The financial implications of an accident can be high. The victim has to meet the medical treatment cost of repairing or replacing the damaged vehicle and can sometimes lose the ability to earn a living, further complicating the already bad financial situation.

In some cases, the victim can recover compensation, for example, if the accident resulted from another person’s negligence or they had PIP coverage. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident and are looking into your options for recovering compensation, this guide can help you with the steps to follow.

Call 911

The best rule of thumb is to seek medical attention, irrespective of your perception of injuries. Not all injuries will be apparent or present as serious at the scene, and you want to ensure that professionals rule out any hidden dangers, so call 911 to bring paramedics to the scene.

Besides ruling out hidden danger, seeking medical attention while at the scene also provides you with a documented link between an accident and the injuries, which can help make proving your care much easier.

If you do not get medical attention while at the scene, check into an ER on the same day or not later than 72 hours after an accident to avoid treatment gaps that can negatively affect your chances or the value of your claim.

Get a Lawyer

Getting a lawyer may not be the first thing you do after an accident, but it’s arguably the best thing you can do to bolster your chances of fair compensation. Statistics show that having one improves the chances of recovering fair compensation by up to five times.

A lawyer plays several important roles, which include investigating your case, gathering evidence, damage valuation, negotiating a settlement, and, where necessary, representing you at trial.

Not all claims may require involving a lawyer. But it is best to have a lawyer examine your case and determine. Most car accident lawyers in Chicago and across America do not charge an initial consultation fee, so you lose nothing in having them look into your case.

You can also search for car accident FAQs to better understand everything you need to know about hiring a lawyer in Chicago, among other aspects of the claim.

File a Police Report

In most cases, a 911 call will bring paramedics and the police to the scene of an accident. If you didn’t call 911, or the police did not show up for any reason, ensure you file a police report by visiting the police station in person or through any means allowable in your state.

Different states have different requirements for reporting. For example, in Chicago, you must file an accident report with the police if an accident results in death, injuries, or property damage worth $1,500 and above.

While you do not have to file an accident report if your accident doesn’t meet this threshold, it’s a good idea to file it just in case the circumstances of your case change, for example, if you discover injuries much later.

Gather Evidence

The success of a car accident claim is determined by the quality of evidence you present in court. Evidence includes photographic and video evidence, which means the best place to start gathering it is at the accident scene.

So, if you can take pictures and record video footage of the scene, paying attention to vehicle angles, skid marks, location of damage and its severity, vehicle registration, the severity of injuries sustained, etc.

Other pieces of evidence to gather at the scene include witness testimonies and contact information, the other driver’s contact and insurance information, and the contacts of any other parties that can help in the investigations.

Medical records, employment records, invoices, bills, and receipts are also critical pieces of evidence for establishing the extent of damages and the value of the financial compensation to expect. In some cases, you will want to have your lawyer help you with emergency gatherings.

In Sum…

Navigating the aftermath of a car accident is a complex process that requires swift and smart actions. Financial recovery hinges on a meticulous collection of evidence and timely legal intervention. Remember, aligning with a skilled attorney can multiply your chances for just reparation, while precise documentation anchors your claim to tangible facts.

So, always prioritize immediate medical attention and strategic legal counsel to safeguard both your health and financial future.