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Illinois Accidents: 5 Things Everyone Should do When Injured in an Auto Accident
Unfortunately the personal injury field doesn't offer a claim specific universal handbook or set of guidelines for handling a personal injury in Chicago, however there are several things everyone should do when involved in an accident involving injuries.
First, call emergency service personnel. Even if you have been involved in a minor car accident, you want to be sure you contact the authorities immediately so the matter is documented. If you don't feel well or believe you have sustained injuries, getting emergency services team on the crash site to help you immediately is imperative.
Second, don't move. Many times with back injuries it is important to remain in your exact position until an ambulance arrives. Unless you are directed to by authorities, keeping your vehicle in the exact place the collision occurred will assist the investigating police officer in creating your motorist report.
Third, don't speak. The only people you should talk to following an auto accident in Chicago are the police assigned to the accident and the emergency services personnel who may be treating your injuries. Other parties to the accident and random individuals who appear on the scene should not be discussing the facts of the accident with you. Anyone who claims to have witnessed the incident should be noted to the police on the scene so their statements can be documented. Please be leery of anyone who appears on the scene and tells you to call a specific lawyer, someone soliciting business on scene while you are being treated for injuries is probably not the person you want protecting your rights.
Fourth, see a doctor. If you don't feel 100% following a collision you should seek medical attention immediately, even if that requires an ambulance trip to the emergency room. Making sure you seek medical attention immediately is imperative to your recovery. Without having a proper diagnosis of your injuries it is impossible to know if something that may only be bothering you minimally may turn into something serious. With immediate medical attention you are ensuring your own well being.
Fifth, contact your attorney. Making sure you have representation from the beginning of your case is vital to the success of the claim. One would be surprised how many people may contact you to discuss your claim if you have been seriously injured and you want to be sure that if someone is asking you about your injuries that your lawyer is present. Whether it is the insurance company for the party who caused the accident, or your own insurance carrier, a witness to the accident, or some other individual with interests in the claim, it is of the utmost importance to have your rights protected by your lawyer so that none of the information given during this critical stage is used against you at a later time.
Once your injuries have been attended to, the reports have been filed, and your lawyer has been contacted the success of your claim has been protected and the wheels are turning. At this juncture the injured party should rely on the fact that the matter is being handled by their attorney so that full efforts can be dedicated to recovery without the concern of the claim weighing heavily on the mind.
From Illinois Injury Law Blog posted 2007-08-21.