When you have been involved in a car accident, it can be a startling, unnerving and unsettling experience. Despite your shaken-up feelings, it is essential to take action and be smart about how you proceed. Staying calm will ensure that you notify all of the appropriate entities and get the medical help that you need. Time is of the essence when you are dealing with a driver who is uninsured, underinsured or decides to flee the scene of the accident.
First, you should notify your insurance company immediately after the accident. Many insurance policies have a provision that requires you to notify the carrier within a specific time frame. This means that you may lose out on damages if you wait too long to tell the insurance company that an accident has occurred.
You should refrain from admitting fault when you speak with the insurance company. Since you have not yet met with a lawyer, there is no way for you to know whether you were totally at fault under the laws of Illinois. A lawyer will know whether other factors were at play in causing the accident and that minimize the amount of fault on your part.Contacting the Illinois Police Department Serving the Area Where the Incident Occurred
You should also contact the Illinois police department immediately after an accident. It is considered a Class A misdemeanor to flee the scene of the accident in Illinois. Penalties that a fleeing party may suffer include up to a $2,500 fine or jail time.
When you contact the police, you will also be able to notify them as to whether you require immediate medical attention. If you have serious injuries, then emergency ambulances will also arrive on the scene to take you to the hospital and treat your injuries.Exchange Information with the Other Driver
If the other driver is still present at the scene of the accident, then you will also want to exchange information with him or her. Be sure to write down the license plate number, address, phone number and name of the individual who was driving the other car. If a car is about to flee the scene of the accident, then make sure that you write down the license plate number before the car flees.Recording Photos, Videos and Observations of the Accident Scene
You should also make sure that you make your own recordings of the accident. Do not depend on the police to record every detail of the accident. Snapping your own photos, obtaining witness names and observations and recording videos may all serve your best interest in the event that an insurance company will not settle your case or it proceeds to trial.Filing an Accident Report
When the Illinois police arrive at the scene of the accident, you will need to fill out an accident report with them. You should be honest in relaying the straightforward facts to the police. It is important to simply tell them the facts and not make any false statements. If you believe that the other vehicle hit you, then you may relay this type of fact to the police.Maintain a File System of Records
After you have received medical attention, chances are that you will face medical bills. It can take time for an insurance company to pay out on any medical bills that you face. It is essential that you carefully document every expense that you face due to injuries from your accident. Keep track of bills for hospital visits, surgeries, doctor visits, prescription drugs, medical equipment and any other expenses that you have incurred. You should also track the number of days that you have missed work, as well as the current pay rate for any time missed.
If you were forced to purchase a new car or rent a different vehicle, then you should also record these expenses. When you keep detailed records of your expenses, you improve the likelihood that you can recover compensation for these expenses.Speak with a Lawyer
Ultimately, it is also in your best interest to get an Illinois personal injury lawyer involved in your case as soon as possible. Illinois auto accident attorneys are familiar with assisting victims at all stages of filing a car accident claim. You may even wish to contact an Illinois auto accident lawyer immediately after your involvement in a car accident. Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers at any time and to receive immediate responses for your questions or concerns. Our attorneys can help you remain calm after an accident and take the steps needed to resolve your claim.