October 2022 (Chicago, IL)
Recent studies released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that car accidents and roadway tragedies have been steadily increasing since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This is a trend that is playing out acutely in Illinois, where deaths on Chicago area roads jumped by roughly 24% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same time last year. Experts indicate that this increase in traffic accidents isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Unfortunately, accidents happen – even to careful drivers. In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, emotions are running high and you may find yourself confused, overwhelmed, or in pain.
If you are in a car accident, try to remain calm. Keeping a cool head will help you document the incident more accurately, protect your best interests, and thoroughly and make the potential car accident claim process more efficient.
Here are the most important steps that you should take immediately after your car accident.
Get to a Safe Place and Call 911
Your safety is more important than anything else. Accidents that occur in the middle of busy roadways can place you in a dangerous situation if you exit your vehicle before. If your car is still operational, move to the shoulder or off the main road. If you’re unable to relocate to the side of the road safely, remain in your vehicle. Regardless of where you end up, call 911 immediately to report the accident and be as detailed as possible with your location.
Exchange Insurance Information
It’s important to exchange contact and insurance information with all parties involved to ensure that the damages are taken care of appropriately. Otherwise, you could risk complications down the road when it comes to determining who is responsible. However, you should never admit fault at the scene to the other driver: this could come back to haunt you if a claim is filed. It’s generally best to keep all conversation with the other driver to a minimum to avoid having anything you say being used against you later.
File a Police Report
Filing a police report is necessary if you decide to pursue legal action. When the police arrive at the scene, it’s important to convey that you will need a copy of the report that’s filed. Take note of the officer’s name and badge number, the report number, and any special instructions they give you. The officer’s assessment of the incident will help you leverage your case if you decide to pursue the other party for compensation.
Being in a car accident is a stressful situation, but do not overreact and do not assign blame. Cooperate fully with police and emergency responders. Answer their questions honestly and succinctly.
You should be able to contact the law enforcement agency within a day or two after the accident to request a copy of the police report. If the Chicago Police Department prepared your crash report, you can simply go online to get a copy.
Photograph the Scene
To accurately convey the severity of your accident, it’s important to have photogenic proof. Document the accident with as many photos or videos as possible. Take photos of the exterior and interior of all vehicles involved before they are towed away. You should also take photos of the vehicle license plates, broken glass, skid marks, nearby traffic controls, and the surrounding area. If you have visible injuries and you are able to photograph them, be sure to do that as well. It can also be helpful to do a video walkthrough of the scene after getting photos. This will allow you to present an accurate perspective of the incident, and you may find evidence that was initially missed.
Seek Medical Attention
Injuries are not always immediately apparent, particularly after car accidents. Even if you feel okay, seek medical attention after leaving the scene. Not only will this provide a legal record of any injuries you have, but it will also screen for any underlying complications that may develop over time as a result of the accident. Be sure to keep organized records of all medical bills.
Partner with an Experienced Attorney
You only have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident in Illinois, and you should not delay with contacting an experienced attorney.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the personal injury attorneys at the Herbert Law Firm will work hard to protect your very best interests. Even your insurance company will be looking out for its bottom line first and foremost as it determines a settlement for your claim. Our attorneys will investigate your case, file all necessary paperwork, and help you obtain financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Call us at 312-655-7660 or contact us online for a free, no obligation consultation about your car accident case.
To learn more about our personal injury services and successful case results, visit our website at https://danherbertlaw.com