Car Accident to-do List & Motor Vehicle Accident Faqs

The following is a guide of what steps to take if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Obviously, this guide is not a substitute for skilled and experienced legal insight and evaluation of your particular circumstances. Contact Liana A. Bizios Law, LLC today for a free consultation regarding your accident at (312) 357-0733 or complete the Contact Us form.

1. Notify the Police about the Accident Immediately:
Tell the police what happened. Be polite, truthful and relay the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident, but do not editorialize. Ask the officer for a copy of the police report or how to obtain a copy after it is filed. it is best if the police come to the scene of the accident so that they can conduct their own, independent investigation, interview the drivers involved, as well as any passengers or witnesses.

2. Exchange Information with the Other Driver(s):
Exchange the full names, telephone numbers, addresses, insurance carriers, license plate numbers and any additional contact information with all other drivers involved in the accident. Also, be sure to obtain the name, address and phone number of any witnesses to the accident.

3. Interview Witnesses About the Accident:
If they are willing and consent, record the witness observations regarding the accident on your smartphone while the facts are still fresh in their minds. The passage of time blurs memories, so it’s best to record witness observations as soon as possible after the accident.

4. Take Photographs of the Accident Scene and Vehicles Involved because…
” A picture is worth a thousand words”
Photographs are especially helpful to attorneys and insurance adjusters investigating an accident since they may show the position of the vehicles after the accident, any debris on the roadway from the damages vehicles, skid marks, weather conditions, and general road conditions. Of course, photos may also show damage to the vehicles involved, both external and internal, including airbag deployment.

Also take photos of any visible physical injuries you have sustained, such as cuts, bruises, scars, etc., in addition to any casts for broken bones, stitches and other wound care. Continue to document your injuries during the recovery process.

5. Get Medical Attention as Soon as Possible following the Crash:
Obviously, some injuries require immediate medical attention, such as broken bones, head trauma, severe cuts and lacerations, etc. However, even if you do not have visible injuries, if you have any concern that you have been injured, consult with a doctor as soon as possible so that you may be evaluated and treated in a timely fashion. Tell the doctor, HOW, WHEN and WHERE the accident occurred and describe in detail any and all injuries, pain, discomfort, etc. you are experiencing as a result of the crash.

6. Document Everything you Remember about the Accident:
Write down what you SAW, HEARD and FELT while the events are still fresh in your mind. Include any statements made by the other driver(s) and/or witnesses regarding the accident. If you are too injured to write down your thoughts, ask a trusted family member or friend for assistance.

7. Call Your Insurance Company as soon as Possible to Report the Accident:
You have an obligation to notify your insurance company about the accident, and if you fail to do so in a timely manner, you may be denied compensation or obtaining compensation could be harder.

8. Do Not Delay:
Basically, there is a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit if you are involve in a motor vehicle accident. This is called the Statute of Limitations. If a lawsuit is not filed in a timely manner, you will forfeit your right to compensation. It is crucial that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who will investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident, determine the parties responsible, talk to witnesses and gather any other relevant evidence. If you wait until the last minute to consult with an attorney, the delay may hinder her/his ability to gather all the necessary information. Bottom line: DO NOT DELAY!


    1. Am I obligated to provide a statement to the other driver’s insurance company/adjuster?
    NO. You have no obligation to speak with the insurance adjuster(s) for the other driver(s) involved in the accident.

    2. So, how much time do I have to file a lawsuit in Illinois?
    In general, Illinois law states that actions for personal injuries must be brought within two years from the date of accident, and for property damage, you have five years to bring legal action. BEWARE, there are certain exceptions to these time limits that lengthen and shorten the time to bring a lawsuit. To protect your rights, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to determine the exact statute of limitations in your particular situation.

    3. If I am involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist, does that mean I cannot collect any compensation?
    No. You can file a claim with your own insurance carrier under the uninsured motorist coverage of your auto policy. There are limits and procedures to be followed when making such a claim, so it is best to retain an experienced attorney you can represent you in your claim against your insurance company.

    4. The driver responsible for my damages has limited coverage and my medical bills are in excess of his/her policy. What can I do to get full compensation?
    You can file what is referred to as an underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company if the limits of your coverage are higher than the policy of the driver responsible for your damages. For example, if the responsible driver has an insurance policy with limits of $ 25,000 and your policy has limits of $ 100,000 under the underinsured motorist coverage, you may be entitled to file a claim if your damages warrant it. Again, consult with an experienced accident attorney to determine the best course of action for your particular situation.

    5. I was injured in an accident and I do not have health insurance. Who will pay for my medical bills?
    You may receive compensation to pay for your medical bills if the other driver is found to be at fault for the accident, but determining who is responsible for the accident and then negotiating a settlement amount can take months. Of course, receiving compensation for your damages is not guaranteed. So what do you do when the hospital and doctor’s bills come?

    One option to pay for some, if not all, of your medical bills is to use the Medical Payment Coverage (Med-Pay) under your own auto policy. Med-Pay coverage covers medical expenses for you, other drivers listed on your auto policy, members of your household and passengers in your vehicle, if any of you are injured in a car accident.

    Med-Pay not only covers you while driving, it also covers you, as well as others listed on your policy and members of your household, while walking or cycling. For instance, if you are hit and injured by a car while crossing the street, Med-Pay coverage would pay for any medical expenses you may incur for treatment of your injuries.

    Med-Pay coverage pays regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Even if you were the one who caused the accident, Med-Pay would still pay your medical bills.

    The cost of Med-Pay coverage is low and provides broad coverage. You can even use Med-Pay if you have health insurance to cover deductibles and co-pays and any other gaps in coverage so that you are not left to pay huge medical bills out of pocket.

    We hope this guide has been helpful and informative. If you would like to discuss your particular auto accident case, please contact us today at (312) 357-0733 or fill out the Contact Us form.

    Disclaimer: The Car Accident To-Do List & Motor Vehicle Accident FAQs is not intended to be legal advice, but is provided for Informational Purposes Only. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for legal advice on your specific case as soon as possible. There are filing and other deadlines in cases for which only an attorney familiar with your particular situation can properly advise you.