Chicagoland Traffic Accidents: North Suburbs

If you or your loved ones have been impacted by a Chicagoland traffic accidents, contact an Chicagoland traffic accidentsexperienced Chicago auto accident lawyer today so that we can focus on protecting your rights while you recover. Ensure that you and your family are protected from the lingering damages of medical bills, insurance costs, and property damage.

This year alone, Chicago has already experienced over 500 fatal crashes. This follows a trend of traffic accidents and related injuries and fatalities rising in Chicago. Read below for updated coverage on Chicagoland traffic accidents in the North Suburbs covering July and August.

Evanston

Car crashes into Evanston Dunkin’ Donuts Injuring 4: On July 30, a man accidentally drove into a local Dunkin’ Donuts. Three patrons had minor glass-related injuries. Another customer was hospitalized with an ankle injury.

Semi truck crashes into car: On Dempster and Dodge in Evanston, a car and a semi truck collided. Although no other vehicles were involved, initial injuries were reported.

Multiple Rollover Crashes: No major injuries were report in two rollover crashes on August 7 and August 8. Each accident closed down Dempster and Ridge respectively.

Lake Forest

Semi tire crashes into car: No injuries reported after a semi tire slammed into a car windshield on I-94 near Lake Forest. The tire shattered the windshield. The origin of the tire is unclear.

Wilmette

Stolen car hits tree: Wilmette police and Kenilworth Police were in pursuit of a stolen vehicle on Hibbard Road on July 2, when the driver lost control of the car and struck a tree. Five people fled the scene and four people were arrested.

Fatal accident July 11: A 21-year-old driver hit a pedestrian who may have been crossing against traffic. The victim died in the hospital from severe blunt trauma. While officers do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident, they are waiting toxicology reports.

Skokie

Car crashes into Best Buy: During the Fourth of July, thieves drove a car through a Skokie Best Buy’s window. Police found the vehicle at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning with no driver at the scene. Another vehicle belonging to the thieves struck a police car at Niles Center Road while fleeing.

Highland Park

DUI on Skokie Valley Road: On July 20, a man driving under the influence was in a two-car accident near Skokie Valley Road. No injuries were reported.

Accident on Half Day Road: A driver was arrested for driving under the influence on July 21 after police responded to an accident on Half Day Road. No injuries were reported.

Glenview

Driver strikes woman in parking lot:  A man struck an elderly woman in a Glenview parking lot on July 26. The driver fled the scene while the 85-year-old woman was taken to the hospital for treatment of her injuries.

Have you or a loved one been injured in an auto accident? Suffered loss of wages, property damage, or emotional distress? Contact Chicago Legal Group today at 847-305-4105 to speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer.

We will help you with pursuing compensation from the defendant’s and your own insurance company. Learn more about our experience with auto accidents and what you can immediately do in my YouTube video. Let our team of auto accident lawyers help you during this difficult period. Call for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

5 Reasons Why You Should Report Your Accident to Your own Insurance Company

Skokie Auto AccidentIf retained to represent you in a Skokie auto accident case, I will give you 5 reasons why you should report your accident to your own insurance company. Call today at 847-305-4105 for more information on this topic or continue reading.

Many Skokie auto accident victims have told me that they do not want to file a claim with their own auto insurance company after an accident as they are afraid their own rates are going to go up.

A rate increase is a possibility regardless of fault. However, I have found that the vast majority of clients involved in accidents where they were not at fault did not have their rates increased. In fact, I can’t think of a single one who reported an increase to me. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, I’m just not aware of it.

Am I Required to Report the Accident by Law?

In the state of Illinois there is no law that requires that you report a Skokie auto accident to your auto insurance company. However, you are required to report the accident to the Illinois Department of Transportation within ten days if your accident meets certain requirements (link).

Then why report your accident?

5 Reasons Why You Should Report Your Accident to Your own Insurance Company 

  1. Contract Law

When you signed up for auto insurance you signed a contract with Allstate or State Farm or whoever you signed up with. Your auto insurance contract may require you to report any accident you are involved in to your insurance company. If you do not and your insurance company finds out about your Skokie auto accident, they could cancel your insurance policy.

  1. Medpay Insurance

Many auto insurance policies contain “medpay” or medical payments coverage. Medpay is something you can add to an auto policy and it will pay for the first $2,500 or $5,000 (or whatever you purchased) in medical expenses. Medpay has many advantages as there are no co-pays, no deductibles and you can get it regardless of fault.

You don’t necessarily have to file a claim with your auto insurance company to find out if you have medpay. Just call them up and ask whether you have it or not. If you do and you’ve got medical bills to pay, it may be a good idea to file a claim with your own insurance company, even if you were not at fault for the accident.

  1. Uninsured and Underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM)

I have talked at length on this website about how many Illinois drivers do not have any auto insurance. In addition, a huge number of people who do have insurance only have the minimum insurance required by the state of Illinois.

If you are involved in a serious Skokie auto accident, the minimum limits of $25,000 are not going to cover your medical bills let alone compensate you for your pain and suffering.

As such, many people purchase UM/UIM of at least $100,000. That way, if you get hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you can go after your own auto insurance policy for compensation.

Again, you don’t have to file necessarily to find out how much insurance you have. If the driver who hit you has a minimum policy and you do too, there may be no reason to file. Call us at 847-305-4105 to discuss what you should do if you are faced with this situation.

  1. Collision coverage

After your accident, the auto insurance for the driver who hit you may need to investigate the accident before paying for your property damage. To “accept liability” or responsibility for the accident they may have to wait to see the police report. That can cause serious delays and most people need to get the car back quickly.

As such, if you have collision coverage on your vehicle, your own auto insurance company can inspect your vehicle and pay for the repairs. This will occur much quicker than using the third party’s insurance.

The downside is that you will have to pay your deductible. However, you should get it back. If you are not at fault for the accident, your own insurance company will “subrogate” against the defendant’s insurance company to get reimbursed for the money it cost to get your car fixed. You should get your deductible back when subrogation is completed.

  1. Time limit

Within your own auto insurance policy, there may be a time limit within which you have to report an accident. If you do not file within the specified time limit, your insurance company could deny your claim.

It’s not that far fetched. I have seen a couple cases usually involving sub-standard auto insurance carriers where an accident victim missed a timeline and consequently their claim was denied.

So these were the top 5 Reasons Why You Should Report Your Accident to Your own Insurance Company. But there are other reasons as well. If you would like a free consultation on this or any other legal topic, please feel free to reach out to me at 847-305-4105. If I can’t help you, I’ll find someone who can.

My car is totaled in a Chicago auto accident and I owe more than what it’s worth

Chicago auto accident


What happens if your car is totaled in a Chicago auto accident and you owe more than it’s worth? Be prepared to pay. But there is a way to protect yourself. Call my office for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Intro

According to an article on insurance.com, Experian Automotive said around 86 percent of new car buyers finance their vehicle and the average new car loan is about $30,000 for roughly 68 months. So, people are financing millions of vehicles. As such, drivers in Illinois who get in a Chicago auto accident are often faced with paying money owed on newly purchased vehicles that are involved in accidents.

Example

You purchase a car for $30,000. You put $1,000 down and you finance $29,000 through a bank or the auto dealership’s finance company. A few months later you are involved in an accident and your car is totaled. You file a claim with your auto insurance company and they determine that the actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle is $27,000. What happens?

Your auto insurance company will write a check to your finance company for the ACV of your vehicle and you owe the remaining balance outstanding of $2,000. It’s unfair, you did not cause the Chicago auto accident. Yet you are still on the hook for the balance outstanding.

Gap Insurance

The only way you can protect yourself from this situation is to purchase Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance. In the situation above, your GAP insurance would have covered the difference between what your vehicle is worth and what you owe.

You can purchase GAP insurance when you purchase your vehicle from the dealership or you can likely purchase it from your auto insurance company.

If you don’t have GAP Insurance

How do you pay the balance owed if you do not have GAP insurance? Generally speaking, my clients in this situation have been able to continue to make their monthly payments until the balance is paid off. You may also be able to contact your finance company and figure out an alternative payment arrangement.

That’s little solace to someone who just lost their investment in a vehicle including their down payment, has to pay money for a vehicle they can’t drive and may not have money for a down payment on a new vehicle.

If you want to fight it

If you are unhappy with your auto insurance company’s valuation of your vehicle, you do have the option of contesting the valuation of your vehicle. You can try to get your own appraisal from a resource like Kelley Blue Book. That probably won’t work and as such, you will likely have to hire an appraiser to provide a new appraisal to give to the insurance company.

If that doesn’t work, you will have to demand arbitration from your insurance company. If you are dealing with the insurance company for the driver who caused the accident, your only option would be to file a lawsuit.

Do I need an attorney?

Most personal injury attorneys won’t get involved in a matter that only involves property damage. It’s not that I don’t want to help. However, as a Chicago auto accident attorney, I represent people who suffer injuries in auto accidents.

Regardless, I am happy to speak with you about how to proceed with your claim against the insurance company. Call me for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Injured as a passenger in a car accident – Who do you sue?

Quite often I get calls from people who were injured as a passenger in a car accident. They always ask, who do you sue? The quick answer is it Car Accidentdepends upon who was at fault for the accident. If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, call our office today for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Injured as a passenger in a car accident

Who was at fault for the accident?

First, most likely you won’t have to “sue” anyone. But certainly, the question will arise which driver’s insurance company you should file a claim with. If the driver of the other vehicle was at fault, there is no issue. You will have the same rights as the person driving your vehicle.

But what happens if the driver of your car was all or partially at fault for the accident? If that’s the case, it could be very complicated as in most of the cases I’ve seen like this, the driver of the car or motorcycle is often the parent, significant other, friend or colleague of the injured party. Filing a claim against their insurance could cause friction in your relationship with that person.

Example

For example, a while back I worked on a motorcycle accident case. My former firm represented a woman who was riding on the back of a motorcycle driven by her male friend. As they tried to make a turn, the motorcycle hit some gravel and went down. Our client filed a claim against her friend’s motorcycle policy.

The driver seemed fine with the claim at first until it came time to settle her case. He heard how much money we demanded and he angrily called our office and told us he was not at fault for the accident, the gravel was. However, his insurance company had already accepted liability for the accident.

Our client was also upset as she did not want to anger her friend. We advised our client that if the driver was not at fault for the accident, then there would be zero recoveries. In the end, our client agreed to continue to pursue the case and she recovered nicely from her injuries.

As an aside, as a passenger, if you are injured as a passenger in a car accident, you are also entitled to utilize the driver’s medpay insurance through his/her own insurance policy to pay for some of your medical bills.

Taxi, Uber and Lyft accidents

I have received several calls in the past couple years from people who were Injured as a passenger in a car accident involving an Uber driver. I generally support the rideshare concept but have noticed that often when I see a car driving erratically it often is a rideshare vehicle.

If you are injured as a passenger in the back of an Uber, you can recover for your injuries. The issue again will be who caused the accident, the Uber or Lyft driver or the driver of the other car. I have handled cases where a passenger was injured by a third party while driving in an Uber and I have also represented Uber drivers who were injured by others while driving.

Uber uses James River Insurance Company to handle their driver’s claims. Clicking here will take you to the page to file a claim for injuries suffered as a passenger in an Uber.

Bus accident

The same rule applies if you are injured as a passenger in a bus accident. I’ve represented bus accident victims before and we deal with trying to figure out who is responsible for the accident, the CTA or other bus agency or the driver of the car the bus crashed with.

Solo vehicle accidents

I recently received a call from a very nice woman who was involved in a solo vehicle accident. She admitted to the insurance company that she crashed her vehicle when she bent down while driving to pick something up. Her car flipped and she and her 2 small kids were injured.

In that situation, the woman has no claim as she caused the accident. However, both of her children have a claim to file against their own mother for their injuries. Fortunately, the mother knew she was at fault and her auto insurance rates were going to increase regardless. As such, she had her kids file claims against her own policy.

Conclusion

If you are Injured as a passenger in a car accident, call our office at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation. This situation can get sticky and often times it’s better to have an outside party like a personal injury attorney make the call for you.

Illinois Accident Lawyer – Property damage attorney

Call Illinois accident lawyer Barry Zlotowicz of the Chicago Legal Group today at 847-305-4105 if you are searching for a property damage attorney. We have handled countless property damage claims on behalf of victims of automobile, motorcycle, bicycle and other accidents.

What type of property damage can you recover for?

If you are involved in an auto or other motor vehicle accident, you likely suffered some form of property damage. That could include damage to your vehicle, damage to personal items like your iPhone or GPS, and you will also be forced to pay for a replacement vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired. To obtain help, call an Illinois Accident Lawyer today or continue reading below.

The most common claim is for the damage to your vehicle. Each type of accident is different and raises a different type of issue. If you were hit in your car, there might be damage to your bumper that can’t be seen by an auto insurance appraiser without taking the bumper off. Perhaps you got hit on a $5,000.00 road bicycle. If the bike has a carbon fiber frame, it may require an x-ray to determine if it is cracked. If you were on a motorcycle, you may have many aftermarket parts on the bike. As a property damage attorney, I have seen nearly every issue that can arise.

Common property damage issues

How do you prove your property damage? In a word, documentation. Check out my blog on this topic or check out my YouTube page LawFull for more information on documentation. But in short, obtain photographs of all the property damage as soon as possible. If you are seeking reimbursement for a phone, a pair of riding pants or a leather jacket, find your receipts for the items or provide your Illinois accident lawyer links on Amazon.com or another site so that you can establish the value of your damaged property.

How many estimates do you have to obtain?

In Illinois, there is no specific law regarding how many estimates you have to obtain. It may behoove you to obtain more than one, however. Insurance companies often require more than one and it is not worth fighting them about it. You may not have to get an estimate at all as the auto insurance company may send an appraiser out to inspect your vehicle.

Can I choose where I get my vehicle fixed?

In short, yes you can. However, it may be a good idea to work with the insurance company to get your vehicle fixed with one of their contracted/approved shops. The reason being is that the insurance company will come up with an estimated value of your vehicle. If you take your vehicle to a different shop, the insurance company might refuse to pay more than their own appraiser’s estimate. That could lead to a dispute which may have to be settled in court.

Rental Car and Loss of Use

You are entitled to a rental car for a certain period of time. I’ve had insurance companies come down on all sides of this issue. Some give you a car of comparable quality to the car you were driving. Others pay for a compact. There are also limitations on the amount of time you can be in a rental car. If the insurance adjuster is pressuring you on this, ask them to prove to you that there are limits and/or restrictions on rental car compensation in their insured’s auto policy.

You may also be able to recover from the loss of use of your vehicle. In short, if you have a motorcycle and you can’t ride it for 30 days because of the damage to the vehicle, you can try to seek compensation for that. Insurance companies will frequently pay you the amount it would have cost for you to rent a car during that time period.

Diminished Value

I’ve had clients who were hit shortly after they purchased their cars. There is no Illinois law that dictates that an insurance company has to pay you for the diminished value of your vehicle. However, it’s worth the effort to try and recover for diminished value. You do so through, once again, documentation. You need an expert to document that the value of the car as it sits after being repaired is less than a comparable car that has not been in an accident.

Why Won’t an Illinois Accident Lawyer take my case?

Illinois accident lawyers are compensated for recovering from an injured person’s medical bills, pain, and suffering, lost wages, loss of enjoyment etc. I do not and never will take money from my clients’ property damage settlements. As a result, if a case only involves property damage, there’s not a lot an accident lawyer can do for you.

If you are involved in a property damage only accident, you may have to file in small claims court on your own and/or settle your dispute with the insurance company. If that’s the case, feel free to contact me to discuss your case. I’m happy to be a resource for you.

Should I use my own insurance to pay for my property damage?

I always recommend my clients use their own insurance company to pay for their property damage if they have collision coverage. Yes, you will have to front your deductible. But you will probably get it back (depending on a few factors). This is the quickest way for you to get your car back quickly and set you on the course to returning to your pre-accident status.

Your auto insurance company will then “subrogate” or go after the other insurance company on your behalf, to recover for the costs to your vehicle. Your insurance rates should not increase just because you used your own insurance unless you were at fault for the accident.

Comparative negligence

In Illinois, an accident victim can still recover their damages even if they are partially at fault for the accident. The concept is called comparative negligence. Often an insurance company will try and place a small percentage of fault on you for the accident even if it is not warranted. You are not obligated to accept this if you do not want to. However, be aware that if you do accept partial fault, that your recovery for your property damage will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Thank you for reading my Illinois Accident Lawyer blog article on property damage. If you would like a free consultation on this or any other injury-related issue, please feel free to contact me at 847-305-4105.

Is Medpay Worth It – An Injury Lawyer Perspective

As an injury lawyer, I always recommend that my clients advise their medical providers to bill their health insurance for all their medical Injury Lawyertreatment following an accident. However, accident victims may have another source to pay their medical bills, it’s called “medpay,” which is short for medical payments coverage. Read the blog below, “Is medpay worth it – an injury lawyer perspective.”

This topic has been talked about a lot online but recently I watched a video on YouTube where a speaker said that medpay was not that important. I disagree.

When you get in an accident, the insurance for the person who caused the accident will NOT pay for your medical bills until your case settles. In the meantime, your medical providers want to get paid. If the bills don’t get paid, they will send the bills to collections which might damage your credit rating.

Is medpay beneficial from an injury lawyer perspective? Read on to find out.

Who is covered by medpay?

In short, if you’re in a vehicle when it gets in an accident, you may be covered by medpay. So, if the car’s insurance policy has a $5,000 medpay policy and there are three people in the car, all three can utilize up to $5,000 to pay for their medical bills.

Is medpay mandatory in Illinois?

No. Medpay is an optional coverage in the state of Illinois. However, we strongly recommend that you have medpay insurance in your auto policy. Why? Keep reading.

The benefits of using medpay

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve signed up clients who ask me as their injury lawyer what they should do about their medical bills. While more people have health insurance, most of us have higher deductibles than we used to. We also often have co-pays every time we see a provider.

There are a lot of people out there who cannot afford these expenses. Medpay is the answer. First, you should always insist that your medical providers bill your health insurance. However, the co-pays and deductibles are the accident victim’s responsibility. It doesn’t make a lot of sense from an injury lawyer perspective. But we’ve seen a lot of bills sent to collections because of medical bills, even though the accident was not the victim’s fault.

If you have medpay insurance, you can and should submit your co-pays and deductible to your auto insurance carrier for payment. If you do not have health insurance at all, medpay can pay whatever medical bills you incur, up to your policy limits – regardless who was at fault for the accident.

Medpay is cost effective

The cost of medpay is extremely inexpensive! According to Glenview, Illinois, Farmers Insurance agent Erick Weingardt, you can add $5,000 in medpay to your auto insurance policy for approximately $10 every six months and you can increase that to $10,000 in medpay for only a few dollars more (depending on your driving record).

Erick said “Medical coverage is an important coverage for all drivers to include on their
auto insurance policy.  It pays for all people in the vehicle, regardless of fault.  The medical coverage will pay most, if not all, of your health insurance deductible & co-pays.  Many people need to use this coverage even when the accident was caused by the other driver.  Auto insurance companies do not want to offer a blank check, so they wait to settle.  With medpay, you get your medical bills paid right away.  For good drivers, the cost is only $1 to $2 a month for $5,000 or $10,000 of medical coverage.”

What medpay does not cover

There is something called personal injury protection (PIP) that is offered in some states. That is similar but slightly different from medpay. I have yet to have a client with pip coverage in Illinois.

The main difference is that PIP coverage also compensates the injured party for, among other things, their lost wages that were the result of their injuries.

Medpay reimbursement

Finally, medpay is great but if you are involved in a third-party accident, meaning the accident was caused by another (at-fault) party, then your auto insurance policy will seek reimbursement, if and when you settle/resolve your case.

However, pursuant to a legal theory, your auto insurance company will likely reduce the amount you owe by 1/3.

In sum, your injury lawyer has had so many cases where medpay has been an effective tool to help pay an accident victim’s medical bills, that we strongly recommend getting at least $5,000 in medpay on your auto policy.

For a free quote on auto insurance, contact Erick Weingardt at (847) 729-4620.

For a free legal consultation, feel free to call our office at 847-305-4105.

Illinois Car Accident Lawyer

My name is Barry Zlotowicz and I am an Illinois car accident lawyer. Our law firm represents people injured in car accidents throughout the

Illinois car accident lawyer
Illinois car accident lawyer

state of Illinois. We have traveled the state from Mount Vernon to Zion, representing car accident victims (motorcycle, bicycle and truck accident victims as well). If you were injured in an Illinois car accident, call us today for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation crash data, as of January 27, 2018, there have already been 66 fatalities as a result of Illinois car accidents in our state. Around one third of the fatalities were the result of a seatbelt not being used or being improperly used.

As an Illinois car accident lawyer, I’ve worked with countless accident victims to help them recover for their injuries and damages. One of the things I tell my clients all the time is:

Focus on Your Health – Not Your Case

What I mean is, there likely is no amount of money that is going to adequately compensate you for your injuries. If you suffer a back sprain that causes pain indefinitely, or you suffer a serious injury like a compound fracture, for example, the pain and discomfort you suffer from cannot and will not be remedied entirely by money. That’s why, I always tell my clients to focus on their health, not their case.

This often comes up when our clients ask if they should get additional medical treatment.  So, for example, let’s take a not so-hypothetical situation. A client signs up an Illinois car accident lawyer to represent them for injuries suffered in a car accident. They suffered a sprained neck in the accident. They treat for eight weeks post-accident, ER visit, primary care physician and physical therapy, then stop treating.

Six months later, the lawyer receives a call from their client who states that they’re suffering significant neck pain. It would seem obvious. The client should go back to the doctor. So, why is this an issue? The reason is that there is now a significant “gap in treatment”  – the amount of time between their last medical treatment and their potential new treatment. This is an issue for an Illinois car accident lawyer because an astute insurance adjuster will capitalize on the gap in order to diminish your claim.

In these cases, we will tell our clients to forget about their case and focus on their health. If they’re having neck pain, get the treatment they need. We may still be able to tie the treatment to injuries suffered in the collision. And even if we do not, our client will have taken steps to remedy their physical condition and that is what is truly important.

Managing auto accident cases can be confusing. Sometimes, your Illinois car accident lawyer will give you information you are not ready for or didn’t expect. For an honest and frank discussion about how to handle your car accident case, contact our office at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.

Autopilot Leads To Auto Accidents

It is a day like any other day.

You are driving home from work as you replay the events of the day through your mind. Your body is on autopilot as you maneuver your car though traffic.

You are an experienced driver. The act of driving has become an almost unconsciousness act for you.Auto Accident Attorney

You come up to a stop light.

As you sit there, you relive a difficult situation you had at work earlier today. At the same time, you are unconsciously keeping track of whether or not the light is red or green.

As soon as the light turns green, you hit the accelerator while still lost in thought. You begin moving forward.

A driver coming from your right has decided to try to hurry and get through the yellow light. He did not make the yellow light and he is not slowing down. He thinks you see him and will wait until he passes.

He is wrong.

You are in a terrible auto accident. You are severely injured.

You could have avoided this.

You can train yourself to check certain things in certain situations. This will insure that you dramatically reduce the possibility of having a car crash.

Had you paused to check left and right first before going, you might still be unscathed.

There are other times where driving on autopilot can end badly as well.

Trucks are one example. They have poorer visibility than cars and make wide right turns. They can end up clipping you if you get between them and the curb.

When you are changing lanes, forgetting to check your blind spot can wake you up fast if someone is hiding in it.

When you are in a parking lot about to back out of your spot, just looking left and right is not enough. Check directly behind you as well. Pedestrians could be passing by behind you and can be hard to see.

Staying awake at the wheel can help you reduce accidents they are still going to happen. Be sure to have a good auto accident attorney. If you or someone you know is injured in an accident, Barry Zlotowicz for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Traffic Accidents on the Rise in Illinois

Have you noticed that there seem to be more accidents on the sides of Illinois highways and roads recently? As a Chicago personal injury lawyer, I am acutely aware of what is going on out on our roadways. Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of accidents. Maybe it was the bad weather. Surfaces were frozen and slippery longer. Maybe its because now that the world has thawed there is construction everywhere altering traffic patterns everywhere. Whatever it is, one thing for sure is that there are more accidents on Illinois roads then there were last year.

The Illinois Department of Transportation recently released a study reported on in the Chicago Tribune article entitled “Traffic accidents on the rise in state, to almost 800 a day.” The study results were from 2013, the year most recently studied by the Department. In short, there were 782 accidents per day in the State of Illinois in 2013. 782! Its no wonder that insurance premiums are so expensive. Most of those accidents are fender benders not involving significant injuries however the cost in property damage alone is staggering let alone paying for medical bills and compensating victims for their pain and suffering. The National Safety Council estimated that the cost of all those accidents was $5.7 billion – with a “B” – dollars.

Of note from the statistics is that in 2014, nearly 900 people were killed in those accidents with nearly one-half of the deaths occurring in Cook County, Illinois. 130 of those victims were killed in the City of Chicago.

What causes so many accidents? Again, weather conditions are partially at fault but so is human error. Approximately one-third of all the accidents were caused by excessive speed and another one-third were caused by alcohol. Deer were responsible interestingly for five percent of crashes – we do get a lot of calls from motorcyclists who got in accidents caused by deer (and occasionally a Moose or other animal). Tractor trailers were involved in four percent of all accidents and a high percentage (10%) of fatalities.  Only two percent of all accidents were vehicle-pedestrian and only one percent was vehicle-bicycle (3,586 in 2013 resulting in 30 cyclists dying). The other group primarily responsible for accidents were teens between 16-19 years old who accounted for ten percent of severe injuries and seven percent of fatalities.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a vehicle accident, feel free to contact Chicago personal injury lawyer Barry Zlotowicz at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation

Niles Automobile Accident And Handling Property Damage

You were fortunate and didn’t have any serious injuries after your auto accident, but what about your car?  If the accident was not your fault and your car was damaged, you can get your car repaired and personal property recovered.  Feel free to consult with Niles personal injury attorney, Barry Zlotowicz of the Chicago Legal Group.

When in an automobile accident, you are entitled to payment for damage done to your car and personal property.  Personal belongings that were inside the vehicle at the time of the accident, if the accident was someone else’s fault includes: computer, iPods, tablets, clothing, eye wear and other personal belongings.

Based upon on your specific auto coverage and who is found at fault of the auto accident, an insurance company, by contract, may be required to pay for the damages to your property.  The insurance contract will often show that the company is obligated to repair or even replace your car.

In the case of repairs, some companies will do their own estimates, although others may ask that obtain your own estimates.  You are typically free to decide which body shop you prefer to use.  On the other hand, some insurance companies may have a list of recommended body shops for you to go through.  If you select one of the recommended shops, and later there is a problem with their repairs, the insurance company may be able to help with handling the issue with the shop.

Additionally, you may be entitled to be compensated for the “loss of use” of your vehicle while it is being repaired.  This payment may be used to rent a replacement vehicle.  The amount in which you may be entitled to may differ under the conditions of your particular case and with the insurance company.

Often your car will be “totaled.”  Generally, a vehicle is “totaled” when the cost of repairs surpasses 80% or more of the value of the vehicle.  The challenges occur when it comes time to figure out the true value of the vehicle.

You may be able to recover your losses from the following sources:

Collision Coverage under Your Insurance – This is normally the fastest and simplest way to get your car repaired.  Your car repairs will be paid under your own insurance policy no matter who is at fault in the accident.

Liability Coverage under the Defendant’s Insurance – If the other person’s insurance company accepts fault in your accident, they will generally pay to have your car repaired. Regrettably, insurance companies usually take days or even weeks to make a decision as to whether or not to accept fault in the accident.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage under Your Insurance – If the person who caused the accident doesn’t have any insurance or is unable to be identified, you are protected under the uninsured motorist coverage of your own policy.

If you are a Niles resident and had a car accident, we can help you get your car repaired and your personal property recovered.  Our office is equipped to assist you with recouping from the damages. Get in touch right now for a free consultation with Barry Zlotowicz, a Niles personal injury attorney at 847-305-4105 or 877-LAW-4312.