extensive experience dealing with insurance adjusters and we know the tricks they use to minimize insurance claims. Our skilled car accident lawyers will protect your rights and interests, and we’ll help you pursue the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (312) 300-2515, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.