Were you involved in an auto accident and you want to know what to do next? In this blog article, you’re going to learn the top 5 things to do after an auto accident.
Call the Police
The first thing to do after an accident may seem like a no brainer. As a Mount Prospect Auto Accident Attorney, I can’t tell you how many calls I get from people who didn’t report the accident to the police.
It’s so important and it really should be a no brainer for people. First, the insurance company wants you to do it. They want a police report because that helps establish fault for the accident, not in court, but in the insurance company’s mind. It provides the insurance company a guide as to who is at fault for the accident.
In addition, stories change. I’ve seen it so many times. You get in an accident and the other driver says they’re sorry and take responsibility for the accident and as such, you have no need to call the police. Then when they report it to their insurance company, suddenly the other party was at fault and the facts of the accident change.
Obtain Contact Information
The second thing to do after an accident also seems like a no brainer but is often neglected. Make sure you get the contact information of the person who hit you if you can.
Now this may be difficult. If you’re in an ambulance, there’s not much you can can do about it. However, that’s not the case in after most collisions so make sure you get the name, phone number, license plate and insurance information of the other party.
If you don’t get this information, all is not lost. The police officer who comes to investigate the case will get their contact information and put it in the police report.
The problem is that sometimes it takes a few weeks (and in some cities it takes even longer than that) to get a police report. As a result, you may not be able to file a claim with the other guy’s insurance company for a long time if you didn’t get his/her insurance information at the scene of the accident.
Obtain Medical Treatment After an Accident
The third thing to do after a wreck is to get medical treatment as soon as possible.
This is an issue we face all the time. Accident victims call and say they didn’t feel any pain at the scene of the accident. Their adrenaline was rushing and as such, they weren’t in tune with what was going on inside their body. A day or two later they’ve got terrible pain in their neck or their back. And they want to know, should you go get medical treatment?
Yes. Go get medical treatment. The longer you delay obtaining medical treatment, the harder it is to get over this issue with the insurance company.
An insurance company looks at a delay in treatment as a big red flag that you weren’t seriously injured in the accident.
Some people ask whether they should go to the emergency room or to their primary care physician. An E.R. after the incident is preferable but in the end, the important thing is that you sought medical treatment.
File a Claim with BOTH Insurance Companies
The fourth thing you need to do after an auto accident is file a claim with all the insurance companies involved.
This is one that stumps people a lot. Most people understand that you file a claim with the insurance company of the person you think caused the accident.
But you should also file a claim with your own insurance company. Some people don’t like to do that because they think they’re going to be found at fault for the accident. And that’s going to cause their insurance rates to go up. Chances are your insurance company is going to find out anyways. They’re all connected.
Further, your insurance policy probably requires that you let them know if you’re involved in an accident. Theoretically, at least, if you don’t let them know, it could give them grounds to cancel your policy.
Now that doesn’t mean that people don’t tell their insurance companies about accidents. They do all the time, but I always recommend people tell their insurance company.
Another reason you want to tell your insurance company is because you may have to go after your own insurance to get compensation for your damages.
If you have the proper insurance, you can have your own insurance company pay for your property damage – though you’ll likely have to pay your deductible. However, your insurance company will likely seek reimbursement from the other party so there’s a good chance you’ll get your money back.
You may also need to go after your own insurance policy to recover for your pain and suffering and your medical bills.
Let’s say you have severe injuries and large medical bills but the person who hit you on that as a $25,000 insurance policy, or maybe they don’t have any insurance. What do you do?
You can look to your own insurance policy to collect via your uninsured (or underinsured) motorist coverage.
A word of caution however – if you do go after your own policy, you become adverse to your insurance company. Meaning, your insurance company will try and minimize your damages and pay as little as they can to compensate you. So be aware of what you say to them.
The last tip I want to talk about is that after you’re involved in an accident, take photographs as soon as possible of the property damage and also your injury.
If you’re in the hospital, get somebody to take a picture of you in your hospital bed. Pictures really do tell a thousand words they’re critical.
I have found that in cases where we have good photographs, those cases are worth more than cases where we don’t have that kind of evidence.
Not only the pictures show the severity of your injury, but pictures of your property damage can show the severity of impact. And that may go a long way in demonstrating how severe your case is and how much you are thus work, your cases worth.
Hopefully this article on the top 5 things to after an auto accident was helpful. If you’d like to speak with a Mount Prospect Car Accident Lawyer at the Chicago Legal Group, feel free to reach out to us.