No one expects to get into a car accident when they leave the house for the day, but car wrecks that cause serious injuries happen every day. Nearly 39,000 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2020 in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), even though there were fewer people on the road that year than usual.
When you get into a car accident, it can turn your life upside down. While you’re dealing with your injuries and your wrecked car, there are many other important things to deal with that add to the stress of the situation, such as:
Filing a crash report or getting a police report
Obtaining medical care
Filing a car insurance claim
Working with an insurance adjuster
Scheduling vehicle repairs
Take time off work, possibly losing income
All of this can feel overwhelming. It’s important to understand the process for filing your car insurance claim so that you aren’t left on the short end of the deal when it comes to a settlement.
Even if you were partially responsible for the accident, you have legal rights to protect after a car accident. It’s essential to understand the do’s and don’ts for car insurance claims in Illinois.
In this Article
List of Do’s for Filing a Car Insurance Claim in Illinois
If you’ve been in a car accident, you know how confusing and stressful the aftermath can be. Filing a car insurance claim shouldn’t make things worse. You should do several things that could help your insurance claim. These are as follows:
Do File a Police Report or an Illinois Crash Report
It’s vital to report the accident to the police so that there is an accurate record of what happened. If an officer arrives on the scene, they will create the police report. If not, each driver has 10 days to file an Illinois crash report if there was a death, bodily injury, or more than $1,500 of property damage from the auto accident and all drivers are insured. If one of the drivers does not have insurance, then a crash report must be filed if there is $500 worth of damage. Make sure to get a copy of the police report for the insurance company, or you’ll risk having your claim denied. A Chicago car accident lawyer may be able to handle this task for you.
Do Seek Medical Attention
If you’re badly injured, you will want to go to an emergency medical facility for care. However, even if you don’t think you sustained injuries, it’s essential to see a physician to get checked out. Often, physical injuries don’t show up right away. You want to have documentation of the medical care and how much it costs from the beginning.
Do Get Eyewitness Accounts
If there is a potential for a dispute in what occurred, you may want to ask any eyewitnesses to give an account for the police report. If the accident is clear-cut, you might be able to forgo this step (for example, a car rams you in the side, and they clearly don’t have the right-of-way). Still, having witnesses to support your claim can help prove your case.
Do Contact Your Insurance Company
Let your insurance company representative know immediately about the accident and all its associated losses. Be sure to let them know about the physical damages to the vehicle and bodily injuries you may have sustained.
Be honest with your insurer. Don’t try to hide anything or downplay the severity of the accident. Your insurer will likely find out eventually, and being less than truthful will only delay your claim and damage your relationship with the company.
Do Understand Your Insurance Policy
Read your policy thoroughly so you know what coverage you have and what is excluded. This will help you know what to expect from your insurer. Once you have an estimate for repairs, you can start negotiating with your insurer. Keep in mind that your insurer may not cover the full cost of repairs, so you may have to pay some out-of-pocket expenses.
Do Work Closely with the Insurance Adjuster
Keep in close touch with the insurance adjuster to avoid missing any important information or appointments. Make sure you give your insurance company representatives all the required information they request right away and let them know if you have relevant updates.
Do Protect Your Vehicle from Further Damage
The damage that occurred during the accident will be the insurance company’s responsibility. However, if additional damages happen due to negligence on your part, you could be liable. For example, if the window gets broken but you don’t cover it, the insurance company won’t pay for rain damage to the interior.
Do File Within Illinois’ Statute of Limitations
When dealing with a personal injury of any kind, you must file your claim within a certain time frame. Under Illinois law, you have up to two years to file a claim for personal injury.
If a loved one suffered fatal injuries during a car crash, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is also two years.
Do Keep a Record
It’s vital to keep a record of everything pertaining to the accident after it occurs. Keep any documents you receive. Take note of all communications you have and any fees you pay. Keep track of all expenses related to the accident. This includes medical bills, car repairs, rental cars, and anything else you’ve had to pay for because of the accident. Having all this information will help you get reimbursed by your insurer.
List of Don’ts for Filing a Car Insurance Claim in Illinois
Some actions could negatively affect your car insurance claim. These are some don’ts you need to be aware of when filing a car insurance claim in Illinois:
Don’t Wait Too Long to File a Claim
Most insurance policies have a time limit for filing claims, so be sure to file yours as soon as possible after the accident.
Don’t Make Any Repairs
Don’t take the step of starting to repair your vehicle on your own without the insurance company’s approval. You want to ensure you get the funds and approval for the repairs. Otherwise, they may not cover all the costs.
Don’t Sign Anything (Right Away)
Eventually, you will sign an agreement for settlement, but you don’t want to do that without considerable negotiations or an understanding of your rights. You need to be sure you know the extent of your vehicle’s damages and your medical injuries.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, there is really no way that you can know what your damages will be. You might think your car has minor damage. However, when you take it in, you may find out the damage is much more extensive. Also, medical issues may not surface the first day. Some people experience delayed symptoms from the car wreck.
And don’t sign anything without reading it first. This includes any documents your insurer asks you to sign. Make sure you understand what you’re signing before you put your name on it.
Don’t Take the First Repair Estimate You Get
Unless you have a certain mechanic you always use, you don’t have to accept the first estimate you get. You can shop around for different estimates until you find one you are comfortable with.
Don’t Settle on the Loss Amount if You Disagree
If the insurance company is offering you an amount to settle for the damages, but you don’t agree with that amount, you have the right to ask for an appraisal. It’s likely that your insurer will low-ball you at first, so be prepared to negotiate for a fair settlement. If you’re not happy with the offer, don’t be afraid to walk away and look for another option. The other party will get an appraisal, too. Both parties must pay for their own appraisals. An umpire will help judge which figure is accurate if the appraisers disagree.
Don’t Try To Go It Alone
An experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate the insurance claims process and make sure you get the compensation you deserve when you have been seriously injured. The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers has a team of knowledgeable car accident lawyers who are ready to help you.
If you’ve been in a car accident, don’t wait to get help. Contact an experienced car accident attorney at The Kryder Law Group, LLC today. We can help you understand your rights and options according to Illinois insurance laws and other car accident related laws, and hold the at fault driver responsible. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers will work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome for your case.
Other FAQs to Consider During the Car Insurance Claim Process
Do you need a police report to file an insurance claim in Illinois?
No, you don’t need a police report to file an insurance claim in Illinois. However, having a police report can be very helpful in getting your claim approved and the IDOI makes note that not having it may result in your claim being denied.
How much does car insurance go up after an accident in Illinois?
Car insurance rates will go up after an accident in Illinois, but the amount will depend on a number of factors, including who was at fault for the accident and the severity of the damages. If you have any questions about how your rates may be affected, you should contact your insurance company.
What is the minimum amount of car insurance required in Illinois?
The minimum amount of car insurance required in Illinois is $25,000 per person for bodily injury and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, as well as $20,000 for property damage. Illinois also requires Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage (UM) of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Depending on the UM limits, you may also be required to carry Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Insurance (UIM).
It’s important to note that these numbers are the minimum coverage amount and does not mean that it’s enough coverage for the average auto accident or the medical bills and other medical expenses you might rack up. You may want to consider getting more than the minimum to protect yourself financially especially if you’re the at fault driver and the other party files a property damage liability claim against you.
How long does it take for an insurance company to pay out a claim?
The time it takes for an insurance company to pay out a claim will vary depending on the company and the nature of the claim. However, you should expect to receive your payment within a few weeks. If you have any questions about the status of your claim, you should contact your insurance company.
What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
Illinois requires that every driver carries minimum amounts of Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage (UM) and in some cases, Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Insurance (UIM). So, if the other driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance, you would look to your own insurance company and your UM or UIM insurance policy to get compensation in an auto insurance claim.
Call The Kryder Law Group, LLC Today for a Free Consultation
Do you need additional help with an accident claim? Working with a car insurance adjuster may not be at the top of your priority list when you’re dealing with a serious injury. Maybe your schedule is hectic with hospital and specialist visits, or you don’t want to deal with the back-and-forth negotiations that are involved. No worries — you have options.
Get Help Now
Get in touch with The Kryder Law Group, LLC for help after your Illinois car accident. Our attorneys can assist you with the steps in recovering the damages from a car accident. We’ll keep you informed of all your available legal options and deal with all the stressful aspects of car accidents including dealing with your own and the other driver’s insurance company. Call for a free consultation.