Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents

Should I give a statement to the Police?
Yes. Even if there is minor damage, it is still important to make sure an accident report is filed to officially document exactly what happened. You don’t know what the other individual(s) involved in the accident will claim after you’ve left the scene. The Police report is a great resource to help make sure the details of the accident are accurate.

Should I give a statement to my insurance company?
Yes, but not to the other insurance company. You have no legal obligation to give the other driver’s insurance company a recorded statement or sign any documentation. Any communication or negotiation with that insurance company should be done with the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Does my insurance premium increase after a car accident?
If the accident was not your fault, your insurance premium won’t increase. The at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for covering any damages to your vehicle and medical costs if you’ve been injured in the accident. An easy way to remember this is that if your insurance company doesn’t give you any money for a claim, your rate won’t go up.

What if I refused medical treatment at the scene of the accident?
This is not an issue because you can always seek medical treatment later. It’s not uncommon for people to feel the effects of an accident one or two days after the crash. Back and neck pain as well as stiffness generally take a few days to set in. However, it is critical not to wait too long to see a medical professional if you’re suffering from the after effects of an accident. The strength of your legal claim may weaken from a long delay and impact any related compensation.

What do I do if I am involved in a hit and run accident?
Call the police immediately. In many jurisdictions, it’s your legal responsibility to notify the police if you’re involved in an accident that involves injury or property damage over a certain amount. Also, filing a police report provides valuable documentation that can help in the claims process.

What if the driver who hit me doesn’t have insurance?
Most insurance companies offer additional coverage to protect you from accidents involving uninsured motorists. Check your policy or call your insurance agent to find out if you’re covered.

How soon after the accident do I need to see a medical professional?
The sooner the better.

How much time after an accident do I have to decide if I need to sue?
In Illinois, the state’s civil court system sets a time limit of two years on filing a personal injury lawsuit. The clock on this two-year time limit, known as a “statute of limitations,” starts to run on the date of the accident in most cases.

However, it isn’t advisable to wait to file a claim if you’re getting medical treatment for injuries related to an accident and also suffering financially. There are filing deadlines and legal requirements that an experienced personal injury attorney will help you navigate through and it’s advantageous to begin the process shortly after the accident occurs.

What should I avoid doing after an accident?
There’s a long list of things you should avoid doing when you’ve filed a personal injury claim after an accident. The following are some of the key things to avoid:

  • Not seeking experienced legal representation.
  • Engaging in careless media posts that can damage your claim.
  • Signing documents or make a statement to the other person’s insurance company.
  • Waiting too long to seek medical treatment.
  • Ignoring medical advice related to your injuries.
  • Failing to use your health insurance.
  • Accepting the initial settlement offer.

The list goes on and on illustrating why claimants should work with a personal injury attorney to ensure a positive outcome for their case.

Do I need a lawyer if I have car insurance?
Yes. Even if you aren’t at fault in the accident and haven’t been injured, there are certain situations where a skilled attorney is essential in preserving your rights and protecting you from liability.

Won’t my car insurance cover my needs after an accident?
Your car insurance will not cover all your needs, particularly expenses related to medical care. Understanding how insurance companies and medical insurance providers work to settle claims is daunting. That’s why it’s so important to have an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases work with you to get the settlement you deserve.

What if I am partially to blame for the accident?
If your portion of the blame is less than 50 percent, it’s no problem. The law allows you to seek some damages if you are partially at fault. If the court finds you bear less that half of the responsibility for the accident any compensation you receive will be based on the percentage of the responsibility you bear.

Should I take photos of the accident scene?
Yes. Photos are some of the clearest evidence from accident scenes and can provide valuable proof related to the cause of an accident and contributing factors, such as poor signage, that may have played a role in the accident. Photos can also document the extent of the damage and injuries victims suffered as a result of the collision.

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