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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.