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Know Your Rights After an I-90 Accident in Chicago

 The 3,000+ mile long Interstate 90 runs east to west and is the longest Interstate Highway in the U.S. It begins in Seattle and ends in Boston, serving 13 states, including major cities like Chicago.

The I-90 section that runs through Chicago carries a non-stop flow of traffic and is a major transport artery for the city. 

Unfortunately, the I-90 is a hotspot for serious accidents as well. Hundreds of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians suffer injuries or die in crashes on this Interstate every year. 

If you are involved in an I-90 accident in Chicago, it is crucial to know your rights. Otherwise, you will find it challenging to pursue personal injury compensation.

What to Do Immediately After an I-90 Accident

The immediate aftermath of any accident is fear and chaos. It is difficult to think straight and remember what to do to prevent further injury or another crash. 

If you find yourself part of an accident scene on the I-90, try your best to keep the following in mind:

  • Check for injuries immediately. This includes yourself, passengers, pedestrians, and the other vehicle's occupants. 

  • If you see what looks like serious injuries or fatalities, call emergency services. Do not attempt to move anyone if they look seriously injured. 

  • If possible, try to secure the accident scene by moving your car away from oncoming traffic. If the car is too badly damaged to move, wait for the authorities to arrive and secure the scene. 

  • Pace yourself as you move around the accident scene. Watch out for potential hazards that could cause further injury. Seek immediate medical attention if you start feeling pain when the adrenaline wears off. 

It Is Crucial to Document the Accident 

Help will arrive fast, but in the few minutes between the accident and the arrival of first responders, try to gather evidence of the accident

If you feel up to it, take pictures of the damage to your car and visible injuries to your person. Take notes on your phone, including the date and time of the accident, as well as any other details you can remember. This may include the actions of other drivers and pedestrians. 

Get Information From the Other Driver

You should also exchange information with all involved parties. When the police arrive, ask for a copy of the official police report. If there are witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact information. Their testimony will be valuable if you pursue a personal injury case. 

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

After you have received medical treatment for your injuries, you can start thinking about a personal injury lawsuit. 

Remember that Illinois is a no-fault state, so no matter who caused the accident, your insurance company will cover some of your medical expenses. However, the provider will only pay up to your policy limits.

If your injuries or damages exceed your insurance coverage limits, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim. You must file the claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. It should request compensation for your medical bills, potential lost wages, car damage, and other expenses. 

Determining Fault After an Accident 

Personal injury claims rely heavily on determining fault. Illinois works according to a comparative negligence system, so if you were partly at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced. 

For instance, if you are 20% at fault and claim damages of $100,000, your compensation will be $80,000. 

It is not always easy to determine fault, but the process relies mainly on analyzing the different forms of evidence. This includes witness statements, photos, medical records, and police reports. 

Causes of I-90 Accidents That May Help Determine Fault

Any one of the following common I-90 accident causes may apply to your case and help determine fault: 

  • Distracted driving: Texting or talking on the phone while driving increases the risk of an accident. It will impact your compensation if you or the other driver are found guilty of distracted driving. 

  • Speeding: Driving too fast makes it more difficult to react to sudden changes in traffic or hazards. It also causes serious accidents. Driving on the I-90 is already a high-speed activity, which only increases the likelihood of accidents. 

Other causes include tailgating, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUIs are also a leading cause of fatal crashes throughout the U.S., including on the I-90. 

After establishing fault, the evidence you gathered during and after the accident will come into play. 

Your lawyer will need your medical records and the police report to conduct their own investigation. They will examine witness statements and accident scene photos to reconstruct what happened. 

You must also provide vehicle repair quotes for your personal injury claim. 

Working With Your Lawyer

It is important to work with your lawyer and listen to their advice. Your lawyer will tell you what to claim for and what you can realistically expect from your settlement. 

Moreover, your lawyer will negotiate with the other party’s insurance company on your behalf. 

If there is no settlement between you and the other party, your lawyer will prepare your case for court and represent you during the court case. 

What Not to Do After an I-90 Accident

Your lawyer will advise you on your rights, but you must avoid several things after an accident. 

  • Never admit fault while at the accident scene or talking to your insurance company. 

  • Do not take your car for repairs before talking to your lawyer.

  • Avoid speaking directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Always let your lawyer handle any conversations and negotiations. 

  • Do not sign any documents from any insurance provider without first talking to your lawyer. 

Protecting Your Rights After an I-90 Accident

Being involved in an I-90 accident can be incredibly stressful. However, if you hire a lawyer to handle your personal injury case and protect your rights, you will get to the other side. 

Remember to get the medical attention you need, document the scene, and avoid speaking to other parties without your lawyer present. 

By doing this, you will navigate the legal process with more ease and get the compensation you deserve.

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