Advice from Your Local Car Accident Attorney for Peoria IL
Hi there, I’m attorney Chuck Schierer. You know our law firm, Schierer & Ritchie, the law firm that helps injured people. Call us at 839-2024 or you can find us on the web at srtriallawyers.com. In today’s video, we’re going to talk about the 10 things you must, must-do if you’re involved in a car accident. Now, let’s hope that never happens, but if you do, it’s vitally important that you follow certain guidelines. It will be shocking and unexpected. If you follow the advice in this video and stay calm, you will do just fine.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Number one is the obvious one, you got to seek medical attention. That is the most important thing is you got to seek it and simply call 9-1-1, that’s pretty obvious, but you want to make sure everyone’s okay. Not just yourself or the passengers in your car, but everyone, even the occupants of the car that hit you or maybe another car got involved or some pedestrians. When medical help arrives, you need to make sure that you’re telling them everything. You don’t want to downplay it or sugarcoat it. A lot of times you have adrenaline or that shock is sort of working it’s thing, some of these injuries you’re not going to feel for several hours or maybe the next morning. Again, you want to seek that medical attention. And if you’re not treated at the scene later on at the hospital, or perhaps at the very next day, call your primary care physician if you wake up in the morning and you’re not feeling right, you got to make sure that these medical injuries are addressed.
2. Talk with the Police
All right, the second thing you got to do is make sure you’re telling the police what happened. Okay? You got to make clear that this was not your fault. And of course, these tips are primarily for somebody who was the victim of an automobile accident and not the person who actually caused the accident. If you’re able, you need to talk to some of the witnesses.
If someone else is able, have them talk to some of the witnesses. But you got to get the names and the numbers down and make sure that the police talk to the witnesses. But if you can get names, if you can get phone numbers, find out from the police how you can get the police report. You’re going to need that police report. You’re going to have to show your insurance company and ultimately your lawyer if you hire one that this accident was not your fault, that’s vitally important. If you’re, again, if you’re not able to talk to the witnesses at the scene, that’s another reason why you’re going to want to hire a lawyer right away so that they can document the scene.
3. Document All Damage
The third thing is, is that you’ve got a document to see, okay? And like I indicated it might be later and maybe your lawyer’s going to do it, but you got to take pictures of the cars, perhaps skid marks, maybe there’s glass and not just your pictures, if you’ve talked to these witnesses, maybe witnesses have taken pictures on their cell phones. It’s important that you are getting those photographs, not just yours but from other folks.
Statements, again, you have to make sure that this is documented. What other people saw. People are not going to remember your event if they witnessed it in a couple of weeks, a couple of months, your case may take that long. It’s important that their version is adequately documented, so if that’s getting their cell phone number, their email address so you can follow up with them. If it’s making sure that the police officer is talking to them so that the police officer can record what they saw, that’s important. All of that stuff is vitally important.
4. Write Everything Down
The fourth thing is, is that once it’s all over with and you leave the scene and perhaps you’re at the hospital or perhaps you’re at home later, you got to write down your memory of what happened. Again, this preserves your memory. Again, this could take weeks, it could take months, it might take more than a year. You’re not going to remember, even though it was important to you and it was traumatic to you, you’re probably not going to remember. So just jotting that stuff down.
5. Prepare a Journal
The fifth thing is you got to start a journal and you’re going to quickly see that once you’re involved in an automobile accident, this is a huge, huge undertaking and ordeal. It’s something you probably want to hire a lawyer for because it’s going to become a real pain for you, but you got to start that journal, that journal is going to be important. What are you going to put in that journal? Well, a couple of different things. You’re going to have several doctor’s appointments, so you’re going to have to write that down. You’re going to miss work. You might have out of pocket expenses. What if it’s Advil or cold packs or all the different things that you may not have had on hand that you’re going to go out to CVS or Walgreens and purchase. You’re keeping that stuff, you’re keeping track of all the different times you had to travel to different doctors because there’s certainly gas, parking, there are expenses related to getting that care
The other thing is the treatment and your recovery. How are you feeling? Are you getting better? A lot of times that’s going to be a big issue in your case is how long did this go on and how you progress? If you’re not writing that down, you’re just going off of your memory and your memory may not be perfect. Again, this could take weeks, it could take months, let’s hope it doesn’t take over a year, but it could. And if it does, you just have to make absolutely certain that you are properly recording it.
6. Call Your Car Insurance Company
You got to call your insurance company number six, right? Yes. Even if it wasn’t your fault, you got to call your insurance company. They’re going to give you certain instructions. One, they’re going to give you a claim number and you’re going to need that, but they’re going to tell you where you’re going to get your car fixed. They may tell you that you have to take it to a place that they have a deal with. Okay? And that might be so that the repairs are under a certain warranty. They may tell you you have to get multiple estimates, but you got to call them. The other thing is that what if your car is towed from the scene? They need to know that so that they can pay to have it stored, but they also need to get you a rental car. So there are lots of different things you’ve got to make sure that you are doing.
7. Continue Paying Medical Bills
The seventh thing is do you have medical payments coverage? Even if it wasn’t your fault. Now, one mistake I always hear people say is, well, I’m turning in my bills. I’m not paying this. I’m not turning it into my insurance company. No, that’s a big mistake. Ultimately the other driver’s insurance company will compensate you, but they’re not going to pay your medical bills directly. Now, one thing that may pay your medical bills directly is medical payments coverage, and that’s on your own policy. You’re going to know if you have that by calling your insurance company, they’re going to give you a claim number. Again, as as we go through this video, you’re going to be able to see and if you’ve been through this process before, perhaps comment below and tell us what some of your experiences are. Or again, if you’ve got questions, we’ll respond to you. But if, if you’ve been through this, you know that this is a big hassle and so that gets to number eight, which is called a lawyer.
8. Contact a Lawyer
Once you’ve been through all these things at the scene and the next day and you’ve seen your doctor and you’ve addressed your car and your condition and all these different things, you need to contact a lawyer and get them working on your case. Why should you do it yourself? Remember that’s how lawyers get paid in this type of situation is for helping you get through this whole process. Most lawyers and we do as well, we’ll take that on a contingency fee basis. We don’t charge you hourly. We only get paid if we recover something for you. All right?
9. Don’t Make Any Statements
Number nine, don’t post this on social media. Don’t ever make a statement to the insurance company. A lot of times when getting in an accident, again, it’s a big event. It’s very traumatic and immediately it’s on social media and they’re telling everybody. Look, don’t make statements, all right? You need to talk to your lawyer, your doctor and your close family. Other than that, it’s no one else’s business, so you really shouldn’t be talking because you’re creating statements that ultimately could be used against you on your claim.
10. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
The 10th point and this really is an important thing, and probably the most important thing, is you have to follow your doctor’s advice. Of course, we always want you to follow your lawyer’s advice, but probably more important than anything is to follow your doctor’s advice. If your doctor is saying you need treatment and here’s what you have to do, you have to follow it. So many people just ignore it for one reason or the other, they think it’ll go away, but nothing will hurt your claim more than if you do not follow your doctor’s advice. So make sure you do that.
Again, this has been the top 10 things that you need to do if you’re involved in a car accident. Again, we hope that that never happens to you, but if it does, stay calm, follow these tips and contact us over at Schierer & Ritchie, (309) 839-2024 or you can find us on the web at srtriallawyers.com. Have a great day.