People often focus on how to avoid accidents, not what to do after an accident happens. Knowing what steps to take after an accident is important so you avoid panicking and protect your best interests.
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed at the scene of a car accident, but you must remain calm and focused. First, call for emergency help right away. While you wait for help to arrive, document the scene as much as possible and exchange information with anyone at the scene. You must speak to the police and get medical attention as soon as possible. You should also call a lawyer for help with a potential legal claim against other drivers. Legal action after a car crash often includes filing an insurance claim and a lawsuit. An attorney can help you assess your damages, so you make the most of the potential compensation available.
It often takes time to get back to normal after a car accident, and a lawyer can help you protect yourself while working on getting you compensation. Call our Chicago car accident lawyers of the Rhatigan Law Offices for a free case review at (312) 578-8502.
What to Do at the Scene of a Car Accident in Chicago
Dealing with the immediate aftermath of a car accident in Chicago can be incredibly difficult, if not panic-inducing. Nobody plans to have an accident. Instead, they happen suddenly, and drivers have no choice but to react. If you were involved in a crash and need help, call our Chicago car accident lawyers for help right away.
Call for Help
The very first thing you should do is call for help. Even if the accident does not seem bad and you do not feel very injured, you need to call for law enforcement and emergency medical assistance. Contacting the police about your accident is often required by law, and you might have unseen injuries that have yet to reveal.
Once the police arrive, you should talk to them about the accident. This is important because the police will write a formal report about the accident that we can use in an insurance claim. The report may also contain details from other drivers and witnesses that might come in handy later. Our Joliet, IL car accident attorneys can help you follow up with law enforcement about getting a copy of the report.
Document the Scene
One of the first things you should do is record photos and videos of the accident scene. Taking pictures of the accident is more or less standard practice for several reasons. Not only are the photos and videos necessary for insurance claims, but you can use them as evidence in a lawsuit. If any details about the accident scene are in dispute, your photos and videos might help us prove that your side of the story is correct.
You should also exchange information with other people at the scene, including drivers and pedestrians. You need to exchange information with other drivers so you have their details to file an insurance claim and lawsuit later. While this can be an awkward or tense interaction, you should be as civil and polite as possible. Flying off the handle might be used against you later, as the other driver might claim you were in a fit of road rage. You also need to talk to other people at the accident scene because they might be able to testify as witnesses at a civil trial.
Taking Legal Action After a Chicago Car Accident
As soon as possible, you need to call a lawyer. Our Naperville, IL car accident attorneys can help you assess your damages and advise you on what legal steps to take. Insurance claims are standard and usually the first course of action. Lawsuits are also common and may be filed if insurance fails or if you need more damages covered.
Illinois is a fault-based insurance state. As such, injured drivers must file insurance claims with the other driver’s insurance. They must also prove to the insurance company that the other driver is at fault for the crash. Only if you prove fault will the insurance company agree to cover your damages. Speaking of which, you need evidence of your damages for the insurance company. If you lack evidence, the insurance company might believe your damages are minimal and offer a low settlement.
Filing a lawsuit is another legal option. While some people choose to sue because their insurance claims did not work out, others sue because insurance did not cover them or was insufficient. Lawsuits often include damages that are unavailable in insurance claims, namely non-economic damages. They are also sometimes the only choice drivers have if the other driver is uninsured.
A lawsuit might also be helpful if the insurance company is giving you trouble. For example, if the insurance company is drawing out your case, they might be trying to wait you out in the hopes that you will accept a low settlement. Filing a lawsuit shows them we mean business, and they may be more inclined to process your claims quickly.
Assessing Damages After a Car Accident in Chicago
After an accident, one of the most crucial elements of your case is your damages. Damages represent the losses and injuries you experienced because of the crash and are the focus of a lawsuit. If you file a lawsuit, you must accurately calculate damages when you submit your case to the court. Our Rockford, IL car accident lawyers can help you determine the extent of your damages.
Economic damages are somewhat easier to calculate because they are connected to real amounts of money. For example, medical bills and the cost of repairing your car are considered economic damages. You can also claim income you have lost because you are too injured to return to work. In particularly severe accidents, economic damages are quite high.
Non-economic damages reflect your personal experiences after an accident. These damages are harder to assess because they are more abstract, subjective, and often do not come with a monetary value. For example, mental and physical pain and suffering may be very valuable non-economic damages, especially if you experienced severe injuries. Other examples of non-economic damages include humiliation, damage to your reputation, and reduced quality of life.
Contact Our Chicago Car Accident Attorneys for Help
Our Streamwood, IL car accident attorneys have experience with these kinds of cases, and we are prepared to help you get justice and fair compensation for your injuries. Call Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 to schedule a free review of your case.