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Do Insurance Companies Pay for Pain and Suffering?

Recover Compensation For Pain & Suffering

Pain and suffering damages are not the same as punitive damages. They are part and parcel of your personal injury settlement. They are not considered unusual or reserved for situations when someone has done something seriously wrong. Pain and suffering accompany your physical injuries. If you have gone through any ordeal after your accident, you can receive pain and suffering damages. Read on to learn more about pain and suffering damages and compensation from our experienced personal injury lawyers.

Pain and Suffering Is One of the More Misunderstood Personal Injury Damages

These types of damages are often not well understood by the average person. People know that they can get paid for their medical bills and even for the time that they miss from work. However, they may not understand that they can get compensation for other things they have endured.

Pain and suffering belong to the category of non-economic damages. In any personal injury case, there are two types of damages. The first is economic damages that represent the direct costs of the injury. This category includes money that comes out of your pocket or should come into your pocket that does not.

Economic damages can represent:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damages

Insurance Companies Even Undervalue Economic Damages

Theoretically, economic damages are easier to calculate because there is a known dollar figure on them. After all, you know how much you pay in medical bills and how much property damage you have sustained.

In practice, the insurance company even makes economic damages challenging to negotiate because they have different values that they put on things. An insurance company will do anything to save money at your expense. There is no effort that they will spare to pay you less. That’s why you shouldn’t talk to an adjuster without an attorney.

Subjective Damages Are Difficult to Value

Calculating Pain and SufferingYou can imagine how difficult things may be when dealing with a type of damage that does not have a tangible dollar value attached. That is precisely what non-economic damages are. They are not any less of a loss than economic damages. When you get paid for a tangible economic loss, the compensation relates to something that you have physically lost. For non-economic damages, you have still suffered a loss, even though you cannot point at a physical something.

Non-economic damages stem from subjective non-monetary losses. Instead of paid bills, they relate to your ordeal and experience since the accident. Each accident victim endures their own unique experience. Our law firm covers how to calculate pain and suffering in our personal injury blog, but scheduling an appointment to discuss your specific case is always recommended.

Different People Respond Differently to Injuries

For example, a severe back injury will impact people in different ways. If one person was an active athlete, they might lose out on an essential part of their life that they cannot ever do again. Another person may have already had some disc or vertebrae damage, and a back injury will affect them far more. Some personal injury victims may have fragile emotional health and can suffer from severe anxiety and depression from their accident.

However the accident has impacted you, the insurance company has a legal obligation to compensate you for pain and suffering. Money is what they use to place a value on what you have gone through since the time that their policyholder was negligent. Pain and suffering are the same things as any other loss you have suffered, even if it is not tangible. They are part of your damages, and you must receive compensation for them.

What Does Pain and Suffering Include?

Pain and suffering belong to a broader category of damages. You can receive compensation for loss of enjoyment of life and emotional distress.

Specifically, pain and suffering may include:

Many Things Accompany Physical Injuries

These are things that practically anyone may go through after an accident. First, physical injuries can be painful. Someone will rarely suffer a physical injury and not feel any discomfort. Beyond that, physical injuries can cause many other effects that impact people differently.

You may feel upset and depressed because you can no longer do what you did. The inconvenience of your physical injuries can cause you continuous aggravation. Practically every single bodily injury has something that goes along with it.

Your injuries have caused you to miss good times. The time that you might have otherwise put to use for pleasure you spend dealing with the effects of your injuries. The pain and suffering impacted your time, which means you have lost something that the defendant should pay in full.

Insurance Companies Never Want to Pay You in Full

The main issue with pain and suffering is quantifying how much you legally deserve for your damages. By definition, pain and suffering are subjective. In other words, they focus on what you are dealing with personally. Further, you have every right to be paid for your own specific experience because it is your loss.

Like any element of your personal injury damages, the main obstacle in receiving total damages for your pain and suffering is that the insurance company does not want to pay fully for your damages. Any insurance adjuster is intelligent and experienced enough to see what you are likely going through based on your medical records. They know enough to understand that you are dealing with a challenging experience when you have suffered a severe injury.

Insurance Companies Do Not Want to Hear Your Experience

However, when it comes time to value your claim, the insurance company tries to throw you personally out the window in favor of a formula that they can manipulate to save themselves money. An insurance company’s mission is to toss subjective overboard in favor of something that they claim is objective. The reality is that their calculations objectively favor themselves. It will be similar to allowing a player to referee their own game. They will always come up with something that benefits their chances of victory.

How Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering

Insurance companies may try to use two primary types of calculations in your case:

  • Multiplier – The insurance company will take your economic damages (primarily your medical bills) and assign a multiplier to them based on the severity of your injury. More severe injuries will have a higher multiplier.
  • Per diem – When your injury has a more set duration, the insurance company will assign a specific dollar value for each day you are dealing with your injuries. The insurance company usually uses the per diem method for less severe injuries.

The multiplier method may not accurately calculate your damages for a severe injury. You might suffer from serious mental health issues even from a more moderate injury. For example, being off your feet for months from a broken leg can cause depression in someone who likes to go out and be active.

You can feel confident that the insurance company will choose as low of a multiplier as possible that does not reflect your reality. They may also underestimate the amount of future medical care that you need to dial down your pain and suffering damages.

Look out, because the number you see on paper with your settlement offer is not necessarily correct and untouchable. The insurance company will load many tricks and pitfalls into that number to cost you money.

You Will Have Challenges Explaining Your Pain and Suffering Damages

Many issues come with valuing pain and suffering damages. You have already experienced pain and suffering, but you will also endure it in the future. Your compensation must include both past and future pain and suffering. The insurance company may dispute whether your damages are permanent and what your life may be like in the future.

Further, the insurance company may not believe you when you explain what you are going through. The insurance company will take advantage of any opportunity to challenge your story. They want to turn you from a human being into a number that results in you being underpaid.

How to Effectively Tell Your Own Story After an Accident

You have multiple opportunities to tell your story when trying to get paid for your injuries. Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company for a higher multiple or per diem payment for your pain and suffering. This higher payment can either come from what appears in your medical records or your own story.

One way to put yourself in a position to get more money for pain and suffering is to document what you are dealing with after your accident. If you have evidence from the time that you are experiencing it, you may be more persuasive.

The best thing is to keep a log and get witness testimony. In addition, you can use testimony from a mental health provider or your prescription history to show what you are going through.

For example, if you can prove that your injuries require continuous painkillers or that your anxiety requires mental health treatment, it can show your experience after your accident.

Proving pain and suffering is another reason you need to tend to your injuries. If you do not get the help you need, the insurance company or a jury can find that you failed to mitigate your damages. Seeing a doctor may help you get some relief, but it can also create a paper trail that shows your injuries’ effect on you.

An Attorney Can Help You Prove Pain and Suffering

Dave Abels Lawyer
Dave Abels, Personal Injury Lawyer

In addition, you should have an attorney who knows the amount of money that you are due in pain and suffering damages. Too many people accept whatever money the insurance company puts in front of them without knowing that the insurance company has far more room to raise any offer that they make you.

The average person will not even know how to value their pain and suffering damages or justify and explain the amount they are seeking. An attorney will tell your story and show how and why you have been affected by the injury.

Pain and suffering awards are all over the spectrum in any personal injury case. There is a wide range of outcomes between how your attorney and the insurance company value your claim. Not every claimant or plaintiff has the expertise on their side to both properly value and fight for the pain and suffering award that they deserve.

You Can Negotiate for Higher Compensation

Any personal injury claim requires negotiating with the insurance company to get what you deserve. If the insurance company is not even offering pain and suffering damages, your negotiation will make a counter demand that seeks this money. If the multiplier or per diem number that the insurance company uses is too low, you can respond with a settlement offer that more accurately reflects your experience and damages.

If the insurance company does not give you the pain and suffering damages you deserve, you can always take your case to the jury. Never underestimate the capacity of a jury to understand you as a person. They see your side of the story, they don’t look at you as a number. Insurance companies know this, so they almost always settle cases before they reach a jury. They know what a jury may do, and they want to avoid that risk.

Your Personal Injury Lawyer Is On Your Side

In any personal injury case, you are not powerless. Your power comes in part from having an aggressive and dedicated attorney fighting by your side when the insurance company tries to take money from you.

When the insurance company makes a lowball offer – especially for pain and suffering – you can feel demoralized. With the right legal representation, however, you should not feel unnecessary stress due to insurance company tactics. Your personal injury attorney will handle every communication for you, so you do not have to experience the adjuster’s attempts at minimizing your pain and suffering. Your lawyer will fight behind the scenes for the full settlement you deserve.

 

PTSD Can Develop After a Serious Accident

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental condition that is most often associated with military members who were involved in traumatic events during active duty. However, PTSD can develop in anyone who experiences a trauma.

You may not realize that many victims of serious accidents—such as commercial truck or car crashes—can develop PTSD following the event. PTSD can cause many difficulties in the victim’s life and can significantly add to the overall cost of the accident. The following contains some additional information about PTSD in accident victims from our experienced personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C.

Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD can have a serious effect on a victim’s life because of the nature of the symptoms of the disorder. While symptoms vary from person to person, the following are some of the common effects of PTSD:

  • Sudden and realistic flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Nightmares and difficulty sleeping
  • Irrational fears of benign objects
  • Intense fears of anything associated with the event, such as fear of driving or riding in a vehicle after a car accident
  • Lack of emotional control, often leading to angry and aggressive outbursts
  • Physical effects, such as sweating or racing heart
  • Severe anxiety
  • Emotional numbness

These symptoms often lead PTSD victims to try to avoid anything that may remind them of their accident. This can keep them from engaging in regular activities, working, or even leaving their house.

Costs of PTSD and how To Recover

PTSD can be costly in many ways. First, due to the emotional effects and irrational fears that can develop, PTSD symptoms can prevent a person from being able to perform his job duties. This can result in a substantial amount of lost income until the condition is properly treated. Next, like any medical condition, treatment for PTSD is costly. Bills for psychological treatment for PTSD—such as Eye Movement Desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—can add up quickly.

Ensure that you have a law firm on your side—one that understands that PTSD is a real injury that can result from an accident, and that knows how to help you recover for your associated losses.

Causes of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe mental condition that most people commonly associate with military personnel who survive traumatic events, usually while on active duty. However, PTSD can develop in anyone who experiences trauma.

Many people don’t know that victims of serious accidents—such as commercial truck or car crashes—can develop PTSD following an accident. Victims of violent crimes may also develop PTSD. PTSD can cause many difficulties in the victim’s life and treating it can significantly add to the overall cost of the accident.

Seeking Legal Help After Suffering from PTSD

Although a lawsuit cannot remove the pain or anguish of PTSD, it can help reduce your financial burden.

If you meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis from a therapist, psychiatrist, or other mental health expert, you may sue to recover compensation for your injuries. Your best claim is to seek pain and suffering damages.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Usually, in personal injury cases, you can recover two different damages: economic damages and non-economic damages. An injured person can recover these damages whether they were in a car accident or slipped and fell.

Economic damages are easier to calculate, while non-economic damages are harder. Pain and suffering damages are subjective, and juries often receive little to no instruction on how to award them.

Pain and suffering damages fall under the category of non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages refer to compensation for monetary losses, including:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Loss of past and future earnings
  • Loss of use of property
  • Costs of repair or replacement
  • The economic value of domestic services
  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of business opportunities

A plaintiff must objectively verify monetary losses. In other words, facts independent of personal feelings or opinions must prove the monetary losses to qualify as economic damages.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages refer to compensation for non-monetary losses, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Humiliation
  • Inconvenience
  • Emotional distress and anguish
  • Worsening of prior injuries
  • Reputational damage
  • Loss of society
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Non-monetary losses are subjective. In other words, the non-monetary losses are related to or based on beliefs, attitudes, and opinions instead of verifiable evidence.

Seeking Non-Economic Damages for PTSD

It’s normal to experience PTSD after a traumatic and frightening event. Triggering experiences such as an assault, a car crash, or another injury can PTSD or aggravate an existing PTSD diagnosis.

PTSD often gets overlooked. Remember that there is nothing to be ashamed about, so honestly discuss your symptoms with your medical professionals and attorney.

The injuries you sustain due to a personal injury accident can affect different aspects of your life, whether it be your quality of life, personal relationships, or ability to participate in work or leisure activities. PTSD is the most common mental disorder experienced by trauma survivors, including survivors of motor vehicle accidents.

Generally, if the traumatic or frightening event was a car accident, you will need to show:

  • The at-fault motorist breached the legal duty to exercise reasonable care for others while driving
  • Your PTSD is ongoing and pervasive
  • The conduct of the at-fault motorist is a direct cause of your distress
  • You also suffered physical injuries

A medical expert can prove that you developed PTSD after a frightening or traumatic event.

A medical expert who can focus on your emotional well-being will assess your condition and adequately report your distress. Medical reports, notes, and visits will significantly help your case.

You deserve compensation for this emotional trauma. No one should continuously live life with fear and anxiety from an accident without holding the at-fault party responsible.

Whether you cannot drive a motor vehicle due to your PTSD (and the fear and flashbacks that come with it), or you experience other symptoms while going about day-to-day activities, seek help.

What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

Pain and suffering is a legal term Illinois law uses to describe the physical and emotional anguish and distress of a bodily injury.

How to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages

A wide array of factors come into play when determining damages for pain and suffering, including:

  • The nature of the injuries
  • Any physical and mental pain and suffering, both past and future
  • Any disfigurement caused by the injuries
  • The extent of impairment of the ability to perform usual activities
  • Aggravation or worsening of any pre-existing conditions or illnesses

Lawyers generally calculate pain and suffering damages with the multiplier method or the per diem method.

The Multiplier Method

The multiplier method multiplies your economic damages by a number. The chosen number (known as the multiplier) will depend on factors that your personal injury lawyer will consider.

The most common factors that will affect your multiplier will include:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The extent of your pain and suffering
  • Your predicted prospects for a quick and complete recovery
  • The impact of your injuries on your normal day-to-day life
  • Whether the other party clearly caused your injuries
  • How obvious the other party’s fault for the accident is
  • Unquestionably observed or detected injuries by formal medical examination
  • How painful and dramatic your injuries are, including whether you need surgical treatment or you can successfully recover from your injury
  • Diagnosis and treatment that primarily come from physicians and hospitals
  • Prolonged recovery of six months or more
  • A medically documented, permanent consequence like pain, weakness, scarring, discomfort, or immobility
  • Clear indication from physicians that you will have recurring, future, or degenerative problems from your injuries

For example, if a personal injury accident resulted in two broken limbs, that might cause about $50,000 in economic damages. Due to the severity of your injuries, you may get a multiplier of four, which would add to your damages.

In another example, if you suffered $100,000 in lost income because of your injury, your personal injury attorney may argue that you should recover four times that amount, equalling $400,000 for pain and suffering.

The Per Diem Method

Some personal injury attorneys will use a per diem method to calculate pain and suffering damages. “Per diem” is Latin for “per day.”

When using this method, your personal injury lawyer will evaluate your average pain and suffering for each day, then assign it a dollar amount. Then, your lawyer will multiply that dollar amount by the total number of days that you suffered.

For example, if your attorney believes that your day-to-day pain and suffering are worth $200, and it lasted for one month (or 31 days), the per diem method would generate $6,200 in noneconomic damages.

The hardest part of the per diem method is justifying the daily rate you or your personal injury attorney choose. To ensure that your daily rate is reasonable, use your actual daily earnings.

Here, the argument is that enduring and dealing with the pain and suffering caused by your injuries every day, at the minimum, compares to the effort of going to work each day.

The per diem method usually doesn’t work well with permanent or long-term injuries. If you have a permanent or long-term injury, contact a personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer would most likely base your settlement demand on related verdicts in your jurisdiction.

Limits on Damages

Illinois sets no cap for how much a victim can recover for pain and suffering against private parties. Illinois law, however, caps most claims against the state at $100,000.

Despite the lack of a cap on damages, however, limits still exist.

1. Comparative Negligence

The comparative negligence rule decreases your damages if you partially caused the accident by your percentage of fault.

2. The Defendant’s Inability to Pay

If it turns out that the defendant’s insurance will only cover a certain amount, in most cases, you cannot recover more from them.

3. Evidence of Pain and Suffering

The multiplier or the estimates that determine pain and suffering often depend on the victim proving the extent of their injuries. In other words, you will need substantial evidence.

Without substantial evidence, you have a significantly lower chance of winning a court trial and may need to settle for far less than you expected.

Statute of Limitations

The Illinois statute of limitations is two years for personal injury and medical malpractice cases and one year for claims against state or local governments.

In other words, after someone else commits a careless act that results in your injury, you have two years to file the initial documentation in court. The clock starts ticking on the date of the accident that caused the injuries.

If you miss the filing deadline, you lose your right to ask the court to award you damages for your injuries.

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Dave Abels Lawyer
Dave Abels, Personal injury lawyer

Many personal injury damages come from pain and suffering. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can represent you and fight for the proper compensation you deserve.

If you suffer from PTSD after an accident, you may seek non-economic pain and suffering damages. If your therapist or medical professional evaluated your symptoms and diagnosed you with PTSD, discuss those records and diagnoses with a personal injury lawyer.

Personal injury lawyers have experience representing and serving victims who have developed PTSD. They understand how PTSD can develop after experiencing an accident and how debilitating it is.

If you or a loved one experiences PTSD after a car crash or other personal injury accident, do not hesitate to reach out for help.

Call an attorney for a free consultation to learn more about potential damages and find out how you can receive the justice you deserve.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

If you have suffered any type of injury in a car crash, truck crash, slip and fall, or another type of accident, the personal injury lawyers of Abels & Annes are here to help you.

Please call our office for a free consultation at 312-924-7575.

 

​How to Claim Bodily Injury from an Accident

Trying to claim bodily injury after an accident is not as simple as saying you are hurt. You need to take steps before you are in a position to file a claim. You have a lot at stake because financial compensation for your damages is on the line. What you do between the time of the accident and when you file your claim can determine whether you receive financial compensation and how much you can get.

Before you file a claim, you must be intentional, meticulous, and thorough, leaving nothing to chance. The best step that you can take is to contact an experienced attorney who knows how to file personal injury claims. The more responsibility and details you can give to an attorney, the less likely you will make a critical mistake that can cost you serious money. Here are some tips for claiming bodily injury after an accident.

See a Doctor

Before you can file a demand with the insurance company or even a lawsuit, you must know the full scope of your damages. After all, your claim is for the injuries that you have suffered. In practice, you must prove you deserve damages by showing that someone else caused the accident and then proving your injuries.

Getting your injuries diagnosed furthers your physical health and is the first step of the claims process. Your doctor will perform the medical tests necessary to learn about your condition. Even if you received treatment right after the accident, you need a comprehensive diagnosis. You must make your condition and the improvement you might make apparent when you file a claim or lawsuit.

Never delay seeing a doctor. It will harm your health and allow the insurance company to contest your injuries and damages. For instance, if you suffered a back injury in a car accident but waited months to get it diagnosed and treated, the insurance company may claim that your injuries were not from your accident. They may also argue that your inactivity made your injuries worse.

Either way, you should see a doctor for an evaluation if you even think that there was a remote possibility that you suffered an injury in the accident. It is always better safe than sorry.

Get a Lawyer

One of the most important steps that you will take for a bodily injury is to hire an experienced lawyer who knows how to handle personal injury claims. Filing a claim is not easy or accessible for accident victims. On the contrary, insurance companies want to make it as hard as possible for you to get the money that you legally deserve.

There are numerous things that the average person does not know when filing a claim that place them at a large disadvantage when dealing with an insurance company. That lack of knowledge can place their entire claim in jeopardy. Certainly, it will result in less money.

Hiring an attorney will level the playing field when dealing with an insurance company with an established infrastructure aimed at paying you less. One experienced and dedicated lawyer can take on a big company and its entire apparatus.

In addition, your lawyer will act as your guide to the legal process and your advocate. They will explain the most effective way to obtain financial compensation and fight for your right to be paid for your injuries. Before discussing damages, you must prove that someone else caused your injuries.

Without an attorney, that becomes even more challenging. An attorney will help prove your help by marshaling the evidence necessary to show what happened in your accident.

In any personal injury case, the following can be helpful to prove that someone else caused the accident:

  • Witness statements from people who saw what happened
  • Video or traffic camera footage
  • Police report (helpful in an insurance claim but not in a court case)
  • Pictures from the scene of the accident
  • The damage to your vehicle

Gathering this evidence before it disappears is not always easy. An attorney will get to work right after you hire them to compile everything available to you to prove liability. Otherwise, there is a chance that this evidence can be lost to you forever, costing you the ability to prove your case.

Document Your Damages

Not only do you have the burden of proof to show what happened in your accident, but you must also prove your damages.

In any accident case, you may recover damages for:

  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical bills
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress

To receive your damages, they must be apparent and backed up by evidence, including:

  • Pay data that shows what you earn (or can make in the future)
  • Medical bills
  • Receipts for expenses
  • Documentation of your ordeal after the accident

Before you file your claim, you should gather all the documentation that can show how you have suffered an injury. Some elements of your damages are more subjective. For example, pain and suffering damages are based on your own experience, no matter how much the insurance company tries to take you out of the picture.

The evidence and description of your damages are as important as the proof of liability. These will form the basis of the insurance company’s offer to you. An attorney can tell your story and push back when an insurance company tries to downplay and minimize your injuries.

Prepare and File Your Claim

Preparing your claim requires attention and effort. If there is anything wrong with it, or if you are missing documentation, the insurance company can deny it outright or come back asking for more information. Mistakes in your claim can make it harder to get your money.

At the same time, an insurance company will only look at what is on paper in front of them when they review your claim. They will not give you the benefit of the doubt because it costs them money. Therefore, you should have an experienced attorney working to prepare your claim.

Take the time you need to get it right when filing a claim. You may read some advice telling you to rush and hurry your claim because you may miss the statute of limitations.

While you should know the deadlines for filing your claim, pay the most attention to detail. Getting it right is more important than filing the claim quickly. Before you file, gather all of the evidence that proves what happened and a detailed statement of your damages. Speed is essential for getting started, but you should take time to file your claim right. A lawyer can do this for you.

Defend Your Actions

In some cases, the other driver’s insurance company knows that they can avoid paying part or all of your bodily injury claim if they can find a way to blame you for the accident. They can reduce their payment by the percentage of your fault. Even if liability appears clear, you may still need to defend your actions that led to your injuries.

The insurance company does not always accept liability, no matter what happened in the accident. Even in something as seemingly straightforward as a rear-end accident, the insurance company may claim that you stopped short in front of the car that hit you. This is an easy way for them to save some money around the margins, but it reduces your financial recovery that you need to pay for your damages.

You will need to be clear about your actions and what you did when the accident happened. If the insurance company is wrongly trying to blame you, in part or whole, fight back against them. You can either defend what you did or file a lawsuit, knowing that a jury may not see things the same way as the insurance company.

Negotiate a Settlement or File a Lawsuit

After you have filed your claim and demand:

  • The insurance company will deny your claim
  • The insurance company will make you an offer to settle your claim

If the former happens, you can go straight to filing a lawsuit because you have nothing to discuss with the insurance company. In most cases, the latter will happen. However, just because you have received a settlement offer does not always mean that it is good news.

The initial settlement offer will likely be nowhere near enough to compensate for your damages. To get to the right number, you will need to negotiate with the insurance company. They expect negotiations, so they make a lower initial offer to start them. An insurance company has room to raise its offer significantly from the one it initially made.

Your attorney will review any settlement offer to determine whether it fairly compensates you for your damages. If the offer falls short, you may reject it and make a counteroffer. You need not accept a bad insurance company settlement offer.

If you cannot reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company, you can file a lawsuit against the defendant, and a jury will decide the matter. Juries will not have the same self-interested view that an insurance company does. They will review the facts and provide you with damages that you can prove, not the smallest check that an insurance company will write you.

There is no requirement in the first place to file an insurance claim. You can always file a lawsuit. However, going down the insurance company claims route can provide you with a quicker way to get your money. However, as we will describe below, quicker does not always mean fast.

Practice the Art of Patience

Getting your money after claiming bodily injury can involve hitting many bumps in the road. Your claim can take time to get your settlement or jury award. There may be stops and starts in the process, and you are not always in control of what happens.

To maximize your check for your damages, you need to be patient. Do not jump at a settlement offer just because the insurance company made it. Also, know that there may be some frustration when the insurance company is dragging things out or making things tougher on you than they should. Your lawyer will help you cut through the red tape, but that also takes time.

Dave Abels
Personal Injury Lawyer, Dave Abels

We understand that it is difficult to remain patient in the face of tactics meant to delay and make things harder on you. However, that is the exact way to beat the insurance company at their own game. They want you to get anxious and panic. Being patient and fighting for what you deserve is not something that an insurance company wants.

It will not cost you anything upfront to get legal help for your claim. In any personal injury case, you only pay if you are successful. You do not pay anything to speak to a lawyer in an initial consultation, and you do not pay hourly bills during your claim. If you do not win your case, you will not see a bill for your lawyer’s time. However, not hiring a lawyer can certainly contribute to losing your case or severely decreasing what you recover.

Trust Your Lawyer

The one thing to remember is an experienced injury lawyer knows what they are doing. Once you hire someone, trust them to handle your claim. You can then focus on your medical treatment and physical recovery with greater peace of mind.


Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

If you tragically lost a close family member and believed someone else was to blame, you can seek justice by filing a wrongful death claim. While you might be focusing on your grief before you take legal action, know you have limited time to file a case.

Time is short when filing a claim for wrongful death due to the statute of limitations. A statute of limitations sets out how long you have to file a particular legal cause of action – or an expiration date for your case. Missing the deadline set by a statute of limitations can prevent you from pursuing your lawsuit, denying you the ability to achieve justice in your case.

The statute of limitations varies from issue to issue and state to state, so knowing the date for your case can be confusing. Always consult with a wrongful death attorney in your area to make sure you understand the timeframe of your case.

Below, we’ll explore what wrongful death is, how long you have to file your claim, and other important factors to consider for your claim. Always consider the value of having a wrongful death attorney by your side as soon as possible.

What is wrongful death?

A wrongful death lawsuit gives rights to family members of a person who died due to an act of negligence or violence. Family members may seek compensation from liable parties, both to help their financial situation and provide a sense of justice for their loved ones.

Each state has different wrongful death laws that set out who can file a claim. In some states, the spouse, child, or parent can file a claim directly. In others, a personal representative of the estate must file the claim and distribute the proceeds to family members.

Not all deaths, even accidental deaths, will qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit. Situations must meet specific criteria for the surviving family members to bring a wrongful death claim.

How long do you have to file a claim?

The amount of time you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit will depend on the statute of limitations that applies in your area. A statute of limitations determines how long an injured party has to file a lawsuit from when the harm occurred. In these cases, the clock starts running at the time of death.

The statutes range widely – three states only allow you one year to file, while you have five or six years in others. Most states fall within the two- to three-year range. Each state has specific provisions, and below are two examples.

The Statute of Limitations in Illinois for Wrongful Death

The Illinois wrongful death statute gives most people two years to file. The two-year period begins from the time of the wrongful death or, if you established an escrow account under the Criminal Victims’ Escrow Account Act, you must file within two years of when you established the account. If the death was due to violent intentional conduct, the statute of limitations is five years – or within one year of the final disposition of the criminal case.

You might not know how the statute of limitations in Illinois applies to your case, and a wrongful death attorney can advise you if you can still bring a claim.

Arizona Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Under Arizona wrongful death statutes, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years, which begins when the injured person passes away and not at the time of the accident that led to the injury.

In Arizona, a statutory beneficiary may file a wrongful death claim even if the statute of limitations for the decedent’s claim for their injuries expired before their death. This means that if you had two years to file an injury claim after an accident, and your loved one was in the hospital for three years before they passed, you can still file a claim for wrongful death.

An experienced wrongful death attorney in your area will explain the statute of limitations in your state. They can inform you how long you might have to file and exceptions that might apply in your case.

Are there exceptions to the statute of limitations?

As with most laws, there are exceptions to statutes of limitations. For example, most states have a date of discovery exception. If you did not immediately know your loved one died due to someone else’s carelessness or violence, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until you discover the cause of death.

An automobile manufacturer might issue a vehicle recall a few years after your loved one crashed, and you might realize that the vehicle defect was the cause of the fatal accident. Your experienced wrongful death attorney can carefully analyze the situation and identify whether you can still bring a claim after the statute of limitations expires due to an exception.

Always discuss a possible claim with a wrongful death lawyer.

Some people think that when a cause of death is obvious, they can handle the process themselves. This is a mistake, as other parties and insurers will fight hard against liability. Never risk losing compensation you deserve – instead, always discuss your claim with a wrongful death attorney.

You might wonder if you can afford a lawyer to represent you in your wrongful death claim. You are already dealing with financial losses from the death, so how can you pay legal fees?

The good news is that wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing upfront or during the case. Then, you only pay fees if the claim is successful. The fee comes right from your settlement, so you do not need extra money to seek help from a wrongful death lawyer.

The process begins with a free consultation, and the lawyer decides whether to take the case, and you decide whether to hire the lawyer. They should review all details of their representation, including their fees and how much they might take from your settlement as payment. Usually, it is a reasonable percentage of your recovery.

When your wrongful death attorney obtains a settlement for your claim, they will receive a check from the at-fault party’s insurance company. The attorney then deducts the percentage amount they agreed upon with you before starting on the case and related expenses.

In some cases, the remaining funds go directly to you, but in others, they go to the deceased’s estate for distribution to qualified family members. Generally, when you receive a wrongful death settlement, you do not need to pay federal income, estate, or inheritance taxes on the amount.

You can review this with your wrongful death attorney, who is ready to answer any questions you might have.

What Can You Recover in a Successful Wrongful Death Claim?

When you lose a loved one to an accident and another party is to blame, you deserve to recover damages for your losses, but what exactly are those? Damages refer to economic or non-economic compensation you receive for your losses. The death must generate quantifiable or measurable losses to seek damages for wrongful death.

Damages vary from state to state, but some that are common in wrongful death claims include:

  • Medical expenses, treatments, and medications for the fatal condition
  • Hospitalizations and emergency medical care before they died
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • The loss of income for your household
  • The loss of practical services for your family
  • The loss of the guidance, protection, and inheritance of your lost loved one
  • Emotional grief and suffering of family members
  • The pain and suffering experienced by the victim before their death
  • The loss of consortium (or companionship) of the deceased

Again, consult an attorney near you to learn the damages allowed in your state.

The simplest damages to calculate are past economic losses, including medical or funeral costs. Your family should not have to pay any of the bills stemming from wrongful death. One purpose of wrongful death damages is to put your family in as close a financial position as possible as though the wrongful death had not happened.

Lost financial contribution to your household is another key element of wrongful death damages. When you lose a loved one who was a financial contributor, your household can suffer a serious financial shock. You can seek compensation to replace your loved one’s lost financial contributions and future earning potential.

This can include damages covering their lost income from the time the accident prevented them from working through what would have been their working life. This requires complex calculations to determine the present value of future earnings over however many working years your loved one had left.

The law also recognizes the lost value of your loved one’s household contributions. This can include practical contributions, such as lawn care, childcare, cooking, cleaning, maintenance, and more. It can also include your loved one’s presence, protection, guidance, and camaraderie in your home. This can be a significant source of damages, and your wrongful death lawyer will know how to value these losses.

Attorneys and insurers often determine the total amount of compensation by adding up the monetary losses from the death of your loved one. From there, this number provides the basis for calculating additional damages for pain and suffering. They might use the multiplier or per diem method to reach the ultimate figure you deserve. These methods are complex, and having a wrongful death attorney helping with your claim is the best way to ensure you seek full damages.

Proving wrongful death damages requires your attorney to produce convincing evidence of your losses. You also must have strong evidence of liability for the death. You can best achieve this with a wrongful death attorney on your side as soon as possible.

Never Wait to Call an Attorney

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, wrongful death Lawyer

The time to contact an attorney for your wrongful death claim is as soon as possible after your loved one was a victim of a fatal accident. The insurance company of the at-fault party might contact you shortly after the death, and they may offer you a settlement offer in hopes you accept it without consulting with an attorney. Never accept anything without legal counsel, as this offer is likely far less than you deserve.

Always understand that insurance companies work for profit, not for you. Insurance companies – like any other company – maximize profit by bringing in revenue while minimizing costs. Minimizing costs for insurance companies means limiting the payments they make on claims. Do not think that wrongful death claims are an exception. Connecting with a local wrongful death attorney as soon as possible allows them to start protecting your rights and shows the insurance company you are serious about your compensation.

Preserving evidence is an additional reason to connect with a local wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the loss. As time passes, evidence can disappear or deteriorate, and it can be more challenging for your lawyer to gather sufficient evidence to support your claim. You want to give your wrongful death attorney the best chance at building a strong case by consulting with them right away.

You might hear that the statute of limitations in your state is two years and assume you have plenty of time to seek legal help. Life happens, and you focus on your grief, and suddenly, you do not have much time to build a case before filing your lawsuit. Rest assured that contacting an attorney will make your life easier – not harder. It will relieve the stress of the legal process hanging over your head and give you peace of mind that a professional is seeking justice for your loved one.

Honor your loved one’s memory by protecting your family’s future. Do not delay in getting started with an experienced attorney.


Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Phoenix Types of Injuries

Thousands of people in Phoenix and other parts of Arizona sustain injuries every day. The many causes of injury include automobile accidents, slips and falls, workplace accidents, and poisoning. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 2.7 million people suffer injuries in motor vehicle accidents across the United States.

Phoenix has particular injury risks, including:

    • Accidents on I-10, I-17, or U.S. Route 60
    • Valley Metro accidents
  • Swimming pool and splash pad injuries
  • Boating accidents on Saguaro Lake or Canyon Lake
  • Bikeway or bike lane accidents

Different types of injuries vary in their severity. Some cause life-long complications and life-changing impairments. If you or someone you love suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence, consider speaking with a Phoenix personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options for compensation.

The Nature of Injuries

A victim of a motor vehicle accident or any other accident or traumatic event can suffer a wide range of injuries depending on the force of impact, the circumstances of the accident, and other factors. Broadly speaking, doctors might diagnose injuries by impact injuries and penetrating injuries.

While impact injuries occur when an object hits the body or the body hits the ground or another type of surface, penetrating injuries happen when an object penetrates the victim’s body and causes trauma.

Regardless of the type or classification of your injury, you can still suffer lifelong and costly effects, including persisting symptoms that affect your life in many ways. You might have the right to seek compensation for your costs and effects by pursuing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Consider contacting a Phoenix personal injury lawyer to review your particular situation and discuss your legal options.

Different Types of Injuries

Many types of injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident, on-the-job driving accident, violent act, slip and fall accident, or another traumatic event may not have immediate symptoms. For this reason, it is critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if it seems that you do not have serious injuries.

Some of the most common types of injuries suffered by victims include:

  • Scrapes, lacerations, and cuts. People may suffer scrapes, cuts, and lacerations, which are mostly minor injuries. However, these injuries can be severe and may cause permanent scarring or disfigurement. In car accidents, glass and metal can cause deep cuts and scrapes to vehicle occupants. There is also a risk of infection if the wound is not treated immediately.
  • Soft-tissue injuries. These injuries involve trauma to the skin, muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Unlike fractures, soft-tissue injuries do not cause damage to the hard tissue (bones). Depending on the severity, these injuries can take a while to heal.
  • Chest injuries. Chest injuries can be catastrophic and life-threatening. Trauma to the chest is commonly associated with fractured ribs and internal organ damage. In automobile accidents, a driver may suffer chest injuries from hitting the steering wheel or direct impact with the seatbelt or airbag.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBIs are some of the most serious injuries that occur due to a hard blow to the head or the head moving violently. Depending on the nature and severity of the TBI, a victim may experience long-term or permanent complications, including cognitive impairment, memory problems, loss of balance, and many more. Often, a traumatic brain injury does not manifest any symptoms for days or even weeks after the traumatic event. Each year, over 220,000 Americans are hospitalized due to traumatic brain injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Shoulder or neck injuries. These injuries commonly occur when a person falls or is involved in an automobile accident. Common types of shoulder and neck injuries include shoulder dislocations, neck sprains and strains, broken or fractured collarbone, nerve damage, and others. Shoulder and neck injuries are usually painful and cause a great deal of discomfort.
  • Whiplash. It is the most common type of neck injury, which is commonly associated with rear-end car accidents. Whiplash occurs when the head moves violently in a back-and-forth movement, causing the ligaments and muscles in the neck to stretch beyond their capacity.
  • Concussion. When a person hits their head during a collision or fall, they are likely to suffer a concussion. As a result, a victim may have difficulty remembering things or experience dizziness, confusion, foggy brain, and other symptoms. It is vital to receive prompt medical care to eliminate the risk of long-term complications.
  • Sprains or strains. Strains occur when the muscles or tendons stretch or tear, while sprains stretch or tear ligaments. These injuries can occur in many accidents, including automobile accidents and falls.
  • Arm and leg injuries. Both upper and lower extremities are prone to injuries in motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, and other types of accidents. A victim may suffer fractures, broken bones, bruising, lacerations, sprains, strains, and other types of damage.
  • Loss of a limb. One of the most catastrophic injuries is the loss of a limb. This type of injury occurs when the limb is severed or damaged badly enough to require amputation. Amputations can be traumatic or surgical. The loss of any limb is a life-altering injury. The victim may not return to work, may need to purchase prosthetics, and suffer the devastating emotional and psychological effects. According to the Amputee Coalition, there are an estimated 185,000 amputations each year in the United States.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Damage to the spinal cord can result in temporary or permanent paralysis. External trauma is the most common cause of spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries may disrupt the brain’s ability to send signals to the rest of the body, resulting in paralysis below the injury site.
  • Internal injuries. Damage to internal organs can be fatal. Often, internal injuries, including internal bleeding, go unnoticed following the traumatic event. The victim may not experience symptoms for hours or days after the accident, which is why receiving immediate medical attention following the traumatic event is critical.
  • Burn injuries. Accident victims may suffer burn injuries due to exposure to heat, fire, toxic chemicals, or electricity. Severe burns may result in permanent scarring and disfigurement. These injuries cause a great deal of pain and discomfort.
  • Broken bones. People in motor vehicle accidents and other traumatic events may break their legs, arms, ribs, collarbones, femurs, and other bones in the body. It can take several years for a broken bone to heal. Some victims may require surgery.
  • Scarring. Scarring occurs more often than people realize, particularly in motor vehicle accidents. Lacerations, deep cuts, burns, and other types of scarring may require stitches and other forms of urgent medical care. However, there is the risk of permanent scarring. Facial scarring can entitle the victim to seek compensation for “disfigurement” because facial scars can affect the victim’s self-esteem and quality of life.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, more than 28,600 motor vehicle accidents result in injuries, and Phoenix accounts for the vast majority of all car accident injuries in the state.

What Are the Common Types of Emotional Injuries?

A victim of an accident may suffer physical injuries and emotional ones. Emotional trauma is invisible, unlike many physical injuries, but it can pose a significant threat to the victim’s well-being. That is why you must recognize any emotional and psychological problems you face. Ignoring these problems can make them worse.

Some of the most common types of emotional trauma associated with living through an accident and/or suffering physical injuries include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about half of American adults will experience at least one major traumatic event in their lifetime. However, the lifetime prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is nearly seven percent in the United States. Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of PTSD. A car accident victim who suffers from PTSD may experience persistent anxiety and feelings of uneasiness, irritability, excessive worry, sleep problems, vivid flashbacks, nightmares, and many other symptoms.
  • Depression. Many accident victims develop depression after sustaining an injury. As a rule of thumb, the more severe the victim’s injuries are, the higher the risk of suffering from depression. A victim may experience depression due to their inability to be as active as they were before the accident or their inability to work and provide for their family.
  • Anxiety. While everyone responds to accidents differently, many people develop an anxiety disorder. As a result, a victim with anxiety may respond to certain situations with fear, irritability, and stress. A victim may be anxious about their future or their ability to ever enjoy their life again.
  • Behavioral changes. Emotional distress after the accident can result in behavioral changes. In most cases, changes in behavior may include serious underlying problems, such as a traumatic brain injury, which is why it is critical to seek immediate medical attention to diagnose your condition.
  • Sleep problems. As with behavioral changes, sleep problems may be a sign of major deterioration of physical health or a condition that was not diagnosed properly. As a result, a victim may experience insomnia or may have difficulties with falling asleep.
  • Phobias. It is not uncommon for accident victims to develop phobias. For example, victims of motor vehicle accidents may develop vehophobia, which is the fear of driving. The phobia alone can change the victim’s life dramatically.

According to a study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, an estimated one-third of all motor vehicle accident victims develop some form of emotional trauma.

Other common types of emotional trauma include:

  • Mood swings
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and social events
  • Embarrassment
  • Humiliation
  • Guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating

Every person deals with emotional trauma differently. While some can cope with it, others cannot prevent emotional injuries from ruining their life. If you experience emotional trauma after an accident, seek help from a trained counselor to cope with it in the most efficient manner possible.

If you ignore emotional injuries, they can lead to relationship or marriage problems, employment issues, and the inability to live your life normally. After seeking treatment for your physical and emotional injuries, speak with a Phoenix personal injury attorney to determine the compensation you should pursue.

Why Should You Seek Immediate Medical Attention for Different Types of Injuries?

Phoenix Injuries, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer

Even if your injury seems minor or you do not experience any symptoms after the accident, it is still critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries may have delayed symptoms, which is why you might think that you did not sustain injuries. However, it is always a good idea to get checked up by a doctor to ensure that you can begin the treatment immediately. A doctor may order additional testing to diagnose the condition accurately.

The sooner you begin the treatment, the better the outcome in your recovery. In addition, failure to seek medical attention immediately after the accident may negatively affect your future personal injury claim. If you delay your medical treatment, the insurance company can dispute your claim by arguing that you had no injuries from the accident or your injuries are not as severe as you claim. Thus, seeking medical attention immediately after the accident can protect both your health and your right to full compensation.

After seeking medical attention, you might want to discuss your case with a Phoenix personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will evaluate your losses and damages and advise you on your legal options to ensure that you receive the compensation you need and deserve.


Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Millions of Americans enjoy riding motorcycles. However, motorcyclists are susceptible to the many dangers of the road, which makes riders more vulnerable to serious accidents. Due to the lack of protection and disparity in vehicle sizes, motorcycle riders can suffer catastrophic and life-changing injuries when involved in an accident.

Because motorcycles have only two wheels, they are less stable than four-wheeled passenger cars, not to mention that their size makes them less visible to other motorists on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 80 percent of all road accidents involving motorcycles result in bodily injuries or deaths, while only 20 percent of car crashes result in injuries or deaths.

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you might want to contact a skilled lawyer to help you pursue compensation for your losses and damages. A Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand your legal options and fight for the compensation you deserve.

What Are the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?

A study by NHTSA revealed that motorcyclists are almost 30 times more likely than occupants of passenger cars to suffer fatal injuries in the event of a traffic accident. Motorcycle riders and their passengers are also prone to serious and debilitating injuries when accidents occur.

While injuries sustained by motorcycle accident victims vary from one crash to another, some of the most common ones include:

  • Lower-extremity injuries. According to NHTSA, injuries to the legs and feet are the most common type of injury suffered by motorcycle riders in accidents. In particular, motorcyclists are prone to bone fractures in the legs. The extreme risk of lower-extremity injuries is because the legs and feet are often the first body part that hits the ground when an accident throws a motorcyclist off the bike. Lower-extremity injuries tend to be more serious when the rider is not wearing protective equipment for the legs.
  • Neck injuries. The force of impact in a motorcycle accident can cause the muscles and ligaments in the neck to tear or otherwise get damaged. One of the most common types of neck injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents is whiplash. In the worst-case scenario, the motorcyclist may end up with a broken neck.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. Motorcycle riders and passengers are at risk of suffering traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBIs, especially when they do not wear a helmet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets reduce the risk of motorcycle accident-related death by 37 percent. While helmets can reduce the risk of head trauma, they cannot prevent all types of TBIs. Severe head injuries are often associated with long-term consequences, including dizziness, memory problems, behavioral changes, mood swings, balance problems, and others.
  • Broken bones. Human bone may not withstand the sheer force of the collision, especially when bones come under too much pressure in a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle riders and passengers often experience broken bones and bone fractures. As a result of a collision, a motorcyclist can break a bone in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. Broken bones often require prompt medical attention, surgery, and physical therapy. Recovering from a broken bone can be a painful and long-lasting healing process.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Some of the most common and dangerous motorcycle injuries are spinal cord injuries. The spine transmits signals from the brain to the body. Any disruption of these signals can result in partial or complete paralysis. Any spinal cord injury can drastically change the victim’s life and result in temporary or permanent disability. The injured party may never fully recover.
  • Road rash. Road rash is often the first noticeable injury in a motorcycle accident. This type of injury occurs when a motorcyclist slides across the pavement after being thrown from the bike. Road rash, which is an abrasion, can leave permanent scars because all layers of the skin are damaged. Protective gear, such as gloves, boots, pants, and a jacket, can reduce the severity of road rash.
  • Femur fractures. The femur is the longest bone in the body. Femur fractures are some of the most painful injuries, which can affect various aspects of the victim’s life. The injury may require surgery and years of rehabilitation.
  • Chest injuries. Motorcycle accidents can affect the chest area. Any injury to the chest can be life-threatening because it can cause damage to the heart and other vital organs. Some of the most common chest injuries associated with motorcycle accidents are lacerated lungs, collapsed lungs, injury to the thorax, fractured ribs or sternum, and lung contusion.
  • Sprains or strains. The force of impact in a motorcycle accident can cause severe strains and sprains as a result of damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Depending on their severity, sprains or strains may require surgery and physical therapy.
  • Internal injuries and bleeding. Direct trauma in a motorcycle accident may cause internal bleeding. A victim of a motorcycle collision may also experience internal organ damage as a result of being hit by other vehicles or being thrown from the bike. Vital organs that get injured more often than others include the liver, lungs, kidneys, and spleen. If left undiagnosed and untreated, internal organ damage can be a life-threatening injury.
  • Lacerations and bruises. Motorcycle accidents are also commonly associated with bruises and lacerations. While these injuries may be less severe than others, they may result in long-term complications and/or permanent scarring. In addition, bruising may be a sign of a serious underlying injury.
  • Pelvic injuries. The pelvis is a commonly injured area in a motorcyclist’s body. However, people often overlook pelvic injuries. Motorcycle riders have no protection around their hips, which is why injuries to the pelvis and hips may occur.
  • Biker’s arm. When an unexpected event throws a motorcycle rider from the bike, their first instinct is to extend their arms in an attempt to protect their head and lessen the impact. Doing so can result in broken arms or a condition known as a “biker’s arm.” This type of injury is associated with permanent nerve damage.
  • Disfigurement. Motorcyclists may suffer disfigurement any time they land on their face or experience severe burns or lacerations when a collision occurs. Wearing a helmet can protect a rider from facial injuries.
  • Loss of a limb. When a motorcyclist’s body comes into contact with another vehicle or object, they are at risk of suffering the loss of a limb. The physical and emotional trauma associated with losing a limb can be overwhelming, which is why a victim should determine the full and long-lasting impact of the injury before accepting a settlement.
  • Skull fractures. Motorcyclists who do not wear a helmet while riding are likely to suffer skull fractures when their head hits another vehicle, object, or pavement. Skull fractures may require surgery to prevent permanent damage to the brain and other complications. A victim who suffered a skull fracture may experience long-lasting neurological problems.

Each year, motorcycle accidents result in more than 5,000 fatalities, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). The statistics are disturbing because motorcycles account for only three percent of all registered vehicles in the United States, while motorcyclists represent 14 percent of traffic deaths, according to NHTSA.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Motorcycle Accident Injuries

What are the long-term consequences of motorcycle accident injuries?

Due to the traumatic nature of motorcycle accidents, victims may suffer long-term impairments and complications. Depending on the type and severity of the motorcycle accident injury, a rider may be left temporarily or permanently disabled. Severe impairments may make the victims unable to care for themselves, requiring help to bathe, use the bathroom, dress, or feed themselves.

Head injuries from a violent blow to the head in a motorcycle accident can result in behavioral changes, memory problems, speech problems, and many others. The physical, emotional, cognitive, and financial hardships can take a toll on the motorcycle accident victim’s life. That is why it is imperative to fight for compensation for all the losses and damages. Consider contacting a Phoenix motorcycle accident attorney to examine your case and determine a value settlement amount for your injury.

What are the emotional injuries after a motorcycle accident?

Aside from physical injuries, a victim of a motorcycle accident may also experience emotional injuries, which can include but are not limited to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and others.

When seeking compensation for emotional injuries after a motorcycle accident, recoverable damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering. Victims of a motorcycle accident may be entitled to pain and suffering damages when they suffer permanent scarring, disfigurement, amputation, or any emotional hardships as a result of the accident and/or injury.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life. If the motorcycle accident has reduced your quality of life, you can be entitled to what is known as the “loss of enjoyment of life” damages.
  • Emotional distress. The purpose of this type of non-economic damage is to compensate victims for the emotional and psychological impacts of their injury on their daily life.

Unlike economic damages, which have a fixed dollar value assigned to them, calculating compensation for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering and emotional distress, can be tricky. That is why you might want to seek the legal counsel of a Phoenix motorcycle accident attorney to help you determine fair compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.

What types of damages can you recover after a motorcycle accident?

Each motorcycle accident case is unique, which is why recoverable damages vary greatly from one victim to another.

However, if the accident was the result of someone else’s negligence, you can demand compensation for:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Disability
  • Property damage
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

The value of your motorcycle accident case depends on the severity of your injuries, the impact of the injuries on your life and work, whether you suffered emotional distress or pain and suffering, among many other factors.

Why should you seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident?

We cannot overstate the importance of seeking immediate medical attention after a motorcycle accident. Delaying medical care or waiting too long to visit a doctor can negatively affect your health and jeopardize your legal claim. If you do not seek medical attention immediately after the accident, you can have a hard time proving that your injury was the result of that accident.

Insurance companies use various tactics to undervalue and deny personal injury claims after motorcycle accidents. Disputing the cause of the injury may be one of them when the victim fails to receive prompt medical care. It is equally important to follow the prescribed treatment plan to avoid potential problems during the insurance claims process.

What evidence do you need to prove fault after a motorcycle accident?

Gathering evidence is one of the essential steps you can take to recover damages after a motorcycle accident. You will use the evidence you collect to prove fault and determine the extent of your damages and losses.

Some of the evidence that you may need to support your motorcycle accident case includes:

  • The police report
  • Photos from the scene of the motorcycle accident
  • Witness testimony
  • Surveillance or traffic camera footage

Your Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer can help you gather the necessary types of evidence and handle other legal aspects of the claims process, allowing you to focus on your medical treatment.

How can a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer help?

Suffering motorcycle accident injuries can cause physical, emotional, and financial hardships and result in long-lasting consequences. A victim may be left temporarily or permanently disabled, which may make it difficult to pay for the treatment. An experienced lawyer on your side will work tirelessly to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

A Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer will help you collect all available evidence in your case and determine fair compensation for your injuries and losses.Millions of Americans enjoy riding motorcycles. However, motorcyclists are susceptible to the many dangers of the road, which makes riders more vulnerable to serious accidents. Due to the lack of protection and disparity in vehicle sizes, motorcycle riders can suffer catastrophic and life-changing injuries when involved in an accident.

Because motorcycles have only two wheels, they are less stable than four-wheeled passenger cars, not to mention that their size makes them less visible to other motorists on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 80 percent of all road accidents involving motorcycles result in bodily injuries or deaths, while only 20 percent of car crashes result in injuries or deaths.

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you might want to contact a skilled lawyer to help you pursue compensation for your losses and damages. A Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand your legal options and fight for the compensation you deserve.

What Are the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?

A study by NHTSA revealed that motorcyclists are almost 30 times more likely than occupants of passenger cars to suffer fatal injuries in the event of a traffic accident. Motorcycle riders and their passengers are also prone to serious and debilitating injuries when accidents occur.

While injuries sustained by motorcycle accident victims vary from one crash to another, some of the most common ones include:

  • Lower-extremity injuries. According to NHTSA, injuries to the legs and feet are the most common type of injury suffered by motorcycle riders in accidents. In particular, motorcyclists are prone to bone fractures in the legs. The extreme risk of lower-extremity injuries is because the legs and feet are often the first body part that hits the ground when an accident throws a motorcyclist off the bike. Lower-extremity injuries tend to be more serious when the rider is not wearing protective equipment for the legs.
  • Neck injuries. The force of impact in a motorcycle accident can cause the muscles and ligaments in the neck to tear or otherwise get damaged. One of the most common types of neck injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents is whiplash. In the worst-case scenario, the motorcyclist may end up with a broken neck.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. Motorcycle riders and passengers are at risk of suffering traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBIs, especially when they do not wear a helmet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets reduce the risk of motorcycle accident-related death by 37 percent. While helmets can reduce the risk of head trauma, they cannot prevent all types of TBIs. Severe head injuries are often associated with long-term consequences, including dizziness, memory problems, behavioral changes, mood swings, balance problems, and others.
  • Broken bones. Human bone may not withstand the sheer force of the collision, especially when bones come under too much pressure in a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle riders and passengers often experience broken bones and bone fractures. As a result of a collision, a motorcyclist can break a bone in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. Broken bones often require prompt medical attention, surgery, and physical therapy. Recovering from a broken bone can be a painful and long-lasting healing process.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Some of the most common and dangerous motorcycle injuries are spinal cord injuries. The spine transmits signals from the brain to the body. Any disruption of these signals can result in partial or complete paralysis. Any spinal cord injury can drastically change the victim’s life and result in temporary or permanent disability. The injured party may never fully recover.
  • Road rash. Road rash is often the first noticeable injury in a motorcycle accident. This type of injury occurs when a motorcyclist slides across the pavement after being thrown from the bike. Road rash, which is an abrasion, can leave permanent scars because all layers of the skin are damaged. Protective gear, such as gloves, boots, pants, and a jacket, can reduce the severity of road rash.
  • Femur fractures. The femur is the longest bone in the body. Femur fractures are some of the most painful injuries, which can affect various aspects of the victim’s life. The injury may require surgery and years of rehabilitation.
  • Chest injuries. Motorcycle accidents can affect the chest area. Any injury to the chest can be life-threatening because it can cause damage to the heart and other vital organs. Some of the most common chest injuries associated with motorcycle accidents are lacerated lungs, collapsed lungs, injury to the thorax, fractured ribs or sternum, and lung contusion.
  • Sprains or strains. The force of impact in a motorcycle accident can cause severe strains and sprains as a result of damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Depending on their severity, sprains or strains may require surgery and physical therapy.
  • Internal injuries and bleeding. Direct trauma in a motorcycle accident may cause internal bleeding. A victim of a motorcycle collision may also experience internal organ damage as a result of being hit by other vehicles or being thrown from the bike. Vital organs that get injured more often than others include the liver, lungs, kidneys, and spleen. If left undiagnosed and untreated, internal organ damage can be a life-threatening injury.
  • Lacerations and bruises. Motorcycle accidents are also commonly associated with bruises and lacerations. While these injuries may be less severe than others, they may result in long-term complications and/or permanent scarring. In addition, bruising may be a sign of a serious underlying injury.
  • Pelvic injuries. The pelvis is a commonly injured area in a motorcyclist’s body. However, people often overlook pelvic injuries. Motorcycle riders have no protection around their hips, which is why injuries to the pelvis and hips may occur.
  • Biker’s arm. When an unexpected event throws a motorcycle rider from the bike, their first instinct is to extend their arms in an attempt to protect their head and lessen the impact. Doing so can result in broken arms or a condition known as a “biker’s arm.” This type of injury is associated with permanent nerve damage.
  • Disfigurement. Motorcyclists may suffer disfigurement any time they land on their face or experience severe burns or lacerations when a collision occurs. Wearing a helmet can protect a rider from facial injuries.
  • Loss of a limb. When a motorcyclist’s body comes into contact with another vehicle or object, they are at risk of suffering the loss of a limb. The physical and emotional trauma associated with losing a limb can be overwhelming, which is why a victim should determine the full and long-lasting impact of the injury before accepting a settlement.
  • Skull fractures. Motorcyclists who do not wear a helmet while riding are likely to suffer skull fractures when their head hits another vehicle, object, or pavement. Skull fractures may require surgery to prevent permanent damage to the brain and other complications. A victim who suffered a skull fracture may experience long-lasting neurological problems.

Each year, motorcycle accidents result in more than 5,000 fatalities, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). The statistics are disturbing because motorcycles account for only three percent of all registered vehicles in the United States, while motorcyclists represent 14 percent of traffic deaths, according to NHTSA.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Motorcycle Accident Injuries

What are the long-term consequences of motorcycle accident injuries?

Due to the traumatic nature of motorcycle accidents, victims may suffer long-term impairments and complications. Depending on the type and severity of the motorcycle accident injury, a rider may be left temporarily or permanently disabled. Severe impairments may make the victims unable to care for themselves, requiring help to bathe, use the bathroom, dress, or feed themselves.

Head injuries from a violent blow to the head in a motorcycle accident can result in behavioral changes, memory problems, speech problems, and many others. The physical, emotional, cognitive, and financial hardships can take a toll on the motorcycle accident victim’s life. That is why it is imperative to fight for compensation for all the losses and damages. Consider contacting a Phoenix motorcycle accident attorney to examine your case and determine a value settlement amount for your injury.

What are the emotional injuries after a motorcycle accident?

Aside from physical injuries, a victim of a motorcycle accident may also experience emotional injuries, which can include but are not limited to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and others.

When seeking compensation for emotional injuries after a motorcycle accident, recoverable damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering. Victims of a motorcycle accident may be entitled to pain and suffering damages when they suffer permanent scarring, disfigurement, amputation, or any emotional hardships as a result of the accident and/or injury.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life. If the motorcycle accident has reduced your quality of life, you can be entitled to what is known as the “loss of enjoyment of life” damages.
  • Emotional distress. The purpose of this type of non-economic damage is to compensate victims for the emotional and psychological impacts of their injury on their daily life.

Unlike economic damages, which have a fixed dollar value assigned to them, calculating compensation for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering and emotional distress, can be tricky. That is why you might want to seek the legal counsel of a Phoenix motorcycle accident attorney to help you determine fair compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.

What types of damages can you recover after a motorcycle accident?

Each motorcycle accident case is unique, which is why recoverable damages vary greatly from one victim to another.

However, if the accident was the result of someone else’s negligence, you can demand compensation for:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Disability
  • Property damage
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

The value of your motorcycle accident case depends on the severity of your injuries, the impact of the injuries on your life and work, whether you suffered emotional distress or pain and suffering, among many other factors.

Why should you seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident?

We cannot overstate the importance of seeking immediate medical attention after a motorcycle accident. Delaying medical care or waiting too long to visit a doctor can negatively affect your health and jeopardize your legal claim. If you do not seek medical attention immediately after the accident, you can have a hard time proving that your injury was the result of that accident.

Insurance companies use various tactics to undervalue and deny personal injury claims after motorcycle accidents. Disputing the cause of the injury may be one of them when the victim fails to receive prompt medical care. It is equally important to follow the prescribed treatment plan to avoid potential problems during the insurance claims process.

What evidence do you need to prove fault after a motorcycle accident?

Gathering evidence is one of the essential steps you can take to recover damages after a motorcycle accident. You will use the evidence you collect to prove fault and determine the extent of your damages and losses.

Some of the evidence that you may need to support your motorcycle accident case includes:

  • The police report
  • Photos from the scene of the motorcycle accident
  • Witness testimony
  • Surveillance or traffic camera footage

Your Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer can help you gather the necessary types of evidence and handle other legal aspects of the claims process, allowing you to focus on your medical treatment.

How can a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer help?

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Suffering motorcycle accident injuries can cause physical, emotional, and financial hardships and result in long-lasting consequences. A victim may be left temporarily or permanently disabled, which may make it difficult to pay for the treatment. An experienced lawyer on your side will work tirelessly to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

A Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer will help you collect all available evidence in your case and determine fair compensation for your injuries and losses.


Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

How to Pay for a Lawyer With No Money

If you suffered injuries and someone or something else was at fault, you might have the right to seek compensation for your losses. This compensation might include coverage of all medical bills and treatments, lost income, future losses, and intangible losses like pain and suffering. No one is offering you this money, and you know that you need to take steps to seek it. You might not know where to begin, and you might realize that you need a personal injury lawyer right away.

However, when you are out of work and facing a pile of bills, you might worry that you cannot afford a lawyer to help you seek the compensation you deserve. In personal injury law, you might be surprised to learn that this is not the case. In reality, anyone can afford a personal injury lawyer, even if you have no money.

As we’ll explore in this article, personal injury attorneys are not outside of your reach, and if they take your case, you will have no out-of-pocket or up-front costs associated with your legal representation. Read on to learn more about how personal injury law works, what kinds of cases personal injury attorneys take, and how an experienced local personal injury attorney can help you.

Some Attorneys are Expensive, But Not Personal Injury Attorneys

The specific area of the law that an attorney practices in will determine what types of cases they take and how much they charge. When it comes time to hire a lawyer for an injury claim, make sure that you choose one with experience in personal injury law.

A lawyer is a lot like a doctor – while there are some generalists, most attorneys focus their practices on one or two areas of law. Just like you will not go to an eye doctor for an issue with your heart, you would not go to a corporate transactions attorney for your personal injury case. Personal injury attorneys focus their practices on helping injured persons like you recover compensation for their losses.

Attorneys who work in corporate law or handle high-profile celebrity criminal cases might charge upwards of a thousand dollars per hour. Your local family law attorney might charge you a retainer upfront to begin representation for a divorce and then might charge additional fees as the case progresses. A bankruptcy lawyer might charge a one-time fee that covers all of their services during your case.

Personal injury attorneys, however, do not charge these ways. They charge nothing to begin representing you, and they charge nothing while your case is pending. You might wonder how a lawyer can afford to represent you without getting any money from you. The answer is by taking your case on a contingency fee arrangement.

What is a Contingency Fee Arrangement?

A contingency fee arrangement is an agreement that personal injury lawyers use that involves:

  • Evaluating whether you have a case for free
  • Starting representation at no charge
  • Covering the costs of pursuing your claim
  • Only receiving fees if they successfully get you compensation

A case on contingency is a gamble, as the attorney fees are “contingent,” or dependent, on the lawyer winning in your case. If they do not obtain a settlement or award for you, they walk away with no pay for their services. If they win your case, their fees come out of your settlement or award, and they will take a predetermined percentage of your compensation as their fee.

For example, if a personal injury attorney takes your case on contingency, and you agree to pay them 25 percent of your earnings, and they generate $100,000 in compensation in compensation for you, your attorney will receive $25,000. The percentages vary, and your lawyer should inform you of their fee percentage before signing a representation agreement.

This arrangement means that the more your attorney gets for you, the more they receive, as well. This aligns with your interests, and you can rest assured that even though you paid nothing, your lawyer is working hard to protect your rights. If a personal injury lawyer does not do the best job possible, they might lose the case – and the chance at receiving payment.

You Never Pay Any Money out of Pocket

The main benefit of a contingency-based personal injury attorney is that you never have to pay any money out of your pocket. You pay your attorney nothing to get started once they agree to take your case. The agreement will include the percentage of their contingency fee and an outline of any related fees and other expenses associated with the process. While your attorney is representing you, you will not be receiving hourly bills or bills for any of the costs related to litigation.

Your personal injury attorney and their law firm handle all of the expenses related to recovering the best possible settlement for you in your claim. This might include the cost of opinions from medical and occupational experts, conducting depositions and interrogatories of other parties, collecting evidence, filing insurance claims for you, and many other steps that are necessary to seek full compensation. The costs of bringing a lawsuit can add up, so it is a huge benefit that you will not need to cover these expenses to pursue a claim.

If you receive compensation, the fees come straight from those funds. Your lawyer will receive the check from the insurance company, take their portion, and forward the rest of the funds to you. Never will you have to write a personal injury lawyer a check or come up with thousands of dollars to pay them. This means that any injury victim can pay for a personal injury attorney even with limited funds.

Lawyers Can Increase Your Take-Home Payment, Even After Fees

While knowing you can afford an injury lawyer might be good news, you might wonder if paying them a percentage of your recovery is worth it. Don’t you need that money to pay your bills? Won’t you walk away with thousands more if you don’t have to pay an injury lawyer?

The truth is that a lawyer can usually increase your settlement or award enough that you do not lose any money, even after you pay their fees. A lawyer can help your case in many ways, and insurance companies make higher offers to claimants with representation.

For example, if you were in a car accident, you might think that the damages you deserve should cover your car repairs, your emergency room medical bills, and the wages you lost while you have been out of work. You might request this amount, not realizing that you need and deserve much more.

This amount is only the tip of the iceberg when seeking damages for your injuries. You can seek compensation not only for the immediate costs from the accident but also for your long-term costs and intangible losses.

These can include:

  • The estimated costs of medical treatment you will need in the future
  • The estimated income you will lose in the future if you cannot return to work
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological trauma
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

When considering future or intangible losses, you might not know how to calculate these. This is where your personal injury lawyer comes in. They know how to calculate and prove the full amount you deserve, which is much higher than what you would calculate on your own.

In addition, your injury attorney will know how insurance companies work and how to negotiate for maximum compensation. Insurance adjusters train to limit payments on claims, and most claimants fall for tricks and tactics that insurers use to minimize settlements. Injury lawyers, however, regularly work with insurance adjusters and do not fall for these tricks. They know how to stand their ground and fight for the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Having representation often increases the insurance settlement offer immediately.

  • Without a lawyer, the insurance company offered you $20,000 for your settlement.
  • Once you hired a personal injury attorney, the settlement offer went up to $70,000.
  • After negotiations, you accepted a settlement of $100,000.
  • After your lawyer takes their fees, you walk away with $75,000.

Even though you paid your lawyer $25,000, you still took home $55,000 more than you would have if you accepted the initial offer. This is how a lawyer adds value to your claim, even though they take out fees.

What cases do personal injury lawyers handle?

Personal injury attorneys handle a wide variety of cases involving injuries due to the conduct of others.

These can involve:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Premises liability claims
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Defective products
  • Wrongful death

Many injury cases stem from traffic crashes, whether they involve passenger vehicles, commercial trucks, buses, rideshare vehicles, motorcyclists, or bicyclists. When a driver, passenger, or pedestrian suffers injuries in an accident because of someone else’s negligence, they can seek compensation for their injuries.

Slip and fall accidents are also common cases that personal injury attorneys can handle. If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall outside of your home in a location managed by someone else, they might be liable for your losses.

Common places where slip and fall accidents happen include shopping malls, Walmarts, sporting stadiums and events, offices, restaurants, and hotels. When an organization invites the public onto their property, they must keep it safe and free from hazards that might cause injury. When organizations fail to do so, they must pay the costs of your injuries.

In any injury case, attorneys can help and add value in many ways.

Some services a personal injury lawyer provides include:

  • Identifying all liable parties
  • Calculating your past and future losses
  • Gathering evidence of liability and your injuries
  • Filing a persuasive insurance claim(s)
  • Communicating and negotiating with insurance adjusters
  • Advising when a settlement is fair
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit if you do not receive a fair offer from the insurer

Your lawyer takes care of all of the above, allowing you to remain focused on your physical recovery. Not only can a lawyer increase your compensation, but they can also provide you with peace of mind you likely haven’t had since before your accident and injuries.

When Is It Time to Call a Personal Injury Attorney?

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, personal injury Lawyer

The time to call a personal injury attorney is as soon as possible after you have received emergency medical care for your injuries. Seek emergency medical care right away after your accident to diagnose all your injuries. This benefits your health and helps prove your injury claim. Once your condition is stable enough, reach out to a personal injury lawyer.

You begin with a free consultation and case evaluation. The lawyer will assess whether someone else should be liable for your losses and whether you have a strong claim. Because the lawyer only receives payment for a successful case, they will be honest about the strength of your claim. Personal injury attorneys will not take cases they don’t think they can win.

If you decide to move forward with the lawyer, they will explain their fee structure and, if you agree, you will sign a representation agreement. Then, the lawyer will begin working on your case. You continue with your treatment while your lawyer pursues the compensation you deserve. Once you accept a settlement, your lawyer takes their fees, and you take home the rest. This is how the personal injury process works for everyone involved. Never wait to schedule a free consultation to learn how a personal injury attorney can assist you.


Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

How Are Damages Calculated?

One of the most common questions that we hear at an initial consultation or early in the case is how much a claim may be worth. While this is a question that takes some work to answer, we can always explain how we come up with a number that you can reasonably expect as damages in personal injury damages. The money that you can receive depends entirely on your circumstances and situation.

Calculating your damages is critical legwork for your claim. Without this key step, you are flying blind. Insurance companies know exactly how to take advantage of claimants who do not know what their claim is worth. There is no requirement that insurance companies must offer you the full value of your claim. They often try to make an initial lowball offer just to see if you will take it, knowing full well that your claim may deserve far more.

Understanding Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Before you file a claim, you need to understand every element of your possible damages and how you arrive at the total of your claim. A personal injury lawyer will explain how these damages work at the beginning of your case. If you have suffered harm from your injuries, you must describe it in detail to your lawyer.

Here is what you need to know about personal injury damages. There are three potential categories of damages in every case, and we will describe each one in more detail below.

The three broad classes of damages are:

  1. Economic damages – this class of damages will pay you for your actual losses due to your personal injury; they are objective and easily provable with paid invoices and bills.
  2. Non-economic damages – intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, resulting from the accident; they are subjective and less susceptible to proof than economic damages.
  3. Punitive damages – in rare cases where the defendant’s conduct is reckless or willful, the jury will award damages to make an example out of the defendant and deter similar conduct. You cannot receive punitive damages in an insurance claim. Only a judge or jury can award them.

All of these will add up to your total award. Both you and the defendant (and their insurance company) will have different views about the appropriate amount of damages in your case. While you want to collect the full and fair value of your claim, the other side wants to save money on their total liability. In some cases, you may end up meeting somewhere between your number and theirs.

Personal Injury Damages Cover Both Past and Future

Personal injury claims are not just a snapshot in time based on your situation but also predict the future costs. The bedrock of your claim is usually the medical records demonstrating the extent of your injuries and your future prognosis. These records will determine how the insurance company or jury views your damages. You may have a completely different view than the insurance company. They will almost always predict a far rosier future for you than your doctor does because it saves them money.

How Economic Damages Work in Your Personal Injury Case

Accidents invariably cause you a financial loss. Even if you are not physically injured, you may suffer some property damages, depending on the type of accident. A core principle of personal injury law is that you must receive compensation for everything you lost and will lose in the future due to the accident.

Economic damages refer to the actual money that comes out of your pocket (or never gets into it) because of the accident.

With that in mind, economic damages include:

  • Lost wages – You will receive compensation for the time you missed from work, including leave that you had to use for doctor’s appointments. If you can only do less work or miss out on a raise because of your injuries, that will also be part of your compensation.
  • Property damage – If you had a property that suffered damage in the accident, such as a car or motorcycle, the defendant must pay for its repair or replacement
  • Medical bills – You must pay all of the costs of your medical care and everything related to it. Your award or settlement should not just include doctor’s bills and hospital fees, but also cover prescriptions, medical equipment, and rehabilitation expenses.

Understanding the Future Before You File a Claim

Calculating your past economic damages is much more straightforward than understanding what you may be due in the future. If you argue that your career progression would have led to raises in the future, you can expect opposition from the insurance company. They want to assume that you will make the same amount of money forever, even though people get promotions and salaries increase.

Before you come up with a dollar amount for your claim, you must understand the future. Even if you assume that you would have gotten a raise in the future, you must also account for the effects of inflation. For decades, this was less of a concern (albeit one you must consider when calculating damages). Now, with the recent burst in rapid and high inflation, this is something that you must once again pay very close attention to in personal injury cases. If you get it wrong, you cannot ask for more money later.

Non-Economic Damages in Your Personal Injury Case

Some damages are far more subjective but for which you must nonetheless establish a monetary value. Not every personal injury victim is in the same position, even if they suffer what is apparently the same injury. For example, an avid runner may sustain a far greater impact from a severely broken leg than someone who does not exercise. An accident victim with anxiety will be in a far worse state of mind than others after their injuries.

The physical effects of your injuries can have many other ramifications in your life. They can keep you from doing things you enjoy or make you depressed and scared. This is not to mention the chronic physical pain that you may feel.

The question is how you can put a dollar value on these injuries. We call these non-economic injuries because they do not automatically come with a dollar value attached. You and your attorney will figure out what you think they should be worth.

Non-economic damages consist of:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of activities
  • Mental anguish
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Humiliation
  • Permanent scarring

Non-Economic Damages Are Subjective and Can Be Substantial

Non-economic damages can form a significant percentage of your award. However, the insurance company will always trivialize your suffering so they can pay you less. They will try to apply an objective multiplier to your medical bills to calculate a generic sum, overlooking exactly how you have suffered.

Your attorneys will value your non-economic damages based on your own particular experience. They will consider your unique circumstances in putting a number to your damages. It is here where you will most likely end up in conflict with the insurance company.

Just as with economic damages, non-economic damages also pay you for what you will endure in the future. If your injuries are permanent or will last for a long time, you must consider that in your compensation demand. Of course, it is difficult to predict what you may go through in the future because of your injuries.

Punitive Damages Are Rare But Can Be Significant

When it comes to punitive damages, these are not something that you should consider in evaluating your case. In your complaint, you may request punitive damages, but the judge or jury will decide whether you are entitled to them and, if so, how much. Your punitive damages will depend on exactly how big a jury wants to send a message and how hard to punish the defendant. In reality, punitive damages have little to do with you and everything to do with what the defendant did. Nonetheless, you are the one who benefits from the harsh message that juries sometimes send.

Some states limit punitive damages, while others don’t.

However, the Supreme Court has waded into the discussions, and its general rule is that punitive damages cannot be more than ten times the recovery for compensatory damages. Judges will often knock down the value of punitive damages on their own, or an appeals court can reduce the verdict. Many may still award some punitive damages to the plaintiff.

How Having an Attorney Helps Maximize Your Personal Injury Recovery

To calculate your damages correctly, work with an experienced attorney with a strong track record of handling cases like yours. On your own, you will probably have no idea how much your case might be worth. Handling your own case only has downsides to it. An attorney knows how much your case is worth, practically as well as the insurance company.

To calculate your personal injury damages, an experienced lawyer can:

  • Review your circumstances to learn more about your situation.
  • Consider their experience and the value of similar cases.
  • Work with experts who can calculate the value for individual parts of your case.

Necessary Experts in High-Dollar Value Personal Injury Cases

Here are some of the experts your lawyer may work with for complex cases that have potentially high damage amounts:

  • Medical experts who can give an opinion of what your future may hold with your injuries and what care you may need
  • Vocational experts can testify about the trajectory of your career had you not been injured, given your skills and training.
  • Educational experts when your child has suffered a long-term and permanent injury
  • Psychological experts who explain exactly the cognitive and emotional effects of your injuries
  • Lifecare planners who explain what help you might need and how much it will cost
  • Economic experts who estimate future inflation, both in the economy as a whole and for the particular financial aspects of your damages, such as medical costs and lost wages

You Only Have One Chance to Get Fair Personal Injury Compensation

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, personal injury Lawyer

Of course, cases with lower damages will be easier to calculate damages. When you are dealing with high dollar value claims, there is more room for error. Do not be drawn in by a large check. Many zeros on the check are not a good thing if there aren’t enough of them. Personal injury settlements pay you money that you need, both now and in the future. Insurance companies specialize in offering what you may think is a great deal right now, knowing full well that they may be short-changing you in the future.

Settling your claim for too little may mean that only the doctors get paid and not you (medical providers have the right to be paid back for the services that they provide). Pay attention to every single element of your damages. Also, make sure to take the time to get a proper estimate of the value of your claim. Too many people let the insurance company rush them into a settlement before they know what their claim is worth.

The insurance company will dangle much-needed money out there, knowing that some people may be desperate and jump at it. Having an experienced lawyer will keep you from making that mistake. You will know how much you legally deserve before you file your claim, and your attorney will stand up and fight for your legal rights.


Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Can I Make a Personal Injury Claim Myself?

If you are in a car accident, you are likely dealing with a lot. You have doctors overseeing your medical care, employers wondering when you might come back to work (if you can at all), family members checking in, and car repair shops slowly fixing your vehicle. The last thing you want is to involve someone else in your recovery process.

For this reason, many people wonder if they can make a personal injury claim themselves without the help of an attorney. This is never a wise choice, and you should always seek legal help right away after an injury. The good news is that the right personal injury lawyer will make the process easier – not more stressful.

Seeking Compensation for an Injury

First, the process of seeking compensation for your injuries is highly complicated. Many people think that you march right into court and file a lawsuit, but there is much more to do before you ever involve the courts.

The process begins with one or more insurance claims, which will vary depending on how your injury happened.

You might file:

  • Auto insurance claim against another driver
  • Corporate insurance claim against a business
  • Homeowner’s insurance claim against a dog owner
  • Uninsured motorist claim with your own company

You need to determine which parties to hold liable so you can file the proper claims. This is a complex evaluation, as liability is not always black and white. For example, if a truck driver crashes into you, the trucking company will also be vicariously liable for the actions of its driver. You might not realize that your claim should be against the trucking company, which can cause you to leave a lot of money on the table. Your lawyer can identify all liable parties to maximize your compensation.

If an insurance company does not offer enough to cover your losses (which is common), your lawyer can then pursue a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. The litigation process follows the Rules of Civil Procedure and has many complex steps. You never want to initiate a court case without an experienced personal injury litigator on your side.

How Insurance Companies Work

You might think insurance companies exist to provide benefits for people when they need them. While this is partially true, insurance companies primarily exist to make money. They are businesses first, and their business is collecting premiums and hoping they do not have to pay a lot of claims.

When you file an insurance claim, never expect the insurance company to simply pay what you request. Instead, an insurance adjuster will begin the process of investigating and assessing your claim.

They will:

  • Try to speak with you on the phone about the accident (don’t do this) to get you to say something that refutes your claim.
  • Investigate to try to prove the policyholder is not liable
  • Comb through all your medical records to challenge the cause or severity of your injuries

Adjusters and investigators can even search your social media accounts to find information to question your injuries. If either liability or your injuries are in question, the settlement offer you receive will be quite low – or nothing at all.

Insurance companies are pros at limiting payouts. They train their teams to minimize or deny claims, and most claimants do not realize what insurers are doing.

People who file claims without a lawyer can end up with far less than they deserve for many reasons, including:

  • A claimant says something to an adjuster that jeopardizes their claim. Even saying “I’m fine” can indicate to an adjuster that your injuries are not affecting your life as you claim.
  • A claimant accepts the first settlement offer. An adjuster often makes a quick offer that is wholly inadequate, hoping the claimant will accept it. A claimant might think getting a check quickly is beneficial when they will hurt their financial future.
  • A claimant fails to calculate their losses properly and leaves out future losses, intangible losses, and more. They think a settlement offer covers their losses because they fail to factor in significant damages they deserve.

If you accept a settlement offer that is too low, you cannot go back and request more. Accepting the offer means that you waive your right to further action regarding your injury. Do not make this mistake – never handle a personal injury claim yourself.

How a Lawyer Helps You

First off, a lawyer will take the stress of navigating the claim process off your shoulders. When you have an injury, the last thing you need is to figure out how to file a claim and seek compensation. It is more complicated than simply calling an insurance company and asking for money. You do not want to worry about this, so put your case in the hands of a skilled personal injury attorney.

An attorney can help in many ways, including the following.

Identifying Liability

You might have an idea that someone else was responsible for your injuries, but as we discussed above, liability can be more complicated than that. There might be multiple parties that share liability, some of which have larger corporate insurance policies. If your injuries are serious, this can increase the chances of fully covering your losses.

Your lawyer can examine what happened and identify everyone who should be at fault. Then, they can identify the insurance companies that should cover your losses. If you fail to file all the appropriate claims, you can miss significant funds.

Calculating Damages

People regularly undervalue their injury claims because they do not know all the losses eligible for compensation. Even if you realize that you can recover financially for future or intangible losses, you might not know how to calculate them. How do you know how much income you will lose if you cannot work? This calculation involves inflation and other complex financial factors.

Your lawyer can employ financial experts to determine your future lost earning ability. They also know medical experts who can estimate the costs of your future medical treatment. Lawyers also know the standards for calculating intangible damages, such as pain and suffering. This all ensures that you request enough money for your insurance claim.

Gathering Evidence

You cannot say that someone was negligent or that you incurred losses and expect the insurance company to take your word. Instead, the insurer will require evidence to prove your claims of liability and damages. How do you get such evidence? Your personal injury lawyer knows how to do this.

Your attorney can review police reports, seek out video footage, interview witnesses, obtain records of law violations, and more to prove liability for your accident. They will have the resources to gather sufficient evidence and know what types of evidence the insurance company expects. Then, they will gather evidence to support the losses you claim. By presenting such evidence with your claim, it can often speed up the process and result in a favorable offer sooner.

Handling the Claim

An insurance adjuster will start processing your claim, and they will have requests. They will want to discuss the accident, go over evidence, seek additional information, and more. If you handle this on your own, you risk saying the wrong thing or failing to provide what they need, which can delay your claim or even result in a denial.

Once you have an attorney, they handle it all. If an adjuster reaches out to you, simply refer them to your attorney. You can rest assured that they will; not accidentally say something to jeopardize your claim. You will not have to worry about sending adjusters additional information. All of this goes through your personal injury attorney.

Advising You on Settlement Offers

When the insurance company makes an offer, it might seem good enough to you. After all, it is money you didn’t have before, and having a check in your hand is always a good feeling. This puts you at risk of accepting an offer that is too low.

Your lawyer will review a settlement offer and advise you how it compares with your damages. They can tell you whether they believe you can get more with additional negotiation. This takes the pressure off you to make the right decision, as you have guidance from a professional who handles such cases regularly.

Escalating Your Claim

Sometimes, no matter what your lawyer says or does, an insurance company will not offer enough to cover your losses. If this happens, your attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. This lawsuit is against the liable individual or company, though the insurance company will help defend it and will cover any settlement or award up to policy limits. Insurance company attorneys have experience defending injury lawsuits, so you want an advocate with injury litigation experience.

Just because your case escalates to a lawsuit does not mean it will go to court. Your lawyer will exchange evidence with the defense and continue negotiations for a favorable settlement. If settlement negotiations are successful, you will avoid the need for trial. Insurance companies often want to avoid going to trial, so they are more likely to make a favorable offer as litigation progresses.

Often, hiring a lawyer at the start of the insurance claim signals to the insurer that you mean business. You send a message that you are ready to file a lawsuit if needed, and the insurance company knows it cannot push your claim around. This is all before your lawyer begins handling the process.

Risks of Handling a Claim Yourself

Even knowing all of the above, some people still have the temptation to file their own injury claim. This is often because they think they can save money if they don’t have to pay an attorney. They can’t. The risks of doing so are serious and costly.

If you unknowingly accepted a lowball settlement offer, you will need to cover any losses the settlement didn’t. This can include medical bills over the settlement amount, future medical costs, and more. This can lead to thousands – if not more – in unnecessary payments over your life. Often, a settlement without a lawyer will not cover intangible losses, such as pain and suffering. If it does, the compensation will be minimal.

Do not risk losing significant sums of money. You shouldn’t have to pay for losses that someone else caused. Instead, reach out to an injury lawyer who can help right away.

When Should You Call a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Personal Injury Lawyer

If calling a lawyer seems daunting (even though it shouldn’t), you might put it off. You might assume you have plenty of time to pursue your claim, and you’d rather wait and let things settle down with your injuries before beginning the legal process. However, waiting to call a lawyer can hurt your claim.

First, each state has deadlines for filing injury lawsuits called statutes of limitations. These range from one year in states like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana, to six years in Maine. Most states have statutes of limitations of two years, such as Illinois and Arizona.

Two years might seem like plenty of time, but consider that your lawyer will complete the insurance process before ever filing a lawsuit. Insurance claims take time, and you want to be sure you cannot settle directly with the insurance company before heading to court.

In addition, critical evidence can deteriorate or disappear the longer you wait. If you contact a lawyer right away, they can begin gathering the evidence to support your claim while it is fresh and available. You don’t want a witness to move away or a business to record over key video surveillance footage that you need to prove liability for your claim.

In conclusion, always hire an attorney for your personal injury claim, and do this sooner rather than later. You will not regret seeking legal assistance with your injury case.


Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Can I Sue for an Old Injury?

Sometimes, clients will come into a lawyer’s office after some time has passed since they suffered injuries, asking whether they can still file a lawsuit. Of course, the answer will depend on the exact facts of your case, but there is one thing that we can state with certainty – the case will be far more complex than if you brought it shortly after the accident.

For that reason, we strongly advise you to begin the legal process as soon as you can if it is within your power. Some exceptions can allow you to file a claim or case for an old injury, but you should not rely on an exception applying if you can avoid it. The best thing you can do is reach out to an attorney to discuss your case.

Statute of Limitations in a Personal Injury Case

In any personal injury case, the statute of limitations applies. This law places a time limit on when you can file your case. The law aims to be fair to all parties, and defendants also have legal rights. One of them is not to have to worry about a lawsuit once a certain time passes after an accident.

In Arizona, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is “two years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward.”

The same time limit applies to both personal injury and medical malpractice cases. We will discuss what “after the cause of action accrues” below, but for now, you should know that the time limit is a hard deadline. Once the two-year period elapses, you lose the right to file a lawsuit. The court will not even have jurisdiction over your case to hear it on the merits. It will dismiss your claim, and you will not get your day in court. Even missing the statute of limitations by a day is enough for the court to dismiss a case.

Possible Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

However, like anything in the law, the statute of limitations contains some gray areas. For example, if the defendant kept you from learning about the cause of your injury, you will get two years from when you discovered who was responsible. Nonetheless, courts strictly construe exceptions to the statute of limitations. They are the exception and not the norm, but they can help you in some situations.

Here are some reasons you might successfully sue for an “old” injury.

Minors Get More Time to Sue

Another way that you can sue for an old injury is if you were a minor when it occurred, and nobody filed a personal injury lawsuit at the time. Once you turn 18 years old, you get a new period to file a lawsuit on your own for the injuries that you suffered as a minor.

You will have two years from the time that you turn 18 to bring legal action. However, it may be hard to locate the proof you need to show that the defendant was liable. In most cases, parents will sue on behalf of their child when the child is still a minor. However, the law allows you to take action if your parents do not. For example, some children have exposure to hazardous substances growing up, and the parents did not file a lawsuit.

Sometimes an Old Injury Is Not Necessarily Old

While the statute of limitations in a personal injury case may be two years, it will generally run from when you knew that you were injured or should have known that you were hurt. Some accident injuries may not be apparent right off the bat. While you must take diligent measures to get the medical help you need right after the accident, some injuries may take time to develop. For example, you may have suffered a traumatic brain injury or a back injury that takes time to materialize.

For purposes of the statute of limitations, your condition might constitute a new injury, even if it arose long ago. Another example of this is a medical malpractice lawsuit. You may not realize until years later that the doctor made a mistake during a surgical procedure. Thus, the injury becomes new when you realize that you were hurt.

You May Not Learn the Cause Until Later

The statute of limitations will start to run when you both know that you were injured and you know the cause of the injury. If you have been suffering from symptoms of an injury for a while but have no specific diagnosis, you may get extra time to file a lawsuit.

For example, if exposure to toxic substances made you ill, but you did not know why you first became ill, you cannot know the cause at the time. This is often the case when workers receive cancer diagnoses after toxic exposure on the job. The fact of the exposure may not come out until years later.

Maximum Medical Improvement

Lawyers may advise you to wait until you reach the point of maximum medical improvement before you file a claim or lawsuit.

This is when your condition cannot improve any further. This sometimes happens long after the injury. Therefore, while your injury may be “old,” there were reasons why you were waiting to sue. People generally wait to file claims until they have more visibility about their legal situation.

However, do not wait too long until you seek financial compensation. Waiting for the point of maximum medical improvement is not an exception to the statute of limitations. If timing is an issue, you should not cut it close to the statute of limitations to file your case. Your attorney will know the right time to make your legal move and file a claim or lawsuit.

Preexisting Conditions

Just because you have an old injury does not let someone else off the hook when they are negligent. Defendants may need to pay when their actions have aggravated a preexisting injury. When someone is negligent, the general rule is they “take the plaintiff as they find him.” They do not get a pass in any way because of your prior condition.

A classic example of this is a neck or back injury. The jarring impact of a car accident will aggravate a condition, even if the prior injury healed. It does not matter if you were predisposed to a new injury. The defendant will need to pay for the damage they caused regardless of your personal history.

Nonetheless, a prior injury will make your case far more complex.

To clarify your condition you may need:

  • Medical records before your injury
  • Employment records that may discuss your limitations
  • Witness testimony from people who know you
  • Evidence of your hobbies and activities
  • Expert witnesses who can testify about your condition

Nonetheless, the facts and your diagnoses matter in a case like this. The defendant will argue that they were not the cause of your injury. The fourth element in the negligence test is that you would not have suffered injuries but for the defendant’s acts or omissions. A defendant may challenge you on the question of causation.

This is where your diagnosis and medical documentation matter. Be open and honest about your prior injury. Do not hide the effect of the accident and its impact on your condition. Never underestimate the ability of an insurance company to learn information. Your compensation will depend on the extent to which this accident aggravated an old injury.

You can expect that the insurance company will try to reduce your payment, claiming that their client did not cause your condition. In some cases, an insurance company may deny your claim in its entirety because they are always skeptical about preexisting injury cases. Here is where you will need a personal injury lawyer to fight back and keep the insurance company from casting doubt on your claim. If your claim receives a denial, you can file a lawsuit seeking damages.

The Difficulties of Suing for an Old Injury

If you are suing for an old injury, you may have some difficulties with your case. Regardless of when the injury happened, you need evidence that will prove that someone else was responsible for your injuries. The rules are not relaxed because of the passage of time.

The further you get from the time of your injury, the more challenging it becomes to prove your case. Any personal injury case will require that you prove what the defendant did and explain why it did not live up to the standard of care. You need more than just your word, and the burden of proof is on you. Any case must prove liability by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that your allegations are more likely than not to be true.

Over time, it becomes far more difficult to muster the evidence required to prove liability. If you rely on witnesses, recollections fade over time, and it becomes harder to locate people who can testify. Physical evidence also gets lost and spoiled over time. Therefore, the further you get in time from the actual injury, the harder it will be to recover financially.

What to Do After You Suffered Injuries

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Personal Injury Lawyer

The key is to not be in a position where you are suing for an old injury. We understand that sometimes symptoms do not begin to show up until years later. Nonetheless, see a doctor as soon as you can after an accident, even if you do not think you suffered injuries.

An insurance company will focus on what they think you should have done after an accident. If they see that a claim has been filed more than two years after an incident, they will, without fail, try to deny your claim or move to have your case dismissed. This is an absolute certainty. The burden of proof will be on you to show why you did not discover the injuries within the statute of limitations. If the insurance company or a judge thinks that you should have been more vigilant about seeing a doctor, it can lead to a complete denial of compensation.

The other thing to do after an accident is to contact an attorney. Your lawyer will advise you of the steps that you need to take. While there are certain instances in which discovering an injury after the fact is unavoidable, a lawyer will tell you what you need to do after an accident to be in the strongest possible legal position.

If you wait too long after an accident to call a lawyer and get medical help, it will complicate your case and make it harder for you to recover financial compensation. If you do not have a viable case, a lawyer will tell you that, and it will cost you nothing to have that conversation.

Take action as soon as you think you suffered injuries. The time limit for the statute of limitations begins to run when you should have known that you sustained harm. The law may not take a kind view when someone delays getting medical treatment in the face of indications that they should have gone to see a doctor. The best way to avoid suing for an old injury is by taking legal action when the injury is still new.

Seek help from a personal injury lawyer as soon as an accident happens. If you feel anything unusual, seek medical attention, then seek legal help. You have nothing to lose by determining whether or not you have a case.


Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575