Friday, December 17, 2010

What Should You Do Following a Car Accident?

Below is general information based upon our experience and Illinois law. Because every case is different, you should always consult an experienced and skilled Chicago Car Accident Attorney for legal and practical advice on these issues. The Chicago Car Accident Lawyers at Willens Law Offices aggressively fight for the compensation that Illinois car accident victims and their families need and deserve.

1. What information should I get after a car accident?

If you have been in a car accident, there is certain information that can be very useful in protecting your rights. After the police and any necessary medical help have been called, it is important to collect the following information:
  • The full name, address, phone number, driver's license number and insurance information for all drivers, passengers, vehicle owners and eye-witnesses.
  • Whether any of the drivers appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Location, date and time of the accident.
  • A detailed description of the accident, including what happened, which direction the vehicles were heading, weather conditions, any injuries and what was damaged.
  • Several photos at different angles of the damage caused to the vehicles.
  • Several photos of the scene of the accident.
  • Any problems with vehicles not caused by the accident, such as broken lights or worn-down tires.

2. Following a car accident, should I contact the police?

Yes. Contacting the police provides proof of the accident and allows for an immediate investigation of the scene. While it may seem uncomfortable, especially when the at fault driver is being cooperative and even in what may seem to be a minor accident, it can be beneficial to call the police instead of trying to settle matters with the other driver.

3. Following a car accident, should I go to the doctor?

Generally speaking, yes. Even if you think you are not hurt, it is best to have that fact confirmed by medical professionals. The doctor may recognize injuries, sometimes serious, that are not apparent to you. We have seen many people treat initial symptoms as unimportant, only to seek medical help later. Delaying treatment is not only bad for your health, it also makes it more difficult to prove that you suffered an injury in the accident. Remember to be honest when describing your health and try to neither exaggerate nor minimize your symptoms.

4. Following a car accident, should I contact an attorney?

Generally speaking, yes. An attorney who is experienced in handling personal injury matters should be contacted as soon as possible. If your case has value, an experienced car accident attorney will likely be able to obtain monetary compensation that you need and deserve, which usually is significantly more than what you may be able to obtain without using such an attorney.

At Willens Law Offices our experienced car accident attorneys will meet with you for a free, no obligation case evaluation We charge no fees for our legal services until a financial recovery is made through a settlement or trial verdict. If you are unable to come to our Chicago offices due to the extent of your injuries, we will be happy to meet with your Illinois location.

5. Following a car accident, should I contact my insurance company?

Yes. In fact, you have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company. Most insurance companies require their policyholders to promptly report every auto accident so that they can gather basic information. Failure to provide information to your insurance company promptly can result in loss of coverage for the accident.

6. Following a car accident, should I talk to the other driver's insurance company?

No. If you are contacted, it is best to obtain the name of the person calling you, his or her contact information, the claim number and then respectfully decline to talk. Insurance companies' claims adjusters are professional negotiators, sometimes lawyers themselves, with extensive experience in car accident cases and are well trained to ask questions in a manner designed to hurt your claim. You should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney to help level the playing field. Contact Willens Law Offices before you speak to any insurance company representatives.

7. Following a car accident, should I contact my insurance company?

You have a viable personal injury claim if your injury is a direct result of the car accident and the other driver was negligent. If you can establish that the accident was caused due to another person's fault, you can recover compensation for:
  • Medical expenses incurred in the treatment of your injuries;
  • Future medical expenses;
  • Lost wages;
  • Loss of future wages;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Disability; and
  • Disfigurement.