You've Been In An Accident
Check yourself for injuries and if you have one, call 911 or ask someone to do that for you. And, if you think it’s something serious, try to stay as still as you can and wait for emergency services.
If you find your able enough to, check the other folks in your vehicle, and if anyone’s hurt, call emergency services right away--or ask a bystander of they can call for help.
If it’s at all possible to move the car AND it presents a hazard where it is, pull to the side of the road. If it’s undriveable, leave it where it is, and get yourself and anyone else who’s also able to move, to safety.
Yes, if you haven’t done it yet, call the police. It doesn’t matter if the accident is major or minor--and Illinois requires drivers to report any accident that involves “death, bodily injury or property damage over $500” — no matter who caused the accident.
The officers will fill out an accident report as well as document the scene (but if they can’t get there for whatever reason, it’s up to you to go to the nearest police station an complete the report yourself!)
Turn off the engine, turn on the hazard lights, if you’re able to do so, set and light road flares if you have them (so other vehicles know to slow down)
Once everyone is safely away from oncoming traffic, trade contact and insurance information with the other driver. This is what you need:
Full name and contact information
Insurance company and policy number
Driver’s license and license plate number
Type, color, and model of vehicle
Location of the accident
Do your best to be level headed and DON’T discuss fault when going over the facts with the other driver. The insurance adjuster who reviews your claim will determine that based on an inspection of all the damages involved as well as the supporting documentation--such as the police report--and any photographs from the scene.
You need to protect yourself, not just on the scene, but after, so you’ll need to:
Get the name and badge number of all the responding officers
Ask them where you can get a copy of the accident report (you’ll need it when you file your claim)
Take pictures--get different angles so you can see the damage done to everything (cars, fences, poles--if it got hit, you want a picture).
Take names--and addresses, including those of passengers in other vehicles, AND the names and contact information of any available witnesses.
Start Your Claim
If things are safe enough on the scene, call your agent, or start the process via the website on your phone and someone can tell you exactly what you’ll need to file your claim.
Accidents are stressful and even frightening, but if you can follow these steps, it will help protect you from unwanted and intended consequences, and you can focus not only on the health and well being of you and anyone else involved, but also in getting your vehicle repaired and getting back on the road as soon as possible.