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It is hard to think after a car accident. The suddenness of the crash and both the muted and not-so-subtle physical effects can make it difficult to remember next steps, which is why it is important to be as prepared as possible. Despite avoiding any major injuries, you will likely still be in shock. You could feel weak and have a rapid heartbeat. You may also be confused as to what happened and what you are supposed to do next. After any accident, you should take care of yourself first and then your passengers or others involved in the crash. Call 911 if anyone needs medical attention. However, if you are physically well besides the shock of the experience, you should speak with the other parties involved in the collision to exchange information.
Once you have gained as much information as you can, spoken to the police, and called your auto insurer to notify them of the accident, the next best thing to do is call a Chicago car accident lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900. A collision can derail your plans and your financial well-being. An experienced attorney will help you get back on track.
Certain information is important to gather after any car accident. The participants’ names, contact information, and all relevant insurance info is necessary for the insurers and your lawyer to quickly begin investigating what happened. You can either write this information down the old fashioned way, type it up in a memo in your phone, or take a voice memo on your phone. When exchanging information, concentrate on finding out:
1. Names of all parties involved: You should gather the first and last names of everyone involved in the accident, including drivers and passengers. If there were witnesses to the accident who stopped to help, ask for their names and contact information as well. Be sure to inquire about correct spelling and not to simply guess. If they have a common name, such as John Smith, consider asking for a middle name or initial.
2. Contact information: You should ask for each person’s address, home and cell phone numbers, and email address. This may seem like a lot of information, but it is important to have multiple options to reach someone. Additionally, having a home address may be crucial in the future if that person needs to be served court documents.
3. Preferred contact method: Some individuals prefer to be contacted at work during the day or on their cell phone during certain hours. Others may respond to email faster than a voice message. Asking each individual how they prefer to be contacted can save you and your attorney a headache in the future. Additionally, take note if a person prefers to speak in language other than English.
4. Driver’s license numbers: When you speak with each person involved in the accident, ask to see their driver’s licenses to check the proper spelling of their names and obtain their driver’s license numbers. No one is required to show you their licenses though, so they may say no. If this happens, continue to gather the contact, vehicle, and insurance information they are willing to provide.
5. Vehicle information: You should note the model, make, year, color, license plate numbers, and other defining characteristics of the vehicles involved in the accident. You may need to ask the owner or driver of that vehicle for details about the car. Defining characteristics may include specialized wheels, rims, window tinting, or decals.
6. Vehicle identification number: You will also need to ask the owner or driver of the vehicles involved in the accident for the VINs. The VIN is the most accurate way to track a vehicle and determine lawful ownership.
7. Name of the insured for the vehicle: In many situations, the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident is not the owner of the car or person who carries an auto insurance policy for that vehicle. If the owner and/or the insured is different from the driver, ask for the name and personal information for the individual who pays for the auto insurance policy as well as the driver.
8. Insurance carriers and policy numbers: It is often easiest to ask to see the driver and/or vehicle owner’s insurance card. From that card you can gather the insurance carrier and the policy number, both of which are crucial to have in order to file a third-party claim for your property damage and personal injuries.
If you were injured in a crash, do not hesitate to seek advice from an experienced lawyer. Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. The attorneys of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. understand how hard it can be to physically, emotionally, and financially recover from a collision. That is why we are here to support you through this difficult time, handle the insurance red tape, and represent you on your personal injury claim in court if necessary. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 to schedule an initial consultation.