In a Car Accident? What You Need To Know.
There are thousands of people hurt in car accidents in Illinois every year. And more than 900 are killed in a car accident every year. About half of these car accidents happen in Cook County, Illinois.
So what should YOU do if you or a loved one has been in a car crash?
1. Take a deep breath and gather yourself. Different people react differently when they have been involved in a car accident. I have had clients who are light-headed, and so shaken up that they should remain seated. Sometimes, an injury is immediately obvious. Almost everyone has a strong emotional reaction to fear and shock of being in a car crash.
2. Make sure everyone is safe and not in any danger. This could include someone being trapped in a car which was involved in a car accident, or it could be that people are walking around the scene of the crash, and there may be more traffic approaching, making the area unsafe.
3. Contact police and ambulance.
4. If you are able, collect the name and telephone numbers of any witnesses. You would not believe how car insurance companies will deny that their insured is responsible for a crash, even in the most ridiculous of circumstances. Getting witnesses after a car accident has got to be a high priority, especially if anyone was seriously injured in the car accident.
5. Make sure to get the insurance information from the other drivers and a police report or at least the police report number from the reporting police department.
6. If you are hurt, make sure that you are at least checked out by medical professionals after being involved in a car accident. You would not believe the number of people who do not like going to the doctor, so they put off getting medical help after being in a car accident. This is a big mistake. Insurance companies love being able to argue that “If he was really hurt, he would have gone to the doctor…” In most circumstances, it is best if you see a doctor right away, but a short delay is okay. Many of my clients actually feel worse over the next several days after being in a car accident than they did on the day of the crash. This is very common. DO NOT avoid medical care. You get one body in this life, and whether you have a case or not, your health has got to be your top priority.
7. Consider speaking with a lawyer, especially if there is an injury. Insurance companies treat people more fairly for car damage repair than they do for personal injury after being in a car accident. If you talk to anyone in the business, there can be a very little question that insurance companies are waging an all-out war against injury claims. Many of my clients get treated fairly when it comes to repairing their vehicle, only to have the auto insurance company change their tactics when it comes time to discuss a reasonable settlement. Like most injury lawyers, I offer a free case evaluation, so talking to me in person or by telephone is no cost and no obligation. Studies show that injured people recover three times as much with a lawyer in an injury claim as compared to not using a lawyer.
8. DO NOT agree to let the auto insurance pay your medical bills as they are incurred. Once your bills are settled, the auto insurance company no longer has any incentive to pay you a fair settlement, because you are not allowed to the Judge and Jury about bills they paid. This is actually a sneaky maneuver by many insurance companies — once they pay your medical bills, they offer you nothing for your injuries after a car accident.
I hope that these guidelines are helpful to you, but they can never take the place of the help of an experienced lawyer who knows what to do when a client has been in a car accident. If you have any questions or need help or representation, please give my office a call at 312-500-4500 and I would be happy to speak with you.
"Hiring Scott was one of the best moves I have made in my life. Scott is a down to earth person and attorney. Scott is a 5 star first class act who really knows his stuff. The Judge said his presentation was one of if not the best he had ever seen. Take my advice, hire Scott. I’m sure you’ll be 200% satisfied. I was."
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