What to Do After a Car Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault
Vehicle accidents can be scary experiences, particularly when they are caused by another party and you have idea what to do next. Here, we want to briefly outline the steps that you can take after a vehicle accident that was not your fault. These steps are important, particularly when it comes to your well-being as well as your ability to recover compensation for your losses.
The first step after any vehicle accident is for you to call 911 and talk to the dispatcher. Regardless of who was at fault for the incident, the police need to come to the scene so they can properly document the incident in an accident report. Additionally, the dispatcher will send firefighters and emergency medical personnel to help control the scene and treat any injuries.
Nearly every vehicle accident in Chicago and throughout Illinois must be reported to law enforcement officials. Even if another party at the scene or someone else involved in the accident does not want you to call the police, you need to get the police to the crash so they can conduct an investigation and fill out the accident report. The police report will be an important part of the insurance claim process.
Seek Treatment for Injuries
If you or somebody in your vehicle has sustained an injury, the most important aspect of this process is seeking medical assistance.
Your health is the priority, and we suggest every car accident victim seek medical treatment from an emergency clinic or the emergency room the same day the incident occurred. Even if there are no immediate signs and symptoms of injury, please understand that these signs and symptoms may not occur until hours or days after the incident occurs.
A doctor needs to conduct an evaluation right after the crash to be on the lookout for any potentially harmful hidden injuries. This immediate medical assistance also allows you to provide a strong link between the incident and any injuries that occur.
Gather Evidence at the Scene
You need to gather evidence at the scene of the incident if possible. Sometimes, the scene is too dangerous to do so, or the injuries are too severe. However, if you have a phone or another type of recording device, you can take pictures of the vehicle damage, injuries, license plate numbers, possible causes of the crash, and any traffic or weather conditions that could have affected the incident.
Make a note of any cameras you see because your attorney may be able to obtain surveillance footage. If you see any eyewitnesses, get their names and contact information written down quickly. They can later provide statements to the insurance carriers or during a personal injury trial.
Don’t Apologize to Others Involved
Sometimes, saying “I’m sorry” is instinctual, but you need to fight that instinct after a car accident that was not your fault. Even if you think you may have been partially responsible for causing the incident, do not say so. Never take complete or partial blame for a car accident. This can significantly affect the outcome of your insurance claim or how a personal injury jury would view the incident.
You need to let an investigation by law enforcement, your attorney, and the insurance carriers determine liability. Do not give them any assistance when it comes to placing blame on you.
Contact Your Insurance Carrier
Even if a vehicle accident in Illinois is not your fault, you need to report the incident to your insurance carrier. Your insurance carrier initially needs to know where the accident occurred and the name and insurance information of other drivers involved. Do not go into much detail when you make your initial report to your insurance carrier. Just let them know that the incident occurred and that you will be seeking medical treatment.
Contact a Vehicle Accident Lawyer
We encourage you to reach out to a skilled Chicago vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible. When you have an attorney by your side, you will have an advocate with the legal experience necessary to handle this case for you. They will conduct the investigation, handle all communication with other parties, negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf, and even take your case to trial if necessary.
Continue Medical Care
We encourage you to continue all medical treatment recommended by your doctor until you have fully recovered. If you discontinue care, even after you begin to feel better but before completing a doctor’s recommended treatment plan, this could jeopardize your overall claim regarding recovering compensation.
Stay Off of Social Media
Stay off of social media. The reality is that anything you post online, no matter how seemingly innocent, could come back to be a problem when recovering compensation through a settlement or during a personal injury trial.