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Staying Safe After a Car Accident

Posted on in Car Accidents

IL crash lawyerJust because your vehicle has come to a stop after a car crash does not mean that the danger has passed. There is still a risk of what is called a “secondary” car accident. After you have been in a car crash, your vehicle is probably stopped in a rather unconventional place and you may not be able to move it. This can put you at risk of being hit again, either while still in your car or while on foot. There can also be danger associated with the other driver, especially if road rage was a factor in your accident. Knowing how to keep yourself safe in the aftermath of a car accident can stop a bad day from turning into a horrible one. After you have gotten to safety, your next step should be to contact an attorney for help recovering compensation.

Tips for Preventing Further Harm After a Traffic Accident

Keep in mind that not all tips will apply to all situations. Some steps that may help keep you safe from further injury after a car accident include:

  • Lights - Turn on your flashers so that other vehicles can see you more easily, especially when it is dark out.
  • Move vehicles - If your vehicle is still drivable, move it out of the roadway and onto the shoulder. This reduces the odds of an inattentive driver running straight into your car and potentially causing another accident. Stay out of the area your vehicle might be pushed into if it is hit a second time.
  • Stay visible - Avoid walking behind the damaged vehicles where other drivers may not be able to spot you. If it is very dark, consider turning on your phone’s flashlight so others can see where you are walking or standing. However, do not shine your flashlight at other vehicles - keep it low to the ground.
  • Deescalate - Do not argue with or show anger towards the other driver, especially if he seems eager to start a fight. Never provoke a driver whose road rage has already caused an accident. If you need to, walk away just far enough to get to a safer or more populated area to reduce the chance of an assault. Make sure you inform the dispatcher where you went and why you had to walk away when you call the police.

If a secondary collision does occur, you may also have a claim against the driver who caused the second crash. An attorney will be able to help you determine which parties may be liable to you for any harm that occurs after the initial accident.

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When Careless Drivers Pass the Blame

Posted on in Car Accidents

IL injury lawyerDrivers who have just caused an accident are often quick to blame anyone or anything but themselves. One common scapegoat is the weather. Another is the road itself. A negligent driver may even attempt to claim that the accident was all your fault when it was clearly on them. If the negligent driver who caused your car accident is trying to put the blame on anyone but themselves, you may worry about how it will affect your case. In most cases, it will not. Drivers are expected to adjust their driving to match the conditions of the road they are on. If it is you that they are trying to pass the blame to, you may have a bit more of a challenge, but a prompt investigation can help reveal the truth. Our attorneys will strive to help you make sure the right party is held accountable.

Road Conditions Negligent Drivers May Blame for an Accident

When road conditions are adverse, drivers should adjust the manner in which they drive to reduce the odds of a crash. If you hear the other driver blaming one of these conditions, they are highly unlikely to escape liability for doing so:

  • Weather - Rain, snow, and ice make the road slippery. This does not mean that drivers are not liable if they skid into someone. Drivers should slow down, increase their following distance, and start stopping earlier to compensate for slick roadways.
  • Hills and curves - Drivers should be aware that hills and curves can interfere with their ability to see into the distance. When approaching the top of a hill or the center of a curve, drivers should be prepared for the possibility that other cars may come into view.
  • Lane closures - If a lane is closed off, drivers should cooperate with others and merge. Some drivers who attempt to “cut the line” will claim that they did not know their lane was ending - this is not an excuse for causing a crash.

In the rare event that a road or its signage is truly designed or maintained in a way that is unreasonably dangerous even for cautious drivers, it may be possible to file a claim against the governing body responsible for the problems.

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IL injury lawyerA large percentage of car accidents happen at intersections. At an intersection, drivers are required to take turns using a common driving space to cross the intersection. There is plenty of opportunity for mishaps when multiple vehicles going in all different directions must share space. T-bone accidents and rear-end collisions are both very common around intersections. Some intersections are naturally more dangerous than others. Every city has at least one dreaded “malfunction junction,” and Chicago is certainly no exception. Dangerous intersections like those involving more than two intersecting roads, or multiple lanes controlled by a stop sign can become confusing and increase the odds of a crash. However, nothing plays a bigger role in intersection accidents than negligent drivers. If you were injured in a car accident, we may be able to help you recover compensation.

What Negligent Driving Habits Lead to Crashes at Intersections?

Drivers are responsible for taking reasonable care to avoid accidents. It is particularly important for drivers to use caution when faced with an intersection. Careless behaviors that may lead to crashes include:

  • Navigation struggles - Everyone has gotten lost at some point. GPS systems are not perfect. However, the middle of an intersection is not the place to go to battle with your navigation system. Drivers who have become turned around should follow their lane until it is safe to pull over rather than rapidly forcing their way into a different lane or making an abrupt turn.
  • Distraction - Drivers who are texting, emailing, or fighting with their GPS may not notice cars ahead of them stopping for a red light or stop sign. This can cause rear-end collisions. However, if the driver fails to notice an upcoming intersection due to their distraction, they may fail to stop entirely.
  • No signals - Good communication with other drivers is key. At intersections, this means that drivers must signal their intention. Other drivers may rely on a vehicle’s lack of turn signals and assume they are going straight when they are in fact turning.
  • Road rage - It can be very frustrating to deal with a driver who is not respecting the rules of the road. Some drivers have a bad habit of waiting too long to merge into the lane they need to be in and cutting others off. It is unsurprising that intersections, especially heavily trafficked intersections, tend to see a lot of crashes related to road rage.

If you were hit by a careless driver at an intersection, it is important to speak with an attorney before speaking to an insurance company.

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IL accident lawyerBy Illinois state law, you are obligated to file a police report if you get into a car accident that causes any type of injury or over $1,500 in property damage. That is enough of a reason to make sure you stick around after the crash to wait for the police unless your injuries indicate that you must be taken to the hospital right away. Aside from that, the police report may be absolutely vital to your claim. While quite a few people are understandably hesitant to interact with the police, it is important that you do not skip this step. A police report showing that you were not at fault for the accident can make or break your case when it comes time to seek damages. You have the option of calling a lawyer from the side of the road for further guidance.

Why is the Police Report so Important?

There are a number of reasons that people who have been hurt in a crash hesitate to call the police. However, failing to do so could make it very difficult for you to recover compensation. A police report can help your case in ways like:

  • Credibility - Right or wrong, courts tend to believe police officers. Having a neutral police officer document that they believe the other driver caused the accident can be enormously helpful. Your version of events and the other driver’s version of events may be wildly different. Whoever the police agree with is likely to succeed in court.
  • Less suspicion - If you fail to call the police after getting hurt in a crash, the court is going to wonder why. Failing to bring the police out to the accident scene can make the court believe that you are hiding something. It could open the door for speculation about why you did not want the police to come. The more the other driver protests your plan to call the police, the more you need them.
  • Prompt investigation - Police can respond quickly after an accident has occurred. This means that they can investigate before the accident scene is disturbed. They can document physical evidence like tire tracks, the positioning of the crashed vehicles, and where vehicle debris landed. These types of evidence may no longer be available by the time you are able to dispatch an attorney.

While dealing with the police always carries some level of risk, you are far better off allowing them to come investigate and take a report after an accident.

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IL injury lawyerFrom the moment you make it out of your crashed vehicle up until you have received your settlement, everything you do following a car accident could be important. In most cases, you are not dealing with the driver who hit you - you are dealing with their insurance company. Insurance representatives are trained to save their company money, not to make sure that people their clients carelessly injure get a fair deal. Saying or doing the wrong thing could ultimately hurt your case. Anything from an off-handed remark to a witness on the side of the road to a badly-worded social media post could ultimately cause you to lose out on part of the compensation you deserved. The best thing you can do after a serious motor vehicle accident is to call a lawyer sooner rather than later, and then follow their advice.

Actions to Avoid After Being Injured in a Traffic Accident

What you do not do is often just as important as what you do. If you were injured in a car accident, you should not:

  • Leave the scene - It does not matter how minor you think the accident was - you must stay there until police or first responders say otherwise. You do not want to discover several days later that your injuries were more severe than you initially thought when it is too late to have an officer investigate the scene. Leaving prematurely could also land you in legal hot water, even if you are not the one who caused the crash.
  • Post on social media - A social media post about the accident could be turned against you. Update your loved ones through more old-fashioned means until your case resolves.
  • Get aggressive - At best, getting into an altercation with the at-fault driver is entirely unhelpful. At worst, it could lead to you being arrested. It is better to remain as calm as you can until you are able to get away and contact an attorney.
  • Downplay what happened - There is such thing as being too polite after an accident. While you should not get into an argument, you also should not say things like, “it was only a light tap,” or “I am alright, do not worry.” The insurance company could use statements like these to accuse you of exaggerating the extent of your injuries.
  • Talk to insurance - The only thing you should tell the at-fault driver’s insurance company is how to get in touch with your attorney.

This can all be a lot to keep track of at what is often a very difficult time, but avoiding these few mistakes can help preserve your claim.

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