What to Do If You Have Been Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident
Author: Keith A. Johnson
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be a traumatic event. You may wonder what steps you should take after an accident to protect your interests. Here are some suggestions:
- Call the police so that the accident is documented.
- Obtain the license plate number of the other vehicle.
- Obtain the name, address, and phone number of the other driver.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- Obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- Do not discuss the details of the accident with anyone except the investigating police officer and your own insurance company.
- Do not admit fault. Such statements could be used against you at a later time.
- Take photographs to document any damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle.
- Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to report the accident. The phone number of your agent is typically listed on your insurance card.
- Contact, or have your insurance agent contact, the other driver’s insurance company to make sure that company is aware of the accident.
- Do not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Refer the claims adjuster to your insurance company or an attorney if you have one.
- Be careful with what you post on social media. Keep in mind that photographs and other information posted on social media may be accessible by the entire world. Please also see the blog entry “How Social Media Can Impact Your Case”, dated January 7, 2016, for helpful tips regarding social media when you have a legal claim.
If you are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident:
- Promptly seek medical attention and follow the treatment recommendations of your medical providers.
- Take photographs to document your injuries.
- Although your medical providers may want to put a “lien” on your injury claim and seek to get paid out of any monetary recovery in your injury case, in most circumstances you will be better off financially to insist that your medical providers submit your medical bills to your health insurance company, your government benefits program, or your automobile insurance company if your auto policy has medical payments coverage.
- Keep a copy of your medical bills (hospital, doctor, therapy, prescriptions, etc.). Also keep records of any other expenses you may have related to the accident.
- Keep a record of any time missed from work.
- Contact Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis to consult with an attorney who handles personal injury cases so that you can be informed about your rights and compensation that you may be entitled to under the law. You may be entitled to compensation for items including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, disability/loss of a normal life, disfigurement, and property damage.
- Keep in mind that injury claims in Illinois are subject to time deadlines.
Keeping these suggestions in mind will help make sure that your interests are protected if you have been in a motor vehicle accident.