How Do I File a Car Accident Claim in Illinois?

June 20, 2023

If you have been injured in a car accident in Illinois, filing a claim will be an important part of the recovery process. While auto insurance covers property damage, it also covers medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other injury-related losses. Since Illinois requires that all drivers carry insurance, the driver who hit you should be covered. If not, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company to recover just compensation. 

So, how do you file a car accident claim in Illinois? 

Even if you are clearly entitled to insurance coverage for your car accident, filing a successful claim won’t be easy. The insurance companies fight accident victims’ claims for compensation; and, even if you file a claim with your own insurer, it will try to avoid paying the financial compensation you deserve. With this in mind, while we cover the basic steps for filing a car accident claim below, it is strongly in your best interests to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. 

How to File a Car Accident Claim in Illinois

While there are different ways to describe the car accident claim process, we’ll break the process down into five key steps. To obtain financial compensation from the insurance companies, car accident victims will generally need to: 

1. Gather Proof of Fault 

After a car accident, it is important to gather as much evidence at the scene as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to take lots of photos and videos with your phone. If the police respond to the accident scene, you should receive a copy of the police report as well, and you should thoroughly document the damage to your car before leaving it at the shop for repairs. 

As a car accident victim, there might not be much more you can do on your own. However, from traffic camera footage to cell phone records, a variety of other types of evidence may be available—and you may need these additional types of evidence to prove your legal rights. This is one reason, among many, why it is best to contact a lawyer as soon after your accident as possible. 

2. Get Medical Treatment 

To prove your legal rights, you will also need to get medical treatment as soon as possible. Seeing a doctor promptly will ensure (or should ensure) that your medical records reflect the cause of your injuries. Once you receive a diagnosis and treatment plan, you should follow your doctor’s advice, or seek a second opinion if necessary. 

3. Contact Your Insurance Company 

To initiate the claim process, you will need to contact your insurance company. When you do, you should be prepared to provide the other driver’s insurance information (which you should also collect at the scene of the accident), and you should explain when and where the accident occurred. However, you should avoid saying much else—as anything else you say will only be used against you.

4. Document Your Losses

As you work through the recovery process, you will need to document your losses. This means keeping track of your medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses, as well as documenting any time you miss from work. Since Illinois law allows for the recovery of damages for pain and suffering, you will want to document the day-to-day effects of your injuries as well.

Read More: How Are Damages Assessed in a Personal Injury Case?

5. Deal with the Insurance Companies 

Finally, you will need to deal with the insurance companies. This process could take anywhere from several weeks to several months—if not even longer. You will need to be careful to ensure that the insurance companies don’t take advantage of you, and you will need to be even more careful to make sure you do not settle your claim too soon. 

Keep in mind, when you hire a car accident lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will take many of these steps for you. For example, one of the first things your lawyer will do is conduct a comprehensive investigation in order to collect evidence of liability. Then, your lawyer will determine which insurance company (or insurance companies) are responsible for your losses, and your lawyer will use the available evidence to seek just compensation on your behalf. If the insurance companies act in good faith, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a fair settlement. If they don’t act in good faith, your lawyer can go to court to fight for the compensation you deserve. 

Discuss Your Car Accident Claim with a Lawyer at Coplan + Crane

To learn how a Chicago car accident lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve, call Coplan + Crane today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced attorneys will listen to your story and explain your rights and legal options.

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Call (708) 358-8080 or contact us online to discuss your claim with an experienced car accident lawyer in confidence. We serve clients in Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas in Illinois.