The aftermath of an auto accident can be very disorienting. Even though victims’ senses tend to be heightened after impact due to a surge of adrenaline, it isn’t always easy to know exactly what to do with all of that focused energy. This is one of the reasons why it’s ideal for motorists to have a list of “to-dos in the event of an accident” printed out and ready to go in their glove compartment. Taking specific steps right away – in addition to other steps once they’ve left the scene – can help accident victims to safeguard their interests generally and maximize the value of any compensation to which they are entitled.
Steps to Take at the Scene of an Accident
Every move a crash victim makes at the crash scene can influence how much compensation they can claim later via insurance and/or a personal injury lawsuit. It’s, therefore, essential to be as proactive as the situation allows.
Most importantly, crash victims need to assess whether they require emergency medical attention via ambulance or can wait to visit an urgent care facility under their power. Either way, seeking prompt and proper medical attention can help ensure that apparent injuries are attended to, any injuries masked by adrenaline are quickly identified and treated, and a victim’s injuries are immediately linked to the crash. If a victim waits to seek medical attention, insurers, and opposing counsel may argue that their conditions were caused by something other than the wreck in question.
Once someone has assessed their physical well-being – and called for an ambulance, if necessary – it is important to take any of the following steps that their body can handle before leaving the scene to safeguard their rights and protect their financial interests down the road:
Request a police report. This can serve as valuable evidence when fault is being determined. An injury victim can’t maximize their compensation if they’re being wrongfully accused of causing their own harm.
Document the scene. Victims can better ensure that valuable evidence is preserved immediately by taking photos and videos of the crash site. Otherwise, once vehicles are moved, and the crash site is left behind, it becomes harder to verify exactly what happened, why it happened, and why the victim is entitled to compensation for their circumstances.
Obtain information for future reference. It’s harder to hold an at-fault party responsible for their actions if their identity is unknown. Victims must document the names and contact information of others involved in the wreck and witnesses. All motor vehicle operators involved should exchange insurance information as well.
Don’t admit blame. Illinois honors a modified comparative fault standard in personal injury matters. This means that accident victims are entitled to seek compensation – even if they are partially responsible for their harm – as long as they aren’t more than 49% to blame for their circumstances. Apologizing or admitting blame in any way at the scene can compromise a victim’s ability to maximize their compensation later.
Steps to Take After Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Once a victim’s physical well-being has been attended to, it’s time to safeguard their legal and financial well-being. Speaking with an experienced, local personal injury attorney as quickly as possible is often crucial to maximizing compensation. A reputable, trustworthy lawyer with a record of success can help an injury victim to maximize their compensation by assisting with the following:
Engage in cautious communication with insurance providers. Insurance companies are for-profit operations. If an insurance claims adjuster can minimize or reject a victim’s claim for compensation, they probably will. An attorney can recognize and neutralize common tactics used to undermine a claimant’s case.
Be wary of initial settlement offers. Once a settlement offer is accepted, an insurance provider’s liability is generally fulfilled. Victims shouldn’t accept a settlement offer unless it is fairly valued, considering past, present, and future costs.
Understand the impact of one’s actions. Nowadays, even seemingly innocent posts on social media can impact a victim’s ability to seek rightful compensation. An attorney can help victims to understand how their everyday approaches can influence the strength of their case.
Speak With a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer Today for Free
If you’ve recently been injured in an accident caused – primarily or totally – by another’s actions or inactions, you could be entitled to significant compensation for your harm. Allow the dedicated team at Cullotta Bravo Law to help you maximize your compensation efficiently and effectively. Call 630-898-7800 or contact us online to schedule your free legal consultation to get started.