Things You Should Always Have In Case Of A Car Accident

car accident

There were 312,000 car accidents in Illinois in 2019 and about 858 crashes per day. Sooner or later, most Illinoisans get in a car accident, but many do not know what they should have in their vehicles when it happens. Having critical emergency supplies in the car can make a huge difference if you get into an accident.

Below are some essential items you should keep in your vehicle in case of a car accident. Also highlighted are the most important things to remember to do after an auto accident. If you are in a car accident and unsure of your rights, please contact Hoffman Estates car accident lawyers at Claim Your Justice today. In many cases, our attorneys can help obtain compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

First Aid Kit

Even a minor auto accident can have cuts, bruises, and scrapes because of airbags, hitting a part of your body against something on the inside of your car, or broken glass. Also, first responders may not arrive at the crash scene immediately, so carrying a first aid kit in the trunk is recommended. This allows you to manage your or a passenger’s minor injuries until first responders arrive, or you can get to the ER to be checked out.

In addition to bandages, gauze, antiseptic ointment, instant cold packs, aspirin, and other first aid basics, it is wise to have a survival kit in the car, too. The survival kit should contain items that will help if you are in an accident that requires you to stay at the scene for hours or more. Some vital things to include in the survival kit are:

    • Non-perishable food
    • Bottled water
    • Tool to break glass
    • Extra clothing

Fully Charged Phone

Most of us have a cell phone, but it does not do you much good after an accident if the battery is dead. Some drivers prefer having a disposable cell phone in the trunk to use in an emergency. Another option is to have a phone charger in the car and plug your phone in every time you drive. Or use an old cell phone; even if the phone is not on your current mobile plan, you can still use it to call 911 after an accident.

Basic Toolkit

An essential car repair toolkit should include pliers, a screwdriver, an adjustable wrench, and duct tape. While they won’t help with major car repairs, these tools can help get you back on the road after a minor accident.

Jumper Cables

One of the most common road emergencies is a dead car battery. A set of jumper cables is inexpensive and does not take up a lot of space, so have a set in the trunk.

Fire Extinguisher

An overheating car can sometimes even start a fire, so having a fire extinguisher handy is important. Using the fire extinguisher when a fire starts in the engine compartment can prevent the conflagration from getting much worse.

Flashlight and Flares

Being in a car accident at night is scary and hazardous. If you are in a crash after the sun sets, carrying a flashlight and road flares is vital. A flashlight is essential in the dark, especially in rural areas with few streetlights. This tool helps you check for damage to determine if you can drive the vehicle or move it out of traffic.

Without a flashlight, there could be severe damage you cannot see, which makes it dangerous to drive. Remember to carry extra batteries and check them every quarter.

Road flares are essential for safety after accidents, especially in the dark. First, flares make the accident more visible and direct first responders to the area. Flares also help other drivers see your vehicle and avoid additional accidents.

Contact Information

If you are in an accident and unable to communicate with first responders, it is critical to have your name, medical information, and emergency contact information in the car. Having your cell phone and wallet on you in the vehicle may be sufficient. You also can keep a written list of this vital information in the glove compartment.

Things to Remember After a Car Accident

The items highlighted above in your vehicle can significantly help after a car accident. It also is important to remember to do the following after an auto accident:

Check If Anyone Is Injured

Illinois law requires you to see if anyone is injured after a car accident. If so, you need to call 911 or the local police to get medical assistance. In addition, you should never leave the scene of an accident until the police permit you.

Get Out of Danger

If it is a minor car accident and you are not hurt, move your vehicle slowly to the side of the road so it does not stop traffic. Moving the car keeps you out of danger and prevents additional accidents. Turn your blinkers on and put out road flares from your emergency kit.

Remember, you may be upset after the accident even if you are not hurt. In addition, you may not think as clearly as you usually would, so be careful around traffic. Getting as far away as possible from traffic is best to stay safe.

Contact Law Enforcement

You should always call the police to report a car accident. However, law enforcement may not always respond. Some police departments tell you to report the incident online. They may not always send a police officer to the scene if it is a minor crash.

If the police come to the scene, write down their badge number and contact details. Then, get a copy of the accident report from the officer. If the police do not come, go to the nearest police station to get a copy of the accident report.

You should always report even minor car accidents to the police. The other driver may ask you not to report it, but this leaves you open to a hit-and-run charge if they decide to change their story later.

Gather Evidence

A Hoffman Estates car accident lawyer will collect car accident evidence, but you can help by starting the process yourself. If uninjured, use your cell phone camera to photograph accident damages, vehicle positions, and the overall accident scene.

Next, take photos of the driver’s licenses of others involved in the crash and their insurance information. Also, take pictures of every driver’s license plate. Finally, get their contact information if there are witnesses to the accident. Your attorney will want to speak to witnesses as soon as possible before they start forgetting what happened.

See Your Physician

Many people feel fine after a car accident. But many injuries may not become evident for one or two days. For example, you could bang your head on the window and feel ok. But after a day, you could have headaches or memory loss. Or you could wake up the next morning and find you cannot move your head; whiplash symptoms also can take a few days to appear.

If you wait to go to your doctor, it could jeopardize an accident claim later. Also, if you file a personal injury lawsuit, the other driver’s insurance company will likely argue your injury was unrelated to the accident.

Don’t Admit Fault

Emotions often run high after a car accident, and you may say something that hurts your car accident claim. It is best not to say anything to other drivers except to exchange information. Never take responsibility for the accident, even if you are at fault. It is always best to say as little as possible to give your car accident attorney the best chance to obtain fair compensation for you.

Report The Accident to Your Insurance Company

It tempts some drivers to make a cash agreement to avoid reporting the incident to their insurance company. However, not calling your insurance provider is a risk; the other driver may not have insurance. In addition, if you have more severe injuries or property damage than you thought, you may need to tap your policy’s underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. Reporting the incident to the insurance company as soon as possible is the safest action.

Contact Hoffman Estates Car Accident Lawyers Today

Anyone in a severe car accident probably has medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You could be eligible for compensation if you have damages after a car accident.

Our Hoffman Estates car accident lawyers have fought for the rights of clients for more than 50 years. As a result, we obtain significant settlements and awards for our personal injury clients in Illinois. Our attorneys focus on personal injuries, auto accidents, slip & fall incidents, dog bites, and wrongful death.

Claim Your Justice attorneys serve Schaumburg and the greater Chicago area including the communities of Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Grove Village, Hanover Park, Arlington Heights, Oak Brook, and Streamwood. Please contact Claim Your Justice at 847-434-3555 for a complimentary consultation.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Kentucky

Kentucky car accident

After an accident, you may or may not be injured, but you will likely feel confused and frightened. That is natural and experienced by everybody. One thing that can help alleviate your fear is understanding what steps to take after an accident and knowing what to do and what not to do after a car accident. Call your Louisville car accident attorney with any questions. 

Move Your Car

You should always stop your vehicle after an accident, even if you are not at fault for the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident, even a minor one, is a crime. 

The first thing is to decide what to do with your vehicle, assuming that it’s driveable or moveable. If you cannot move your car, either because it is totaled or because you are not in physical shape to move it, you can leave it where it is. 

Make sure that you are in a safe place. If you need to leave your vehicle where it is and move somewhere safe, such as the side of the road, you should do so. 

Remember that “secondary accidents” are all too common. When your car is stationary after an accident, another car crashes into your immobile vehicle. If you can, you may want to get yourself away from the car, even if you cannot move it. 

Towing (or Not Towing)

The police will likely arrange for your car to get towed if it is immobile. If possible, get the contact information for the tow truck company so that you can locate your vehicle quickly when you are ready to get it back. 

If your car does not get towed, you should not fix or repair anything on your vehicle by yourself. Your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company may want to evaluate the damages to your car. You could lose insurance benefits if you fix your car on your own and deprive the insurance company of the ability to have their adjuster review the damage. 

Calling 911 or Emergency Responders

You should immediately call 911 for help. Another driver may often offer to “take care of this between ourselves” and avoid the police or insurance companies getting involved. However, that is rarely a good idea. 

The police will arrive and often bring or call medical help if needed. If you need medical attention, immediately tell the 911 operator. 

The police will ask you preliminary questions about how the accident happened. It would be best to tell the officer what you know or remember, but this isn’t a quiz. You likely don’t remember every detail of the accident. The accident was stressful, happened quickly, and you are likely full of adrenaline. 

It would be best not to admit to fault or say that you did anything wrong because you may not know what is legally right or wrong. Just tell the officer what you observed, and avoid coming to legal conclusions about who was responsible for the accident. 

After the accident, you will be able to get a copy of the report that the police file. However, your Louisville car accident lawyer will also do this for you. 

Take Pictures and Document the Scene

If you can do so safely, take as many pictures and videos of the scene. Also, if it is safe, take photos of where the cars came to rest after the accident. But if you can’t do that, take pictures as soon as possible, after the vehicles move from the scene. 

Take pictures of as much of the area as you can. The images should include the following for both vehicles: damage to the car, interior and exterior of vehicles, debris or markings on the road (such as skid marks caused by the other vehicle), and damage to surrounding areas (for example, if a car veered off the road and hit a tree). 

Do not rely on others to document the scene for you. There is no guarantee that you will ever get access to pictures that the other driver is taking. 

Another handy tip is to take a quick picture of the other driver’s license plate if they decide to flee the scene before the police arrive. Call your Louisville car accident attorney with any questions. 

Call Your Insurance Company

Even if the accident was not your fault, call your insurance policy. You likely have insurance coverage that you can obtain. Regardless of who is at fault, and even if you are at fault, your insurance company has to know what happened in the accident so they can begin preparing a defense for you. 

Most insurance companies have 24-hour call centers that do primary intake on new reports, so you should call the insurance company no matter what time the accident happens. 

Like the police will likely do, your insurance company will ask you questions about the accident. Once again, tell them what you know, but you are under no obligation to answer every single question they ask you in detail. Avoid volunteering this information. Later, when you get a Louisville car accident lawyer, your attorney will give your insurance company more information about the accident. 

Remember that many insurance policies have strict deadlines to report a claim. If you have to wait a few days to report your Kentucky car accident because you are physically unable to do so, such as because you are in the hospital, that is fine. But, report the accident to the insurance company as quickly as possible. 

Get Witness Information

Often, observers or other vehicles or people who saw the accident will rush to your aid after the accident. Many, however, may leave before the police get there. If you can and can do so, try to obtain contact information for these witnesses. If the other driver denies how the accident happened, these witnesses may be vital to providing your case later on. 

You can also try to get the contact information from the other driver. However, do not engage with or interact with the other driver if they seem violent, angry, or volatile. 

Get Medical Help

Right after the accident, you may feel that you don’t need medical help. Perhaps you aren’t in pain, or at least not in great pain. 

The police, driver, or witnesses may ask how you feel. Avoid saying you are “fine” or “have no pain” because your body is adrenaline-filled after an accident. Your body can immediately mask the damage done to you in the accident. Do not rely on your pain level right after the accident. 

Additionally, many medical conditions after an accident may not hurt at first. Sometimes, the pain won’t show up for hours or even a day. Many injuries take time to develop. Just because you don’t feel pain immediately doesn’t mean you aren’t injured. 

Later on, the other side will often try to use the fact that you spontaneously said that you were “fine” against you. It is particularly true if you try to get compensation for injuries that develop later on. 

Talking to the Other Driver (and His or Her Insurance)

Sometimes the other driver will say or do things there at the scene, such as an offer to work the matter out between yourselves. They may also try to blame you for the accident. Do not be argumentative or angry. 

You should also not accept blame or blame the other driver–your Louisville car accident lawyer will take care of that part. However, if you feel it was the other driver’s fault, you should say that to the police and the insurance company. 

A few days after the accident, the other driver’s insurance company may try to contact you. If you have a personal injury attorney, you don’t have to worry about this–your Louisville car accident lawyer will cover all communications. 

However, before you have an attorney, either the other driver or their insurance company may propose to settle your case. They may not even say “settle” but may offer you some money. You should never accept money or sign any agreement without first talking to an injury attorney. 

Many of these “quick settlements” will never fully compensate you for your damages and injuries. They are offers designed to make you “go away” before you can receive what you are entitled to for your damages.  

Contact An Experienced Kentucky Car Accident Lawyer

These are just some of the immediate situations you may encounter after an accident. In the days and weeks after your accident, you may get overwhelmed with problems, pain, phone calls, or requests for documentation. 

You don’t have to worry about that–your Louisville car accident lawyer will take care of it for you and guide you through the entire process to focus on getting better and getting yourself back to you. 

Call our Louisville car accident attorneys at Claim Your Justice to schedule a free consultation at 847-434-3555 to help you with your car accident case.

Why you Should Hire an Attorney After a Serious Car Accident

car accident

Let’s say that you are in a bad car accident. You may not be an expert in the law, but you know one thing: The accident wasn’t your fault. It seems like an easy, open, and shut case. A drunk driver runs a red light or a stop sign and hits you from behind. You are significantly injured. It seems like an “easy” case…why hire an attorney? 

There are many reasons to hire an attorney–especially if your injury or the accident was severe. After a car accident in Chicago, you may face more problems and questions than you anticipate, and a Schaumburg car accident attorney can help you with those issues.

The Insurance Company Has More Legal Knowledge Than You

After an accident, you can expect to be contacted by the responsible side’s insurance company. The insurance company will use an adjuster to speak to you about your claim. That adjuster will be well trained in the law and how to negotiate.  Just when you thought you had a great case, the insurance company adjuster may tell you that you may have problems you didn’t anticipate. 

Maybe you were at fault, in full or partly, for the accident. Perhaps you weren’t following the rules of the road. Maybe the other driver isn’t at fault because they were trying to avoid another unknown careless driver. 

What will you say when the insurance adjuster says these things? Would you know what to say and whether the adjuster is correct or not? 

A Palatine car accident attorney has heard these same excuses from insurance companies over and over and knows how to deal with them. The insurance company’s adjuster is no match for your car accident attorney at Claim Your Justice. 

The Insurance Company Has More Resources 

The insurance company has a lot of resources at its disposal to investigate the accident that you don’t have. 

For example, the insurance company may have experts take pictures of the accident scene. They will have their mechanics analyze the damage from all the vehicles in the accident. They may have accident reconstruction experts that will try to “recreate” the accident (no doubt, in a way that shows they are not at fault). 

How will you get any of this information? Do you have experts of your own? Your car accident attorney certainly will. Your attorney will have some of the same resources that the insurance company has and will be able to request the information from the insurance company to counter their investigation. 

How Will You Pay Your Bills? 

After an accident, you will have medical expenses that insurance will cover, and you may have some costs that insurance doesn’t cover. A Buffalo Grove car accident attorney can help you in both cases. There may be questions about which insurance will cover the expenses.

You may have your car insurance, health insurance, and the other side’s insurance. Each of these insurances may have an adjuster. They will want information and documentation to pay your bills. However, what about your insurance coverage to repair your car? Your car accident attorney can also help you arrange those matters.

Your Claim Your Justice car accident attorney can work with all the insurance companies so that you don’t have to worry about paperwork or which insurance company is paying what–or worse. You don’t have to worry about potentially being denied insurance benefits if you don’t fill out paperwork or information correctly. 

That’s just your bills that insurance does cover. What about uncovered expenses? Your car accident attorney can work with your medical providers to keep your unpaid bills from going into default or collections while you are waiting to settle your car accident case. 

Watch What You Say

As time goes on, the insurance company on the other side may ask you questions about the accident. You may want to be helpful and tell them everything that you can. However, your statements can unwittingly lead you into saying something that could harm your case or which would justify making you a lower settlement offer. 

Your Hoffman Estates car accident attorney can communicate with the other side’s insurance company for you so that you don’t have to worry about saying something incorrectly or carelessly that could hurt your case. 

Should You Settle? 

The insurance company may offer you a settlement to your case, sometimes soon after the accident. What is a fair settlement offer? You would only know that if you have experience settling or trying injury cases in court the way Claim Your Justice car accident attorneys do. 

And if you do settle for less than what your case is worth, you are done–you can’t come back later and ask for more money if something “unexpected” arises (for example, surgery or other medical complication). 

Is the offer the insurance company is giving you a fair amount? You could file a lawsuit and try to go to trial. Claim YOur Justice accident attorneys can discuss what you can expect to happen in a trial. Not just what your outcome may be, but what the lawsuit process will be like for you. 

Of course, you can expect the insurance company to mislead you into believing that they are giving you “an incredible offer,” and they may say things like, “you should take this offer–you’ll never get this much in court!” Should you believe the insurance company and take the offer? Your Palatine car accident attorneys can tell you this.   

Reading the Settlement Agreement

Let’s say that the settlement offer the insurance company makes seems fair. You want to take the offer. But they don’t just hand you money. Before that happens, you have to sign a multi-page document with legalese. Do you know what is in the release or settlement agreement that the insurance company wants you to sign? 

These releases can have confidentiality agreements, indemnity agreements, or overbroad releases. The insurance company knows what’s in there and what it says. You may not, and you can’t be sure they will give you an honest answer if you ask. 

Your Palatine car accident attorney can review your settlement agreement and tell you whether the money you are receiving is reasonable and whether the settlement agreement you sign is fair. 

Do You Have to File a Lawsuit? 

If the insurance company doesn’t want to settle or doesn’t want to settle for what you consider to be a fair amount, and you didn’t get an attorney, you now may have a problem. Now you have to file a lawsuit, but whatever attorney you choose will not have been with your case from the beginning. It can put you at a disadvantage. 

Remember that there may be time limits to filing a lawsuit. If you hire an attorney too late, the attorney may not have time to thoroughly investigate your case and determine whether they want to represent you. The last thing you want is to hire an attorney that will be in a rush to evaluate your case. 

After You Get The Money

After your case is over, whether you settled or went to trial, getting your settlement money isn’t the end of your worries. 

Someone may need to negotiate with your medical providers to lower the amount you owe to them. Even your health insurance might want to get reimbursed if you used health insurance for your medical bills. 

A car accident attorney can take care of this to ensure that no outstanding medical bills are lurking out there when you get your settlement. The last thing you want is a medical provider who treated you, contacting you a year after settling your case, saying, “we never got paid.” 

Questions You May Not Have Thought About

During your case, you may have questions or problems that you never even anticipated–all issues that your Claim Your Justice car accident attorney has dealt with before and can help you. 

You may ask yourself, “Can the tow company charge that amount? Do I have to pay that emergency room bill now? Can my employer fire me because I was in an accident? Will a misdemeanor I had a few years back affect your case? Will my bankruptcy affect the car accident case?”

Almost every question you can imagine may come up, and your attorney will help you answer them or deal with them entirely for you. 

Call our personal injury attorneys in Palatine at Claim Your Justice to schedule a free consultation at 847-434-3555 to help you with your car accident case.

Why Taking Photos Can Help Prove Your Illinois Car Accident Case

Car Accident Case

Being involved in a car accident can be upsetting and stressful. After a car accident, not only may the victim be dealing with serious injuries, but also the challenge of navigating the claims process and the logistics surrounding it. While it can feel burdensome, knowing the right steps to take to protect one’s right to their full benefit amount is critical. 

At the office of Claim Your Justice, our Schaumburg car accident lawyer will guide you through everything you need to know after a crash, help you to gather evidence and organize your claim, and make sure you understand all of the important details. One important detail that we can help with is taking photos after a crash. Consider the following about the important steps to take after a car accident, how an attorney can help, and why taking photos can help prove your car accident case—

Important Steps to Take After a Car Accident

When you’ve been involved in a car accident, taking the following steps can prove critical later on in the claims process. These steps include:

  • Report the accident. The first thing that you need to do after being involved in a car accident is to report the accident to the police. Even if your car accident seems minor, reporting your car accident serves as an important piece of evidence. When the police arrive on the scene, be sure to give them a statement but do not assume fault. Afterward, request a copy of the police report and be sure to record the police officer’s name and badge number. 
  • Gather evidence at the scene. The second step that you should take is to gather evidence at the scene of the accident. This includes the names of any eyewitnesses plus their contact information, a description of what happened, the time and date of the accident, the location of the accident, the other driver’s information and contact information, and photographs of the accident scene. Taking photographs is especially important, and will be elaborated on below. 
  • Seek medical care. Even if you gather great evidence and report the accident, if you don’t seek medical care, you may be shooting yourself in the foot, so to speak, when it comes to filing a claim. This is because seeking medical care creates a record and serves as a form of proof of causation; that is, if there is evidence (medical records) that you sought care immediately following your car accident (documented by police reports), then the insurance company will have a hard time arguing that you’re making up your injuries or that your injuries aren’t related to your car accident. Seeking medical care is also essential for ensuring that you get the treatment that you need, and is, therefore, one of the most important parts of the claims process and the healing process. 
  • Notify your insurance company. After reporting the accident to the police and seeking medical care, both of which you should do immediately after an accident, you should call your insurance company and provide notice of the accident. If you don’t provide notice of the accident within a reasonable amount of time, the insurance company may have grounds to deny your claim. 
  • Hire an attorney. Finally, the next step in the process is to hire an attorney if you have not done so already. While you are not legally required to work with an attorney when filing a Schaumburg car accident claim or lawsuit, doing so may greatly improve the outcome of your case. 

Filing a Claim After a Crash: How Photos Are Used

As mentioned above, one of the most important types of evidence that you can gather at the scene of an accident is photographic evidence; that is, photos of as much as possible at the accident scene. There are two primary ways in which photos are used during the claims process: 

  • Prove fault and causation. First, photos can be used to establish causation—that the accident would not have occurred but for certain factors or circumstances—and prove the fault of the responsible party. For example, a photo may show that a stop sign existed at the intersection where your accident occurred, implying that the other driver should have stopped but perhaps didn’t. Or, skid marks can show that you tried to brake to avoid a collision. Even something like photos of the sky can provide clues about lighting, visibility, and even road surface conditions if there is precipitation. 
  • Establish damages. The second thing that photos are used for during the car accident claims process is to establish damages—the degree to which the victim has been injured. Photos taken at the scene or shortly after the accident occurs can show where vehicles collided, internal and external damage to vehicles, the severity of a crash (were airbags deployed, is the vehicle totally crushed?), and even the severity of injuries. Looking through photos of injuries can be gruesome, but can provide insight into how serious the victim’s injuries are. In fact, a photo montage that shows the injuries immediately after a crash and then documents the healing process can also serve as a type of evidence that speaks to how well the victim has recovered, as well as the degree of their pain, suffering, and disability. 

Tips for Taking Photos After a Crash

Photos should be taken after a crash whenever possible. Tips for taking photos include: 

  • Take as many photos as possible. Always take as many photos as possible—less is not more in this situation. You can also use a smartphone to take a video of the accident scene and damages, as this can be an effective way to capture a lot of evidence and data. 
  • Take photos of everything. Not only should you take as many photos as possible, but you should also take photos of as many things as possible. Photograph the vehicles, inside and out; take photographs of your immediate and visible injuries; photograph the police officer’s badge; photograph the traffic lights or stop signs, the weather, something that shows the date and time, the road, and nearby businesses; photograph the other driver’s license plate, driver’s license number, and registration information. The more photo evidence you have, the better. 
  • Take photos from different angles. Photos taken from different angles may provide more robust evidence and help to shape the story of what happened and the degree of damages. Don’t hesitate to take the same photo from multiple angles; again, less is not more in this situation. 
  • Don’t forget the most important things to photograph. Finally, don’t get so hung up on taking pictures of the really obvious things—like the crushed side of a vehicle—that you forget about the important clues that should be photographed, like a pothole, object in the road, skid marks, or the yield sign on the corner. Ask yourself how the accident occurred and what you might be able to photograph to prove that. 

Why Is Taking Photos So Important?

Photos are important because they are indisputable. While each driver’s testimony can be challenged, a photograph offers proof. If a driver claims they weren’t speeding or didn’t slam on the brakes, skid marks can say otherwise; if a driver states that they weren’t swerving, but a photograph indicates that they were hit at an angle that would only be possible if they were outside of their lane, their claim will be undermined. 

What If I Can’t Take Photos After a Crash?

While photos are of critical importance during the car accident claims process, our lawyers recognize that sometimes, a victim’s injuries from a crash are so serious that they are precluded from gathering any sort of evidence at the accident scene; instead, they need to be rushed immediately to a hospital. If you can’t take photos after a crash, our lawyers can help by: 

  • Traveling to the scene. We will travel to the scene of the accident as soon as you hire us and gather any evidence that exists there. 
  • Taking photos on your behalf. We can take photos of the scene, as well as motor vehicles and other pertinent evidence, as appropriate. We can also make recommendations about how to photograph your injuries and the healing process. 
  • Tracking down other photos and video evidence. Sometimes, witnesses to the accident take pictures or record video footage. If this exists, we’ll work hard to track down these photos and video evidence. 
  • Using evidence to build your claim. Once we’ve gathered evidence, we’ll work with our team to organize the evidence in a compelling way and create a sound strategy for your case with the goal of maximizing your settlement amount. We can prove fault and damages. 
  • Negotiating your settlement. After you receive a settlement offer, we will review it; if it doesn’t fairly and fully compensate you, we will enter into negotiations. 
  • Litigating your case in court. Finally, we will litigate your case in court in the event that a settlement cannot be reached through the mediation process. Our lawyers have trial experience and are here to advocate for you. 

Call the Office of Claim Your Justice Today

To learn more about the importance of photographs after a car accident and how our law firm can help, please call our car accident lawyer in Schaumburg directly. We offer free consultations and can start working on your case immediately. Reach us now to get started.

10 Things To Avoid Doing After A Car Accident That Could Impact Your Claim

Car Accident

Being in a car accident can be an extremely traumatizing experience—one that impacts your life forever. As a result of a car accident, you may be facing severe injuries, including permanently disabling or life-threatening injuries; high repair or replacement costs for your vehicle; medical expenses and ongoing medical and rehabilitation costs; lost wages and a loss of earning capacity due to your long-term disability; and physical pain, emotional anguish, and psychological injury. 

At the law office of Claim Your Justice, we realize that life after a car accident may never look the same; we also understand that intelligently navigating the claims process could have a significant impact on the overall outcome of your case and your future, including how much money you are able to recover. 

While there’s a whole list of things that you should do after being involved in a car accident, here are a few things that you should avoid doing, as they could impact your claim. Perhaps the most important thing that you can do, though, is to call a car accident lawyer in Schaumburg, IL as soon as possible after your crash. With that in mind, here’s a list of things to avoid doing after a car accident: 

  1. Admitting Fault

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid after a crash is that of admitting fault, whether it be to the other driver, witnesses, the police, the insurance agent, or any other party. Sometimes, a person may make comments that sound like an admission of fault (even if they are not intended to be), so it’s important to remain conscious of this. For example, saying “I’m sorry” could sound like you’re taking responsibility.

Because Illinois is an at-fault car insurance state, if you are to blame for a crash, you will be responsible for paying for it. If you admit fault, then, the amount of compensation that you’re able to recover from the other driver could be significantly reduced or eliminated. The best thing that you can do after a crash—if you are able—is to call 911. When you talk to your insurance agent, do not admit fault. It’s best to avoid talking to the agent in detail and giving a statement until after you’ve spoken to a Claim Your Justice attorney. 

  1. Failing to Report the Accident to the Police

The other huge mistake that you can make is failing to report the accident. There are many reasons why you may be tempted to not report, including:

  • You don’t have car insurance
  • You think the accident might have been your fault
  • The other driver is asking you not to report the crash
  • You don’t think the crash is serious enough to report
  • The other driver is offering you a check, so you think you don’t need to go through the claims process

Here’s the thing: if you don’t report the accident within a timely manner and then later do need to file a claim to recover compensation, your claim will be denied because you didn’t give the insurance company time to investigate it, or the insurance company will doubt that your damages are related to the crash since you failed to report it. In fact, most insurance companies will not process a claim unless there is a police report. You must call the police and report the accident if you want to file a claim at any point and, in many instances, be acting in accordance with the law. 

  1. Not Getting Medical Care

Like failing to report the accident to the police, not getting medical care if you are injured is another big mistake after a crash. Again, you may choose not to seek medical care for various reasons, such as not having insurance or not thinking your injuries are serious. It’s important to know, though, that some injuries do not set in immediately; for example, a head injury may take hours or days to fully show itself. 

If you don’t get medical care and then later try to file a claim for an injury—such as a head injury—an insurance company may dispute that the claim is valid. Getting medical care is also important for ensuring that you get the care that you need, regardless of the insurance process, too. 

  1. Posting About Your Accident on Social Media

A huge mistake that people make is posting about their accident on social media, as well as posting about their life post-accident. While you may be tempted to “let everyone know you’re okay” and show pictures of your “happy recovery,” these types of posts and photos can significantly devalue your claim. 

Part of an insurance adjuster’s job is to investigate your claim of injury, pain, suffering, emotional distress, etc. after your crash. In order to do this, they just might add you on social media and start following your posts. If you post that you’re “feeling great!”, or post a picture of you walking with your child (even if the photo was taken before your accident), the insurance adjuster may use this as evidence to devalue your claim. 

To be clear, why would an insurance company offer you a large settlement for pain and suffering when your socials show that you’re clearly fine and living your best life? If you have any questions about the use of social media post-accident, talk to a Claim Your Justice car accident lawyer in Schaumburg. 

  1. Forgetting to Report Your Crash to Your Insurance Agent

As touched on above, you need to report your car accident to the police and to your insurance company. An insurance company has a right to investigate your claim and has the right to receive enough notice to be able to do so properly. If you don’t report your accident, then the insurance company may have grounds to deny your claim. 

  1. Failing to Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

One big mistake that many people make after a crash and after getting medical treatment is failing to follow the doctor’s orders exactly. Say your doctor says that you should be on bed rest for seven days, but on day six, you’re feeling good and want to get up and do something. 

While this may seem perfectly reasonable, if the insurance agent finds out, they can use this as evidence to show that you failed to do your due diligence to mitigate injuries, and therefore any continued complications/pain you’re experiencing could be a result of your own negligence. The most important thing that you can do for your own wellbeing and for the claims process is to follow your doctor’s orders. 

  1. Starting the Claims Process on Your Own

It is important to call your insurance company to report the accident as soon as possible, but you shouldn’t dive into starting the claims process on your own; instead, you should call an experienced Claim Your Justice car accident lawyer in Schaumburg who can represent you in all conversations with the insurance company. 

The reality is that the insurance agent assigned to your case will not be working for you and will not be trying to find a way to maximize your insurance amount; instead, they’ll be trying to find ways to lowball your claim. When you work with an attorney, you’re protecting your best interests and saving yourself from common, costly mistakes. 

  1. Trying to Investigate Your Crash Solo

Investigating a crash is one of the most important parts of the claims process, and something that all sides involved will do as a way to gather evidence, determine liability, and calculate damages. Investigating a crash has many parts, including traveling to the accident scene, taking photographs, sending spoliation of evidence letters, reviewing vehicle electronic control module data, talking to eyewitnesses, reviewing cellphone logs (if distracted driving is a suspected cause), hiring accident reconstruction experts and other professionals, and more. 

Attempting to handle all of this on your own can be a big mistake, not to mention overwhelming—you should always work with a skilled Claim Your Justice car accident lawyer in Schaumburg, IL. 

  1. Not Writing Down As Much As You Can and Taking Photos

Something that’s important to do if you are able is to take photos at the scene of the crash, as these photos may serve as important evidence during the claims process. If your injuries preclude you from doing this, it’s important to hire a lawyer immediately who can travel to the accident scene. 

In addition to taking photos, you should write down as much as you can about the accident, such as what you were doing at the time it occurred, details about the other driver and vehicle involved, who might have seen the accident, and their contact information if possible, where you were traveling, the lighting and weather conditions at the time of the crash, etc. 

  1. Accepting a Settlement Offer

Finally, one of the biggest and irreversible mistakes that you can make is accepting a settlement offer before having it reviewed by a Claim Your Justice car accident attorney in Schaumburg. A first settlement offer is often lowballed, with the hope that the claimant will just accept it. Once you accept it and sign a release of claim, there is no going back—you will not be able to fight for more money. 

Call Our Car Accident Lawyer in Schaumburg Today

If you’ve been in a crash, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced Claim Your Justice car accident attorney in Schaumburg for a free consultation. You can reach us by phone or contact us here at your convenience.

Should I Get A Lawyer For A Car Accident?

Illinois Car Accident

Driving a car or being a passenger within a car is a daily experience for most people. Yet as common as driving is, car accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in Illinois, Wisconsin, and throughout the Country. If you have been in a car accident, you may be wondering whether you need an attorney. At Claim Your Justice, we are happy to review your case free of charge and provide you with a recommendation on the value of your case.

As you read the following, keep in mind that our lawyers are available to serve you and that even in minor car accidents, at least consulting with a lawyer is usually in your best interests.

Factors That Increase the Complexity of a Car Accident Claim

Whether or not you need an attorney to represent you during your car accident claim depends on whether you want to maximize your recovery. Working with an attorney in a serious crash can improve the outcome of your case. Consider the following factors and call Claim Your Justice with any questions you might have.

  • Fault is disputed. When fault is cut and dry in a car accident claim and all parties agree about who should be held responsible, recovering a settlement will be a lot easier. On the other hand, if fault is disputed, then your claim may be denied, or you might be offered less than you deserve. What’s more, if a thorough investigation hasn’t been conducted, then you may simply not know who is at fault and against whom you should file a claim. Until you know who is at fault, and have evidence to prove it, you’ll have difficulty recovering the settlement you deserve.
  • A claim is low-balled. Even if all parties involved recognize the fault of the other, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll receive a settlement offer that fairly compensates you. In fact, one of the jobs of an insurance adjuster is to save an insurance company money. This means that the insurance adjuster may offer you a low-balled settlement offer. If this happens to you, know that you have rights, including the right to reject the settlement offer and negotiate for something that’s fair, as well as the right to contact an attorney for representation.
  • Injuries are severe. You will want someone on your side who can aggressively represent your interests. When injuries are serious and you’re suffering losses, medical expenses, lost wages, property damage costs, and pain, suffering, and emotional distress, recovering a settlement that’s fair will have a huge impact on your future. Don’t risk it when so much is on the line – call Claim Your Justice and get an attorney who will fight for you.
  • The other party doesn’t have insurance. If the party who caused your accident doesn’t have insurance, you may be panicked about what you’ll do and how you’ll recover compensation for your injuries. While this certainly does complicate things, there are options available. Working with an attorney from Claim Your Justice can help by identifying other avenues for recovery and even do things like work with the hospital to have a portion of your medical bills forgiven.

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help – The Role of a Lawyer in a Car Accident Claim

When thinking about whether you should hire an attorney, it’s important to know what an attorney does. The following outlines some of the basic jobs of a car accident attorney when representing a client after a crash.

  • Investigating the accident. One of the most important roles of a car accident lawyer is that of investigating an accident. Your attorney will possibly travel to the scene of the crash, talk to eyewitnesses, get a copy of the police report, request access to vehicle electronic control module data, and hire accident reconstruction experts in order to determine exactly how the crash occurred.
  • Gathering evidence. Throughout the accident investigation phase, your attorney will also gather evidence to support your claim, including eyewitnesses’ testimonies, experts’ opinions, photos of the accident scene and vehicle, and more.
  • Determining fault and liability. After an investigation has been completed and evidence has been gathered, your attorney will analyze the evidence and make a determination about whose fault caused the crash and therefore who should be held liable for any damages that have resulted.
  • Issuing a demand letter. As part of the process, your attorney will also calculate the value of your damages, both economic and non-economic. After liability has been determined, your attorney will issue a demand letter to the responsible party requesting compensation for the full value of your damages.
  • Reviewing a settlement. Once a demand letter is issued, the insurance adjuster will likely make a counteroffer in the form of a settlement. Do not accept the first settlement offer! Your attorney will review the settlement and determine if it is fair.
  • Negotiating a settlement. If a settlement offer is too low, your attorney will enter settlement negotiations on your behalf. This process can take weeks or months.
  • Preparing a case for court. Finally, if a settlement is reached, then the case will be concluded; if an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached, then you will need to file a lawsuit if you want to continue to pursue a greater damages award. An attorney can prepare your case for court and represent you during litigation.

Frequently Asked Questions a Lawyer at Claim Your Justice Can Answer

Our lawyers receive many questions about the car accident claims process and the role of an attorney. Consider the following answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we hear.

1. How much should you get for pain and suffering in a car accident?

Pain and suffering damages are damages for the physical and emotional distress caused by an injury and are a form of non-economic damages. Pain and suffering damages are not capped in Illinois, which means that you can seek maximum compensation for your pain and suffering. How much you will recover for pain and suffering damages depends on the extent of your injuries and for how long you are expected to experience pain and suffering.

2. How can I prove my pain and suffering?

There are multiple types of evidence that can be used to establish pain and suffering. In addition to photographs of your injuries, a personal journal detailing how you have been impacted, testimony from friends and family who can speak to your life before and after the accident, and current medical documents, the testimonies of experts can be especially valuable.

For example, medical professionals may be called upon who can offer an opinion about your injuries and for how long your injuries are expected to last and how they may impact you into the future, as can psychological/mental health professionals.

3. How much is pain and suffering worth?

How much pain and suffering are worth varies on a case-by-case basis. If a person is totally disabled by their injuries and will never be able to regain the same level of mobility or quality of life they had before the accident, their noneconomic damages will likely be valued higher than someone who is only partially disabled temporarily and whose injuries are expected to heal in full.

4. How is pain and suffering calculated in an accident?

There are different methods for calculating pain and suffering. Using the per diem method, a monetary value is assigned per day, and then that number is multiplied by the number of days for which the individual is expected to experience pain and suffering. There is also the multiplier method, which involves assigning a number 1-5, and then multiplying that number by the economic damages suffered.

A higher number on the 1-5 scale is based on the nature of the injuries, disfigurement, and disability, psychological trauma, for how long injuries are expected to last, and more. At Claim Your Justice we use the method that will maximize your recovery.

5. How long do you have to accept a settlement offer?

Just because a settlement offer is made does not mean you have to accept the offer – you can reject it and ask for a better offer, which may go on for months in some cases. With that in mind, note that you only have two years in Illinois and three years in Wisconsin from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit.

Call Claim Your Justice Car Accident Attorneys Today

If you have more questions about working with a Schaumburg, IL car accident attorney after a car crash, please feel free to call our office directly for a free consultation. We are available to start working on your case immediately.