Tuesday 15, May, 2018

What Should I Do After a Chicago Car Crash?

Nobody expects to be in a serious car accident when leaving their apartments or houses for work, or when heading out to meet a friend or client for dinner. However, car accidents happen much more frequently than they should in Chicago and throughout Cook County. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 313,316 motor vehicle crashes in Illinois in 2015, and more than 20 percent of these collisions resulted in personal injuries. Some injuries are much more serious than others. In total, fatal crashes only account for about 1 percent of all reported motor vehicle accidents in the state, but nonfatal accidents can be debilitating.

If you are injured in a car accident, it is important to think carefully about the steps you take immediately following the crash, as well as in the hours, days, and weeks that follow. The choices you make could end up affecting your ability to obtain financial compensation from the responsible driver or from that driver’s insurance company. An article in NerdWallet provides information about steps to take after a car crash, and we want to discuss those steps in more detail.

Steps to Take After You Have Been Involved in a Collision

While you may not be able to plan for a traffic collision, you can plan the steps you will take in the event one occurs. Consider the following:

  • Determine whether anyone is injured and whether you need to report the accident to the police department: Under Illinois law, motorists are required to report any car accident that results in bodily injury or death, as well as any accident that results in property damage of $1,500 or more. If it looks as though there is significant property damage or someone has been injured in a collision, you should call 911.
  • Gather evidence at the scene of the crash: If you are able to do so, you should document the scene of the accident as best as you can. This means using your cell phone to take photographs. Be sure to take pictures from many different angles and to capture the scene of the collision from as many perspectives as possible. An accident reconstruction expert may be able to use this evidence later on to help prove that the other driver’s negligence caused the crash.
  • Obtain contact information: You should obtain contact information from any other motorists involved in the collision, as well as any possible witnesses. If there were people who witnessed the accident, their recollections could be extremely important for your claim.
  • Contact your insurance company: You will need to contact your own insurance company after a crash even if you do not plan to file through your own insurer. When you talk to your insurance company, make sure that you only give the facts and that you avoid offering any opinion or other subjective information. Your insurance company is not on your side and will try to use any information to suggest that you were responsible for the collision and therefore that your claim should not be paid.
  • Seek medical attention: You will need to have a record of the injuries you sustained in the collision.
  • Determine how to file your claim: In Illinois you can file a claim either through your own insurance company or you may be able to file a third-party claim through the negligent driver’s insurer. There are pros and cons to each of these approaches, and a Chicago car accident attorney can speak with you in more detail about your options.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Chicago

One of the most important steps to take after a crash is to hire an experienced car accident lawyer in Chicago. An advocate at our firm can discuss your case with you today. Contact Arami Law for more information.

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