The immediate steps that you take after an accident can have a direct impact on whether your claim is successful and the amount of compensation you ultimately receive. There are several things you should do at the scene of a car accident to protect your safety and right to compensation. You will want to report the accident, seek medical attention, and preserve evidence in your claim. As soon as the accident occurs, you will want to:
Illinois law requires you to pull over after an accident occurs. The Illinois Rules of the Road book published by the Illinois Secretary of State explains that if you leave the scene of a crash, you may be subject to criminal charges. If the accident results in personal injury or death, the Secretary of State’s office will revoke your driver’s license. If you leave the scene of a crash that involves property damage of more than $1,000, your license can be suspended.
For a free legal consultation, call (312) 598-0739
Signal the Accident
You want to be sure that you do not accidentally cause more collisions, so you should try to alert other drivers to the accident scene. You can set out traffic cones or road flares if you have them. Also, activate your emergency lights.
Help Victims Who Need It
Next, check if anyone at the site of the car accident was injured, including:
- Your passengers
- The other driver
- The other driver’s passengers
- Any bystanders
If anyone is injured, try to keep them immobilized and in the same position if it is safe to do so. Call for emergency services and request an ambulance.
You always want to call 9-1-1 after an accident. This will help ensure that a police report is filed and will get you or other parties the medical care they need.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
File an Accident Report
If no one was injured and police do not respond to the accident, you should still file an accident report. The Illinois Rules of the Road book says that a driver has 30 minutes to report a crash once it occurs. If the driver is injured and cannot make the report, his or her passenger can make it. You must also make a report to the Illinois Department of Transportation within 10 days of the accident.
Drivers who fail to report an auto crash may be fined up to $2,500 and sentenced up to one year in jail.
Exchange information with the other driver to identify each other and to file an insurance claim. Try to get the following information from the other driver:
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Make and model of vehicle
- Vehicle owner’s name
- Insurance company and policy number
Limit What You Say
It is important that you only communicate the necessary information to the other driver and the law enforcement officer who responds to the scene of the accident. Do not apologize or admit any blame because this may be used against you later. Also, keep this tip in mind later when you talk to the insurance company and do not agree to give a recorded statement unless advised to do so by your car accident lawyer.
Talk to Eyewitnesses
If there were other people who saw the accident and stopped, ask for their names and contact information. You can also ask them to write down a statement describing what they saw. This information can be helpful for your personal injury lawyer later.
If possible, try to take pictures at the accident scene to document it. The accident scene may be quickly cleaned up, so it is important that you are able to preserve evidence. Some things to capture include:
- The vehicles involved and damage to them
- Road and weather conditions
- Your injuries
- Anything that may have contributed to the accident
Try to get pictures from different angles so that you can show others how the accident occurred.
Note Information About the Scene
As soon as possible, prepare a written summary about the moments leading up to the accident. Include what you last remember, including your speed and direction of travel. Also, look around the scene and take note of any traffic cameras or nearby businesses that may have recorded the accident.
Contact Us for More Help
Once you have done all you can do at the scene of a car accident, you can reach out to a lawyer to provide the help you need during this difficult time. The personal injury team at The Kryder Law Group, LLC can review the evidence you preserved at the scene of the accident, the accident report, and documentation of your damages to determine the relief you might be able to receive. We will handle communications with the insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement of your claim. Contact us today at (312) 223-1700 to take advantage of your free consultation.