Chicago streets are filled with cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, bikes and pedestrians. Traffic accidents are unfortunate eventualities in any major city, and the victims can be left wondering who should be held responsible.
What should I do after a traffic accident?
The most important thing you can do is to document everything you can following your accident. This can help make your entire claims process easier, as well as increasing your chances of receiving all the compensation you deserve. Your notes will remind you of all the details of what happened, as well as what you went through. This is much easier and more accurate than relying on your memory.
If you are able to, write things down as soon as possible. Begin with what you were doing and where you were going, the people you were with, the time, and the weather conditions. Be sure to include every detail of what you saw, heard and felt, as well as anything you remember hearing about the accident from a person involved or from a witness.
Additionally, you should make daily notes of the effects of your injuries. If you suffer pain, discomfort, anxiety, loss of sleep or any other problems which are not as visible or serious as another injury, you need to document this in order to demand additional compensation.
How can I determine fault in a traffic accident?
Figuring out who is at fault is a matter of determining who was careless. There are written rules that dictate how people are supposed to drive. Traffic laws apply not only to cars, but to motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
In order to prove negligence, you must be able to show that:
- the driver was legally required to be reasonably careful in the particular situation;
- the driver (pedestrian, cyclist, etc.) was not reasonably careful; and
- the driver's conduct caused the actual injury or damage.
Sometimes, a traffic violation is clear, such as when a person runs a stop sign and causes an accident. Other times, it is open to interpretation, such as when two vehicles collide after merging into the same lane of traffic.
Who can be held liable in a rear-end crash?
Generally, if you are hit from behind, the driver of that car will be held responsible for the accident. Drivers should be able to stop safely, and if you are rear ended, that means the driver was not driving safely.
Can a motorcyclist recover damages if no helmet is worn?
The state of Illinois currently has no helmet law for motorcyclists. Although helmets are recommended, they are not required. Even though there is no helmet law, it may be possible for a motorcyclist to recover damages, but the insurance company will likely offer substantial evidence that helmet use reduces injuries, and they by not wearing one, the motorcyclist was negligent.
Who is a fault if a car and a bike collide?
Bike riders are required to follow the same rules of the road as motorists. Because of this, bicyclists can be held responsible for accidents. For example, if a bike rider runs a red light and collides with an oncoming car, the bike rider will be held responsible. Determining fault will require proving negligence, so be prepared to document you experience in order to support your claim.