According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in the United States, with over 2.3 million people sustaining car accident-related injuries each year. The NHTSA also reports that car accident injuries come at a high price, costing nearly $1 trillion in loss of life and productivity in 2012 alone.
Car accidents might be common, but they can also be scary and overwhelming. No one gets behind the wheel anticipating an accident. Although it’s difficult to totally prepare for a crash, knowing what steps to take immediately following a car accident can help you protect your health as well as your legal rights.
1. Get Medical Treatment
Your very first priority is your health. Immediately after an accident, it’s normal to experience a rush of adrenaline that can mask pain and injuries. Stay calm, take deep breaths, and take time to assess how you feel. Don’t hesitate to request emergency medical treatment if you believe you are injured. If you feel that your injuries are not life-threatening, it’s still important to follow up with your family doctor or an emergency doctor, as some injuries don’t manifest full symptoms until days after a collision. By seeking treatment early, you can begin documenting your pain and injuries. These medical records can be vitally important in your personal injury case.
2. Remain at the Scene
Stay at the scene of the accident until you contact the police. Today’s cars are built to withstand even serious collisions without a lot of damage, but the human body is still vulnerable to significant injuries – even in so-called low impact crashes. Stay put until police and medical help arrives.
3. Call the Police
It’s important to report your accident to the police right away. Illinois law requires motorists to contact the police and to file a crash report for accidents that involve injury, death, and certain amounts of property damage. To protect yourself and your legal interests, it is always best to notify the police immediately after an accident.
4. Make a Police Report
The police report, which is officially called a “crash report” in Illinois, is an important document in your case. In many cases, the police will handle the crash report. If the police do not attend the scene, however, the motorists must file a crash report with the nearest police department. Give a detailed statement in your report, but don’t speculate about any injuries you may have sustained. Leave it to your doctor to diagnose the exact nature and extent of your injuries.
5. Gather Evidence
Most people today don’t leave home without a cell phone or smartphone. These powerful little devices allow us to take high quality photos and videos just about anywhere. If your injuries permit, use your phone’s camera to document the accident. Take pictures of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, the scene, and your injuries. You should also take pictures of your injuries over the next few days, as many bruises darken over time. It’s also important to gather the names and contact information of any witnesses who are willing to give a statement about what they observed.
6. Protect Your Case, Call an Attorney
Shortly after an accident, insurance adjusters and other parties will be actively working to discredit your case. They will attempt to contact you, not to help you, but to build their case against you. Before this happens, it is important to contact one of Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd.’s experienced personal injury attorneys to protect your legal rights.
To be fairly compensated for your injury, you need legal representation from a law firm that has built its reputation on securing significant monetary awards for personal injury victims. At Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd., our attorneys have a track record of taking on challenging automobile accident cases and winning substantial verdicts and settlements.
Our dedicated team of car accident lawyers will protect your interests and prevent insurance companies from collecting evidence to harm your case. Not only will we speak to the insurance adjustors on your behalf, we will also thoroughly investigate all aspects of the incident and help to alleviate the number of problems that may arise with medical bills and other matters that may negatively impact your credit and future stability.
Chicago Car Accident Law Firm
If you have been injured in a car accident due to another driver’s carelessness, it’s important to talk to an attorney right away. The sooner you have legal representation, the sooner your lawyer can begin reaching out to witnesses, preserving important evidence, and helping you obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries. Call the personal injury attorneys at Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd. (312) 372-3822 to discuss your case with an attorney today.
This website has been prepared by Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd. for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.