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What To Do After a Car Accident in Chicago

What To Do After a Car Accident in Chicago

Chicago, streaming with traffic and diverse road conditions, is no stranger to car accidents.

According to the 2021 Illinois Crash Facts & Statistics report, in 2021, our state saw 295,604 car crashes. These collisions resulted in 1,341 fatalities, a rate which marks a 12.2% increase over 2020. That year’s death toll was the highest since 2005.

Whether it’s a minor fender bender or a major collision, knowing what to do after a car accident in Chicago is crucial for protecting yourself and ensuring a smooth resolution.

Handling a car crash case if you’ve suffered serious injuries or a family member died can be challenging. However, Thomas Law Offices can help. Contact us for a free case review so we can provide you with customized advice on the next best steps to take in your legal matter.

Steps To Take At the Scene of a Crash

Being involved in a car wreck can be a chaotic and overwhelming experience.

Knowing what to do at the scene of the accident can help ensure everyone’s safety and streamline the process of dealing with the aftermath. Here are the essential steps to take immediately after a car wreck:

Stay Calm and Check for Injuries

The safety of everyone involved should be your primary concern. Check yourself and others for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately for medical assistance. Even if injuries initially seem minor, it’s essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Move to a Safe Location

If the accident is minor and it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road or a safe location away from traffic. This can help prevent further accidents and ensure the safety of everyone at the scene.

Call the Police

It’s advisable to contact the police and file an accident report regardless of the severity of the accident. Drivers are required to call law enforcement after a car accident unless no one is injured and there is less than $1,500 in damages.

Drivers must also file a crash report within ten days of the accident if there is bodily injury, death, or more than $1,500 in property damage. If any driver is uninsured, the threshold is $500.

Having an official police report can also provide valuable documentation for insurance claims and legal proceedings.

Exchange Information

Make sure to provide your contact information to the other parties involved in the accident and to get their details as well. This exchange of information should include names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information.

Also, be sure to collect contact information from any witnesses present at the scene.

Document the Scene

Take photos or videos of the vehicles involved, their positions, and any damages sustained. Also, photograph any relevant road conditions, signage, or traffic signals.

Timestamped documentation can be helpful for insurance claims and legal purposes.

Limit Discussions

Avoid discussing the details of the crash with the other parties involved, especially when it comes to fault or liability.

Immediately after an accident, emotions can run high. Discussing details with other parties could escalate tensions or lead to arguments, which may not be productive in resolving the situation.

Stick to exchanging necessary, factual information. Steer clear from making any statements that could be interpreted as admitting fault or as an admission of guilt, as these could have adverse consequences as far as legal liability determinations are concerned. We can’t emphasize it any more strongly; it’s important to be cautious about what you say in the immediate aftermath of an accident.

One of our Chicago car crash attorneys can advise you on what to say and do to protect the integrity of your case. So, give us a call or email us at Thomas Law Office for assistance today.

What To Do After You’ve Left the Scene of a Car Accident in Chicago

Once you’ve taken care of all the steps above, your work isn’t over. When it comes to what to do after a car accident in Chicago, you’ll want to do the following:

Seek Medical Attention: Prioritize Your Health

Even if you don’t think you’ve sustained any injuries, it’s essential to seek medical attention after a car accident. Some injuries, such as a brain bleed or internal organ damage, may not manifest symptoms immediately. A medical evaluation can identify any hidden injuries and ensure you receive the proper care. Keep records of all medical evaluations, treatments, and expenses related, as they’ll be critically important in building your case.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Promptly notify your insurance company about the accident to initiate the claims process. Provide them with all relevant details, including the other party’s information, the police report number, and any documentation or evidence you’ve collected. Be truthful and accurate in your account of the wreck to avoid any potential issues with your claim. Your insurance company will guide you through the next steps and may arrange for an adjuster to assess the damage to your vehicle.

Speak With a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer

Consider Getting Legal Representation

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may want to consider seeking legal counsel, especially if you’ve suffered significant injuries or damages.

Experienced car accident attorneys in Chicago can protect your rights, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and help you pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. They can also navigate complex legal procedures and advocate for your best interests.

Why You Need a Car Crash Attorney To Represent You

Being involved in a car accident can have significant repercussions, both physically and financially.

While many accidents result in minor injuries and property damage, others can lead to serious injuries, long-term disabilities, and substantial financial losses. In such cases, seeking legal representation can be crucial for protecting your rights and obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Here are several reasons why you may need legal representation after a car accident:

  • Complex Legal Procedures: Navigating the legal process after a car accident can be complex and daunting, especially if you’re dealing with injuries and medical treatment. An experienced car accident attorney can guide you through the legal procedures, including filing insurance claims, negotiating with insurance companies, and navigating potential litigation.
  • Determining Liability: Establishing liability in a car accident can be challenging, particularly if fault is disputed or multiple parties are involved. A skilled attorney can conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, gather evidence, and determine liability based on factors such as negligence, traffic laws, and witness statements.
  • Maximizing Compensation: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that the economic cost of all US motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2019 (the most recent data) was $340 billion. Factoring in quality-of-life valuations sees the total value of harm from these motor vehicle traffic crashes jump to a staggering $1.37 trillion. An attorney can advocate for your rights and work to maximize your compensation by assessing the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
  • Dealing With Insurance Companies: Insurance companies employ tactics to minimize payouts and protect their bottom line. They may pressure you into accepting a low settlement offer or attempt to shift blame for the accident. Having legal representation can level the playing field and ensure that your rights are protected during negotiations with insurance adjusters.
  • Access to Resources: Building a strong case often requires access to resources such as accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and other expert witnesses. A reputable law firm like Thomas Law Offices will have access to these resources and can leverage them to strengthen your case and support your compensation claim.
  • Peace of Mind: Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be emotionally taxing, especially if you’re coping with injuries and financial stress. By entrusting your case to a skilled attorney, you can gain peace of mind knowing that your legal rights are being protected and that you have a dedicated advocate fighting for your best interests.

Following Up and Staying Informed After a Chicago Auto Accident

After reporting the accident and initiating the car insurance claims process, stay proactive in following up with your insurer and any medical providers involved in your treatment.

Keep detailed records of all communication, including phone calls, emails, and letters. If you encounter any delays or issues with your claim, don’t hesitate to follow up with your insurance company or legal representative for clarification and resolution.

Being involved in a car accident can be a stressful experience, but knowing what steps to take can make the process smoother and less overwhelming.

By prioritizing safety, gathering information, documenting the scene, and seeking appropriate medical and legal assistance, you can protect your rights and work towards a favorable resolution.

If you’re unclear as to what to do after a car accident in Chicago, seeking legal representation after that crash can provide invaluable support and advocacy during a challenging time. Whether you’re negotiating with an insurance company or pursuing litigation, Thomas Law Offices can help you navigate the legal process.

Contact us today and let one of our experienced car accident attorneys help you protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.

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At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

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Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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