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Abels & Annes, P.C. Chicago Injury Blog

How to Get Paid After a Car Accident

car accident settlement lawyer in chicagoIf you suffered injuries in a car accident, then you are probably already aware of how quickly expenses can start to pile up. Many car accident victims face a sudden and unexpected avalanche of medical bills and extra expenses, while also missing work to heal. Some find they cannot return to work at all because of a disabling injury, and must confront a lifetime of added costs of living.

Victims of car accidents caused by someone else’s unreasonably dangerous decisions and actions deserve to get paid for their damages. In this blog post, we briefly discuss how they can take steps to make sure that happens. If a car accident is making your life more difficult and expensive, contact an experienced car accident injury lawyer today for a free case evaluation.

Seek Medical Attention as Soon as Possible

This could be the single most important thing anyone can do after getting hurt in a car accident. Standing alone, just seeking immediate, necessary medical attention can go a long way to ensuring that a victim gets paid for injuries and losses.

Seeking immediate medical attention:

  • Protects your health, which is the most important priority;
  • Identifies the scope and nature of your injuries; and
  • Creates medical records that your lawyer can use later to prove those injuries the damages you deserve for them.

Seek medical attention even if you do not think you have suffered a serious injury. Many severe injuries do not necessarily show significant symptoms right away. By going to the doctor as soon as possible (preferably immediately, but hopefully no more than 24 hours after the crash), you protect yourself against an injury worsening and causing serious, even fatal, complications.

Make sure that you tell the physician about every pain or symptoms you’ve experienced since your car accident. Do not downplay what you have felt. Even a minor ache can signify a major health issue.

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders and Continue Treatment Until Fully Recovered.

This is also very important advice. Following your doctor’s treatment plan to-the-letter as much as possible:

  • Maximizes your chances of making a full recovery, and of spotting and treating any emerging complications;
  • Ensures that no one can ever say you made your injuries worse by failing to follow doctor’s orders; and
  • Helps your doctors testify more effectively if your lawyer needs to prove how your recovery progressed.

By getting and following medical care, car accident victims protect their own wellbeing and legal rights. If you take nothing else away from this blog post, remember these two, critically-important pieces of advice: see a doctor immediately, and do what the doctor tells you.

Follow the Rules at the Accident Scene.

The rules of the road tell you what you should do after getting into an accident.

At the scene of any accident that injured you or someone else, you should always:

  • Stop and stay there;
  • Call 911 and report the accident to the police and first responders;
  • Render reasonable first aid, if possible; and
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver.
  • Gather contact information from independent witnesses.

These rules exist for your and others’ protection, so follow them as closely as you can. By doing your part, you ensure that victims get emergency medical care, the police prepare a report (which may prove useful to your lawyer), and that no one can claim that your actions should prevent you from getting paid.

Take Pictures/Video at the Scene, if You Can Do so Safely.

This advice is not essential, but it can certainly help you get paid.

If injuries or other circumstances keep you from getting photographs and videos at the scene of your accident, that’s okay. Car accident lawyers have plenty of experience working with clients who couldn’t get that evidence.

If you can get pictures and/or videos, though, you should. They’re an extremely simple-to-capture form of evidence that capture the accident scene exactly as it was immediately after the crash. Your lawyer can often use that visual evidence to prove how the accident happened and who has a liability to you for your injuries.

Within reason, try to capture:

  • Points of impacts on any vehicles and nearby objects or structures;
  • Vehicles’ location after the crash;
  • The surrounding area;
  • Skid marks, damage, etc., nearby; and
  • Your own injuries (photographing others’ injuries could land you in hot water—don’t do it without their permission).

Remember, only do this if you can do so safely and without getting in the way of first responders. Safety first.

Keep Everything.

To get you paid, your lawyer needs evidence of your injuries and losses. Much of that evidence is probably already in your possession.

It consists of:

  • Medical bills from the treatment of accident injuries;
  • Insurance statements relating to covered expenses;
  • Invoices for services you needed after the accident;
  • Receipts for extra expenses your injuries caused you;
  • Police records from the accident scene;
  • Payroll information from your employer;
  • Physical objects big and small, from your damaged vehicle to personal items like broken eyeglasses.

Broadly speaking, you have the right to recover compensation for virtually any expense you incur, and any difficulty you encounter in your life, because of your accident and injuries. But you need to prove them. So keep everything. If you lose a bill or doctor’s report, let your car accident lawyer know about it, and he or she can obtain a copy for your legal claim.

Typically, your lawyer will want to order his or her own copy of your medical records and bills directly from the medical providers. That being said, we highly recommend that you send your lawyer a copy of anything you receive related to your accident claim.

Consult an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Right Away

Getting paid the full amount of your damages after a car accident requires the skill, experience, and resources of a car accident injury attorney. The sooner you meet with that type of attorney, the better your chances of obtaining every penny the law allows. Waiting to talk to an attorney puts your legal rights at risk and often makes your claim harder to prove.

Do not wait. If a car accident injury has caused you or a loved one expenses and losses, then you deserve to get paid. Contact an experienced car accident injury attorney as soon as possible for a free case consultation to discuss your rights.

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