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Protecting Your Rights: What to Do When Involved in an Accident

It’s something that no one ever wants to be a part of, but sometimes people are involved in accidents and we need to know the right course of action. If you don’t know how you would respond if you were involved in an accident, you should definitely develop a game plan. You want to ensure that you are protecting your rights and aren’t leaving yourself open to be scrutinized by insurance companies. 

Make Sure Everyone’s Okay 

Even if you think you’ve only been in a mild fender bender, you want to ensure that everyone is okay after the accident. After all of the proceedings after the accident it’s best that everyone involved visits a doctor. Not all injuries may be present at the time of the accident and you may not notice them until afterwards. Having a paper trail of medical professionals is a way to safeguard yourself if you have been injured. It’s far easier to claim medical expenses on your insurance if you’ve sought the help of a physician. 

Document And Gather Information

Gather all information from the parties involved, including insurance information. If there were any witnesses make sure you attempt to get their contact info as well. After making sure everyone is okay, and you have collected that pertinent data document with photographic evidence as well. Take pictures of your vehicle and the damage that was incurred. If you’ve been cleared by the authorities, and you can drive a safe distance away to take pictures this is what you should do. Collect information about the police officer you’ve been engaging with, their name and badge number should suffice.

 Also ask for the report number of the file that it will be under. If you live in Chicago you should be able to access this information from their online service. It makes it easier to have all of this information available for a personal injury attorney in the event you or someone else has been hurt. If you’re having trouble collecting this information yourself an attorney can help you gather it as well. 

Do Not Claim Responsibility 

A common act that many people do immediately after an accident is get out of their car and start spewing apologies even if they are not at fault. This is one of the worst things that you can do because you’re essentially claiming responsibility for the accident. If the other driver has a dash cam, is recording, or has witnesses, it does not act in your favor to be recording apologizing for the damages. It’s a normal human response to say sorry because you feel bad about a situation, but refrain from doing this. Keeping this in mind, you also want to be open and honest with the police officers about what happened. Do not talk about the accident with anyone else, they may use your words against you. 

If The Other Insurance Company Contacts You 

If you are contacted by the other party’s insurance, be careful how you respond. Do not offer any information about the accident to the other insurance company, and direct them to your insurance company. They may attempt to word things so that the situation does not appear in your favor. If they are discussing a settlement offer inform them that your attorney will speak to them. You’re going to want someone who has an extensive history of working with insurance companies to represent you. 

An insurance company who knows that you have an attorney working with you is less likely to use bully tactics to get you to comply. If you sign a settlement you won’t be able to renegotiate the terms as they are legally binding. It’s in your best interest to have a lawyer involved if you feel like a company is attempting to keep your settlement low.

Be mindful of police officers and follow their instructions, they are there to help you. Do not get overly emotional or flustered at the scene, the more emotions that are involved the harder it is for everyone to do their job. The other driver is probably feeling similarly to you, and you don’t want to create conflict out of an already stressful situation. It is always beneficial to have a personal injury attorney involved if you’ve been medically injured. Even if you’re feeling okay, you should still visit a physician to make sure you haven’t had a concussion or other injuries. If you stay calm, rational, recording everything and do not take responsibility you’ll be able to effectively protect your rights in an accident. 

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