Car crashes are a perennially leading cause of injury across Chicago and the State of Illinois. Unfortunately, it only takes a few seconds of negligent behavior behind the wheel to cause an accident. In these cases, injury victims have rights to pursue monetary compensation based on their harms.
Your journey towards recovery starts at the scene of the accident. Once you have made sure that everyone is safe, call 911 and speak to the other parties involved, as well as potential eyewitnesses. Once you leave the scene, you should seek immediate medical assessment and treatment before contacting your attorney.
With over 25 years of experience pursuing compensation for our injury victim clients, the Chicago car accident lawyers at Rhatigan Law Offices have the knowledge and resources to put you on the path to recovery. Begin this process today by calling our offices at (312) 578-8502 to obtain your free initial case assessment.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Chicago
Almost all vehicular collisions in the State of Illinois are caused by driver error. When a driver fails to obey traffic laws or behaves irresponsibly behind the wheel, they may be viewed as negligent for the purposes of a lawsuit. Below are some of the most common instances of driver negligence that can lead to an accident.
Illinois traffic regulations require that drivers retain a reasonable distance between their vehicle and the one immediately in front of them. The reasoning for this is to allow the driver of the rear vehicle enough time to slow down or stop if the traffic pattern changes up ahead. In almost every rear-end collision case, the driver of the rear vehicle is determined to be at fault for exactly this reason.
Sudden lane changes are a substantial danger to others in the vehicle’s vicinity. This type of behavior is most common in urban areas like Chicago during high traffic like rush hour, where drivers are more likely to get frustrated with the pace of traffic. Even if the lane change is not erratic, drivers are responsible for accounting for blind spots, or they may be liable for the resulting collision.
While some may use their phone for navigation purposes, incoming texts and calls can take the driver’s eyes off the road. If this happens, the distracted driver could lose track of their primary responsibility. Illinois law prohibits drivers from texting or making calls without a hands-free device.
Drunk driving accidents claim the lives of roughly 28 people a day in the United States. Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not only a crime, but it may also be grounds for a court enforcing punitive damages in a civil lawsuit. If you were injured in a car accident by a drunk driver, consult with your Chicago car accident attorney about whether you might be able to recover punitive damages.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Chicago
It can be difficult to concentrate on securing your future financial recovery after being involved in a collision. That is why it can help to be familiar with this key checklist from our Chicago car accident lawyers about what steps you can take both at the scene of the accident and immediately after you leave.
Make Sure Everyone Is Safe
The priority immediately after an accident is to make sure that it doesn’t compound itself. If you can operate your vehicle, slowly pull off to a shoulder or other side street that is out of the way. If you cannot move the car or the accident occurs in low visibility conditions, turn on your hazards and deploy flares if you have them before getting yourself and your passengers to the side of the road.
You should always call for emergency services after any car accident, no matter how serious you believe it is at first. The dispatcher will send law enforcement officers to the scene to take down critical information, which they will include in their official accident report. You can also request an ambulance if anyone at the scene has injuries that require immediate attention.
Talk to Other Parties
After an accident, exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved is standard practice. The other driver is legally required to provide you with this information before leaving the scene. You should also do your best to get contact information from any potential eyewitnesses to the accident who could help sustain your claim later on, as these individuals are substantially more difficult to track down after they leave the scene.
Take Photos and Video
While you might ultimately not need it, visual evidence of the accident may prove vital in your later pursuit of compensation. You should attempt to document the damage to the vehicles, road and weather conditions, and tire tracks left on the road at the scene.
Get Medical Attention
Once you leave the scene, the first place you should go is your nearest emergency room or urgent care facility. While you may want to wait for an appointment with your primary care doctor, you should know that this may take some time. Additionally, many primary care physician’s offices will not treat car accident injuries, as they may be unable to accept car insurance coverage for payment.
Call a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer
You should not waste any time in reaching out to an experienced Chicago car accident attorney. The earlier you start working on your legal claim, the more likely you are to succeed and the sooner you will receive your compensation. You should get medical care for your injuries first, however, as your lawyer can use your medical record to estimate potential damages.
Rhatigan Law Offices Can Help You Recover Damages for Your Chicago Car Accident Injuries
The experienced Chicago car accident attorneys at Rhatigan Law Offices are ready to assist you in your recovery, starting with a free initial case assessment when you call our offices at (312) 578-8502.