Bus accidents often result in devastating injuries for those involved. When a bus accident occurs, the immediate aftermath of the incident is usually chaotic. There are usually many injury victims that need treatment at the same time, and those involved are often left wondering what steps they need to take immediately following the incident. Here, we want to discuss what should happen after a bus accident occurs in Chicago. We do understand that all of the steps we discuss here may not be possible in all cases, and our Chicago bus accident lawyers are standing by to help you get through this.
1. Call the Police
Never assume that someone else is calling 911 after a bus accident occurs. If you are able to do so, you need to call 911 and let the dispatcher know that an accident happened and where it occurred. Make sure that police, EMS, and fire officials are on the way to the scene. Law enforcement officials will be responsible for conducting a preliminary investigation and possibly determining liability for the incident.
2. Seek Medical Care
A bus accident victim needs to seek medical care as soon as possible. In the aftermath of an accident, it is not uncommon for the signs and symptoms of bus accident injuries to not appear until hours or days after the incident occurs. However, every crash victim needs to seek medical care immediately. Not only does this ensure the well-being of the accident victim, but it also helps establish a strong link between the accident and the injuries. This evidence will be incredibly beneficial when it comes to securing compensation from the insurance carrier.
3. Gather Evidence
It is important to begin gathering evidence as soon as possible, but only if it is safe to do so. Some of the evidence that those involved can gather, while they are at the scene of the accident, includes the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. Additionally, crash victims can use their smartphones or other types of cameras to take photographs of everything at the scene. This includes damage to vehicles, injuries, debris around the scene, skid marks, causes of the crash, traffic and weather conditions, and more. Additionally, we encourage anybody involved in a bus accident to take note (and photographs) of any surveillance cameras they see near the scene of the accident. The footage captured on these cameras could be invaluable, but it is also difficult to obtain. We will discuss that in a moment.
4. Report the Incident to Insurance Carriers
It is important for bus accident victims to report the incident to their insurance carrier as soon as possible, even if they did not cause the accident. Insurance carriers have fairly strict reporting deadlines, and failing to notify the carrier of the incident within a day or two could result in a significant delay in the claim. However, victims do not need to go into detail about the incident with the insurance carrier in the initial report. In fact, they should relay all questions about the incident to an attorney.
5. Call a Chicago Bus Accident Lawyer
A Chicago bus accident lawyer needs to be involved in these cases early. An attorney can begin gathering and preserving all of the evidence needed to prove liability, and they will also handle all communication with other parties involved. Above, we mentioned the difficulty in obtaining surveillance camera footage. The reality is that video footage on any surveillance cameras usually does not last long. Sometimes, videos begin erasing themselves within a day to make room for more recording time. An attorney can get involved quickly, use the court system to obtain subpoenas, and try to get the video evidence before it disappears.
6. Continue all Medical Care
Bus accident victims must continue medical care until their doctor says they have reached maximum medical improvement. If a Chicago bus accident victim chooses to discontinue their care against medical advice, this could be used as a sign by insurance carriers or the at-fault party’s legal team as evidence that the victim does not need compensation.