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.

Injured as a passenger in a car accident – Who do you sue?

Quite often I get calls from people who were injured as a passenger in a car accident. They always ask, who do you sue? The quick answer is it Car Accidentdepends upon who was at fault for the accident. If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, call our office today for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Injured as a passenger in a car accident

Who was at fault for the accident?

First, most likely you won’t have to “sue” anyone. But certainly, the question will arise which driver’s insurance company you should file a claim with. If the driver of the other vehicle was at fault, there is no issue. You will have the same rights as the person driving your vehicle.

But what happens if the driver of your car was all or partially at fault for the accident? If that’s the case, it could be very complicated as in most of the cases I’ve seen like this, the driver of the car or motorcycle is often the parent, significant other, friend or colleague of the injured party. Filing a claim against their insurance could cause friction in your relationship with that person.

Example

For example, a while back I worked on a motorcycle accident case. My former firm represented a woman who was riding on the back of a motorcycle driven by her male friend. As they tried to make a turn, the motorcycle hit some gravel and went down. Our client filed a claim against her friend’s motorcycle policy.

The driver seemed fine with the claim at first until it came time to settle her case. He heard how much money we demanded and he angrily called our office and told us he was not at fault for the accident, the gravel was. However, his insurance company had already accepted liability for the accident.

Our client was also upset as she did not want to anger her friend. We advised our client that if the driver was not at fault for the accident, then there would be zero recoveries. In the end, our client agreed to continue to pursue the case and she recovered nicely from her injuries.

As an aside, as a passenger, if you are injured as a passenger in a car accident, you are also entitled to utilize the driver’s medpay insurance through his/her own insurance policy to pay for some of your medical bills.

Taxi, Uber and Lyft accidents

I have received several calls in the past couple years from people who were Injured as a passenger in a car accident involving an Uber driver. I generally support the rideshare concept but have noticed that often when I see a car driving erratically it often is a rideshare vehicle.

If you are injured as a passenger in the back of an Uber, you can recover for your injuries. The issue again will be who caused the accident, the Uber or Lyft driver or the driver of the other car. I have handled cases where a passenger was injured by a third party while driving in an Uber and I have also represented Uber drivers who were injured by others while driving.

Uber uses James River Insurance Company to handle their driver’s claims. Clicking here will take you to the page to file a claim for injuries suffered as a passenger in an Uber.

Bus accident

The same rule applies if you are injured as a passenger in a bus accident. I’ve represented bus accident victims before and we deal with trying to figure out who is responsible for the accident, the CTA or other bus agency or the driver of the car the bus crashed with.

Solo vehicle accidents

I recently received a call from a very nice woman who was involved in a solo vehicle accident. She admitted to the insurance company that she crashed her vehicle when she bent down while driving to pick something up. Her car flipped and she and her 2 small kids were injured.

In that situation, the woman has no claim as she caused the accident. However, both of her children have a claim to file against their own mother for their injuries. Fortunately, the mother knew she was at fault and her auto insurance rates were going to increase regardless. As such, she had her kids file claims against her own policy.

Conclusion

If you are Injured as a passenger in a car accident, call our office at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation. This situation can get sticky and often times it’s better to have an outside party like a personal injury attorney make the call for you.

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.

Rear-end Collision Attorney Chicago

chicago rear-end collision lawyerChicago rear-end accident settlement attorney Barry Zlotowicz, settled a lawsuit recently between a Highland Park, Illinois woman who was rear ended while driving her SUV on Lake Shore Drive in 2013.

The Chicago rear-end accident occurred on Lake Shore Drive. Our client was driving downtown with her children in the car intending to take them to a Chicago Blackhawks game. While exiting Lake Shore Drive at Randolph Street, a sedan rear-ended our client causing the client to thrust within her seat forward and back. The third party admitted fault for the accident. As such, the only issue that remained was assisting our client in recovering from State Farm Insurance for her injuries.

Luckily for the client, she only suffered soft-tissue injuries to her back and neck. The official diagnosis was a neck strain or sprain. A neck sprain or strain is obviously difficult to recover for as insurance companies continue to tighten the knot and limit payments for soft tissue injuries.

Our client coordinated our client’s care with her chiropractor. The client’s doctor used state of the art technology including a spinal kinetics examination to analyze if there was any permanent impairment to our client’s vertebrae which there was. This diagnosis helped us increase the insurance company’s offer.

While insurance companies often are hesitant to compensate victims who are solely treated by chiropractors, this case shows that when a chiropractor can affirmatively demonstrate permanency, a client can still recover.

In the end, our office was able to obtain a recovery that paid our client’s medical bills, including her chiropractor as well as reimbursing Blue Cross Blue Shield for money paid on behalf of our client, as well as pay attorneys fees with enough left over to adequately compensate the client for her injuries.

If you or someone know you know was injured in a Chicago rear-end accident, contact the Chicago rear-end accident lawyer Barry Zlotowicz for a free consultation at 847-305-4105 or 877-LAW-4312.

Chicago Car Accident Lawyer – Soft Tissue Injuries

Your Chicago car accident lawyer has handled countless personal injury accidents where the injuries of our clients were what is called “soft-tissue injuries.” In fact, the vast majority of  injury accidents result in soft tissue injuries as opposed to more serious accidents that result in fractures, herniated discs or brain injuries.soft tissue injuries from car accident

Soft tissue injuries can occur as a result of any type of accident such as a car accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, or bicycle accident. These types of injuries may include:

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Bruises or contusions
  • Whiplash

In terms of settlement value, soft tissue injuries are generally worth less than other injuries. Nevertheless, they cause serious pain and suffering and should be compensated.

Often times, soft tissue injuries can be remedied through mild pain medication, visits to a chiropractor and/or physical therapy.

These types of injuries are generally caused by trauma, like that caused in a Chicago car accident, where a victim’s body is thrown back and forth, often in a whiplash motion. However, our office has handled cases where victims hurt parts of their bodies other than their necks. Torn ligaments are often considered to be a soft tissue injury. Victims of car accidents often suffer torn or stretched ligaments in their shoulders, elbows, hips or knees.

The result of soft tissue injuries can often be chronic long-lasting pain that interferes with a victim’s everyday activities.

If you or someone you love is the victim of a soft tissue injury, he/she may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Reimbursement for medical bills
  • Lost wages

It’s important after suffering soft tissue injuries in a car or other accident that you do not wait to obtain medical treatment. We receive calls all the time from clients who were injured through no fault of their own but who wait to get medical treatment. This makes our job in recovering for your pain and suffering much more difficult. Insurance companies will attempt to pay you as little as possible. A common argument by an insurance adjuster is that there was a large “gap in treatment” by our clients and/or that they weren’t diagnosed with their injury (often a bulging or herniated disk) for months after an accident. As such, it is imperative to get medical treatment as soon as possible.

Finally, engaging an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you, help you obtain medical treatment and ultimately assist you in recovering for your injuries, is essential.

If you have suffered a soft tissue or another injury in a Chicago car accident, we can advise you on Illinois personal injury laws and help you file a claim. Contact Barry Zlotowicz at 847-305-4105.