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What to do after being involved in a car crash?

It can be terrifying to be in a car crash, and sometimes the stress of the moment can leave you wondering what you should do next. By nature, car crashes are usually unexpected. However, you can prepare for the possibility of a crash by making sure you know what actions you should take immediately following the incident.

While safety should be your immediate concern, there are several actions you can take to help preserve accurate details about what happened. These details can help put you in a better position during the insurance claim process or any personal injury case that results from the incident.

Address safety

When your vehicle comes to a rest after the crash, it is important to immediately assess your situation and put on your hazard lights. If your vehicle is blocking traffic or in a hazardous location, it may be necessary to also pull over to the side of the road.

Next, check yourself over for injuries. If you are seriously injured, call 911 immediately. It can be beneficial to try to remain still as you wait for emergency responders because avoiding movement may prevent your injury from becoming worse.

If you are not injured, you should check over the passengers in your vehicle. If it is safe to do so, you can also check to see if anyone else involved in the crash is injured. If someone is injured, you may need to call 911 for him or her.

Even if no one is injured, it may be beneficial to notify police of the crash. If a police officer comes to the scene, he or she can help alert other drivers to slow down as they approach the crash site, keeping you and others safe. An officer may also collect information and create a record of the incident. This record may be helpful to you later.

Collect information

If it is safe to do so, you should try to exchange information with others who were involved in the crash. You should collect the following information from other drivers:

  • First and last name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate number
  • Make, model and color of vehicle

You may also want to make note of the location of the crash, the time of day and the weather conditions. If you have a camera, consider taking photos of the location and the damage to each vehicle. Also, if anyone witnessed the crash, it can be valuable to collect the names and phone numbers of the witnesses.

Follow up

After you are allowed to leave the scene, there are a few additional steps you should take. First, make an appointment to get checked out by a doctor. You may not notice some injuries right away, but any injuries you receive should be treated as soon as possible to prevent them from getting worse.

Then, if you did not already call your insurance agent at the scene, you should notify him or her of the crash. Your insurance company may need time to prepare your claim or to prepare a response to a claim filed by another driver.

Finally, you should consider if the crash requires you to file a car accident report. A car crash legally must be reported within 10 days to the Illinois Department of Transportation (DOT) if it causes an injury, death or property damage more than $1,500. Forgetting to do this could result in your driver’s license being suspended.

If you are severely injured in a collision caused by someone else’s recklessness, it may be appropriate to seek justice. Injuries caused by car crashes can result in expensive medical bills, and you may be able to receive compensation for those expenses and other costs associated with the injury.

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Wheaton, IL 60187

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