At some time in our lives, we will experience the powerful effects of Murphy’s Law when driving a motor vehicle.
Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
Auto accidents range from less serious fender benders to full blown crashes that leave one or more people with severe injuries. The personal injury attorneys a Frederick & Hagle want to explain how to mitigate the negative impact of Murphy’s law by helping you understand what happens after car accidents in Illinois.
What To Do After You’ve Been Involved in a Car Accident in Illinois?
Remaining at the scene of an auto accident is your first priority. Illinois state law makes it a crime for a driver to leave a car crash scene, regardless if the driver was considered to be at fault. Leaving a vehicle accident scene will make you appear to be guilty and hence, make it more likely that you will face civil liability litigation. After stopping your car, what you do next after an accident in Illinois determines whether you file a persuasive insurance claim.
Contact Law Enforcement
A formal police report is the most important document you attach to an insurance claim. The report will include physical evidence such as photographs of the accident scene, as well as anecdotal evidence in the form of witness accounts of the crash. If you contact the nearest police station and the responding officer declines to send law enforcement personnel to the scene, then it will be your responsibility to collect evidence and obtain the contract information from the other driver(s).
Evidence and Information
Photographs of the accident scene is a good start, but you should gather more physical evidence by saving images to your Smartphone of the road and weather conditions at the time of the accident. Pics of the damage to your vehicle should expedite the claim process. Interview witnesses right after the crash to preserve the fresh accounts the witnesses had of the incident. Contact information to obtain from the other driver(s) include name, address, and telephone number. You also need the name of the insurer and the number of the auto insurance policy.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you do not feel any lingering pain, it is still a good idea to see your physician to chronicle any physical injuries. Some types of injuries such as migraine headaches appear days, it not weeks after a car accident. If you received one or more serious injuries, you should seek immediate medical help at the nearest healthcare facility. Make copies of every medical bill and record for attaching to your auto insurance claim.
How Illinois Assigns Fault in Car Accident Cases
Illinois uses what is called a tort system for determining which party must compensate the other motorists involved in an auto accident. The tort system means the insurance company of the motorist found at fault is legally liable for paying claims. It also means that you have the right to file a civil lawsuit to seek addition compensation for the pain and suffering caused by physical and/or emotional distress symptoms. The tort system in Illinois for auto accidents operates on the comparative negligence principle, which means motorists receive damages that represent the percentage of fault assigned to every driver involved in a car crash.
Here is an example:
You are involved in a car crash, which eventually leads to assignment of 60% fault to the other driver. Under the Illinois tort system for assigning fault, the other driver is on the legal hook to cover 60% of all monetary damages. The other driver or the insurance company representing the driver have the option to pay you directly for monetary damages.
Three Common Actions after Car Accidents in Illinois
What action can you take after a car accident in Illinois? First, you can file a claim with your insurance company. This method for receiving monetary damages assumes your insurer will handle the reimbursement by interacting with the party involved in the auto accident. Second, filing a claim with the other motorist’s insurance carrier represent a viable option. However, this method for receiving compensation typically takes longer than going through your insurance company. Finally, you have the right in Illinois to file a civil lawsuit, which is a valid option if your attorney believes the other insurance company treated you unfairly and/or if your attorney feels the monetary damages offered by the other insurer falls short of what you deserve.
Illinois and Auto Insurance Requirements
Every state mandates different car insurance coverage requirements. Here is what Illinois law says you must have for minimum auto insurance coverage:
- Property damage of $15,000
- Personal injury and/or fatality of $20,000
- Personal injuries and/or fatalities of multiple people of $40,000
Illinois Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) in Illinois protects motorists against the monetary damages caused by a negligent and uninsured driver. You must carry UIM coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
Her is how IUM insurance can kick in after a car accident:
- Hit and run incident
- Struck while walking
- Anyone riding in a vehicle you drive, but do not own
- You are drove a vehicle or rode in a vehicle named in your auto insurance policy
- A relative rode in or drove a vehicle named in your policy
- A driver and/or passenger(s) of your insured vehicle that had your permission to be in the vehicle
In Illinois, car insurance laws are complex, which means you should consult with an Illinois licensed personal injury attorney. You also have to deal with complicated auto insurance language. At Frederick & Hagle, we do much more than help clients receive just compensation for the injuries caused by an auto accident. We also ensure the claim you file with any insurance company includes convincing evidence and the claim is filed in a timely manner.
To receive the compensation you deserve after a car accident in Illinois, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Frederick & Hagle. You can reach our law firm by calling (800) 642-1277 or by submitting the online Contact form.