No one ever expects to be in a car accident, but they happen all the time. If you are involved in a car accident, whether it’s your fault or not, there are certain steps you need to take to protect yourself and ensure that any legal proceedings go as smoothly as possible. Here is a rundown of the basic things you need to do if you’re ever in a car accident.
Seek Medical Attention
One of the most important things to do following a car accident is to seek medical attention. It is essential for two reasons. First, you need to make sure that you are actually injured and not just in shock. Second, if you are injured, you need to get treatment as soon as possible. Many people wait to see if their injuries “get better” on their own, but this is a mistake. By seeking medical attention right away, you will have a record of your injuries and can start treatment immediately. If you delay seeking medical attention, the insurance company may argue that your injuries are not related to the accident or that they are not as severe as you claim.
Contact an Attorney
If you are injured in a car accident in Chicago, it is vital to contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve. There are many car accident cases reported in Chicago each year. And many people try to handle their cases independently, but this is often a mistake. The insurance company will have lawyers working for them, and you need someone on your side fighting for you.
When looking for an attorney, choose one with experience in car accident cases. The attorney should also have a good reputation and be willing to take your case on a contingency basis. This means the attorney will not charge you any fees unless they win your case. Ask around for referrals or look for online reviews once you have found a few potential attorneys, set up consultations to interview them, and see if they are the right fit for your case.
Gather evidence from the accident scene. It may include taking pictures of the damage to your car, getting the contact information of any witnesses, obtaining a copy of the police report, and collecting any other relevant information. It is vital to do this as soon after the accident as possible because the evidence can disappear quickly. For example, skid marks may be erased by rain or snow, and a janitorial crew can sweep up broken glass. If you wait too long to collect evidence, it may be difficult or impossible to prove what happened in the accident.
Follow Your Attorney’s Instructions
Your attorney is there to help you, but you must follow their instructions. That means attending all meetings and court hearings, providing requested documentation, and keeping in touch with your lawyer. If you cannot attend a meeting or hearing, be sure to let your attorney know as soon as possible.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. The sooner you contact them, the sooner they can start investigating the accident. They may also send an adjuster to the accident scene to take pictures and gather evidence. It is good to cooperate with the insurance company and answer their questions honestly. However, it would help to speak with an attorney before talking to the insurance company. An attorney can help ensure that you are not taking any unnecessary risks and getting the best possible settlement from the insurance company.
Do Not Give a Recorded Statement
After an accident, the insurance company will likely contact you and ask for a recorded statement. You mustn’t give a recorded statement without first consulting with an attorney. The insurance adjuster may try to get you to say something that could damage your case, so it is best to let your lawyer handle all communications with the insurance company.
File A Claim
Once you have gathered all the necessary evidence, you must file a claim with the insurance company. It can be done online, over the phone, or in person. Ensure all of the relevant information about the accident and your injuries. Once you have filed the claim, an adjuster will be assigned to your case and will contact you to discuss the next steps. It is essential to keep in mind that insurance companies are businesses, and their goal is to make money. They may try to lowball you on your settlement or deny your claim altogether. If this happens, do not give up. Contact an attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve.
These are just a few of the most critical steps you should take after a car accident. By following these steps, you can protect your rights and increase your chances of getting a fair settlement. If you have any questions or need assistance, do not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney.