What to Do in a Car Accident
When you’re involved in a car accident, it can be difficult to get your bearings. Your ears may still be ringing from the impact while you’re trying to decide what to do first. It’s easy to forget to plan ahead for what may happen down the line as a result of your accident. Below, we offer tips on the first steps you should take after a car accident. Call AFW Law Group after a Chicagoland car crash, and we’ll connect you with an experienced Illinois traffic accident lawyer who can help you get care and compensation for any harm you suffered.
Stop and Exchange Information
Illinois law requires drivers involved in an accident involving property damage or personal injury to stop at the scene, or as near to the scene as possible without obstructing traffic or putting themselves in danger. Drivers must provide identifying information to other parties involved, including their name, address, vehicle registration and driver’s license information. Involved drivers must also render aid where possible. Fleeing the scene of an accident without stopping is a criminal offense, with much more severe penalties should there be injury involved.
Seek Medical Attention
If you or anyone else is seriously hurt, call 911. If you are injured but not critically hurt, it’s still important to get to a doctor as soon after the accident as possible. You could have hidden or latent injuries, such as internal bleeding, concussion, or organ damage that can be difficult to detect but dangerous if ignored. Your eventual personal injury claims will also be strengthened by seeing a doctor soon after the crash, preventing defense lawyers from claiming that your injuries arose at a later date.
Report the Accident
If you were hit by another driver, it’s important to report the accident to the police while you’re at the scene. The police will come to the accident site and conduct an investigation, talk to witnesses, etc. Their report will become a valuable piece of evidence for your eventual claims.
Take Photos, Talk to Witnesses
Before you leave the scene, assuming you are physically capable of doing so and not in need of emergency medical attention, it’s important to start gathering evidence. Take pictures of the vehicles, the damage, your injuries, and the surrounding area (stop signs, traffic signals, traffic or security cameras, the weather, time of day, road conditions, etc.). If there were witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information, as your attorney may need to talk to them down the line.
Gather Evidence, Keep Copies
If you were involved in a car accident, you should assume you may need to prove liability and damages at some point. Keep copies of everything generated in connection with the accident–police reports, medical records, medical bills, communications with your insurance company and the other driver’s insurer, communications with your employer about missed work, etc. All of these documents will serve to strengthen your claims down the line if the other driver tries to deny fault or an insurance company tries not to pay you the compensation you are owed. The more evidence you have collected already, the easier it will be for your lawyer to get you paid quickly.
Call an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Having a zealous personal injury lawyer on your side will help you build a case for maximum compensation after your accident. While you can go it alone, you’re likely to wind up with a much smaller settlement, if you get any compensation at all. Your car accident attorney will help you negotiate with insurance companies and at-fault drivers and take your case to court if need be. Your best bet to get your medical bills covered and other damages fully compensated is to have the best legal representation on your side.
Reach out to a Zealous Illinois Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been in an accident in Chicago or the surrounding area, you need a seasoned legal advisor on your side. AFW Law Group can connect you with an attorney who is ready to fight for you and will stand by your side every step of the way until you get the compensation you deserve. Call our Illinois personal injury law firm today for a free initial consultation.