If you have been involved in an auto accident in Illinois, you may be concerned about how to report the claim to your insurance company. Even though you are contacting your own insurance company, you should always be strategic in your conversation. You should also be cautious about any contact you have with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Retaining an Illinois auto accident attorney right away can help keep you from making any statements that could hurt your case.
While it is essential to contact your insurance company early on, make sure your medical needs are first taken care of. If you are not transported to the hospital from the scene of the accident, seeking medical treatment should be your top priority. Some injuries, like soft tissue damage, can take one or two days before they start appearing. In some cases, you could have serious internal injuries that are not visible from the outside.
Some people assume that they need to contact the other party’s insurance company to report the claim. Your responsibility is only to contact your own insurance company. When you retain an attorney early on, the other party’s insurance company will not be able to coerce you into giving them a recorded statement. These statements are typically tools that the insurance company attempts to use against you.
Remember, insurance company adjusters will try to be kind to gain your trust as a way of getting you to say something that will help their case, not yours. However, when you have retained an attorney, the other party’s insurance company will be prohibited from speaking directly with you. Your attorney will handle all communications and negotiations so you can concentrate on your recovery.
If you do speak to either your insurance company or the other party’s insurance company, there are certain things you should never say. One of these is admitting fault. Even if the police list you as the leading cause of the accident, there could be other factors at play. The other party could have contributed to the accident as well. Even saying you are sorry to the other party at the scene could be construed as an admission of guilt.
Do not say you were not injured or that your injuries are not that severe, especially if you have not seen a doctor yet. Remember, you could have internal injuries. Imagine you tell the insurance adjuster that you only have minor injuries, and a few weeks later, the doctor tells you that you have a brain bleed. The insurance adjuster might try to use that information and claim you must have been in another accident.
Also, avoid giving names to anyone. Do not share the names of your medical provider, friends, or even family members. The insurance adjuster might jot these names down to call them to testify if your case goes to litigation. They will be looking for information on what you told these people about the accident and your injuries.
If you need assistance after a car accident in Illinois, contact Brassfield, Krueger & Ramlow, Ltd. to schedule an initial consultation.
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