In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a car accident, there are several things you should do to help protect any future claims for personal injury you may have against the person at fault (or their insurance company). While it is not pleasant to think about being involved in a car accident, it can be beneficial to have an idea of what steps you should take in case an accident occurs.
Protecting Future Personal Injury Claims
After you have been in an accident, it is important to check to make sure everyone involved is uninjured. If someone is injured, you should contact emergency personnel to obtain proper medical treatment. It is important to remember that there are several requirements under Illinois law in regards to stopping at the accident, rendering aid, and reporting the accident. There are significant penalties for failing to perform any of these duties.
Quite often after an accident, it is part of natural reflex to want to apologize. However, this should be avoided, as it may indicate potential fault. Along similar lines, it is critical to not admit fault to anyone at the scene, such as the other driver or any passengers. Instead, when the police arrive and begin forming the report of the accident, you should provide the officer with an honest description of what happened.
Additionally, it may prove beneficial to take notes of the scene. Pay attention to things like the weather conditions, any stop lights or signs, and traffic conditions. All of this can end up being important while negotiating with the insurance company or during litigation. Utilize the camera on your phone and take photographs. These often provide much better evidence than people’s statements.
If you have even slight pain, as soon as possible after the accident you should be evaluated by a physician or other health care professional. While immediately after the accident you may have only minimal pain, it is possible that increased adrenaline is contributing to masking your pain. Additionally, minor pain may still be the result of a more serious condition.
Aside from obtaining needed treatment, seeking immediate medical attention will strengthen any personal injury claim you may end up making. If medical treatment is not immediately sought, it can be argued that the injury is not serious or nonexistent completely. Alternatively, assuming an injury is not contested, a gap between the accident and medical treatment can make it more difficult to prove the injury was caused by the accident.
During the period in which you are receiving treatment, it is critical that you keep track of the diagnosed injuries and the specific treatment administered. This includes keeping receipts for prescriptions and any medical bills you receive. Additionally, take note of any correspondence you have with doctors or other health care professionals. If any injuries are physically visible, you should take photographs of them, which will help demonstrate the extent and seriousness of those injuries.
Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have been involved in a car accident and believe you have suffered injuries as a result, you should reach out to a passionate Illinois personal injury lawyer in your area. Our skilled professionals proudly represent individuals from Crystal Lake, Buffalo Grove, and Arlington Heights, among many other areas. Contact us today to discuss your legal options.
About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.