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10-Step Checklist for What to Do After an Auto Accident in Illinois

No one expects to get involved in an auto accident, let alone deal with the aftermath of one.

However, the unavoidable reality is that in 2021, there were 295,604 crashes involving motor vehicles in Illinois. Injury crashes accounted for 20.6 percent, while fatal crashes accounted for less than one percent.

The experienced auto accident attorneys at FLT Law understand that while nobody gets in the car planning to have an accident, knowing what to do in the event of a tragedy is necessary. Our easy-to-follow 10-step guide highlights the most important steps you and your family should take after an auto accident. 

What to Do After an Auto Accident in Illinois

1. Call 9-1-1

The first thing you need to do after an auto accident is call 9-1-1 to make sure a police officer arrives at the scene and request an ambulance to help anyone injured due to the accident.

If you find an individual knocked unconscious from the crash or someone is reporting neck pain or back pain, do not move them until medical help arrives unless a hazard requires moving the person from a dangerous situation or location.

When the police and the ambulance arrive, document the names and badge numbers of responding officers and EMTs. Write them down for your records, as they will be essential for any personal injury lawsuit.

At this juncture, the responding officer begins collecting information for a police report.

2. Stay at the scene of the accident

No matter your plans, wait for the police to arrive and don’t leave the scene.

If you leave before the police are involved, you could face criminal penalties as a hit-and-run driver. This is especially true if someone was injured in the crash.

3. Collect info from the other party or parties involved

Collect the names, phone numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information from all drivers involved in the accident.

According to Illinois state law, you must also provide your name, address, and insurance information to the other party involved.

If there were other passengers in the accident, get their names, phone numbers, and addresses for your records and insurance.

Again, write all of this information down and save it for your records. You’ll need it, trust us.

A quick tip: while you should be cordial with all individuals involved in the incident, we recommend that you do not talk to them outside of gathering the above information.

Don’t let one of these conversations in the heat of the moment get twisted in court; you don’t want to inadvertently admit legal liability for the incident that occurred, even though you may not be culpable.

Remember, someone may be videoing the scene. Think before you act. It is hard to determine who exactly is at fault in the immediate aftermath of auto accidents, and many states do not consider fault as determinative of which insurer pays for any potential losses.

Any conversation outside asking for vital information, even if only in an attempt to be polite, could potentially harm your insurance claim and case.

We advise that you only speak to the police and your auto accident attorney after an accident.

4. Document the accident and your surroundings

Be sure to take clear and detailed photographs of the accident site (including your surroundings, traffic signs, and skid marks), cars involved, and damages.

Your insurance adjuster will need these photos to determine post-crash compensation.

These photos could also come in handy as evidence if you find yourself in court after the accident.

5. Collect witnesses’ information

After the accident, look for potential witnesses that saw what happened.

If people stop to help, take down their full names, phone numbers, and addresses.

If nobody stops, take down as many license plate numbers as possible to track them down later.

6. Consult a trusted auto accident attorney

If anyone is injured or there is damage to your vehicle, you must contact a trusted auto accident attorney as soon as possible.

At FLT Law, our attorneys work to maximize the financial recovery for any damages you receive if you are injured and protect you if you are at fault. 

Typically, auto accident attorneys work on a contingency fee; therefore, your lawyer only receives a payment if you are awarded damages or a settlement. Often, experienced accident attorneys offer free claim reviews.

If you require legal representation due to a motor vehicle accident, contact FLT Law immediately, and a member of our team will happily speak with you.

7. Document any medical treatment related to the accident

Throughout this entire process, you should track any medical treatment you receive.

Keep thorough records of the doctors, physical therapists, and medical professionals you receive treatment from and any referrals. Within your notes, hold onto complete records of any treatments and medications you receive due to the accident.

Be sure to request a copy of any medical bills and reports you are issued.

These records will help you prove your medical expenses for insurance later.

At this point, an experienced auto accident attorney can help guide you and provide a list of which documents you may need for any potential injury claim.

Remember, it is much harder to prove any prolonged pain and suffering you have experienced without documentation of your medical care.

You can do this by logging the daily impact of your injuries, including missed work days and activities you can no longer undertake. A daily log strengthens your case for any filed insurance claim.

Additionally, communicate details about your recovery to your medical providers. Let them know how you’re doing, what problems you’re experiencing, and how your injuries respond to treatment.

Not only does this provide better documentation, but it will also help your doctor tailor a treatment plan that ensures the fastest possible recovery.

8. Inform your insurance

You should contact your insurance company as quickly as possible after the incident and be prepared to provide them with as many precise details as possible about the events before, during, and after the accident.

This includes obtaining and providing them with any police report filed so you can assert definitively who was at fault for the accident that occurred.

Be cooperative when talking to them; do not lie or exaggerate to drive a point home. If they find any information provided was intentionally false, they may deny you any coverage of the accident.

Note: The state of Illinois has a fault system for determining who is financially responsible for an accident.

According to Illinois Auto Insurance laws, “the person who was legally at fault for causing the accident must compensate anyone who was injured or whose property was damaged by the accident, typically through the insurance company. Illinois law requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 coverage for bodily injury liability and $15,000 coverage for property damage. However, if you have suffered severe injuries requiring more than $25,000 in medical care you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the remainder.”

When dealing with your insurer, it would also be wise to obtain a copy of your insurance company’s damage valuation of your vehicle.

Not only is this documentation essential for your records, but if you are not satisfied with your insurer’s valuation of your vehicle damage, you can obtain two independent repair estimates or replacement quotes for comparison.

If you’re struggling to communicate with your insurance company, reach out to FLT Law because our team has a winning record for getting our clients everything they deserve.

9. File the necessary report with the state

Don’t forget to file a report with the Illinois Department of Transportation within ten days of the accident. 

Failing to report this on time may result in a $2,500 fine or up to a year of jail time.

Note: if a police report was filed, you do not need to worry about this step. 

10. Keep accident information to yourself and your attorney

As a general rule of thumb, avoid talking about the incident unless absolutely necessary when speaking with your lawyer, the police, and your insurance company.

If another insurance company reaches out to you after your accident, do not talk to any representative without consulting your attorney and insurer first.

Remember, all insurance companies record calls for “quality assurance.” You should assume that they are recording your conversation. Direct any calls to your auto accident attorney and insurer to arrange an interview if that is what they desire.

Additionally, consider any offers that an insurance company offers with caution.

The insurance adjuster’s goal is to reduce the payout on your claim for the insurance company. They are not your friend.

Confirm that all physical and mental injuries you sustained in the accident have been treated and released from care.

Only settle claims once you are confident you will be compensated for your injuries.

Again, consult your auto accident attorney before discussing a settlement with an adjuster. Remember, the insurance adjuster is a trained professional. You should have an experienced professional working for you.

Were you injured in a car accident? Call FLT Law today to get the representation you deserve.

Friend, Levinson & Turner Law understands that auto accidents are often emotional and stressful to think about but are a painful reality for many people in Illinois.

Our goal is to ensure you are ready to take control if the unthinkable happens. We recommend printing out this easy guide and keeping it handy in your car so you and your loved ones can reference it step-by-step during a crash. 

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t delay. Call FLT Law today.


author avatar
William Turner
william
William J. Turner

William Turner has represented hundreds of working men and women who have been victims of the negligence of others – gaining equitable compensation for the medical expenses and pain and suffering for his clients. He concentrates his practice in the trial of complex personal injury cases, including car and truck accidents, construction mishaps, medical malpractice, dog and animal attacks, nursing home abuse, and slip-and-falls. Additionally, he offers niche counsel and advocacy for workers who are injured on a job.

William has obtained judgements from juries in approximately 150 cases and has secured fair and comprehensive settlements in even more over his career. William Turner has dedicated his professional life to fighting for the rights of those who are injured as a result of the negligent acts of others.

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