Chicago Car Accident PTSD Lawyer

If you are searching for a Chicago auto accident attorney to help you recover for PTSD after a car accident, contact our office today at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a psychiatric disorder suffered by people

ptsd from car accident settlement

who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a war, violent assault or, a serious car accident in Chicago, among other things.

Our office has represented accident victims who were veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and suffered PTSD due to their experience in the war. However, we have also represented many car accident victims who suffered severe PTSD as a result of their accident.

You can recover for PTSD suffered as a result of a car accident in Illinois.

The Veteran’s Administration (VA) published the results of a study of PTSD called “Traumatic Stress and Motor Vehicle Accidents.” The study found that “approximately 9% of MVA (motor vehicle accident) survivors develop PTSD.”

Symptoms of PTSD

As a Chicago auto accident lawyer, I have represented clients who suffered significant PTSD symptoms caused after a car accident. These have included:

  • Severe nightmares
  • Vivid flashbacks to the event
  • Anxiety while driving their vehicle
  • Inability to sleep
  • Hesitance to speak about the accident
  • Detachment from significant others
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of interest in sex
  • Lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities

If you experience any of these symptoms, or, you endure other unexplained changes in your behavior after a car accident, contact a Chicago car accident PTSD lawyer to discuss how to proceed.

What should you do?

Do NOT delay in seeking treatment for your symptoms. The longer you delay, the larger the “gap in treatment” after the accident. This is something the auto insurance company will capitalize on to diminish the value of your claim.

Documentation

If the PTSD is not “documented” by a medical professional, it will be extremely difficult to recover for it. We have represented many people who insisted that they suffered nightmares and other symptoms often associated with PTSD. However, they did not seek any medical attention for their symptoms. If the symptoms are not documented by a physician or mental health provider, they don’t exist to the insurance company.

If your case proceeds to litigation and/or trial, it is likely that your PTSD lawyer will engage a medical expert to establish “causation” between the accident and your symptoms.

Call an attorney today for a free consultation regarding PTSD after a car accident at 847-305-4105.

Personal injury law firm – arbitration clauses

Personal injury law firm discusses arbitration of auto insurance claims

My name is Barry Zlotowicz and I am the owner of a personal injury law firm headquartered in Glenview, Illinois. I’ve been licensed to Personal injury law firmpractice since 1993. During that time, I have been involved in many auto insurance claims where a client sought to recover from her own auto insurance policy for her damages. If you want a consultation about pursing an uninsured motorist claim against your own auto insurance policy, call me today at 847-305-4105.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

I have detailed at length in this blog about the need to have adequate amounts of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. If you get hit by an uninsured driver, you will have to seek compensation from your own insurance policy. In Illinois, everyone has a minimum of $25,000 in UM coverage if they have auto insurance.

What’s the Catch?

Once you file a claim against your own insurance policy, you and your insurance company become adverse. Meaning, that your personal injury law firm is trying to recover the maximum amount from your auto insurance and your insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible. That’s correct, you can and will get low-balled by your own insurance company.

Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

The first trick the insurance company already used to reduce your recovery against your own policy is that they inserted a mandatory arbitration clause in your auto insurance policy. You already bargained away your right to a jury trial for your damages. Don’t feel bad. We all agree to these clauses. They are inescapable if you want auto insurance. Unfortunately, juries, especially like those in Cook County, Illinois, can award large verdicts in cases involving severe injuries. In contrast, arbitrators are much more conservative when doling out compensation.

How to spot an arbitration clause

A typical um arbitration clause will look just like the clause below, which I copied from a former client’s policy. The name of the company will not be disclosed:

Arbitration. “Any dispute with respect to whether the insured is legally entitled to recover damages or the amount of damages recoverable by the insured shall be submitted for arbitration to the American Arbitration Association and shall be subject to its rules governing the conduct of arbitration hearings…”

How do you select an arbitrator? Usually set forth in the policy as well. The same policy as above stated that:

“Upon the insured requesting arbitration, each party to the dispute shall select an arbitrator and the 2 arbitrators so named shall select a third arbitrator.”

The arbitrator’s decision could be binding (meaning your stuck with it whatever it is) depending on the language of the policy. It might also provide that cases under a certain value are limited to arbitration but that cases in excess of that value might have the right to a bench (though probably not jury) trial. Meaning, a judge might hear your case, but a jury will not. And as stated above, a jury verdict is what you want, especially in Chicago.

Benefits of an arbitration clause

It wouldn’t be fair to completely diminish the value of an arbitration clause. There are benefits of an arbitration clause to you and your personal injury law firm. For example, it can take eighteen or more months to get to trial. However, the arbitration process moves much quicker. As such, you can obtain a resolution of your case and get access to your money quicker.

Also, the costs of arbitration can be much less than going to trial. That’s a benefit to you because accident victims represented by a personal injury law firm will have to pay the firm back for the expenses it fronted out of the proceeds of the recovery. The more costs, the less you recover.

Finally, arbitration is a less formal process. If you are intimidated by sitting in a courtroom and testifying to a jury, arbitration might be a better forum for you to have your grievance heard.

If you are injured in an accident and want to talk to a personal injury law firm, feel free to contact us for a free consultation at 847-305-4105. We can help you decipher the arbitration clause in your auto insurance policy and decide on the best course you can take to recover against it.

Is Medpay Worth It – An Injury Lawyer Perspective

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

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

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

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

Who is covered by medpay?

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

Is medpay mandatory in Illinois?

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

The benefits of using medpay

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

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

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

Medpay is cost effective

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

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

What medpay does not cover

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

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

Medpay reimbursement

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

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

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

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

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

Illinois Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Claims

Underinsured Motorist Claims Illinois
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage

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

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

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

Why is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage important?

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

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

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

Success Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

Autopilot Leads To Auto Accidents

It is a day like any other day.

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

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

You come up to a stop light.

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

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

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

He is wrong.

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

You could have avoided this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to do when you’re involved in a car accident in Chicago

what to do if you’re involved in a car accident in Chicago
What to do if you’re involved in a car accident in Chicago

In this blog post, you will find advice about what to do if you’re involved in a car accident in Chicago. Of course, the first thing you should do is stay calm. Accidents happen. Just because someone did something stupid, like texting while driving, doesn’t mean they’re an awful person. They just made a mistake.

Sometimes those mistakes have big consequences. One of my clients was rear-ended while driving in Aurora, Illinois. The young woman who hit him admitted that she was texting when she hit him. He suffered multiple shoulder tears because of her negligence. Simply stated, her mistake caused him severe pain and suffering that may result in permanent injuries to his shoulder. Unfortunately, neither side had enough insurance (liability or underinsured protection) to cover his injuries – see my article on UM/UIM insurance.

If you are involved in a car accident in Chicago, you should:

  1. Call the police/file a report
  2. Get the contact information, insurance information and names of all witnesses to the accident
  3. Obtain medical treatment: put your lawsuits/claim aside, it is critical that you obtain medical assistance to quickly treat your injuries
  4. Take photographs immediately – this includes photos your injuries as well as the damage to your vehicle
  5. Keep everything involved in the accident
  6. Never give a recorded statement to an insurance company without first consulting a Chicago car accident attorney
  7. Do not post much about the accident on Facebook
  8. Keep a daily journal of how you are feeling and the way your life is impacted by the accident.
  9. Keep a mileage log of visits to your doctor’s office or to get your car repaired and receipts for all medical or other bills
  10. If you did suffer injuries, contact a Chicago car accident attorney for a free consultation

Every few minutes, a car accident in Chicago takes place. It’s an epidemic. In 2014, the most recent year that the Illinois Department of Transportation released records for, there were 296,409 car accidents in the State and 143,943 car accidents that took place in Cook County, Illinois. That’s 394 car accidents in Chicago per day!

Nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is a traffic crash every 10 seconds. In 2015, there were 6,296,000 crashes. That number is astonishing when you think about it. Of those, there were over 35,000 fatalities.

Common causes of car accidents include getting hit by a drunk driver (around 20% of all crashes), weather conditions like ice, snow or rain, or due to distracted driving. In my practice, I would guestimate that 7 out of 10 of all accidents we see were caused by a distracted driver. They could be smoking a cigarette, talking on the phone or, texting while driving.

Our office regularly represents people who are the victim of a car accident in Chicago. Our clients have suffered various injuries and recoveries have varied greatly depending how injured they were as a result of their Chicago car accident.

If you are involved in a car accident in Chicago or anywhere in the State of Illinois, contact our office for a free consultation at 312-848-9783

You can recover for injuries suffered in an Illinois car accident, even if you are partially at fault!

Our office recently received a call from the victim of an automobile-on-pedestrian accident. The victim of the accident walked out from behind a bus and entered the cross walk without looking for cars. He was subsequently struck by a passing car and suffered a broken leg. He inquired of our office whether he could still recover for his injuries even though he may have been partially at fault for the accident. This fact scenario raises a good question. Can someone recover for injuries suffered in an accident where they were at least partially at fault? The answer is — it depends — but it is possible.

how to recover for injuries even if you’re at fault

Illinois is like many states in that it weighs the “comparative fault” of the parties to a Chicago car accident in order to determine whether the victim of an accident can recover for his or her injuries. But it’s not easy. In this economic climate, insurance companies are not in a settling-mood. More and more insurance companies are fighting traditional liability claims where they might have otherwise assumed liability quickly. This prolongs litigation and increases your attorney’s expenses. This is particularly true for cases where liability is disputed and/or shared.

So what does “comparative fault” mean and at what point are you NOT entitled to recover for your injuries? In short, a plaintiff (the party bringing the lawsuit) is at fault for his own injuries if he was negligent and his negligence contributed to his injuries. Pursuant to Illinois statute 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/2-1116, the plaintiff will thus be barred from recovering damages if he is more than 50% at fault for his injuries.

What does this mean to the victim? Let me explain by an example: Suppose you bring a lawsuit against the driver of another car who hit you. The jury finds that the other driver is 75% responsible for the accident, that you are 25% responsible, and then awards you $1,000.00. Since you are 25% responsible for the action, your award is reduced by 25% or $250.00. Your total recovery would therefore be $750.00. If the jury found that the plaintiff was more than 50% responsible for his injuries, he would not be entitled to any recovery at all.

The Chicago Legal Group refers our personal injury cases to Chicago automobile accident lawyer Paul Wolf. Mr. Wolf has extensive experience dealing with the comparative negligence maze. If you or a loved one has been involved in an injury where you may be partially at fault, you should contact our office immediately to protect your rights.

Recent settlement!

Mr. Wolf recently litigated a case involving comparative negligence. Mr. Wolf’s client’s car broke down in the middle of the road during rush hour. The defendant driver was not paying attention and negligently rear-ended the plaintiff’s stalled car killing her. Sounds like an open and shut case doesn’t it? However, the plaintiff was also potentially negligent. The plaintiff failed to adequately care for her car resulting in the malfunction that caused the car to become stranded in the road way. In addition, the plaintiff was under the influence of an illegal substance when the accident occurred. As such, she was comparatively responsible for part of her own injuries. Despite these challenges, Mr. Wolf was able to settle the claim for $1.3 million dollars.

For immediate assistance from a car accident lawyer or for any other accident where you may need a personal injury lawyer, contact Paul Wolf through the Chicago Legal Group by clicking here or telephone us at 312-848-9783.

Find the right attorney

Let’s set the record straight, most lawyers are honest, hard working, ethical members of the bar. Most participate in their community and/or sit on boards of directors of charities or on local school boards. Most are mothers or fathers and all have parents and/or other loved ones. And for certain, all have been themselves, have a loved one or know someone personally who has been in a car accident in Glenview, been divorced, got caught for DUI, needed an estate plan or required some other legal services. In short, most lawyers are just like you. Find the right attorney

It is likely that one day during the course of your life you are going to meet a lawyer and may even require his or her services. If this occurs, DO NOT PANIC! Rest assured that there are countless numbers of qualified lawyers ready to help you. In fact, there are so many lawyers that the trick is not finding a lawyer, its finding the right lawyer.

So the question is, which lawyer do I hire and why?

The usual method for hiring an attorney in Glenview is to get a referral from a family friend. That is an acceptable first step toward hiring an attorney however it should not be your final step. Another method for finding an attorney is to ask your existing attorney whether he practices in the area you are looking for. However, in most cases he or she will not be qualified. So for example, your current lawyer wrote a will for you and now you want him to represent your son in a criminal matter. Chances are he is NOT qualified to handle your case. Further, chances are he does not have a direct relationship with a criminal attorney he can refer you to. Lastly, you may still be one of the few people who try to find a lawyer in the print Yellow Pages.

In today’s modern world, the most efficient, the most full-proof way of finding a lawyer, is by using the internet. Nowhere but the web can you not only find an attorney with a click of your mouse, but you can read all about the areas in which the attorney practices, you can find information about the attorney’s personal life and you may even be able to find reviews about the attorney’s work. Even if you are referred to an attorney by a friend or relative, it is still essential today to look him or her up online to see what he or she does. Don’t waste any more of your time – go to the source – the internet.

Once you do find an attorney via referral and/or by the internet, your next step will be to analyze whether the lawyer does what you are searching for. Nothing is more frustrating than finally getting a hold of a lawyer only to find out that he doesn’t do what you need. That’s where the website comes in. Speaking from personal experience, if I can’t find a lawyer on the internet, I would not use him or her. A website authenticates that the lawyer you are using lives in the 21st century. If he doesn’t have a website, I have to wonder whether he uses a cell phone, has an iPod or even cable TV. A website is an integral part of a lawyer’s business – don’t hire one without it!

So you review the lawyer’s website and you learn that she is a Chicago divorce lawyer. Don’t end your search there. Read a little deeper – try to determine if this lawyer’s specific experience matches what you are searching for. If it does, great, contact the lawyer and set up an interview, if it does not, keep looking. And so forth.