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What If I Delayed My Car Accident Claim?

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is far from enjoyable. It is a stressful time full of uncertainties about your health and finances. For one reason or another, you may have put off taking care of your car accident claim. If you did delay your car accident claim, it isn’t necessarily too late to go after compensation for your injuries.

Reasons a Car Accident Claim May Be Delayed

There are many reasons people delay filing a car accident claim. To start with, most people don’t know what to do after a car accident, which may cause them to do, or not do, certain things that can hurt their personal injury claim. Some of the most common reasons people delay car accident claims include not knowing that their injuries were serious, not knowing that they could seek compensation, or because dealing with their injuries was more important. Further, some try to handle the claim on their own not knowing the risks involved, or unwisely decide to trust an insurance adjuster.

Personal Injury Claim Delay 1: You Didn’t Know Your Injuries Were Serious

Getting any necessary medical treatment is one of the most important steps to take immediately after a car accident. However, many injured drivers and passengers delay contacting an attorney because they think their injuries are minor and not worth pursuing. As weeks or months pass by, they begin to realize their aches and pains aren’t going away and their medical bills are stacking up.

Car accident injuries that aren’t healing are a sign of something more serious going on. If this happens to you, talk to your doctor and contact an accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Further, if you have put off getting the care you need, know that it is critical—not only for your health but also for your car accident claim—that you seek medical treatment for your injuries. When someone delays medical treatment, it also means that it may be harder to make a connection between your car accident and your injuries. Take for example back pain caused by a rear-end accident. If you do not immediately seek medical treatment, it can be harder to prove that that injury was directly caused by the collision.

Hiring an experienced attorney when you have delayed getting medical treatment can be helpful in proving that your injuries are related to your recent car accident. When you do finally get diagnosed by a doctor, it may not be enough to prove your claim. An attorney will help to piece together other information that points to the car accident as the source of your injury. This may include your past medical records, missed time from work after the accident, and testimonies from people who know you. Beyond proving your injuries, an experienced personal injury attorney will advocate for the appropriate amount of compensation that you deserve.

That being said, delayed treatment claims can be difficult to prove and injury lawyers are often selective as to the cases they sign up. If the delay is too long given the circumstances, an attorney might not take the case.

Personal Injury Claim Delay 2: You Didn’t Know You Could Seek Compensation

If you’re injured by a car accident, you may not have known that you can seek compensation for your injuries. Chances are, you probably relied solely on your own resources to cover your medical expenses and vehicle repairs after your car accident. It may not be too late to recover those costs from the driver who caused your accident. As long as you can prove what damages your accident caused, you can seek compensation for those costs and possibly even pain and suffering. Your car accident attorney will help you to prove both liability and how the accident has impacted you.

Personal Injury Claim Delay 3: Dealing with Your Injuries Was More Important

Injuries that are severe or life-threatening can prevent an accident victim from pursuing a claim in a timely manner. Your injuries might result in a lengthy hospital stay, and you may even be in an unresponsive state. For instance, a traumatic brain injury, which is a common type of injury that can occur during a car accident, can lead to a coma or a significant hospital stay. Or you may have suffered a spinal cord injury and recovering your health and wellness was just more important than filing an injury claim.

Contacting an attorney shortly after being injured in an accident will help you to get compensation for your injuries and also give you an ally in your recovery. Obtaining legal representation means that someone else will handle the intricacies of getting you compensation while you focus on your recovery.

A lawyer’s experience is especially important in claims made after sustaining catastrophic injuries. This is because you’ll need substantial compensation to assist with the long-term effects and future medical bills caused by severe and chronic injuries.

Statute of Limitations in Illinois

The statute of limitations for car accident claims is two years in Illinois, under most circumstances. This means that you have two years to begin a car accident claim from the date your motor vehicle accident occurred. However, there are shorter and longer statute dates in certain cases, so it’s best to consult with a lawyer ASAP.

Further, it should be noted however that just because you have two years to file a claim does not mean there are no consequences to waiting that long. Delaying a car accident claim can have all types of unintended consequences like lost evidence and lost credibility, which all create an uphill battle.

Delaying a Car Accident Claim Can Make Proving Your Case More Complicated

If you do not file a car accident claim to get compensation for your damages right away, you may find yourself in a difficult circumstance.

The first and most important reason delaying a claim makes proving your case more complicated is that it affects your credibility with the insurance company. Insurance companies send claim adjusters to investigate car accident claims and ensure that they are valid. If you claim you suffered severe injuries but didn’t seek medical treatment right away, the insurance company will likely use this as justification for denying your claim. They will simply assume that if you didn’t seek immediate treatment, your injuries were not that bad.

It also complicates proving that your injuries were directly caused by your accident. If you suffer a neck injury from a car accident and don’t immediately report it or seek medical treatment, the insurance company can say that your injury was caused by some other factor. For example, maybe you got hurt playing softball or while at work. Because you did not seek treatment immediately, these alternative theories become harder to disprove. Seeking medical attention right away officially documents your injuries and prevents the issue of proving your claim to insurance companies.

Delaying medical treatment after a car accident may also cause an injury to worsen. Some injuries take days or longer to become noticeable since the adrenaline and shock from an accident can mask the symptoms. If you delay treatment too long, you run the risk of allowing your injuries to get worse by not immediately getting medical treatment. This is especially true for lacerations, soft tissue injuries, neck and back injuries, internal injuries, and brain injuries.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?

If you delayed filing a car accident claim in Illinois, a personal injury attorney can help you to gather the evidence you need while assisting you in overcoming the challenges that come with an injury claim. The more time that passes, the more difficult it is to file a successful claim. Accident scenes are cleaned up, evidence goes missing, witnesses are gone, and video footage has been erased from the cloud. But all hope is not lost.

If you are still within the statute of limitations for Illinois personal injury claims, an experienced attorney will be critical in getting proper compensation.

Don’t let your delay in filing an injury claim continue preventing you from seeking compensation.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident but did not file a claim immediately, speak to an attorney at Abels & Annes about your options. Our attorneys will evaluate your case and let you know honestly if you have a viable claim for compensation. If moving forward is possible, we will work diligently to meet the needs of your case and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. You can contact us online or call us at 312-924-7575 for a free initial case evaluation.

Explaining Lost Wages After You Were Injured

Personal injuries cause accident victims to be faced with a myriad of bills, including the costs of surgeries, hospital stays, rehabilitation, and various other medical appointments. The healing process itself is a major financial burden. But that burden can get even heavier when you’re no longer able to work because of your injuries and find yourself without your usual paycheck.

Thankfully, a personal injury claim allows injury victims to seek compensation for lost wages caused by another person’s negligence. After an injury due to negligence, you should not have to suffer financially for an accident that was not your fault. Lost wages compensation is a common type of financial recovery for people facing financial hardships after a personal injury, but it does require that the injured party file a personal injury claim.

What’s Considered Lost Wages?

Lost wages compensation is meant to cover the money you would have earned if your injuries had not prevented you from working. Lost wages can be caused by missed work due to medical appointments, time spent in the hospital, or time spent recovering at home.

Lost wages can also include what is known as lost earning potential. Lost earning potential (or lost earning capacity) refers to the loss of a person’s ability to earn a certain amount of income due to their personal injury. This situation usually occurs when a person’s injury is severe and causes them to become disabled or to have to go into a different line of work because of their injury.

For example, a person with severe back injuries due to a car accident may not be able to deliver packages anymore because of the demands of the job. This may require them to make a career change and take a lesser paying job somewhere else.

How Do You Prove Lost Wages?

You can prove lost wages through documentation of your income. One example of documentation is a letter from your employer. The letter should include the amount of income you lost and the dates and times you were absent from work.

Additionally, your previous pay stubs and prior tax returns will show how much you typically earned before the personal injury occurred.

Medical records are crucial in proving future lost wages. Based on your injury, medical experts can project how long your recovery will last. This will show the length of time you’ll have to recover wages for. For example, if your case is going to settle before you have an important surgery, you will need compensation for the time you will have to miss from work in the future due to that surgery.

If possible, don’t make the decision to miss work on your own. Talk to your doctor about your employment situation. Based on the severity of your injuries and your type of job, a physician may decide to order you off work. Further, an insurance company may contest the reasonableness of missed time from work without a doctor’s order.

How Do You Get Lost Wages If You’re Self-Employed?

A personal injury victim who is self-employed may have a more difficult time proving lost wages. If he or she is taking a salary from his or her own company, demonstrating lost wages can be straightforward. However, in the absence of a formal salary, the company’s earnings may have to be considered instead. If the company’s profits have diminished, that may serve as proof of lost wages. This is more common than you might think since plenty of people own small businesses providing services in their communities.

In these situations, it’s critical to show that the injured owner’s inability to work led to the company’s decreased profits. The opposing party could claim that the decrease is due to some other factor not related to the injury. If you’re an injured business owner, your personal injury attorney can evaluate your company’s track record and gather additional evidence to help you prove that your injuries are impacting your business income.

Loss of Earning Capacity

A serious injury can significantly limit your professional opportunities and completely change your career path. For example, if you work in construction or in another physically demanding industry, you rely heavily on your body to earn income. An accident like a slip and fall could rob you of your mobility, which in turn compromises your income. You may have no other choice but to accept a job that is out of your profession or that pays much less than what you’re used to making.

This situation could also arise in cases of brain injuries that cause people to develop cognitive issues. As mental capabilities are essential for work, you may have to settle for a less lucrative position due to no fault of your own.

When your earning capacity is reduced, you can pursue the lost earnings you would have most likely been making if you hadn’t been injured. When valuing your claim, your personal injury attorney will put together evidence to support your lost earning capacity, as well as any bonuses, promotions, pay raises, and other career advancements you could have reasonably expected.

Disability and Workers’ Compensation due to Personal Injuries

In the United States, 61 million adults live with a disability. Some of these disabilities leave them unable to work. Fortunately, there are resources like Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to keep Americans able to take care of their bills. SSDI is available to longtime members of the workforce. SSI is available even to those who don’t have an extensive work history. This often includes young people who become injured prior to starting their careers or shortly after they start working.

Both SSI and SSDI provide a great deal of financial relief for people living with a disability. However, the application process is detailed and lengthy. It can take over six months to begin receiving benefits, and not all applications are approved.

If you were injured due to a workplace injury, you can collect Workers’ Compensation benefits if you are eligible under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. When you are injured while on the clock, you may be able to collect temporary total disability pay (TTD). Your personal injury attorney can help you to get the proper benefits and walk you through what steps will be necessary to get you financially stable as quickly as possible.

In any situation involving lost wages or wage compensation, it is best to speak to an attorney as early as possible. Having a qualified personal injury attorney handle your injury claim from the start can help you to receive maximum compensation for your injuries much faster.

Get Help Recovering Lost Wages due to a Personal Injury

If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, speak to a personal injury attorney at Abels & Annes. Our attorneys will comprehensively review your case and work diligently to secure the most compensation possible for you. For a free initial case evaluation, call us at 312-924-7575 or contact us online. We look forward to speaking with you.

Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

 

Accidental deaths are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Annually, more than 167,000 people die and another 39.5 million seek medical care because of unintentional injuries. Many of these deaths happen because of another person’s actions, whether deliberate, accidental, or due to negligent behaviors. When a loved one dies unexpectedly, you may suddenly find yourself facing a mountain of household expenses and medical bills. In instances of death caused by negligence, it is possible to recover these losses in a wrongful death claim.

What is a Wrongful Death Case?

A wrongful death claim is a civil action brought by the family or the estate of a person who died because of the negligence or intentional actions of another person. This type of claim can also be brought against parties like companies or organizations. The victim may die at the scene of the incident or at a later date as a result of their injuries. Once the injured party has passed away, his or her survivors can pursue compensation directly from the negligent party or from that party’s insurance company. This is the best way for surviving family members to recover damages caused by a wrongful death, including medical bills, funeral costs, loss of future wages, and pain and suffering.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

A representative of the accident victim or a representative of their estate can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of eligible survivors. According to the Wrongful Death Act, surviving children and spouses can recover compensation for their loss. If the deceased has no children and no spouse, a relative like a sibling or parent may be eligible to recover compensation. The lawsuit itself is filed in the name of a representative (known as the special administrator) of the decedent’s estate, although multiple family members can seek compensation simultaneously.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful deaths can be filed for any death that was caused by negligence or a wrongful act. They can also be filed for deaths resulting from a criminal act, but for the sake of this article, we will focus on claims that stem from personal injuries. Some of the most common reasons wrongful death claims are filed include:

  • motor vehicle accidents
  • medical malpractice
  • workplace incidents
  • injuries caused by products
  • injuries caused on someone’s property

Motor Vehicle Accidents

The U.S. experienced over 36,000 motor vehicle accident deaths in 2019 alone. And when you consider that human error is a contributing factor in 94% of serious collisions, it is clear why we are all required to carry auto insurance. Some of the most common negligent behaviors are texting and driving, speeding, and drunk driving. Accidents involving commercial vehicles like trucks can be especially deadly because of the size difference between trucks and passenger cars. Further, motorcyclists are at an even greater risk of death due to a collision for the same reasoning and because they have little or no protection. When a motor vehicle collision causes a fatal accident, the driver, business, or some other third party (like a manufacturer) may be held liable for the wrongful death. Sorting out liability in these situations can be a complicated task. And when money is involved, it is almost always disputed. An experienced attorney can help to sort out who is at-fault so that you can receive proper compensation for fatal injuries.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is another common reason that people need to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Some 80,000 deaths occur each year due to misdiagnosis in the United States. When you take into account other instances of malpractice, like birth injuries, botched surgeries, and prescription errors, it is clear how medical malpractice can lead to wrongful death lawsuits.

Workplace Accidents

Both federal and state laws require Illinois employers to maintain a safe work environment for employees to avoid injuries on-the-job. This can include keeping the workplace clean, providing the right equipment, training staff, and hiring qualified personnel. Even when all of these safety measures are provided, accidents still happen and there are often negligent third parties involved. Proving liability of a third party when an employee dies on the job often requires a detailed investigation. That’s why attorneys are instrumental in navigating these cases.

Product Liability Cases

Defective products place unsuspecting consumers in harm’s way. Some especially hazardous defective products include faulty car parts, unsafe medical devices and medications, and unsafe household appliances and batteries. Even products that are well made can be deadly if the manufacturer fails to warn the consumer about potential dangers. If a manufacturer knowingly allows an inadequate product to go to market or fails to warn the public about a known issue, they may be held responsible for any deaths that results.

Premise Liability Incidents

Property owners must exercise reasonable care to prevent injuries from happening. When they fail to fulfill this responsibility, accidents like a slip and fall could lead to a visitor’s death. To some, this may sound extreme, but a fall can easily lead to death for vulnerable populations. This is why laws exist that require property owners take reasonable care to prevent injury on their premises. A wrongful death attorney can help to demonstrate that the property owner was responsible for your loved one’s death and help you to seek compensation.

What Damages Can Be Recovered from a Wrongful Death?

Economic Damages

Economic damages are monetary losses associated with a death or injury. One example is the medical expenses your loved one accrued prior to their passing away. This often includes the cost of hospitalization, diagnostic testing, surgeries, rehabilitation, and medications.

Economic damages can also include funeral expenses and the loss of support that the accident victim provided. As a survivor, you can pursue compensation for the financial contributions that your deceased loved one provided before their death. This is most common in situations in which a spouse loses their only source of income.

Non-Economic Damages

Coming to terms with a wrongful death is not easy. In fact, 25% of surviving spouses develop depression and anxiety within the first year of the loss. Spouses also endure loss of consortium, the loss of the intimate relationship shared with the deceased. Deaths certainly take an emotional toll on children as well, whether they are minors or adults. Because of this, Illinois courts have outlined a way for spouses and children to seek compensation for both direct financial losses and damages for emotional distress, loss of earning capacity, and loss of consortium.

Punitive Damages

As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant as a punishment against the at-fault party. They are meant to dissuade the same party or similar parties from committing similar negligent acts in the future. Punitive damages are reserved for situations in which the liable person’s behavior is exceedingly reckless.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney

If you’ve lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence, Abels & Annes can help you to seek compensation for their death. We will review the facts of the wrongful death in detail to make sure all of your damages are accounted for so that you can receive the maximum available compensation for your loss. While no amount of money will suffice for the loss of a loved one, wrongful death claim compensation will help you and your family grieve and cover the costs related to your relative’s death. For a free initial case evaluation, call us at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

Devastating Results of Highway Accidents

Millions of people regularly use Illinois’s 16,000 miles of highways to commute to work, run errands, and travel for leisure. For the most part, these state highways are an efficient and reliable way to get from point A to point B. Unfortunately, not all trips end safely. When highway accidents happen, unsuspecting victims can find themselves severely injured and with a ton of new stresses in life. Recovery from your injuries often requires a great deal of time, commitment, and medical treatments – none of which are free.

Your career, personal life, and finances can all suffer as a result of a highway accident. And when the collision was not your fault, all these new stresses and financial responsibilities may seem unfairly placed on you. This is when a personal injury attorney can help you: by working to obtain proper financial compensation for your injuries.

Highway Accident Statistics

While highway accident injuries are often severe, highways actually see fewer deaths than local roads. Local roads see fatal accidents at a rate three times higher than highways.

Highways do not have to be busy or congested in order to be dangerous. Travel on rural highways accounts for 30% of highway traffic in the United States. Further, over half of fatal car accidents happen in rural areas of the country.

What Causes Highway Accidents?

Highways can be dangerous for lots of reasons, including high speeds, distracted driving, improper lane changes, aggressive driving, drowsy driving, and dangerous weather conditions.

Speeding

Speeding can lead to accidents no matter what type of road you are on. However, speed limits are already increased on highways. When drivers exceed those higher limits, the impact can be especially damaging and cause injuries that are much more severe than collisions that happen at lower speeds.

Road Distractions

Distracted driving is one of the biggest problems we face on roads today. Any time a driver diverts their eyes, hands, or mental attention away from operating their vehicles, they are distracted. Consequently, they aren’t able to react appropriately to changes on the road. And again, the speed limits on highways can make reaction times much more important. Distracted driving decreases reaction times dramatically and makes highway accidents more likely.

Improper Lane Changes

Vehicles changing lanes while moving at high speeds can be risky. Often, drivers change lanes without making sure it is safe to do so and without checking blind spots. New technology, like blind spot sensors, helps prevent this type of accident, but they still occur often. This is especially true with large trucks.

Aggressive driving

Aggressive drivers tailgate, change lanes without warning, and cut off other motorists. Their behavior disrupts the predictable flow of traffic. As a result, accidents become more likely. Aggressive driving, especially on highways, is exceptionally dangerous. Tensions might be heightened due to the stresses of congested traffic, the desire to get home from work, and other frustrations that are unique to driving on a highway or interstate.

Fatigue

Approximately 328,000 fatigue-related collisions occur annually. Highways tend to have long monotonous stretches of road. This can be a serious problem for tired drivers. If you find yourself drowsy or dozing off in any way, you should pull over immediately and get some rest. Studies have shown that drowsy driving is nearly as serious as drunk driving.

Harsh weather conditions

Conditions like rain and snow impact visibility and traction. Motorists who don’t adjust their driving habits to accommodate inclimate weather risk losing control of their car. This is especially true on highways where high speeds and congestion can make it harder to stop quick enough on wet or icy roads.

Common Injuries from Catastrophic Highway Accidents

As you are aware, accidents that occur on highways can have serious repercussions. Some common injuries that occur due to highway accidents include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal bleeding, and broken bones.

Brain Injury

If your head hits an object or is thrashed around during a highway accident, you could develop a traumatic brain injury. TBIs lead to cognitive decline and a host of emotional problems. These conditions can make it difficult to hold a job and maintain relationships, not to mention they are expensive to treat. Additionally, on average, TBI-related injuries cause 150 American deaths every day.

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries can be extremely serious and very painful. They can take away your ability to control bodily functions, which may lead to loss of bladder control, spasms, and breathing issues. The most severe spinal injuries can leave accident victims either partially or completely paralyzed. Victims of injuries that cause paralysis have to make significant adjustments to their lifestyles, often relying on caregivers. For this reason, the cost of care and treatment for spinal injuries is often extremely expensive.

Internal Bleeding

Blunt trauma from a highway accident can cause internal bleeding anywhere in the body. It is especially dangerous when vital organs are impacted. If internal bleeding isn’t addressed right away, it can cause serious complications or even turn fatal.

Broken Bones and Fractures

Breaks and fractures can happen anywhere in the body during a car accident. The bones themselves can take months to heal. However, a fracture serious enough to require surgery may require a much longer recovery time. In turn, that represents higher medical costs. Surgery is likely when multiple bones are broken or fractured during a highway accident. When this type of situation occurs, complications like infection, nerve damage, and the cost of treatment can all just be the beginning of a seriously painful and stressful situation.

Multi-Vehicle Accidents Caused by Trucks

The more cars involved in a highway accident, the more complicated the legalities may become. That is because determining who is at-fault in a multi-car pile-up is often less clear and may require extensive investigation.

In a collision involving multiple vehicles hitting each other on a highway, determining liability can become complicated. Who is at fault for a pile up? Do some of the drivers share partial responsibility? How would you prove who was liable in a multi-car crash? These are just some of the legal questions that make multi-car pile-up accidents on highways complex.

For instance, say a truck strikes a vehicle directly in front of it, pushing that vehicle into your car. The driver in the middle car may be partially responsible, or all of the fault may lie only with the truck driver. In a complex scenario like this, your car accident attorney can analyze the accident report, available dashcam footage, and other evidence to determine whether you should pursue compensation from one or more parties.

To further complicate matters, a truck driver is not necessarily at-fault when a truck causes a multi-car pileup. For instance, if an unstable truck rolls over, it could be due to poorly-loaded cargo or malfunctioning parts. A variety of entities in the trucking industry may be responsible. Since trucks exponentially outweigh normal vehicles, pile-ups involving trucks can cause injuries that are especially devastating. Commercial trucks are usually heavily insured to cover these injuries. It is best not to leave these personal injury claims to chance. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney could be crucial in discovering the cause of the crash so that you can be properly compensated for your injuries.

What Can I Recover in Damages from a Highway Accident?

Medical Expenses. You can recover the costs of your medical bills you received because of a highway accident. Some examples of medical bills include hospital stays, doctors’ appointments, physical rehab, and surgeries. Medical expenses often extend beyond initial treatment. For instance, you may have to pay for medications to treat chronic pain or you may need ongoing physical therapy.

Lost Wages. The wages you would have otherwise earned can be included in your highway accident claim. This can account for days or weeks you were off work to get treatment, and time you spent healing at home. Further, if your injuries prevent you from moving forward in your career, you may be able to seek compensation for lost earning capacity. This not only impacts yourself, but your entire family.

Pain and Suffering. Compensation cannot undo the excruciating pain you had (or have) to endure. Nor can it take away the stress and uncertainty of having a significant injury. However, pain and suffering are reasonable damages you can expect to receive compensation for after an accident.

Contact a Chicago Highway Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured in a highway accident due to negligence, speak with an attorney at Abels & Annes. We are proud of our extensive track record of successfully handling car accident cases. Our attorneys evaluate each client’s case in detail in order to pursue maximum compensation for injuries and other damages. For a free initial case evaluation, call us at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

How Insurance Companies Try to Avoid Paying Personal Injury Claims

The Three D’s: Delay, Deny, Defend

Insurance is a very profitable business. And it stays that way by taking in much more money than they payout. A single health insurance company can make billions a year in profits. The auto insurance industry as a whole brings in tens of billions of dollars in profits each year. And most insurance companies, no matter what type of coverage they sell, are seeing profits rise even more due to the 2020 pandemic.

These profits often come off the backs of people that pay their premiums faithfully for years and now really need their insurance carrier to carry out their end of the deal. In order to maintain these profits, specifically in the auto insurance sector, three common tactics are used by insurance companies: delay claims, deny claims, and defend against claims.

Insurance Tactic #1: Delaying Injury Claims

The first tactic insurance companies use is to try delaying the injury claim as much as possible. Delaying the claim makes it frustrating for the claimant and it allows evidence to deteriorate.

Frustrating the Victim into Quitting

Receiving compensation is rarely straightforward. Insurance companies sometimes ask for complex forms and details they don’t actually need to process your claim. They know you’re unlikely to have this information readily available. Consequently, you’ll end up wasting time and energy tracking it down. Once submitted, they might make another request or say your documents are incomplete. Insurance companies may also keep you tied up on the phone for what seems like an eternity. Some may pass you around from department to department in search of an answer to a simple question.

These exhausting tactics are designed specifically to delay your claim long enough that you abandon your claim or settle for pennies on the dollar.

Allowing Evidence to Deteriorate

Sometimes, insurance companies will delay a claim in the hopes that some of the evidence will become murky or deteriorate. This doesn’t mean that the evidence actually becomes broken or degraded. Instead, it means that the evidence becomes harder to find. Take for example somebody who witnessed the case. If they were to be contacted one week after the accident, they would probably be more than happy to give a statement about what they saw. If that person is contacted six months later, not only have they probably forgotten most of the details, but they probably aren’t interested in dealing with it anymore.

[Read: What To Do After a Car Accident]

Statute of Limitations

Over the years, our law firm has been contacted by many accident victims who unknowingly allowed the statute of limitations to expire. They thought they were protected by setting up the claim with the insurance carrier and did not realize that a lawsuit needed to be timely filed. The insurance adjuster, who kept delaying and delaying, never informed the claimant of the statute date, which is 2 years in most cases in Illinois. However, there are shorter time limits for certain defendants, so it is best to contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.

Insurance Tactic #2: Denying the Claim

Contesting Liability

It is not uncommon for an insurance adjuster to dispute or deny liability, even when their driver obviously is at fault. Or, they may only admit partial liability when it’s unreasonable to do so. This tactic is more common with substandard insurance carriers.

For example, our office recently received a denial letter from an insurance carrier. The accident occurred when the defendant failed to yield coming out of a stop sign. Our client had no stop sign and had the right-of-way. At the scene, the defendant admitted fault to the police and was ticketed. At a later date, the defendant changed her story and is now claiming that our client was speeding and failed to keep a proper lookout.

The insurance carrier is now denying the claim due to their insured changing her story. The adjuster knows they are going to have to pay on the claim later in court. However, they are using the defendant’s obvious lie as an excuse to delay paying on the claim.

Minimizing Injuries

Insurance adjusters are always looking for ways to downplay your injuries, make them sound less severe, or even make it look like the injury is non-existent.

One tactic of denying a claim by downplaying an injury. This can involve tricky questions that make it seem like you are not as injured as you say you are. They may also involve a medical expert who claims that your medical records do not reflect the amount of pain that you claim on your end.

Insurance companies will often use pre-existing conditions to deny claims as well. They may acknowledge that you were in a car accident and received injuries. But they may try to minimize those injuries by pointing to a pre-existing condition or an injury that happened in the past. In some cases, this past injury has nothing to do with the new injuries. Nonetheless, insurance carriers know that they can use this tactic to deny claims.

These tactics allow them to deny that their client caused your injury. If they can’t fully deny your claim, they’ll downplay the costs associated with your injury. For instance, they may only offer enough to cover your immediate expenses. In reality, lots of injuries will have costs associated with them long after the first few medical bills are paid. Some injuries will require rehabilitation appointments, while others might require another surgery a few years later. These future medical events should be accounted for when calculating a proper settlement amount. To protect the value of your claim, it’s best to have a personal injury attorney representing your best interests.

Your Own Actions

Another way insurance companies deny claims is by saying your injuries aren’t serious because you didn’t seek immediate medical attention. Insurance companies know that there are many reasons why claimants do not seek medical attention right away. Yet they still use this as a common way to deny personal injury claims. This is why it is so important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you are unsure of the severity of any injuries. Not only does immediate treatment prevent injuries from worsening, but it also prevents insurance carriers from using their common tactic to deny your claim.

Similarly, insurance companies will point to a claimant’s failure to file a police report right away as another reason to deny a claim. Although it does make it harder to prove another party caused your injuries, it is not a reason to completely deny a claim.

These tactics have no end. In fact, it is very common for insurance companies to go to a claimant’s social media page in order to find proof that they are not injured. A simple photo of you at a wedding or a family vacation at the beach can be used against you to argue that your injuries are not that serious.

Insurance Tactic #3: Defend Against the Claim

Once all the delaying and denying tactics have been exhausted and it is clear that the insurance company will have to pay on the claim, their next tactic is to defend against the claim as much as possible. Again, the idea is to keep any potential settlement or verdict very low. Insurance companies are mega-corporations and have millions of dollars to pay lawyers to defend their claims. Because of this, everyday individuals are often at a huge disadvantage when they face insurance companies in negotiations or court.

Using Their Power

Insurance companies have lawyers on staff and contract with outside law firms and investigators. These lawyers and investigators have only one responsibility. They will try to exploit every legal loophole to help the insurance company defend their position and pay little to nothing for your claim. Insurance companies know that many accident victims will accept these results without question. However, you don’t have to accept a lowball offer. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to challenge the insurance carrier.

Shifting Fault

Insurance companies often try to shift blame so that they can claim that you are at-fault for the accident and the cause of your own injuries. This is one of many reasons why it is critical to have an attorney representing you and working on your case from the very beginning. Even if you do share some responsibly, that does not necessarily invalidate your claim. As long as you are no more than 50% at-fault, you can still collect from the other side’s insurance company.

Before you have a lawyer, an experienced insurance adjuster might tell you that you have to give them a recorded statement. And if you comply, they often ask unfair questions. For example, instead of asking how the accident happened, they might ask what you could have done to avoid the accident. A statement is not required, so don’t give one without the advice of your lawyer.

Cases can also become complicated when insurance companies shift blame to a completely different party. For example, insurance companies may say that a parts manufacturer is responsible for the car accident or that the company who loaded the semi truck’s trailer is actually the responsible party. This tactic of shifting fault can be pulled out late in the game. And it often confuses those who are not represented by a qualified personal injury attorney.

Why Don’t Insurance Companies Want to Pay?

When insurance companies avoid paying, they make more money for themselves. Their business model may partially rely on delaying, denying, and defending claims. Denying a claim means the company doesn’t have to immediately pay out what could be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Likewise, minimizing valid claims means they still pay some, but are saving money compared to if they had paid fair value. When companies know they have to pay a sizable settlement, they may resort to expensive law firms to defend them in court. They do this not because they truly believe that their company holds no responsibility for the accident. They take this approach because a good legal team–though expensive–is sometimes less expensive than immediately paying a settlement. Further, it allows the carrier to hold on to their money for as long as possible.

The point is, insurance companies are not on your side. Despite the jingles, in our opinion you are not always in good hands, you might not get treated like a good neighbor. Based on our experience, insurance adjusters have one job and one job only. They try to keep their employer’s profits high and costs low. This is why it is imperative that you hire a qualified personal injury attorney to advocate for maximum compensation for your injuries.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Attorney to Fight for You

If you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, speak with an attorney at Abels & Annes today. Do not fall victim to the delay, deny, and defend tactics of insurance companies. Instead, let our experienced attorneys fight insurance companies for you and get you the compensation you deserve. Our initial evaluations are always free. Contact us online or by phone at 312-924-7575.

Damages in a Personal Injury Case Explained

Learn about the types of damages that you can be compensated for in a personal injury case.

If you were injured due to another person’s negligence, you can seek compensation from whoever caused or contributed to your losses. These losses are referred to as “damages” in a personal injury claim.

Damages can be divided into two basic categories: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate a person for a financial or personal loss. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and hopefully prevent them from doing something similar again. Compensatory damages can further be divided into economic and non-economic damages.

These types of compensation are extremely important after an injury because medical treatment and other costs can be expensive. If another person or company decided to disregard your safety or health, you should not be left to deal with the consequences on your own.

Most Americans cannot afford an unforeseen expense of even $1,000. This is problematic, considering the average cost of a single emergency room visit exceeds $1,300. The amount most people have in savings and the cost of medical care in the US is miles apart. Once you consider other financial costs an injury creates, like doctors’ visits, rehabilitation, and lost wages while you’re unable to work, things can get gloomy.

When you are the victim of someone else’s negligence, there are legal resources available to help get you back on track. The attorneys at Abels & Annes can explain your potential options and how you can seek compensation after you were injured in an accident.

Compensatory Damages: Economic and Non-Economic

Compensatory damages are broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. They are also referred to in the legal industry as special (economic) and general (non-economic) damages. These two types of damages seek to reimburse or compensate an injured person for the harm they have suffered due to an auto accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice, wrongful death, or some other type of personal injury claim.

Economic Damages (Special Damages)

Special damages, also known as economic damages are losses that can easily have a monetary value placed on them. Some common examples would be medical bills, lost income, and property damage.

Medical Treatment

Personal injuries contribute to the 530,000 annual bankruptcies caused by medical debt each year. Medical treatment following a personal injury typically costs thousands of dollars. However, our law firm often works on injury cases with medical bills well into the six-figure range. The amount of debt can quickly become overwhelming.

Medical expenses that can result from a car accident injury include:

  • Hospital bills
  • Physical therapy
  • Ambulance fees
  • Medical appointments
  • In-home medical services
  • Prescriptions
  • Diagnostic testing, such as an MRI or CT scan
  • Surgical costs

Your attorney may also need to calculate future medical expenses, especially if you will need additional medical treatment at the time your claim is settled. Sometimes, injuries require ongoing medical care, like multiple surgeries, ongoing physical therapy, and treatment to manage chronic pain. In these situations, compensation for future medical expenses may be necessary.

Lost Income

More than likely, an injury will force you to take time off from work to receive treatment and recuperate at home. Your doctor may order you off work for a period of time to recover. The income you lost due to time off can be included in your personal injury claim. Similarly, an injury can significantly change your ability to earn money in the future. For example, chronic pain could make it impossible for you to go back to work as a mechanic. This may force you into a lower-paying job, or worse, permanently disable you. A personal injury attorney can demonstrate these long-term effects on your income in order to successfully pursue sufficient compensation.

Property Damage

The final main category of compensatory damages has to do with property damage incurred because of the accident. Whether your property (like your car or motorcycle) is damaged or completely destroyed, this is part of your claim against the defendant. This can include the cost of repairs or the cost to replace your vehicle. Property damage is typically resolved early on and separately from your bodily injury claim.

Non-Economic Damages (General Damages)

General damages are meant to compensate an injured person for non-monetary damages due to an injury. They are called general damages because they are the opposite of “specific” damages. They are also referred to as non-economic damages. Most personal injury victims incur some type of non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of consortium or companionship.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is probably the most well-known because it is usually the biggest component of non-economic damages. There’s no universal definition for pain and suffering, which makes both the overall concept and how you calculate the amount of pain and suffering subjective. However, they typically include:

  • Physical pain caused by an injury
  • Disfigurements, such as a scar from a laceration or burn
  • A physical impairment, such as an injury that makes it difficult to move around
  • Physical discomfort caused by necessary medical treatment (like surgery)
  • Mental anguish over the trauma or loss
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Other reasonable physical or psychological effects caused by the accident or injury

You may have noticed that the last item on the list includes the word “reasonable”. This is because pain and suffering damages can be a slippery slope. Everyone realizes that a serious injury will cause some amount of pain and suffering, but if this concept is taken too far it can backfire. For this reason, it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Your attorney will help determine how much pain and suffering compensation you should ask for based on their experience, past settlements and verdicts from similar cases, and the severity of your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney will have a history of negotiating damages for their clients and can help advise you as an appropriate settlement demand amount.

Emotional Distress

Serious cases can include mental and emotional anguish suffered by the plaintiff. This type of compensation is usually reserved for cases involving birth injury, wrongful death, or some other similar type of serious incident. Emotional distress compensation is not something that is usually awarded in your average car accident claim.

Loss of Consortium or Companionship

Loss of consortium (also known as loss of companionship) is the deprivation of intimacy and companionship due to a death or injury. This may include the loss of affection, partnership, and intimacy. This type of compensation is very specific to certain types of claims and is often awarded in cases involving a death. In Illinois, both spouses can seek compensation for loss of consortium.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are their own category of damages and are only awarded when the wrongful behavior of the defendant was fraudulent, intentional, or willful and wanton. They are meant to punish the at-fault party and to deter them and others from doing something similar in the future. They are not awarded often. In Illinois, your lawyer would have to bring a pretrial motion and ask the court for leave to file an amended complaint that includes a count for punitive damages under 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury of any kind due to the negligence of another person or company, contact Abels & Annes. We will be happy to discuss what damages you could potentially be compensated for and your legal options. Our attorneys have decades of experience in all areas of personal injury and will use that experience to secure you the most compensation possible. For a free case evaluation, call us at (312) 924-7575 or contact us online.

 

What to Do After a Car Accident That Was Not Your Fault

Have You Been Hurt in an Accident by a Negligent Driver?

After Auto Accident Not your Fault

Unfortunately, car accidents are a common occurrence. On average, there are 15,000 car accidents every day in the US. Some of these accidents are minor, but many are catastrophic. In fact, over 100 people die in car accidents daily. The fact is, driving a car is dangerous. Therefore, when someone is negligent and makes driving that much more dangerous, they deserve to be held responsible.

Car accidents can greatly affect a person’s life depending on the severity of the accident and the injuries that they sustain as a result. One car accident can change a person’s life forever. The injuries from a car accident can range from bruises and scrapes to permanent disability, paralysis, or even death. Those with severe injuries are often left with substantial damages and piles of debt that seem too high to ever pay off.

When a car accident isn’t your fault, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This is your best bet at receiving compensation for your damages, like medical bills, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you may have gone through because of those injuries. As these accidents can be life changing, the more severe your injury is and the more it has affected your life, the more compensation you often need to rebuild your life.

In 2017, there were 34,247 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States. Of these, 1,005 fatal crashes happened in Illinois and 133 happened in Chicago. These statistics are alarming. Drivers who are distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving recklessly cause many of these serious or fatal accidents. Car accidents are always traumatic, even if the accident was not your fault. In any event of a car accident, reaching out to an experienced car accident attorney can help you determine your options.

If you’re wondering what to do next, keep reading. Our talented attorneys are here to help you get back on your feet after your accident. If you are interested in speaking with an attorney during a free consultation, we can be reached by phone at (855) 529-2442, by filling out our online contact form, or by using the chat box below.

Causes of Illinois Car Accidents and Negligence

The first step in your car accident case will be figuring out who was at fault for your accident. If you weren’t at fault, it’s likely that another driver was engaging in some sort of negligence that caused the accident.

Negligence is defined as a breach of the duty that other people have to keep others safe. As a motorist, we have the duty to follow the law and to drive safely on the roads. The breach of this duty can cause an accident, and that crash can lead to injuries or death.

Negligence in car accidents can take many forms. It can be as simple as not paying attention, running a stop sign, or merging into another lane incorrectly. Accidents are also often due to texting while driving and driving under the influence.

While some acts of negligence can be inadvertent, like not seeing a stop sign, some acts are clearly reckless, like drinking and driving. However, it doesn’t matter if the negligence was committed on purpose or with malice involved, it still puts the party at-fault for the accident.

Car Accident Injuries and Complications

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries are defined as injuries that cause damage to connective tissue in muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This is a very common type of car accident injury. For example, whiplash is categorized as a soft tissue injury. Whiplash occurs because of the back and forth motion caused in the neck when a car is hit. It can cause serious pain for the accident victim.

Lacerations and Cuts

Loose objects and broken glass can cause many injuries to a person. Lacerations and cuts may also be from broken parts of the car as the car crashes. These injuries are often minor, but can be more severe if the cut is deep enough or if a vital organ is penetrated. The loss of too much blood could lead to serious problems or even death if not treated right away. These injuries also occur alongside other injuries so the issues can compound.

Head and Brain Injuries

Brain and head injuries can be extremely serious, leading to coma, brain death, vegetative state, and even death in some circumstances. Concussions from car accidents range from mild to severe. Sometimes they are treatable with little issue and sometimes they cause serious, life-long complications. Head injuries are often referred to as the “silent” injury, as many don’t realize they have one until it’s too late. As brain injuries can be incredibly serious, it’s important to receive treatment for them as soon as possible.

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries are often mild injuries that include bruising or contusions. However, more severe injuries can cause internal bleeding or severe damage to internal organs. Seat belts commonly cause bruising in car accidents, as well as air bags. Chest injuries may also include broken ribs, as the small amount of space between the driver and the seatbelt can cause a strong impact when a car is struck.

Arm and Leg Injuries

Arm and leg injuries are caused by the sudden movement that occurs when a car is struck. Depending on the severity of an accident, the crash may also cause an arm or leg to get trapped in the crushed car. Arm and leg injuries include broken bones, bruises, cuts, and even amputation in serious injuries. Sometimes fractures require surgery to repair.

Neck and Back Injuries

So many of us take for granted the use of our spines to control our necks and back. But when someone’s neck or back suffers serious injury in a car accident, it can change their life forever. Not only are these injuries extremely painful, but they can also lead to complications that can leave injury victims with long term pain.

What Are The Insurance Requirements in Illinois?

In Illinois, registered vehicles must be insured with the following minimum limits:

  • $25,000 for the injury or death of one person involved in an accident;
  • $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in an accident;
  • $20,000 for damage to another person’s property.

A motor vehicle that is registered in another state but operating in Illinois is also required to carry liability insurance.

What Steps Should I Take Immediately After a Car Accident?

An accident can leave you feeling traumatized and unsure of what you should do next. Immediately after an accident, try to remain calm and take these steps:

Safety first

Move to a safe area as soon as you can. Turn on your car’s hazard lights, and if you have any warning devices like flares or cones, place them around the accident scene. Do not drive away. Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law in every state. If the other driver leaves the scene, remain there and report the incident yourself.

Check for injuries

If you or anyone else is injured, call 911 or ask someone else to call. You may think you have not been badly injured, but some car accident injuries don’t show up until later. It is always good to seek medical care after an accident.

Call the police immediately

Even if the accident was minor, it is good to get an official police report. You may need it for insurance purposes or other legal proceedings. There are now some insurance policies that require a police report or notice within a certain amount of time. When you speak with the police, provide the facts to the best of your ability. When the police arrive, tell the officer exactly what happened. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so.

File a written report with the State of Illinois

If you have been in an accident that requires a written report you must one with the Illinois Department of Transportation within ten days. A report is necessary when the accident is one which results in death, bodily injury, or property damage of $1,500 or more, or $500 or more if the vehicle is uninsured. The report you fill out is for statistical purposes only.

Trade information

Everyone involved in the accident should exchange information. You should get as much information from the other driver as possible, including:

  • Names, addresses, phone numbers;
  • Driver’s license numbers;
  • License plate numbers;
  • Vehicle makes, models, and years;
  • Car insurance information; and
  • The location of the accident.

Collect evidence

It is important to gather as much evidence as possible right away. Obtain contact information from any witnesses. Take photos of the accident scene from more than one angle. Include pictures of debris and road signs. Check for video cameras in the area.

Be careful of what you say

When talking to anyone at the accident scene, avoid discussing fault. After the accident, the other driver’s insurance company may contact you. If so, be polite, but be very cautious. Do not provide a recorded statement or sign anything without consulting your lawyer. Your own insurance policy probably requires you to report your accident to your insurance company, as well. If your insurer asks you to provide a statement, consult with a lawyer first. If you decide to give a statement without the guidance of counsel (which we would not recommend), do not discuss fault or say you were not injured. Simply state the facts. Even your own insurance company may try to downplay your injuries to pay less.

Be careful about talking with others

You will probably discuss the accident with family or other people you trust. However, be aware that conversations with friends and the general public may not be confidential. Do not discuss your accident on social media.

Consult with a personal injury attorney

Do not discuss the accident with representatives of an insurance company without consulting with an attorney. Do not sign papers or release forms without getting legal advice first. For example, signing a medical authorization gives others access to all of your medical records, including those before your accident.

What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Under personal injury law, if you can prove that someone else’s negligence caused your accident, you can recover damages from that person for any injuries you received in the accident. The law generally defines negligence as “A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” Therefore, fault is a critical element of your lawsuit.

Illinois utilizes the fault system, also referred to as a tort system, to decide who is financially responsible after a car accident. This simply means that the person who a court finds is at fault for the accident must pay damages for any harm resulting from the accident.

What Damages Can I Collect?

When a court awards monetary damages, it is an attempt to make the injured party “whole,” or as they were before the accident. The amount of compensation is based on the facts of each case and the extent of any injuries or property damage the accident caused.

If you were in a car accident that was not your fault, you have a legal right to seek compensation for any losses resulting from the accident, such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Physical therapy and similar services
  • Lost wages from missing work
  • General pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Temporary and permanent disability
  • Funeral and burial expenses (if you lost a family member in the accident)
  • Any other costs that are directly connected to the accident

In a personal injury case the two most common types of compensation are: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages (also known as special damages) refers to damages that you have a bill form, like medical damages, in-home care, lost wages, or any other cost that was directly related to your accident.

Non-economic damages (also known as general damages) are damages that do not directly correlate to a cost or bill but are still considered damages. An example of a non-economic damage is pain and suffering. In reference to general damages, if your case goes to trial, the judge or jury will look at what your life was like before your injury as well as what it is like now. Based on this evaluation, they will calculate a sum of money for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of normal life. If your case doesn’t make it to trial and you settle instead, this number will be decided in negotiations with your attorney and the insurance company.

What Can a Car Accident Attorney Do for You?

A car accident lawyer can deal with the insurance companies, properly file all paperwork and documents, accurately calculate your damages, and represent you in court, if necessary. At the time of settlement, often they will negotiate with your doctors to reduce the amounts of your medical bills. They do this to put more money in your pocket.

Once you pick an attorney, you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Your lawyer will take over the task of dealing with the insurance adjuster.

Like all other states, Illinois sets a time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. If you do not file your claim within the appropriate time, you risk losing the ability to sue, so consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Doing so can ensure that you can recover all of the compensation you need to pay for your medical and other expenses.

Filing a claim for your car accident can be a stressful process, but at Abels & Annes we’re here to help take the weight off of your shoulders. We will be there for you every step of the way and will work tirelessly to get you the best settlement offer possible. If your case goes to trial, we will use our decades of experience to win your case and to get you back to your normal life as soon as possible.

Hiring an attorney is the best first step that you can take toward receiving compensation for your injuries. For more information and a free case evaluation, please contact us online or at (855) 529-2442.

How COVID-19 Has Affected Some Injury Patterns

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some unexpected changes in injuries, trauma volumes, and unique injury types, according to reports from hospitals around the country. Most hospitals and healthcare clinics have seen an overall reduction in injuries as a result of work closures and stay-at-home orders. However, some unique patterns have emerged. Some of the changes that have been reported include an increase in domestic violence injuries, more recreational vehicle injuries, and an increase in pediatric trauma.

If you’ve been injured due to negligence, the experienced attorneys at Abels and Annes can review your case and discuss your rights and options with you. Going through a personal injury claim during a pandemic is stressful, but we’re here to help.

Decrease in Car Accidents during COVID-19 Pandemic

Motor vehicle crashes have declined by one-third since the coronavirus pandemic began. Because of closures to schools and businesses, there are fewer people on the roads to get into accidents. During initial closures, some highways were nearly deserted. More people have been staying home and having their groceries and other necessities delivered. Those that are leaving their house tend to do so less often.

While car accidents have become less common during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not stopped entirely. Further, due to less traffic, vehicles are moving at higher speeds. This means that when an accident does occur, there can be more significant injuries.

Serious accidents are still occurring. And it is still your right to pursue compensation if you were injured due to negligence. If you suffered an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, contact an attorney to review your case.

Increase in Burns and Electrical Shock Injuries

With everyone at home, whether they’re working or not, there seems to be an endless amount of time to kill. While many people are taking up new hobbies or tackling DIY projects, some might not be doing it safely or may be inexperienced working around the house.

Burns and electrical shock injuries have quadrupled during the pandemic according to hospital reporting, as more people attempt to handle projects at home either to cut costs or out of sheer boredom.

If you’re attempting a do-it-yourself project while you’re cooped up at home, especially anything that involves heated or electrical elements, make sure you do plenty of research ahead of time or hire a professional to avoid a burn or shock injury.

Increase in Injuries to Children from Car Accidents

Because lots of kids haven’t been in school during their usual times, more kids are out-and-about running errands with their parents while they would normally be in school. This means that there are a lot more opportunities for children to be involved in motor vehicle accidents.

Since the pandemic began, hospitals have reported an increase in pediatric motor vehicle injuries because of kids riding in cars when they would have been at school.

Injuries to children during car accidents can be devastating. These accidents can occur because of distracted driving, driving under the influence, speeding, reckless driving, and aggressive driving.

If you believe the driver that caused your accident was acting negligently, it is in your best interest to have an attorney review your situation as a potential personal injury case. And if you find that your child is spending a lot more time with you in the car, make sure they’re buckled up, since more than 35% of child car accident deaths involve a child not wearing a seat belt or not in a proper safety seat.

Increase in Injuries to Children from Risky Behavior at Home

With kids at home, they’re more likely to be bored and looking for fun new ways to entertain themselves. This can lead to children participating in risky behavior, such as climbing trees, biking in the streets, and playing on the stairs, all of which have led to an increase in child injuries during the pandemic.

If a child sneaks off during the countless hours spent at home and finds themself not properly supervised, an accident is more likely to occur.

If your child was injured while under the supervision of a babysitter or other party, you may be able to file a personal injury claim because of their negligence in not protecting or supervising your child. Likewise, injuries caused by defective products can be remedied through a personal injury claim.

Increase in Recreational Vehicle Injuries

With people out of work and looking for things to fill their extra time, accidents on recreational vehicles have increased, according to hospital reporting. Emergency rooms have seen a spike in both boating and ATV accidents.

Like car accidents, recreational vehicle accidents can occur if another party is acting negligently. Boating while drinking can cause a collision with other people out on the water or other riders may be acting carelessly, so it’s important to be extra careful to avoid any unnecessary injuries. The best way to stay safe on recreational vehicles is to always be defensive and assume other parties may act negligently.

If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.

Increase in DUIs and Alcohol-related Injuries

Some reports have suggested that many people are drinking more because of the pandemic. With nothing else to do, and lots of stress on people’s mind, more alcoholic beverages are being consumed. This increase in drinking has led to more car accidents caused by drinking and driving. If someone is drunk, they might not have the common sense to not get behind the wheel.

If you sustain injuries because someone was drinking and driving, you should contact an attorney that has experience in handling motor vehicle injuries caused by DUIs to review your case.

Delayed Visits for Injuries

Hospitals have been prioritizing COVID-19 patients. And some people are afraid to get treatment for their injuries because of the risk of catching COVID at the hospital. This delay in receiving medical treatment can make injuries worse and could harm a potential personal injury case. It’s important to seek medical treatment immediately after an injury caused by a motor vehicle accident or other incident caused by negligence. It may be scary to go into a hospital at this time, but not getting treated for your injuries can be equally as dangerous. Be sure to wear a mask, socially distance, and wash your hands often while at the ER.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured because of a personal injury accident during the pandemic, the experienced attorneys at Abels & Annes are here to help. We know you’re stressed because of COVID-19, so you shouldn’t have to be stressed about your lawsuit too. We’ll help to take the stress off of your plate by dealing with the insurance companies and by making sure you’re getting the proper amount of compensation necessary to rebuild your life after your injury.

For more information or for a free consultation, please contact us online, by using our chat option below, or by calling us at (312) 924-7575.

Chicago Accidents Involving Delivery Trucks

Delivery trucks have become more and more common on our roads as the rise of online shopping has led to more deliveries. All these new delivery trucks on the roads have led to more accidents and more injuries.

Delivery trucks and other large commercial vehicles can cause serious injuries to passenger car occupants when an accident occurs. These delivery vehicles, such as FedEx trucks, Amazon Prime trucks, UPS trucks, and even food delivery trucks, are often much larger than regular cars. Because of this, delivery trucks exert a greater force when colliding with passenger cars that can leave drivers and passengers with severe injuries.

Large truck crashes can cause injuries like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken bones, back injuries, and more. These injuries are often expensive, and many require surgery, physical therapy, or other costly treatments. Contacting a truck accident attorney after your injury is crucial, as your attorney can help to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.

Why Are Delivery Trucks Becoming More Common

Online sales have risen 43% between 2019 and 2020. One of the major reasons for this rise in delivery vehicles is the coronavirus pandemic, since many people were quarantined. This means more people are ordering goods online and having them delivered by companies like FedEx, UPS, and Amazon Prime.

While these services are convenient, they also pack the roads with more delivery vehicles, as more vehicles are needed to keep up with the increased demand.

Types of Delivery Trucks on Road

FedEx, Amazon Prime, UPS, and even USPS are growing in numbers in 2020. It seems like you can’t run to Starbucks without seeing a dozen of them. Each of these companies either hire their employees directly or outsource the hiring to another company that hires drivers as contract or freelance workers.

FedEx, Amazon Prime, and UPS most often deliver their packages with large vans. These vans have huge blind spots and require extensive skill to maneuver, which inexperienced drivers may lack. For some companies, like Amazon, you aren’t required to have a commercial driver’s license to deliver packages, even though they use large vehicles for their routes.

What Causes Delivery Truck Accidents?

Delivery truck accidents are caused by many different circumstances. These drivers are often hired quickly to meet the rising demand for deliveries, which means they may not be trained properly. Inexperienced drivers can lead to more mistakes and more accidents.

Large delivery trucks are also much harder to bring to a sudden stop. If a car comes to a halt quickly in front of them, they may rear-end the car if they were following too closely or couldn’t stop in time.

Many of these drivers are required to use their phones for work purposes while they’re driving. This can cause the driver to be distracted, causing an accident. Other common distractions for delivery drivers include texting while driving and eating while driving.

It’s also possible for an accident to occur because of a driver’s negligence. This can include speeding, driving recklessly, acting aggressively, or just failing to pay proper attention.

Finally, because drivers are in high demand right now, many drivers are overworked. Overworked drivers can be exhausted or fatigued, leading them to dose off behind the wheel.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Measure System, FedEx was cited with 991 citations in the past 24 months, 245 of which were for unsafe driving. Of those citations, 30 of the drivers were driving over the federal hours of service laws. These laws specify how long a driver is allowed to be on the road before it becomes unsafe. Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of truck accidents so these reports are indicative of an unsafe practice among delivery truck drivers.

Who is Responsible for a Delivery Truck Accident?

Determining liability for an accident involving a delivery truck can be difficult to determine, since there are many parties that could potentially be liable for your accident. An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to determine who exactly was liable and how their negligence caused your accident.

In most cases, the accident was probably the fault of the delivery truck driver. They may be driving too fast, driving while distracted, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving aggressively.

It could also be the fault of the company who hired and trained the truck driver. If the driver’s inexperience led to the accident, the hiring party could be liable. The company could also be liable for an accident that occurred because the driver was distracted by company mandated software (like tracking software), or if the company overscheduled the driver, leading to exhaustion. The company will also be liable under an agency theory if it is their employee that is the cause of a crash.

The owner of the truck (this could be a third party or the truck company themselves) could also be liable if the accident was caused by some type of truck malfunction. This is true if the malfunction could have been avoided with proper maintenance. If the malfunction was caused by a defective part, the manufacturer of the vehicle or the part may be liable.

Some Challenges in Filing a Claim Against a Delivery Company

Filing a lawsuit against a delivery truck driver or company can be complex and challenging, since it can be hard to tell exactly who to pursue. While an employee may have on a shirt with a FedEx logo on it, it’s possible that that driver works for another company or is an independent contractor that FedEx outsources their deliveries too. This makes things a bit tricky. While FedEx’s name is involved, you may actually end up suing an entirely different party as well.

Another challenge with delivery truck accident cases is the multiple parties that could be liable for your accident. Suing more than one party always makes a case more complex.

Because these cases are more complex in nature, hiring an attorney is crucial in the success of your case.

Contact a Chicago Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or someone you love has been injured in a delivery truck accident, contact the experienced truck accident attorneys at Abels & Annes. We can explain your rights, go over the facts of your case, and discuss your options. For more information or a free case evaluation, please contact us online, by using our chat feature below, or call us at 855-529-2442.

I Was a Passenger in a Car Accident. What Are my Rights?

Being injured in a car accident when you are the passenger is often unexpected and incredibly stressful. Not only did you have no control over the situation, but now you have to worry about your rights and options as an injured passenger.

After an accident in which you were an injured passenger, you’ll have to recover from your injuries, deal with insurance companies, and worry about mounting medical bills and lost income. On top of that, you also have to worry about how being a passenger in an accident fits into the whole mess. At Abels & Annes, we realize this is a stressful time. We understand your strife and will work to do everything we can to help you get the compensation you need so you can get on with your life.

[Learn more: How To Stay Safe While You’re A Passenger In A Car]

What if I Was Injured in an Accident While I Was a Passenger?

We often talk about what you should do after being in a car accident. But what if you’re not the one driving? What if you get into a car accident as a passenger? Are you able to sue the person who was driving the vehicle you were in, or are you limited to only suing the driver of the other vehicle?

Every day in the United States, around 90 people die in car accidents, including passengers. Being injured as a passenger can be extremely stressful, as you by default played no part in the accident occurring. When you’re one of the drivers in an accident, there’s always the chance you could be at-fault. But, when you’re the passenger it’s very unlikely that you could be liable for the accident in any way.

Read on to learn more about what to do after an accident, who you can get compensation from, what role insurance has to play, and what you can be compensated for.

What You Should Do After an Accident as a Passenger

Right after an accident occurs, there are a few key things that you should do to help protect yourself.

First, if anyone needs immediate medical attention, call 911. If you need to go straight to the hospital, then that should be your only priority. However, if you’re able to stick around at the scene of the accident, there are some steps you should follow.

Make sure one of the people who was involved in the accident calls the police. Don’t let the other driver talk you and your driver out of filing a police report. A police report acts as excellent documentation of your accident and some insurance companies won’t provide coverage if a police report wasn’t filed.

Also, make sure to talk directly to the investigating officer. Police sometimes forget to add the names of passengers to the report, and that can create issues with an auto insurance carrier.

After contacting the police, you should collect insurance information from all the drivers involved in the accident, including the person you were riding with. You should also get everyone’s name and contact information.

Next, gather contact information from anybody who may have witnessed the accident. If possible, ask them to stick around to speak to the investigating officer.

Now is also a good time to take as many pictures as you can of the accident. Take pictures of the accident scene, of both vehicles, and of any injuries you may have sustained.

Your next step should be to seek immediate medical attention. Even if you feel like you are not seriously injured, it is always a good idea to at least get checked out since the shock and adrenaline of an accident can mask even serious injuries. Be sure to tell your treating physician that you are there because of a motor vehicle accident. It is important that they document this in your chart.

After receiving medical treatment, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney for help with your case. You’ll want to do this before you speak with any insurance company to avoid saying or doing anything that could potentially damage your claim.

Filing a Claim Against the Driver’s Insurance

If you’re injured in a car accident and the driver of the car you were in was at-fault for the accident, your lawyer can file a claim with their insurance company. You’ll also want to file a claim through the medical payments portion of their insurance policy since Illinois does not have Personal Injury Protection coverage. As such, you’ll have to file through their medical payment insurance, if they have it. This can be used to pay off medical bills associated with the accident.

Filing a Claim Against the Other Driver’s Insurance

Filing a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy is necessary if they’re liable, but it can sometimes be complicated. If both you, your driver and others were injured, the other driver may not have enough insurance coverage to cover the cost of damages for all individuals. However, you often will be able to receive enough compensation through their bodily injury liability insurance.

It may also become complex to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance because determining liability can be tricky, especially with multiple drivers involved. Both drivers may appear to be at fault for the accident, making your lawsuit more complex.

However, this is one of many reasons to hire an experienced attorney. With complex cases like these, an experienced attorney can help you figure out exactly how to file your claim, who to file it against, and what you should expect in terms of compensation.

What If One of the Drivers Doesn’t Have Insurance?

If one or both of the drivers involved in the accident are uninsured, you may be able to file a claim with your own auto insurance company. This varies depending on the insurance company, but an attorney can help you figure out whether or not this is a claim worth filing. You may also be able to use your health insurance to cover some of the costs associated with your accident.

If the driver you’re trying to file a lawsuit against doesn’t have any insurance that could pay for your medical bills, you likely won’t be able to receive compensation from that defendant. However, talking to an experienced attorney is the best way to figure out a good plan of action.

Getting Compensation for Your Damages

After you suffer injuries as a passenger in a car accident, you are probably wondering how much compensation you can receive. After all, getting compensation for everything the accident has cost you is one of the main reasons that people file lawsuits. Medical debt, lost wages, and pain and suffering are a few of the many reasons compensation is necessary.

Personal injury compensation can be generally described as two separate categories: Economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages cover damages that are easily calculable, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages cover things that one cannot easily set a monetary value to but are still costly. For example, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of earning capacity, and compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement.

If You Were Injured as a Passenger, Hire a Chicago Car Accident Attorney

If you are a passenger that has injuries from a Chicago car accident, speaking to a good attorney is your best chance to get proper compensation. At Abels & Annes, we have years of experience working with both car accident drivers and passengers. We can help you to get the money you need to recover from your injuries and rebuild your life. For more information or a free case evaluation, please contact us online, through our chat feature, or by calling us at 312-924-7575.