How to Make a Property Damage Claim after an Illinois Car Accident | Staver
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How to Make a Property Damage Claim after an Illinois Car Accident

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents

One of the most pressing matters for most people after a car accident is how to repair their car. After all, fixing your car is especially important since waiting on repairs can affect your ability to work and limits your day-to-day life. Unfortunately, many people are left frustrated by the process and left asking, “Who’s responsible for vehicle repairs?”

Repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle after a car accident falls on the at-fault driver. But for that to happen, you must make a property damage claim with their insurance. Let us explain how to file a Chicago property damage claim and what kind of compensation you can receive to get your car repaired after an accident.

What Kinds of Damaged Property Can You Claim?

Compared to personal injury claims, property damage claims are relatively straightforward. You might be injured in the crash, but your property damage claim will cover physical items damaged.

After a car accident, you might be able to file a claim for items like:

The Vehicle

The car is the most common object damaged in a car crash. The harm to the vehicle could range from mild to total loss. While the exterior damage will be the most obvious and includes things like scrapped paint, dents, and broken lights, your car could also suffer damage to its inner workings.

Your car might need its engine, axles, windows, fenders, bumpers, or doors replaced before it becomes roadworthy. Although cosmetic repairs may seem unnecessary, the at-fault driver should be held responsible for damaging your property. Even a scratch can cause problems and diminished value, so you should consider a claim to protect yourself and your car.

Personal Items In the Vehicle

Vehicles aren’t the only things that could be damaged in a car accident. Personal items inside the vehicle can also be damaged to the point of repair or replacement. If you can prove the car caused the damage, you can include them in your claim.

Anything inside the car could be damaged. You might seek compensation for personal electronics, child seats, glasses, sunglasses, jewelry, other clothing, personal documents, or sports equipment.

Other Property Damage

Although most crashes involve other vehicles, there are situations when a crash could damage other property. It’s possible to seek compensation if a car crashes into a building, natural objects, or other items on your property.

Your property damage claim can include anything hurt by the accident. For instance, if a car crashed into an outbuilding on your property and you needed to repair the building and replace anything inside that was damaged, you should include it on your claim.

The First Step to Recover Damages for Car Repairs

After your accident, you must exchange insurance information with the other driver. Afterward, you can file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance policy.

A crash report must also be filed after a crash that causes more than $1,500 in damage, a death, or bodily injury if all drivers are insured. That damage threshold lowers to $500 if drivers don’t have insurance. Police should arrive at the scene, but you must file a report within ten days if they don’t.

The police will investigate, decide who is at fault for the accident (can be both drivers), and file a report of their own that will go to your insurance company to assess the damage further.

You’ll use this report to file a claim with your insurer, who can work with the other driver’s insurance company to get started with your claim. Your uninsured motorist coverage may be useful if they don’t have insurance.

How Does an Insurance Claim Get Your Car Fixed?

Your insurance company will explain what steps you should take after a crash. They will either have you drive your car to an auto shop or tow it if it is inoperable.

After the auto shop comes up with its estimates, the claims adjuster will determine the repair cost and decide if your car is a total loss. If it is, you are entitled to your car’s pre-accident/fair market value, which Kelley Blue Book can determine.

While you may need time to decompress after the accident mentally, do not wait too long. Illinois has a statute of limitations of one year to seek compensation for your damaged property after a car accident.

Proving Your Car Was Damaged in an Accident

You will need as much comprehensive proof as possible to secure compensation for your various vehicle repair costs. Start by taking photos of the accident so you can submit them with your insurance claim. Take photos that show the damage to your personal property inside the vehicle.

You can also use reference photos of similar car makes or models to show the car’s appearance before the crash. You can use repair quotes and receipts for anything you paid out of pocket to show how much damage occurred and what it already cost you.

Call a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Today

Filing a car accident property claim, gathering the necessary data, and getting compensation can be long and difficult. By hiring a Chicago car accident lawyer to help, you can focus on picking up the pieces of your life and healing.

Contact the accident attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., for a free consultation at (312) 236-2900 or message us. We have helped countless drivers like you get back on the road.

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(312) 236-2900
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