Can You File an Insurance Claim Without a Police Report in Bloomington, IL?

Dodds Law Office, PC
Insurance Claim Form with pen and calculator.

You can file an insurance claim without a police report in Bloomington, IL. Although a police report can support and speed up your case, it isn’t a requirement. Many times, police reports are not required for minor accidents. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to file an insurance claim.

Insurance Claim Form with pen and calculator.

Insurance Claims in Illinois

After an accident, you can submit an insurance claim with your own insurance company or with the other driver’s insurance provider. Read on to learn more about the insurance claims process and what to expect.

How Does the Insurance Claims Process Work?

Illinois is an at-fault state. This means if the other driver is responsible for the accident, his or her insurance provider is responsible for paying damages, and you can file a third-party claim with that provider.

However, regardless of who is at fault for the accident, you have the option of filing a claim with your own insurance provider as well, according to the Illinois Department of Insurance. This is known as a first-party claim.

There may be a benefit to doing so. Your own insurance company may offer a more comprehensive plan. There may also be disadvantages to filing a claim with your own company. In some cases, for example, it could lead to a raise in your monthly premiums.

The claims process and the insurance provider’s obligations are different depending on whether you file a first- or third-party claim. Therefore, consult with a car accident attorney before deciding which type of claim to file.

What Happens After You File an Insurance Claim?

The insurance company will investigate the incident and determine the amount of property damages it owes you. If bodily injury occurred, and you required treatment or rehabilitation, it will also determine how much compensation it will pay for your bodily injury claim.

The insurance company will likely ask you to sign a release for damages. Once you sign that, you release the company from any future obligations. However, you might not be satisfied with the initial amount offered.

Don’t sign that release document before consulting with an attorney. Insurance companies often try to pressure you to accept a lower amount than what you can get. Signing the release means the amount offered is the amount you will receive for your claim. Don’t rush to sign it just because you want the money more quickly.

If both property damage and bodily injuries occurred, you may agree to sign a release for damages for property damage, but not for bodily injuries. That’s because you may still be undergoing treatment, and medical bills keep piling up.

In such a case, the insurance company is required to pay the amount you agreed on for property damages, even if you haven’t yet reached an agreement regarding your medical bills. If the insurance company is delaying payment for property damages and making it contingent on you accepting its bodily injury offer, get in touch with a lawyer.

What Is the Role of a Police Report in Insurance Claims?

Insurance companies often use police reports to learn more about the accident. The insurance provider may use the report to determine who is at fault and learn the extent of the damages.

However, police reports do not hold the final say. There are other ways to document evidence of the accident. After a car crash, document the following types of evidence to the best of your ability:

  • The names and contact details of eyewitnesses
  • Photos of the accident scene
  • Locations of security cameras that may have captured the incident
  • Evidence of your injuries and medical bills

The last point is critical. Police reports may indicate that bodily injury occurred, but they can’t assess your medical bills. Victims typically go to the hospital after the police report was already written up, and the bill may only be issued after several weeks. Besides, medical bills can increase over time if treatment is ongoing.

In addition, minor accidents do not require a police report. However, even if the property damage was minimal, you can still file a claim to recuperate your losses.

What if Your Case Ends up Going to Court?

If the insurance provider refuses to settle for a fair amount, your claim may end up in court.

Even in such cases, police reports have a limited role. Police reports may be considered hearsay by the judge. Remember, the police officers likely did not see the accident occurring themselves. Most of the time, they are called to the scene after the fact and base their reports on witness statements.

Are There Exceptions to the Police Report Requirement in Illinois?

Police reports are not required for minor accidents that do not cause major property damage, bodily injury, or death.

When Filing an Insurance Claim Without a Police Report Is Allowed

In Bloomington, police will not typically issue a traffic accident report if the following conditions are met:

  • There was no death
  • There was no bodily injury
  • The resulting property damage was less than $1,500 (or less than $500 if any or both of the drivers did not have insurance)

It doesn’t matter whether the accident occurred on private or public property. Even if it occurred on a private property, such as an office building parking lot, police will issue a report unless all of the above conditions are met.

For example, let’s say that you had a minor collision with another driver in a parking lot while backing out of your parking space. The other driver was going over the posted speed limit for the parking lot, and you didn’t see him or her. Your vehicle got dented and requires a new side mirror, but this will only cost you around $1,000 to repair.

Even if you call the police, they may not come. If they do, the general procedure in Bloomington, IL, is not to file a report.

There’s no need for concern, though. You don’t need a police report to file an insurance claim, and an attorney can help you file a claim nonetheless.

Challenges When Filing an Insurance Claim Without a Police Report

Although it’s possible to file an insurance claim in Bloomington, IL without a police report, that’s not to say you won’t experience challenges due to the lack of a report. Here’s what you should know about filing a claim without a police report:

Can You Obtain Alternative Evidence?

One of the biggest challenges of filing a claim without a police report is obtaining alternative evidence.

Car accidents often occur during rush hour, on weekends, and when the weather is poor. Rain can cause roads to become slippery and impair vision. Having a dashcam during such times is one way to ensure you have evidence in the case of a crash, but there are other ways as well.

For example, you may be able to obtain testimony from witnesses who observed the scene. Other motorists, passersby, and people working in businesses located near the scene of the accident can all serve as witnesses.

Even if you didn’t have a dashcam, there may be security cameras that caught the accident on video. Even if there are no businesses in the area, private homes may have security cameras that record and store footage.

When it comes to assessing damages, there are multiple ways to prove the losses you suffered. For example, medical bills and reports can serve as evidence for your bodily injury claim.

Car Accident Damages

The average settlement for a car accident can vary depending on the losses suffered by the victim. There are multiple factors that will determine your settlement.

Depending on your injuries, you may be compensated not only for your medical bills, but for ongoing rehabilitation and therapy as well. Occupational therapy, for example, may be required to help you get back into your daily routine and live your normal life.

Some injuries may result in a loss of income. This could be temporary or lifelong. For example, losing your limbs could force you to seek a lower-paying profession or make it impossible to work at all. Compensation for pain and suffering may also be available.

A police report, while important for insurance claims, doesn’t have the final say in determining liability and determining damages. Even if a police report was not obtained, you can still file a claim.

Attorney Terry Dodds has been protecting the rights of the people of Bloomington, Illinois for over 20 years. Whether you were injured in an accident, or you have been charged with a crime, Terry Dodds can tip the scales of justice in your favor.

Years of Experience: More than 20 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar Admissions:Illinois State Bar Association Missouri State Bar Association McLean County Bar Association