None of us are immune to accidents, and in 2020 alone, there were 52,090 car accidents in the state that resulted in injuries, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. These victims are now facing the medical bills, insurance claims, property loss, and trauma that accidents can bring. While we can't prevent all accidents from happening, we can take steps afterward that will put us in a better position to recover fair financial compensation. Your actions in the first 72 hours after an accident are crucial to your recovery, both physically and financially.
If you've recently been in an accident and you'd like to speak to a personal injury attorney about your options, call us at Marker & Crannell Attorneys at Law in Naperville, Illinois. From our offices, we can serve clients in Bolingbrook, Aurora, Romeoville, Joliet, Plainfield, Lisle, Wheaton, and Woodridge, Illinois.
First 72 Hours After an Accident
The faster you act after an accident, the better your outcome will be for your physical and financial well-being. Be sure to address the following steps in the minutes, hours, and days that follow any accident you're involved in.
Safety and Medical Care
The most important step after an accident is to make sure you're physically okay. This means seeking medical care right away, even if you don't feel your injuries are severe. Many injuries sustained from car accidents can take days or even weeks to show up, and the sooner you address these, the better. Only a trained medical professional can adequately assess your health.
Additionally, insurance companies will often factor in whether you saw a doctor within the first 72 hours and base your compensation on this. Unfortunately, some adjusters will interpret a delay in seeking care as you faking your injuries and that they're not as serious as you claim.
Call the Police
It's usually a good idea to call the police after an accident, even if it was minor. Official police reports can aid in any claims or lawsuits you may pursue in the weeks and months after the accident. Also, in Illinois, if the accident resulted in the injury or death of someone, you must contact the police within 30 minutes. Failure to report a serious accident could lead to having your license revoked.
When most people ask themselves, “What do I do after an accident?”, they may overlook the importance of documentation. When you file any insurance claim, you'll need to provide as much evidence as you can. It's best and easiest to gather all this information while you're still at the scene of the accident. Take photos and videos of the accident site, including the damage to both cars, the area where the accident occurred, any traffic signals or signs, as well as photos of your injuries.
You will also want to retain a copy of the police report, so be sure to get the name and contact information of the officer on the scene. Lastly, you'll want to get the contact and insurance information from the other driver as well as the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
Each insurance company will have its own guidelines on when you must notify them after an accident, but it's a good idea to get this done within 72 hours of the incident. The other driver will also have contacted their insurance carrier, and the faster this is done, the faster your claim can get started.
It's important to note that although you should notify your insurance right away, that does not mean that you must give a statement immediately. It's not uncommon to get a call from the at-fault driver's insurance provider the day after an accident asking for a statement. You can answer basic questions at this time, but you should refrain from giving a statement until after you've consulted with your attorney.
Hire an Attorney
Lastly, it's beneficial to hire a personal injury attorney. You may not feel that you need a lawyer, but even just consulting with an experienced attorney can give you peace of mind knowing you're handling the accident the right way. Furthermore, your attorney can ensure you're covering all your bases and can help you gather evidence, build a strong claim, and negotiate on your behalf with claims adjusters. Accident victims who work with attorneys often receive higher settlements because they can lean on their years of experience and critical eye when reviewing offers; plus, they'll always be looking out for your best interests.
How Marker & Crannell Can Help
Accidents like these can be traumatic for the people involved as well as their loved ones as they start to heal and recover from the incident. You may be facing high medical bills and car repair costs, or you may need to take time off work due to injuries. You need someone working on your side and advocating for your needs. If you're in the Naperville, Illinois, area, reach out to us today at Marker & Crannell Attorneys at Law to start discussing your options.