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Important Steps to Take After an Accident

Maritote Law May 9, 2024

Being involved in a car accident can be an overwhelming and traumatic experience. From knowing what to do on the road to seeking medical attention and filing claims with your insurance company, it can be difficult to know where to start.  

Knowing what steps to take after an accident can not only help you look after your health and ensure your safety; it can also strengthen your case in any subsequent legal action that you take.  

At Maritote Law, we are committed to providing our clients with the knowledge and support they need to navigate the aftermath of an accident effectively. This guide will provide a step-by-step overview of the important actions you should take after an accident. 

Immediate Actions Post-Accident 

The moments immediately after an accident are pivotal for securing the safety of all parties involved and preserving evidence for insurance or legal purposes. It is essential to stay calm and take the following steps immediately after an accident: 

  1. Ensure Safety: First and foremost, assess the situation for immediate dangers. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location, such as the side of the road or a nearby parking lot. Turn on your hazard lights to alert oncoming vehicles of the accident. 

  1. Check for Injuries: Check yourself and the others involved for injuries. If someone is injured, do not move them unless there is an immediate danger, as this could worsen their condition. 

  1. Call Emergency Services: Dial 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance if there are any injuries. Even if the accident is minor, be sure to obtain a formal police report. This can be invaluable in legal proceedings and insurance claims. 

  1. Gather Information: Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance details, and vehicle information (make, model, and license plate number) with the other parties involved. If there are witnesses, obtain their contact information as well. 

  1. Document the Scene: Take photos of the accident scene, including all the vehicles involved, any visible damages, road conditions, traffic signs, and injuries. This visual evidence can be crucial for insurance claims and legal cases. 

  1. Report the Accident to Your Insurance: Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with accurate information about the accident, but do not provide too much detail or admit fault for the collision. 

Following Up After the Accident 

Once any immediate actions have been taken at the scene of the accident, there are a few crucial steps you should follow in the days and weeks that follow. These include: 

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you do not feel injured immediately after the accident, it is important to seek medical attention. Some symptoms and injuries may not appear right away but may appear hours or days later. A healthcare provider can provide a thorough evaluation to document any injuries related to the accident. 

  2. Keep Detailed Records: Maintain a file with any documents and information related to the accident. This should include any medical reports, expenses, correspondences with insurance companies, and a diary of any symptoms or pain you experienced post-accident. 

  3. Be Mindful of Communications With Insurance Companies: Avoid giving detailed statements or signing any documents from the other party’s insurance company without consulting with a personal injury attorney.  

  4. Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney: An experienced attorney can offer invaluable advice on how to protect your rights and make sure you receive fair compensation for any damages and injuries. Your attorney will handle negotiations with insurance companies and, if necessary, represent your interests in court. 

Protecting Your Legal Rights 

In the aftermath of an accident, it is important to remember that your well-being and legal rights should be your top priorities. In addition to taking the above steps, there are certain things you should be mindful of to make sure your legal rights are protected as you seek fair compensation for your damages. 

  • Avoid Discussing the Accident on Social Media: Comments or photos shared online can often be misinterpreted and insurance companies can potentially use them against you in your personal injury case. 

  • Understand the Statute of Limitations: Each state has a specific time frame within which you must file a legal claim following an accident. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years from the date of the accident. If you fail to submit a claim during this period, you may be ineligible to pursue damages. 

  • Follow Through With Medical Treatments: Adhere to your doctor’s treatment plan not only for your physical recovery but also as evidence of your injuries and their impact on your life. 

Legal Counsel You Can Trust 

The aftermath of a car accident can be complex, but you don't have to do it alone. At Maritote Law, our dedicated team brings over 30 years of experience in handling car accident and personal injury cases. From handling insurance claims to fighting for the compensation you deserve, we are committed to protecting your rights and well-being.  

Contact us today to request a consultation. Located in Hanover Park, Illinois, we proudly serve clients in the surrounding areas, including Cook County, Schaumburg, Bloomingdale, and Rosedale.