In December 2014, Illinois lawmakers passed legislation permitting 70 mph speed limits on state toll highways. According to The Quad-City Times, the change will impact more than 300 miles of roads near Chicago. Critics have expressed worries about the safety impacts of these higher speeds. As any Illinois car accident attorney can attest, speed can contribute to more severe crashes and injuries. At higher speeds, drivers may also have more difficulty preventing or avoiding accidents.
With all the media attention given to texting and driving, it is easy to dismiss other forms of distractions in the vehicle as insignificant. However, any activity that takes the eyes, hands or attention away from the task of driving is considered a distraction and can be potentially deadly. Driver distractions that pull attention from the road for two seconds double the risk of a crash.
Illinois has launched a campaign called “Ice and Snow, Take it Slow” to raise awareness of proper driving techniques in winter conditions and reduce the number of traffic accidents. The best way to prevent a car accident in Illinois is to avoid driving when the roads are icy. When staying off the road is not an option, an individual should check current road conditions and weather reports to choose the safest route and prepare for adverse driving situations.
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 car accident 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 resident and had a car accident in Niles, 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.
Were you recently in a Highland Park Illinois car accident, and it wasn’t your fault? An insurance adjuster from the other person’s insurance company may call to gather more information about the accident. The adjuster will tell you they really want to help you, but would like your help first before compensating you.
The insurance adjuster will request that you provide him/her a recorded statement to describe how the accident occurred. You may think it is reasonable to provide a recorded statement because you didn’t do anything wrong. However, you should never give a recorded statement to anyone from any insurance company without first consulting with a Highland Park personal injury attorney.
As with any other company, an insurance company is out to generate revenue. As such, their goal is to pay out as little money as possible. To help cut down on the amount of claims being paid out, the insurance company will deny a claim based on any reason and/or attempt to diminish your claim to any extent possible. One of the primary ways the insurance company will deny your claim is to use your recorded statement against you.
The insurance adjuster will review your original recorded statement and compare it to any other statements you may have given and will give including your deposition and/or testimony at trial. They will use any inconsistencies in the statements against you. They are constantly searching for variances in the statements. Logically speaking, the more times you testify as to what happened, your story will change. Its human nature. You cannot give the same story repeatedly in exactly the same manner. A good defense lawyer will capitalize on these inconsistencies and position you as either not remembering how the accident occurred or he/she will attempt to call into question your testimony.
These insurance adjusters are experienced! They know how to ask questions and word them in such a way that they may lead you into responses that could hurt your case. You may not even realize what is happening until after the fact.
In short, you should never give a recorded statement to an insurance company representative without the assistance of a Highland Park personal injury attorney first. No matter how persuasive and friendly the insurance adjuster is when speaking to you, always remember that they are representatives of the insurance company and have their best interests in mind, not yours.
While the majority of Highland Park car accidents we handle are a broadside collision or a rear-ender, if you have been injured in a Highland Park car accident, you should know that our office is equipped to assist you with recouping for your damages. Contact a Highland Park personal injury attorney at 847-305-4105 or 877-LAW-4312 today for a free consultation.
The Chicago rear-end accident occurred on Lake Shore Drive. Our client was driving downtown with her children in the car intending to take them to a Chicago Blackhawks game. While exiting Lake Shore Drive at Randolph Street, a sedan rear-ended our client causing the client to thrust within her seat forward and back. The third party admitted fault for the accident. As such, the only issue that remained was assisting our client in recovering from State Farm Insurance for her injuries.
Luckily for the client, she only suffered soft-tissue injuries to her back and neck. The official diagnosis was a neck strain or sprain. A neck sprain or strain is obviously difficult to recover for as insurance companies continue to tighten the knot and limit payments for soft tissue injuries.
Our client coordinated our client’s care with her chiropractor. The client’s doctor used state of the art technology including a spinal kinetics examination to analyze if there was any permanent impairment to our client’s vertebrae which there was. This diagnosis helped us increase the insurance company’s offer.
While insurance companies often are hesitant to compensate victims who are solely treated by chiropractors, this case shows that when a chiropractor can affirmatively demonstrate permanency, a client can still recover.
In the end, our office was able to obtain a recovery that paid our client’s medical bills, including her chiropractor as well as reimbursing Blue Cross Blue Shield for money paid on behalf of our client, as well as pay attorneys fees with enough left over to adequately compensate the client for her injuries.
If you or someone know you know was injured in a Chicago rear-end accident, contact the Chicago rear-end accident lawyer Barry Zlotowicz for a free consultation at 847-305-4105 or 877-LAW-4312.
Chicago car accident settlement
Chicago car accident attorney Barry Zlotowicz, just secured a recovery on behalf of a client injured in a bizarre car accident at a Chicago dry cleaners.
The Chicago car accident took place in 2013. Our client, a tailor, was seated at in her chair working on her sewing machine when an automobile driven by a young woman, hit the gas and drove her car through the front window of the cleaners. The crash destroyed the front entryway and caused furniture, chairs and the sewing station to slam into our client. The client ended up on the ground fifteen feet from her work station. Our client sought medical attention that day at her local hospital where she was diagnosed with severe contusions/bruising. She then sought medical physical therapy/chiropractic treatment where she was diagnosed with a back strain/sprain.
After several months of treatment, our office approached the insurance company to obtain appropriate compensation. After a month of negotiating, our office obtained a recovery on behalf of our client that paid all her medical bills, paid her attorneys’ fees and also left her adequately compensated for her injuries.
In order to facilitate the settlement, meaning, to optimize our client’s recovery, our office was required to reduce her medical bills which we did by one-third. That put more money in our client’s pocket. In addition, we negotiated with Illinois Medicaid to resolve her bills paid by IDHS.
While most of the Chicago auto accidents we deal with are garden variety T-bone accidents or rear-enders, if you have been injured in any type of Chicago car accident, you should know that our office is well prepared to assist you in recovering for your pain and suffering. Contact Barry Zlotowicz, a Chicago car accident lawyer for a free consultation at 847-305-4105 or 877-LAW-4312.
Your Chicago car accident lawyer has handled countless personal injury accidents where the injuries of our clients were what is called “soft-tissue injuries.” In fact, the vast majority of injury accidents result in soft tissue injuries as opposed to more serious accidents that result in fractures, herniated discs or brain injuries.
Soft tissue injuries can occur as a result of any type of accident such as a car accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, or bicycle accident. These types of injuries may include:
- Bruises or contusions
In terms of settlement value, soft tissue injuries are generally worth less than other injuries. Nevertheless, they cause serious pain and suffering and should be compensated.
Often times, soft tissue injuries can be remedied through mild pain medication, visits to a chiropractor and/or physical therapy.
These types of injuries are generally caused by trauma, like that caused in a Chicago car accident, where a victim’s body is thrown back and forth, often in a whiplash motion. However, our office has handled cases where victims hurt parts of their bodies other than their necks. Torn ligaments are often considered to be a soft tissue injury. Victims of car accidents often suffer torn or stretched ligaments in their shoulders, elbows, hips or knees.
The result of soft tissue injuries can often be chronic long-lasting pain that interferes with a victim’s everyday activities.
If you or someone you love is the victim of a soft tissue injury, he/she may be entitled to compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Reimbursement for medical bills
- Lost wages
It’s important after suffering soft tissue injuries in a car or other accident that you do not wait to obtain medical treatment. We receive calls all the time from clients who were injured through no fault of their own but who wait to get medical treatment. This makes our job in recovering for your pain and suffering much more difficult. Insurance companies will attempt to pay you as little as possible. A common argument by an insurance adjuster is that there was a large “gap in treatment” by our clients and/or that they weren’t diagnosed with their injury (often a bulging or herniated disk) for months after an accident. As such, it is imperative to get medical treatment as soon as possible.
Finally, engaging an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you, help you obtain medical treatment and ultimately assist you in recovering for your injuries, is essential.
If you have suffered a soft tissue or another injury in a Chicago car accident, we can advise you on Illinois personal injury laws and help you file a claim. Contact Barry Zlotowicz at 847-305-4105.
Additional things to do after a Chicago car accident
I often get asked questions from people involved in Chicago car accidents. They asked some poignant questions about what they should and should not do following their Chicago car accident. I thought I would share a few of these thoughts with you.
Should you report the accident to your insurance company? Yes.
Even if you consider your Chicago car accident to be minor, its still important to report it to your insurance company. What happens if weeks following the accident the damage turns out to be much more significant than you expected? You could be out of luck. Often times slight impact accidents cause significant damage to a car even if the cosmetic aspect of the accident does not seem serious.
Should you repair minor damage to your car? Yes.
Even if you think the damage to your car was slight, it is important to get it fixed. Scratches, dents and dings can often lead to more serious damage later on. They may also threaten the structural integrity of your car. So if you are able, get your car fixed.
Should I report the accident to the DMV? Yes.
Each state has different reporting requirements. But in general, its mandated by law that you report your Chicago car accident to the DMV. See your local statute for specific requirements.
Should I go to the doctor? Yes.
You are probably not a medical professional. As such, it is imperative that following an accident you see your doctor as soon as possible. Whether it’s a trip to the ER or a visit with your family practitioner, get medical treatment. Often injuries such as a concussion don’t reveal themselves immediately. And they may be more serious than you think. Further, though less important, if you try to make a claim with an insurance company later, it will be much more difficult if you wait to get medical treatment.
Should I accept full or partial responsibility for the Chicago car accident? No
Do not discuss responsibility for the Chicago car accident if at all possible. It cannot help you. If you make an admission of fault, regardless how small, it will come back to haunt you.
Should I give a statement to the other (not mine) insurance company? NEVER
Do not give a recorded or written statement to the insurance for the guy/gal who caused the Chicago car accident. It won’t help you and in all likelihood will come back to haunt you in the end. The insurance adjuster is NOT on your side. They are looking to pay you as little as possible and to assign as much blame on you as possible. Never trust an insurance adjuster.
In this blog post, you will find advice about what to do if you’re involved in a car accident in Chicago. Of course, the first thing you should do is stay calm. Accidents happen. Just because someone did something stupid, like texting while driving, doesn’t mean they’re an awful person. They just made a mistake.
Sometimes those mistakes have big consequences. One of my clients was rear-ended while driving in Aurora, Illinois. The young woman who hit him admitted that she was texting when she hit him. He suffered multiple shoulder tears because of her negligence. Simply stated, her mistake caused him severe pain and suffering that may result in permanent injuries to his shoulder. Unfortunately, neither side had enough insurance (liability or underinsured protection) to cover his injuries – see my article on UM/UIM insurance.
If you are involved in a car accident in Chicago, you should:
- Call the police/file a report
- Get the contact information, insurance information and names of all witnesses to the accident
- Obtain medical treatment: put your lawsuits/claim aside, it is critical that you obtain medical assistance to quickly treat your injuries
- Take photographs immediately – this includes photos your injuries as well as the damage to your vehicle
- Keep everything involved in the accident
- Never give a recorded statement to an insurance company without first consulting a Chicago car accident attorney
- Do not post much about the accident on Facebook
- Keep a daily journal of how you are feeling and the way your life is impacted by the accident.
- Keep a mileage log of visits to your doctor’s office or to get your car repaired and receipts for all medical or other bills
- If you did suffer injuries, contact a Chicago car accident attorney for a free consultation
Every few minutes, a car accident in Chicago takes place. It’s an epidemic. In 2014, the most recent year that the Illinois Department of Transportation released records for, there were 296,409 car accidents in the State and 143,943 car accidents that took place in Cook County, Illinois. That’s 394 car accidents in Chicago per day!
Nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is a traffic crash every 10 seconds. In 2015, there were 6,296,000 crashes. That number is astonishing when you think about it. Of those, there were over 35,000 fatalities.
Common causes of car accidents include getting hit by a drunk driver (around 20% of all crashes), weather conditions like ice, snow or rain, or due to distracted driving. In my practice, I would guestimate that 7 out of 10 of all accidents we see were caused by a distracted driver. They could be smoking a cigarette, talking on the phone or, texting while driving.
Our office regularly represents people who are the victim of a car accident in Chicago. Our clients have suffered various injuries and recoveries have varied greatly depending how injured they were as a result of their Chicago car accident.
If you are involved in a car accident in Chicago or anywhere in the State of Illinois, contact our office for a free consultation at 312-848-9783