What Should I Do After a Car Wreck Death in Chicago?332 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 900
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Car Wreck Death in Chicago
Suffering injuries in a car wreck is frightening, but being involved in a crash that results in death is devastating. Not only must you deal with your own injuries and property damage, but you’ll also likely feel terrible about the victim who succumbed to their injuries sustained in the crash. And if you are a spouse or relative of the person who died, you may feel emotionally overwhelmed, worried about your future finances, and ultimately lost without your loved one’s companionship.
In Chicago, fatal car accidents claim between 300 and 400 lives annually. After all, it’s a busy city with millions of residents, creating many opportunities for severe car wrecks. Any car accident can result in fatalities, but the most common factors leading to death are driving at extreme speeds, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and distracted driving.
If you or a loved one experience a car wreck resulting in a fatality, it’s essential to seek legal assistance. Morgan and Morgan can help you navigate the legal system and obtain monetary compensation for your damages. Use the contact form on our website to schedule a free case evaluation today.
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What Should I Do If a Loved One Was Killed in a Car Accident?
If your spouse, family member, or partner was killed in a car accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to collect monetary damages. To be successful in your claim, you’ll need to prove that your loved one was less than 50% responsible for the accident. Illinois is a modified comparative fault state, meaning you can obtain damages from the other driver’s insurance agency up to the amount that they were at fault for the accident.
Consider a car accident involving two cars. The driver of one car is heavily intoxicated, with a blood alcohol limit well above the Illinois state limit. The driver gets on the highway driving the wrong way, crashing head-on with your loved one, who dies instantly.
In this case, the accident is 100% the fault of the other driver, and your loved one had no responsibility for the wreck. With help from an attorney, you could collect monetary damages related to emotional pain and suffering, loss of consortium or companionship, expenses for funeral and property damage, and other costs.
It’s important to remember that Illinois has a statute of limitations for wrongful death cases. Relatives must file a claim within two years of the date of the incident, or the court will dismiss the action.
What Should I Do If I Am Involved in a Car Accident That Results in a Death?
What should I do after a car wreck death in Chicago? If you’re involved in a car accident that results in a death, you’ll need to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself. Fatalities can cause significant distress — death often results in disruption to families, severe emotional pain, and financial hardship. While you may feel terrible to have been involved in the wreck (even if it wasn’t your fault), you’ll want to keep a level head.
Avoid admitting any type of fault in an accident involving a death, and consult with an attorney immediately. Follow these steps:
Don’t Leave the Scene of the Crash, but Seek Immediate Assistance
Don’t leave the scene of the crash. Once you’ve checked yourself and your passengers for injuries, assess the other parties involved in the wreck. Call an ambulance for people who have sustained any type of injury, no matter how mild or severe.
If you can, perform first aid on anyone with severe or life-threatening injuries. Do your best to keep the person calm and stop their bleeding, if at all possible. While attending to others, stay on the phone with emergency services. They’ll be able to offer further guidance while you wait for the ambulance to arrive.
Call the Police
EMS will likely notify the police of the accident while you’re on the phone. Make sure to provide the operator with the precise location of the crash. Once the police arrive, they’ll take charge of the accident scene and ensure that the proper procedures are observed.
Give the police any information you have relevant to the crash, including your version of the events that led to it. They will examine the scene and try to determine the cause of the wreck. If anyone was speeding or appears to be intoxicated, they’ll note the details in their accident report. Drivers who appear to be under the influence will need to undergo a breathalyzer or blood test to determine their level of intoxication.
Afterward, everyone involved in the wreck should receive a copy of the police report. You can request a copy through your local police precinct if it's not immediately available.
Call a Lawyer
You should always contact your insurance agency in the immediate aftermath of a crash. However, you should also seek legal aid if the accident was severe enough to involve fatalities. An experienced attorney can represent you in your discussions with an insurance agency. Once they have the case details, they can review them to determine your percentage of fault (if any) and make sure you don’t admit liability if you weren’t responsible for the crash.
Once the insurance agency receives the notification of an accident involving fatalities, they will contact all involved parties to determine the cause of the crash. Sometimes, they will attempt to obtain information from parties to reduce their financial exposure to a potential settlement.
Keep All Records Related to the Crash
Hold on to any documentation related to the accident, including laboratory tests, diagnoses, and prescribed medications. If you had the presence of mind to take photos or video of the accident scene and the damage to your vehicle, make sure to save them as well.
Your lawyer will need as much evidence concerning the incident as they can get. They’ll use it to build an effective case strategy on your behalf.
Don’t Discuss the Crash With Others
Avoid talking about the crash with anyone aside from your attorney and your immediate family. You can notify your employer, especially if you need time off work to recover from your injuries, but don’t delve into the circumstances of the case.
Sometimes, your words can come back to haunt you. Unscrupulous insurance agencies or attorneys may attempt to use off-hand remarks to make you appear at fault for the accident, potentially resulting in financial repercussions.
What If I Am Injured in a Car Accident That Results in Death?
Seek medical assistance if you’ve suffered any injuries in a car accident involving a fatality. The body releases adrenaline in the aftermath of an accident, which can mask pain symptoms, and so people often don’t realize they’ve sustained an injury until a few days after an accident.
If you notice signs of injury in the days following an accident, visit a hospital or urgent care center for an evaluation. Common injuries associated with car wrecks that may not be immediately apparent include:
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Sprains or strains
- Nerve damage
- Muscular injuries
- Back injuries
If you notice any pain that doesn’t go away, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The sooner you put yourself on the road to recovery, the better.
What If I Am Partially at Fault for an Accident That Resulted in a Fatality?
If you are partially at fault for the accident, the other parties may be able to collect damages. Your insurance company should cover monetary compensation related to the accident up to your coverage limits. If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance policy doesn’t provide enough benefits to cover all of the damages the other party sustained, they may file a civil action against you.
It’s best to have experience on your side if you have the misfortune of being in a car wreck that results in a fatality. Contact the team at Morgan & Morgan for legal advice you can count on.
What Types of Damages Are Available in a Car Wreck Involving Fatalities?
Monetary damages vary depending on the type of claim filed and who was at fault for the accident. Someone injured in a car wreck that was the fault of a party who died in the collision may be entitled to medical compensation, lost wages, damages for emotional distress or anguish, or disability and disfigurement.
If you caused a car wreck that resulted in someone else’s death, your insurance company would likely come to a settlement agreement with the victim’s family if they file a wrongful death claim.
What Should I Do After a Car Wreck Death in Chicago?
If you’re involved in a lethal automobile accident in Chicago, try to stay as calm as possible. It may be hard to process the reality of the situation, but there’s nothing you can do to change what happened. Instead, call for emergency assistance and be forthcoming with all respondents at the scene. If you sustained injuries, seek medical attention right away.
How Long Does a Family Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Chicago?
The statute of limitations for Illinois wrongful death lawsuits is two years. If your spouse or family member was killed in a car accident, you’d want to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. A lawyer at Morgan and Morgan can review the facts of the accident and determine the appropriate strategy for your claim.
How Does the Illinois Modified Comparative Fault Law Work?
In Illinois, car accident victims can recover damages for an accident as long as they bear less than 50% of the responsibility for the accident. The insurance agency will negotiate with your lawyer to determine the percentage of fault and will reduce your damage compensation by the appropriate amount.
Should I Admit Fault in a Car Accident That Resulted in a Fatality?
Never admit fault to anyone. Instead, seek the assistance of an attorney who can help you devise a legal strategy. Sometimes, people erroneously believe that they are at fault for an accident when that isn’t the case. Avoid talking to insurance agencies, and don’t accept an insurance settlement before you have a chance to speak to a lawyer.
Don’t Wait — Get Trustworthy Legal Assistance Immediately
If you’ve been involved in a fatal automobile accident, it’s critical that you secure prompt, dependable legal help. The veteran legal team at Morgan & Morgan can advise you on what type of claim you need to file and how to negotiate with insurance agencies following a collision resulting in death. Use our simple contact form to schedule a free, confidential case review and protect your health, your finances, and your peace of mind.