What to do if you are injured in a car accident

Driving is one of the most dangerous things we do.  Each year there are over 300,000 motor vehicle accidents on Illinois roads.  If you are injured in a car accident, there are several important steps you should take.

  • Call 911
  • Explain what happened to the police
  • If possible, take photographs of the vehicles involved
  • Get appropriate medical treatment
  • Contact a lawyer right away - do not speak to the other driver's insurance company

If you’ve been injured, obtaining prompt medical treatment for your injuries is critical.  In cases involving serious or life-threatening injuries, you will be transported to a nearby hospital.  If the injuries are less than life threatening, the police may ask you whether you want to be evaluated by paramedics.  If in doubt, you should always be evaluated by a paramedic.  Often times the stress or shock of an accident, or a desire to remain with one’s vehicle, may cause a person to decline medical assistance on scene.  But often times when the adrenaline has worn off, significant pain becomes evident.  If this occurs, you should go to a nearby Emergency Room to be evaluated.

When police respond to the scene of a motor vehicle accident in Illinois, they will author an Illinois Traffic Crash Report.  This report will contain the contact and insurance information for all persons involved in the crash, and will identify any witnesses.  The police will also write a narrative — an account of what happened, based on the police’s observations and witness statements.  You should explain to the police what occurred that caused the crash.

In a case involving bodily injury, you should obtain legal representation immediately.  Insurance companies will often make “low-ball” settlement offers to unrepresented victims, and sometimes get the victims to accept a settlement before the full extent of the victim’s injuries are known.  Also, any medical bills you incur will need to be paid out of the settlement proceeds.  Therefore, if you accept a modest settlement offer from the other driver’s insurance company, you may find yourself having to pay for all of your medical treatment out-of-pocket.  Further, if you make statements to the other driver’s insurance company, those statements can be used against you.  You should not make any statements without legal representation.

The attorneys at Kennedy Watkins are experienced in representing victims of motor vehicle accidents.  We’ve represented the families of victims who have been involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents, as well as persons who have suffered severe, disabling orthopedic injuries.  Our firm is also experienced in representing victims of whiplash or soft tissue injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents, and has a track record of resolving these claims swiftly for our clients.