Car crashes happen thousands of times a year and can have devastating impacts on families throughout Illinois. In fact, the past few years have been some of the deadliest years for drivers in American history. If you get in an accident, there are a few things you need to do to ensure that you are making the best of a bad situation and protecting yourself. I deal with these issues in my practice every day. Here are some helpful tips in the event that you are in an accident.
- Make sure your insurance information, photo identification and a copy of the registration to your vehicle are easily accessible. I also suggest that my clients have a photograph of their license, insurance information and registration on their smart phones.
- It also helps to carry a card with any relevant medical information for you and your family.
Immediately after an accident
- Take a deep breath and stay calm.
- Check for injuries; call an ambulance when in doubt.
- If the crash is minor, move cars to a safe place, out of traffic. If major, stay put until an ambulance arrives.
- Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights for safety.
- Call the police, even if the crash is minor.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. If necessary, take an ambulance from the scene of the crash to the nearest emergency room.
- At the hospital, make sure to present your health insurance card. Often times, a hospital will only want the insurance information for the driver who caused the accident. However, insist on using your health insurance. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it will benefit you greatly if you pursue a personal injury claim as a result of the crash.
- When asked by doctors/nurses about the crash, given them a clear and thorough account of the collision.
Other important tips
- Do not sign any document unless it’s for the police.
- Do not give statements to anyone except the police.
- Do not speak to the person who caused the crash or their insurance company.
- If possible, photograph the damage to all vehicles involved, and get contact information for witnesses.
- State clearly the facts, and limit your discussion of the accident to the police and your attorney.
- If possible, don’t leave the accident scene before the police and other drivers do.
- For free advice on these issues, call Edward Manzke (ext. 226) or John Risvold (ext. 236) at The Collins Law Firm at 630-527-1595. We are available to provide you guidance and answer any questions you may have.
If you have been injured, it really is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible, and certainly before signing any documents, making any statements or speaking with anyone about the accident. If you are injured, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have sustained, including your lost wages, medical expenses and disability. An attorney can help you recover for these losses. Make sure your rights are protected. We are here to help you, so please contact us if you would like our help.