What you do after a car accident can make or break your ability to recover compensation. Unfortunately, some individuals are unsure what they need to do after a crash that can help protect their ability to obtain compensation for their damages.
Below, we’ll detail the steps that you want to take that help you protect your rights after a car accident. These things you do can safeguard your ability to move forward in the most effective manner possible, so make sure you keep this list handy because you never know when an accident may occur.
Here’s what you should do after a car accident:
- Gather information from other drivers in the crash
- Report your accident to your insurance provider and local law enforcement
- Speak with witnesses and record their statements
- Take photos of all helpful evidence
- Seek medical help to begin your treatment
- Speak with a lawyer about your legal options to pursue compensation
Call our firm today at (312) 313-2888 for a free consultation to learn what rights you have.
Gather Information from Other Drivers in the Crash
Because Illinois law allows you to hold a negligent driver responsible for their actions, you want to ensure you get the necessary information to go through the claims filing process. Here’s a quick list of the information you want to get from the other driver(s):
- Driver’s license
- Contact information
- Insurance information
- License plate number
- Make and model of vehicle
When reporting your accident, the information you have can be crucial to building your claim. Insurance adjusters may confirm the information to ensure you have the right vehicle and driver, so the more you can show the proper information, the better.
Report Your Accident to Your Insurance Provider and Local Law Enforcement
While you can hold a negligent driver accountable and pursue compensation from their insurance provider, you should also ensure you report the crash to your own insurance provider. In many situations, your insurance provider will work with the other driver’s provider to determine fault and obtain compensation. Reporting your accident protects your claim.
When you have significant property damage and injuries, you also want to report your crash to local law enforcement. A police officer can come to the accident scene, take statements from you and other drivers, and write down the details in an accident report. The accident report can play a crucial role in helping you obtain compensation.
Speak with Witnesses and Record Their Statements
If there are any witnesses who saw the accident occur, make sure you speak with them to get a statement regarding what they saw. In many situations, a witness can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Check and see if your witness would be willing to provide a recorded statement, either through a video on your smartphone or by writing down their statement and signing and dating it. Keep in mind, though, insurance companies may try to discredit a witness based on his or her character.
Take Photos of All Helpful Evidence
The photos you take after a crash can provide insurance companies with clear evidence regarding how the crash occurred. You should take photos of the accident scene (such as the vehicles’ angles, any missing or covered traffic signs, signs of negligence, etc.), the damage to the vehicles, and any visible physical injuries you sustain.
The more photos you have, the more you can show just how severe your accident is. In some cases, your legal team can utilize accident reconstructionists to use the photos to detail exactly how the accident happened and who may be at fault.
Seek Medical Help to Begin Your Treatment
Your health should be of the utmost importance, so you want to begin receiving treatment as soon as possible. Either see a paramedic who comes to your accident scene immediately after reporting it or go to the emergency room when you can.
Not only does this step start your treatment, but you can also get a medical record from a professional who can attest to how severe your injuries are and what damages you may recover. The doctor can also dictate pre-existing conditions, which is something insurance companies may use to deny your claim.
Speak with a Lawyer About Your Legal Options to Pursue Compensation
Finally, you want to have strong legal counsel on your side. Far too often, insurance companies try to take advantage of claimants from the very beginning of a claim. They act friendly and tell you things they want you to believe because they want to pay out as little as possible whenever you file a claim. Because of this, you need to have legal protection.
A lawyer helps you build a strong case with the right paperwork and evidence to show that somebody else was responsible for your injuries. A lawyer recognizes the various tactics insurance companies, and their adjusters, use. You have the right to keep legal representation throughout the entire process to protect you during recorded statements and settlement negotiations.
At Walner Law®, we’re committed to helping our clients through the most difficult situations. If you suffer an injury in an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, know that our Chicago car accident attorneys are on your side every step of the way. We offer free consultations to answer your questions and address your concerns before moving forward.
Our firm understands how difficult this time can be for you. We offer unrivaled representation backed by more than seven decades of legal experience.
Not sure if you have a case? Call our firm today at (312) 313-2888 to discuss your options.