First Steps After A Car Accident
Car accidents can range from fender benders to life changing incidents. Depending on the severity of the injuries, it can be difficult to get your life back to normal. If you are involved in a car accident, you are likely not thinking about everything you will need to do to build your personal injury case, until it is too late. This blog post will give you a high-level overview of all the tips and best practices that can be applied after a car accident including seeking medical attention, filing police reports, collecting evidence, finding a lawyer, and more. Learning some simple steps now will make you more able to apply them when the time comes, potentially saving you a lot of time and money.
Keeping Detailed Records
The first priority after any type of accident is always your health. Making sure you get the medical attention that you need right away is crucial. Whether it’s an EMT or an urgent care doctor, make sure you obtain a copy of the medical records. Once you have done this, the best thing you can do is collect relevant evidence at the scene of the accident. Especially if the accident was caused by someone else, photos or physical evidence will greatly help your case in court. Take clear and detailed photographs of the scene and property damage, as well as any injuries you may have suffered. This doesn’t have to be done with a professional camera, the lens attached to any smartphone will work.
Once you have done this, it’s always a good idea to obtain a copy of the police report and take your own notes of what happened as soon as you can. A voice recording or a note on your phone that details the event from your perspective can be extremely helpful later on. Here are some tips on what you can write down:
- Create a detailed account of what happened before, during and after the accident. Where were you driving? What time of day did the accident take place? Was it cloudy, raining, sunny, etc.? Was there anyone in the vehicle with you? Do you know what caused the accident? Were there any witnesses that could have seen the accident take place? What happened immediately after the accident? Make sure to include every detail that you can think of, even if it doesn’t seem relevant at the time.
- Write down exactly what injuries you suffered during and after the accident. This could also include months following the accident. What treatment did you receive? How much were your medical bills? Did you miss any work? Have the injuries impacted your day-to-day life, physically or mentally?
Clearly, the details are extremely important in a personal injury case. It’s also a good idea to keep the written dialogue going as you work through filing a personal injury case. Writing down how you progress towards recovery as well as any interactions with insurance companies, car repair shops, medical providers, attorneys, etc. will all be very useful. Once you have taken the steps necessary at the scene of the accident, it’s important to act quickly and hire a personal injury attorney to assist you in filing a lawsuit for your injuries.
Hiring an Attorney
Most people think they need to be involved in a crazy accident resulting in major long-term injuries in order to receive compensation or even hire a lawyer. However, this is not the case. Even minor injuries can result in costly medical bills and lost wages. It can be especially important to talk with a lawyer when you have sustained minor injuries because this is when insurance companies will try and offer you the lowest amount possible. Even if you don’t think you are being offered a low settlement, it’s always a good idea to consult a lawyer before accepting. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to work with your insurance to get you the compensation that you deserve.
It’s important to act quickly with all matters after a car accident in order to maximize your compensation. In Illinois, there is a 2-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims. This means that you have two years after the accident took place to file your lawsuit. This may sound like a stressful process, especially when dealing with life altering injuries, but receiving compensation for someone else’s neglect or intent is what you deserve. Also, finding a lawyer that works hand-in-hand with you to make it as easy as possible can make all the difference.
Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.
As you can see, there are many crucial steps to take quickly after being involved in a car accident in order to file a successful personal injury claim. To sum it up, you should:
- Seek out prompt medical attention
- Take pictures and notes
- Obtain copies of all medical records and police reports
- Hire an experienced attorney to help you file a claim within the statute of limitations
Whether you have sustained minor or life altering injuries, we encourage you to follow the steps and set yourself up for success by working with a qualified personal injury lawyer. If you are in the Chicago area, Whiteside & Goldberg Law Group offers free consultations for anyone who would like to discuss their case. No matter the severity, it is always important to contact an experienced lawyer to help you recover any losses or damages. The attorneys at Whiteside & Goldberg Law Group never charge a fee until they win a settlement for you. You can contact them today at by calling 312-334-6875 for the Whiteside & Goldberg Law Group Michigan Avenue location and 815-730-7535 for their Shorewood office.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.