How To Get An Insurance Adjuster To Call You Back

Did you file a claim with an auto insurance company and the insurancehow to get an insurance adjuster to call you back

adjuster won’t respond to your calls? Check out this short blog to learn how to get an insurance adjuster to return your calls after a car accident.

Accident victims often call my office and tell me that they’re having a difficult time not being able to get a return call from claims adjusters.

First of all, this is not a shock because delaying or denying your insurance claim is one of the ways that an insurance company can manipulate the system. They get people frustrated and they give up.

The Insurance Adjuster is Likely Very Busy

There may be a simple explanation – insurance adjusters generally are handling hundreds of cases at a time. Just take a look at the file that you’re dealing with for your case. It’s got medical records, the police report, pictures, receipts and more. Multiply that by 200 or 300 and you can see what insurance adjuster is dealing with. So sometimes they’re not just delaying your case. The adjuster at the insurance company can just be super busy.

However, this blog is not to make excuses for an insurance adjuster. Instead, let’s find a few ways to get around the system and work it in your favor.

Manage Your Expectations for Dealing with Insurance Companies

Level set your expectations about what your experience dealing with the insurance company is going to be like. As I just mentioned, insurance adjusters are very busy.

So, don’t expect a call back right away from the insurance company. I’ve had some people call me and say they called their insurance adjuster yesterday and they haven’t gotten back to them. It’s going to take the adjuster 24 hours to get back to you. Your inquiry just goes on a long list of other inquiries that they already have.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Deal with the Insurance Adjuster

If it’s been more than 24 hours, then you need to take action. What’s the first thing you can do when dealing with an insurance adjuster. Well, this is very self-serving and I apologize, but you can hire a Chicago auto accident lawyer.

Insurance companies respond quickly and deal more fairly with a personal injury personal injury attorney than they do with somebody who’s never worked within the insurance system.

I always tell a client and I will stay consistent on this. You want to maximize your recovery and have the process goes as smoothly as possible with insurance companies. Hire a car accident attorney to represent you.

One more reason to hire an attorney is there are things that an attorney can do to get an insurance company to respond that you may not know about.

I’m talking about setting the table for what’s called a ‘bad faith’ claim. I’m not going to go into depth about this because the chances of actually prevailing on a bad faith claim are fairly slim. However, it’s one of the pieces of leverage that an attorney uses to get an insurance company to respond.

Call Your Insurance Adjuster’s Manager

The second thing you can do is go above your adjuster’s head. I’ve done this many times and it’s very effective when trying to work with insurance companies. If your claims adjuster is not responding to you, call the insurance company operator/customer service phone number and for the name and number of your insurance adjuster’s manager.

Call the manager and advise what’s been going on. I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly moving forward that insurance adjuster responds to you.

Document All Contacts Regarding your Insurance Claim with the Adjuster

Another thing you should be doing is documenting all your correspondence with the insurance company. Leaving voicemails is fine, but they’re not very impactful. However, if after you leave a voicemail, you send an email or a fax to the insurance company that says: “I just left you a voicemail, this is the third voicemail I’ve left you, my property damage issue still hasn’t been resolved, please contact me” etc. That will have much more impact on the insurance adjuster than just leaving a voicemail.

Report the Insurance Company to your State Department of Insurance

If you’re having a really hard time with the insurance adjuster, some people will contact their state department of insurance and file a complaint. I have found that that’s not particularly effective. I’ve tried it a couple of times on cases that I’ve been involved in and it gets you very little.

So, I don’t really recommend this course of action. I think documenting with the insurance company is a much more effective tactic. However, some people believe that filing a complaint with the department of insurance sets an insurance company up for potential claims later on. And if you want to do that, there’s certainly no harm in doing it just don’t expect a lot to come out of it.

File a Lawsuit to get the Insurance Company to Respond

The bottom line is that an insurance company is not under a lot of pressure to respond to you absent the filing of a motor vehicle accident lawsuit.

Sure, there are rules and regulations about how long an insurance company has to respond to a claim etc. I’ve found that those don’t have a tremendous impact.

However, filing a lawsuit will get an insurance company to respond and contact you. What they’ll do is they’ll assign counsel and the attorney that they assign will have to file an answer to the complaint within a set amount of time.

So, if you’re really having a hard time with an insurance company, the one piece of leverage you really have is to file a lawsuit.

File a Lawsuit on Your Own in Small Claims Court

If you only have property damage, meaning that there no bodily injury involved in the accident and the insurance company is stonewalling you, well, that’s a tricky situation because you’re not going to be able to find a personal injury lawyer to represent you on that kind of property damage case.

So, what do you do in that situation? Well, I tell people all the time, go ahead and file a lawsuit on your own behalf in small claims court. This is what small claims court is for. It’s super easy in Illinois. It is for cases that are $10,000 and under and you can represent yourself.

You may be able to do it online. You have to pay for filing the lawsuit and you have to pay for the sheriff to serve the lawsuit on the defendant. You may also be able to serve the lawsuit on the defendant via certified mail.

If you have serious injuries, again, I think you’ll be much better served by hiring a Chicago auto accident attorney to represent you as a client. If you’d like to speak with us about your motor vehicle accident case feel free to contact us at 1-847-305-4105.

Why Do Insurance Companies Offer Such Low Car Accident Injury Settlements?

Are you negotiating with an auto insurance company and you’re surprised at how much the insurance adjuster lowballed you? Check out this short blog to learn why.

lowball insurance settlement offerWhy do insurance companies lowball auto accident victims?

Insurance companies low ball car accident victims over and over again. Not just in your case.

There is one simple answer (with a few explanations that will follow later) – State Farm Insurance and Allstate Insurance or whatever insurance company you’re dealing with is a for-profit business. They make money from (among other things) auto insurance premiums and they save money by paying you as little as they possibly can for your damages.

Your interests are totally the opposite as State Farm’s interests – they want to pay you as little as they can and you want to recover as much as you can. That’s why they low-ball you is to pay you as little as they possibly can for your damages.

State Farm Can Save Lots of Money by Low Balling You

This might sound like a no-brainer to you, but let me explain it a little bit further about the numbers.

State Farm Insurance is the number one provider of auto insurance policies in this country. They have around 44 million auto policies and from them, they bring in about $40 billion per year.

In 2019, State Farm processed about 22,000 fire and auto claims per day (per day!). If State Farm can save $1,000 per claim by low-balling people, they can save $22 million dollars a day. That’s $8 billion a year.

They’re bringing in $40 billion in premiums and they can save $8 billion by just low-balling you by a thousand dollars on your claim.

So, there is a tremendous incentive for insurance companies to offer you less than what your claim is really worth.

How do Insurance Companies Low Ball Car Accident Victims?

So how do they do this? They do it in really four ways:

Insurance Companies Take Advantage of the System

State Farm is processing 22,000 claims a day. This is their business. They know what they’re doing. They know the ins and outs. They know ways to document your injuries, to limit your recovery.

How many times have you had to deal with an insurance company? I’m a Chicago auto accident lawyer and I get calls all the time from people who say they’ve just been involved in their very first accident. So, the battle is uneven to begin with.

One of the ways they take advantage of the system, for example, is that they get you to give a recorded statement. Giving a recorded statement to the defendant’s insurance company is a big mistake because they can use whatever you say against you down the road in your deposition or at trial.

How Insurance Companies Delay Your Claim

The second thing they do is that they try to delay your claim. They’re not in any rush. There’s really no pressure on them to get things resolved. Yes, you can file a claim with your “department of insurance” but it has very little impact on an insurance company.

The pressure is on you because it was your car that was damaged in the accident and you are the one who suffered injuries.

Each insurance adjuster is handling hundreds and hundreds of claims. Your claim is not a priority so they can take all the time they want. Often this frustrates people and they make rash decisions. They settle for an amount that they otherwise wouldn’t have settled for just to get it over with.

How Insurance Companies Deny Claims

They also try to deny claims. I’ve seen it over and over again where an insurance company will deny a claim so the accident victim files a lawsuit. The next thing you know the case is being settled for a significant amount of money.

Insurance adjusters are generally speaking not highly paid employees. They’re just processing claims. So the fact they deny your claim does have a lot of impact on their life.

So, they will deny your claim either outright or the other thing they might do is put a percentage of fault on you. For example, they will say that you are 30% at fault for the accident even though you clearly are not. But they hold the leverage and you do not. So if you want your case to proceed forward, you may have to accept a percentage of responsibility or liability for the accident.

Insurance Companies Try and Diminish Your Claim

Another thing they try and do is diminish your claim. As mentioned above, if State Farm saves $1,000 per claim, they are saving of fortune. That’s profit.

Also as mentioned previously, they might try and put a percentage of fault on you. In Illinois, if you’re not over 50% at fault for your accident, you can recover whatever balance there is remaining in damages.

So, if I’m 45% at fault for the accident, I can recover a 55% of my damages. In some states like California, if you’re 90% at fault, you can still recover for that 10%.

The bottom line is insurance companies will put a percentage of fault on you to save money. That’s all they’re doing. Often in this situation, I’ve seen these cases go to litigation where somebody actually files a lawsuit and the argument that the victim was at fault disappears.

In short, insurance companies are doing all these things that we’ve talked about because they are:

      • Counting on people who have no experience working with an insurance company, or
      • Who need the money right away, or
      • Are afraid of going to court, or
      • Do not trust dealing with a lawyer, or
      • Just want to get the process over with

Did you have an experience with an insurance company where they tried to lowball you? If so, reach out to our Chicago car accident lawyers at 1-847-305-4105 to talk about your options.

What To Say To An Insurance Claims Adjuster After a Car Accident

Were you involved in a car accident and you’re wondering what you shouldhow to deal with an insurance claims adjuster say and shouldn’t say to an insurance adjuster? Check out the blog below for some valuable information.

You were probably just in an accident and you’re wondering what you should say, what you shouldn’t say to an insurance company. So, I’m going to give you a few tips about ways to go about dealing with an insurance adjuster.

Never Admit Fault to an Insurance Claims Adjuster

The first thing you should never say to an adjuster is you never admit fault. Now you’re probably thinking that you already know that. However, there are a lot of different ways to admit fault other than just saying “I caused the accident.”

For example, if you’re talking to an insurance adjuster and you tell them that you were going 35 in a 25 mile an hour zone, you’re admitting that you’re partially at fault for that accident because you were speeding.

That’s a big mistake because the insurance company will us that information to put a percentage of fault on you for that accident or to deny liability altogether. So, try to avoid making any kind of incriminating statement when you talk to an insurance claims adjuster.

Never Give an Insurance Claims Adjuster a Recorded Statement

The second thing you should never say or agree to do with an insurance adjuster is give a recorded statement. Why? Let’s look at a hypothetical situation.

You just got in an accident and the insurance adjuster is asking you questions about your injuries. It’s not in your best interest to give them this information upfront anyways (talk to a personal injury attorney before speaking with an insurance adjuster). The reason is that you probably don’t know what your injuries are yet.

If you agree to a recorded statement and during the process of explaining your injuries, you forgot to tell them about your injured shoulder (or perhaps your shoulder hasn’t even started to hurt at the time of the recording), it will be very difficult to recover for the injury to your shoulder later on down the line. The insurance company will be sure to point out that you did not tell them about your shoulder at the time of the recording and will try and allege you did not suffer a shoulder injury in the accident.

An Exception to the No-Recorded Statement Rule

One big exception to the recorded statement rule is that if you’re dealing with your own insurance company, you’ll probably have to give a recorded statement. The reason being that in your insurance contract, you agreed to work with your insurance company in the event that you were involved in an accident.

Remember though that if you’re making a claim uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, that your own insurance company becomes adverse, they’re now your opponent. And their goal is to limit your recovery the same way the defendant’s insurance company wanted to. So be careful what you say.

Do Not Accept a First Offer or Quick Settlement

The third thing you shouldn’t do with an insurance adjuster is accept their first offer. You’re going to find that right after you get into an accident, the insurance adjuster will tell you just to send them your medical bills and they’ll offer to pay the bills and give you $500 or a $1,000 etc. for your pain and suffering.

Don’t just accept that first offer. This is a trick insurance companies use. I get calls from people all the time who agreed to a smaller amount only to find out they had bigger injuries later on.

There is no need to settle your case right away. They’re not going to pull the offer. You’ve got plenty of time in most states to file a lawsuit. I strongly recommend talking to a personal injury attorney about what the value of your case really is.

Do Not Get Mad at the Insurance Adjuster

The fourth tip I have for you is something that you really just shouldn’t do with an insurance adjuster. And that is get mad. A lot of people become very acrimonious with insurance adjusters and insurance companies.  They can be very difficult to deal with. Their interest in saving money on behalf of the insurance company, does not jive with your interests of getting compensated as much as you can.

However, getting mad and screaming at an insurance adjuster is not going to help. Instead, what I suggest you do is document everything you do with an insurance company in writing, if possible, by email or fax.

That’s the way you can build your case that the insurance company wasn’t working with you the right way. Not by screaming at an adjuster.

Do Not Trust an Insurance Adjuster

The fifth thing you should not do with an insurance adjuster is trust them. Here’s the reason why – an insurance adjuster is just a tool of an insurance company, which is a multi-billion dollar business. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible. Why? Because it contributes to their bottom line. They’re a for-profit company.

In the beginning, the insurance adjuster may be really nice. You might think – Hey, this person’s really going to work with me. I’ve seen it so many times where nine months later, accident victims are shocked and will say “he was so nice at the beginning and now he’s offering me $500 for my injuries.”

Don’t fall for it. Don’t make nice with the insurance company. And certainly don’t trust that your interests are their interests.

Get the Insurance Adjuster the Location of the Vehicle

A sixth thing that you should do right away with an insurance adjuster is don’t delay getting them the location of your vehicle. A lot of people after an accident will let their car sit in a tow yard for six weeks without doing anything.

The insurance company, if they ultimately pay those tow fees and those storage fees, is going to take it out of your property damage settlement. So, don’t delay get them the location of your vehicle right away so that the clock is running on them and not on you.

Always Get the Insurance Claim Number and Adjuster Contact Information

A seventh thing you should do with an insurance company – when you call the first time, you may just talk to an operator. Always ask whoever you’re talking to what your claim number is and if an adjuster has been assigned to the case. If so, get their contact information.

A lot of people just sit around waiting for insurance companies to contact them. You need to be proactive. Again, their interests are not your interests. You need to advocate for yourself. So, getting this information up front is a really good idea.

When You SHOULD Work with the Insurance Adjuster

Having said all of that, there are a couple of situations where some of this might not apply. First, if you’re only dealing with property damage, then a lot of this might not apply to you.

I’m a Chicago personal injury attorney so a lot of the things that I talk about are related to people who have suffered significant injuries.

If you’ve only got property damage, it may behoove you to work a little bit more with the insurance adjuster and to trust them a little bit more to get your property damage resolved.

Second, again, just a reminder that if you’re going after your own uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage from your own insurance company, they become adverse. They become your opponent. And then their goal is the same as if you filed a claim against the guy who caused the accident. They want to pay you as little and you want to recover as much as you can.

If you were injured in a car accident or other personal injury, reach out to our Chicago car accident lawyers for a free discussion about your rights at 1-847-305-4105.

How to Determine Pain and Suffering And Other Damages in a Car Accident Case

Were you involved in a car accident or other personal injury and you’recar accident settlement pain and suffering wondering what type of damages you’re entitled to? Check out this short blog article to learn more.

There really is no car accident case without ‘damages.’ Damages are an essential element to bring a claim for compensation

In this article, we’re going to tell you how to recover for pain and suffering in your car accident settlement and also what other damages you might be entitled to.

Recovering for Property Damage

The first type of damage is the one that is in every single car accident case, and that’s property damage.

Most car accidents don’t result in injuries. Rather the case simply involves property damage.

There are really two scenarios that come up: one is your car has been damaged, but it can be fixed. And in that case, the insurance company generally will send out an inspector or appraiser to evaluate your car and give an estimate for damages.

The other situation is when your car is a total loss. What is a total loss varies greatly depending on the circumstances. The insurance company will have some sort of formula they will rely on to decide if your car is a total loss and how much the actual cash value of your car is.

There are also other property damages that you don’t want to miss out on. For example, you can recover if your phone, a computer, clothing, or a pair of sunglasses (etc.) were damaged.

What’s the key to recovering for personal property damage? Photographs and receipts. You need to prove your personal injury case by showing that you suffered damage to your personal property as a result of the accident. If you provide that information, generally speaking,you can recover for those types of property damage as well.

Recovering for Medical Expenses

The second type of damage you can recover for is an economic damage and that is medical expenses. If you suffer injuries because of somebody else’s negligence, you can get reimbursed for your medical expenses.

It can be complicated however when health insurance gets involved. They often pay the provider less than the actual amount of the bill and they often seek reimbursement of the money they paid on your behalf.

So, for example, if you recover $100,000 for your damages, that money is intended to cover your medical expenses as well and your health insurance company and/or medical providers are going to have to be reimbursed out of these proceeds.

Medical expenses do not just mean bills paid to the hospital or doctors. It could include personal expenses such as copays or gauze that you had to buy to cover up wounds etc.

Just keep your receipts. You’re entitled to reimbursement for all of these expenses however, oftentimes accident victims don’t say their receipts. Then six or nine or 12 months later they say they want to be reimbursed but there is no evidence of the expense.

I always tell people to document everything – if you don’t have receipts for it, it doesn’t exist.

One final thought on medical expenses, you may be able to recover for future medical expenses as well. So, for example, if you suffered a permanent injury and you’re going to require medical treatment or care for the next 10 years, or even for the rest of your life, that is theoretically compensable as well.

Recovery for Lost Wages

The third type of damage you may be able to recover for after a car accident is lost wages or loss of income.

When you recover for lost wages there are a lot of variables. You have to prove that you lost the wages because of injuries suffered in the car accident.

Documentation becomes critical to recovering significant lost wages. We use a verification form, and we will also seek as much evidence as possible to prove our client lost the wages.

One way to do it is through the use of a lost wages verification form. If you would like a copy of our form, just email us. We’re happy to share it.

Recently cases have come up where a DoorDash driver or an Uber driver has to go into their app to get evidence of what their most recent wages were in order to prove that they actually lost income.

Also, lost wages don’t just refer to an “hourly wage.” It can refer to other things as well. For example, if you had to take vacation pay as a result of your injuries, you should be able to recover for that. Same thing for paid time off and anything else you have to use that you lost income as a result.

One last thought about lost wages, just like medical expenses, if you’re going to lose wages in the future, because you can’t work due to injury suffered in this accident, you can recover for those as well.

So, for example, if you’re a laborer and you, your arm gets broken and you can’t be a laborer anymore, you have to go into a desk job which pays less than you were getting paid as a laborer, you can theoretically recover for the difference. This is a bit complicated so consult with a car accident attorney before attempting this.

Recover for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident

The fourth type of damage you can recover for now is the one most associated with car accidents, and that is recovering for your pain and suffering.

People always want to know how much their case is worth. Think of it this way, pain and suffering is on a sliding scale with minor injuries on the left and everything up to dismemberment and wrongful death on the right. How much you recover for your pain and suffering slides in between.

If you suffered just a back sprain, chances are, you’re not going to recover much for your pain and suffering. But if you have a herniated disc or broken bones or a severe injury, chances are that your pain and suffering was much more severe.

It is very difficult to know how much someone can recover until we have reviewed all the medical records. We need to see what your medical diagnoses were, what your injuries were, whether you suffered permanent injuries, how much your medical bills are etc. Then we can try and figure out a number to demand for your pain and suffering.

The one thing I can tell you about pain and suffering is that unlike the 1980s or even 1990s, there’s no multiplier that you can use to figure out how much your pain and suffering is.

People used to take their medical expenses and multiply it times 1.5 or two or three and then demand that much from State Farm or Allstate. It doesn’t work that way anymore.

Recovery for Loss of Consortium or Loss of Companionship

A fifth type of damage that car accident victims might recover for that most people don’t know about is called loss of consortium, or sometimes it’s called loss of companionship.

If you get in a serious accident, it is possible that your injuries could have a dramatic effect on your relationship with your significant other. For example, you may not be able to engage in sex for 12 months because of the accident. The significant other may be able to file their own claim for loss of consortium.

One thing to know is that if the car accident victim’s case loses and/or is denied, then the claim for loss of consortium will lose as well.

People try to use this claim often, but I’ve found that to really recover for this is successful in really large claims.

By the way it doesn’t have to be just loss of sex, but it could be based on loss of companionship or if it puts some other sort of burden on the spouse.

Recovering for Permanent Damages or Disfigurement

Permanency is not a ‘type’ of damage per se. But it’s critical to your claim. Permanency refers to the fact that the injuries you suffered are in fact permanent – meaning, for example, that you will walk with a limp the rest of your life. Or perhaps you were you bitten by a dog on your face which resulted in scarring.

If you can demonstrate permanency as a result of an injury suffered in an accident, it is a significant contributor to how much you may or may not recover in your accident.

We prove permanency through medical records, your testimony and also often through the testimony of expert witnesses.

Can You Recover Punitive Damages After a Car Accident?

There is one type of damage that people often want to recover for in personal injury cases, but you can’t – these are called punitive damages.

Punitive damages are a form of penalty – they’re meant to punish the other party.

A car accident is generally a negligence case. Somebody accidentally caused the ‘accident.’ You cannot recover punitive damages in that situation.

Note that if there is an intentional act – e.g., an assault and battery case where somebody intentionally punches you in the face, punitive damages might then be an option. That raises other issues as insurance doesn’t normally cover intentional acts.

Just remember, that generally speaking, you cannot recover punitive damages after a car accident.

Were you involved in an accident and have questions about the type of damages you can recover for or how much your pain and suffering is worth, call our Chicago auto accident lawyers today at 1-847-305-4105.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Were you involved in a personal injury accident? And you’re wondering howpersonal injury lawyer fee much it costs to hire a personal injury lawyer? Read the short blog article below.

A lot of people will call my office after they’ve just been in a car accident and they often have the same question – is it expensive to hire a lawyer?

I’m always a little surprised by that question, because I thought it was common knowledge about how personal injury lawyers bill for their services.

Personal Injury Lawyer Fees

The first thing to know is that unlike business attorneys or divorce attorneys who charge $400 or $500 an hour, the cost to hire an injury lawyer is very different.

Instead, we work on what is called a ‘contingency fee’ basis. What is a contingency fee?

It means that the attorney will only get paid if their client recovers compensation either through a settlement or winning at trial.

The next question you’re asking is how much is a contingency fee? It’s a percentage of the gross settlement of the recovery. Typically personal injury attorneys charge one-third of whatever the gross recovery is or 33.3%.

However, some p.i. lawyers charge 30% or 40% and sometimes even higher. Note that if the case goes to litigation, meaning a lawsuit has to be filed, the attorney fees might go up.

Keep reading because at the end of this article I’ll tell you whether a personal injury lawyer’s fees are negotiable.

Positives of a Contingency Fee

First and foremost, you don’t have to pay an hourly rate and you don’t normally have to put down a retainer of $2000 or whatever the lawyer usually charges.

That’s a big benefit because the vast majority of the people who call our office can’t afford to pay that kind of money.

Cons of a Contingency Fee

There are some cons to contingency fees also. First, it’s a lot of money. You’re probably thinking a third of the gross recovery and I have to pay medical bills out of the settlement as well.

It is a lot of money. The reason though is that attorneys who take cases on a contingency fee basis are taking all the risk! Why? Because if there’s no recovery (after 18 months of investing time and money in the case) then the attorney is not going to get paid.

Personal Injury Attorneys Front the Costs of Cases

Although it doesn’t relate to ‘attorney’s fees,’ you should also know that personal injury attorneys, generally speaking, we’ll cover all the costs of the case upfront.

That is another benefit because you do not have to pay for depositions, investigators, getting the police report, and more. Rather, the personal injury attorney will pay for those and will only be reimbursed for those expenses if the case is resolved (generally speaking).

Two other things to know about contingency fees:

First, when you sign up with a personal injury attorney, make sure it’s in writing. You’re going to sign a document called a ‘retainer agreement’ which sets forth the relationship between you and the attorney.

Read it! Make sure that retainer agreement is crystal clear about the percentage that you’re paying the attorney. I’ve heard of cases where people have hired a lawyer for a car accident or other injury case and there’s no retainer agreement. That’s a big mistake.

In this era of technology, a lot of lawyers will get these retainer agreements signed electronically over the internet.

The second thing I want to point out is that most retainer agreements include something called an ‘attorney lien’ clause. That means your attorney has a vested interest or a stake in your case.

This protects attorneys from doing a lot of work and obtaining a settlement only to be fired by the client. The attorney can seek payment from the proceeds of the settlement pursuant to this clause.

Are Injury Attorney Fees negotiable?

I mentioned earlier that I would discuss whether personal injury attorney fees are negotiable. Generally speaking, they’re negotiable. You can try at least to negotiate with your attorney.

Our Chicago injury law firm does not negotiate our attorney fees because it’s a Pandora’s box. Once you start charging different clients different fees it becomes a mess.

But some attorneys might negotiate their fees with you. One tip – I might be skeptical of an attorney that charges a really low fee to get you to sign up with them. That might raise a red flag for me as to how good that attorney is.

Do you live in Chicagoland and want to speak with a Chicago automobile accident lawyer to learn about our fees and get your questions answered? Please contact us at 1-847-305-4105.

Motorcycle Insurance Coverage Recommendations

Are you looking at getting motorcycle insurance and you wanted a littleMotorcycle Insurance Coverage Recommendations advice from an injury attorney about what is the best type of motorcycle insurance, keep reading below.

As a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer, I’ve worked on a lot of motorcycle cases. So I’m trying to share some information about things that motorcycle riders should, and shouldn’t do a before and after an accident.

In this blog I want to talk about motorcycle insurance coverage. It’s not sexy, but it’s super important.

Whenever I get a call from somebody who was just in an accident, they almost always say they have ‘full coverage.’ Almost inevitably they end up not having full coverage.

There’s a misconception about what full coverage motorcycle insurance means.

Almost every state has mandatory insurance limits. In Illinois, riders have to have $25,000 in insurance.

Six Types of Motorcycle Insurance You Should Have

There are six types of motorcycle insurance that I think that every motorcycle rider should have.

top 6 motorcycle insurance types

Liability Insurance

The first type of insurance is liability insurance. But liability insurance is just the tip of the iceberg. That is the type of insurance we are required to have.

If you cause damage to somebody else while riding on your motorcycle, chances are the other party may have some property damage, but they’re not going to get hurt. You’re the one that’s going to get hurt.

So, it’s critical to have these next types of insurance.

Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage

So, the second type of insurance you should have is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage – sometimes called UM or UIM. This is actually the single most important type of insurance a motorcycle rider can have.

There’s a huge number of people driving on our streets that are uninsured altogether. And a lot of the rest of the people have the minimum insurance limits. If you get hit by a car that has $25,000 insurance, that might not even cover the medical bills of someone hit while riding a motorcycle.

So, how do you recover for your pain and suffering, lost wages and more? This is why it’s critical to have UM and UIM.

A lot of insurance companies don’t push this because insurance has become a commodity and they try to sell you the cheapest package to keep you from going from Geico to another insurance company.

Don’t fall for it. UM and UIM are critical. We recommend that you have at least $100,000 in coverage (more if you can afford it).

Collision & Comprehensive Coverage

The third type of motorcycle insurance every rider should have is collision and comprehensive coverage.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a call from somebody who said that they were involved in an accident. And they went to their own insurance company to get the property damage fixed, and they didn’t have collision coverage. That’s why collision coverage is so important. And it’s not that expensive.

Comprehensive coverage covers you if you’re not involved in an accident with another vehicle. Say for example a tree falls and hit your bike.

Medical Payment Coverage or PIP Coverage

The fourth type of insurance you should add is something that I’ve seen a lot of videos and they tell you it’s not important. It’s called med pay medical payment coverage. In some states it’s called PIP or personal injury protection coverage.

The idea behind med pay is that the first $2,500 or $5,000 or $10,000 of your medical expenses are covered by your insurance – no questions asked.

A lot of people think if they have insurance health insurance, they don’t need it. Well, you’re still going to have co-pays and those can be expensive, especially if you’re going to physical therapy. You may have to pay $20 or $40 every time you got to go.

Rental Coverage

Insurance coverage type number five is rental insurance. If your bike goes down, what are you going to ride while the bike is being repaired?

Check your policy to see if you have this type of coverage. And if not, see if you can add it.

GAP Coverage

The sixth type of insurance you’re going to want to have in your insurance policy is GAP insurance. It stands for guaranteed asset protection.

Sometimes you get this from State Farm or Allstate, but oftentimes you can get it at the dealership when you buy your bike.

Here’s the thing about GAP coverage. If you buy a $30,000 Harley, the second you take it off the showroom floor it loses value. Let’s say six months later you’re driving the bike, get in an accident the bike is totaled. The insurance appraiser says the ‘actual cash value’ of the bike is $22,000.

That leaves an $8,000 balance that you owe the finance company. Who is going to pay that if you don’t have gap insurance coverage? You are. GAP insurance is really inexpensive. So, consider getting it if you haven’t already.

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident and want to speak to a Chicago motorcycle accident attorney, reach out to us at 1-847-305-4105.

5 Mistakes to Avoid After a Motorcycle Accident

In this article we’re going to address the top five mistakes that motorcyclewhat to do after a motorcycle accident riders make after an accident.

In my many years as a personal injury attorney, I’ve probably handled a couple of hundred motorcycle accident cases. So, I’ve seen a lot of the mistakes that people make after a motorcycle accident – and they make the same mistakes over and over again. Most riders don’t know what to do after a motorcycle accident. I will shed some light on what to do.

So, I made this list of the top five mistakes that motorcycle riders make after an accident.

Mistake Number One: They Don’t Call The Police

They don’t call the police after an accident. I don’t care how small it is.

Why is this such a big mistake? There are many reasons. But in short, insurance companies want some sort of independent verification that an accident occurred. But there’s another important reason – peoples’ stories change! The same driver of a car who said, “I’m sorry” or “that was my fault” can change their story when they call their insurance company to report the accident. It happens all the time.

So, it’s critical to call the police department and get the story on the record as it happened and right after it happened.

If the police refuse to come out to the scene of the accident, because there is only property damage, still call and get the accident on the record. Then, when you are able, go to the police department and file a report on your own.

Mistake Number Two: They Don’t Contact A Lawyer

Motorcycle riders don’t talk to a Chicago motorcycle accident attorney after an incident. Now I know what you’re saying – this is a self-serving comment.

I admit it. But I say this for good reason. This game with insurance companies is totally rigged. The insurance companies know what they’re doing. They’re billion dollar companies. Motorcycle injury lawyers also know how to play the game.

But chances are, you’ve never had to deal with insurance companies before, and maybe even with a personal injury attorney for that matter. So it’s critical to at least do your research and talk to an attorney to figure out what’s going on before you call the insurance company. Because believe me, they’re not on your side.

Mistake Number Three: They Give A Recorded Statement To Their Insurance

 

This is a big one. If you do choose to work with the insurance company, one of the biggest mistakes I see people making is that they give a recorded statement to the insurance company.

You don’t want to give a recorded statement to the other side’s insurance company. They’re not doing it only just to get the facts on the accident. They can get that from you without doing a recorded statement. They’re trying to get you on the record.

Why? So they can use inconsistencies in your statements over time against you. It’s extremely difficult to tell the same story over and over again so your story at your deposition or at trial might be a little different than when you gave your recorded statement. Insurance companies will capitalize on the discrepancies.

Now, generally speaking you do have to give a recorded statement to your own motorcycle insurance company. You have an obligation to work with them.

Mistake Number Four: They Think Their Insurance Company Is On Thier Side

They think the insurance company is on their side.

When you call an insurance company, they’re nice to you and they want to help. But the insurance company is not on your side. I’ve seen it a thousand times, the same people who are really nice to you when you first call and file a claim about an accident are trying to deny, delay and diminish your claim later on down the road. So just because they’re nice upfront does not mean they have your best interests in mind.

Now, I’m talking primarily about the other party’s insurance company. Your own insurance may be very nice to you too, and that may be authentic. But remember this, the second you file a claim with your own uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist against your own insurance company, they become adverse and their interest is the same as the third parties – to pay you as little as they possibly can.

Mistake Number Five: Riders Don’t Seek Medical Treatment

And the fifth and final mistake that I see riders make all the time – they don’t get medical treatment right after the accident, or they allow a gap between medical treatment.

I get calls all the time from people and they say, I was just in an accident, should I go to the emergency room or go to my primary care physician?

In short – I don’t care. Get medical treatment right after the accident. If you don’t, the insurance company is going to use that against you to try and prove that your injuries weren’t that severe.

After an accident, your adrenaline is rushing. You don’t know what’s been injured. So don’t take any chances, got get checked out

A gap of treatment is different. Take this hypothetical: You treat for six weeks for a back sprain – then you take six weeks off from treatment for whatever reason and then you start up again.

That’s a gap in treatment and the insurance company is going to use that against you to try and prevent you from recovering for the subsequent medical treatment.

Thanks for checking out this short article on the top 5 mistakes motorcycle riders make after an accident. If you want to talk to a motorcycle lawyer in Chicago to find out if you have a case, call me at 1-847-305-4105. My calls are always free.

When Do You Need To Hire A Car Accident Lawyer?

When to Hire an Attorney After an auto AccidentFolks involved in a car accident often have lots of questions about what to do next. Do I make a claim with my car insurance company? What should I do if the other driver’s insurance company offers me money to settle my claim? Who will pay for the damage to my car, my medical bills, or the money I’ve lost because I couldn’t work? Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?

Not Every Crash Requires A Car Accident Lawyer, But Many Do

Not everyone who is in a car accident winds up hiring a collision lawyer. That’s because not every crash results in injuries or other significant damage. There are approximately six million car accidents in the U.S. every year. That equals an average of 16,000 crashes per day. Fortunately, many if not most of these accidents are fender-benders that leave behind nothing more serious than some dents, scratches, and inconvenience and require nothing beyond some body work. Such incidents usually get sorted out between the two drivers’ car insurance companies with minimal fuss.

But not every crash is a fender-bender. Many car accidents cause injuries to drivers, passengers, and others. Some of those injuries are devastating and life-changing. Such collisions can leave victims and their families reeling as they suddenly face enormous medical costs, difficult medical treatment and rehabilitation, the loss of earnings, and a life that never may be fully the same as it once was.

Of course, some wrecks are so catastrophic that they take the life of a loved one, with those left behind not only coping with grief but also worried about how to move forward without a breadwinner, a companion, a spouse, parent, or a child.

In such serious cases, the question of when to hire a car accident lawyer almost answers itself. But even “minor” injuries from a car accident can create upheaval in someone’s life and cost them a lot in medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. And some injuries from a crash may not become apparent until weeks or months later.

The Answer To “Do I Need A Lawyer After a Car Accident?” Is Found In the Answers To These Questions

If your accident resulted in injuries and losses that fall between fender-bender and catastrophe, the question of when to hire an attorney after a car accident can actually be answered by asking yourself the following questions.

Do You Want To Bear The Burden Of Injuries and Losses That Were Somebody Else’s Fault?

If you suffer injuries in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness, why should you bear all the burdens? Why should you have to cover huge medical bills, lose out on paycheck after paycheck, or endure pain or loss of mobility because someone else was irresponsible? Why shouldn’t the other driver’s insurance company pay me for my losses; after all, isn’t that what liability insurance is for?

If you want to make the negligent driver and their insurer pay for the harm and damage they caused you and your family, you should hire a collision lawyer.

Do You Want To Get Played By A Greedy Insurance Company?

No matter how warm and fuzzy their TV commercials may be, insurance companies are in the business of making money.

After your accident, the other driver’s insurer will want to try to resolve your claim quickly – and on the cheap. They’ll do so by making you an offer far lower than what you deserve or what you could get at trial. They know you have bills you need to pay and wages you aren’t earning as you recover from your injuries. They know you need the money, and they understand that any offer of quick cash can be very tempting. They also know that you may not fully grasp your rights or trust them to do right by you.

The insurance company will use this knowledge to manipulate you and convince you that you either don’t have a valid claim or that it is worth pennies. The insurer may try to get you to make a statement or admission which could hurt any car accident suit you may want to file. They’ll question the extent or cause of your injuries as well.

The bottom line is that when you negotiate your claim with a car accident insurance lawyer, you are giving the insurance company a gift. That’s because car insurance companies negotiate settlements every day – and you don’t.

Do You Want To Get The Maximum Amount Of Compensation Available For Your Car Accident Claim?

When an insurer knows that they are negotiating with an experienced car accident attorney rather than a claimant, their manipulation, intimidation, and other tactics are rendered useless. That is why car accident claimants who hire a lawyer get significantly more in compensation on average than those who don’t.

According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), injury victims who had an auto accident attorney received settlements that were 40 percent higher than those negotiated by the claimants themselves. In another study, the IRC found that claimants represented by a car accident lawyer receive 85 percent of all settlement money paid out by auto insurance companies for claims.

Do You Want To Miss Out On Compensation For Your Injuries Altogether?

If you don’t hire a car accident lawyer in time, you may lose any ability to obtain compensation for your injuries.

A statute of limitations is a law that sets forth the period within which you must file a lawsuit for a particular type of claim. Different types of claims have different limitations periods. In Illinois, lawsuits seeking to recover compensation for personal injuries, including those from a car accident, must be filed within two years of the date of the accident that caused the injuries. If you file a car accident lawsuit after the applicable statute of limitations has passed, the court will throw it out.

Do You Want To Get All The Advantages Of A Hiring A Car Accident Lawyer For Free?

If you suffered injuries in a Chicago car accident, answers, help, and a Chicago car accident attorney dedicated to your well-being is only a phone call away. And all of the advantages that come with hiring a car accident attorney won’t cost you a dime in attorney’s fees unless they recover compensation for you.

Located in Glenview, Chicago Legal Group focuses exclusively on the representation of personal injury victims, using our experience, tenacity, and advocacy skills to get our clients the compensation and resources they need to move forward with their lives.

Please contact Chicago Legal Group today to arrange for your free consultation at 1-847-305-4105.

What is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Illinois?

Right after a car accident or other incident in which you suffer a serious

illinois statute of limitations personal injury
Woman and man on phone car crash accident calling problem

injury, it can seem like time stands still. But the time you have to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries does not.

In Illinois, as in all other states, strict time limits apply to car accidents and other personal injury lawsuits. If you wait too long after your car accident to hire an attorney and file your suit, you can lose your right to seek compensation altogether, depriving yourself and your family of the money that could have helped you when you needed it most

Avoiding such a disaster is one of the biggest reasons to contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as you can after your accident.

Speaking with an attorney does not necessarily mean that you will file a lawsuit, and it doesn’t mean that you’ll be paying any attorneys’ fees, as most personal injury law firms like Chicago Legal Group offer free initial consultations.

What it does mean is that you are taking a crucial step to protect yourself and your rights before the expiration of Illinois’ statutes of limitations for car accident and personal injury cases.

What is a “Statute of Limitations”?

A statute of limitations is a law that sets forth the period within which you must file a lawsuit for a particular claim. If you file a lawsuit after the applicable statute of limitations has passed, a court will likely dismiss it.

Different limitations periods apply to different types of claims. For example, if you wanted to sue someone for breaching a written contract in Illinois, you would need to file your lawsuit within ten years after the alleged breach occurred. If you wanted to file a suit alleging libel or slander, however, you would need to do so within one year.

What Is The Statute of Limitations For Car Accidents in Illinois?

Most personal injury lawsuits in Illinois, including those arising from injuries suffered in car accidents, must be filed within two years after the date of the crash or incident that caused the injury.

This two-year statute of limitations also applies to slip and fall, dog bite, product liability, and other injury cases.

If your car accident only involved property damage, you have five years rather than two to file a lawsuit for compensation for such losses.

“Tolling” of the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in Illinois

In most car accident and personal injury cases, the clock starts ticking on the limitations period the second after the accident or incident. But certain circumstances can extend the time within which an injury victim can file a personal injury lawsuit.

The start date of an Illinois limitations period can be delayed – or “tolled” – in a car accident or other personal injury lawsuit if an injury victim is under the age of 18 or is legally incompetent.

Such individuals cannot legally file a lawsuit on their own behalf, so the statute of limitations period is tolled until the victim turns 18 or when the victim regains their mental competence. However, parents or guardians may bring an injury lawsuit on behalf of a minor child before they turn 18.

Extremely Short Time to Bring Personal Injury Claims Against the Government 

Different rules and time limits apply to car accident and personal injury claims against a government entity, such as for injuries suffered in a crash with a garbage truck or a slip and fall on government property.

In such cases, an injury victim must file a civil lawsuit for personal injury against any Illinois local public entity or any of its employees within one year from the date the cause of action accrued.

Personal injury claims against the federal government are governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). A claim against the federal government must be filed within two years of the injury. The “claim” is not a lawsuit, but rather it is a notice provided to the federal agency or entity responsible for the injury. A lawsuit cannot be filed until after the agency has formally denied the claim or failed to respond within six months.

Other specific and strict rules apply to personal injury claims against government entities. Failure to follow these rules, even if your claim is timely, can doom your ability to hold the government accountable for your injuries.

Don’t Risk Losing Your Right To Compensation For Your Injuries. Call Chicago Legal Group Today To Arrange For Your Free Initial Consultation

The best way to protect your right to obtain compensation for the injuries and loss you suffered in a car accident or other incident is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Located in Glenview, Chicago Legal Group focuses exclusively on the representation of personal injury victims, using our experience, tenacity, and advocacy skills to get our clients the compensation and resources they need to move forward with their lives. Your initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing in attorney’s fees until we obtain compensation for you.

Contact us for some free advice today at 1-847-305-4105.

Chicago Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

Why You May Need A Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

Distacted drivers continue to cause tragic accidents. Smartphones have changed the way we live. Similarly, the increasingly chicago distracted driving accident lawyer sophisticated electronic crash avoidance, navigation, and entertainment systems in our vehicles have transformed the way we drive. But as convenient and helpful as these devices may be, they are also killing thousands of Americans each year. Distracted driving – caused by texting, phone use, and a wide range of other behaviors that take a driver’s eyes off the road – is an epidemic in the United States, causing accidents, injuries, and deaths every single day.

In 2018, over 2,800 Americans lost their lives and approximately 400,000 other people suffered injuries in distracted driving accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of those killed or hurt were not in vehicles – distracted drivers killed 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists that year.

Distracted driving is negligent and irresponsible, no matter what cause. If you suffered injuries or had a loved one taken from your life because of a distracted driver, you need help and you deserve compensation and justice for your losses. At Chicago Legal Group, our experienced Chicago distracted driving lawyers have seen the tragic consequences that distracted driving causes. That is why we are committed to doing everything we can to help its victims, fighting relentlessly to get them the compensation that can help them recover.

What Leads To Distracted Driving?

When people think of distracted driving, cell phone use and texting are the first things that come to mind. Indeed, these are the leading – and illegal – distractions that cause drivers to take their eyes off the road. But plenty of other driver behaviors and activities also lead to accidents and injuries.

According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is “any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.”

There are three main types of distractions defined by the NHTSA:

  • Visual — your eyes are not on the road
  • Manual — your hands are not the wheel
  • Cognitive — your mind is not on the thing you should be focusing on

Some of the most common activities other than phone use and texting that distract drivers include:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Applying makeup
  • Brushing hair
  • Reading
  • Watching video
  • Talking with other passengers
  • Using a GPS
  • Adjusting stereo or other onboard electronics

Evidence That A Driver Was Distracted

Proving that a driver was distracted at the time they injured you can involve several different types of evidence:

  • What you saw. You may not be able to see a drunk driver’s blood alcohol level or know how much sleep a drowsy driver had the night before an accident. But in many distracted driving cases, an injury victim may have observed the other driver looking down at their phone, applying lipstick, or eating a cheeseburger immediately before the collision. If you did see behavior that could constitute distracted driving, you can and should tell that to the police officer who arrives at the scene. They can put that information in their report, which could be admitted as evidence in your car accident case, as can your own testimony about the driver’s behavior.
  • What others saw. Similarly, if other people saw the crash – passengers, other drivers, passengers – they may have noticed what the driver was doing at the time of the accident. Police can take their statements, and if you have obtained their names and contact information, your distracted driving accident lawyer can take their depositions and have them testify at trial.
  • The driver’s phone records. If the driver was using their phone or texting when the crash occurred, your lawyer can obtain records reflecting the exact time and nature of their phone use from the driver’s cellular carrier or from the device itself. If the driver sent or received a text at 2:36 p.m. and slammed into another car at that same time, that can be pretty powerful evidence that the defendant was looking at something other than the road.

Contact The Distracted Driving Lawyers At Chicago Legal Group Today To Arrange For Your Free Initial Consultation

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one because of a distracted driver, you and your family should not bear the burdens caused by someone else’s irresponsible act of negligence and recklessness. Our Chicago auto accident lawyers focus exclusively on the representation of personal injury victims, using our experience, tenacity, and advocacy skills to get our clients the compensation and resources they need to move forward with their lives. Your initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing in attorney’s fees until we obtain compensation for you.

Please contact Chicago Legal Group today to arrange for your free consultation.