Being involved in a car crash on the highways of Illinois could just make you late for work, or it could put you in the hospital with major injuries. Chances are high that you will be involved in an Illinois highway accident, and need to know the next steps to take. Being calm and rational after a wreck can make the difference if you need to seek financial compensation.
Even if there is only minor damage to the vehicles involved and you don’t feel hurt, always call 911. You need law enforcement there to observe what happened and make an official record of the accident. The other driver might try to talk you out of calling the police but don’t listen to them. They could be trying to get out of being held responsible.
The responding officers from an Illinois law enforcement agency will file a traffic collision report with contact and insurance details for all drivers. The officers might make a determination of who was at fault or violated traffic laws and issue citations if appropriate. The crash report can be valuable evidence for your claim.
Even if you think you’re fine, get checked out by paramedics or see your doctor immediately. If you wait, the insurance company might claim your injuries are from some other cause and refuse to pay. If you have a condition that takes a while to appear, such as whiplash or internal bleeding, diagnosing it earlier could save your life.
Getting evaluated as soon as possible establishes a link to the crash and any future medical issues you experience. This allows you to seek financial relief for your hospital and other expenses.
Speak with the other drivers to exchange contact and insurance information. Illinois law requires that you do this at the crash site, and it’s best to be sure you have a personal copy of the information instead of relying on the police report for it.
You should also note any details about the other motorists’ appearance and the make and model of their cars. Take photos of their licenses and insurance cards to ensure you got the information correct.
Many people will immediately apologize after a car crash, but this natural tendency can backfire against you. You also shouldn’t make aggressive statements to other drivers, telling them they’re the ones at fault. If you admit guilt in any way, you jeopardize your case.
This can backfire against you if the other driver disputes your claim. Their insurance company will use any excuse to avoid paying you the damages you are owed.
There’s a lot of significant evidence you can collect right after a crash if you’re physically able. Much of it may disappear due to weather or clean-up activity. Gathering it as soon as possible helps your Illinois car accident lawyer build a robust case for you. Some examples of valuable evidence include:
Photograph the accident, the weather, your injuries, your vehicle damage, skid marks, road conditions, and road signs. Take pictures of damaged clothing, phones, luggage, computers, or work equipment.
Your attorney can also investigate whether there were traffic or security cameras that recorded the accident. You or other drivers might have captured what happened on dashboard cameras, and witnesses may have cellphone video.
Law enforcement will speak with bystanders and drivers who saw the accident but were not involved. These eyewitness accounts can support your claim, so you should ask for their contact details.
You may think you’ll remember every detail of a bad accident for the rest of your life. However, as time goes by, your memory can fade or get confused. Start writing down or video recording your recollection of what happened as soon as possible. You can do this at the crash scene, but it may be best to do it after you return home or have been stabilized in the hospital.
Maintain a folder after the crash where you keep all your medical bills, auto repair estimates, treatment records, and other documentation that pertains to your claim. Be sure to request the police report. Share all this with your car accident attorney in Illinois so they can expand the investigation and build your case.
Contact your insurance company but only share the bare minimum about the crash, including the other driver’s details. They will conduct their own investigation to determine who is liable. Illinois is an at-fault state for auto insurance, meaning that whoever is found at fault for causing a crash must pay for the injuries and damage they cause. The minimum liability insurance coverage requirements are:
- At least $25,000 for each injured person in a crash
- At least $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- At least $20,000 for property damage per accident
It’s likely your bills will substantially outstrip these minimum amounts. Unless you pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver at fault, you could be left paying hundreds of thousands in medical and other costs on your own.
If you’ve been calm and collected following your crash, you have set the stage for a successful claim. Now you need a highly qualified and experienced Illinois car accident attorney to build your case and help you secure a successful outcome. Turn everything over to the team at Justin L. Mason, LLC so we can handle the tough conversations for you.
We will investigate, negotiate, and litigate for the best result possible in your specific circumstances. We don’t allow insurance companies to take advantage of you, and we fight fiercely for the compensation you deserve in court. Schedule your free consultation and learn more today.