Top 8 Reasons Car Insurance Claims Are Denied

Top 8 Reasons Car Insurance Claims Are Denied

Did you file a claim with the car insurance company and your claim was denied? Check out this short article to learn the top eight reasons why insurance companies deny claims.

Insurance Claim Denied Because You are at Fault for the Accident

The first reason why an insurance company may deny your claim (assuming that you file a claim with the insurance company for the driver who hit you) is that they may have found you at fault for the accident.

They’ve interviewed their insured, maybe you gave them a recorded statement, they analyzed the physical evidence and they denied your claim.

Well, if they deny your claim, because they assume that you are at fault for the accident or that you’re “liable” for the accident and you disagree, what are your options?

Well, you have two options. First, if you only have property damage, and if you have insurance coverage that covers your property damage, you can file a claim with your own insurance to get the property damage fixed.

But what if you have bodily injuries? What if you suffered pain and suffering and you disagreed that you were at fault for the accident? Well, then your only option is really to file a lawsuit.

If you’ve suffered very minor injuries or just property damage, chances are that you don’t need a lawyer. But if you suffered moderate to severe injuries, I strongly recommend consulting with a personal injury attorney.

If you would like to speak with us about your accident call 1-847-305-4105.

What if they Found Me Partially At Fault for the Accident?

It may be that they find that their insured is 80% at fault and they put 20% of the fault on you. Well, what can you do?

Check out this short video to learn more about this topic:

Insurance Claim Denied Because of Lapsed Policy

The second reason why an insurance claim might be denied applies whether you filed a claim with the other guy’s insurance or with your own insurance.

That’s a situation when the insurance policy that you’re trying to claim from has lapsed. After denial due to fault, denial due to a lapsed policy is the one thing that I see the most out of all the other reasons why insurance companies deny claims.

Maybe you forgot to make a payment or the bill got lost in the mail. Doesn’t matter. Stay on top of your insurance payments because if the policy lapses and is not in effect at the time of the accident, there’s not going to be insurance coverage.

When I say at the time of the accident, I mean, “at the time of the accident.” I had a situation where a person got in an accident only to find out that his insurance policy had lapsed. When he got home, he tried to make an insurance payment, but the insurance claim was still denied. Why? Because the policy was not in effect at the time of the accident.

Insurance Claim Denied Because Timeline Missed

The third reason I see insurance claims get denied quite often, is that the claimant didn’t file a claim within a set standard period of time.

This is very common with substandard insurance companies. The kind you see that are running advertisements at 12 o’clock at night. They are often local insurance companies.

They have very strict time periods to file a claim within 30 days of an accident happening for example. If you don’t file within that set period of time, they’re going to deny your claim.

This is why I always encourage people not to delay filing a claim with both insurance companies immediately after an accident.

Yes, file a claim with the driver who hit you, but also always file a claim with your insurance company too.

Insurance Claim Denied due to Fraud or Lying to the Insurance Company

The fourth reason I see insurance claims denied is that there’s fraud involved, or the claimant lied to the insurance company.

Lying to the insurance company is the sure fire way to get a claim denied. That includes lying to either yours or the other guy’s insurance company.

With regard to fraud, we have not seen a lot of fraud and when we have seen it, which has only a been a couple of times in all these years of doing this, we haven’t gotten involved in those cases.

Insurance Claim Denied Because of Excluded Driver

A fifth reason I’ve seen claims denied is that the person driving the vehicle at the time of the accident was an excluded driver. What do I mean by that? Well, when you signed up for your insurance policy, you may have had a kid living in her house and that kid had a bad driving record.

So, the insurance company in exchange for giving you an insurance policy specifically excluded that driver from being covered under the policy. If the excluded driver was driving the car at the time of the accident, they are not going to be covered when you file a claim with your own insurance company for those damages.

There are other situations as well, where drivers who are driving your vehicle at the time of an accident may be an excluded driver. You really have to check your insurance policy to see who is and who is not a covered driver.

That’s why we always tell people after they get involved in an accident, make sure you get a copy of your policy right away so that you can read it for yourself.

Insurance Claim Denied Because of Illegal Activity

A sixth reason why I’ve seen insurance claims get denied is that perhaps you were breaking the law at the time of the accident.

Now this is not a very common situation, and I’m not talking about speeding at the time of the accident for example. But, if you have a history of driving while under the influence and you got into an accident while you were drunk – you may have a clause in your policy that specifies that if you were engaging in illegal activity, that you will not be covered under your insurance policy.

We’ve also seen a lot of claims where drivers of Uber, DoorDash, GrubHub and Lyft and those kinds of folks they have their insurance claims with their own personal insurance denied because they were engaging in commercial activity at the time of the accident.

In short, you have to check your policy, whether you’re going to be covered when engaging in a commercial activity.

Insufficient Insurance to Cover Your Damages

The seventh reason why an insurance claim made be denied is that there’s not enough insurance policy to cover your damages.

Let’s take a hypothetical. Let’s say that you have a Mercedes-Benz and it’s worth $80,000 and the guy who hits you has $15,000 in property damage insurance. Well, there’s a $65,000 difference there. The insurance company is only on the hook for what they contracted to insure, and that would be $15,000. So, in this case, while your claim wouldn’t be denied, you’d only be able to recover that $15,000 from their insurance company.

Hopefully you personally have a much larger insurance policy that you can tap into on your side as well. But that’s another reason why I’ve seen claims falter if not be denied.

Claim Denied Because of Misleading Information When Insurance Contract Signed

The eighth reason why an insurance claim may be denied, goes all the way back to when you signed your insurance policy. Maybe the driver didn’t tell the truth when they signed their insurance policy.

Perhaps the driver didn’t tell State Farm that they had 16 year old kids living in the house at the time of the accident, and they were going to drive the vehicle. Or perhaps the driver you made a misrepresentation about their driving record, or they said something else that was false.

We’ve seen insurance companies try to take that information and use it to deny claims.

This is not an exhaustive list – an insurance company will try to deny your claim for any reason they possibly can. They’re in the business of delaying, denying and diminishing claims.

If you were involved in an accident and your claim was denied, contact the Chicago Legal Group for a free strategy session at 1-847-305-4105.

Chicago Property Damage Attorney

Call Barry Zlotowicz of the Chicago Legal Group today at 847-305-4105 if you are searching for a property damage lawyer automobile property damage attorney chicagoin Chicago. 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 in Chicago, 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 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.

Illinois Car Accident Attorney

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

car accident lawyer in illinois
Car Accident Lawyer in Illinois

state of Illinois. We have traveled the state from Glenview 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 a car accident lawyer in Glenview, 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.

Recent Car Accident In Illinois Settlement

Barry Zlotowicz recently obtained a recovery on behalf of an NIU college student for injuries suffered in a car accident in Illinois.

The accident, which occurred in Lee County in 2012 occurred on a snowy day on the interstate. Our client was the passenger in a car heading southbound when he was rear ended by an 18 wheeler/tractor trailer. Our client was spun around and collided with a third automobile. Our client was thrown back and forth within the car hitting his shoulder and other extremities on the interior of the car. Our client sought immediate medical care at an emergency room for injuries including a shoulder strain, laceration on his leg, eye contusion and back pain.

After our investigation was complete and our client obtained sufficient medical care including treating with an orthopedist, obtaining a MRI and completing physical therapy, our office obtained a recovery on his behalf that paid off all his medical bills, paid his attorneys’ fees and still left him with a significant recovery to assist in paying his educational expenses.

The settlement did not end our participation in the matter however. Most victims of a car accident in Illinois do not realize that the medical providers who provided medical assistance and/or the insurance company that paid for medical bills want to be reimbursed for their expenses. As such, in this case as in most cases, our office spent a considerable amount of time negotiating our client’s medical bills and the subrogation claim by the insurance company by one-third. That resulted in substantial savings for the client.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Illinois, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. While it’s no guarantee of recovery, our office has had great success in recovering on behalf of our personal injury clients.

Managing auto accident cases can be confusing. Sometimes, your Glenview auto accident lawyer will give you the 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.

Can more than one person be held liable for an auto accident?

A recent case handled by our office addressed the issue of can more than one person be held liable for an auto Glenview auto accident lawyeraccident. If you were involved in an accident where multiple parties were involved, feel free to contact Glenview lawyer Barry Zlotowicz at 312-848-9783 for a free consultation.

Can more than one person be held liable for an auto accident?

The answer seems obvious, doesn’t it? If two parties (defendants) were negligent and caused your injury, they should be held responsible or “liable” for your damages. This is called “Joint and Several Liability.”

  • If the defendants are “jointly liable”, then each defendant could be liable to pay up to and including, ALL OF YOUR DAMAGES. This might be necessary if for example, the other defendant was uninsured or otherwise unable to pay
  • If the parties are “severally liable”, that means that they are only responsible for their fair share of the damages

Why would one defendant be held responsible for ALL the damages?

It is a matter of public policy. If someone is the victim of an auto accident that they did not cause, it is simply fairer to hold the defendants responsible for all the damages, than it is to put the burden on the victim.

What if the defendants were not equally liable?

What if the defendants were not equally liable for the accident? In this situation, Glenview lawyer Barry Zlotowicz and counsel/insurance for all the defendants will apportion liability among the parties. Or, if the case goes to trial, then apportionment would be left to a judge or jury.

The law in Illinois

Some states follow the theory of “pure joint and several liability.” This means that the plaintiff/victim can only recover the specific amount of damages that a defendant is responsible for. So, for example, if your case is worth $100,000 and each defendant is ½ at fault, you can only recover a maximum of $50k from each defendant – NOT $100,000 from one defendant and zero from the other.

Illinois however follows the concept of “modified joint and several liability.” In Illinois, if a defendant is more than twenty-five percent responsible for an accident, then he/she is responsible for up to 100 percent of the victim’s damages (if the other defendant is uninsured, underinsured, or, otherwise unable to pay).

If a defendant is less than 25 percent responsible for an accident, then he/she is responsible for 100 percent of the economic damages (medical bills and lost wages) but only “severally liable” (responsible for their fair share) for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.

It’s very confusing and if you are faced with this situation, please call Glenview lawyer Barry Zlotowicz for a free consultation at 312-848-9783.

It’s easier to understand in a couple of examples:

Scenario 1

Plaintiff A:           0 % liable

$100,000 in medical bills

$100,000 in pain and suffering

Defendant A:     50% liable

$250,000 in insurance

Defendant B:     50% liable

Zero/no insurance


Defendant A:     Is liable for ALL damages

Liable for 100 percent of ($100,000) medical bills

Liable for $100,000 in pain and suffering

Defendant B:     Liable but has no assets to recover against

Scenario 2

Plaintiff A:           0 % liable

$100,000 in medical bills

$100,000 in pain and suffering

Defendant A:     80% liable

$25,000 in insurance

Defendant B:     20% liable

$250,000 in insurance

Result:                  Defendant A is primarily responsible for the accident but has limited insurance.

As such, Defendant B will have to pay practically all of the medical bills. But, since Defendant B is less than 25 percent responsible for the accident, he only had to pay his several share of the pain and suffering – 20 percent, or $20,000.

It is important to note that in Illinois, if the Plaintiff was more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, she could not have recovered at all for her injuries and damages.

If you were injured through someone else’s negligence and are faced with the question of whether more than one person be held liable for an auto accident, contact Glenview lawyer Barry Zlotowicz at 312-848-9783 for a free consultation.

Settlement Value of a Mini-Van Accident in Glenview

Our client was driving his mini-van westbound on Higgins Road in Hoffmann Estates, Illinois. He was with his

Illinois Auto Accident Attorney
Settlement Value of a Mini-van Accident

family attending a function at the Sears Center. Suddenly and without notice, a car that was also heading westbound on Higgins made a sudden movement right and smashed into the front driver’s side of our client’s car. Our client jammed down on his brake with his right leg causing tears in his right knee. Our client underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair his knee.

Before I address the obvious question of what is the settlement value of a mini-van accident, let’s review the process of an auto accident settlement.

Process of an Auto Accident Settlement

Legal Representation

We met with our prospective client in person over breakfast at a coffee shop near his home. He retained us to represent him as his Glenview car accident law firm. We immediately sent letters of representation to the insurance for the defendant and to our client’s insurance company as well.

Property Damage

The first element of a case that is usually addressed by the insurance company is property damage. In this matter, the client took care of all property damages prior to engaging our firm. Had he not, we would have:

  • Obtained the insurance company and/or mechanics’ appraisal of his vehicle
  • Ensure he had a rental vehicle or helped him recover for the “loss of use” of his vehicle
  • Obtained reimbursement for any other property damage such as a damaged iPhone, GPS or for damage to his clothing which might have been damaged or even cut off him in the emergency room

Medical Attention

At the same time, our client obtained medical care for his injuries. He did not go to the emergency room immediately. Rather, he waited until the following Monday to get his knee checked out. At first, his doctor thought it was a knee sprain. However, the pain persisted and with encouragement from our office, the client obtained a MRI of his knee which was inconclusive. However, the pain intensified and as such, the client underwent an outpatient arthroscopy which revealed two tears to the meniscus in his knee. The tears were repaired surgically and the client later underwent physical therapy.

Amount of Insurance

We were concerned that the defendant had a small insurance policy as he was insured by a sub-standard insurance company. We demanded that they disclose the amount of their policy pursuant to Illinois Insurance Code section 143.24b and as expected, the defendant only had $25,000.00 in insurance. Fortunately, our insured had a satisfactory underinsured motorist policy is $100,000.00. This meant that we could go after the defendant for the first $25,000.00 and then go after the client’s own insurance policy for up to the $100,000.00. And, the client’s auto insurance rates would (should) not be affected because he was not at fault in any way for the accident.

Medical Bills

After a collision, the victim of an accident is required to make sure his medical bills are being paid. Otherwise, the bills could go to collections. The defendant’s insurance company will not pay the bills until the case settles. As such, we jumped on the bills to make sure they were paid.

The client had “medpay” coverage through his own auto insurance policy that paid for the first $5,000.00 in medical bills he incurred. We made sure that $5,000.00 was used first – part of it was even paid directly to our client to make sure his co-pays and his deductible were paid. At the same time, we called his providers to make sure the remaining bills were sent to his health insurance and whatever balances were left over were put on hold until his case was resolved.

Case Loan

Even though the medical bills were covered, our client suffered significant financial hardship because of the accident. Just like the medical bills, you will not be compensated for your lost wages until your case is resolved. As such, the client did not receive a paycheck for three months until he was able to return to work.

In the interim, the client took a case loan from a lending company to tie him over until the case resolved. This helped him pay his mortgage and other normal expenses while his case was pending. We usually discourage case loans unless it is absolutely necessary, which it was in this situation.

Lost Wages

In addition to not collecting wages while injured, we faced another lost-wages issue. The client worked for a family business, a significant part of his wages was bonus based on how many sales he made and was very seasonal. Also, his employer records were not easily evaluated. As such, we thoroughly evaluated his income records and provided the insurance company a detailed description thereof. We also produced copies of the client’s past two years of W2’s to further document how much money he lost due to his injuries.

Settlement value of a mini-van accident

First, we sent an “abbreviated” demand letter to the defendant’s insurance company and demanded that they offer (“tender”) their $25,000.00 policy limits, which they quickly did. Then we submitted a detailed demand letter to our client’s insurance policy and demanded that they tender the additional $75,000.00 that our client was able to recover from his own policy.

The negotiation went back and forth. Ultimately, we settled his claim with his own insurance company for $95,000.00 total. Why did we accept less than the whole $100,000.00? If the insurance company was forced to tender the whole policy, they might as well have fought the case. Saving $5,000.00 was a win for them and getting almost the whole policy was a win for our client and he avoided having to pursue his claim through arbitration, where he was not guaranteed to recover as much and would have incurred significant expenses.

Post Settlement

Our client’s health insurance company field a “lien” with our office and as such, our client was obligated to pay them back for the medical bills they paid on his behalf. We were able to negotiate a reduction of the health insurance lien. He also had a few outstanding balances on medical bills from among others, his hospital. We were able to obtain reductions on those bills as well.

Finally, we obtained releases from both insurance companies and created a “settlement statement” that documented all the costs associated with our client’s case. Our client signed the documents and we distributed him his funds.


The process of navigating a settlement value of a mini-van accident is complicated. If you would like a free consultation with a car accident attorney in Glenview to discuss your auto accident, contact our office at 847-305-4105.

What You Need To Know About Tort Reform And Auto Insurance

Auto accident attorney Niles
How Tort Reform Affects Auto Insurance Rates

If you are looking for an auto accident attorney in Niles, call our office at 847-305-4105 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We would like to speak with you about efforts by the insurance industry to limit the amount of money you can recover if you are injured in an accident.

The Truth About Tort Reform

Tort reform is an effort by those in “big business” to put caps on, or otherwise limit the amount of money the victim of an accident or other negligent act can recover. This is an issue argued (normally) by large insurance companies like Allstate or State Farm Insurance and advanced through state and federal legislation by members of Congress.

This article is not intended to be political however. There are countless Republican trial attorneys who are just as concerned about caps on recoveries as are their Democratic counterparts.  I’m writing this article as a car accident laywer in Niles, not as a social theorist. But it just takes common sense and a quick review of how all aspects of business work to see what’s going on.

The real actors are in board rooms and corporate offices. People focused on the bottom line. Peanut counters. This is not a new concept. It’s simply business as usual. Corporations trying to maximize their profit and reduce their expenses. As I discuss in the blog post I wrote a while back, if an insurance company saves $1,000.00 a claim multiplied by 1,000,000 claims a year, they can save a ton of money.

Unfortunately, the people who suffer because of tort reform are innocent people who have been injured through someone else’s negligence. Let’s take medical malpractice for example. A report that came out in 2016, estimates that medical negligence could be the third leading cause of death in the United States killing over 250,000 people per year.

Think about that for a second. More people may die from medical malpractice than from auto accidents, stroke or diabetes. As such, providing insurance to doctors and nurses is expensive. Consequently, malpractice insurance rates go up.

What is the alternative? The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a law that capped all non-economic damages against health care providers at $250,000.00. What does that mean? If your mother goes in for surgery and the doctor makes an error and she dies, your entire family can only recover a maximum of $250,000.00 for her loss (excluding recovery for economic damages like her salary or medical bills). I understand the desire to reduce costs but this is not the answer.

Forms of Tort Reform

Caps on recoveries is not the only form of tort reform. The insurance industry is more creative than that. There are many ways to “skin a cat.” For example, some state negligence laws state that if the victim of an accident is even one percent (1%) at fault for the accident, they cannot recover for any of their injuries. These states, including North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia, follow the theory of “contributory negligence.”

Fortunately, Illinois follows the concept of “comparative negligence” which means that victims of other people’s negligence in Illinois can recover as long as they are not more than 50 percent responsible for the accident.

Some states like Oregon and California have passed laws such as Prop 213 which was enacted into state law in California Civil Code Section 333.4. Over 75% of California voters voted for Prop 213 which states that if you don’t have auto or motorcycle insurance when you get in an accident, you cannot recover for your non-economic damages, aka, your pain and suffering.

Finally, some states like California have discarded the “collateral source rule.” This rule generally prevents a defense attorney from admitting into evidence the fact that a plaintiff’s medical bills were paid by a health insurance company. Why is this important? Health insurance companies have contracted rates with many medical providers. As such, though you were billed $100,000.00 for example, chances are Blue Cross Blue Shield or Aetna only paid $50,000.00.

Why is this important? If a plaintiff can introduce the entire bill, then obviously they will recover significantly more at trial. Fortunately, Illinois follows the collateral source rule and as such, the victim of another’s negligence can enter the entire medical bill into evidence.

Do We Really Need Tort Reform?

The truth is, the number of lawsuits being filed in the State of Illinois and across the nation is actually GOING DOWN. Per the Illinois Courts website, in each of the past five years, the number of civil cases have dropped by twenty percent. Below are the number of civil suits filed in Illinois:

  • 2011: 555,088 civil cases filed
  • 2012: 554,747
  • 2013: 513,928
  • 2014: 457,444
  • 2015: 436,175

So, what is the truth? The truth is, if insurance companies offered victims of auto and other personal injury settlements even just a little more money, chances are even fewer lawsuits would be filed.

If you were injured in an accident on Milwaukee Avenue, Dempster, Greenwood or Golf, feel free to call an auto accident attorney for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault?

Most auto accidents result in minor injuries, but they all, by definition result in at least some property damage. Many people contact me about their accident and ask, “Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault?”

Automobile Insurance
Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault?

Most people don’t pay much attention when they’re buying automobile insurance online or from an insurance broker. The majority of drivers are looking for the cheapest insurance possible to meet the mandatory minimum requirements set forth by the State of Illinois. As such, they accept high deductibles and purchase inadequate amounts of uninsured and underinsured coverage. Unfortunately, if you commoditize the insurance, you may get left paying a high deductible if you are involved in an accident.

What is a deductible?

In short, a deductible is a specific amount of money an insured has to pay before the insurance company pitches in to pay for the damage to a damaged vehicle.

For example, if you contracted with Allstate Insurance for a $500.00 deductible and your car has $750.00 in damage to it, you will have to pay the first $500.00 before the insurance company pitches in the extra $250.00.

Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault?

If the accident is not your fault AND you want to use your own insurance to pay for the repairs, you will have to pay the deductible before your insurance company pitches in to get your car fixed. Your insurance company will then file a claim against the defendant’s auto insurance policy for reimbursement. When your insurance company gets reimbursed for the money they put out on your behalf, you should be reimbursed your deductible.

Unfortunately, this can take some time and the defendant’s insurance company may dispute who is at fault for the accident. This could result in a significant delay in getting reimbursed.

Why would I use my insurance then?

It is often quicker to use your own insurance to get your car repaired. It often takes time for the third party (the defendant’s insurance) insurance to “accept liability” or responsibility for the accident. If you have collision coverage, your insurance will often step in to get your car repaired immediately.

Some defendants always take longer to investigate the facts of an accident. For example, we’ve worked on several cases where the defendant is a governmental entity/employee. The government is always slow in offering compensation for damaged property. In these cases, it’s almost always better to go through your own insurance.

You may be involved in a case where the facts of the accident are in question or even in dispute. If that’s the case, the defendant’s insurance company is not going to pay for your property damage until liability is allocated and agreed upon. In this case, it’s also best to use your own insurance company to pay for the property damage.

Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault and we both have the same insurance company?

There are situations that we have been involved in where a client did not have to pay their deductible even though they used their own insurance. For example, if both parties to the accident have the same insurance company, I’ve had cases where the deductible issue was handled “in-house” and my client did not have to put out the money to pay the deductible.

I’ve also had situations where liability for the accident was so obvious that the defendant’s insurance company accepted liability immediately. In that case, my client’s insurance knew they were going to get reimbursed for the deductible and as such, waived the deductible.

These cases are the exception more than the rule, however. And consequently, when I’m asked the question: “Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault?” The answer is usually “yes.”

If you are faced with this situation, we are more than happy to provide you a free consultation to discuss your options. Call us at 312-848-9783 now.

Uber & Lyft Accident Lawyer in Chicago

If you were involved in an accident involving Uber or Lyft, you should call a Chicago rideshare accident attorney.

chicago uber accident lawyer
Uber and Rideshare Accident Lawyer

Dealing with Uber or Lyft can be challenging – even for a lawyer let alone an accident victim representing him or herself.

In general, rideshare is a great idea. It has provided a reasonably priced means for people to get around Chicago and other cities. Statistics also tend to support the idea that rideshare reduces the number of DUI accidents as inebriated drivers have an efficient alternative to driving home from a bar or restaurant. Some studies have shown that Uber has caused a dramatic reduction in the number of DUI related deaths.

However, Uber comes with risks as well. Often, Uber and Lyft drivers do not have a lot of driving experience. I speak from personal experience when I say that I’ve had more than one Uber driver who didn’t have a clue what he was doing or where he was going. I’ve seen others talking on their phones while driving or playing with the Uber app when they should be watching the road. Many cities like Chicago have enacted rideshare ordinances to assert some minimum requirements on the rideshare industry. Chicago exerts significant control over the taxi industry as well.

Our office has represented victims in several different Uber & rideshare accidents, including:

  • Our client was driving for Uber when she was hit behind in Park Ridge, Illinois thereby causing her to slam into the car in front of her. She suffered a concussion and whiplash injuries. She also developed fibromyalgia immediately after the collision and also suffered from significant PTSD that required psychological counseling.
  • Another client was a passenger in the back of an Uber. The Uber driver ran a red light and smashed into a car in an intersection. The collision left our client with significant back injuries. Our client’s statement about fault resulted in Uber’s insurance company accepting 100% responsibility for the accident.

We’ve received countless other calls from victims of rideshare accidents, many with minor injuries who proceeded to represent themselves in filing a claim with James River Insurance – the insurance company Uber uses (for the collisions I’ve handled at least).

It is unknown how many Uber & rideshare accidents there are in Illinois. This is mainly because, in Chicago at least, police reports do not have a place to notate whether the accident involved a rideshare service or not.

Who do you pursue if you are involved in an Uber & rideshare accident?

Uber and Lyft both provide coverage for accidents involving its drivers. When a rideshare driver turns on the app coverage begins. Uber/Lyft provide $50,000 in liability insurance if an Uber driver causes an accident while the app is on, but before he/she accepts a ride request. Once a ride request is accepted the insurance increases to $1,000,000 per incident AND the rideshare driver is protected if he/she is hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. The insurance coverage returns to $50,000 once the passenger exits the vehicle.

The state of Illinois mandates that rideshare drivers carry insurance. Often, your typical personal insurance policy will not provide coverage as it was not anticipated in your insurance contract that you would utilize your vehicle for commercial activities. As such, many Uber and Lyft drivers purchase additional or commercial insurance. The cost of adding these policies to an existing personal insurance policy is often minimal and can be as low as an additional $15.00 per month.

One insurance is established, your case will face the same challenges that all auto accident cases face:

  • Establishing liability
  • Obtaining sufficient value for the property damage
  • Getting the appropriate medical treatment
  • Avoiding gaps in medical treatment
  • Negotiating with a stingy insurance company
  • Negotiating medical bills and liens upon settlement

You can also recover for your lost wages if you are injured in an Uber & rideshare accident. For passengers, the same process is used including verifying your wages through the use of a lost wages verification form. For rideshare drivers, establishing lost wages is often simple. The Uber app documents how much a driver makes on a weekly basis. To establish the lost wages claim, we can download the data and present it to an insurance company to document how much money you made on a weekly basis in the months prior to the accident.

If you would like to speak with an Uber & Rideshare Accident Lawyer, feel free to contact my office at 312-848-9783 My consultations are always free and I am more than happy to discuss your options with you.


Illinois Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Claims

Underinsured Motorist Claims Illinois
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage

Pursuant to Illinois law, all motor vehicle drivers in the state of Illinois are required to have liability insurance of no less than $25,000 per individual and $50,000 per accident. In addition, all drivers must also have Illinois uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in an amount equal to their liability coverage.

That is the minimum amount of coverage drivers should have. However, if you are injured in an accident, $25,000 could very well be insufficient to pay for your medical bills and compensate you for your pain and suffering.

As such, we recommend that you have at least $100,000 in uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance.

Why is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage important?

It is estimated that 15 percent of all drivers are uninsured and countless others have so little insurance that if you get hit, you may need to tap into your own insurance for compensation. There are over 4.7 million cars registered to drive in Illinois. If the 15 percent statistic is accurate, that means that approximately 700,000 cars driving in Illinois are uninsured.

You cannot control what insurance another driver has but you can control what insurance YOU have.

In addition, if you get hit by a car while a pedestrian walking in the street, in a hit and run, or, while you are riding your bicycle, you can seek compensation from your auto uninsured and underinsured motorist policy.

Success Stories

Auto Accident- My client suffered torn ligaments in his knee when an automobile sideswiped him. The at-fault party had a minimum Illinois insurance policy of $25,000. The defendant’s insurance company offered the $25,000 to settle the claim. Then we filed a claim against our client’s $100,000 underinsured motorist policy. RESULT: Success. The case settled for $100,000 – $75,000 from the client’s UIM policy and $25,000 from the defendant’s auto policy.

Bicycle Accident hit and run – Our client was riding his bike in Northfield Township when he was hit by the end of a truck’s trailer. The driver apparently did not know he hit our client and left the scene. The client suffered a fractured clavicle, multiple pelvic fractures and a severe concussion. We filed a claim under our client’s uninsured motorist policy and successfully recovered on his behalf.

Motorcycle Accident – Our clients, a husband and wife, were riding their motorcycle with a group of other riders, when an automobile driving the other way, crossed over the center line causing our client to lay down his motorcycle. Both clients suffered extensive injuries including, severe road rash and multiple fractures. Fortunately, our client had a 100/300 uninsured motorist policy and our Chicago motorcycle attorney recovered $100,000 for each client.

Many clients are concerned about filing a claim against their own policy. Not to worry. In nearly all cases where a driver is not at fault for the accident, the amount of a driver’s insurance policy will not increase as a result of filing a claim.

If you are unable to settle the claim with your insurance company, then, in almost all cases, you will have to file to take your case to arbitration rather than to trial. Arbitration is less formal and can be less expensive than filing a lawsuit. In addition, it takes much less time to schedule an arbitration than it does to get to trial in most jurisdictions. The drawback is that awards are often less in arbitration than you would get from a jury.

Make sure you have adequate amounts of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If you get injured in an auto accident, feel free to call the lawyers at the Chicago Legal Group for a free consultation at 847-305-4105

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.

The information on this site is not intended to be legal advice. Consult with an attorney for legal advice. Reading and visiting this site does not create an attorney-client relationship nor does sending an email to any of the attorneys listed on this site. An attorney-client relationship will only be made upon the appropriate consent of both you and the attorney.