Admission of fault for an auto accident in Illinois

If you get involved in a car crash, you may be inclined to apologize to the Admission of fault for an auto accidentother driver, even if you were not at fault. Word to the wise, do not make an admission of fault for an auto accident. It might be used against you later. If you were involved in an Illinois auto accident, or injured anywhere in Illinois, contact our office at 847-305-4105 for a free and confidential consultation.

Why you should never admit fault for an auto accident

Whenever you “admit” something, it can be used against you. In this case, we are specifically speaking about an auto accident, but this could apply in slip and falls or any other type of personal injury.

When you admit fault, you are making an “admission.” Admissions are admissible as evidence against you. So, if you unintentionally or intentionally make an admission of fault for an auto accident, the other party will take that information and use it against you to establish liability for the accident.

Note that this is not a hard and fast rule. Not every apology is the same and often the same thing said by two different people can mean two very different things. Having said that, if you do admit fault or make some other apologetic statement or an admission, it could hurt your case.

Where does this commonly occur?

The most common place where a party makes an admission of fault is at the scene of the accident. Right after an accident, your adrenaline is rushing, you’re scared, you’re concerned about your safety, your passengers’ safety and even the safety of the person you were in the accident with.

As such, immediately after the accident you may say something totally innocuous like “I’m so sorry.” Believe it or not, this small statement can be the difference between you prevailing in your case or not.

You might also make an admission of fault to a police officer who comes to investigate the accident. The cop is going to make a finding of fault on the police report. The insurance company may base their decision regarding “liability,” or, who is at fault for the accident, based on the police report.

After you report the accident to your insurance company or file a claim with the other party’s insurance company, you will be asked to give a recorded statement. If it’s your insurance company, you probably have to give a statement. But I generally do not allow my clients to give recorded statements to the other party’s insurance company.

During the statement, the insurance adjuster is going to ask you statements to get you on the record so that they too can establish responsibility for the accident. Don’t make an admission of fault for an auto accident in Illinois or anywhere in the United States during a recorded statement either. At least, not if you want to recover for your damages.

The opportunity to accept responsibility for the accident may also arise during your deposition when you give testimony under oath in advance of trial. And it will arise again in the unlikely event your case goes to trial.

Another common place you may be tempted to admit something is at your doctor’s office. Doctor’s and patient communications are protected but if you attempt to get reimbursed for your injuries and medical bills, the doctor’s notes are fair game and will have to be turned over to the other side. If you admit fault for the auto accident to your doctor, she or he may document it in their records and this too can be used against you.

Different ways to make an admission of fault for an auto accident

An admission does not have to be saying “I’m sorry.” While that is the most common admission, it could be in many other forms as well. For example, you are involved in an accident and afterward while talking to the police you state:

  • “I didn’t see him/her”
  • “I was looking at my cell phone”
  • “The sun was in my eyes”

These statements may be used against you and they may in and of themselves establish at least a portion of fault.

I had a client a few years ago who was involved in an auto accident and the other driver who rear ended him sent him text messages after the accident apologizing for what had occurred. She also admitted that she was looking at her phone when the accident occurred and that she had lied to the insurance company about what really happened. Case over.

What to do if the other party admits fault

So, admissions of fault cut both ways – if they can be used against you, they may also benefit you. What do you do if the other party makes an admission of fault after an auto accident? You document it.

If you are in Illinois, do not audio or videotape the admission as that could get you in trouble at least if the other party believes that your conversation is private. But, after the admission is made, document exactly what was said including where, when, how etc. You may be able to use this as evidence later.

Bottom line is, do not make an admission of fault for an auto accident in Illinois or anywhere else for that matter. If you are involved in an Illinois auto accident, contact the Chicago Legal Group for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Efforts to remediate after a slip and fall accident in Illinois

I was recently contacted by a woman involved in a slip and fall accident in Slip and fall accident in IllinoisIllinois. She stepped off a sidewalk, tripped and fell on a damaged patch of concrete in the street. The city or a contractor of the city had fixed the dangerous condition shortly after she reported the accident and she wanted to use that evidence against them. Can she? Read this article to learn more or contact my office at 847-305-4105.

Effort to Remediate a Dangerous Condition

Generally speaking, efforts to remediate a dangerous condition after a slip and fall accident in Illinois are not admissible against the defendant to prove that the defendant was negligent. As such, in the case above, the fact that the city repaired the dangerous condition after the accident would not be admissible at trial to prove the city was negligent in maintaining the street.

This sounds illogical doesn’t it? If they fixed the dangerous condition, they must have recognized that there was something wrong. If there was something wrong and they did nothing about it, they should be responsible.

Matter of Public Policy

Sometimes the law doesn’t make a lot of sense. But there are legitimate reasons (sometimes called “public policy reasons”) why we don’t allow the use of this type of evidence.

The main reason being, that we want to encourage a property owner to make repairs to it’s property after (and before) a slip and fall accident occurs. If accident victims were able to use the fact that the dangerous condition was repaired as evidence of negligence, then property owners would never fix the dangerous conditions.

That would result in such a dangerous condition remaining and potentially additional injuries occurring. Therefore, the public policy is to encourage the property owner to make the repairs. Unfortunately, the individual who fell might suffer as a result.

Rule of Law

The rule regarding efforts to remediate a dangerous condition is actually codified – meaning set forth in a statute at both the federal and state levels.

In Federal Court, Federal Rule of Evidence 407 Subsequent Remedial Measures, provides in part that “When measures are taken that would have made an earlier injury or harm, less likely to occur, evidence of subsequent measures is not admissible to prove:

  • negligence
  • culpable conduct
  • a defect in a product or its design; or
  • a need for a warning or instruction

FRE 407 also provides that there are exceptions to the rule including, among others, using the efforts to remediate to prove ownership or control of the property.

Governmental Entities

A quick tip for anyone who was involved in a slip and fall accident in Illinois on a sidewalk, street or other property maintained by a governmental entity.

The timeline within which a claim can be filed against a government entity is shorter in Illinois than it is to file a claim against a private property owner.

So if you are injured in an auto accident, involved in a slip and fall accident or any other type of claim involving a governmental employee or on government property, do not delay. Contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to find out how to pursue your claim for damages.

I am always available to consult with you regarding your accident. If I can’t help you, I may know someone who can. So feel free to reach out to me at 847-305-4105.

Who is at fault for a parking lot accident?

I recently received a call from a woman who was injured when she was reversing Fault for a car accident in a parking lotout of a parking spot. She asked us whether who is at fault for a parking lot accident? The answer to that question is that it depends on the series of events that took place. If you were injured in a parking lot accident, call today for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

The Situation

The woman who called, was driving in a parking lot in Normal, Illinois. She was reversing the car out of the parking spot when a car “came out of nowhere” and crashed into the back of her vehicle. She was thrust side to side in her vehicle, suffering significant sprains and strains to her back and neck.

She filed a claim against the defendant’s insurance but her claim was denied. She alleged that the other party was at fault for the parking lot accident. She called us asking whether we would represent her for the injuries that she suffered in the accident.

The Rule

Generally speaking, accidents in parking lots in Illinois generally follow the same rules as all other automobile accidents in Illinois. You can recover for your injuries even if you are partially at fault for the accident under the concept of comparative negligence. Specifically, a party can recover for his or her damages if they are not more than fifty percent responsible for the accident.

However, parking lot accidents are unique because unlike most of the accidents I see, one of the parties involved in a parking lot accident are usually backing out of a parking space when the accident occurs.

When a party is backing out of a parking spot, again generally speaking, they have to be extremely careful and cede the right of way to the other driver. As a result, in most parking lot cases I’ve seen, the party backing out of the parking spot is primarily responsible for the accident.

And in fact, the case referenced above, this individual was at fault for the accident and as a result we were unable to represent her.

The Exceptions

There are exceptions of course. If you can demonstrate that the other party was speeding or driving recklessly, you could argue that the other party was at least comparatively negligent for the accident.

I was involved in a case where a client was backing out of a parking spot and a driver literally came out of nowhere and hit the client. Our client couldn’t have seen this other driver because the other driver was not driving in the lot’s driving lanes. Rather he was cutting across the lanes unlawfully.

Other factors could come into play as well. For example, if the other party was on their phone or otherwise distracted, they could be determined to be partially at fault for the accident.

How do you prove fault?

How do you prove fault for a parking lot accident? The same Illinois Rules of Evidence apply to parking lot accidents as to any car accident. The direct testimony of the participants to the accident, the testimony of eye witnesses and the physical evidence are all helpful in establishing the accused for the accident.

Parking lot accidents often involve another piece of evidence not available to other auto accidents and that is the existence of videotape of the accident. If your accident occurred in a Walmart parking lot for example, there may very well be a videotape proof on Walmart’s security cameras.

The problem is that in most cases, Walmart or Target etc. will not provide you access to the videotape without a subpoena. A subpoena is basically a legal and binding request that the store needs to cooperate and turn over the video. And you cannot serve a subpoena without having filed a lawsuit first. Most people don’t want to file a lawsuit especially if there are minor damages. So what do you do?

If the police arrives at the scene of the parking lot accident, they enter the store and personally review the videotape to assist in making a determination of fault for the accident.

A police officer’s determination of fault is not dispositive at trial but it does serve as an instruction for an insurance company to decide whether to “accept liability” for an accident or not.

Police on private property

On a few occasions, I’ve received calls from people involved in accidents that occur in parking lots or on other “private property”. They’ve told stories of how the police either refused to come to the scene of the accident or refused to write a ticket to the responsible party because the accident occurred on private property.

To be honest, I don’t know the answer to this. I’ve seen situations where police have written tickets for violations on private property. Whether the tickets hold up in the court is another topic of discussion.

If the accident does occur on a private property and the damage is moderate, at the very least call 911. That way, the existence of the accident is “on the record.” I’ve written before, about how stories seem to change over time. And the driver who was so helpful at the time of the accident will lie to their insurance company about the accident later. If you get the facts of the accident on the record, that is another piece of evidence you can get in front of the insurance adjuster to help him or her make a decision.

The future of parking lot accidents

Most cars today are sold with rear-view cameras. In addition, cars have all types of sensors and other safety features built into them. As a result, I have proposed that in the future there may not be a need for personal injury lawyers.

Perhaps the most important safety feature to prevent parking lot accidents is having a rear view camera. Many years ago Congress passed legislation requiring that all cars should have them. However, just recently the Department of Transportation dictated that starting this year, all new cars were required to be built with a rear view camera.

Bottom line is, if you are involved in an auto accident and wondering who is at fault, contact your insurance company or feel free to contact our office for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Statute of Limitations for Minors in Illinois and Other Issues

The statute of limitations for minors in Illinois is different than the statute Statute of limitations for Minors in Illinoisfor other cases. If your child is under the age of 18 and is injured in an accident, contact our office today for a free consultation 847-305-4105.

Our office is representing three different cases of minor children who were injured in different personal injury accidents. One of our clients, a 11 year old female was injured when she was bitten by a dog. The two other kids both under age 10 were injured in an auto accident.

Minors in Illinois are governed by different rules than those for are accident victims who are over 18 years of age. So, what is the statute of limitations for minors in Illinois? And what are some of the other major issues that affect minor’s personal injury claims?

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a time period in which an injured person must file a lawsuit or else they will lose their right to recover for their injuries and damages. Why is it important to have statute of limitations? For several reasons. First, it prevents the claims from becoming stale. Also, it is intended to prevent defendants from being sued years after the accident occurs.

The statute of limitations in Illinois for a personal injury claim is 2 years from the date of the accident. Note that if the party who caused your accident is a government employee or entity, you are required to file a notice of claim and your lawsuit in a much shorter amount of time.

Exception to the Statute of Limitations for Minors

There are exceptions to the statute of limitations. The most common exception to the law is if a minor is injured in an accident. If your child is under 18 at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations for minors in Illinois provides the minor with 2 years to file a lawsuit after they turn 18 (or their 20th birthday).

However, if the child was injured by a doctor’s medical malpractice, a different set of rules are applicable. In that case, the child must file their lawsuit within 8 years of the act occurring or before the child turns 22 years old. Birth injuries fall under the same rule as medical malpractice claims.

Child Sex Crimes

Previously, if a child was the victim of sexual crime, it would have to be reported and prosecuted within 20 years of the minor turning 18 years old. In August 2017, Governor Rauner signed legislation eliminating the statute of limitations.

Pursuant to the new statute, “a prosecution for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, or criminal sexual abuse may be commenced at any time regardless as to whether corroborating physical evidence is available or an individual who is required to report an alleged or suspected commission of any of these offenses under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act fails to do so.”

Settlement of minors claims

When you file a lawsuit on behalf of a minor, the lawsuit is generally brought by and filed in the name of the guardian or parent as the “guardian ad litem.”

A parent does not have the final say in approving a minor’s claims, the Court does. Pursuant to the Illinois Probate Act and Illinois caselaw, all minor’s claims must be approved by the Court.

There is some disagreement as to whether all minor’s claims have to be approved by the Court. I have heard attorneys say if the case is small that they don’t need to obtain the Court’s approval.

Practically speaking, that might be correct. But legally speaking, the Court’s approval is required. If the Court does not approve the settlement, then technically the settlement is not binding on the minor who could theoretically pursue further damages on his or her own upon turning 18 years old.

If your daughter or son were injured in an accident and you want to speak with a lawyer about the statute of limitations for minors in Illinois, contact our office at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.

Do I have to pay for copays after an auto accident?

Clients often ask us whether they have to pay for copays after an auto accident. copays after an auto accidentThe short answer is – Yes. If you were injured in an accident and need to speak to an attorney, contact our office at 847-305-4105.

Use your health insurance to pay your medical bills after an auto accident

IMPORTANT – It is important that after an accident, you provide your health insurance information to all of your medical providers. This is the best way to get your medical bills paid after an accident.

Some health care providers may refuse to accept your health insurance if your injuries were caused by a third party. Why? It’s a matter of money. If you pay your medical providers out of the proceeds of your settlement after the accident, they will make more money then they will if they are paid by your health insurance company.

If you do use your health insurance, you will likely have copays which must be paid by you. The third party insurance carrier (insurance for the driver who hit you) will not pay for your medical bills (outside of no-fault states) until your case is settled.

What if I don’t pay my copays after an auto accident?

First and foremost, if you do not pay for your copays after an accident, they may go to collections. You may be thinking, it’s not fair. You were injured through no fault of your own and you get stuck paying your bills.

Unfortunately, that’s our system. Unless you’re in a “no fault state”, you are responsible for paying for your copays after an accident.

Best way to pay for your copays

Many of you may have a medpay clause in your auto insurance policy. In short, medpay normally comes in $2,500 increments and they will pay for your bills regardless of fault.

Be advised though that if you do use your medpay coverage, you will have to pay your auto insurance carrier back out of the proceeds of your settlement.

Will you be reimbursed for your copays?

Many clients send me copies of receipts for their copays. That’s fine for getting reimbursed from your medpay policy. But otherwise, we don’t really need these receipts.

Why? A copay is just a small part of a bigger bill. Meaning, a copay is a payment required by your health insurance policy every time you obtain treatment. That copay ($50.00 for example) is just a sliver of the larger medical bill.

When you settle your case, your attorney will seek reimbursement for the entire bill, not just your copay.

If you are wondering whether you have to pay for copays after an auto accident, contact our office at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.

How to recover lost wages due to a car accident

If you were involved in a Northbrook car accident and were forced to miss Recover lost wagestime at work, you might wonder how to recover lost wages due to a car accident. Call today for a free consultation 847-305-4105 or keep reading.

I have represented a lot of people who suffered injuries in a car accident and as a result were unable to work for an extended period. Most people cannot afford to go without receiving a paycheck for very long – even in a place like Northbrook.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to recover for your lost wages until your case settles. That could be twelve to eighteen months after the accident occurred.

There is one exception. On your auto insurance policy, you may have “Personal Injury Protection” or PIP coverage. A PIP clause may provide you coverage for your lost wages and your medical bills. PIP coverage is usually $2,500 or $5,000.

If you are involved in a Northbrook car accident, ask your auto insurance company if you have PIP coverage and how you can recover from your own policy. Be advised though, if you were injured by a third party and receive compensation for your injuries, your insurance company will expect to be reimbursed for the money they put out on your behalf from your settlement.

How to recover lost wages due to a car accident

So again, the good news is that you can recover for your lost wages. But how do you obtain reimbursement?

In most cases, your lawyer will send a form to your employer seeking confirmation of your lost wages. Our is called simply a “Lost wages verification form.” We also attach a release signed by our client confirming that the employer is authorized to provide us the information. We have had very few instances where an employer did not ultimately help their employee out by filling out the form.

Sometimes the insurance company will request a victim’s W2’s or paystubs to confirm their earnings. I’ve also helped clients who lost stock options and other forms of compensation as a result of being injured. This is tougher to recover for but with proper documentation is obtainable.

I’ve also represented a few Uber drivers who alleged that as a result of the accident they were not able to drive their car for several weeks. In those cases, I’ve asked my clients to go into their Uber app and download confirmation of how much money they made in the eight weeks prior to the accident to show what they made per week on average.

In some cases you may be able to recover for loss of future earning potential as well.

If you were involved in a Northbrook car accident and you want to speak to an attorney Lost wages attorney to learn how to recover lost wages due to a car accident, call us for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Illinois Comparative Negligence – When Should You Accept Some Fault for an Accident?

In Illinois, comparative negligence is a phrase often used by insurance companies to dispute or diminish the amount of an auto accident victim’s Illinois comparative negligence | When should you accept some fault for an accident?damages. My name is Barry Zlotowicz, my Glenview law firm deals with allegations of comparative fault regularly. If an insurance company accuses you of being partially at fault for an accident, contact us at 847-305-4105.

What is comparative negligence?

In Illinois comparative negligence basically means that the victim of an accident can recover if they are not more than 50% at fault for the accident.

Many states follow the concept of comparative negligence or comparative fault. Not all states do however. California for example follows the concept of “pure comparative negligence.” This means that even if you are 90% at fault for the accident, you can still recover 10% of your damages from the defendant.

This is huge in that if you suffer catastrophic damages in an accident, that 10% recovery could be a large amount. Large enough at least that a personal injury lawyer would agree to represent you.

Other states such as North Carolina, follow the concept of “contributory negligence.” This is a draconian law that states that if the victim in an auto or other accident is 1% or more at fault for the accident, that they are barred from recovery.

A couple of tips

  • Never admit fault for an accident at the scene of the accident.
  • If the other party admits fault for an accident, document it immediately. Just don’t secretly record them making the admission or you will have committed a crime.
  • Do not give a recorded statement to the other party’s insurance adjuster before you consult with an attorney. Statements made in those conversations can be used against you.

How does comparative negligence work?

Generally speaking, you do not want to accept any comparative negligence on your part. If you do, this will diminish the value of your claim. It can thus affect how much you will recover for your property damage, your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.

How does it work?

If you get in an auto accident and you accept 20% of being at fault for the accident, you will be entitled to 80% of your damages from the other party. So, if your car costs $10,000 to repair, you will receive $8,000 from the other side and you will have to come up with the extra $2,000.

Same for your medical bills, pain and suffering. If your case is worth $100,000 and you are 20% at fault for the accident, your maximum recovery will be $80,000.

When should you accept some fault for an accident?

In very few circumstances. However, there is one situation where you can accept some limited fault for an accident.

I have had more than a couple auto or motorcycle accident cases where the defendant’s insurance adjuster alleged that my clients were comparatively negligent and would not budge from their stance. So what do you do?

In a few of those cases we accepted limited negligence on the part of our client. Note: the client him or her self did not admit to fault on the record. We simply accepted part of the fault on their behalf.

Why did we do this? If we didn’t accept partial responsibility for the accident, we would have had to immediately file a lawsuit against the defendants. That would begin an 18 to 24 month process of costly litigation.

Conversely, by accepting fault, we were able to resolve our clients’ property damage claims immediately and move forward toward resolution. Even though their claims had been minimally diminished.

Most importantly however, we accepted being at fault only in cases where our client’s injuries were so significant that despite some comparative negligence, we knew well in advance that we would recover the entire insurance policy from the defendant.

What do I mean?

Take for example one motorcycle accident case I worked on a while back. The victim was T-boned while riding his motorcycle through an intersection. The car turned left in front of him and thus the majority at fault. But the motorcyclist had slightly caught speed at the time of the accident.

The insurance adjuster alleged comparative negligence. The defendant had a $100,000 auto insurance policy. However, our client’s injuries were worth much more than that. As such, we accepted partial comparative negligence to move on with his case while knowing that we were going to recover the entire $100,000 regardless how much fault we accepted.

If you were involved in an auto accident and an insurance adjuster is alleging Illinois comparative negligence, reach out to our Glenview law firm for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Why You Should Always Report a Slip and Fall Accident?

In this blog article we will explain why you should always report a slip and fall accident attorneys. If you were injured after a slip or trip and fall accident, contact Slip and Fall Injury Attorneysour Glenview law office for a free consultation at 847-305-4105. We have handled many of these cases and are happy to speak with you to assist you in any way we can.

Why You Should Always Report a Slip and Fall Accident?

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it’s critical that you report the accident as soon as possible after it happens. Reporting the accident is the strongest evidence you have that the accident took place (as well as independent witness testimony).

According to the CDC, one out of five slip and falls result in a serious injury such as a concussion or fractured bone. CDC

I’ve had calls with many victims of slip and fall accidents who did not report the accident after it occurred. They fell in a parking lot or on a sidewalk, didn’t think they were that injured so they went home and took no action.

A day or two later when their arm continued hurting, they finally go to the doctor and find out they had a fractured arm or torn cartilage in their shoulder. They call and want to file a claim or lawsuit against the owner of the property.

The first question I ask callers is whether they filed a report after the accident happened. Most of the time they did not. Not filing a report is a huge obstacle to prevailing in this type of case. You should always report a slip and fall accident.

If you don’t, the owner of the property will likely argue that your accident could have occurred anywhere and at any time. The burden is on the victim to prove that the accident occurred where he/she says it did.

However, you may be able to overcome this objection through eyewitness testimony or perhaps the paramedics who picked you up from the scene documented where the accident took place.

Who do you report the accident to?

If you are able, call 911/contact the local police department to report the accident. If you don’t think that you are hurt, it is likely they will not send a unit to investigate the incident. However, at least you have reported the accident and it will be recorded in the 911 call log. You can also go to the local police station and file a report. But don’t delay.

If the accident occurred on private property, at an apartment complex or shopping mall, or at a public store, call building or store management immediately. Make sure they document the existence of the fall in a written report. Get the name of the security officer or store manager filling out the report and try to get a copy of the report as well.

If there are witnesses to the accident, obtain their name and number. They could have witnessed the accident or perhaps they saw you for the first time laying on the ground. Regardless, call for help.

Finally, when you obtain medical treatment, report the slip and fall accident to the nurse or physician who interviews you. They will put in the records the location and nature of the accident.

As an aside, if you fell on city property like a public street or city sidewalk, you may have a governmental claim which is governed by different rules. The most important being that you have a shorter timeline in which to file a claim and then a subsequent lawsuit.

Elements of a slip and fall accident

I have documented in prior blog articles the elements of a slip and fall action. However, one critical element is that there be a “dangerous condition.” If you just slipped and fell as a result of losing your balance, there is no cause of action.

Rather, you have to demonstrate that the owner of the property allowed there to be a dangerous condition (like water, a banana, a hole in the concrete etc.) that they knew or should have known about. Without a dangerous condition, there is no case. That is why it is critical to document what you fell on at the time of the accident.

If you are able, take photos of the dangerous condition immediately. I have worked on a few cases where there were no photos of what the victim fell on.

Example cases with different results

I had a client who fell on a slippery patch of ice and fractured her arm. Ice related slip and falls are a different type of case. But in short, in most of these cases you have to demonstrate that there is an unnatural accumulation of water/ice that formed and caused the accident.

My client didn’t contact me until months after the incident. The weather had warmed and the ice had melted. She did not take photos of what she fell on. After a rainstorm, I drove to the location of the incident and took photographs of puddles of water that had formed and told the insurance adjuster that this was evidence of the unnatural condition. He disagreed and due to the fact that we didn’t have photographs of the condition (and there was no report of the incident) we were forced to drop the case.

In a different case we had the opposite result. In that case, an elderly client fell on the walkway in front of a chain restaurant. The pads of concrete were not level – one pad rose up two inches above the other. He didn’t see the rise, tripped and fell and suffered an injury to his arm.

Immediately after the incident, the client took photos and went into the restaurant and reported it to the store manager. The manager filled out a report on the scene and gave a copy to our client. She documented the varying levels of the concrete in the report. To our amazement, the manager even admitted that others had fallen before and that she had previously notified her superiors of the condition. The case was over at that point and we were able to recover significantly for his injuries.

So, make sure you always report a slip and fall accident to the police or building or store management after it occurs. If you were involved in a slip and fall, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Are Auto Accident Attorneys out of Business? A Look into the Future.

While planning for the future of my law practice, I’m contemplating Auto Accident Attorneyswhether auto accident attorneys are out of business in the future. In a nutshell, I think we might be – at least the cases we’ve worked on to this point.

Artificial Intelligence

There is so much hype about A.I. these days and I don’t want to get in the weeds in an analysis of it. However, it’s worth mentioning all the various aspects of the upcoming “transportation revolution” that we are currently undergoing and its effect on auto accident cases.

The future?

It is in self-driving cars. Maybe not in five or seven years, but ten and fifteen years from now, we will not be driving our own cars. Don’t let the Uber self-driving car fatality in Arizona fool you into thinking that this is not happening. It’s just a matter of time.

The reality is that technology is already significantly impacting transportation safety. For example, federal regulation requires that all new cars come with rear view cameras. This could dramatically reduce the number of back-over crashes that are so common in parking lots. Eliminating or reducing back-over crashes will also greatly impact the safety of children.

Other features now come standard in most new cars including extensive sensor systems that warn when a car is in front, back or to the side of you.

In the future, vehicle to vehicle communication will enable my car to talk to your car and advise each other of the other’s behavior so as to avoid a collision.

Other Areas

A.I. and automation will affect auto accident attorneys in other ways as well. Auto insurance will be different in the future as well. Do you remember going to the airport and buying life insurance before you boarded the plane?

Companies like Allstate owned Arity are already working on auto insurance products for people who will not own cars but rather use ridesharing entirely to get around. You will be able to buy insurance for a single ride, or only when you ride in a certain type of vehicle.

Auto accident claims processing will also be impacted. Insurance companies have already automated the claims process and use technology/software to evaluate auto accident claims. Computers are thus evaluating and making determinations as to the value of auto accident attorney clients’ injuries. Who knows how far A.I. will take the claims process but you can be assured insurers will use technology to reduce payouts and increase profits.

How we document the occurrence of accidents is also evolving as a result of technology. I have represented several clients in the past few years who were wearing GoPro cameras on their motorcycle helmets or positioned on their dashboard. Videotape of the facts of an accident can greatly assist in determining fault for the accident.

Finally, insurance companies like Progressive Insurance have developed apps that monitor your driving habits and reward you for safe-driving.

In short, the entire transportation claims and litigation process is changing. The number of accidents, severe injuries and fatalities will drop significantly in the future. And as such, the number of cases for auto accident attorneys to pursue will also diminish. This will drive many out of the personal injury realm entirely.

Guess I should start planning for a second career. If you would like to discuss this or any other legal related topic, feel free to reach out to me at 847-305-4105.

How Much Money Will You Net From a Personal Injury Settlement?

Clients are often surprised at the conclusion of their case regarding how How much money will you net from your personal injury settlementmuch money they will net from their personal injury settlement. In this blog post you will learn how a personal injury settlement actually works and how much you can expect to walk away with. If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to contact attorney Barry Zlotowicz at 847-305-4105.

Pieces of a personal injury settlement

When the insurance company makes you an offer to compensate you, all aspects of your case are (usually) encompassed in that offer (aside from property damage). Meaning that if you were offered $100,000 by Geico or State Farm to settle your case, that money is intended to compensate you for everything, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Health insurance lien
  • Medpay lien
  • Anything else

In addition, if you retained an attorney, the law firm’s attorneys’ fees and costs will come out of the $100,000 as well. Consequently, accident victims can be surprised as to what they will net at the end of their case.

So, how might your case look upon completion? If you look below, you will see the breakdown of a personal injury settlement I resolved and how a “settlement statement” (accounting of the costs of your case) might look:

SETTLEMENT  STATEMENT

Client: John Smith

State Farm Insurance Claim No.: 123456789

Date of Accident: June 1, 2010

TOTAL SETTLEMENT $100,000.00
DEDUCTIONS
Attorney Fees (33.3%) $33,333.33
File Expenses $645.00
Federal Express $25.00
ATI Physical Therapy $1,250.00*
Illinois Bone & Joint $7,400.00**
Open MRI $1,500.00
Geico Insurance Medpay lien $1,333.33
Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance $7,000.00
TOTAL DEDUCTIONS $52,486.00

*Amount negotiated by Chicago Legal Group down from $2,500.00

**Amount negotiated by Chicago Legal Group down from $9,900.00

AMOUNT OF SETTLEMENT CHECK TO CLIENT: $47,513.34

As you can see, after you take out medical bills, liens, the health insurance lien and attorneys’ fees, the client’s net recovery is significantly less than the actual gross settlement amount.

Often the net amount is significantly less than what is showed here. In the above example, the victim’s medical bills were extremely small. Often the bills are much higher and as such, subtract much more from the potential settlement amount.

Also, there are many other expenses that could be deducted/owed out of the settlement proceeds including child support liens, money paid from a disability insurance policy, and more.

Bottom line is that trying to tie up the loose ends of a personal injury settlement can be confusing. Many people want to handle claims like these on their own or “pro se.” That is an option. But to be assured that all ends are tied, I strongly consider speaking to an attorney at 847-305-4105.