Illinois is a fault car insurance state, which means that drivers who are responsible for accidents must pay for the damages of their victims. After a motor vehicle collision, you may file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses.
Soon after your accident, an insurance representative may contact you and ask for a recorded statement. He or she may claim that this statement will help you recover compensation faster, alleviating the burden of a lengthy litigation process. However, you should not provide this statement—and you should speak to a Chicago car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
After a car accident in Illinois, you have two options to seek compensation. You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, or you can file an insurance claim against his or her insurance company. Alternatively, you could file a claim against your own insurance if you have the appropriate policies, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
When you file your claim, the insurance company will assign a representative, known as an adjuster, to your case. The adjuster will then investigate your accident and determine who was responsible for the crash. Depending on the complexity of your case, you may need to enter negotiations with the company to obtain a maximum settlement. At the conclusion of your case, the company will decide whether to make a settlement offer and how much money you should receive.
When filing an insurance claim, it is important to remember that your goals may differ from those of the insurance company. You want to obtain the full amount of the compensation you need to heal from your injuries and recover from the losses you sustained in the accident. However, insurance companies are responsible for paying for this compensation, so it is unlikely that an adjuster will offer a maximum settlement immediately.
An adjuster may ask for a recorded statement early on in your case. At this stage in your case, however, you may not know the full extent of your injuries and damages. You may not know what long-term care you will require, and you may not know how the accident will impact your physical, psychological, and financial health in the future. You may not even know how the accident occurred.
It is important to know that the insurance company can use any statements you make as evidence against you. If you provide a recorded statement at this stage, you may make a statement that you later discover to be inaccurate. However, if you try to retract or revise your statement, the insurance company may use your previously recorded statement to disprove your credibility. This can lead to the company dismissing your claim or offering a much lower settlement than you deserve.
You are under no legal obligation to provide a recorded statement to an insurance company. You have the right to decline this request. If an adjuster contacts you and asks for a statement, politely decline and state that you will not provide any statements until you speak to your attorney.
After speaking to the adjuster, contact a Chicago personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will handle all discussions with the insurance company on your behalf to protect your interests and preserve your right to maximum compensation.