10 Steps To Take After a Car Accident in Chicago

7 mins read

If you’re driving in Chicago and have a collision, understanding the next steps to take is essential.

In a city with around 300,000 car accidents every year, knowing how to handle the aftermath can impact your safety, legal rights, and potential insurance claims.

Here’s a guide to the 10 key steps you should take to help you manage what can be a highly stressful situation:

1. Stay Safe & Check for Injuries

Safety is your first priority. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers and, if you’re able to, you should move your vehicle to the side of the road. Once you’re in a safe place, you can start to assess yourself and any other passengers who are with you.

  • This prevents further accidents or injuries
  • It allows for immediate medical attention if needed
  • You create a safer environment for everyone involved

2.Call the Police

Once you’re happy that everyone is safe, contact 911 immediately to report the accident and any injuries, as the police report is crucial for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings.

  • It provides an official, unbiased record of the incident
  • You get a legally admissible document for insurance claims and court proceedings
  • It covers key details such as date, time, location, and parties involved

3.Swap Info with Other Drivers

You should exchange information with any other drivers involved in the accident, collecting names, contact information, insurance details, and vehicle model. Take photos of driver’s licenses, license plates, and insurance cards if you can.

  • This is crucial for insurance claim filing
  • It enables direct communication between parties if needed
  • It can help with legal proceedings

4.Record a Voice Note

When you’re in a car accident, it’s difficult to remember important details later on – so recording a voice note while everything is fresh in your mind can be a huge benefit. Record a stream of consciousness, even if something doesn’t seem important at the time. This helps to:

  • Preserve fresh, accurate memories of the incident
  • Capture details that might be forgotten later
  • Provide a personal account for insurance or legal use

5.Take Lots of Photos

Thoroughly document the accident scene with photos and videos, capturing images of vehicle damage, the positions of the cars involved, skid marks, traffic signs, and any relevant road conditions. 

  • These offer important visual evidence
  • Capture details that may be overlooked
  • Provide an objective record of the accident scene

6.Chat with Witnesses

Witness statements can be vital in establishing the facts of an accident. If there are any bystanders who saw the collision, you can ask for their contact information and if they would be willing to provide a statement. 

  • Unbiased third-party accounts of the incident are key
  • You strengthen your case with professional observations
  • Additional perspectives can clarify the accident details

7.Phone a Personal Injury Lawyer

Calling Chicago accident attorneys can have a big impact on the outcome of your case. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the legal process and will focus entirely on protecting your rights. Many will also offer free initial consultations, so there’s nothing to lose from making the call.

  • An attorney will fight your corner
  • They provide expert guidance through the claims process
  • You maximize potential compensation for damages

8.Avoid Communication with the Other Driver’s Insurance

Refrain from providing written or recorded statements to the other driver’s insurance company without legal representation. Although you shouldn’t have to worry about this right after a collision, insurance adjusters may use your words against you during settlement negotiations – so politely decline to provide a statement.

  • You protect yourself from making potentially damaging comments
  • It prevents manipulation of your words by insurance adjusters
  • You maintain control over the flow of information about your case

9.Let Your Lawyer Handle Reporting the Accident

You may feel the need to contact your insurance company immediately, but allowing your personal injury attorney to handle this communication can be beneficial. Lawyers experienced in car accident cases understand how to present the facts in a way that protects your interests.

  • They ensure accurate communication with insurers
  • You’re protected from accepting unfavorable settlements
  • You get professional handling of complex legal issues

10.Keep Everything Organized

You should keep all the information you’ve got in a detailed file of all accident-related documents, which can include the police report, medical bills, repair estimates, correspondence with insurance companies, and any other relevant paperwork. 

  • You’ll have a comprehensive overview of the accident and its aftermath
  • It supports your case with organized, factual documentation
  • Communication with lawyers and insurance companies will be easier


Being prepared for a car accident in Chicago is crucial for anyone driving or riding in a vehicle in the city, whether you’ve lived there for years, or have recently moved and aren’t used to the local roads yet.

If the worst happens, each of the 10 steps outlined above is important for protecting your safety, legal rights, and financial interests in the aftermath.

Keep this guide handy, follow the steps, and you’ll set yourself up for a stronger position in any insurance claims or legal proceedings that arise.

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