If you know anything about motor vehicle accidents, you know you will be dealing with three things: pain, inconvenience and expense. From the moment another car collides with yours, your plans for the foreseeable future go to the back burner, and your attention turns to recovering your health and getting your life back on track.
You may not realize that the time immediately following the accident can have a profound effect on your efforts to minimize your pain, inconvenience and expense. The things you say and do during those hectic moments can influence the outcome of any actions or claims that may follow. It is important to know the steps you can take to avoid any negative consequences beyond what you have already suffered.
Look out for your own protection
Before you even start your vehicle's ignition, you would be wise to take a look at your insurance policy. Do you know what your deductible is? Do you understand any exclusions in your policy? Are you sure you have enough coverage if you or others suffer catastrophic injuries? Knowing these things will be critical since you will likely be dealing with the insurer for some time after an accident.
Of course, it is best to do all you can to avoid those actions that increase your risk of an accident in the first place, such as drinking alcohol, texting or not getting enough sleep. However, these precautions cannot always protect you from the negligence of other drivers. Some ways you can improve your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve after an accident include:
- Never say you are sorry or offer even a polite apology to the other driver since this can be interpreted as an admission of guilt, which may damage your insurance claim as well as any personal injury claim you may file in the future.
- Contact police immediately after the accident so you can have an official report that details the facts of the case.
- Document the accident by taking pictures of the scene and both vehicles.
- Gather contact information from the other driver and any passengers and witnesses.
- Allow medical responders to examine you and even transport you to the emergency room so doctors can give you a complete evaluation and provide you with documentation of your injuries.
You may also wish to have legal advice as early as possible, especially if you are injured. Your attorney can handle any communication with the insurance companies and fight for your rights in Illinois civil court.