Often, our clients ask why they need to notify their insurance company of the motor vehicle accident when they weren’t at fault. They are concerned that notifying their insurance company of the collision will raise their insurance rates and negatively impact them in the future. Even if you weren’t at fault in causing the motor vehicle collision, there are several reasons why you should notify your insurance company.
First, your insurance company may require you to notify them of an accident regardless of whether you were at fault or not. Different insurance companies have different notice requirements, including the time frame of when notice must be given and whether notice must be given in writing. If you fail to comply with your insurance company’s notice requirements, there may be adverse consequences, including your insurance company dropping your insurance or an inability to bring an uninsured or underinsured claim.
Second, you should notify your insurance company of the collision in case the other driver is 1) uninsured or 2) underinsured. In Illinois, your insurance company is required to offer you both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. When the other driver is uninsured, your insurance company will provide compensation for your damages under your uninsured motorist policy. Compensation for damages may include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and permanency. If the other driver is underinsured, meaning that your damages exceed their policy limits, your insurance company can provide compensation for your damages that exceed the at-fault motorist’s policy limits.
In order to bring an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, there are certain steps that must be taken. In addition to reporting the claim to your insurance company, there are written notices that must be filed and other technical steps that must be taken to ensure that you are able to bring such a claim against your insurance company. Sometimes, there may be insurance coverage issues that must be sorted out. Given the technicalities associated with uninsured and underinsured motorist claims, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney right away.
An experienced uninsured/underinsured attorney can help you identify the available uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and assist you in filing a claim with your insurance company in accordance with your insurance company’s notice requirements. Additionally, an attorney will be able to help you with dealing with your insurance company, given the conflict of interest between you and your insurance company once a claim is made.
The Illinois uninsured/underinsured lawyers at John J. Malm & Associates have extensive experience helping clients with their uninsured and underinsured claims. We encourage those who have been injured in a collision to contact John J. Malm & Associates to learn how the firm can help them navigate uninsured and underinsured motorist claims.
About the Author: Rachel Legorreta is an associate with the law firm of John J. Malm & Associates, where she focuses her practice on personal injury litigation. She graduated magna cum laude from Northern Illinois University College of Law and is the current Assistant Editor of the DCBA Brief.