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Dos and Don’ts After a Chicago Car Accident

If you got into a car crash and now you are likely shaken up and unsure what to do next. Don’t panic. There are some important dos and don’ts to follow after a Chicago car accident that can help protect your rights and potentially get you the compensation you deserve.

Read on for a quick guide to the essential steps you need to take, what information to exchange, why you should call a Chicago auto accident attorney immediately, what to document, and what not to do that could jeopardize your claim.

The Dos

Here are the key steps to take after a crash:

Seek Medical Attention

If you – or anyone else – have been injured in the accident, seek immediate medical help. Your health and safety should be your top priority right now. Even if you feel fine after the accident, internal injuries are not always immediately apparent. Get checked out ASAP.

Contact the Police

Documenting the accident is a crucial step toward building your case. Call 911 and report the accident. Provide the location, time of accident, and details of the vehicles involved. If you don’t contact the police, it becomes a matter of your word against the other driver.

Exchange Information

Obtain addresses, phone numbers, insurance details, and driver’s license numbers from all parties involved, including witnesses. Be sure to note the make, model, year, and license plate of the other vehicles. This information will be important for insurance claims and possible legal action.

Take Photos

Whether you keep a disposable camera in your car or use your cell phone, take pictures of your vehicle and the area surrounding the accident, like skid marks on the road. Photograph all vehicles involved in the accident as well as any property damage. If possible, take wide-angle shots to capture the whole scene. These photos can provide critical evidence for determining fault.

Gather Details

Note the date, time, exact location, and weather conditions. If possible, draw a diagram of how the accident happened. Record the names and contact details of any witnesses. All these facts will help you build a strong case. Report it to your insurance provider as soon as you are able, but avoid saying or signing anything until you speak with an attorney.

document the crash scene after a car accident

The Don’ts

Knowing what not to do after a Chicago car accident is equally important:

Don’t Panic

Staying calm after an accident can be difficult, but it’s important. Take a few deep breaths to steady your nerves. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries, and call 911 if anyone needs medical attention. Try to get your vehicle off the road if possible to avoid obstructing traffic or causing another accident.

Don’t Leave the Scene

Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. Stay put until the police arrive. Exchange information like names, phone numbers, insurance details, license plate numbers, and driver’s license numbers with the other drivers involved. Get contact information for any witnesses as well.

Don’t Discuss the Accident

Don’t discuss the details of the accident with anyone other than the police and your attorney. What you say can be used against you later, even if you don’t realize it at the time. Let the police and your lawyer handle the questions.

Don’t Accept Blame

Even if you think the accident was your fault, don’t admit fault or blame. There are often factors you’re unaware of that could make the other driver partially or fully at fault. Let the police and insurance companies determine fault.

Don’t Sign Anything

Insurance companies may ask you to sign paperwork like a liability waiver. Don’t sign anything until you’ve talked to an attorney. Some documents may require you to forfeit certain rights or accept an unfair settlement.

Reach Out to an Experienced Chicago Car Accident Lawyer

Being in a car accident is traumatic enough without having to deal with insurance companies and legal issues on your own. Seeking counsel from an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer should be one of your top priorities after an accident. Call our office today at 312-757-8640 for a free consultation.

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