The steps you take in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle accident will go a long way toward determining theeventual outcome. This is especially true if you you are not the only one in the care and havepassengers. If you wan to protect your safety as well as your ability to pursue rightful compensation, you needto take specific, measured actions to protect your interests as well as those with you.
When multiple people are riding in one car, the insurance coverage for all of the passengers is associated withthe vehicle. This means that when it come time to settle the case, or divide a jury verdict, the insurancefunds are split among the injured parties. Essentially, when it comes to collecting payment from insurancecompanies, every person in the car needs to fend for themselves. This is also a consideration if your childrenare in the car.
Here are some steps to keep in mind when confronting an auto accident involving multiple passengers. (Theserules apply not only in Illinois, but across the country)
1. Determine If Everyone Is Okay
Is anyone in your vehicle or nearby injured? If so, call 911. A Good Samaritan may have already done so, but itnever hurts to make sure that medical help and law enforcement officers are on the way. Better safe than sorry whensomeone’s health – and maybe life – are at stake.
It is also important to fight the urge to resolve the situation quickly and get home. Even if other people inyour care claim not to be hurt, it is wise to insist that an ambulance take them to the hospital or doctor.This is especially true if the passenger(s) is not a member of your family but a friend or associate.
2. Call The Police
Even a seemingly minor fender-bender can lead to big problems down the road. To preserve a potential legalclaim down the line you need to get in touch with the police and make sure you file apolice report about the accident.Then, make sure you have the other driver’s insurance information. A full an detailed police report is the keyto successfully achieving an appropriate damage award.
3. Take Care Of Yourself
You may feel fine right after the accident. In fact, you may feel nothing at all due tothe adrenaline pumping through your body after such a close call. However, you may start to feel some soreness,stiffness and pain as that adrenaline wears off in the hours, days, and weeks that follow.
It is critical to get checked out by a doctor after your accident to rule out invisible injuries such asinternal bleeding, and to create a record of treatment that will help a personal injury claim if you decided topursue one.
Remember, similar rules apply to those we hear on airplanes where you must put on your own oxygen maskbefore placing one on your traveling companion. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t helpothers–even those involved in the wreck.
4. Talk To An Attorney
It will cost you nothing to find out whether you have a viable claim for damages, but going without the legalrepresentation you need could leave you alone to bear the burden of medical costs, pain and suffering, and lostwages. Don’t let that happen. Further, if there are other injured parties involved, generally the first partyto retain an experienced local lawyer will receive the greatest amount of compensation and best service.Insurance companies will do their best to withhold payment no matter what the injuries, and it is important tohave help from a lawyer. Contact us today for a free caseevaluation.