A bad car accident can be one of the scariest events a person can go through. In the moment, it can be difficult to know how to react. Unfortunately, panicking and not taking the proper precautions can lead to further injuries, property damage, and a lessened chance of recovering compensation for your losses.
Staying calm, safe, and knowing what kind of information to gather at the scene of an accident is important. Knowing what you need to do in the days after can also help boost your chances of recovering the maximum damages possible from negligent parties.
If you’ve recently been in a Chicago car accident and are looking at expensive medical bills, property damage, and lost wages from missed work, get in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer in Chicago. At Langdon & Emison, we know how much stress you’re likely under and want to do everything in our power to help ease the burden.
We offer free consultations at no risk to you. Give us a call at (312) 872-3389 or contact us online, and we can get you on the road to recovery as soon as possible.
What to Do After a Chicago Car Accident
Stay at the Scene of the Accident
When you’re in an accident, it’s important to stay on the scene until the police tell you you can leave. Always report the accident, and wait to give a statement to the responding officer.
When panic sets in, you may get the impulse to flee. But no matter how minor you believe the accident to be, leaving the scene of a crash may be a criminal offense. It could even get you jail time, as well as a hefty fine.
Stay Safe and Preserve the Scene
Though you should never flee the scene of a car accident, you may want to move your vehicle to a safe location nearby. A shoulder or nearby parking lot should be fine for minor accidents, but for serious ones involving major injuries, it may be better to just stay in place until the authorities arrive.
During this time, make sure others are aware that the scene of the accident should not be tampered with. Beginning to collect evidence at this time may also be prudent.
Call the Police
Calling the police is a necessary step when dealing with an accident involving anything other than a minor fender bender. Even in cases where you believe the damage may be superficial, the only way to truly cover yourself in the case of unknown damages or injuries is to have a police officer make a report. The police should send someone out to you and interview all involved parties.
Exchange Information with Other Drivers
While you wait for the police to arrive at the scene, collect the insurance details and contact information of other drivers. It may also be a good idea to pay attention to their behavior and look for signs of intoxication. Make a note of it and inform the police when they arrive.
However, you should not confront or get into an altercation of any sort with the other drivers. If they appear aggressive, get to the closest safe place and wait for the police.
Document the Scene
Use your phone to take photos and record video of the damage and the area around the scene. If it’s safe to do so, capture photos of the wreckage immediately after the accident and before any vehicles or debris are moved.
Make sure to document property damage and the environment surrounding the crash to establish road conditions, the layout of the accident scene, and other important factors.
Speak With Witnesses
If there are any passengers or witnesses, try to get an audio recording of their account. Also, get their contact information for later. The police will likely interview relevant witnesses, but it can be helpful to have such evidence to corroborate the details of the accident separately.
Answer the Police Honestly (But Don’t Self-Incriminate)
When the police arrive, they will ask questions, and you should answer them honestly. You should avoid admitting fault or otherwise saying anything to suggest you were responsible when you weren’t. Don’t attempt to mislead officers in any way, but focus your information to what is relevant to the description of the accident timeline.
Seek Medical Attention Within 12-48 Hours
Seeing a doctor is one of the most important things you can do after an accident. Without a medical professional’s documentation of your injuries, there is no legitimate record of these damages. When they prescribe a recovery plan, be sure to stick to it.
Contact the Insurance Company
Report your accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Not doing so could be a breach of your contract with them, and it might run you into trouble when trying to seek damages from negligent parties later on. You should inform your own insurer regardless of who was likely at fault, and then you should give any third-party liability insurer notice of a possible claim.
You can have an attorney present when speaking to insurers. If they’re not on the call, they can at least help you prepare for dealing with an insurance agent from either side of the case.
Get an Experienced Chicago Car Accident Lawyer
When you’re managing the pain and suffering related to injuries from a bad car accident, the last thing you want to deal with is the added stress of paperwork and financial worries. Seeking the help of an experienced local car accident attorney in Chicago can reduce stress and improve your chances of recovering damages.
Langdon & Emison have the experience you’re looking for after a car accident. Whether you’re grappling with frustrating insurance companies, stubborn negligent drivers, or just stressing over the growing pile of medical bills, we can help you through this difficult time. Give us a call at (312) 872-3389 or contact us online, and we can inform you of your options and get started on your case as soon as possible.