How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Were you involved in a personal injury accident? And you’re wondering howpersonal injury lawyer fee much it costs to hire a personal injury lawyer? Read the short blog article below.

A lot of people will call my office after they’ve just been in a car accident and they often have the same question – is it expensive to hire a lawyer?

I’m always a little surprised by that question, because I thought it was common knowledge about how personal injury lawyers bill for their services.

Personal Injury Lawyer Fees

The first thing to know is that unlike business attorneys or divorce attorneys who charge $400 or $500 an hour, the cost to hire an injury lawyer is very different.

Instead, we work on what is called a ‘contingency fee’ basis. What is a contingency fee?

It means that the attorney will only get paid if their client recovers compensation either through a settlement or winning at trial.

The next question you’re asking is how much is a contingency fee? It’s a percentage of the gross settlement of the recovery. Typically personal injury attorneys charge one-third of whatever the gross recovery is or 33.3%.

However, some p.i. lawyers charge 30% or 40% and sometimes even higher. Note that if the case goes to litigation, meaning a lawsuit has to be filed, the attorney fees might go up.

Keep reading because at the end of this article I’ll tell you whether a personal injury lawyer’s fees are negotiable.

Positives of a Contingency Fee

First and foremost, you don’t have to pay an hourly rate and you don’t normally have to put down a retainer of $2000 or whatever the lawyer usually charges.

That’s a big benefit because the vast majority of the people who call our office can’t afford to pay that kind of money.

Cons of a Contingency Fee

There are some cons to contingency fees also. First, it’s a lot of money. You’re probably thinking a third of the gross recovery and I have to pay medical bills out of the settlement as well.

It is a lot of money. The reason though is that attorneys who take cases on a contingency fee basis are taking all the risk! Why? Because if there’s no recovery (after 18 months of investing time and money in the case) then the attorney is not going to get paid.

Personal Injury Attorneys Front the Costs of Cases

Although it doesn’t relate to ‘attorney’s fees,’ you should also know that personal injury attorneys, generally speaking, we’ll cover all the costs of the case upfront.

That is another benefit because you do not have to pay for depositions, investigators, getting the police report, and more. Rather, the personal injury attorney will pay for those and will only be reimbursed for those expenses if the case is resolved (generally speaking).

Two other things to know about contingency fees:

First, when you sign up with a personal injury attorney, make sure it’s in writing. You’re going to sign a document called a ‘retainer agreement’ which sets forth the relationship between you and the attorney.

Read it! Make sure that retainer agreement is crystal clear about the percentage that you’re paying the attorney. I’ve heard of cases where people have hired a lawyer for a car accident or other injury case and there’s no retainer agreement. That’s a big mistake.

In this era of technology, a lot of lawyers will get these retainer agreements signed electronically over the internet.

The second thing I want to point out is that most retainer agreements include something called an ‘attorney lien’ clause. That means your attorney has a vested interest or a stake in your case.

This protects attorneys from doing a lot of work and obtaining a settlement only to be fired by the client. The attorney can seek payment from the proceeds of the settlement pursuant to this clause.

Are Injury Attorney Fees negotiable?

I mentioned earlier that I would discuss whether personal injury attorney fees are negotiable. Generally speaking, they’re negotiable. You can try at least to negotiate with your attorney.

Our Chicago injury law firm does not negotiate our attorney fees because it’s a Pandora’s box. Once you start charging different clients different fees it becomes a mess.

But some attorneys might negotiate their fees with you. One tip – I might be skeptical of an attorney that charges a really low fee to get you to sign up with them. That might raise a red flag for me as to how good that attorney is.

Do you live in Chicagoland and want to speak with a Chicago automobile accident lawyer to learn about our fees and get your questions answered? Please contact us at 1-847-305-4105.

Motorcycle Insurance Coverage Recommendations

Are you looking at getting motorcycle insurance and you wanted a littleMotorcycle Insurance Coverage Recommendations advice from an injury attorney about what is the best type of motorcycle insurance, keep reading below.

As a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer, I’ve worked on a lot of motorcycle cases. So I’m trying to share some information about things that motorcycle riders should, and shouldn’t do a before and after an accident.

In this blog I want to talk about motorcycle insurance coverage. It’s not sexy, but it’s super important.

Whenever I get a call from somebody who was just in an accident, they almost always say they have ‘full coverage.’ Almost inevitably they end up not having full coverage.

There’s a misconception about what full coverage motorcycle insurance means.

Almost every state has mandatory insurance limits. In Illinois, riders have to have $25,000 in insurance.

Six Types of Motorcycle Insurance You Should Have

There are six types of motorcycle insurance that I think that every motorcycle rider should have.

top 6 motorcycle insurance types

Liability Insurance

The first type of insurance is liability insurance. But liability insurance is just the tip of the iceberg. That is the type of insurance we are required to have.

If you cause damage to somebody else while riding on your motorcycle, chances are the other party may have some property damage, but they’re not going to get hurt. You’re the one that’s going to get hurt.

So, it’s critical to have these next types of insurance.

Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage

So, the second type of insurance you should have is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage – sometimes called UM or UIM. This is actually the single most important type of insurance a motorcycle rider can have.

There’s a huge number of people driving on our streets that are uninsured altogether. And a lot of the rest of the people have the minimum insurance limits. If you get hit by a car that has $25,000 insurance, that might not even cover the medical bills of someone hit while riding a motorcycle.

So, how do you recover for your pain and suffering, lost wages and more? This is why it’s critical to have UM and UIM.

A lot of insurance companies don’t push this because insurance has become a commodity and they try to sell you the cheapest package to keep you from going from Geico to another insurance company.

Don’t fall for it. UM and UIM are critical. We recommend that you have at least $100,000 in coverage (more if you can afford it).

Collision & Comprehensive Coverage

The third type of motorcycle insurance every rider should have is collision and comprehensive coverage.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a call from somebody who said that they were involved in an accident. And they went to their own insurance company to get the property damage fixed, and they didn’t have collision coverage. That’s why collision coverage is so important. And it’s not that expensive.

Comprehensive coverage covers you if you’re not involved in an accident with another vehicle. Say for example a tree falls and hit your bike.

Medical Payment Coverage or PIP Coverage

The fourth type of insurance you should add is something that I’ve seen a lot of videos and they tell you it’s not important. It’s called med pay medical payment coverage. In some states it’s called PIP or personal injury protection coverage.

The idea behind med pay is that the first $2,500 or $5,000 or $10,000 of your medical expenses are covered by your insurance – no questions asked.

A lot of people think if they have insurance health insurance, they don’t need it. Well, you’re still going to have co-pays and those can be expensive, especially if you’re going to physical therapy. You may have to pay $20 or $40 every time you got to go.

Rental Coverage

Insurance coverage type number five is rental insurance. If your bike goes down, what are you going to ride while the bike is being repaired?

Check your policy to see if you have this type of coverage. And if not, see if you can add it.

GAP Coverage

The sixth type of insurance you’re going to want to have in your insurance policy is GAP insurance. It stands for guaranteed asset protection.

Sometimes you get this from State Farm or Allstate, but oftentimes you can get it at the dealership when you buy your bike.

Here’s the thing about GAP coverage. If you buy a $30,000 Harley, the second you take it off the showroom floor it loses value. Let’s say six months later you’re driving the bike, get in an accident the bike is totaled. The insurance appraiser says the ‘actual cash value’ of the bike is $22,000.

That leaves an $8,000 balance that you owe the finance company. Who is going to pay that if you don’t have gap insurance coverage? You are. GAP insurance is really inexpensive. So, consider getting it if you haven’t already.

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident and want to speak to a Chicago motorcycle accident attorney, reach out to us at 1-847-305-4105.

5 Mistakes to Avoid After a Motorcycle Accident

In this article we’re going to address the top five mistakes that motorcyclewhat to do after a motorcycle accident riders make after an accident.

In my many years as a personal injury attorney, I’ve probably handled a couple of hundred motorcycle accident cases. So, I’ve seen a lot of the mistakes that people make after a motorcycle accident – and they make the same mistakes over and over again. Most riders don’t know what to do after a motorcycle accident. I will shed some light on what to do.

So, I made this list of the top five mistakes that motorcycle riders make after an accident.

Mistake Number One: They Don’t Call The Police

They don’t call the police after an accident. I don’t care how small it is.

Why is this such a big mistake? There are many reasons. But in short, insurance companies want some sort of independent verification that an accident occurred. But there’s another important reason – peoples’ stories change! The same driver of a car who said, “I’m sorry” or “that was my fault” can change their story when they call their insurance company to report the accident. It happens all the time.

So, it’s critical to call the police department and get the story on the record as it happened and right after it happened.

If the police refuse to come out to the scene of the accident, because there is only property damage, still call and get the accident on the record. Then, when you are able, go to the police department and file a report on your own.

Mistake Number Two: They Don’t Contact A Lawyer

Motorcycle riders don’t talk to a Chicago motorcycle accident attorney after an incident. Now I know what you’re saying – this is a self-serving comment.

I admit it. But I say this for good reason. This game with insurance companies is totally rigged. The insurance companies know what they’re doing. They’re billion dollar companies. Motorcycle injury lawyers also know how to play the game.

But chances are, you’ve never had to deal with insurance companies before, and maybe even with a personal injury attorney for that matter. So it’s critical to at least do your research and talk to an attorney to figure out what’s going on before you call the insurance company. Because believe me, they’re not on your side.

Mistake Number Three: They Give A Recorded Statement To Their Insurance

 

This is a big one. If you do choose to work with the insurance company, one of the biggest mistakes I see people making is that they give a recorded statement to the insurance company.

You don’t want to give a recorded statement to the other side’s insurance company. They’re not doing it only just to get the facts on the accident. They can get that from you without doing a recorded statement. They’re trying to get you on the record.

Why? So they can use inconsistencies in your statements over time against you. It’s extremely difficult to tell the same story over and over again so your story at your deposition or at trial might be a little different than when you gave your recorded statement. Insurance companies will capitalize on the discrepancies.

Now, generally speaking you do have to give a recorded statement to your own motorcycle insurance company. You have an obligation to work with them.

Mistake Number Four: They Think Their Insurance Company Is On Thier Side

They think the insurance company is on their side.

When you call an insurance company, they’re nice to you and they want to help. But the insurance company is not on your side. I’ve seen it a thousand times, the same people who are really nice to you when you first call and file a claim about an accident are trying to deny, delay and diminish your claim later on down the road. So just because they’re nice upfront does not mean they have your best interests in mind.

Now, I’m talking primarily about the other party’s insurance company. Your own insurance may be very nice to you too, and that may be authentic. But remember this, the second you file a claim with your own uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist against your own insurance company, they become adverse and their interest is the same as the third parties – to pay you as little as they possibly can.

Mistake Number Five: Riders Don’t Seek Medical Treatment

And the fifth and final mistake that I see riders make all the time – they don’t get medical treatment right after the accident, or they allow a gap between medical treatment.

I get calls all the time from people and they say, I was just in an accident, should I go to the emergency room or go to my primary care physician?

In short – I don’t care. Get medical treatment right after the accident. If you don’t, the insurance company is going to use that against you to try and prove that your injuries weren’t that severe.

After an accident, your adrenaline is rushing. You don’t know what’s been injured. So don’t take any chances, got get checked out

A gap of treatment is different. Take this hypothetical: You treat for six weeks for a back sprain – then you take six weeks off from treatment for whatever reason and then you start up again.

That’s a gap in treatment and the insurance company is going to use that against you to try and prevent you from recovering for the subsequent medical treatment.

Thanks for checking out this short article on the top 5 mistakes motorcycle riders make after an accident. If you want to talk to a motorcycle lawyer in Chicago to find out if you have a case, call me at 1-847-305-4105. My calls are always free.

When Do You Need To Hire A Car Accident Lawyer?

When to Hire an Attorney After an auto AccidentFolks involved in a car accident often have lots of questions about what to do next. Do I make a claim with my car insurance company? What should I do if the other driver’s insurance company offers me money to settle my claim? Who will pay for the damage to my car, my medical bills, or the money I’ve lost because I couldn’t work? Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?

Not Every Crash Requires A Car Accident Lawyer, But Many Do

Not everyone who is in a car accident winds up hiring a collision lawyer. That’s because not every crash results in injuries or other significant damage. There are approximately six million car accidents in the U.S. every year. That equals an average of 16,000 crashes per day. Fortunately, many if not most of these accidents are fender-benders that leave behind nothing more serious than some dents, scratches, and inconvenience and require nothing beyond some body work. Such incidents usually get sorted out between the two drivers’ car insurance companies with minimal fuss.

But not every crash is a fender-bender. Many car accidents cause injuries to drivers, passengers, and others. Some of those injuries are devastating and life-changing. Such collisions can leave victims and their families reeling as they suddenly face enormous medical costs, difficult medical treatment and rehabilitation, the loss of earnings, and a life that never may be fully the same as it once was.

Of course, some wrecks are so catastrophic that they take the life of a loved one, with those left behind not only coping with grief but also worried about how to move forward without a breadwinner, a companion, a spouse, parent, or a child.

In such serious cases, the question of when to hire a car accident lawyer almost answers itself. But even “minor” injuries from a car accident can create upheaval in someone’s life and cost them a lot in medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. And some injuries from a crash may not become apparent until weeks or months later.

The Answer To “Do I Need A Lawyer After a Car Accident?” Is Found In the Answers To These Questions

If your accident resulted in injuries and losses that fall between fender-bender and catastrophe, the question of when to hire an attorney after a car accident can actually be answered by asking yourself the following questions.

Do You Want To Bear The Burden Of Injuries and Losses That Were Somebody Else’s Fault?

If you suffer injuries in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness, why should you bear all the burdens? Why should you have to cover huge medical bills, lose out on paycheck after paycheck, or endure pain or loss of mobility because someone else was irresponsible? Why shouldn’t the other driver’s insurance company pay me for my losses; after all, isn’t that what liability insurance is for?

If you want to make the negligent driver and their insurer pay for the harm and damage they caused you and your family, you should hire a collision lawyer.

Do You Want To Get Played By A Greedy Insurance Company?

No matter how warm and fuzzy their TV commercials may be, insurance companies are in the business of making money.

After your accident, the other driver’s insurer will want to try to resolve your claim quickly – and on the cheap. They’ll do so by making you an offer far lower than what you deserve or what you could get at trial. They know you have bills you need to pay and wages you aren’t earning as you recover from your injuries. They know you need the money, and they understand that any offer of quick cash can be very tempting. They also know that you may not fully grasp your rights or trust them to do right by you.

The insurance company will use this knowledge to manipulate you and convince you that you either don’t have a valid claim or that it is worth pennies. The insurer may try to get you to make a statement or admission which could hurt any car accident suit you may want to file. They’ll question the extent or cause of your injuries as well.

The bottom line is that when you negotiate your claim with a car accident insurance lawyer, you are giving the insurance company a gift. That’s because car insurance companies negotiate settlements every day – and you don’t.

Do You Want To Get The Maximum Amount Of Compensation Available For Your Car Accident Claim?

When an insurer knows that they are negotiating with an experienced car accident attorney rather than a claimant, their manipulation, intimidation, and other tactics are rendered useless. That is why car accident claimants who hire a lawyer get significantly more in compensation on average than those who don’t.

According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), injury victims who had an auto accident attorney received settlements that were 40 percent higher than those negotiated by the claimants themselves. In another study, the IRC found that claimants represented by a car accident lawyer receive 85 percent of all settlement money paid out by auto insurance companies for claims.

Do You Want To Miss Out On Compensation For Your Injuries Altogether?

If you don’t hire a car accident lawyer in time, you may lose any ability to obtain compensation for your injuries.

A statute of limitations is a law that sets forth the period within which you must file a lawsuit for a particular type of claim. Different types of claims have different limitations periods. In Illinois, lawsuits seeking to recover compensation for personal injuries, including those from a car accident, must be filed within two years of the date of the accident that caused the injuries. If you file a car accident lawsuit after the applicable statute of limitations has passed, the court will throw it out.

Do You Want To Get All The Advantages Of A Hiring A Car Accident Lawyer For Free?

If you suffered injuries in a Chicago car accident, answers, help, and a Chicago car accident attorney dedicated to your well-being is only a phone call away. And all of the advantages that come with hiring a car accident attorney won’t cost you a dime in attorney’s fees unless they recover compensation for you.

Located in Glenview, Chicago Legal Group focuses exclusively on the representation of personal injury victims, using our experience, tenacity, and advocacy skills to get our clients the compensation and resources they need to move forward with their lives.

Please contact Chicago Legal Group today to arrange for your free consultation at 1-847-305-4105.

What is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Illinois?

Right after a car accident or other incident in which you suffer a serious

illinois statute of limitations personal injury
Woman and man on phone car crash accident calling problem

injury, it can seem like time stands still. But the time you have to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries does not.

In Illinois, as in all other states, strict time limits apply to car accidents and other personal injury lawsuits. If you wait too long after your car accident to hire an attorney and file your suit, you can lose your right to seek compensation altogether, depriving yourself and your family of the money that could have helped you when you needed it most

Avoiding such a disaster is one of the biggest reasons to contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as you can after your accident.

Speaking with an attorney does not necessarily mean that you will file a lawsuit, and it doesn’t mean that you’ll be paying any attorneys’ fees, as most personal injury law firms like Chicago Legal Group offer free initial consultations.

What it does mean is that you are taking a crucial step to protect yourself and your rights before the expiration of Illinois’ statutes of limitations for car accident and personal injury cases.

What is a “Statute of Limitations”?

A statute of limitations is a law that sets forth the period within which you must file a lawsuit for a particular claim. If you file a lawsuit after the applicable statute of limitations has passed, a court will likely dismiss it.

Different limitations periods apply to different types of claims. For example, if you wanted to sue someone for breaching a written contract in Illinois, you would need to file your lawsuit within ten years after the alleged breach occurred. If you wanted to file a suit alleging libel or slander, however, you would need to do so within one year.

What Is The Statute of Limitations For Car Accidents in Illinois?

Most personal injury lawsuits in Illinois, including those arising from injuries suffered in car accidents, must be filed within two years after the date of the crash or incident that caused the injury.

This two-year statute of limitations also applies to slip and fall, dog bite, product liability, and other injury cases.

If your car accident only involved property damage, you have five years rather than two to file a lawsuit for compensation for such losses.

“Tolling” of the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in Illinois

In most car accident and personal injury cases, the clock starts ticking on the limitations period the second after the accident or incident. But certain circumstances can extend the time within which an injury victim can file a personal injury lawsuit.

The start date of an Illinois limitations period can be delayed – or “tolled” – in a car accident or other personal injury lawsuit if an injury victim is under the age of 18 or is legally incompetent.

Such individuals cannot legally file a lawsuit on their own behalf, so the statute of limitations period is tolled until the victim turns 18 or when the victim regains their mental competence. However, parents or guardians may bring an injury lawsuit on behalf of a minor child before they turn 18.

Extremely Short Time to Bring Personal Injury Claims Against the Government 

Different rules and time limits apply to car accident and personal injury claims against a government entity, such as for injuries suffered in a crash with a garbage truck or a slip and fall on government property.

In such cases, an injury victim must file a civil lawsuit for personal injury against any Illinois local public entity or any of its employees within one year from the date the cause of action accrued.

Personal injury claims against the federal government are governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). A claim against the federal government must be filed within two years of the injury. The “claim” is not a lawsuit, but rather it is a notice provided to the federal agency or entity responsible for the injury. A lawsuit cannot be filed until after the agency has formally denied the claim or failed to respond within six months.

Other specific and strict rules apply to personal injury claims against government entities. Failure to follow these rules, even if your claim is timely, can doom your ability to hold the government accountable for your injuries.

Don’t Risk Losing Your Right To Compensation For Your Injuries. Call Chicago Legal Group Today To Arrange For Your Free Initial Consultation

The best way to protect your right to obtain compensation for the injuries and loss you suffered in a car accident or other incident is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Located in Glenview, Chicago Legal Group focuses exclusively on the representation of personal injury victims, using our experience, tenacity, and advocacy skills to get our clients the compensation and resources they need to move forward with their lives. Your initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing in attorney’s fees until we obtain compensation for you.

Contact us for some free advice today at 1-847-305-4105.

Chicago Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

Why You May Need A Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

Distacted drivers continue to cause tragic accidents. Smartphones have changed the way we live. Similarly, the increasingly chicago distracted driving accident lawyer sophisticated electronic crash avoidance, navigation, and entertainment systems in our vehicles have transformed the way we drive. But as convenient and helpful as these devices may be, they are also killing thousands of Americans each year. Distracted driving – caused by texting, phone use, and a wide range of other behaviors that take a driver’s eyes off the road – is an epidemic in the United States, causing accidents, injuries, and deaths every single day.

In 2018, over 2,800 Americans lost their lives and approximately 400,000 other people suffered injuries in distracted driving accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of those killed or hurt were not in vehicles – distracted drivers killed 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists that year.

Distracted driving is negligent and irresponsible, no matter what cause. If you suffered injuries or had a loved one taken from your life because of a distracted driver, you need help and you deserve compensation and justice for your losses. At Chicago Legal Group, our experienced Chicago distracted driving lawyers have seen the tragic consequences that distracted driving causes. That is why we are committed to doing everything we can to help its victims, fighting relentlessly to get them the compensation that can help them recover.

What Leads To Distracted Driving?

When people think of distracted driving, cell phone use and texting are the first things that come to mind. Indeed, these are the leading – and illegal – distractions that cause drivers to take their eyes off the road. But plenty of other driver behaviors and activities also lead to accidents and injuries.

According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is “any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.”

There are three main types of distractions defined by the NHTSA:

  • Visual — your eyes are not on the road
  • Manual — your hands are not the wheel
  • Cognitive — your mind is not on the thing you should be focusing on

Some of the most common activities other than phone use and texting that distract drivers include:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Applying makeup
  • Brushing hair
  • Reading
  • Watching video
  • Talking with other passengers
  • Using a GPS
  • Adjusting stereo or other onboard electronics

Evidence That A Driver Was Distracted

Proving that a driver was distracted at the time they injured you can involve several different types of evidence:

  • What you saw. You may not be able to see a drunk driver’s blood alcohol level or know how much sleep a drowsy driver had the night before an accident. But in many distracted driving cases, an injury victim may have observed the other driver looking down at their phone, applying lipstick, or eating a cheeseburger immediately before the collision. If you did see behavior that could constitute distracted driving, you can and should tell that to the police officer who arrives at the scene. They can put that information in their report, which could be admitted as evidence in your car accident case, as can your own testimony about the driver’s behavior.
  • What others saw. Similarly, if other people saw the crash – passengers, other drivers, passengers – they may have noticed what the driver was doing at the time of the accident. Police can take their statements, and if you have obtained their names and contact information, your distracted driving accident lawyer can take their depositions and have them testify at trial.
  • The driver’s phone records. If the driver was using their phone or texting when the crash occurred, your lawyer can obtain records reflecting the exact time and nature of their phone use from the driver’s cellular carrier or from the device itself. If the driver sent or received a text at 2:36 p.m. and slammed into another car at that same time, that can be pretty powerful evidence that the defendant was looking at something other than the road.

Contact The Distracted Driving Lawyers At Chicago Legal Group Today To Arrange For Your Free Initial Consultation

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one because of a distracted driver, you and your family should not bear the burdens caused by someone else’s irresponsible act of negligence and recklessness. Our Chicago auto accident lawyers focus exclusively on the representation of personal injury victims, using our experience, tenacity, and advocacy skills to get our clients the compensation and resources they need to move forward with their lives. Your initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing in attorney’s fees until we obtain compensation for you.

Please contact Chicago Legal Group today to arrange for your free consultation.

How an Attorney Can Help With Your Car Accident Claim

If You Want All The Compensation You Deserve, You Need A Car Accident Insurance Lawyer

how a lawyer can help with car accident claim

If you try to negotiate a settlement on your own and without an attorney for your auto insurance claim, you’ll find out pretty fast that you’re not dealing with a “good neighbor” with whom you’ll be “in good hands.”

The reality is that you will be in the hands of a car insurance company that is determined to pay you as little as possible or nothing at all for the injuries and losses you suffered in your car accident. If you accept what the insurer is offering, they are playing you for a sucker. They know that they are saving tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, because you didn’t hire a car accident insurance lawyer to negotiate on your behalf.

Here’s how hiring an attorney for your accident claim can protect you from dubious insurance company tactics and help you get you the maximum amount of compensation for your losses.

Remember, You Are Dealing With the OTHER DRIVER’S Insurance Company

Understanding how car accident claims and lawsuits work is the key to understanding why negotiating a settlement without an experienced attorney can be such a costly error.

Just as you do, the negligent driver who caused your accident likely has car insurance. As required by Illinois law, that insurance policy includes liability coverage designed to compensate other people for any injuries and damage caused by the insured driver.

After an accident, each driver will tell their own insurance company about the accident and provide their insurer with the other driver’s name, contact, and insurance information (which is why you need to get that information right after an accident).

Lawyers hired by the other driver’s car insurance company will represent that driver and handle all matters related to your claim. When you seek compensation from the other driver either through negotiation or a car accident lawsuit, any money that comes your way comes from the insurer, not the driver.

Car Insurance Companies Are In the Business of Making Money

No matter how warm and fuzzy their TV commercials may be, insurance companies are in the business of making money. Every dime an insurer pays out in claims to a car accident injury victim is a dime that cuts into their profits. That’s why the insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible.

After your accident, the other driver’s insurer will want to try to resolve your claim quickly – and on the cheap. They’ll do so by making you an offer far lower than what you deserve or what you could get at trial. They know you have bills you need to pay and wages you aren’t earning as you recover from your injuries. They know you need the money, and they understand that any offer of quick cash can be very tempting. They also know that you may not fully grasp your rights or trust them to do right by you.

The insurance company will use this knowledge to manipulate you and convince you that you either don’t have a valid claim or that it is worth pennies. The insurer may try to get you to make a statement or admission which could hurt any car accident suit you may want to file a suit. They’ll question the extent or cause of your injuries as well.

The bottom line is that when you negotiate your claim with a car crash insurance lawyer, you are giving the insurance company a gift. That’s because car insurance companies negotiate settlements every day – and you don’t.

Insurers Pay More to Those Who Have An Attorney For Their Accident Claim

But when an insurer knows that they are negotiating with an experienced car accident attorney rather than a claimant, their manipulation, intimidation, and other tactics are rendered useless.

That is because car accident insurance lawyers understand the art of effective negotiation. It is a core part of their job. Car accident attorneys understand how insurers work and the ways they try to skirt their obligations. These lawyers know how to gather and preserve the necessary evidence and present the strongest possible case to counter the insurer’s efforts to avoid liability for their driver’s negligence.

Quite simply, people who retain a car accident lawyer to handle their claims and negotiate settlements receive more in compensation on average than do individuals who negotiate without a lawyer. The statistics bear this out:

  • According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), injury victims who had a car accident attorney received settlements that were 40 percent higher than those negotiated by the claimants themselves.
  • In another study, the IRC found that claimants represented by a car accident lawyer receive 85 percent of all settlement money paid out by auto insurance companies for claims.

Call Chicago Legal Group Today To Arrange For Your Free Initial Consultation

If you suffered injuries in a car accident, answers, help, and a car accident attorney dedicated to your well-being is only a phone call away. Located in Glenview, Chicago Legal Group focuses exclusively on the representation of personal injury victims, using our experience, tenacity, and advocacy skills to get our clients the compensation and resources they need to move forward with their lives. Your initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing in attorney’s fees until we obtain compensation for you.

Please contact Chicago Legal Group today to arrange for your free consultation.

Top 5 Things of What To Do After an Auto Accident in Mount Prospect

Were you involved in an auto accident and you want to know what to do What To Do After a Car Accidentnext? In this blog article, you’re going to learn the top 5 things to do after an auto accident.

Call the Police

The first thing to do after an accident may seem like a no brainer. As a Mount Prospect Auto Accident Attorney, I can’t tell you how many calls I get from people who didn’t report the accident to the police.

It’s so important and it really should be a no brainer for people. First, the insurance company wants you to do it. They want a police report because that helps establish fault for the accident, not in court, but in the insurance company’s mind. It provides the insurance company a guide as to who is at fault for the accident.

In addition, stories change. I’ve seen it so many times. You get in an accident and the other driver says they’re sorry and take responsibility for the accident and as such, you have no need to call the police. Then when they report it to their insurance company, suddenly the other party was at fault and the facts of the accident change.

Obtain Contact Information

The second thing to do after an accident also seems like a no brainer but is often neglected. Make sure you get the contact information of the person who hit you if you can.

Now this may be difficult. If you’re in an ambulance, there’s not much you can can do about it. However, that’s not the case in after most collisions so make sure you get the name, phone number, license plate and insurance information of the other party.

If you don’t get this information, all is not lost. The police officer who comes to investigate the case will get their contact information and put it in the police report.

The problem is that sometimes it takes a few weeks (and in some cities it takes even longer than that) to get a police report. As a result, you may not be able to file a claim with the other guy’s insurance company for a long time if you didn’t get his/her insurance information at the scene of the accident.

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Obtain Medical Treatment After an Accident

The third thing to do after a wreck is to get medical treatment as soon as possible.

This is an issue we face all the time. Accident victims call and say they didn’t feel any pain at the scene of the accident. Their adrenaline was rushing and as such, they weren’t in tune with what was going on inside their body. A day or two later they’ve got terrible pain in their neck or their back. And they want to know, should you go get medical treatment?

Yes. Go get medical treatment. The longer you delay obtaining medical treatment, the harder it is to get over this issue with the insurance company.

An insurance company looks at a delay in treatment as a big red flag that you weren’t seriously injured in the accident.

Some people ask whether they should go to the emergency room or to their primary care physician. An E.R. after the incident is preferable but in the end, the important thing is that you sought medical treatment.

File a Claim with BOTH Insurance Companies

The fourth thing you need to do after an auto accident is file a claim with all the insurance companies involved.

This is one that stumps people a lot. Most people understand that you file a claim with the insurance company of the person you think caused the accident.

But you should also file a claim with your own insurance company. Some people don’t like to do that because they think they’re going to be found at fault for the accident. And that’s going to cause their insurance rates to go up. Chances are your insurance company is going to find out anyways. They’re all connected.

Further, your insurance policy probably requires that you let them know if you’re involved in an accident. Theoretically, at least, if you don’t let them know, it could give them grounds to cancel your policy.

Now that doesn’t mean that people don’t tell their insurance companies about accidents. They do all the time, but I always recommend people tell their insurance company.

Another reason you want to tell your insurance company is because you may have to go after your own insurance to get compensation for your damages.

If you have the proper insurance, you can have your own insurance company pay for your property damage – though you’ll likely have to pay your deductible. However, your insurance company will likely seek reimbursement from the other party so there’s a good chance you’ll get your money back.

You may also need to go after your own insurance policy to recover for your pain and suffering and your medical bills.

Let’s say you have severe injuries and large medical bills but the person who hit you on that as a $25,000 insurance policy, or maybe they don’t have any insurance. What do you do?

You can look to your own insurance policy to collect via your uninsured (or underinsured) motorist coverage.

A word of caution however – if you do go after your own policy, you become adverse to your insurance company. Meaning, your insurance company will try and minimize your damages and pay as little as they can to compensate you. So be aware of what you say to them.

Take Photographs

The last tip I want to talk about is that after you’re involved in an accident, take photographs as soon as possible of the property damage and also your injury.

If you’re in the hospital, get somebody to take a picture of you in your hospital bed. Pictures really do tell a thousand words they’re critical.

I have found that in cases where we have good photographs, those cases are worth more than cases where we don’t have that kind of evidence.

Not only the pictures show the severity of your injury, but pictures of your property damage can show the severity of impact. And that may go a long way in demonstrating how severe your case is and how much you are thus work, your cases worth.

Hopefully this article on the top 5 things to after an auto accident was helpful. If you’d like to speak with a Mount Prospect Car Accident Lawyer at the Chicago Legal Group, feel free to reach out to us.

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What to do When an Insurance Company Denies Your Claim

Were you involved in an accident and the insurance company denied your

Insurance company denies your claim

claim? I’ve mentioned in this blog repeatedly that insurance companies are not on your side.

These are entities that are dedicated to one thing and that’s making profits. And as a result, they will delay, they will deny they will diminish your claims any way that they can.

If you talk to insurance adjusters, they will likely dispute this. They’ll tell you that they’re being practical about how severe an accident was and that is the basis of their decision about how much to compensate people. Well, I’m sorry. I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve seen insurance companies deny claims or diminish the value of claims, only to ultimately pay tens of thousands of dollars once a lawsuit was filed. So, trust me on this. When dealing with insurance companies, they are not on your side.

So, what do you do when an insurance company denies your claim? First of all, we have to clarify which insurance company it was. There are likely going to be insurance companies on both sides of this accident. You may have insurance and so may the guy who you think caused the accident. Insurance denials can come from either side.

What To Do When The Defendant’s Insurance Company Denies Your Claim

Let’s start with what to do when the other insurance company denies your claim. Let’s take a hypothetical. You were involved in an accident and a guy hit you from behind – a rear end accident. You get his or her insurance information and you file a claim with State Farm or Allstate or whoever that person has for their insurance.

State Farm investigates. They talk to their insured, maybe they interview you (though you may not want to provide a recorded statement to their insurance adjuster). Maybe they analyze the property damage involved in the accident. And then you get a letter from them that says that they have denied your claim. What do you do?

You don’t have many choices in that circumstance. If you only have a property damage claim, maybe you can get compensation from your insurance company.

But if you have injuries and their insurance company denied your claim, what do you do? You really only left with one choice. And that is to file a lawsuit against the other party.

That’s the only way the insurance company is going to respond. You have the right to get your impartial day in court so that you can get the facts on the record. You get to argue your case and let the judge or jury decide whose at fault for the accident.

I always recommend to people – get an attorney to represent you. But this is particularly true if you’re going to court.  Those people represented by lawyers have a far greater success rate than those who are not.

But the problem is in this case, and I’ve seen this countless times is that if your claim was already denied by an insurance company, there’s a very good likelihood that the facts that are not favorable to you and you’re asking a lawyer to get involved in a case that has already been denied.

Now I’m not saying there aren’t lawyers who will do it or who won’t do it, but I actually did a video on the various reasons why a lawyer may not get involved in a case and an insurance claim already being denied was one of them. It’s a tough burden for a lawyer to overcome though not impossible.

If you get a lawyer, the lawyer takes care of moving the case forward. What if you don’t get a lawyer – what do you do? Well, you can file a lawsuit on your own behalf.

There’s two different kinds of cases I want to talk about here. First is the small case with minimal property damage and/or very small injuries.

In Illinois, we have something called small claims court. And if you have a case worth $10,000 or less, you can pretty much file that a case or that claim on your own in small claims court. That’s what it’s made for – people to represent themselves on small claims.

If you have a larger claim, i.e., you have significant injuries, you’re going to file in district court. That’s more complicated. But if you go to your local county courthouse (in Chicago it’s the Cook County court house on Washington Street – or there are local districts like in Rolling Meadows and Skokie), there are people there who can help you through that process.

Also, it may not be that the insurance company totally denied your claim. But what if they said that you were 50% responsible for your claim? Well, then you have a choice. You can either accept their allocation of responsibility or liability, or you can fight them. Check out this blog for more information on when you might accept some fault for an accident.

Oftentimes when an insurance company puts 50% on you or 70% on you, you can negotiate a percentage of fault.

What To Do When Your Own Insurance Company Denies Your Claim

Let’s switch gears for a second. So now let’s talk about what to do when your own insurance company denies your claim or does something that you don’t like.

The first place that this often pops up as in your property damage claim. Let’s take another hypothetical. You were involved in an accident and your Toyota is a total loss. Your insurance company Allstate is compensating you but much less than you think your vehicle is worth. What do you do in that situation?

Or, let’s say that you’re filing a claim for your pain and suffering and medical bills with your own insurance under your uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage and Allstate is offering you much less than you think your case is worth. What do you do?

At this point, your own insurance company becomes adverse – meaning they are basically the same as if they were the insurance company for the defendant and you’ve got to treat them as such.

I have discussed before on this site about the fact that you have to give a recorded statement to your own insurance company. So you still have an obligation to work with them, provide them your medical bills, whatever it may be. And if you don’t, they could deny your claim altogether.

I’m not saying don’t work with them. I’m just letting you know that they are now adverse. You’re trying to get money from them. And they’re going to think in their own best interests, not yours.

If they deny your claim or low-ball you, what do you do? Some people think that, you need to file a lawsuit against your own insurance company, but generally speaking, that’s not what happens.

Appeal Not Lawsuit

You need to check your insurance policy, but generally speaking, there’s an appeal process that you have an obligation to follow. FYI, it could be that you have to appeal in writing within 30 days (or another time period). So we recommend immediately requesting a certified copy of your insurance policy from your insurance company, and advising them in writing that you are appealing their decision.

Normally there’s an arbitration clause in your own insurance policy. That means you agreed by signing your insurance contract, that you’re not going to file a lawsuit. Rather, you are going to arbitrate your dispute.

The way arbitration works, generally speaking, is that you go to an association, like the American Arbitration Association and you file a request for arbitration. But again, check your specific insurance policy.

Often there will then be a three-person panel of arbitrators who are attorneys or judges in your jurisdiction. You get your ‘day in court’ except its in front of the arbitration panel. Arbitration will be less formal than going to court and that may benefit you and your case.

Once the evidence is submitted and you (and potentially other witnesses) testify about the incident, the arbitrator rules.

One reason that insurance companies like arbitration is that since the arbitrators were past attorneys or judges, they’re not going to be moved by emotion like a jury might. So, insurance companies may be able to control the amount of damages you are awarded.

By the way, you can obtain a lawyer to represent you in arbitration against your own insurance company and again we strongly recommend that you do so. Especially if you have severe medical injuries. If it’s just a property damage claim, you probably don’t need a lawyer there on your behalf.

Thanks for checking out this article on what to do when an insurance company denies your claim. If you want to speak with the attorneys at the Chicago Legal Group reach out to us.

Sidewalk Trip and Fall Injury and the De Minimis Rule in Illinois

Our firm with co-counsel recently reached a settlement on behalf of a clienttrip and fall on sidewalk that suffered a trip and fall injury on a sidewalk. The client, a senior citizen, was walking into a bank when she tripped on unlevel concrete. The sidewalk was in poor condition and in an area of heavy foot traffic. She landed face first and broke both her front teeth. Our biggest challenge in the case was overcoming the de minimis rule in Illinois.

Slip and fall law Illinois

Under slip and fall law Illinois, a defendant will be held liable to the person who fell where the injury was caused by the property owner’s negligence. To show negligence in Illinois, the plaintiff must prove that the property owner failed to fulfill its duty to prevent the fall and that it caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

If the defendant is found negligent, liability will be under a theory of contributory or comparative negligence. Contributory negligence means that the victim is at least 50% at fault for the injury. Comparative negligence means that the victim is less than 50% at fault for his or her injuries. As a general matter, it can be difficult for a victim to recover under contributory negligence. Under comparative negligence, damages will be reduced by the proportion that the victim was found to be at fault.

One important defense that the defendant may have in Illinois is the de minimis rule.

What is the de minimis rule in Illinois?

The de minimis rule applies where someone is injured in a sidewalk injury case. The de minimis rule holds that the defendant will generally be liable for the victim’s injuries where there were sidewalk deviations approaching two inches in height. However, the Illinois courts have held defendants liable for deviations less than two inches. The courts also look at other factors besides height, like congestion, nearby distractions, as well as any evidence that the defendant was aware of the defects.

For instance, in a local case from 2018, Bartkowiak v. City of Aurora, 2018 App (2d) 170406, the plaintiff was injured when tripping over a hole in a parking lot that was approximately 1.5” deep. The trial court held that the de minimis rule prevented the plaintiff from recovering. The appellate court, however, disagreed with the trial court. The court held that since the depression was in a congested area likely to be frequented by pedestrians, there was broken asphalt in the area, and the defendant was aware of the hole the defendant could be held liable.

Likewise, the deviation in the sidewalk in our client’s case was less than 2” in height. As experienced slip and fall attorneys Illinois we were able to demonstrate to the defendant that we would be able to overcome the de minimis rule at trial. Not only was the sidewalk in poor condition it was located in a heavily congested area. Many other firms would have refused to take the case, believing that the rule would result in their client’s case being thrown out. Our firm, however, has many years of experience representing clients in sidewalk injury cases.

If you or someone you know have been injured in a sidewalk injury case, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options. If you have previously discussed your case with counsel and were informed that your claim was barred by the de minimis rule, please contact us today for a free consultation.