Why should I report a car accident in Chicago?

Calling 911 for a serious car crash brings needed medical help and law enforcement to aid the injured. Yet, you may question whether you should report an accident in Chicago if it seems minor. If you and the other party are fortunate enough to leave the scene without much injury or damage to yourselves, you might think filing is a waste of time.

You may have much to lose if you fail to report the incident. A Chicago car accident lawyer from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, will guide you through the reporting process, and should you sustain significant losses in the accident, fight to help you recover damages.

why report a car accident

Why do accidents need to be reported?

Filing reports is often a matter of law, but there are other reasons to file. A seemingly minor accident can cause severe injuries, requiring legal action to seek compensation from the at-fault party or working with your own insurance company to secure coverage. You must have an official accident report to proceed with your claim.

This requirement applies to hit-and-run accidents as well. Even if your car is damaged while unattended, file the report for insurance purposes and in the hopes of collecting damages should law enforcement locate the culprit. For help making the report and proceeding with a claim, contact the experienced Chicago car accident lawyers from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates.

Am I legally required to file an accident report in Chicago?

Illinois drivers must report crashes involving injuries or fatalities or property damage of more than $1,500. That amount falls to $500 if any of the drivers do not have insurance. When you call law enforcement to the scene, you can protect your interests and a potential claim since the attending officers will submit an official report.

If you decide not to call the police to the scene or you feel unsafe staying at the scene because the other parties are becoming aggressive,  you have 10 days to file the report yourself. You can file an accident report for any crashes occurring in the Chicago metro area using a form available at your local sheriff’s office or police station.

You can file a report online with the Illinois State Police if the accident occurred on roadways and Interstate highways under Illinois State Police jurisdiction, involved only one vehicle, and did not result in any injuries. If your accident does not meet those conditions, you should contact the ISP to determine what you should do. Failing to report an accident is a Class A misdemeanor under Illinois law.

Why should I report an accident that seems minor?

Accidents that seem minor might have caused significant injuries. Post-accident adrenaline surges often mask injury symptoms, such as those of musculoskeletal damage or serious brain injuries. You also have no way of knowing the true extent of damage to your vehicle until a mechanic checks it out.

These initial unknowns make reporting the accident a wise choice. You do not want to face legal problems or challenges by the at-fault party for delays or failures to report accidents that turn out to be more serious than you thought. Once you accept a settlement from an insurance company, you generally cannot reopen it if your damages are more expensive than you initially thought.

Put our experience to work for you

Most car accident victims don’t have much experience navigating accident-related complexities. The team at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates does, and we are ready to put that experience to work for you. We know the law and how to work with insurance companies to serve your best interests. Call (800) 985-1819  to arrange a free case review with a skilled Chicago car accident lawyer today.

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