Can I Sue After a Car Accident if I Was Not Hurt?
If you or somebody you care about has been involved in a vehicle accident in Chicago or throughout Illinois, you need to check or injuries first. However, if you and your passengers have not been hurt, will you be able to file a lawsuit against a driver who caused the crash?
Even though you may not have any medical bills, that does not mean you will have no expenses whatsoever caused by the vehicle accident. Here, our car accident lawyers in Chicago want to discuss why you may need to file a lawsuit after a vehicle accident even if you have not been injured.
Property Damage Claims Are Important
When we examine data available from the Illinois Department of Transportation, we see that there were 84,102 total vehicle crashes reported during the latest year in which the damage to a person’s property totaled between $500 and $1,500.
This is an important threshold. Illinois law changed in 2009 in regards to how property damage only crashes were handled. If all drivers involved in a crash are insured, the amount of damage to any one person’s property that must be reported increased from $500 to $1,500. If any driver involved in a crash does not have insurance, the property damage threshold amount remains at $500.
- Please note that any crash involving an injury or fatality must be reported, regardless of the total amount of property damage.
We also want to point out that it is entirely possible for individuals to sustain much higher property damage amounts but still not incur any injuries at all.
When a person sustains property damage after a vehicle accident caused by another driver, they should be fairly compensated. Not having a vehicle is a tremendous inconvenience for just about everybody, and this can result in significant expenses:
- The cost to repair or replace the vehicle
- Rental vehicle coverage while awaiting repairs
- Property inside the vehicle that may have been damaged (phones, computers, cameras, etc.)
Depending on the severity of the crash and the type of vehicle, it is entirely possible for a person to sustain property damage reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Illinois Car Accident Property Damage Statute Of Limitations
There are time limits in place for property damage claims resulting from a vehicle accident. In general, we will see that the personal injury statute of limitations is two years after a vehicle accident occurs. However, if a person is involved in a car accident and only property damage occurs, then they have an extended time frame – five years from the date the accident occurs – to file their claim in court.
It is important to understand that vehicle insurance carriers have very strict reporting deadlines that are much sooner than this five-year time frame. Most insurance carriers require that a claim be reported within a day or two after a crash occurs. If a property damage victim fails to file a claim with the insurance carriers within the required time frame, the claim will likely be delayed or even denied altogether, significantly complicating the process of securing compensation.
If the insurance carriers refuse to offer a fair settlement for the property damage claim, or if they refuse the claim altogether, it may be necessary for the property damage victims to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party.