Should I file a claim for a minor collision with only scratches?

by Elvis
(Chicago, IL)

I was taking my nephews to school, taking my usual route. I turned on a small street when I saw a car coming out of the alley. I kept going and once I got about 3-4 ft to the alley another car came out going about 20 mph. I hit the brakes but since the pavement was wet due to it raining I started to skid a bit, and we collided.

My car only got a few scratches on the front left side, and his got only a few scratches on the passenger side - barely visible on his car since it was a dark color. We exchanged insurance info.

I was going to file a police report but most of them don't respond to minor accidents. The scratches on my car were very minimal and wouldn't cost me more then $150 to repair, so I did not want to call my insurance company to file a claim.

My question is, what would happen if I don't file a claim but he does? Is there anything else that I should do, or that I could have done better? This is my very first auto incident so I didn't know how to handle the situation. Thank you very much.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Should I file a claim for a minor collision with only scratches?":

Elvis (Chicago, IL):

Under Illinois law, each driver involved in a car accident on an Illinois roadway must file a crash report if the accident caused a death, bodily injury, or more than $1,500 of property damage.

This doesn't mean you or the other driver are precluded from filing an accident report. To file an accident report for Chicago, Illinois go here.

If the accident occurred on an Illinois State Highway, the accident can be reported here.

While no one wants to file a claim with their own insurance, it would be in your best interest to contact your insurance company to report the accident. This doesn't mean you are asking for compensation. Instead, you are complying with the terms if your insurance policy's "Notice of Occurrence" and "Cooperation Clauses," which require you to notify the company in the event of an accident.

Take photos of the damage to your car and submit them to your insurance company. This will help the company defend you in the event the other driver contends the accident was much more serious.

From the facts you present, it is very unlikely anyone was injured. As a result, you really don't have anything to be concerned about.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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