5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Automobile Accidents - June 8, 2020
Car accidents happen unexpectedly, and they can lead to severe injuries for victims. An injury from a car accident could result in temporary or permanent disability as well as tremendous medical expenses. If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of another driver, there are steps you can take after a car accident to help ensure your well-being as well as maximize the compensation you receive for your losses. The Chicago car accident attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates have a long history of helping car accident victims get through these cases.
1. Seek medical assistance if you suffered injuries
The single most important thing you can do in the aftermath of an accident is to seek medical care for any injuries you have sustained. Even if you do not feel much pain in the immediate aftermath of a crash, please understand that the signs and symptoms of many injuries do not begin to show up until hours or days after the crash occurs. By seeking medical care as soon as possible, you are ensuring your health is the number one priority while also establishing that your injuries occurred due to the accident.
2. Observe and gather evidence
If you can safely do so at the scene of the crash, begin gathering as much evidence as possible. If you have a cell phone, take pictures of any damages to vehicles involved, any other property damage, debris lying around the accident scene, traffic in weather conditions, and more. Look around the accident scene and see if there are any cameras on nearby buildings or homes that may have captured the incident digitally.
You should get the name and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the crash so that they can be contacted by insurance carriers. These eyewitnesses may also help if a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed in the case. Make sure you get the driver’s license number and insurance information of any other driver involved in the accident, as well as the contact information of all other passengers in the vehicles involved.
3. When to contact an attorney
As soon as you are taken care of medically, and the immediate emergency is over with, you should consider contacting an attorney to help with your case. If you have been injured, have sustained significant property damage, or if there were multiple vehicles involved, an attorney will move to gather evidence that may quickly erode in the hours or days following the incident. An attorney will have the resources necessary to obtain all evidence needed to prove liability in your case.
4. Speaking to the insurance companies
You will need to contact your personal insurance carrier as soon as possible after the accident occurs, preferably on the same day as the incident, if you are able to do so. When you talk to your own insurance carrier initially, you do not have to go into significant detail. Explain the basic facts of the case, inform them that there were injuries involved, and give them the information of the other drivers involved.
If another driver caused your accident, you can expect that their insurance carrier will contact you soon after the incident occurs. Please understand that the other driver’s insurance carrier is not your friend, and their goal is to limit the amount of money they pay in a settlement. The at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will likely tell you that you have to give a recorded statement or that you need to sign a release for your medical records in order to receive compensation. Please understand that you should not do either of these things. A recorded statement could be used against you if you say anything that could jeopardize your case. Signing over your medical records could allow the insurance claims adjuster to say that your injuries were caused by something other than the car accident.
5. Continue your medical care
It is important to understand that continuing your medical care is absolutely necessary. In the aftermath of sustaining a car accident injury, you need to follow all treatment plans prescribed by your doctor until you reach what is considered a maximum medical improvement. If you stop following your doctor’s orders before you have fully recovered, the at-fault party’s insurance carrier could use this as a reason to say you were never harmed in the first place and deny your claim.
As you continue your medical care, keep copies of all medical reports, including X-rays, consultations, prescription medications, and more. We strongly advise that every car accident injury victim keeps a daily journal that describes their injuries and how their daily life has been affected due to the car accident.
How often do accidents occur in Illinois?
According to data available from the Illinois Department of Transportation, we can see that car accident are not uncommon across the state. During the latest reporting year, there were 311,679 total traffic collisions across the entire state of Illinois. These incidents led to 1,090 total traffic crash fatalities and more than 93,000 total injuries.
The Illinois DOT reports that approximately 12,000 of the injuries reported or considered “A-injuries,” meaning that they were incapacitating (injuries that prevent an injured person from walking, driving, or normally continuing the activities they were capable of performing before the injury occurred).
What kind of compensation is available after these cases?
In the aftermath of sustaining a car accident injury, victims may be entitled to various types of compensation. At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we are regularly able to help clients recover the following:
- Coverage of their medical bills
- Lost wages and benefits
- Loss of personal enjoyment images
- Pain and suffering damages
- Possible punitive damages against grossly negligent drivers
The total amount of compensation a victim or receive will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding their particular case. Factors such as the severity of the injuries, the amount of time a person misses from work, and whether or not there are permanent disabilities will all be considered in these cases. Let our attorneys get you through this. Please call our Chicago office at (312) 372-8822, or our Joliet office at (815) 723-8822, or you can call our toll free number at (800)-985-1819.