The first thing a person in Illinois should do after a car accident happens is to stay calm and see whether there are any emergencies. If the accident has not happened in a place where the vehicles need to be moved, they should be left where they are, so police can document their positions.

If there are no emergencies that need to be attended to, the next step is to take pictures and write down what happened. Special attention should be paid to skid marks and any damage. Witness names, accounts and contact information should be noted, including that of other individuals involved in the accident. Other people’s accounts should be recorded neutrally and without argument even if they contradict a person’s own experience of the accident.

Once law enforcement arrives, it is important to cooperate with them. Other things to document are any personal items that are damaged and injuries. People should note down any aches and pains they are experiencing, even very minor ones, since they can sometimes turn into more serious problems. A person should not sign any document without first understanding it, and it might be best to show anything to an attorney beforehand. Details of the accident should only be discussed with law enforcement, and a person should not admit responsibility.

This documentation may be helpful if an injured individual has problems receiving compensation after an accident. Usually, the responsible party is supposed to compensate the injured person for expenses associated with the accident. However, the responsible driver’s insurance company might offer too little or dispute the facts of the accident. A lawyer may assist with negotiations with the insurance company. If the insurance company continues to resist, or the driver is uninsured, a lawsuit may be the next step. A civil lawsuit may be successful even if charges were filed against the driver unsuccessfully.