No one plans on being involved in a traffic collision when they leave their home, which is why any car accident can be a frightening experience, especially when they result in injuries. Because what you do or say following a wreck can impact your health, communication with insurance companies, and your right to recover compensation for property damage or personal injury, planning for the unexpected or taking immediate action after a crash has already happened is crucial. However, when you are stressed, it can be hard to remember what to do after a car wreck. If you’re wondering what to do after a car accident, the checklists below will help you protect yourself and your interests in the aftermath of an accident.
However, when you are stressed, it can be hard to remember the correct way to handle the aftermath of a car accident. If you are wondering what to do, below is a checklist of things you need to do and information you need to obtain to bolster your claim for damages in the event of an auto accident. Using this list will assist you in gathering and organizing information that will be essential when discussing your claim with an insurance adjuster or a prospective warrior personal injury lawyer.
Car Accident Checklist
- Download and print an accident report form for the state of Illinois. Keep it in your vehicle to help you gather all the necessary information.
- Print a copy of this checklist and keep a copy in your car.
Immediately After the Accident
Assess the situation for your immediate safety. Determine if there are any injuries. Stay in your car if there is a risk of injury or if moving might put you at risk of further injury. If possible, move to a safe location if your car is creating a safety hazard or obstructing traffic. Do not leave the scene of the accident!
Call the Police/ 911
Not everyone enjoys contact with law enforcement, but calling authorities following a car accident is one of the wisest decisions you can make. Not only will this ensure that emergency medical services will respond to the scene if needed, it can also help with the collection of information and evidence. A law enforcement officer can speak to all involved parties, including witnesses, and collect their statements and information. This information will be part of a police report that provides an objective account of what happened during a crash. Unless it’s for the police, do not sign any papers. Also, do not admit fault or discuss the incident with anyone other than the police.
Call Your Insurance Company
Call and notify your auto insurance company of the accident and set up a property damage claim. Follow any instructions given to you by your agent. Do not tell your insurance company that you are not hurt, you may not realize your injuries for a few days after the accident. Request a tow through your insurance company, if possible. Remember to note the name of the tow company and location to which your vehicle is towed.
Even if a law enforcement officer is present or there doesn’t appear to be any damage or injuries to anyone involved, you should always collect as much information as you can, if you are able to do so. This includes exchanging contact and insurance information with all parties involved. You can also get statements and contact information from witnesses. Be sure to record in your notes the vehicles involved, the other drivers’ name, address, phone number, email address and insurance information, and where the accident took place. You can also take photos of vehicle damage, the scene of the accident, and any visible injuries. However, do not allow your license or registration to be photographed by others.
After the Accident: Next Steps
Seek a Medical Evaluation
Seeking a medical evaluation, or following up with a doctor if you received medical attention after the crash, is critical to your health. Often, victims of car accidents don’t experience pain or symptoms right away or may think that their injuries are not serious enough to warrant medical attention. This can be dangerous, as there are certain injuries which can quickly become life-threatening if left unaddressed, such as brain injuries. By seeking a medical evaluation as soon as you can, you can rule out serious injuries and receive the treatment you need. You also limit the insurance company’s ability to argue that you were not hurt in the wreck simply because you waited to see a doctor, even if you were in pain all along.
Dealing With The At-fault Driver’s Insurance Company
Insurance companies are in business to make money, and they go to great lengths to pay injured victims as little as they can. This means that when an insurance adjuster or representative from the at-fault driver’s insurance company calls you, they may try to get you to say things that can be used against you, or may quickly try to settle before you know the full scope of your damages and losses. Don’t trust the insurance company, and don’t speak with them. Remember, you can have an experienced personal injury lawyer handle communication with insurance companies on your behalf.
Get a copy of any accident reports or incidents reports filed by the police and other drivers to assist in settling your claim. Always write down names of any investigators, including police officers or insurance claims adjustors. Whenever speaking with an insurance company representative, note the date, the name of the person, and a brief description of the conversation. Also, keep receipts of all expenditures, including transportation, parking costs, medical costs and repair costs.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
The most important thing you can do after a car accident is to bring your case to the attention of an experienced personal injury lawyer. You want to make sure that the lawyer you seek has experience in personal injury law, and that they know how to protect your rights and interests at all stages of the personal injury process. At Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm, we focus exclusively on representing the injured and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation on their behalves. When victims reach out to us, we immediately set to work on reviewing their case, discussing their rights and options, and explaining what we can do to handle all the legal work involved.
Car Accident? Call Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm!
No matter what happened after your car accident, it is important to learn about your rights and options. That’s why Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm is readily available to help as soon as possible after a crash occurs. We even offer weekend appointments! With over 25 years of experience and a bilingual staff, Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm is dedicated to providing you with the aggressive legal representation you need. We provide an initial consultation free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if we win your case! Contact Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm at 312-377-7000 today!