Car accidents are incredibly stressful but it is important to remain calm and follow these five easy steps to ensure you are protected following the event:
*If you are in an emergency situation, please call 911.
Immediately pull over after an accident. Once both cars are out traffic, contact the police. Police officers can provide emergency medical services or call for them. Police officers will make a police report with unbiased, critical information that will be important for insurance companies and potential lawsuits. If a car accident does not cause any injuries or the damaged property value is small, an officer may not come to the scene. If this happens, make sure to document the accident thoroughly. You may take this information to the local police station and file a report on your own.
Gather as much detailed information as you can.
- Names and contact information
- Driver’s license and license plate numbers
- Insurance companies and policy numbers
- Contact information for witnesses
- Accident location and photographs of the scene
- Damages to both cars
- Any bodily injuries reported
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 a car accident is punishable by license suspension. If the police does not show up to the scene, it is also beneficial to file a police report. The police report will have:
- Standard information
- Accounts of both drivers, passengers and witnesses
- A summary of the accident
- opinion of the investigating officer
Call your insurance company as soon as you can to report an accident, even if you are not at fault. Illinois vehicle code requires all motor vehicles used on public roads to have liability insurance. Your insurance company will want to know the basics. They will ask for the date and time of the accident and who was operating the vehicle. They will ask for details including speed, direction of travel and who caused the collision. This is where a police report comes in handy. A police report will have all this information for the insurance company. The insurance company will also want to know about property and bodily injuries.
After the insurance company is notified of an accident, they will open up an investigation. It is very important to stay in touch with the insurance company and the claims adjuster assigned to your case after an accident. After the initial shock of the accident wears down, you may begin to remember little but important details you did not inform the police about at the scene. You may also begin to experience delayed pain from the car accident. This may be an underlying issue for severe health problems that must be reported.