Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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One of the most complex parts of a motor vehicle accident is dealing with insurance companies and understanding your rights under a policy. The experienced Chicago car accident lawyers at Therman Law Offices are committed to providing injury victims with the tenacious legal representation they deserve during a stressful and painful injury accident dispute. Insurance companies don’t always have your best interests in mind, but we will fight to make sure that you are treated fairly.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered an issue involving an uninsured motorist policy. The plaintiff suffered injuries after being struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian. The plaintiff demanded arbitration with her mother’s insurance policy because the driver of the vehicle was uninsured. The mother’s policy defined an uninsured motor vehicle as a vehicle for which there is no bodily injury liability bond or insurance policy applicable at the time of the accident. It also provides for arbitration of claims involving uninsured motorists. The insurer denied coverage based on a provision in the policy stating that in the event of an accident, written notice – including details about the incident – should be provided to the insurer as soon as possible. It also relied on a Proof of Claim term in the policy requiring that the person making a claim provide information regarding the extent of treatment.

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In a bustling area like Chicago, there are many taxis and motorists traversing the roads on a daily basis. This increases the odds that you could be involved in an accident. As dedicated Illinois car accident lawyers, we have handled a wide variety of crashes, including complex accidents involving multiple parties and insurers.

A recent appellate opinion discusses many issues arising from an accident in which a taxicab operator struck a motorcyclist. The plaintiff in the action was the Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund (IIGF), which sought a declaratory judgment against the cab company and the Chicago Taxi Association, providing clarification about the insurance coverage in the underlying personal injury lawsuit.

The lower court concluded that the cab company was not covered and granted summary judgment in favor of IIGF. The cab company appealed on several grounds. First, it contended that the theory of estoppel or waiver prevented IIGF from asserting that it did not have to cover the accident. Second, it alleged that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment. Finally, it argued that the lower court erred in refusing to grant its motion to reconsider.

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When it comes to a personal injury claim, many issues may arise regarding insurance coverage. Having a seasoned Illinois car accident lawyer on your side to help you navigate this process and to ensure that you are treated fairly can make all of the difference. A recent Illinois appellate court decision discussed whether an insurance company had a duty to indemnify its insured in a personal injury action.

The facts that gave rise to the dispute are as follows. A woman filed a lawsuit to recover damages from the driver of a vehicle that struck her vehicle. The woman alleged that the other driver acted negligently when he caused the vehicle he was driving to collide with her vehicle. The woman also alleged that the other driver was driving a vehicle negligently entrusted to him by the insured. More specifically, the woman alleged that the insured knew or should have known that the other driver was intoxicated.

The insured’s insurance company filed for a declaratory judgment, seeking a declaration describing whether it had a duty to defend the insured and the other driver in the lawsuit. Initially, the trial court granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of the insurance company. It concluded that the insurance company did not have a duty to defend the insured or the other driver. The woman appealed the trial court’s decision regarding this lack of a duty to defend either party.

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When you are injured in a serious accident, there are certain things that you must consider, including getting prompt medical attention and dealing with the inconvenience and stress that the accident causes in your life. Having a seasoned Chicago motorcycle accident attorney on your side can help you understand your legal rights and navigate the legal system efficiently and correctly. As a recent appellate opinion illustrates, failing to abide by certain rules can have devastating consequences for your right to recovery.

The plaintiff filed a complaint against the County of Winnebago, stating that he was injured in a motorcycle accident as a result of a defective roadway. The defendant moved for summary judgment, and the court entered a judgment in favor of the defendant based on this motion. The plaintiff decided to file a motion to reconsider, which would have been due on January 3, 2017, pursuant to court rules and the order entering judgment in the defendant’s favor.

The plaintiff filed a motion to reconsider that had a date stamp of January 4, 2017. The next day, the plaintiff filed a motion seeking for leave to file his motion to reconsider nunc pro tunc, which means in an effort to correct a prior action and to have the newly filed motion deemed timely. In support of this request, the plaintiff alleged that he suffered from an illness and that because of deadlines in other cases that his attorney was handling, he was unable to file by the deadline. He also cited technical difficulties with the website used to file documents. The plaintiff cited a provision in the Illinois Supreme Court Rules regarding system and user errors and attached an affidavit from the attorney’s paralegal describing her attempt to file the document two minutes before midnight on the date it was due.

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There is nothing more devastating than losing a loved one in a fatal auto accident. As compassionate and experienced Chicago car accident lawyers, we have seen numerous wrongful death actions arising from another individual’s carelessness. One of the most common ways that these accidents take place is motor vehicle collisions. A recent Illinois appellate opinion discusses liability in a fatal car crash, along with the importance of filing the action within the statute of limitations.

The plaintiff’s brother was killed while walking in a crosswalk when he was struck by a tow truck. The decedent’s brother contacted an attorney to bring a civil claim against the defendant. The attorney filed this lawsuit exactly two years and a day after the date of the accident. The case went through a number of other procedural issues, including a dismissal for lack of prosecution. The new attorney filed a petition for relief from the judgment based on a variety of grounds, including evidence that the prior attorney suffered a stroke while representing the plaintiff and was unable to practice law. The parties disputed whether the plaintiff actively prosecuted the claim, and the defendant argued that the claim was filed after the statute of limitations, rendering it time-barred.

The plaintiff countered the statute of limitations argument by saying that the plaintiff died the day after the accident as a result of his injuries and that the plaintiff was legally disabled from the moment of the accident until the moment he died, effectively tolling the statute of limitations. The plaintiff also wanted to add a claim for wrongful death, which had not been pled in the original complaint.

One of the biggest headaches that people face after a motor vehicle collision is negotiating with insurance companies and navigating their insurance policies. Not all policies are the same, and insurance companies often bury key language in legalese or at the end of the document. Knowing when you need to submit certain pieces of information or identifying key deadlines is critical. At Therman Law Offices, our team of Chicago car accident lawyers is standing by to help you make sense of your insurance policy and to ensure that you are treated fairly.

A recent appellate decision highlights the complications that can arise with insurance claims after a car accident. The plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle crash in 2007 with an uninsured driver. The plaintiff promptly notified her insurance company of the accident. She kept in contact with her assigned insurance representative and updated the representative about her medical treatment and missed work.

In 2009, the plaintiff demanded arbitration with her insurer but did not include the name of the arbitrator whom she intended to use. The insurer denied the request and filed a declaratory judgment action against the plaintiff, asking for a declaration that her demand for arbitration was untimely because it was not submitted within the two-year time period required in the policy. The plaintiff filed a counterclaim, seeking a declaratory judgment and requesting arbitration. This time, the plaintiff included the name of an arbitrator.

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One of the most critical aspects of any car accident case is the discovery phase, in which the parties request information about the accident and each other’s background. Although it is clear that certain types of information are discoverable, there are frequent disputes regarding whether other categories of information and documents must be produced, including medical records. As seasoned Chicago car accident lawyers, we are experienced in handling discovery and know how to ensure that the other side plays by the rules. A recent appellate case demonstrates a common dispute regarding medical records in auto accident cases.

The facts of the case are as follows. The plaintiff filed a negligence action against the defendant in 2015, alleging that the defendant struck the plaintiff with his vehicle while she was crossing the street in a crosswalk. The defendant asserted an affirmative defense to the complaint allegations, arguing that the plaintiff failed to keep a proper lookout and failed to cross the street properly. The defendant also alleged that the plaintiff was intoxicated at the time of impact and that the plaintiff’s negligence rendered her at least 50% or more at fault for the accident.

During discovery, the plaintiff sent interrogatories to the defendant, which included a request regarding any medical or physical conditions that required a letter of physician’s approval for the defendant to drive. In response, the defendant indicated that he required a letter of approval involving a diabetic reason and identified the doctor who provided the letter. The plaintiff had also requested the identity of any eye doctor or general practitioner who had treated the defendant in the last 10 years. The defendant claimed that these requests sought information that would violate HIPAA and the doctor-patient privilege. He also asserted that his medical health at the time of the accident was not an issue in the litigation.

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Even if you can establish that the person who caused your injuries acted negligently, you still may not receive compensation. Personal injury lawsuits are complex and require plaintiffs to prove a variety of factors in order to recover compensation for their injuries and damages. For example, the plaintiff must also prove that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of the injuries that he or she sustained. As seasoned Illinois car accident lawyers, we have handled a variety of cases that involve complicated causation matters. As a recent appellate opinion shows, having an experienced attorney to guide you through the process can make all of the difference.

The facts of the case are as follows. The plaintiff was driving in stop-and-go traffic when a vehicle traveling behind her struck the back of her vehicle. As a result of the impact, the plaintiff’s vehicle struck the rear of the vehicle that was traveling in front of her. The plaintiff also testified that she struck her knees and body on the dashboard of her vehicle at the time of the impact. The plaintiff was taken to an emergency room and advised to make an appointment with her family physician. Her doctor examined her and concluded that her injuries were a result of the accident. He advised her to undergo physical therapy, which she did. Some time thereafter, the plaintiff reported experiencing new pain and injuries, which the doctor also attributed to the accident. He then referred her to a surgical doctor, concluding that physical therapy was not improving her injuries.

The plaintiff underwent additional treatment, testing, and examinations. At each step, her doctors concluded that her pain and injuries were results of the accident. In total, the plaintiff’s bills amounted to a little under $30,000. During trial, the defendant offered evidence from an expert orthopedic surgeon, who testified that the plaintiff’s medical records included information suggesting that she had experienced back pain and injuries to her back before the accident occurred. The medical records included information about treatments that the plaintiff had undergone for various complaints, including numbness, tingling, chronic pain, and discomfort.

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As seasoned Chicago car accident lawyers, we often deal with insurance companies that provide insurance coverage to the parties involved in an accident. Although there are some instances in which an insurance company will comply with the terms of its policy, there are far too many other instances in which the company refuses to play fair, to the detriment of the victim. A recent lawsuit demonstrates the challenges that insurance companies can cause in a car accident lawsuit.

In 2008, the plaintiffs were involved in an accident with a rental car that had been stolen from a rental agency. At the time of the crash, the plaintiff’s vehicle was insured. The car rental company denied coverage on the basis that its vehicle had been stolen, so the plaintiff sought coverage through the uninsured motorist provision of her policy. The coverage contained an arbitration clause providing that any dispute regarding the amount of coverage provided must be handled in arbitration. After the accident, the plaintiff’s lawyer sent a letter to the insurance carrier, stating that she demanded compensation under the uninsured motorist provision. It specifically made a demand for an arbitration proceeding if the claim was not resolved within two years of the date of the accident. The policy also included a provision barring any arbitration or lawsuits against the company more than two years after the date of the collision. The attorney sent two additional letters, and eventually, the insurer rejected the plaintiff’s request for uninsured motorist coverage. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit, alleging breach of contract and bad faith.

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It is not uncommon for car owners to loan their vehicles to other individuals. Whether it is a friend helping another friend get to work, or a parent asking a child to take someone to the airport, loaning your car to another driver carries significant liability and demands careful consideration in some situations. As a recent Illinois appellate case demonstrates, being involved in an accident with a driver who was loaned a vehicle by the car owner requires a special burden of proof and involves unique legal issues that often require the experience and knowledge of a Chicago car accident lawyer.

The facts of the case are as follows. The plaintiff alleged that he suffered injuries when he was involved in an accident with a 15-year-old driver who possessed a valid Illinois driver’s permit. On the morning of the accident, the driver’s father asked the minor driver to move the family’s vehicle to another parking space. The father also asked the son to perform this task so that he could observe the son’s parallel parking skills. Then, after the vehicle was parked, the father and son prepared to depart to take the son and his brother to school. As the son prepared to exit the parking space, he pushed the gas pedal instead of the brake by accident, causing the vehicle to hit the car in front of his vehicle. The plaintiff happened to be standing in front of the car that the son hit, which resulted in the plaintiff being pinned between that car and the car in front of it.

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