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Was Your Child Injured at Daycare?

Thousands of parents in the Chicago area drop their child off at daycare in the mornings before work. While they are away, parents trust their chosen daycare facility with their child’s safety and well-being. Parents carefully select daycare facilities, and whether your child goes to a private home or a school environment, you should expect that your child will receive proper care. After all, children cannot protect themselves from harm during daycare. Few things can be as frightening as a call from a daycare informing you that your child has been injured.

While daycares must abide by strict regulations in order to be licensed in Illinois and should be monitored by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), accidents and injuries still happen at daycare facilities on a regular basis in the Chicago area.

Sometimes, the injury is purely accidental—your child simply lost balance and fell down. However, in other cases, you may suspect that your child’s daycare could have prevented the injury—and the injury was actually due to the daycare’s carelessness. In this situation, you should always discuss your concerns with an experienced lawyer who can evaluate the situation.

If your child has been injured, do not wait to call our dedicated personal injury law firm for help today.

Negligence and Causes of Injuries at a Daycare

Because children are so vulnerable, daycares are held to high standards when it comes to providing proper care. Illinois has specific guidelines and requirements for child care licensing, and every daycare is expected to adhere to these standards. Unfortunately, government regulators cannot continuously monitor all daycares for compliance, and many violate the rules, which can result in injuries.

When a daycare fails to meet the required standard of care and injures a child as a result, the daycare can face liability for negligence and any losses stemming from the injury. Negligence can occur in many different ways and result in many types of daycare accidents. Even minor mishaps—harmless in other situations—can cause life-threatening injuries at a daycare.

Examples of negligence that may cause daycare accidents and injuries include:

Inadequate Supervision

Inadequate supervision of the children, whether due to an understaffed facility or a staff that simply may not pay proper attention to the children, is a primary cause of daycare accidents. When a daycare leaves a small child unsupervised, the resulting accidents can include:

  • Falls
  • Children injuring each other
  • Obtaining and using items that can harm them
  • Swallowing items and choking
  • Falling in pools, tubs, or other water hazards
  • Wandering off from the premises
  • Eating things they shouldn’t due to allergies

One reason you entrust your child to a particular daycare is so someone can supervise and watch your child while you cannot. If a daycare fails to provide the necessary level of attention to your child and an injury results, you may have a claim for negligent supervision.

Dangerous Premises

Sometimes, daycare injuries occur because the staff doesn’t keep the facility in a safe condition for the children. Anyone with small children knows to keep them away from dangerous items and not to give them access to cabinets, closets, or areas that may store dangerous items. Many daycare injuries can result if children are able to reach the following items:

  • Household cleaners
  • Chemicals
  • Knives, razors, or other sharp objects
  • Plastic bags or anything that can suffocate them
  • Appliances
  • Matches
  • Hot objects

The above is far from an exhaustive list of items that, if they are not properly stowed safely away, can cause injuries to children.

In addition, facilities in states of disrepair can violate safety standards and result in injuries. Children may become ill or injured from exposure to toxic chemicals, mold, or other dangerous building conditions. Children can contract serious infections, rashes, and other illnesses due to exposure to unsanitary facilities. Unfortunately, many of these dangerous conditions are not obviously apparent to parents who drop off and pick up their children.

Many daycares also have playground equipment or even swimming pools with which to entertain children. When facilities do not maintain playground equipment or it fails to meet safety regulations, they put children in extreme danger. In addition, swimming pool areas must meet certain specifications, and if they fail to do so, daycares can create dangerous and fatal hazards for children. Many hazards on a daycare’s premises can cause injuries, and our attorneys can evaluate whether your child’s injury was caused by such negligence.

Inadequate Security

Having a stranger harm your child is almost every parent’s worst nightmare. Daycares should have proper policies and procedures in place to ensure that no one has access to a child without the necessary permission. If a daycare has inadequate security, someone who is allowed to wander into the facility can physically assault, sexually assault, or kidnap children.

Neglect and Abuse

While negligence on the part of the staff or owner of the facility causes many daycare injuries, intentional actions produce others. Sometimes, staff members know they provide subpar care or may even lose their patience and hurt children on purpose. Examples of daycare neglect and abuse include:

  • Not providing adequate food and water
  • Failing to change diapers or allowing children to remain soiled
  • Not attending to injured or ill children
  • Isolating or restraining children
  • Physically harming children
  • Emotionally abusing children
  • Sexually abusing children

You should never expect that a daycare or its staff will intentionally neglect or abuse your child, but these cases do happen. Some signs of such misconduct can include any injuries to your child that you cannot explain, repeated injuries in various stages of recovery, changes in personality or behavior, and much more.

Common Daycare Accidents and Injuries

Children can be involved in many types of accidents or incidents that cause serious injuries at daycare. Some common accidents include the following:

  • Falls
  • Being dropped
  • Playground accidents
  • Fights with other children
  • Choking on toys or food
  • Wandering outside the daycare—possibly near a street
  • Abuse by daycare providers
  • Abuse or injuries caused by outside parties
  • Swimming pool or other drowning accidents

Some of the above accidents may result in cuts, bruises, or relatively minor injuries. Others, however, can cause severe physical and emotional damage to your child. In any event, daycare injuries cost money to treat properly and many parents want to know whether they can hold a daycare liable for their child’s injuries. In addition, many parents are understandably angry when a daycare is negligent and want to seek justice for the harm done to their child.

Who Is Responsible for Your Child’s Injury?

Every parent knows that children can be clumsy and precocious. Even the most vigilant and responsible parents still have dealt with accidents and injuries to their child at home. Sometimes, when a child is injured at daycare, it is not anyone else’s fault and is simply a result of a child’s own behavior.

However, in other situations, children are injured because the daycare was negligent in some manner. To prove negligence, you must demonstrate that the daycare breached the duty of care it owed to your child and that the breach caused your child’s injuries. Some examples of daycare negligence are as follows:

  • Not properly supervising a child when needed
  • Allowing access to toys or objects that are inappropriate for a child’s age
  • Having conditions at the facility that do not meet minimum standards for health and safety
  • Having inadequate security to keep out potentially harmful adults
  • Having staff who abuse or assault children
  • Having dangerous pools, playgrounds, or other equipment
  • Improperly storing food, causing illness
  • Maintaining unsanitary conditions

Contact Our Chicago Premises Liability Attorneys for Help Today

No child should suffer preventable injuries at daycare, and no parent should have to witness a child in pain or bear the cost of treating such injuries. The attorneys at Abels & Annes in Chicago understand the seriousness of injury cases involving children, and we are fully dedicated to our clients.

If you believe your child’s daycare was negligent and your child was injured as a result, your first call should be to the law firm of Abels & Annes. If you have a case, we will fight for your right to hold the daycare liable for its negligence and your losses, so please call our Chicago personal injury lawyers at 312-924-7575 for more information.

Who Was at Fault for Your Road Work Zone Crash?

Road construction seems to be never-ending in Chicago. Both the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) have a constant stream of projects on roads and highways around the city, especially during the warmer months. Road work can cause delays and frustration among drivers, especially due to lane closures. However, this work is necessary to ensure our streets are as safe and efficient as possible for all Chicago motorists.

While road construction happens to keep us safe, road work zones are also common locations for traffic accidents. Cars can crash into one another or into members of a construction crew, and serious injuries may result. Despite increased penalties for traffic violations in work zones, as well as safety initiatives for the public, road work zone accidents continue to occur with surprising frequency. In fact, according to IDOT, 6,741 work zone crashes took place in the state of Illinois during 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. That comes out to an average of nearly 18.5 construction zone accidents per day!

At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are committed to representing the rights of people injured in construction zone accidents. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago personal injury attorney, call our office today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

Various Parties Can Cause Serious Motor Vehicle Accidents in Illinois Construction Zones

In any injury case, it is necessary to identify which specific party or parties caused your accident. Motorists can file claims against various parties, which may include:

  • Other motorists – The negligence of other motorists causes a significant percentage of construction zone accidents. When drivers are driving in narrow lanes and in close proximity to other vehicles, small mistakes can cause disastrous results. Some examples of negligent driver conduct that can cause serious accidents in construction zones include texting, speeding, following too closely, and making improper lane changes.
  • Construction crew workers – Sometimes, the negligence of the crew working the site is responsible for accidents that occur in construction zones. Issues like failing to display adequate signage, misplacing cones or barrels, performing shoddy work, leaving materials in the road, working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or negligently operating machinery can cause serious, injury-causing motor vehicle accidents.
  • State agencies – Many construction crews work directly for CDOT or IDOT, making the city or state agency responsible for the negligence of workers. In addition, if the city or state improperly plans or executes a project, the agency itself may be negligent. These cases often require the analysis of construction experts who can assess whether negligence caused your accident.

Importantly, if your accident occurred due to the negligence of a construction crew employed by a state agency or a state agency itself, you may have to bring your claim under the Illinois Court of Claims Act. This law allows individuals to bring claims against the government, but places certain limits on the amount of time victims have to file a claim and the amount of compensation they can ultimately recover. For this reason, if you have any suspicion that your claim will be against the government or a construction company hired by the government, you should speak with an attorney immediately.

Injuries to Construction Workers

Occupants of cars are far from the only people who may suffer severe injuries in work zone crashes. In many situations, a driver may collide with a construction worker standing in or near the road. Illinois has many laws aimed at keeping workers safe, such as increased fines for speeding or cell phone use. However, drivers may make mistakes or may choose to disregard the safety of workers, resulting in an accident.

Many negligent or reckless acts can result in a construction worker getting hit by a car. Such acts may include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Speeding
  • Dangerous lane changes
  • Failing to adhere to signs and traffic direction
  • Aggressive driving

Construction can slow traffic, which can make it tempting for drivers to look at their phones. In addition, delays can frustrate drivers, which can escalate into aggression or even road rage.

As with any pedestrian accident, construction workers can suffer life-altering injuries if they get hit by a car. Even with safety gear, the impact of a collision can cause a wide range of traumatic injuries, including spinal cord injuries and shattered bones. Even with a hard hat, a construction worker can still suffer head trauma, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries. The losses associated with such catastrophic injuries can be astounding and can include:

  • Medical expenses for emergency care, hospitalization, rehabilitative therapy, surgeries, and more.
  • The estimated costs of any anticipated future medical care
  • Lost income from time away from work
  • Lost future earnings due to disabilities
  • Permanent disabilities, disfigurement, or impairments
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

When a driver hits a construction worker, a criminal case can penalize the driver with costly fines and possible jail time. However, the injured construction worker also deserves to receive full compensation for all of their injury-related losses. By filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit in civil court, an accident victim can seek the financial recovery they deserve. You should not wait to call an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a serious crash.

Hurt in a Construction Zone Accident? Call Abels & Annes, P.C., Today to Speak with a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

If you suffered injuries in an accident that occurred in a construction zone, it is imperative that you speak to an attorney as soon as you can. You may be entitled to significant compensation under Illinois law, and an attorney at Abels & Annes, P.C., can review your case at no cost to you and let you know whether you have a legal claim. If you choose to retain us to represent you, we will never collect legal fees unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. To schedule your completely free, no-obligation case evaluation with an experienced attorney, call our office today at (312) 924-7575 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Broken Bones Can Result in Thousands of Dollars in Losses

Broken Bones are a Common Result of Accidents

Accidents often result in many different types of injuries. One of the most common injuries caused by an accident are broken bones. Although broken bones are relatively common, especially among daredevil youth, they can be a very serious injury when they’re caused by traumatic events like a slip and fall or a motor vehicle collision.

Most people think of a broken bone as an arm in a cast. However, the term broken bones can also refer to multiple breaks or multiple different bones, and also to crush injuries, fractures to spinal bones, and fractures to facial bones. Serious fractures like these can end up costing accident victims thousands of dollars in treatment. Further, they can also cause significant time away from work, resulting in lost wages.

The severity of a broken bone caused by an accident can vary but they all run the risk of costing a person thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. It is important to take the right steps after you are injured to ensure a timely recovery and to collect the proper compensation for your damages.

What Causes a Broken Bone?

A broken bone or bone fracture occurs when force is exerted against a bone that is stronger than the bone can bear. This causes the structure and strength of the bone to tear or break. Broken bones can lead to severe pain and loss of function. In some instances, bone breaks can cause complications like nerve damage and infection.

Some people think of bones as static or dead tissue. But this isn’t true. Bones are a type of connective tissue that is made up of cells and reinforced with calcium. Our bones have a relatively soft center, called marrow, which is responsible for producing the blood cells humans need to stay alive. But the main functions of our skeleton are to support our body, allow us to move, and protect our internal organs. This tissue-like structure and soft center is what allows a bone to break. The important role of our skeleton is what makes that break so critical.

Symptoms of a Broken Bone

If you are involved in an accident or traumatic incident, you should get medical help right away after the personal injury incident. You do not want to risk waiting when you have an injury or making an existing injury worse. In most cases, you will definitely know if you have a broken bone because of clear symptoms. However, shock and other injuries can mask certain fractures. That is why going to a hospital is so important after an accident to ensure that you don’t aggravate an injury.

Symptoms of a broken bone can include:

  • Severe pain
  • Deformity, such as the broken limb appearing to be out of place
  • Swelling, bruising, tenderness, numbness, or a tingling sensation around the injury
  • Difficulty or pain when moving a limb.
  • Hearing or feeling a snap or a grinding noise as the injury happens
  • Feeling faint, dizzy, or sick as a result of the shock

Broken bones can range from stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in the bone, to more serious fractures where the bone is actually cracked and moves apart during an accident or fall.

The worst bone breaks are known as compound fractures. Here the bone breaks into two or more pieces and one or more of the pieces punctures the skin and is exposed. This poses a risk of infection. Also, it presents serious issues for reconstruction and setting of the break. The goal is for the bone to mend as closely as possible to its original position.

Any fracture requires immediate medical care. X-rays will determine whether you have broken a bone and whether you need a cast or a splint to treat the fracture. It is also possible that surgery will be necessary, depending upon the location and severity of the break. Pins, screws, or other measures might be necessary to stabilize the fracture. As a result, compound and other complex fractures are the most difficult and expensive to treat.

Broken Bones Are Common in Accidents

Fractures are among the most common of orthopedic injuries, with roughly 7 million people suffering bone fractures in the United States every year. The average adult in the United States suffers two bone fractures in their lifetime.

Extremity fractures are the most common, usually suffered by men under 45 years old, or women over 45 years old. For women, this is due to osteoporosis, a reduction in bone density commonly found in older women.

Types of Fractures

There are different types of bone fractures. Some are more severe than others, depending on the strength and direction of the force, the particular bone involved, and the age and health of the victim.

When we speak of a broken bone after an accident, the first thing that comes to mind is probably something like a person with their arm in a cast. But other bones in the human body can break too. In fact, if it’s a bone, it can probably break or fracture during a serious accident, like a car accident.

For example, a person may break a rib during an accident; or they may have their foot crushed, causing multiple bones in their foot to break or fracture at once. Someone may also break a bone in their back or neck, which causes its own unique issues and treatments, but nonetheless, is a broken bone.

The point is, insurance companies don’t always take broken bones seriously, since a broken arm or leg can be quite common in daily life. But in reality, these types of injuries are often serious.

Some common types of fractures include:

  • Avulsion fracture: a piece of the bone that is attached to a tendon or ligament gets pulled away from the main part of the bone.
  • Comminuted fracture: the bone becomes shattered and breaks into many smaller pieces.
  • Compression fracture (wedge fracture): Bone is broken from downward force, usually occurs in the spine.
  • Fracture-dislocation: an injury where both a fracture and dislocation happen simultaneously. This will often cause a bone fragment to remain lodged between the dislocated segments and require surgery for removal.
  • Hairline fracture (stress fracture): small breaks along the bone or bruises inside the bone.
  • Impacted fracture (buckle fracture): occurs when the broken ends of the bone are pressed against one another due to the force of the injury.
  • Intraarticular fracture: a fracture that pushes into a joint. This can damage the cartilage between the joints and has a higher risk of developing long-term complications.
  • Pathological fracture: break in a bone that is weakened from underlying illness.
  • Spiral fracture: occurs when torque or twisting is applied to a bone

Complications from Breaks, Fractures, and Crushed Bones

Broken Bones Can Result in Thousands of Dollars in LossesBroken bones are not always straightforward. Sometimes, they can be accompanied by or lead to other problems. Serious complications are rare, but they are more common in injuries that are caused by severe force like those caused by car accidents.

This can significantly increase the amount of damage, pain and suffering, and cost of treatment. This is one of the major reasons why some broken bones end up costing thousands of dollars to treat.

Below are some common complications seen in broken bone cases.

Excessive Bleeding and Disrupted Blood Flow

Many fractures cause noticeable bleeding around the injury. In most cases, it’s not serious. However, in some cases like those involving large bones or crushed bones, internal bleeding or bleeding from an open wound can cause a life-threatening drop in blood pressure.

Sometimes a dislocation or break can cause a disruption of blood flow. This can cause some tissue to not get enough blood, which can be a major problem for the body. In worst case scenarios, it may not be noticed and leads to amputation.

Nerve Damage

Sometimes when a bone is fractured, nerves are stretched, bruised, or crushed. These injuries usually heal on their own, but they can also cause severe pain while they do. In rare cases, nerves are torn, sometimes by sharp bone fragments. Torn nerves do not heal on their own and may have to be repaired surgically.

Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism is the most common severe complication caused by a fracture, usually to the hip or pelvis. It occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein, breaks off, travels to a lung, and blocks an artery. As a result, the body may not get enough oxygen.

Pulmonary embolism is most common in older people who break their hip. But they can occur to anyone who suffers a serious fracture.

Infections

If the skin is torn when a bone is broken, the wound has a chance of becoming infected. In some cases, this infection may spread to the bone or blood, which can be very serious and will require extensive hospital care.

Joint problems

Fractures that extend into a joint can damage the cartilage at the ends of bones. Damaged cartilage can scar, which makes joints stiff and limits their range of motion. Physical therapy is usually needed to treat joint problems from broken bones. Surgery is required to repair damaged joints in some cases.

Osteonecrosis

When blood flow to a bone is disrupted by a fracture or dislocation, part of the bone may die from a lack of blood. This is known as osteonecrosis. Most of the time, doctors can prevent this before it becomes a problem. However, in cases where blood flow is hindered for too long, patients may lose function or require amputation.

How much will a broken bone cost me?

As you can see, broken bones and fractures can be complicated and can result in lots of complications. Even if you have health insurance, a relatively simple procedure involving a broken bone can get pretty pricey.

Adding up charges for an emergency room visit, doctor’s fees, lab fees, x-rays, fees for follow-up care, braces, slings, bandages, splints, casts, clinic visits, CT scans, and other procedures can quickly push the costs over $10,000.

Physical therapy, if necessary, can also add significant costs. Treatments for any nerve damage or other complications, such as muscle damage, also will escalate the cost. Depending upon your insurance policy, there is no guarantee that all—or even most—of these costs will be covered.

With medical costs constantly on the rise, any injury in an accident may wind up costing far more than you expect. Broken bones are no exception. Even with health insurance, a broken bone can be very expensive.

The Cost of a Broken Leg

Without health insurance, the costs of a broken leg can reach into many thousands of dollars

  • If you don’t have health insurance, treatment for a broken leg generally can be as much as $2,500 or more just for a break that calls for a cast. That can include an average of more than $200 for an x-ray – although that can cost as much as $1,000 – about $225 for a cast, and as much as $1,000 for the doctor’s fee, in addition to up to $200 for an office visit fee. Fees can vary depending upon where you are and what prevailing health-care costs are in your region.
  • If you suffer a broken leg that requires surgical treatment and you do not have health insurance, surgical treatment of a broken leg typically costs $17,000 to $35,000 or more.
  • Health insurance will typically cover a broken leg, but you remain responsible for copayments and coinsurance. These can amount to thousands of dollars. This is especially true if your deductibles or yearly out-of-pocket maximums are high. This would be common with many plans on the Healthcare Exchange.

The Cost of a Broken Arm

A broken arm from an accident is common, but no less expensive. Here’s what a broken arm costs in the United States:

  • If you have no health insurance, the diagnosis and treatment for a broken arm that does not require surgery generally runs up to $2,500 or more.
  • If surgery is required, without health insurance a broken arm generally costs about $16,000 or more.
  • Health insurance would normally cover a broken arm. However, for someone on a health insurance policy through the Healthcare Exchange, deductibles could be more than $5,000. This means you will wind up being responsible for the full costs yourself.

In addition, the severity of the break is a major factor in how much it costs to treat a fracture. Compound fractures, for example, can be considerably more expensive to treat.

Broken Bones are Serious, Contact an Experienced Chicago Injury Lawyer

If you suffer a broken bone in an accident involving another party, whether in a traffic accident or an accident on someone else’s property, the other party may be legally liable for your damages. Regardless of what your insurance does or does not cover, you might be able to recover damages from the other driver or property owner, or from that person’s insurance carrier.

It is important to explore your legal options to obtain compensation for your injuries. There is no reason for you to bear all the expenses yourself if another party was responsible. In addition, the law imposes deadlines on the amount of time you have to bring a legal claim for compensation after an accident. Don’t delay—contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you don’t lose important legal rights.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Abels & Annes, P.C.

If you have been injured in an accident, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights. The attorneys of Abels & Annes are here to help you following an accident. You can reach us at (312) 924-7575 or through our website.

Coming to a Favorable Settlement Requires Tough Negotiation

No two personal injury cases are identical. While some personal injury cases may settle quickly, others take years before the parties reach an acceptable settlement agreement. At the very least, many personal injury cases require several rounds of tough negotiations before arriving at a satisfactory settlement.

Many complex factors determine how long it takes to reach a settlement agreement, including whether the at-fault party is disputing fault for the accident, the venue where the case is pending, the complexity of the case, the injuries involved, the medical treatment received, the permanency of the injuries suffered, and the need for further medical procedures.

While there is no such thing as a “perfect” settlement that fully restores an injured victim to their previous physical, emotional, and financial state, a “good” settlement is one that satisfactorily compensates the accident victim for his or her injuries. While this may be slightly less than the damages sought in a lawsuit, accepting a settlement eliminates the risk and uncertainty of going to trial and letting independent jurors decide the final outcome of the case.

In many instances a skilled personal injury lawyer can successfully negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company on your behalf and obtain a favorable settlement well before the trial date. The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can discuss all of your legal options with you and work toward obtaining a fair and favorable settlement offer in your case.

Beginning Settlement Negotiations

The first step to beginning the settlement negotiation process is to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This puts the adverse insurance company on notice of a potential lawsuit. Prior to beginning settlement negotiations, the injured accident victim should finish all medical treatment and physical therapy – unless treatment will continue for months or years.

Once the accident victim has completed treatment, the accident victim’s attorney may prepare a demand package to the insurance company’s adjuster. The package includes a demand letter with an initial settlement demand, along with copies of the supporting medical records and bills. The demand package may also contain a victim impact statement, which explains the impact the accident and injuries have had on the victim’s life.

After the insurance company adjuster receives and reviews the settlement demand package, the adjuster may place an initial settlement offer on the table in an effort to try and dispose of the personal injury case quickly and cheaply. Insurance adjusters’ initial settlement offers are usually much less than what the case is actually worth.

Further settlement negotiations may ensue for weeks or months, with the injured accident victim’s lawyer working to get the insurance adjuster to incrementally increase the amount of the settlement offer. If the parties reach an agreement, the case will settle. If the parties do not reach an agreement, the injured accident victim’s attorney may file a lawsuit.

Filing a Lawsuit to Provoke a Reaction from the Insurance Company

In some cases, your lawyer may adopt a hardline approach and file a lawsuit against the at-fault party before attempting to negotiate settlement. This is typically done for two reasons. First, filing a lawsuit with the court begins the litigation process and places the case on the court’s radar, so to speak. Second, filing a lawsuit may encourage the adjuster to take the case more seriously.

In some instances, the insurance company may increase their settlement offer soon after the lawsuit is filed. In other instances, it may take several more rounds of negotiations—or completion of some initial discovery—before the adjuster places a better settlement offer on the table. In any case, filing a lawsuit is often an essential step in both the litigation and negotiation process.

It is important to keep in mind that filing a lawsuit does not guarantee that a personal injury case will go to trial. A personal injury case can settle right up to trial, or even during trial. However, once the trial is complete and the judge or jury enters a decision, the accident victim has to live with the result or consider filing an appeal. In some instances, a personal injury accident victim may prefer to accept a settlement because it puts the accident victim, instead of a judge or jury, in control of the outcome, and allows the victim to move forward with recovery.

Accepting or Rejecting a Pending Settlement Offer

The decision whether to accept or reject a pending settlement offer ultimately rests with the injured accident victim. A Chicago personal injury lawyer can help you decide whether a pending settlement offer is worth accepting.

When deciding whether to accept or reject a settlement offer, you should consider the following factors:

  • The venue where the personal injury case is pending and whether or not it is a “plaintiff friendly” venue
  • The amount of risk you are willing to take on the trial outcome
  • Whether the settlement offer can be taken off the table by the adjuster
  • The availability of alternative dispute resolution measures in your case, such as arbitration or mediation
  • The cost of your medical bills and any costs—such as medical liens—that must be paid out of your settlement proceeds
  • The increased costs associated with a jury trial

Call a Chicago, Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Legal Options

When it comes to personal injury settlements, accident victims should carefully review the options available with experienced legal counsel. If you have sustained injuries as a result of another person’s negligence, the Chicago personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can review your case with you and evaluate your options. Our team of attorneys can represent your interests during settlement negotiations with insurance companies and their adjusters. If taking your case to trial is necessary, our attorneys provide capable and results-oriented legal representation in the courtroom.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Chicago, Illinois personal injury lawyer, please call us today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

Catastrophic and permanent injuries can occur in car, truck, tractor-trailer, motorcycle, pedestrian, and bicycle accidents, to name a few. In many cases, these injuries require long periods of medical treatment and serious medical procedures in order to correct. In other cases, accident victims require a lifetime of care at a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Some catastrophic injury cases reach a settlement agreement, while others proceed all the way to trial. Litigating a catastrophic injury case requires a special skill set of both medical understanding of these severe injuries and legal knowledge. If you have sustained catastrophic injuries in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can review your case and may be able to provide you with legal representation.

Characterizing Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries are those types of injuries which require long periods of medical treatment and recovery time in order to improve or resolve. Catastrophic injuries are common in high-speed motor vehicle accidents – and most especially, in motorcycle, moped, and bicycle accidents. These accidents are more likely to result in catastrophic injuries because motorcycle, moped, and bicycle operators (and their passengers) have limited protection while on the road. Although riders usually wear helmets which partially cover their heads, they do not have the outer shell of a vehicle surrounding them, and their bodies are more or less exposed directly to the ground. Consequently, they are more likely to have an impact with the ground (and/or another vehicle) and suffer serious injuries.

Some common examples of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Abrasions and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Death
  • Fractures and Broken Bones

When an accident victim directly hits the ground or strikes something in the vehicle, he or she can suffer a major fracture or break. In many cases, these injuries require serious medical procedures, such as multiple surgeries, to correct. Following the surgery, the accident victim may need to take several months to recover and undergo long periods of physical therapy, and may still never regain regular use of that body part.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries typically involve nerve damage which may result in full or partial paralysis and other serious limitations. Spinal cord injury victims often require long periods of rehabilitation and therapy, including vocational or occupational therapy, in order to achieve a full—or even partial—recovery. In the most severe spinal cord injury cases, accident victims may require around-the-clock, lifetime care at a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries – or TBI’s – are one of the most significant types of catastrophic injury. These injuries can last for a long time and permanently impair an accident victim’s cognitive abilities. TBIs come about when blunt force or some other external trauma is applied to the accident victim’s head. This can cause injury to the brain’s neurons and axons (i.e. the brain’s “internal wiring”) and prevent them from functioning properly.

Depending on the severity of the head impact, traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to severe. The most serious long-term symptoms associated with traumatic brain injuries include:

  • Long-term memory losses
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Lost consciousness
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Temporary or permanent comatose state
  • Permanent inability to function or move

Proving Catastrophic Injuries and Damages

In order to prove catastrophic injuries and damages, the accident victim must be able to show that someone else behaved in a careless, reckless, or negligent manner. This usually means that the at-fault party did something that a reasonable person would not have done – or failed to do something that a reasonable person would have done.

In addition to proving that someone else was at fault for the accident, the accident victim must be able to show that the catastrophic injury directly resulted from the accident.

Whenever accident victims seek monetary compensation for catastrophic injuries, the insurance company will look for any reason to deny liability or limit its exposure. The insurance company will oftentimes look for other possible causes of the claimed catastrophic injury, including prior medical procedures, degenerative changes on imaging studies, preexisting medical conditions, and prior injuries.

Expert Testimony

When attempting to prove that an accident victim sustained a catastrophic injury, it is often helpful to introduce the expert testimony of a medical doctor or other healthcare provider. The expert may be able to testify about the extent of the accident victim’s medical treatment and the permanent nature of the injuries sustained.

In some cases, catastrophic injury accident victims are unable to return to work for long periods of time. In other cases, they may not be able to return to the same job post-accident – or they may have to switch careers altogether. A vocational rehabilitation expert may be able to testify about how the catastrophic injury prevents the accident victim from working at the same job, or from working altogether. An expert may also be able to speak to the accident victim’s projected loss of earnings over a specific time period due to catastrophic injuries sustained in an accident.

Economic and Non-economic Recovery Available to Catastrophic Injury Victims

Accident victims who sustain catastrophic injuries as a direct result of someone else’s negligence may be entitled to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, psychological harm, loss of the ability to function, and loss of spousal support or consortium. They may also be able to recover the costs of lifetime care and treatment – including the costs of medical care at a nursing home or assisted living center.

Call a Chicago Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case

If you or a loved one has sustained a catastrophic injury in an accident, you may be entitled to recover monetary compensation. A Chicago catastrophic injury lawyer at Abels & Annes, P.C. can discuss the circumstances of your case and may be able to negotiate with the insurance company or file a lawsuit on your behalf.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Chicago, Illinois catastrophic injury lawyer, please call us today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

Is New Technology Making Distracted Driving Worse?

Distracted driving is a common cause of car accident injuries that can be avoided by taking simple steps

We all know that distracted driving is dangerous. Technology, however, just keeps producing better and better distractions—often in the form of ever-more interactive smartphones and tablets—for today’s drivers. When you hit the road, always make safety your top priority by diligently avoiding distracted driving and by being alert to those distracted drivers with whom you might share the road.

New Technology Has Changed the Way We Live Our Lives

Smartphones and the ever-growing list of apps available on them have changed the way we live our lives. In some cases, technology has changed things for the better. In other cases, technology has made our lives more dangerous.

One of the reasons that new technologies have made our lives more dangerous is the number of distracted drivers on the road.

Just about everyone has a smartphone. And we are using them for nearly everything. For those of us that can’t find our own driveway sometimes, GPS apps are a lifesaver. Introverts have found the ability to read on their phone in place of small talk a source of comfort. Gamers can finally leave the house but bring with them their entertainment. And workaholics can check their email, send documents, and engage in meetings on the go.

This ability to do anything at any time is both a blessing and a curse. It has changed the way we live our lives for better or worse. But one area that is unquestionably worse is the number of people who think it is okay to operate a multiple ton steel machine without looking at where they are going.

The fact is, our phones and other technology tools are only going to become a bigger part of our lives. But our willingness to use them while driving needs to be dropped from our list of new habits or else we will see a huge increase in car accidents in our collective future.

Why Distracted Driving is a Dangerous Habit

A distracted driver cannot pay full attention to the driving task at hand. Dangerous situations on the road can arise in the blink of an eye, and if drivers are not fully engaged, the results can be tragic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finds that distracted drivers allow their attention to become engaged in any activity other than driving. The NHTSA divides these distractions into:

  • Visual distractions – Visual distractions require us to look at them.
  • Manual distractions – Manual distractions require the use of our hands.
  • Cognitive distractions – Cognitive distractions require us to use our minds.

Texting represents the mother of all distractions because it engages all three distraction classifications at once. In fact, texting while driving is considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving. Technology, therefore, has significantly contributed to distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Statistics: Why You Shouldn’t Text and Drive

The sobering statistics associated with texting and driving are worth noting:

  • When drivers text, their attention veers away from the road for at least five seconds.
  • If a person is traveling at 55 miles per hour while they text, their attention is off the road for the full length of a football field.
  • When someone texts and drives, their odds of being involved in a car accident are multiplied by 23.
  • When they dial while driving, their odds of being involved in a car crash multiply by three.
  • If a driver chats on a smartphone while they drive, their odds of being involved in a car accident are elevated by about a third.
  • Cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
  • 390,000 people are injured each year due to using a phone while driving.
  • 1 out of 4 accidents in the U.S. are caused by texting and driving.
  • 94% of drivers support a ban on texting while driving.
  • 1 out of 20 drivers are on their phone right now.
  • Texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while under the influence of alcohol. You are 6 times more likely to be in a motor vehicle crash while texting and driving versus being intoxicated.
  • 3,477 people died in 2015 because of texting or talking on the phone while driving.
  • Different states have different fees for texting while driving, with the low being only $25 (Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia, Kentucky, New Mexico) and the high being $750 (Utah). Some states, like Arizona and Minnesota, still don’t have a ban on texting and driving.

Statistics on Teenage Distracted Driving

  • Teenagers who mix texting and driving veer out of their own lane about a tenth of the time.
  • 94% of teen drivers acknowledge that texting while driving is dangerous. But 35% admit to doing it anyway.
  • 50% of teenagers believe that they have a smartphone addiction problem. 72% of teens feel pressured to respond right away to texts they receive, even if they are driving.

These statistics are a stark reminder that it’s always best to drive phone-free, because engaging with your smartphone or tablet while driving endangers everyone on the road. Arriving alive should always be your goal, and eliminating distractions while driving can help you get there. This does not mean, however, that you can stop other drivers from using technology while driving—and putting your life at risk.

Why Phones Are So Distracting For Drivers

The meteoric rise of smartphones has left drivers with little time to fully comprehend just how dangerous mixing driving and smartphones can be. In fact, technology has evolved in such a way that smartphones have become so much more than just phones.

Many people have begun to think of their phones as personal extensions of themselves— but this can lead to bad choices when driving is added to the equation. No matter what you are doing, your phone takes your attention away from the road—where it should be. Such distractions make it that much easier to miss the warning signs of impending danger on the road, like crossing pedestrians, hard to see motorcyclists, and other dangerous drivers.

Below are six of the most common reasons people are distracted by technology while driving. And the scary part is, almost all of them require all three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.

Abels and Annes - Common Smartphone Distractions

Looking for Directions

Looking for directions while driving is a common reason for a person to be distracted. Obviously, you may need to use your phone’s GPS app while you’re driving to find your destination. But where the danger comes in is when you type or search for a location while operating your car. If you need to search for directions, find a safe place to pull over and set your GPS before you get back on the road. If you can use hands-free voice commands, that’s one way to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.

Finding Your Favorite Playlist

Finding something to listen to on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Podcasts, or any other platform is a task you should complete before you begin moving. With the increased popularity of long-form podcasts and playlists, changing songs or stations has become less of a problem. But searching for any type of media while driving is extremely dangerous.

Scrolling Social Media

As we all have become more involved with social media for personal and professional uses, checking social media while driving has become more common. The solution to this problem is a no-brainer. Social media is extremely distracting and should never be used while behind the wheel.

Using Phone for Entertainment

With so many different forms of entertainment available, it’s almost like we can’t go 15 minutes without needing to be entertained. With short-form video apps like TikTok and games that can be played in spurts, more people feel comfortable participating in these activities while driving even though it’s extremely dangerous.

Looking Down at Smartwatch

Smartwatches allow wearers to get text and email notifications, read and respond to messages, send reminders, schedule a meeting, answer incoming calls, play music, and set a GPS location—all from their wrist. With so many functions and so many more people adopting wearable technology, it’s clear how smartwatches can be a huge distraction.

Replying Right Now

The pressure to respond to a message right away is definitely something we all battle. We’re always expected to be reachable–by family, friends, or clients. This artificial urgency to respond right away is a major factor in why people decide to use their phone while driving.

Illinois Law and Distracted Driving

Illinois law prohibits the use of handheld electronic communication devices, including smartphones, while operating motor vehicles. If you are 19 or older, you may implement hands-free technology to access your device, but even this is discouraged. Illinois considers hands-free technology a driving distraction that can prove dangerous and encourages drivers who must make calls to pull safely off the road before doing so. There are only three occasions in which it is legal for a driver to use a smartphone that’s not hands-free:

  • To report an emergency on the road
  • While parked on the roadway’s shoulder
  • When traffic is stopped due to a normal roadway obstruction and the vehicle is in either neutral or park

Technology Making Cars Safer

While technology has certainly played a significant role in the rise in distracted driving, it can also help mitigate distracted driving. Hands-free technologies are one such example. Hands-free interaction is considered safer, but phone calls—in and of themselves—are distracting whether hands-free or not. There are, however, other technological advances that can help mitigate distractions, including:

  • 360-degree camera
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Automatic braking systems
  • Backup cameras
  • Blind spot sensors
  • Built-in GPS
  • Cabin camera
  • Forward collision warning
  • Heads-up display
  • Lane departure warning systems
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Parking assist
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Phone safe features

These technological advances, along with other innovations, can help drivers perform important driving functions while helping to keep them on task.

The Evolution of Smartphone Technology

Because smartphones are among the most dangerous distractions for drivers, phone developers are working to address this important issue and mitigate their bad reputations. The new iPhone X, for instance, is poised to include a Do Not Disturb While Driving mode, which is an option that drivers can choose and that will help allay the phone’s distraction level.

One complication, however, is that once the safety feature is activated, the phone proceeds to determine when you are driving—and driving is difficult to distinguish from riding. Once the phone does determine that you’re driving, it will automatically mute your phone to distracting notifications. In addition, your favorite contacts will receive an automated I’m driving response if they attempt to contact you while you’re behind the wheel. The distractions of technology aren’t going away anytime soon, but technology can help implement important mechanisms for mitigating these distractions.

Apps that Help Prevent Distracted Driving

There are many apps on the market that are designed to limit drivers from texting while driving. These apps work by preventing your phone from performing certain functions while your car is moving.

LifeSaver blocks text notifications while you drive and disables other features (like access to email and camera) while your car is in motion.

Drive Safe works in a similar way, blocking all calls and texts so you can stay focused on driving. This app has some great extra features like ‘emergency mode,’ which allows a call to come through if you’re called multiple times in a row.

Drivesafe.ly doesn’t block calls or texts. Instead, it announces callers by name so you can answer hands-free. It also reads text messages and emails aloud if you ask it to. It can also be set to auto-reply. That way, the caller or texter gets an automated message saying you’re driving and will call them back shortly.

In addition to these apps, most new phones are starting to come with these features built-in. These kinds of features are going to be critical in the future as new technologies are only increasing the number of ways we can find ourselves distracted behind the wheel.

Injured by a Distracted Driver? Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney ASAP

If a distracted driver’s negligence caused injury to you or someone you care about, you don’t have to face this difficult time alone. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes are here to help. We handle the entire injury claim process. From negotiating with claims adjusters to rejecting any lowball offers, our main goal is to advocate for you to get a fair settlement amount.

We have the skill, knowledge, and dedication to help you navigate the often-confusing path toward just compensation. Your case and your rights are too important to leave to chance. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, please don’t hesitate to contact or call our office at (312) 924-7575 for a free consultation today.

How Do You Prove Past and Future Medical Costs in an Injury Claim?

If you have been injured in an accident in Illinois and another party is at fault, you are entitled to damages, which may include your medical expenses. Past medical expenses usually present a relatively simple issue, as they entail money you already have spent (or debts you have incurred) due to medical care as a result of the injuries you suffered in the accident. However, many accidents result in injuries that will require long-term care—or at least care that extends beyond the conclusion of a civil action to recover damages. In that case, you will have to prove both past and future medical expenses, which can be two very different propositions.

Accidents That Cause Severe Injuries

Any personal injury claim associated with negligence can result in receiving compensation for the damages associated with your injuries. Personal injury claims can include:

There are many different types of personal injury incidents that can lead to serious injuries for the unfortunate victim. Even a seemingly minor injury may cause large medical bills and other significant costs.

Medical bills caused by negligence can often be more expensive than most people think and can add up very fast. A long term, severe injury could rack up even bigger bills and significant costs, like missed time from work.

Injuries that Cause High Medical Bills

Traumatic Brain Injury

While traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to severe–causing anything from a concussion to a coma to brain death–the more severe the injury is, the higher the medical bills are likely to be. With a mild concussion, you may only end up with minor medical bills, like an ambulance ride, hospital stay, and a few follow up appointments. Still, this isn’t cheap. However, a more serious brain injury may require costly surgery, long-term therapy, or even life support, which can all lead to medical bills in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars..

Spinal Cord Injury

The treatment for a spinal cord injury can be very expensive, depending on the severity of the damage. You may just need a brace, a wheelchair, or crutches to get around, or you may have to undergo surgery or receive expensive injections. Spinal cord injuries also often require physical therapy, as you may need to relearn how to walk after your accident occured. Long-term physical therapy can be expensive, on top of surgeries and other treatments.

Broken Bones that Require Surgery

Most often, any injury that requires surgery is more expensive than one that does not. For example, to fix a broken bone, usually a cast is used to set the bone in place and allow it to heal properly. However, sometimes surgery is required to ensure that the bone is properly set up to heal in the correct position. This surgery, and sometimes even the cost of physical therapy, can rack up quite a bill.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries can be expensive because sometimes it takes a little while to determine where the problem is originating. You may need to have x-rays, CT scans or other costly exams, all before you undergo surgery to repair the damage. If there are any complications during your surgery, your costs will only increase from there.

Recovering Past Medical Bills

When you are injured in an accident through the fault of another person, you are entitled to receive compensation for the medical expenses you incur because of the injuries you suffered in that accident, among many other losses. Proving past medical expenses is a relatively straightforward process, as noted. You will need to provide documentation for expenses such as:

  • Doctor bills
  • Hospital bills
  • Emergency room treatment bills
  • Ambulance services
  • Nursing services
  • Pharmaceutical receipts
  • Physical therapy bills

You must demonstrate that the bills were for medical services necessary to treat the specific injuries you suffered in your accident. In general, though, the proof consists of documentation of your medical costs.

Future Medical Costs Require Different Proof Than Past Costs

Future medical costs obviously haven’t happened yet, and cannot be documented by medical bills that already have been (or still must be) paid. Rather, future medical costs are expenses for medical care that will be incurred due to treatment of accident-related injuries that will occur after litigation is resolved.

Typically, future medical costs are an issue with serious injuries or long-term, chronic conditions that result from the injuries suffered in the accident. You can recover for future medical expenses if you prove that you will need continued medical care because of the injury suffered in the accident, based on the estimated cost of that care.

To prove future medical costs usually requires expert medical testimony. Physicians and other healthcare providers would have to testify about the medical care you will require in the future as a result of your injuries. The proof must include enough detail to make it possible to ascertain roughly what that future care will cost.

Medical Costs Can Vary from Case to Case

Just as no two injuries are the same, medical bills that result from an accident will never be exactly the same for different accident victims. Some people who sustain accidental injuries will only require one or two trips to a doctor, while others may have extended hospital stays with ongoing treatment. No matter how much your bills may be, you still deserve to be compensated for them by a liable party. The method of obtaining compensation, however, may vary depending on how much medical debt you have incurred.

If you go to your usual doctor, you may only incur a couple hundred dollars in medical expenses depending on the tests and treatment that you need. Of course, costs go up if you need medication, medical equipment, or physical therapy. Your bills will be higher if you needed to seek treatment in an emergency department, and even more, if you took a ride in an ambulance.

If you were admitted to the hospital for even one night, your costs likely immediately skyrocketed into the thousands of dollars. One report shows the following average cost per day at a hospital in Illinois:

  • Government-backed facility: $3,128
  • For-profit facility: $1,567
  • Non-profit facility: $2,373

The above numbers are from 2014 (the most recent ones available), so it is likely the cost has risen even higher. If someone was injured and stayed in a state or local hospital for seven days, he likely will owe more than $20,000. The costs of hospital treatment are higher if the injuries are particularly serious and require time spent in the intensive care unit (ICU) or a burn treatment unit.

In addition, the costs of surgical procedures have increased in recent years. For example, some back surgeries can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000, depending on the injury. There are often additional costs for surgical recovery, such as a hospital stays, medical equipment, rehabilitative therapy, or even home health assistance.

Recovering for Medical Costs

The approach to recovering medical expenses and other injury-related losses can vary depending on the nature and amount of your losses. For example, if you have a few medical bills and missed a few days of work (and thus lost income), our attorneys may be able to seek compensation for your expenses and losses through an insurance claim against the policy of the liable party. We can often obtain a favorable settlement quickly from an insurance company when the losses are relatively straightforward.

Not all personal injury claims, however, can be resolved through the insurance process. If your losses exceed the policy limits, for example, it would be necessary to file a personal injury claim against the liable party. If your losses include more complex damages such as pain and suffering, permanent disability, or similar intangibles, a court claim may also be the best way to obtain the full compensation you deserve.

Will the Severity of my Injury Affect my Settlement?

There are many different factors that affect your personal injury settlement. The amount you receive will be affected by:

  • the amount of damages you accrued (both economic and non-economic)
  • the change in your quality of life before and after the accident
  • the severity of your injuries
  • and your prognosis (how likely you are to fully recover and how long it will take).

The severity of your injuries plays a huge part in your settlement value for a variety of reasons. Your economic damages and your non-economic damages are often higher with more serious injuries. This is because you will likely have higher medical bills and more pain and suffering when your injuries are severe. You may also have more lost wages because of the increased recovery time associated with a severe injury.

In order to receive compensation for your damages, you must be able to prove your medical bills and other costs were caused by the incident in question. This proof will come from the documentation, medical bills, and evidence that your attorney collects in order to prove to the insurance companies the amount of damages you have accrued.

So yes, the severity of your injury will affect the amount you receive as a settlement. You may also receive a higher settlement depending on how much pain and suffering you experienced. If you lived an active lifestyle before your accident and now have injuries with a long recovery time or a disability, you could receive a higher settlement. Additionally, if you will no longer be able to pick up your grandchild, or even something extremely detrimental like not being able to feed yourself, the pain and suffering portion of your settlement is likely to be higher.

Either way, your attorney will help you to navigate this process so that you can receive the settlement that you deserve for your damages.

When should I Accept a Settlement?

Whether or not, or when, you accept a settlement is completely up to you, but your attorney will help you make the right decision. Choosing when to settle a personal injury claim can be a big decision, but your attorney will be there to guide you.

In many circumstances, and with a talented attorney, you can get a settlement that covers all of your damages so that you can move on with your life without any debt and hopefully healthy and fully recovered. Further, a plaintiff usually walks away from a settlement with money in their pocket for pain and suffering, and other damages.

Sometimes, a settlement may not seem fair or like you are being low-balled when you feel like you deserve much more. When it comes to deciding whether to risk going to trial, the main factor you should consider is your chances of winning more money than the settlement offer in court. If you have a high chance of winning a greater amount, settling may not be the right move for you. If you have a low chance of winning more money, you may want to take the settlement offer so you don’t take a financial hit or lose out on the money altogether.

Again, having an experienced attorney makes all the difference in making the right decision here.

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys to Discuss a Possible Claim Today

If you have been involved in an accident that resulted in injuries, your first step should be to consult an attorney to determine what your rights are under the circumstances of your accident. You may have the right to compensation for past and future medical costs, as well as other losses.

The attorneys of Abels & Annes can assist in protecting your rights when you are involved in an accident resulting in injuries and medical bills, both past and future. You can reach our office at (312) 924-7575 or through our website

Why You Want Our Attorneys Handling Your Insurance Claim

If you have suffered injuries in an accident that was another person’s fault, you have the right to seek compensation for a wide variety of losses you may incur. In many cases, the first step to seeking such compensation is to file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company. If you were injured in a car accident, you would file a claim with the negligent driver’s auto insurance company. If you slipped and fell at a store, you would file a claim with the store’s property insurance company, and so on.

Many people consider the insurance claim process to be less complicated than personal injury litigation; however, many issues can occur in any type of insurance claim. It is important that you seek assistance during the claim process from an experienced insurance attorney at Abels & Annes in Chicago.

Evaluating Your Claim

In order to know how much compensation you deserve, you must be aware of the full value of your losses. Many people simply add up their medical bills and assume that the total should be the value of their claim. Yet you can also seek compensation for other losses including future estimated medical costs, lost wages, future lost wages, and more. Our attorneys know how to make these complicated calculations to ensure you know what your claim should be worth.

The Claim Assessment Process

Your claim file will be assigned to an insurance adjuster—who first and foremost works for the insurance company. Adjusters are generally expected to limit the company’s liability whenever possible. So, while it may seem like they are simply confirming your losses, they may actually be gathering information to justify limiting or denying a payout.

By having an experienced Abels & Annes attorney act as the sole communicator with the insurance adjuster on your behalf, you can trust that we will say the right things to maximize your claim assessment instead of giving the adjuster any information that could be used against you.

Fighting for the Settlement You Deserve

Once you receive an offer for a settlement, it is absolutely critical that you have an attorney who understands how to review and negotiate settlement offers. Many people simply accept the first offer without realizing that it is grossly inadequate or that they have the right to stand up for the amount they truly deserve. Our legal team knows how to analyze the sufficiency of a settlement offer and skillfully negotiate with the insurance company for the full amount you deserve.

Call Our Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys Right Away After an Injury

The insurance process is often much more complex than you may initially think. Instead of taking your chances with so much on the line, you should immediately call the law office of Abels & Annes. If you have a case, our Chicago insurance dispute lawyers can handle every aspect of your insurance claim so you can rest assured that you receive as much as possible. To learn more, please contact us at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation today.

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

PTSD Symptoms Can Be Debilitating

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.

Recovering for the Costs of PTSD

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.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney for More Information Today

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 Long Should I Wait to Call an Attorney After an Injury?

If you suddenly sustain an accidental injury, your life can be turned upside-down. You may need emergency medical attention, as well as treatment that could be extensive and ongoing. As you watch your medical bills pile up and continue to lose income from missed days at work due to your injuries, you may consider whether you should call a personal injury law firm to discuss your legal rights. Dealing with the legal side of your case may seem overwhelming while you are still recovering from your injuries, so you may also wonder how long you can wait before contacting an attorney.
The short answer is that it is never too early to discuss your accident with a skilled personal injury lawyer. While it is understandable that you have a lot of stress already, you should never delay in starting your legal case for the following reasons.

Insurance Claims Can Happen Quickly

Many accident cases are handled through insurance claims—such as auto insurance after a car crash or property insurance after a slip and fall. These claims tend to have time limits. You may be contacted by an insurance adjuster very soon after an accident. It is important to know that any communications you have with the insurance company may be used by the company to try to avoid liability and limit the value of your claim. You should have an attorney on your side handling the insurance process for you to maximize your chances of an adequate settlement.

Statute of Limitations in Illinois

If your claim cannot be settled through negotiations with the insurance company, you will need to file a personal injury claim in court. In most cases, Illinois law sets out a strict two-year statute of limitations for this type of claim, although the time limit may be extended or shortened depending on the facts of the incident. Two years may sound like a long time; however, the time required to thoroughly investigate, research, and prepare for your case can be significant. Waiting too long to contact a lawyer may jeopardize your chances of a successful case.

Call a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible

The Chicago personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Abels & Annes are ready to help you at any time after your injury. Please do not hesitate to call our office for a free consultation at 312-924-7575 today.