Following the right steps after a car accident can help ensure everyone is safe, that laws are followed, and evidence is preserved in case filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit with a car accident lawyer becomes necessary.
Putting Safety First
After an accident, drivers should move the vehicle out of traffic if possible. Calling 911 can ensure injured victims get the medical help they need and the proper police reports are made.
Avoiding speculation when talking to the police helps protect victims’ right to recovery. Victims should avoid admitting fault. Insurance companies often take statements from accident reports and twist them to minimize or deny claims.
Collecting information about the other driver(s), passengers, and witnesses help streamline the insurance claim. Victims should document the:
- Names and numbers of parties involved
- Location, date, and time of the crash
- Description of personal injuries and property damage
- Driver’s license and auto insurance
- Make, model, and year of the vehicles
- Contact information of witnesses and police
Taking pictures of the accident scene helps demonstrate the extent of property damage, how the crash occurred, and whether additional contributing factors may have caused the crash.
Obtaining Medical Care
Some serious injuries are not immediately apparent at the time of the accident. Victims should be evaluated by a medical professional even if they don’t think they were hurt or believe they only suffered minor injuries. Serious injuries may exist that require long-term medical treatment. Additionally, medical records help prove the severity of injuries in a personal injury claim.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Most insurance companies require policyholders to report car accidents within a certain time frame. Failing to report the accident right away could cause the claim to be denied. Victims should avoid making recorded statements or discussing the crash with the other party’s insurance company until after they have obtained legal advice.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury attorneys assist in establishing negligence, determining damages, and recovering compensation after a car accident. A lawyer will guide victims throughout the claims process, gathering evidence and witness statements, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing victims in court.
Car accidents are still prevalent in America. In 2017 the CDC recorded close to 6.4 million crashes in the US. Illinois was responsible for 311,679 of these accidents (over 10,000 happened in Chicago). Informed drivers will be better prepared in the event of a collision.