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What to Do After an Auto Accident
Posted by Editor on November 3, 2011 in Business | Comments Off
By: Howard Ankin
Ankin Lawn Office
Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business - Automobile accidents are a common occurrence and happen in the blink of an eye. Knowledge is power and advance knowledge about how to handle issues arising from an accident can help you avoid economic and legal problems.
Q: What should I be aware of if I am in car accident?
A. There are three issues that you should be aware of in an automobile accident: receiving a ticket; repairing the automobile damage; and paying medical bills.
A traffic ticket may be issued to either one or both the parties involved in the accident. The ticket is for the cause of the accident (running a stop sign, or red light, failure to yield, etc.) and can also include failure to carry a driver’s license or not having auto insurance. Even if the accident was the other person’s fault you can still get a ticket for not carrying automobile insurance or your driver’s license; make sure you have both whenever you drive.
Repairing the damage to your automobile. You may need to have your vehicle repaired. Many people in an accident feel that if someone else hits them that person’s insurance should pay to fix their car. While the law requires all drivers have auto insurance, the person who hits you may not have a policy that will pay to repair or replace your car the way you want; you may have to rely on your own policy. If you can afford to purchase collision coverage with a low deductible, do so.
Paying for medical bills. People in an accident are often concerned about seeking emergency medical attention because of the costs. Technically medical bills and follow-up care should be paid for by the at fault party. It is best to have medical pay coverage with your own insurance policy as it is an inexpensive addition to an auto insurance policy. If you are treated when the accident happens you won’t risk problems with your claim because there was a gap between the accident and when you saw a doctor. Waiting weeks before medical treatment can be problematic to personal injury recovery.
Q: What if I am in an accident with someone who does not have insurance?
A: The State of Illinois says you have to have automobile insurance to drive a car but many drivers do not. To insure that your car is repaired and your medical bills are paid, your insurance policy should include uninsured motorist coverage. If you are involved in an uninsured motorist claim, it is best contact an attorney that is seasoned in working with uninsured motorist claim.
Q: What should I do following an accident?
A: Make sure you and others are out of harm’s way; sometimes a secondary accident can cause more damage than the first. Whenever possible, obtain witnesses’ names and telephone numbers or take pictures at the scene. Pictures of the damage to the automobile or of your injuries are worth “more than a 1000 words” as weeks and months later they can show the progression of your injuries.
Q: Do I have to report the accident?
A: Auto insurance companies require that you to inform them when you’ve been involved in an accident. You may be required to provide a recorded statement if there is a discrepancy in the facts between the people involved in the accident.
Q: Should I talk to the other driver’s insurance company?
A: Before talking with the insurance company you may wish to speak with a lawyer to understand your legal rights. Sometimes when a person provides a recorded statement without fully understanding the questions they may unknowingly give incorrect information about the accident. By speaking with a attorney first and understanding your rights on what should be told in a recorded statement may help limit the confusion of giving your statement incorrectly.
Disclaimer: The content contained in this column is for informational use only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should not rely upon the information discussed in this column for an analysis of your legal issue. If you have a legal question, please call The Ankin Law Office for a confidential telephone consultation; toll-free: (800) 442-6546 Local: (312) 346-8780. Please feel free to visit our website at: http://www.ankinlaw.com.