Another driver’s car hit yours. He was at fault. The next 24 to 48 hours can be absolutely critical if you want to preserve your rights.
Here are some common sense steps to take if you are involved in a car accident.
- See a doctor.
- Document all of the facts.
- Make an insurance claim.
- Document your injuries.
- Call an attorney.
First, and importantly, see a doctor. Do not decline a ride to the hospital if you are reading this while at the scene. Prompt medical attention may be able to help you and your loved ones avoid further injury, and cut your recovery time to the bare minimum. Get yourself checked out even if you feel fine. Many accident victims feel minimal or no pain at the time of the accident, only to discover that they have significant, and even life threatening injuries later.
Second, get all of the facts. Make sure you know the name of the other party. Get their insurance information. If police investigated the scene, get a copy of the police report so that you have the name of the investigating officer. Get a list of the names of all of the witnesses and their addresses. Try and get pictures of the vehicles involved and the surrounding scene. Make sure that you understand exactly what happened.
Third, reach out to your insurance company, and the other side’s insurance company to make sure that both parties’ insurance companies have notice of the accident. Make sure to tell your insurance that you will cooperate in any way required of you.
Fourth, carefully document any pain that you experience in the days and weeks after the accident, and make an appoint to see your personal physician. Discuss any symptoms with him or her, and even if you are not experiencing symptoms, describe the accident to him or her and let them conduct whatever tests he or she deems necessary. Many injuries of the neck, back, wrist, and ankles will not start to feel pain for days or weeks after an accident. However, when they manifest, they can be utterly disabling.
Fifth, call an attorney. Many times, insurance companies will refuse to even pay for all of the repairs to your car, and almost no insurance company will offer fair compensation for your injuries. A skilled attorney may be able to help with that. In addition, a skilled attorney may be able to help negotiate medical and insurance liens; for example, in Chicago and Illinois, all valid liens can only be a portion of any settlement for car accidents and other personal injury cases.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, it may be in your best interest to contact a qualified personal injury lawyer.