Preparing for a vehicle accident

Auto accident preparedness can go a long way toward helping drivers and passengers in the confusing aftermath of a crash.

Being involved in a vehicle crash is certainly one of the last things that Chicago drivers want to think about. However, spending some time focusing on what to do after a crash can pay off for drivers and their passengers if an accident does eventually happen. New drivers and experienced drivers alike can easily be flustered in the moments after a crash and forget to do what they once considered very basic things.

The basics of a vehicle emergency kit

Some people may think of an emergency vehicle kit useful if a car breaks down. While that can be true, it can also be very helpful after a crash. The Consumer Protection Association notes these kits should include items designed to warn oncoming traffic about an accident scene and to keep people visible when outside of their vehicles.

Suggested items include:

• Flares or brightly colored cones.

• Reflective vests and other gear.

• Headlamps or flashlights.

Drivers are also urged to use their vehicles' hazard lights, especially if they are unable to move to an area out of the main flow of traffic.

Help for medical needs

In a serious crash , people may be unable to communicate. Therefore, having medical information accessible is important. Drivers should equip their vehicles with basic medical data about all family members for this purpose. It can include information about medical conditions, medications, and drug allergies.

Collecting information

Getting all of the necessary details goes a long way toward helping the process of obtaining compensation and filing claims. This should be done for all drivers and their passengers as well as any bicyclists or pedestrians who may have been involved. Securing contact data for witnesses is also recommended.

Motorists can put together a form with all of the types of information to be gathered and keep the form in their cars for easy access when needed. Using a cell phone or disposable camera to take pictures of the accident area and vehicles should also be done.

Filing an accident report

According to the Illinois State Patrol, when a fatality or injury results from an accident, a report must be filed. The same holds true for any accident that causes only property damage beyond a $500 threshold if at least one driver is uninsured or $1,500 if all drivers are insured. The Illinois Department of Transportation notes that there is a 10-day window in which reports should be made.

Getting legal help

Even when the cause of an accident seems obvious, problems can arise when it comes time to file a claim for compensation. Working with an experienced lawyer is a good way for accident victims to get help when claims processing gets tough.