12 Steps To Take After A Chicago Car Accident
When you’re involved in a vehicle accident, it is normal to feel overwhelmed, disoriented, confused, and stressed. However, there are important steps to take after a car accident to protect your safety, health, rights, and best interests.
The list below provides the general steps to take after a Chicago car accident.
Stay at the scene.
Whether the accident is a minor or major collision, you should remain at the accident scene.
Get to safety.
If possible, move yourself to physical safety by going to the sidewalk or side of the road. If your car is causing a hazard and safe to drive, move it to the side of the road. If your vehicle is not creating a hazard, you should turn it off and turn on the hazard lights.
Check yourself and others for injuries.
If you’re physically able, check yourself, passengers, and others for injuries. If anyone is injured, immediately call 911 or ask someone else to call for medical assistance. If there are serious injuries, do not move the injured person unless they are in danger, or there is a fire. Wait until trained medical professionals arrive on the scene.
Watch what you say and limit your conversations.
After an accident, you should be cooperative, honestly answer questions, and provide information. However, at the scene, DO NOT admit liability, DO NOT apologize, and DO NOT assign blame.
Report the vehicle accident.
After a car accident, including minor accidents, filing a police report is important for documenting the accident, insurance matters, and pursuing a personal injury claim. The police report will generally include information regarding the accident, insurance information, contact information, statements from those involved, and witness statements. After the report is completed, ask the officer how to obtain a copy of the report. If the police cannot come to the scene, go to the nearest police station and filed an accident report.
Exchange information and document the accident.
After ensuring the scene is safe and no injuries occurred, you should exchange information and document the accident. The police report will typically contain this information. However, if the police do not respond, you should gather and exchange information.
Exchange the following information with the other driver(s):
- Full name and contact information
- Insurance company information and policy number
- Driver’s license state and number
- License plate state and number
- Vehicle information (make, model, year)
- Accident location and time
Take pictures: Take pictures of the accident scene, vehicles involved, property damage, people involved, your injuries, and the surrounding area. Take pictures of the license plate, driver’s license, and insurance information.
Witness information and statements: If there are any witnesses or passengers, take down their names, and contact information. If possible, obtain witness and passenger statements.
REMEMBER: DO NOT admit fault. DO NOT discuss fault. DO NOT apologize.
Seek immediate medical attention.
After leaving the vehicle accident scene, seek immediate medical attention. If you have any doubts at all about your condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. In many car accidents, including minor collisions, injuries that initially appear insignificant and may later cause pain and discomfort. Even if you were not injured and feel fine, you should still seek medical attention because there might be hidden conditions that could have serious repercussions if left untreated. If your doctor recommends a course of treatment, you should follow their advice.
Contact your insurance company.
After a car accident, notify your insurance company as soon as possible. In many policies, the insurance company contractually obligates the person they insure to cooperate and immediately report the accident. Remember, do not admit fault and stick to the facts.
Notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
After contacting your insurance company, you should notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company and report the car accident. Many major insurance company providers allow you to submit a claim through an online form. However, if you speak with the at-fault driver’s insurance, be careful and:
- DO NOT give a recorded statement
- DO NOT sign anything, including any authorization or release
- DO NOT settle the claim without a second opinion
Document medical treatment
Document any medical treatment received as a result of the accident. If you were injured in the accident, it is essential that you track any medical treatment, including dates of treatment, appointments, medical provide contact information and socialites, and copies of any medical records.
File the claim and lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
The statute of limitations provides the time limit you have to file the personal injury claim and lawsuit. Ultimately, the statute of limitations is the deadline for filing the personal injury claim and lawsuit. In Illinois, a two-year (2) statute of limitations generally applies to accident injury claims. However, based on the specific fact of the accident, the statute of limitations can change.
The deadline clock starts to run on the accident date. If the personal injury claim is not settled or a lawsuit was not filed before the deadline, your personal injury claim will be barred, and you lose the right to pursue any compensation for the injuries.
Consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
The insurance company may try to settle your claim for an amount significantly lower than you deserve. At Kasan Law, our accident attorneys can walk you through the process and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you or a family member suffered injuries due to a car accident, contact our Illinois and Chicago personal injury lawyers to schedule your free consultation by calling (312) 300-6724, e-mailing us at Info@LawKasan.com, or schedule your consultation online.