Car accidents happen daily, with many of these crashes resulting in injuries. Recently, there were 4.8 million medically consulted injuries following car accidents.
If you have an accident in which someone was injured, there are certain steps to take, including stopping, exchanging information, and reporting the crash to law enforcement. You should also consult with an Illinois car accident lawyer as quickly as possible.
After an Accident Involving Injuries, You Must Stop
The very first thing to do after an accident is to stop. After experiencing a crash, it is common for drivers to feel scared or unsure, but no matter what, stopping at the scene of the accident is legally required.
Illinois law states drivers must stop in the event of an accident involving injuries or death.
The drivers must exchange information if they are able and understanding, including:
- Registration number
- Driver’s license information
Additionally, the other driver must render aid if a party is injured, including calling first responders or transporting the individual to get medical attention.
If parties cannot communicate or exchange information, the at-fault driver must report the accident to law enforcement as soon as possible.
Not only is stopping, exchanging information, and helping the right thing to do, it’s a requirement under the law. Should a driver violate this law, they may face legal repercussions.
Hit and Runs Are Illegal
Because Illinois law requires drivers to stop after an accident resulting in injury or death, hit-and-runs are illegal.
A hit-and-run occurs when a driver is involved in a crash and flees the scene. Hit and runs often involve hitting someone’s property, like in a car accident, but also include hitting a pedestrian and leaving the scene of the accident without helping the individual.
No matter how serious the accident or how scared a driver might feel, it is always best to stop after an accident. Many drivers flee believing they’ll never get caught, but they usually are with the help of evidence, including surveillance footage and witness statements.
A driver who commits a hit-and-run may either be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the event’s details.
Steps to Take After an Accident Resulting in Injuries
While car crashes can be stressful, it is helpful to remain as calm as possible and complete the following steps:
Stop and Assess
First and foremost, stop. Check yourself and your passengers for injury. If possible, check on the other driver or pedestrian to see how they are doing and whether they sustained injuries.
Call 911 as soon as possible and ask the operator for law enforcement assistance. If any party is injured, also ask for emergency medical services.
Exchange Information If Possible
If the parties can exchange information, it is important to do so unless either party or both are severely injured or unable to reasonably understand or receive the information.
Document the Scene of the Accident
If at all possible, begin gathering evidence at the crash scene. If you cannot do so, you may consider asking a passenger or witness for assistance.
Documenting the scene involves taking detailed photos and videos of both vehicles and the area itself. Collecting contact information from involved parties is also particularly helpful, including parties in the accident, witnesses, and law enforcement officers.
Evidence is critical in a car accident claim, and a car accident attorney may have the opportunity to use the information you obtain.
Contact Your Car Insurance Company
Car insurance companies expect to be made aware of any change of status with their insured vehicle, including when the car is damaged in a crash.
Contact your insurer and notify them of your collision as soon as you’re able. They will ask questions and obtain information for their records before assigning a car insurance adjuster to your claim.
From that moment on, your adjuster will be your main point of contact for anything accident claim related. They’re tasked with handling everything for your claim, including investigating your accident and determining how much your claim is worth. However, you may want to talk to a skilled car accident lawyer before providing any statements about the accident.
Consider Medical Attention
If you suffered injuries that required immediate attention, you likely received some medical care at the scene of the accident. However, regardless of whether EMS treated any injuries or you believe you didn’t sustain any harm, it may still be wise to seek medical attention.
Car accident injuries can be tricky. Because of the body’s response to trauma, it is not uncommon for you to feel nothing after a collision, as if you suffered no injuries. However, that may not be the case, and any signs of injury may just be temporarily delayed.
Getting medical attention can provide peace of mind and answers, allowing you to begin medical treatment quickly and get on the road to recovery. Your car accident attorney may also use your medical records to strengthen your claim.
Time Is Crucial in Car Accident Cases
Should you need to file a lawsuit regarding your accident, you don’t have unlimited time to do so. In Illinois, the statute of limitations that applies to injuries resulting from a car accident is only two years from the date at which the accident occurred.
Should you miss the deadline and fail to file your claim on time, you’ll likely miss your chance to pursue fair financial compensation for your losses. Therefore, meet with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible to begin working on your case promptly.
Discuss Your Case With a Qualified Car Accident Attorney Today
No matter the exact details of your car accident, speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. A Southern Illinois personal injury lawyer is the best person to give you quality legal advice and decide the best course of action for your claim.