Former State's Attorney With Over 38 Years of Experience

What to Do if You Are in a Car Accident in Orland Park

Life in the Chicago suburbs makes travel by car a necessity for most people. Regrettably, this means that residents of Orland Park and other suburbs face the risk of auto accidents. If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries and other losses. This article provides steps you can take after a car accident to take care of yourself and start building your personal injury claim. An experienced Orland Park personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and guide you through the legal process.

1. Get Yourself to Safety

The scene of a car accident can be a chaotic and confusing place. Get yourself out of harm’s way to the best of your ability, but do not leave the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense under Illinois law. It is a felony if the accident resulted in injuries or death, and a misdemeanor if it only resulted in property damage.

2. Call 9-1-1

You must report the accident to the local police department. You can do this by calling 9-1-1. The dispatcher will send police and paramedics.

3. Seek Medical Care

Car accidents can cause severe and debilitating injuries. Some injuries, such as broken bones, might be immediately apparent. Other injuries, however, might not begin to show symptoms for hours, days, or longer after an accident. Certain traumatic brain injuries can seem like a headache at first. Without prompt medical treatment, though, they can worsen and cause far greater damage or death.

Even if emergency responders do not send you to the hospital, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor can diagnose injuries that emergency responders might have missed and prescribe treatments to help you recover. Medical records from your doctor visits will also be important evidence in your personal injury claim.

4. Help Anyone Who Is Injured

Illinois law requires drivers involved in car accidents to render aid to injured people at the scene to the extent that they are able to do so.

5. Cooperate With the Police

The police will ask you questions about how the accident occurred. You will need a copy of the police report for your personal injury claim, so it is important to cooperate with their investigation.

6. Do Not Admit Fault or Cast Blame

In the confusion of the moment, you might feel tempted to apologize to another driver or admit fault in some way. This can harm your personal injury case.

Illinois uses the “modified comparative negligence” rule. You can recover damages even if you were partly at fault for an accident, as long as your share of the fault was no more than 50%. The other driver’s insurance company will try to prove that you were more at fault. Making any sort of admission of fault helps them do that.

7. Exchange Information With the Other Driver(s)

You are legally required to exchange information with other drivers involved in the accident. You should get the following information:

  • Name
  • Contact information: Address, phone number, email address
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number
  • Insurance information

8. Start Collecting Evidence

If your injuries are not too bad, you can begin gathering evidence for your injury claim at the scene of the accident.

Gather Information About the Other Drivers and Vehicles

You can take pictures or write down the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved in the accident. If you can see the vehicle identification number (VIN) for each vehicle, this is the best way to identify them later.

Take Pictures of the Accident Scene

Try to take pictures that show the circumstances that led to the accident and how the accident occurred, including:

  • Weather conditions;
  • Road conditions;
  • Locations and positions of the vehicles; and
  • Damage to the vehicles.

Talk to Witnesses

Passengers and bystanders who saw the accident can provide valuable testimony in support of your case. Try to talk to witnesses who are at the scene. Get their contact information and, if possible, ask if you can record a brief statement from them on your phone.

Take Pictures of Your Injuries

Try to document as much of your injuries as you can. This might include bruises, cuts, broken bones, and bandages.

Keep a Journal of Your Medical Treatment and Recovery

A journal can help you create a record of how your injuries are affecting your quality of life and how your medical treatment is progressing.

9. Notify Your Insurance Company

Your insurance policy gives you a limited amount of time to tell your insurance company about the accident. You might only have a few days, so act quickly.

10. Follow Your Doctor’s Recommendations

Keep going to see your doctor and follow all of their instructions. Falling behind on physical therapy or other treatment could affect your claim.

11. Do Not Accept the Insurance Company’s First Offer

The other driver’s insurance company might contact you to offer a settlement. The first offer is almost always simply to get you to go away so they can close the case. It is rarely enough to cover all of your medical bills and other losses. The insurance adjuster is not your friend. Their job is to pay as little as possible on insurance claims.

12. Contact an Orland Park Auto Accident Lawyer

You should not talk to anyone from the insurance company until you have spoken to a personal injury lawyer. They can handle negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. This will allow you to focus on your recovery.

Let Us Help You Recover Damages for Your Auto Accident Injuries

Car accident attorney Michael J. Brennan has advocated for the rights of personal injury victims in Orland Park and the Chicago suburbs for decades. He will tirelessly fight for your rights at the negotiating table and, if necessary, in the courtroom to recover the compensation you deserve. Contact Michael J. Brennan today to begin your journey toward justice and compensation. 


What to Do in Case of an Accident in Orland Park

Sec. 11-401. Motor vehicle crashes involving death or personal injuries.

Sec. 11-402. Motor vehicle crash involving damage to vehicle.

Sec. 11-407. Immediate notice of crash.

Sec. 11-403. Duty to give information and render aid.

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