One way that drivers can prepare for car accidents is to have sufficient insurance. Checklists and having contact information ready are two other ways.
Car accidents, from minor fender benders to serious crashes, happen every day in Illinois. It may seem strange to prepare for a car accident before it happens, but many people are involved in at least one at some point during their lives.
Have adequate insurance
Illinois has minimum insurance requirements. For example, the Secretary of State website explains:
"You are in compliance with the mandatory insurance law if you have vehicle liability insurance in the following minimum amounts:
$25,000 - injury or death of one person in an accident
$50,000 - injury or death of more than one person in an accident
$20,000 - damage to property of another person."
But does this mean that the listed amounts above are sufficient? Often, they are not. By paying a few more dollars a month, drivers can get much more protection to help them cover medical expenses, property damage and much more. The minimums really are only minimums.
Keep a checklist of what to do inside an emergency kit
Motorists should keep an emergency kit in their cars. It can be relatively bare bones or fairly exhaustive. Common items to include are spare batteries, hazard triangles, road flares, toolkits, first aid equipment, chemical warm packs, wool blankets, water bottles and food.
One item that many drivers forget is a simple checklist of what to do after an accident. It is easy to think, "Oh, I will remember what to do," but a car crash is a stressful time. It is common for motorists to panic and to skip important steps. A checklist at its most basic could include:
· Stop the car as soon as it is safe (any necessary medical care takes priority).
· Never admit fault to anyone. Only discuss facts.
· Report the accident to the police.
· Collect facts such as names, makes and models, vehicle identification numbers and insurance information.
· Take photos to document any damage.
· Contact the insurer.
By consulting the checklist, motorists decrease the odds that critical elements will be overlooked.
Keep a few things accessible
In order to document any damage with photos, motorists must have a camera. A cellphone camera should suffice. It also goes without saying that drivers should have their insurance information and other contact information handy. Not all drivers make it through an accident conscious; if a motorist is rendered unconscious, having a spouse listed as "Emergency Contact," in the cellphone helps police know who to contact.
Being involved in an Illinois car accident can be a scary experience. Preparing for it does not increase the odds an accident will happen, but it can greatly decrease the stress drivers feel if a crash does occur. A lawyer can also help navigate the post-accident aftermath.