What We Learned from the I-90 Tragedy

This February, the Rockford University community was devastated by the news of a tragic car accident, in which two students died and two more were injured. Ever since, students, teachers, alumni, and the victims’ families have been in mourning, and there has been an outpouring of support from the community.

At a candlelight vigil at Rockford University’s Fisher Chapel, mourners gathered to speak about their lost friends. According to WIFR, students came to say goodbye and share happy memories of the teens.

“Words can’t express how much I’m going to miss her,” said one of the victim’s roommate. “Her being mad was so funny because it was like a tiny ball of fire and it was so cute…She was adorable and, I don’t know, she was a tough girl.”

The fatal truck accident occurred on Tuesday, February 16, when the students’ car lost control on the slick roads of I-90. Investigators reported that the car lost control and spun out, then bounced off the median and collided with a semi-truck.

Many Americans depend on car travel every day for work, school, and social activities. Car accidents like these remind everyone just how dangerous that daily commute can be.

Whenever a young person dies before their time in a senseless accident, it is natural for communities to wrestle with some pretty big questions. Could this happen to me or my family? Do fatal accidents happen frequently on I-90? Is there any way for the victims’ families to recoup medical or funeral costs following a car crash? Lawyers can’t speak to the larger, philosophical questions, but there are some important steps victims must take following a car, truck, or motorcycle accident.

Just How Dangerous is Illinois I-90?

Even the safest drivers on the road can get into an accident, and not every car crash is somebody’s fault. So how can you and your loved ones stay safe on Illinois roadways?

Fortunately, Illinois Interstates like I-90 are actually much safer than other roadways, per Illinois Department of Transportation crash statistics. In 2014, the most recent year crash data was available, just 3.1% of fatal accidents and 2.7% of injury crashes occurred on interstate roads like I-90. At the same time, 12% of fatal crashes occurred on state highways, while 29.9% of fatal accidents and 51.8% of injury crashes occurred on city streets. In total, there were 84,652 persons injured in motor vehicles crashes in 2014; 924 people were fatally injured in crashes in 2014. The majority of fatal crashes occurred between 12 and 8 p.m., Friday through Sunday, while 55.5% of fatal crashes occurred between 4:00 p.m. and 3:59 a.m.

Should You File a Wrongful Death Claim?

What can you do following a car crash? Personal injury lawyers specialize in helping the victims of car crash injuries, as well as the loved ones of those killed in fatal wrecks. Following a tragedy like the one at Rockford University, it is important to contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorneys for help filing a claim. Dealing with a sudden death is not only a deeply painful and stressful experience but often a very expensive one.

This is why one of the most common questions families have is, “How much does it cost to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit?”

The best personal injury lawyers will charge you nothing. If you cannot reach a settlement, then you pay nothing at all; the lawyers are paid if and only if you win.

Simply put, if you have any questions whatsoever about whether you can seek compensation following a fatal car crash, do not hesitate to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney like those at Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley. If the victim was a major wage earner in your household, then it may be possible to receive compensation that will provide crucial support in the years ahead.

If you are considering consulting a wrongful death law firm, then it is also important to gather as much documentation as possible about the crash, your financial situation, wages, medical bills, and other expenses. The more information you can provide, the better the attorneys will be able to advise you about pursuing a wrongful death claim.

For more common questions about starting a personal injury or wrongful death claim following a car accident, please consult our FAQ section.

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