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Posted on in Car Accidents

If you are in pain after an accident, you should seek medical treatment.

When someone calls who has been in a motor vehicle accident, a question I get asked a lot is, "Should I get medical treatment?" The answer I usually gives is that a person should if they are in pain. What kind of treatment? How long of a duration should an injury victim received treatment? Those are trickier questions.

Typically, when you are in a car accident, an ambulance will be called to the scene. If you are in pain, you should get medical treatment and go to the hospital by ambulance. The reasons are two-fold. First, because of the shock and adrenaline rush you experience following an accident, your body may not be telling you exactly what it needs to at that moment as to the extent of your injuries. By the time you get to the hospital, the adrenaline will have worn off and you may begin to notice pain that simply was not present at the scene. Secondly, getting medical treatment by going to the emergency room on the day of the accident documents your injuries. The longer gap of time between when you are in a collision and when you first receive medical treatment, the less likely an insurance company will consider your injuries related to the collision.

Following your emergency room visit, if you are still experiencing symptoms, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician. Depending on the nature of your injuries, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy or could send you to see a specialist. Diagnostic studies such as an MRI or CT-scan could be ordered because they show injuries an x-ray simply cannot reveal. As you recover from your injuries, the most important thing to remember is follow your doctor's orders. Do not miss appointments. If you are in physical therapy, do not cancel or skip appointments. Once you are better or when your doctor says you are at maximum medical improvement (i.e. as good as you will get medically), you can cease getting medical treatment.

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In an Auto accident? Who Should Be Paying Your Bills Right Now?

You were just in a car accident. The medical bills are piling up and you do not want your bills to go into collections and ruin your credit. You would assume that the other driver's insurance should be taking care of these bills as you incur them. Unfortunately, that is not the way it works.

In Illinois, the insurance company for the person who caused the accident (and your injuries) is not required to pay your medical bills piecemeal. Stated differently, the other driver's insurance company will not pay your bills as you receive them. They will make an offer of settlement which includes your medical bills once a demand is submitted. Often, the insurance company will offer less than the medical bills because of some suggestion that they did a cost assessment which suggests you were over billed for services.

So how do you get your bills paid while waiting for your case to resolve? The first source you should consider is your health insurance. Why? When your health insurance carrier pays a medical bill, it almost certainly gets a provider discount. Under Illinois law, you are entitled to payment of your full medical bill, not just what insurance paid. While your health insurance carrier will almost certainly demand reimbursement out of any settlement you receive, if you have an attorney, they must automatically reduce the reimbursement amount by one-third (1/3) (unless the plan is a self-insured plan under a federal statute called ERISA). For example, let's say you have medical bills totaling $10,000. Your health insurance paid $6,000 after discounts. Assuming you have an attorney, you only have to reimburse your health insurance carrier $4,000.

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What Are My Rights if I Was Injured in a Car Accident?

If you were injured while you were a passenger, you are entitled to file a third-party claim. For example, if the owner of the car in which you were riding caused the collision, you can sue that person for compensation for your injuries. Specifically, you can file a claim against the person's insurance company.

Suppose that another driver was responsible for the collision. As a passenger, you are entitled to file a claim against that person and his insurance company as well. Sometimes, things aren't as straightforward as they can be, so you might be able to file claims against both drivers. You may want to do this if one of the drivers doesn't have enough insurance to cover all of your medical expenses.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

INJURED BY UBER OR LYFT? KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

What Happens if You Get Injured in an Accident with an Uber or Lyft Driver?

One of the emerging areas of personal injury litigation relates to accidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers. This is of course ironic since many people utilize this service to avoid accidents and to be in a safer environment. Many people use the Uber and Lyft apps to get home safely after a night out. Others use it as a means of regular transportation to and from work or an airport. If you are a passenger in one of these vehicles that is involved in an accident or happen to be hit by such a driver, it is important to know your rights and ensure you maximize the damages you are entitled to. What are the requirements to become a driver for Uber or Lyft?Surprisingly, there are not that many. Generally speaking, they include:

  • Being at least 21 years of age
  • Licensed to drive in the US for at least one year (or 3 years if under the age of 23)
  • Have access to a 4-door vehicle with at least 5 seatbelts
  • Model of car requirements vary from 10-15 years of age (depending on the city)
  • Auto insurance
  • Valid Driver's License
  • Background check and complete driving record

Road tests are not required and there is no clear indication whether or not Uber or Lyft continuously update a driver's background and driving record. Furthermore, with the advent of self-driving vehicles and how new the technology is, it is almost a certainty that accidents will be on the rise. Insurance is the tricky area of Uber and Lyft litigation. While drivers are required to have insurance on their vehicles, there are multiple layers of insurance which both Uber and Lyft provide which you may be entitled to access. This is especially important in cases where the injuries are substantial or catastrophic and the driver's own insurance will not be enough to fully compensate an injured party. A seasoned personal injury attorney, particularly one who has experience litigating cases against Uber and Lyft, will be in a much better position to ascertain all avenues of recovery and find all possible insurance policies that can satisfy an injury victim's damages. Injured due to the negligence of an Uber or Lyft driver? Contact the attorneys at Woodruff Johnson & Evans to fully explore your rights and damages. Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices has three convenient locations to serve our clients from across the state of Illinois. Make an appointment to see us in the Chicago loop. Visit us at our west suburban office in Aurora. Get a free consultation at our central Illinois office in downtown Champaign. Or ask us to meet with you in your hometown. If you are injured and need legal representation, wherever you live, we are there. Call us at: 630-585-2320 or contact us online to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation today.

Posted on in Car Accidents

Aurora Injury Attorneys for Accident Victims of Distracted Drivers

We've all seen it and maybe we have even done it our self, I am referring to driving while distracted. We have witnessed the man in the car next to us running his electric shaver over his jaw. We have glanced at the woman brushing on mascara at a stop sign. We have been in a lane beside someone texting while driving. It is a fact that many auto accidents are caused by some form of driver inattention. Nearly 20 percent of the drivers who caused crashes were "engaged in at least one interior non-driving activity" otherwise known as distracted driving behavior. According to The Zebra's article Distracted Driving Statistics, in2019,distracted drivingwas a reported factor in 8.5% of fatal motor vehicle crashes.

The most common causes of distracted driving include:

  • Talking and texting on cell phones
  • Changing routes on a GPS device
  • Adjusting music or controls
  • Grooming
  • Talking to passengers
  • Not looking at the road
  • Zoning out

Our Firm Fights for Injury Victims of Distracted Drivers

Drivers have a responsibility to remain attentive while operating their vehicle. When drivers fail to exercise due caution, their inattention may cause accidents which can severely injure other motorists or pedestrians.

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