What Do I Do After a Car Accident?
Please watch this informative video and read the following page to find out what you should be doing if you were recently involved in a car accident:
If you’ve been involved in a car wreck, chances are you and your vehicle are still on or near the public road where the accident occurred. That means you are at risk of being struck by other traffic. So think safety first and, if necessary, move to a safe place before dealing with the post-accident process.
The first thing you should do, once the dust settles, your heart stops racing from the anxiety of what just happened, and you know that you are out of imminent harm’s way, is dial 911! And if you need an ambulance, tell the operator immediately.
Getting the police involved is very important. Tensions are often high following a crash and anxiety levels can be quite high for the individuals involved. So when a uniformed officer shows up it often has a calming effect, aside from the obvious benefit of information gathering. Police investigations can be very important to your injury claim. Officers are trained to get important information and documentation which is always valuable. Make sure that you tell the officer YOUR version of what happened and ask any witnesses who were present immediately after the crash to stick around to give their version of what happened to the police as well.
Documenting information and evidence is very important when pursuing a claim for injuries following a car accident. One of the most useful and important tools you probably already have is your camera phone. If you are able to safely take photos of the vehicles and surrounding area, especially before moving the vehicles following the crash, take lots of photographs. The positioning of vehicles and property damage can often be very important when proving liability and damages from a wreck.
Additionally, you need to document the identity of other involved drivers so ask them for their drivers’ license and insurance card and take a photograph of both of these. Take photos of the license plates and damages of all cars involved. This way you will have the necessary documentation to prove who was involved, where the vehicles ended up and what some of the damages were.
Make sure that between the photos you take, and the information you write down, you get the following information of all other drivers involved
- Telephone Number
- Email Address
- Insurance Company and Policy Number
- License Plate
- Driver’s License Number
Many accident cases turn out to be a HE SAID SHE SAID battle. It’s your version vs the other driver’s version. But when there are witnesses to a collision, they can be critically important to making, or sometimes breaking, your case.
The truth will get flushed out eventually. So let’s find out sooner, rather than later. So make sure that you get all contact information from witnesses at the scene. Once again: Name, Address, Telephone Number, Email Address.
If you, your passengers, or anybody else in the accident appears to be hurt, it is always best to call an ambulance at the scene of the collision. So call dial 911 to report the crash and tell the operator that you need an ambulance. Once the paramedics examine you at the scene, you can then make an intelligent and informed decision whether you should go directly to the hospital, or go home.
You should not just assume that your physical pain will simply go away. Injuries don’t always fully manifest themselves immediately. That stinging pain running down your arm or leg may actually be a cervical or lumbar disc that was herniated in the crash. You really should not wait! Not only may a delay in treatment compromise your overall ability to recover and rehabilitate from your injury, that delay in treatment will frequently be used by the at fault driver’s insurance carrier to contest and deny your claim. Trust me, there is no benefit to giving them a reason to deny your claim.
Frequently, because of the adrenaline rush following a crash and the delayed onset of symptoms, people don’t actually realize that they’ve been injured. At least not until the next day or two. If this happens to you, seek medical attention as soon as you can, both for your own health and for the viability of your claim. Remember, any gaps in treatment can create the impression that your treatment is unrelated to the accident, and can be a basis for the insurance carrier’s denial of your claim.
If you have your own automobile insurance policy, which you should since the law in Illinois requires that you have liability coverage, make sure that you report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. This will be important for you to preserve your benefits under your own policy. Assuming that you have full coverage on your vehicle, you can initially rely upon your own carrier to get your car repaired, some of your medical bills paid for, and to preserve your uninsured motorists claim in the event that the other driver did not have a valid insurance policy at the time of the crash.
So what else should you do if you are involved in an auto accident? You should hire a team of experienced and dedicated trial attorneys to fight for you. Taking on the insurance companies is never an easy task. In order to protect your legal rights and maximize the value of your claim for medical bills, lost earnings, pain, suffering and disability, call GWC. Put Chicago’s largest personal injury firm to work for you and your family.
At GWC, our trial lawyers prosecute a wide variety of injury cases involving auto accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, dog bites, workers compensation, defective medical devices/pharmaceutical products, and many more. So if you or your loved one has been injured, or your family has suffered a fatal loss due to the negligence of some other person or company, contact our office for a free legal consultation with one of our experienced trial lawyers.
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