No one expects that they will get into a car accident. However, hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents are involved in car accidents each year. Many of these collisions result in serious—and potentially life-changing—injuries. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we recognize everything you have on your plate and understand that the thought of picking up the phone to speak with a lawyer about your accident may feel overwhelming. That’s why we make the recovery process as easy as possible from the very beginning of our relationship.
If you’ve been injured in a Chicago car accident, here’s what you need to know and what you should be doing.
Understanding the Personal Injury Recovery Process
As a general rule, anyone who is injured in a car accident that was caused by another person’s negligence can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. A personal injury claim is a civil lawsuit that seeks financial compensation based on the injuries that the accident victim suffered.
While you technically file a personal injury claim against the other driver who was at fault for causing the accident, the case will almost always be handled by that driver’s insurance company. An insurance company is a contract in which the insured driver pays a monthly premium in exchange for the insurance company’s agreement to pay for any covered losses. Because the insurance company is on the hook if the insured driver is found to be at fault, they handle the defense.
Insurance is a double-edged sword for accident victims. On the one hand, accident victims don’t need to worry about the at-fault party not having enough assets to satisfy any award they may recover. However, on the other hand, dealing with insurance companies in the wake of an accident adds to what is already a stressful time.
Remember, insurance companies want to settle a car accident case for as little as possible and have a whole bag of tricks they use to avoid paying out on claims. For example, insurance companies commonly argue that accident victims’ injuries were not as serious as the accident victim claims or were caused by something other than the accident. Insurance companies may also argue that the accident victim was at fault and only deserves partial reimbursement for their damages.
The bottom line is that if you’ve been in a Chicago car accident, it is crucial that you take the necessary steps to protect your health and your ability to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Below is a list of things to do after an accident:
Report the Collision
Reporting a car accident is critical for two reasons. First, when you report an accident, the 911 operator will send an emergency response team to the scene to determine if anyone needs potentially lifesaving care. Second, reporting an accident creates an official record of the accident. Thus, it will be much harder for the insurance company to deny that the accident occurred.
Get Checked Out by a Doctor
After an accident, it’s normal for accident victims to want to get home as quickly as possible. However, it is important that you at least get checked out by a doctor. Understandably, many accident victims only learn the importance of obtaining prompt medical attention after they’ve gone home. That’s okay. What’s important is that you go to the doctor as soon as possible. Again, aside from ensuring you receive the treatment you need, this also creates a record of your injuries, preventing an insurance company from claiming that they were the result of something unrelated to the accident.
Recover Any Evidence You Can
In some Chicago car accidents, you’ve suffered injuries but are still mobile and conscious. If possible, gather any evidence you can before leaving the scene. For example, you can take out your phone and snap a few pictures of the scene of the accident. You should also talk to any witnesses, being sure to get their names and contact information. While police officers will probably conduct an investigation, you don’t want to rely on it.
Be Careful How You Talk About the Accident
After an accident, it is important you keep in mind the role of the insurance company. It is very likely that within a week or two, the other driver’s insurance company will reach out to you. They’ll want to know about the accident, your injuries, and anything else you are willing to tell them. While they may seem sympathetic to what you’ve been through, remember they are out to minimize the value of your claim and anything you tell an insurance company representative can be used for exactly that purpose. Along those lines, you’ll want to refrain from admitting fault or explaining what you could have done differently to avoid the accident. Additionally, don’t minimize your injuries, even if it’s in your personality to do so.
Reach Out to a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer
Finally, once you are ready, the next step is to contact an experienced Chicago car accident attorney to discuss your claim. While you don’t need a lawyer to file a claim, those accident victims who hire a lawyer end up significantly recovering more than those who go about the process themselves. Attorneys understand the laws surrounding Illinois car accidents as well as how to effectively negotiate with the insurance company. Not only that, but having an experienced lawyer on your side will make the recovery process much easier on you and your family.
Contact the Knowledgeable Car Accident Lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg to Speak with a Lawyer About Your Case
If you or a loved one has recently suffered serious injuries in a Chicago car accident, Briskman Briskman & Greenberg is here to help. We have been representing accident victims in all types of personal injury cases since 1987 and know what it takes to get our clients the compensation they need and deserve. As part of the Briskman Guarantee, we offer all accident victims a free consultation where we will answer your questions and explain the recovery process in clear, understandable terms. And if you decide to bring us on your team, we will never bill you for any of our services unless we can recover compensation on your behalf. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call Briskman Briskman & Greenberg at 877-595-4878. You can also get in touch with us through our online contact form.