What to Do AfteR
A Car Accident:
Our Expert Advice
If you have ever been in a car accident, you know the experience can be disorienting. You are on your way home from the grocery store one minute, ready to put all the food away. The stoplight changes to green. You start crossing when suddenly, an out-of-control motorist comes speeding on your left. You have jostled around. The airbags deploy. You feel your car hit the Civic on your right. Car horns start beeping. Truly chaotic.
Such an experience can leave you shaken. After all, you’ve been jolted out of your comfortable Friday afternoon into a sudden catastrophe. Unfortunately, even if we are the safest driver on the street, accidents are often out of our control. In 2020, the amount of car crashes reported averaged one every 6 minutes. Remember, that was during a pandemic when far less travel was occurring. As many of us have acclimated back to a pre-pandemic lifestyle, the average has more than likely increased.
Don’t be unprepared. If you find yourself in an accident, there are specific actions you should take quickly after that. Today, we guide you through the necessary measures to ensure your safety, properly document the incident, and navigate the aftermath of a car accident.
- Ensure Well-being and Safety: Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If possible, move to a safe location away from traffic to avoid further accidents. Dial the local emergency number (usually 911) to report the accident and request medical assistance if necessary. Inform them of the location and any injuries. Even if you don’t feel injured immediately after the accident, getting a medical evaluation is crucial. Some injuries may have delayed symptoms, and documentation of your condition is vital for insurance and legal purposes.
- Gather Information:
- You will often want to exchange contact, insurance, and vehicle details with the other involved drivers. Note their names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, insurance policy numbers, and driver’s license information. Avoid discussion of what happened. DO NOT apologize or admit fault. Illinois follows a comparative fault rule, meaning your compensation may be reduced if you are found partially at fault for the accident. It’s essential to understand how this law may affect your claim.
- Take photos or videos of the accident scene, including the vehicle damage, road conditions, traffic signs, and any relevant details. These visuals can serve as valuable evidence later.
- Keep records of all medical treatments, expenses, and other relevant documents related to the accident. These will be useful for insurance claims and potential legal actions.
- Notifying Outside Parties: You will often report the accident to the police and your insurance provider. This should happen as soon as possible. As recommended above, the more information you have gathered, the better the police and your insurance can help with your case. It may also be necessary to consult an attorney. If you sustained severe injuries, significant property damage or liability disputes arise, it’s advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney specializing in car accidents. They can guide you through the legal process and protect your rights.
Accidents can happen to anyone, but being prepared and knowledgeable about the proper procedures can help ease the process and protect your rights. If you or a loved one have been injured due to an accident by no fault of your own, please do not hesitate to call us. We are here to help you.