What Not To Do After A Car Accident

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Do not leave the scene

No matter who is at fault, you should never leave the scene of the accident. Move away from traffic and make sure everyone involved is safe. Exchange insurance information with the other driver and either call the police or go to the nearest police station to report it.

Under Illinois law 625 iLCS 5/11-401, hit and runs are considered a

·       Class A misdemeanor if the accident involves property damage only and is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine

·       Class 4 felony if the accident involves a personal injury and is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine

·       Class 3 felony if the accident involves a death and is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine

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Do not admit fault

Even if you know you are responsible for the accident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges drivers from claiming responsibility. It is best to let professionals like police officers and insurance claims specialists determine who is at fault. Only provide facts of what happened and keep any personal opinions out of the report.

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Do not Forget to photograph the scene

Be sure to take plenty of pictures of the car accident scene and any damages to the cars and people involved. Be sure to include any extra details like skid marks and weather conditions.

Pictures a great form of evidence if the other party tries to deny your version of the event or if they try to commit insurance fraud and exaggerate the damage to the car or body injuries. Pictures will also help insurance claim adjustors with the claim process.

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Do not feel pressured to not report a crash

Your insurance company may not require a police report to file a claim but it is always in your best interest to get one.  In Illinois, both drivers must report a car crashes to the Department of Transportation within 10 days of the accident if there is a death or bodily injury involved or if the property damage is more than $1,500. Not reporting the car accident is punishable by license suspension. A separate police report with the police department must be filed as well.

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Lose your temper

It is normal to feel angry after a car accident. Losing your temper after an accident will not make the situation better. Staying calms helps you think rationally, stay safe and provide helpful information to the police and your insurance company. Take some time to take a few deep breaths after an accident to calm yourself down.

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Ignore delayed pain

You may feel fine after a car accident but begin to feel some discomfort a few days or even weeks after an accident. This is why it is important not to sign a release of liability immediately after an accident. It is common for pain to be delayed after a car accident. Pains can include headaches, pain the neck and shoulders, numbness and abdominal pain. If you begin to experience any type of pain following a car accident, seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms can be underlying issues for severe health problems. For example, abdominal pain is a common symptom of internal bleeding. Excessive blood loss can kill a person within minutes.

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Accept an unfair settlement

A claims adjuster will offer the dollar amount he or she thinks the bodily or property claim is worth and offer a settlement. You are not required to accept this offer. You may negotiate with the insurance company for a higher settlement on your own or hire an attorney to do it for you.  You may even respond with your own counter-offer.