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What should I do after an auto accident?

If you are an Illinois driver involved in an auto accident, it can be an unnerving experience at best. Even in a minor accident where no one is injured, you need to do many things immediately so as to preserve evidence and allow your insurance claims process to begin and proceed as smoothly as possible. Knowing what steps to take after an auto accident can mean the difference between a relatively simple process and one that is fraught with mistakes, oversights and actions that inadvertently further complicate an already complicated situation.

FindLaw advises that the most important thing to do is to stay at the scene until law enforcement officers arrive. Leaving too soon can put you at risk for being charged with leaving the scene of an accident and criminally prosecuted for this serious crime.

First things first

The first thing you should do after an auto accident is to check the status of all drivers and passengers. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately and request that both emergency response and law enforcement personnel be sent to your location. Even if everyone seems to be okay, it is important that they be checked out by professionals who know what symptoms to look for that could indicate a serious albeit invisible injury.

While waiting for emergency and law enforcement officials to arrive, exchange information with all other drivers, including the following:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Driver’s license
  • License plate number
  • Insurance company

Under no circumstances should you indicate in any manner that the accident was your fault. Even if you think it may have been, it is not your job to assign blame. Leave that to law enforcement. In addition, the fact that you have just been involved in an accident may well mean that you are upset and not thinking clearly. This is no time to be assuming blame that in fact may not be yours to assume.

This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice. It can, however, help you understand the process and what to expect.

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