Whether you’re injured in a car accident or not, it can be a scary experience. No one wants to find themselves in a situation of an accident. Unfortunately, accidents are inevitable. Non-injury car accidents are the most common accidents that occur. If you drive a vehicle, you put yourself at risk for experiencing one of these accidents. In which case, you’ll need a non-injury car accident lawyer.
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in 2018, 71% of reported crashes in the U.S. were non-injury car accidents. That is over 4.8 million non-injury accidents in one year alone.
You could be the best driver in the world, but you cannot account for other people on the road. Mistakes happen, and you never know when you might be on the other side of one. Non-injury car accident lawyer Joseph R. Curcio wants to help you stay prepared and informed. The information below will serve as a guide for what to do in the case of a non-injury car accident in Chicago.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been In A Non-injury Car Accident?
Knowing what to do in the event of a car accident is necessary. It is as important to know the steps to take in a non-injury car accident as it is in a more serious one.
Even if the accident was minor, you need to stop your vehicle. Failing to do so could result in a hit-and-run charge. Besides, without assessing the damage done to others involved, you can never be sure how “minor” it is.
Do not move your vehicle unless it is blocking traffic. If you are in the way of traffic, pull out of the way before exiting your vehicle. Check on any other parties involved to be sure no one needs medical attention.
Once it is clear that nobody has been injured, you must exchange information with the other party involved. The state of Illinois requires that you provide your name, address, and insurance information. Be sure to get theirs, too. You’ll also want to exchange driver’s license numbers and license plate numbers.
The next step is to call the Chicago Police Department and notify them of the accident. In the meantime, you’ll want to gather evidence from the scene to help your case. This includes taking photographs or videos of the scene of the accident.
Do I Need To Report A Non-injury Car Accident?
In the case of a car accident in Chicago, you should immediately report the accident to police if it resulted in:
- Death of another individual.
- Injury to an individual.
- A hit-and-run.
- Property damage of $1,500 or more.
For non-injury car accidents, this only applies to a hit-and-run or property damage. Getting a crash report is a necessary step in making sure you receive the money you deserve. If there is non filed, insurance companies will use that fact to try and deny any claims made.
If the accident occurred in a private area or parking lot, police will be less likely to assist. In this case, check to see if the business of the lot you are in has a procedure for this. Sometimes places like Wal-Mart or other large chains will have a means to report the accident. Check to see if the lot you are in has surveillance cameras that documented the accident. If they do, ask if you are able to view the footage. It would help your case to have video of the accident on hand.
You are also required to file a report with the Illinois Department of Transportation. This should occur within 10 days of the accident. Failure to do so could result in up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. You can do this by visiting a law enforcement office or a local insurance provider. They will give you the necessary forms and instructions of what to do from there.
Do I Need A Lawyer For A Non-injury Car Accident?
You may think that a non-injury car accident lawyer is not necessary. This is not always the case. If there is any damage to your vehicle, you should seek compensation for any losses or repair costs. Your attorney will help you reach a settlement to cover these expenses.
If an insurance provider notices there is not an attorney involved, they will try to use it to their advantage. A lawyer will make sure that the company doesn’t try to lessen your deserved compensation.
If either party chooses to file a lawsuit, it is important to have a lawyer to represent you. In the case that you were at fault in the accident, a non-injury car accident lawyer can help protect you.
Can I Sue If I Wasn’t Injured In A Car Accident?
Even if you were not injured in the car accident, you are still able to file a lawsuit. Illinois’ statute of limitations places a time limit on this action. You can only file a lawsuit two years after the accident to seek compensation from injuries. For damage to property, you must file within five years after the accident.
Regardless, if you received no injuries but your car suffered damage, you should file a lawsuit as soon as possible.
Illinois goes by a traditional fault-based system. This is also called a tort liability system. What this means is that the driver responsible for the accident is liable for any damages caused. They’re required to compensate the other person in full.
This is why it is important that the accident is investigated. If you were not at fault, you will want to be able to prove it. If you have no way to prove fault, it is necessary to have a lawyer. Otherwise, the other person may try to put you at full blame. If they are able to prove you are liable, you will be responsible for the cost of losses and damages.
In some cases, the fault can be split. Illinois is a comparative negligence state. This means that both parties are responsible for the accident. A jury may assign percentages of fault to each person. For example, the jury might find that the accident was 10% percent your fault and 90% the other party’s. If the damages were $10,000, your compensation would reduce by 10%. Thus, you would only receive $9,000.
If the accident is over 50% your fault, you cannot recover any compensation.
How Does Insurance Handle Non-injury Car Accidents?
There are two ways to file a claim with an insurance company. One way is to file a claim with your own insurance. This is a “first party” claim. The other is to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. This is a “third party” claim.
Another way to file a claim would be to file a lawsuit in civil court.
Whichever option you choose, you should have a non-injury car accident lawyer at your side.
By going through insurance companies, you’ll find they do whatever it takes to pay as little as possible. To make sure you get the compensation you deserve, you’ll want an experienced negotiator involved. Should you choose to go the other route, you would need an attorney to represent you in court.
If you have been involved in a non-injury car accident in Chicago, seek help from our team of skilled attorneys. We will guide you through your next steps and help you get the money you deserve. Call us at 312-321-1111 and receive a free consultation. Contact Curcio Law Group offices today for your case evaluation.