When you are heading out for a drive, the last thing you expect is to be in a car accident. Many people have never been in a car accident and have no idea what they should do or what happens next. It can be difficult to stay calm immediately after an accident, as it can be difficult to stay calm immediately after an accident because your body gets flooded with adrenaline immediately upon impact. Compound the shock of the accident with the activity going on at the scene and it is easy to understand how you would become overwhelmed.
Here are some helpful tips that explain what you should do if you have been in an Illinois motor vehicle accident:
- Find a safe place for you and your vehicle: Try to move your vehicle out of the traffic lanes. If this is not possible, put on your hazard lights. Do not stand in the road or near the other cars, as you do not want to be injured by any additional crashes that may occur.
- Alert the police: A police report can help you prove that you were not at fault for the collision. Under Illinois law, if an accident causes a death, or results in damage to property or personal injury of more than $1,500, drivers are required to file a crash report. Certain communities within the state may also require reports when accidents happen.
- Seek medical attention, if necessary: Even if you feel your injuries are minor, it is important to be examined to learn the extent of your injuries. Back and neck injuries may not be apparent at the time, but can become much more serious after the accident.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver: This is extremely important. If you do not receive insurance information, you or your insurer may need to cover all of the accident's expenses.
- Collect names and addresses of any witnesses: Once these people leave the scene, they can be extremely difficult to find. They may have vital information concerning the accident's cause, and can help support your version of events should a trial become necessary.
- Take photos of the damage to the vehicles: If you have a camera, take pictures of the vehicles. This can help if you end up needing to prove that repairs to your vehicle were a direct result of the accident.
- Do not admit fault: The other driver may attempt to get you to admit the accident was your fault. Do not admit liability, as it may limit your ability to recover compensation for your injuries and damages.
Some of these things may not be possible in your accident. Each situation will be different and require a unique response, especially if there are serious injuries. Your health is most important; damaged vehicles can easily be replaced.
If you have been in a car or truck accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to understand the options available to you. Insurance companies may try to get you to settle for less than your case is worth.