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.

Glenview Auto Accident – What do you do if you get sued?

Glenview Auto AccidentIf you are involved in a Glenview auto accident, you may have been the driver who caused the accident rather than the victim. What do you do if you get sued? Check out this blog article on what to do if you cause an auto accident. And call for a free consultation if you have any questions at 847-305-4105.

There have been a couple really bad Glenview auto accident cases in the past 60 days. In one accident, a Glenview teenager named Jun Yang was involved in a solo vehicle accident. He had a passenger in the car who was also injured. Yang was 16 years old. I am the father of three teenage daughters, one of whom drives and a second who is about to start driver’s ed. So, this story really impacted me.

Then at the end of June 2018, a construction worker was hit by a truck that was backing up near Chicago Tribune, the worker suffered serious injuries and was taken to the emergency room at Lutheran General Hospital.

If you are injured in a Glenview auto accident through no fault of your own, there are numerous resources on this website where you can find information on how to proceed. I will shamelessly suggest you should talk to a Glenview lawyer about your case.

But what do you do if you caused the auto accident? In that case, you are the “defendant.” This is the situation we all dread because if you did, in fact, cause the accident:

  • Your car was likely also damaged
  • You have to pay your deductible to get your car fixed
  • You will have to spend a lot of time dealing with the aftermath of the accident, and of course
  • You cannot recover for your “pain and suffering”
  • Your auto insurance rates will likely go up

What are your defenses to have caused the accident?

Your primary defense to having caused a Glenview auto accident (aside from pleading innocence) is to argue that the other driver was comparatively negligent. In the state of Illinois, a driver can recover for their damages if they are not more than 50% responsible for the accident.

If you can prove that the other driver was even slightly drunk, or texting while driving, or otherwise distracted and that they, therefore, were partially at fault for the accident, you can diminish the amount of your responsibility for the accident.

What should you do?

Bottom line is, if you hit someone, call your insurance company immediately. That is why you have auto insurance. You’ve paid premiums for years just in case this situation arises. Let your insurance company and the insurance adjuster do their job. Believe me, they will look for every mechanism possible to deny or reduce your liability.

What if you don’t have auto insurance?

First, if you don’t have auto insurance, you can and likely will be cited by the police officer and will be required to appear in court.

You will be personally “liable” or responsible for the damages you caused. And you may very well get sued. Chances are if you cannot afford auto insurance you can’t afford to hire an attorney to defend you. In this case, you have to hope that the person you hit has adequate limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and collision coverage to get their vehicle fixed.

Regardless, you will likely get a letter from the insurance company which will seek to “subrogate” or obtains reimbursement for the money they paid to their insured.

The bottom line is that before you get in a Glenview auto accident, make sure you have adequate limits of auto insurance. If you want a free consultation on how to best protect yourself, feel free to contact me at 847-305-4105.

Glenview Attorney – highlights of Glenview Summerfest

My name is Barry Zlotowicz and I am a Glenview attorney. On June 30, 2018, I participated as a “vendor” at the Glenview Summerfest which took place Glenview Lawyerin downtown Glenview, Illinois. I wanted to reflect on the experience and say thank you to a few people.

Briefly, I have lived in Glenview since 2001 just before my first daughter was born. My other 2 daughters were born and raised here as well. We have loved our schools, the Park District, the Glenview Dance and Music Academy and a wide variety of other Glenview institutions for the past 17 years. My office is in Glenview and I’m a member of the Glenview Chamber of Commerce.

Glenview is a sleepy kind of community with just over 40,000 residents. We Glenview Lawyerhave some nice restaurants but night life is not booming so to speak.  But we have a good mix of old and young, enough Starbucks for me never to go without and a growing and vibrant business community.

My favorite places to go in Glenview include The Glen (where former President George H.W. Bush trained), Abt Electronics and the Grove. We also have Kohl’s Children’s museum which my kids loved when they were young and we’ve been to countless times.

Glenview has 2 Metra train stations with easy access to downtown Chicago in 35 minutes. It also has good bus service. My administrative assistant takes a bus from Evanston and gets dropped off right in front of my office.

Glenview Attorney

My goal as a Glenview attorney is to serve the village of Glenview andGlenview Attorney surrounding areas. If you look at my website, you’ll find articles and references to several cities including Northbrook, Niles and Mount Prospect among others.

There are not a lot of lawyers in the village of Glenview. On the Glenview Chamber website, there are only 8 firms/members who are lawyers actually based in Glenview. As such, I’m interested in being a resource for Glenview residents on a variety of legal topics.

My primary practice is in personal injury but as a Glenview attorney I have found that the vast majority of calls to my office are for other practice areas including estate planning, criminal law/traffic tickets and employment law. Fortunately, I have a network of attorneys I work with daily who practice in a wide variety of practice areas and as such, I am a good referral source for Glenview residents who need a referral to another attorney.

Glenview Summerfest

Last weekend with the Glenview Summerfest which was organized by the Glenview Chamber. I purchased a booth at the event and set up shop. You can see from the photos that it was a great event despite the heat which was almost unbearable. I heard it got to 103 on the heat index and it felt like it.

As part of my efforts to encourage pride in our village, I gave

Glenview Summerfestout stickers that say “GLV” on them – for Glenview of course. There’s not much else a Glenview attorney can hand out that wouldn’t bore people.

A special thank you to our Glenview Police Department and Glenview Fire and EMS as well. When I say I overheated I’m not kidding. I needed some help and the GPD and GFD provided great assistance.

I enjoy being a Glenview attorney and want to offer the best service I can to our residents. If you have any legal issues, please feel free to use me as a resource. Call me today at 847-305-4105.

The Million Dollar Case – Glenview Lawyer

Glenview lawyer
Glenview Lawyer

My name is Barry Zlotowicz and I’m a Glenview lawyer. I often hear jokes about lawyers. I’m a personal injury lawyer and as such, have often been called an “ambulance chaser.” I take no offense to these jokes. But what I do object to are outrageous claims made by attorneys to convince an accident victim to hire them. This gives all lawyers a bad name. If you want a fair assessment of your case, call us at 312-848-9783.

The Million Dollar Case

A couple months ago I received a call from a woman who was injured in an auto accident. She was climbing into the back seat of a co-worker’s car when suddenly the co-worker started to drive away. The victim was dragged behind the car for approximately twenty feet. In the process, she re-aggravated a pre-existing knee condition.

She started calling lawyers to obtain information. One lawyer she spoke to immediately told her that she had a “million-dollar case.” Most people when they hear that would get pretty excited. Who doesn’t want a million dollars? But she was a bit suspicious and called our office for another opinion.

“A million dollars” she told me. “Really,” I said. I asked her about her injuries and determined that there might be a case, depending on the severity of her injury. I asked her how much insurance the driver of the vehicle had and how much underinsured (UIM) insurance she had. She didn’t know.

Politely I told her, “if the defendant only has a $25,000.00 insurance policy, where is the other $975,000.00 coming from?”

Illinois Insurance Policy Requirements

In the State of Illinois, all drivers are required to have a minimum of $25,000.00 in liability coverage. Very often, that is all the money there is to recover for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

As such, it is critical that you have enough uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage – a minimum of $100,000.00, if you can afford it. You cannot control how much insurance the other guy has but you can take steps to protect yourself.

Personal Injury Settlements

The reason so many people fall for exaggerated evaluations – like the million-dollar case – is that huge verdicts are the only verdicts we hear about in the news media. It’s not sexy to report on the simple auto accident which resulted in a fractured arm and settled for $50,000.00. The media would rather tell you about the million-dollar Liebeck vs. McDonalds Restaurants hot coffee case.

Yet $25,000.00 and $50,000.00 recoveries are far more common and represent what most personal injury settlements look like. Sure, there occasionally are multi-million-dollar cases, but they are few and far between.

Fair and Honest Assessment

When attempting to determine how much your case is worth, you have to take into account a variety of factors. This includes the amount of your medical bills, the severity of your injury, what insurance company you are dealing with, and more.

If you contact our office, one thing we can guarantee is that we will give you fair and honest assessment of your case. We will help you establish reasonable expectations so that there are no surprises when the insurance company makes its’ first offer. We believe this is a good policy all around. It helps us meet our obligation to be honest with our clients and also gives our clients accurate information upon which to make decisions about how to proceed.

Small Claims Court

For many cases, you may not even need a Glenview lawyer. If your case is worth less than $10,000.00, which many soft tissue cases are (often those cases involving minor contusions, sprains and strains), you can even represent yourself by filing a lawsuit in small claims court. If we feel this is your best option, we will tell you.

Don’t fall for exaggerated claims. Call our office for a free consultation. We will take the time to discuss your case with you. You will talk to a Glenview lawyer, not just an admin person. Call us today at 312-848-9783

Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault?

Most auto accidents result in minor injuries, but they all, by definition result in at least some property damage. Many people contact me about their accident and ask, “Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault?”

Automobile Insurance
Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault?

Most people don’t pay much attention when they’re buying automobile insurance online or from an insurance broker. The majority of drivers are looking for the cheapest insurance possible to meet the mandatory minimum requirements set forth by the State of Illinois. As such, they accept high deductibles and purchase inadequate amounts of uninsured and underinsured coverage. Unfortunately, if you commoditize the insurance, you may get left paying a high deductible if you are involved in an accident.

What is a deductible?

In short, a deductible is a specific amount of money an insured has to pay before the insurance company pitches in to pay for the damage to a damaged vehicle.

For example, if you contracted with Allstate Insurance for a $500.00 deductible and your car has $750.00 in damage to it, you will have to pay the first $500.00 before the insurance company pitches in the extra $250.00.

Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault?

If the accident is not your fault AND you want to use your own insurance to pay for the repairs, you will have to pay the deductible before your insurance company pitches in to get your car fixed. Your insurance company will then file a claim against the defendant’s auto insurance policy for reimbursement. When your insurance company gets reimbursed for the money they put out on your behalf, you should be reimbursed your deductible.

Unfortunately, this can take some time and the defendant’s insurance company may dispute who is at fault for the accident. This could result in a significant delay in getting reimbursed.

Why would I use my insurance then?

It is often quicker to use your own insurance to get your car repaired. It often takes time for the third party (the defendant’s insurance) insurance to “accept liability” or responsibility for the accident. If you have collision coverage, your insurance will often step in to get your car repaired immediately.

Some defendants always take longer to investigate the facts of an accident. For example, we’ve worked on several cases where the defendant is a governmental entity/employee. The government is always slow in offering compensation for damaged property. In these cases, it’s almost always better to go through your own insurance.

You may be involved in a case where the facts of the accident are in question or even in dispute. If that’s the case, the defendant’s insurance company is not going to pay for your property damage until liability is allocated and agreed upon. In this case, it’s also best to use your own insurance company to pay for the property damage.

Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault and we both have the same insurance company?

There are situations that we have been involved in where a client did not have to pay their deductible even though they used their own insurance. For example, if both parties to the accident have the same insurance company, I’ve had cases where the deductible issue was handled “in-house” and my client did not have to put out the money to pay the deductible.

I’ve also had situations where liability for the accident was so obvious that the defendant’s insurance company accepted liability immediately. In that case, my client’s insurance knew they were going to get reimbursed for the deductible and as such, waived the deductible.

These cases are the exception more than the rule, however. And consequently, when I’m asked the question: “Do I have to pay the deductible if it’s not my fault?” The answer is usually “yes.”

If you are faced with this situation, we are more than happy to provide you a free consultation to discuss your options. Call us at 312-848-9783 now.

Uber & Rideshare Accident Lawyer

If you were involved in an accident involving Uber or Lyft, you should call a Uber & rideshare accident lawyer.

Uber & Ridshare Accident Lawyer
Uber & Rideshare Accident Lawyer

Dealing with Uber or Lyft can be challenging – even for a lawyer let alone an accident victim representing him or herself.

In general, rideshare is a great idea. It has provided a reasonably priced means for people to get around Chicago and other cities. Statistics also tend to support the idea that rideshare reduces the number of DUI accidents as inebriated drivers have an efficient alternative to driving home from a bar or restaurant. Some studies have shown that Uber has caused a dramatic reduction in the number of DUI related deaths.

However, Uber comes with risks as well. Often, Uber and Lyft drivers do not have a lot of driving experience. I speak from personal experience when I say that I’ve had more than one Uber driver who didn’t have a clue what he was doing or where he was going. I’ve seen others talking on their phones while driving or playing with the Uber app when they should be watching the road. Many cities like Chicago have enacted rideshare ordinances to assert some minimum requirements on the rideshare industry. Chicago exerts significant control over the taxi industry as well.

Our office has represented victims in several different Uber & rideshare accidents, including:

  • Our client was driving for Uber when she was hit behind in Park Ridge, Illinois thereby causing her to slam into the car in front of her. She suffered a concussion and whiplash injuries. She also developed fibromyalgia immediately after the collision and also suffered from significant PTSD that required psychological counseling.
  • Another client was a passenger in the back of an Uber. The Uber driver ran a red light and smashed into a car in an intersection. The collision left our client with significant back injuries. Our client’s statement about fault resulted in Uber’s insurance company accepting 100% responsibility for the accident.

We’ve received countless other calls from victims of rideshare accidents, many with minor injuries who proceeded to represent themselves in filing a claim with James River Insurance – the insurance company Uber uses (for the collisions I’ve handled at least).

It is unknown how many Uber & rideshare accidents there are in Illinois. This is mainly because, in Chicago at least, police reports do not have a place to notate whether the accident involved a rideshare service or not.

Who do you pursue if you are involved in an Uber & rideshare accident?

Uber and Lyft both provide coverage for accidents involving its drivers. When a rideshare driver turns on the app coverage begins. Uber/Lyft provide $50,000 in liability insurance if an Uber driver causes an accident while the app is on, but before he/she accepts a ride request. Once a ride request is accepted the insurance increases to $1,000,000 per incident AND the rideshare driver is protected if he/she is hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. The insurance coverage returns to $50,000 once the passenger exits the vehicle.

The state of Illinois mandates that rideshare drivers carry insurance. Often, your typical personal insurance policy will not provide coverage as it was not anticipated in your insurance contract that you would utilize your vehicle for commercial activities. As such, many Uber and Lyft drivers purchase additional or commercial insurance. The cost of adding these policies to an existing personal insurance policy is often minimal and can be as low as an additional $15.00 per month.

One insurance is established, your case will face the same challenges that all auto accident cases face:

  • Establishing liability
  • Obtaining sufficient value for the property damage
  • Getting the appropriate medical treatment
  • Avoiding gaps in medical treatment
  • Negotiating with a stingy insurance company
  • Negotiating medical bills and liens upon settlement

You can also recover for your lost wages if you are injured in an Uber & rideshare accident. For passengers, the same process is used including verifying your wages through the use of a lost wages verification form. For rideshare drivers, establishing lost wages is often simple. The Uber app documents how much a driver makes on a weekly basis. To establish the lost wages claim, we can download the data and present it to an insurance company to document how much money you made on a weekly basis in the months prior to the accident.

If you would like to speak with an Uber & Rideshare Accident Lawyer, feel free to contact my office at 312-848-9783 My consultations are always free and I am more than happy to discuss your options with you.