How to Report a Chicago Car Accident to Insurance

Illinois uses an at-fault insurance system, which means that you file your injury claim against the insurance company of the driver who hit you.  It is important to let them know about your accident quickly.  Your own insurance company might also want to know if you were involved in a crash in case they need to adjust your rates.  But how do you make these reports?

You should always go over your case with a lawyer before talking about it to the insurance companies.  There is information the insurance company will need to complete your claim that might potentially be used against you or used to shut down your claim.  It is vital to talk with your lawyer about what to say and how to present the information.

For help reporting your accident to your insurance company, call the Chicago car accident lawyers at the Rhatigan Law Offices today at (312) 578-8502.

Contacting a Lawyer for Help Reporting Your Chicago Car Accident

As mentioned, you should always work with a lawyer before contacting insurance companies about your car accident.  Your lawyer is legally and ethically required to have your best interests in mind.  This means that our Chicago personal injury attorneys need to fight for you and work to maximize your damages.  Insurance companies, on the other hand, will seek to reduce payouts and deny insurance claims whenever they can to save themselves money.

When you submit an insurance claim with an insurance company, that is a sworn statement.  It needs to be accurate, or they will end up using the inaccuracies against you.  In the worst case, mistakes could end up being used to charge you with insurance fraud.  It is important to understand that what you say might have surprising legal effects, as even something like “I’m sorry” could be used to at least prove you knew you did something wrong, if not as evidence of fault itself.

Insurance companies will also try to make sure that any incomplete information leads to a denied claim.  While you may be able to revise your claim and fix any holes in the information you provided, this can take time you might not have.  It is better to go to the insurance company with your lawyer the first time so that your attorney can help close any gaps and resolve any questions the insurance company might come up with before they hurt your claim.

How to Report and File an Insurance Claim in Chicago

The actual process of reporting an accident to insurance and filing an insurance claim is often simple, but the information you need to provide is complex.  Insurance claims are usually filed online or over the phone.  You can simply find the claim form for the insurance company you need to file with, enter the relevant policy information, and submit a claim on their website.  Alternatively, you will usually be able to call the insurance company, give them the policy information, and tell them what happened over the phone.  However, you should work with a lawyer before doing this.

Many calls are recorded, and anything you say is on record.  This means that they can use the information against you if it contains mistakes, inaccuracies, or inconsistencies.  It is best to have your lawyer present the information to the insurance companies for you.  This prevents your statements from being used against you and allows your lawyer to correct the record if inconsistencies or mistakes arise.

There may be other ways you can report claims with certain insurance companies, such as with cell phone apps.  Instead of submitting photos or statements directly with the insurance companies, have your lawyer help you submit documents and photos.

Do You Have to Report an Accident to Your Own Insurance in Chicago?

Many insurance policies have rules about when you need to report the crash to the insurance company.  Illinois uses an at-fault insurance system, which means that the at-fault driver’s insurance policy will be the one to pay out damages.  This means you will need to follow their policy’s rules for reporting, which usually coincide with the state statute of limitations, giving you 2 years to file your claim.  However, your insurance company might also want to know about your crash.

Your insurance is not typically used to pay your claims if someone else injured you.  However, you might have first-party benefits that allow you to get some compensation, either as a stop-gap measure until the at-fault insurance company pays your claim or to make up for an uninsured or underinsured driver hitting you.  If you need to take advantage of these policies, your insurance policy will have information on deadlines for filing and reporting your claim.  Your Illinois personal injury lawyer can help you file these claims on time and in the proper manner to avoid denial or challenges.

Your insurance company might also want to know about your accident in order to adjust your rates.  Check with your attorney first before letting your insurance company know about your crash.  There may be limitations on when the insurance company should request information about your crash and when they can use this information to raise your rates.  Typically, if you were not the one to cause the crash, your rates should not go up – but there may be exceptions, and insurance companies should not be trusted to always play by the rules.

Have your lawyer review your case and advise you on what to tell your own insurance company after your crash.

Call Our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Today

For a free case review, call our Joliet car accident lawyers today.  Contact the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 before contacting the insurance companies after your crash.