Many people just want to go home after a car crash, eager to put the accident behind them. Unfortunately, the actions you take in the hours and days after being struck by a car can negatively affect your health, your insurance claim, and your right to recovery in an injury case.
What Victims Should Do After a Car Accident Occurs
The first thing to do after a serious crash is to call 911. If you are still conscious and able to move after the accident occurs, you should move to the side of the road and assess your injuries. If you can, exchange contact information with the other driver and take the names and phone numbers of any witnesses who stopped to help at the scene.
Once police officers have cleared you to leave the scene, you should:
- Seek medical treatment. Even if you think your injuries are not serious, it is always worth it to see a doctor as soon as possible after a crash. Medical intervention may discover an underlying injury that requires immediate treatment, and going to the hospital creates medical documentation that can be used as evidence in your injury case.
- Contact the insurance companies. Illinois is a "fault" car insurance state, so the insurance company of the at-fault driver is responsible for paying any injury and property damage costs. Even if you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer, you should notify your own car insurance provider within a few days of the crash—especially if your insurance can help you cover the costs of the accident.
- Calculate your losses. Victims can collect payment for their medical bills and lost income up to the other driver’s insurance limits. To ensure that you receive the maximum payment you are owed, you will have to gather evidence of your losses. This can include hospital statements, pharmacy receipts, car repair invoices, and pay stubs from an employer showing your time lost from work.
- Contact an attorney. If an insurance company is refusing to provide adequate payment for your injuries, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm offers free case reviews to accident victims, allowing them to learn their legal options without incurring any more debts. If we need to take an at-fault driver to court to get you the compensation you deserve, we will collect payment for our services only if your case is successful.
To learn more about your legal rights after an accident in Illinois, download your FREE copy of our book, When the Rules of the Road Get Broken: A Guide to Illinois Car Wreck Cases, or contact us via our online contact form to schedule an appointment.