Are There Many Steps to Take After an Auto Accident?
Unlike some other types of incidents, car accidents can happen at any time and at any place. Even those who do not drive are at risk for being in a collision in Chicago or across the state of Illinois. When a crash occurs, the driver and passengers may sustain injuries. Further, anyone in another type of vehicle like a bus or truck, or pedestrians who happen to be near the location of the crash. Bicyclists and motorcyclists similarly are at risk for being in an accident with a motor vehicle.
Many accidents in Chicago can be classified as “property damage only,” meaning that the only damage due to those crashes was to the vehicles or other inanimate object. This contrasts with accidents causing “bodily injury” which is exactly what it sounds like: accidents where one or more individuals suffer an injury due to the crash.
Regardless of the results of a crash, it is always distressing to be involved in a collision. Fortunately, the laws in Illinois recognize that accidents happen and may be beyond the control of those who are harmed. To make sure you are protecting yourself and following all necessary laws, the personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. suggest the following tips if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident.
First of all, please contact us immediately. Every accident is unique, and we may have important instructions that are different than what is listed below. Also, there are time limitations for filing lawsuits in Illinois and other states. Call (312) 924-7575 for 24-hour lawyer assistance.
WHAT TO DO AT THE SCENE OF AN AUTO ACCIDENT?
- Stop if you are in an accident. Do not leave, as there can be criminal charges for fleeing the scene of an accident.
- Make sure everyone in your car is okay. If there are serious injuries, do not try to move them unless absolutely necessary. If you have injuries or are in pain, and it is safe to remain in your car, do not move until emergency personnel arrives.
- Call the police and let them know if there are injuries. Make sure a police report is made (you will need one later for any type of claim).
- Move your car off the road if you can do so safely. Use your flashing hazard lights and use emergency flares if you have them.
- Do not get into an argument or confrontation with the other driver.
- Obtain the names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information of all the drivers involved. Take down license plate numbers and vehicle information. Take photos of driver’s licenses and insurance cards, if possible.
- Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. Make sure to give any witness information to the police at the scene. This can be important, as police officers sometimes fail to gather this information.
- Take photos of the scene of the accident, including the vehicles in the crash.
- Do not accept fault or blame for the accident.
- Cooperate with police officers and make sure you get a chance to tell them what happened.
- If in pain, or “shaken up”, let the police officers or other emergency workers know how you are feeling. Do not refuse medical care. Let an ambulance take you to the hospital if you are experiencing pain.
WHAT TO DO AFTER THE ACCIDENT?
- If injured or in pain, get checked as soon as possible by a doctor, at an emergency room or an urgent care.
- Go to the nearest police station and make a report if the no officers came to the scene of the accident. If the other party involved refuses, go there alone and make the report.
- Contact our office as soon as possible after the accident. The sooner we know what is going on, the better we can help you. We are available 24-hours to speak to new potential clients.
- Do not speak to or try to handle the claim with the other driver’s insurance company before consulting with a personal injury lawyer. Do not give a written or recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company, as such statement can be used against you in settlement negotiations.
- Let your lawyer report the accident/claim to your own insurance company. There may be notice requirements in your own policy, and you want to make sure you are covered for the accident. We recommend that you speak to a personal injury lawyer before talking to your own insurance company. If someone makes a claim against you, immediately forward the paperwork to your insurance company.
WHAT ARE THE WARNINGS: STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?
In Illinois and other states there are time limitations for filing lawsuits and certain types of claims. It is very important that you speak to an injury lawyer soon after the accident. Do this so they can protect you from waiving any rights or claims.
The nature of the collision and the parties involved can have substantial influence on the length of time you have to file a claim. Statutes of limitation can be longer or shorter depending on the facts, so victims should never assume that their claim will be viable if they fail to act.
Rather, victims should contact a lawyer as soon as practicable following an incident to learn about their legal rights and options. The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call. We offer all injury victims free consultations without any obligation. Finally, there is no fee unless you win your case.
Car accidents happen. If one has happens to you or a family member and you are looking for answers, do not hesitate. Contact Abels & Annes, P.C. and let us fight for the relief you deserve.