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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. Few things can be as frightening as a call from a daycare informing you that you 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. If your child has been injured, do not wait to call our dedicated personal injury law firm for help today.

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

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, like slip and fall incidents or a motor vehicle collision, often result in many different types of injuries. One of the most common injuries due to an accident are broken bones. Although broken bones are relatively common, especially among daredevil youth, they can be a very serious injury. Serious fractures can end up costing accident victims thousands of dollars in treatment. Further, there can be significant lost wages.

Symptoms of a Broken Bone

Broken bones commonly occur in traffic accidents and falls. 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, or
  • Difficulty or pain when moving a limb.

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 can 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 seven 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.

How much will a broken bone cost me?

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.

Other Common Types of Broken Bones

Broken Bones Can Result in Thousands of Dollars in LossesWhen 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.

Finally, there is the dreaded trimalleolar fracture. This involves breaking three different bones in your ankle. This almost always requires open reduction and internal fixation to repair. Our injury lawyers often see this type of fracture in slip and fall cases.

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.

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 obtaining 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.

Abels & Annes, PC

Bone xray image by Dave & Margie Hill

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?

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.

Distracted Driving

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 engage your vision.
  • Manual distractions – Manual distractions engage your hands.
  • Cognitive distractions – Cognitive distractions engage your brain.

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.

Don’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 they’re 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.
  • Teenagers who mix texting and driving drive outside of their own lanes about a tenth of the time.

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.

Not-so-Smart Phones

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. Whether you’re catching up with email, chatting with your kid, browsing a recipe on the internet, or checking notifications on Facebook, 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.

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’s Role in Distracted Driving

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:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic braking systems
  • Lane departure warning systems
  • Built-in global positioning systems (GPS)

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.

If You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver, Call a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney as Soon as Possible

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 process of negotiating with the claims adjuster. We advise you to reject any lowball offers and let us advocate for 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.

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.

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.