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“Selfie” accidents, a type of distracted driving, have skyrocketed in recent years. In a “selfie” accident, of course, there is almost always photographic evidence available. This evidence might be used in two different ways, however – to prove the defendant liable for the accident, or to reduce or deny the defendant’s liability by proving that the accident was at least partly the injured victim’s fault.
Taking “selfies” at the wheel appears to be prohibited by the 2014 Illinois distracted driving law, at least if a handheld device is used. There is no direct legal prohibition against a driver over 19 years old using a hands-free device to take a selfie while driving. The violation of a traffic law does not automatically result in liability. In Illinois the defendant can try to prove that his action, while illegal, was not negligent under the circumstances. Likewise, the victim can try to prove that the defendant was negligent even though he did not break any law. Either party can also try to prove that taking selfies did not actually cause the accident.
If it does, we’re not surprised. Illinois personal injury law is surprisingly complex and filled with legal nuance. There is a reason for this, subtlety – the law must be flexible enough to lead to a fair result across a wide variety of cases with differing fact patterns. Winning your case often comes down to skillfully exploiting these nuances, either in court or at the negotiating table. That is where Malman Law comes in. Every case has a winner and a loser – and at our firm, about 95 percent of our clients walk away with compensation. This can happen through private settlement (about 95 percent of the time) or through a courtroom trial. At Malman Law, it all adds up to a staggering $200 million recovered for over 20,000 clients over the last 23 years.
“Two years ago, I was involved in a trucking accident involving a 14-wheeler truck that nearly disabled me for life. Steve fought to make sure that I received the most possible compensation for my injuries. I was about to take the insurance company’s lowball offer, but decided to call Steve first – it was the best decision I’ve made yet.” – Malman Law Client “This firm has gone above and beyond to keep me updated and get answers to my questions at any time, weekends included! Malman Law rules in my opinion!” – Cheryl Wagemann
Personal Injury: A personal injury claim arises almost any time someone is injured through the wrongful act of another person. This wrongful act can be either intentional or unintentional – anything from careless driving to an intentional ramming of your car in a road rage incident can trigger a personal injury claim. Car Accidents: Hundreds of thousands of people are seriously injured in vehicle accidents every year. Most of these victims are not adequately compensated because they choose to represent themselves against stingy insurance companies, or because they retain substandard legal representation. Wrongful Death: A personal injury claim is converted into a wrongful death claim the moment that the victim dies from his injuries. Wrongful death damages are distributed among the victim’s estate and next of kin, and the amount can be substantial. Cell Phone Accidents: Technology keeps changing the rules of the road– for example, cell phone accidents have skyrocketed over the last 25 years. All use of handheld electronic devices, including cell phones, is banned behind the wheel in Illinois. Although violation of this law does not automatically result in a finding of negligence in a civil lawsuit, it drastically increases the odds. Motorcycle Accidents: Many Chicagoland drivers are simply not looking out for motorcycles the way they would if they lived in places where motorcycles are more popular. Because of this, motorcycle accidents are far more common than they should be. Unsurprisingly, the rate of death and serious injury is extremely high, and compensation awards tend to be high as well. Truck Accidents: A truck being operated by a negligent driver is about as dangerous as a missile, Truckers are subject to a myriad of regulations, and in many cases truck accidents can be traced to a violation of one or more of these regulations. Fortunately, commercial drivers are typically well-insured. Underinsured Driver Accidents: Underinsured driver accidents are particularly problematic — you may be reluctant to file a claim because you fear you cannot collect full compensation even if you win the case. In many cases, however, it is possible to secure compensation from a third party even if the at-fault driver cannot afford to pay everything. Train Accidents: Chicago local trains travel over 233,000 miles on the average weekday, about the distance from the Earth to the moon. With all that mileage, a certain number of serious accidents are inevitable. In some cases the accident is the fault of the train operator, and in other cases the fault lies with a third party.
It is said that all bargaining takes place in the shadow of the law. What this means in practice is that an insurance company (or a defendant) will have little motivation to negotiate with you unless they believe you have a good chance of winning in court. That is why it is important to prepare for settlement negotiations in much the same way as you would prepare for trial.
Not automatically. There are at least two ways that an intoxicated defendant could avoid liability:
In most cases, however, your odds of winning are very good if you can establish that the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
Not necessarily. The insurance company needs evidence to establish that the accident was partly your fault – their word is not enough. Second, even if you were partially responsible for the accident, you can still win partial damages under Illinois comparative negligence law if the other driver’s fault was greater than yours.
Under these circumstances the Illinois Wrongful Death Act applies, and the personal representative of the victim’s probate estate files a wrongful death lawsuit. If the victim left a will, the probate court will normally appoint the personal representative named in the will. If the victim left no will, the probate court will probably appoint a close relative as personal representative.
Under the Illinois statute of limitations:
Be careful – since calculating the statute of limitations deadline can be tricky, it is best to check this with your attorney after he has examined the facts of your case.
Yes, punitive damages are theoretically available under Illinois law. However, courts are reluctant to award punitive damages. This means that normally, the defendant’s conduct must have been outrageous for punitive damages to apply. A claim based on simple negligence stands little chance of qualifying for punitive damages.
Negligence per se is a legal doctrine applied by some states that treats the violation of a safety law as automatic negligence under certain circumstances. This can make it easier to win a personal injury claim. In Illinois, however, proving the violation of a safety law simply switches the burden of proof from plaintiff to defendant. So while it may make it somewhat easier to win (because you no longer have the burden of proof), it does not automatically establish negligence.
Every Illinois driver must carry liability insurance that covers at least:
Illinois is a “fault” jurisdiction. This means that you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or sue the at-fault driver, without proving that your injuries were serious or that your claim exceeds a certain financial threshold.
Depending on the details of your case, you might claim against:
Possibly. The IRS taxation scheme is the same for both courtroom judgments and private settlements. It works like this:
If you reach a private settlement, the settlement agreement should specify which amounts are being awarded for what purpose. This avoids excessive taxation.
The tricks that insurance companies use to cheat accident victims out of fair compensation are too numerous to list here. Remember that ordinary defendants can use these tactics too (especially corporate defendants). Below are some of the most commonly used tactics:
At Malman Law, you owe us nothing upfront. In fact, you will never owe us anything until we win compensation for you and the money actually comes in. And in the event that you receive nothing (which happens to only about five percent of our clients), you will never owe us anything. Since our fees are calculated as a percentage of your recovery, you are guaranteed to come out ahead as long as you win compensation.
They are very helpful, and when it comes to getting things done with your case I had the pleasure of working with Jason Kellerman he was awesome I highly recommend them.
- Britany Weaver
I’m very pleased to recommend Malman Law to my friends and relatives! I have to mention how efficient and professional in dealing with my case has been with everyone that I’ve been in contact with at Malman Law. Mrs. Sabo is outstanding as well as her secretary and assistant in responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. This firm has gone above and beyond to keep me updated and get answers to my questions at any time, weekends included! Malman Law rules in my opinion!
- Cheryl Wagemann
I’ve been knowing about this Law firm for many years through friends, referrals & advertisements, never I thought I would need their services because I believed things & situations don’t happen to me like this, long story short I was in a situation that I needed help & advice!!! In the right direction, I connected with the Firm & a very patient, understanding professional woman by the name of Margie assisted me in what I needed 🙂 Thank you I will refer as I was as referred as well This firm really does care!
- Elvira G.
I was rear-ended by a semi-truck on my way to work. I was transported to the hospital and my car was totaled. In the aftermath, Dan Petrich and Anna Schmidt from Malman Law helped me get set up with physical therapy and negotiated with the insurance companies to make sure the resulting settlement would cover my medical bills and a rental car until I could get a new car. I would highly recommend their services.
would do everything they could for me.
- Tony S.
I contacted Malman Lawafter my work injury. So professional from my first phone call. Mr. Malman’s investigator, Dan, came right out to our home. Everything was explained in detail so I know what to expect during this process. I certainly recommend anyone ever in need of a personal injury lawyer to call Malman Law. Truly the best!! Thanks, everyone!
- Devin Jones
Attorney Greg Lamorena was my lawyer when I slipped and fell. He kept me updated throughout the case and was always available to talk when I had questions. He is a great lawyer and could not be happier about my settlement!
- Annie Ong
Alexis was the attorney on my case! She kept me in the loop about everything with my case. If I had any concerns I was able to contact her and she’ll answer my questions right away. If you’re interested in working with Malman Law I would highly recommend Alexis she was GREAT. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need!
- Eugenia Cathery
They are so efficient and professional. Always available to help. Attorney Boyer was great and very good with my case. I really appreciate Malman Law. I gave them 5 stars because there is nothing higher.
- Omolewa Snyder
I have had an amazing experience with Malman law so far. From the start, Dan was super easy to work with, got me the medical attention I needed, and fast. Couldn’t ask for better communication. Neil Kilcoyne has been nothing but the best I could not recommend a better attorney. Malman Law is a 10 out of 10 law firm.
- Trevor Harris
Hi, I just want to acknowledge Jay McCarron, Kelly & the firm at Malman Law for representing me as they continue to work on my case. Thanks for keeping me updated & responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. I would highly recommend you and your firm to friends & family. E. P.
- Ernest Pitts
Alexis was the attorney on my case and she was GREAT. She made sure I was updated on everything about my case. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need.
- Ariel Fleming
I had the best experience with Jason and Jay attorneys from Malman Law they really went all the way to settle my case I’m telling you there just the best!! Recommend 100%!
- Carmen Rivera
Adam Meadow acted as the attorney for a family member who was in a car accident. He was highly personable and actively listened to our issues throughout the litigation process. He was able to get us a settlement for the reparations of the accident. We would recommend their services!
- Greg Gustafson
Excellent customer service and a great experience. Malman Law handled the whole process and it was very smooth. The settlement was a great success. I would choose Malman Law again in the future.
- Malak St.Clair
Helped me out of a big jam when my auto was hit twice when and the other drivers had no insurance. Adam Meadow is the only Lawyer I will call for helping me and my daughter.
- Devri Lott
I cannot give enough praise to the team at Malman Law, for helping with my case. My children were involved in an auto collision and the attorney Adam along with his paralegal Michelle worked diligently until the matter was resolved and my entire family was happy. I would definitely recommend Malman Law for anybody going through legal troubles.
- Adrian Lopez
A close friend recommended me to Malman Law. I currently have a case with them due to a car accident I had and ever since the accident they have been taking care of everything for me without me having to worry about anything. They took care of the medical bills & helped me get physical therapy right away. I highly recommend them.
- Vanessa Leon
Bella Feinstein, Jason Kellerman, and Terry Davey have been instrumental in helping me through many difficult situations. Not only did they work to get my mom a settlement, but they have also continued to help me through the legal process of relocating my mom to a different state. I’m very grateful for their hard work and good advice.
- Nyah Vuljanic
This law firm is the best they got me paid and Malman Law kept in constant communication with me which meant a lot to me I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who. In the position, they are awesome sincerely. Jeff walker
- Jeff Walker
Mr. Kellerman of Malman Law shows compassion for his clients. Returns calls and emails promptly, he takes time to listen to his clients, and gather facts accordingly.
- Steve Acosta
Everyone at Malman Law made me feel welcomed and heard. My lawyer, Adam Meadow, as well as staff, kept me up to date and were more than happy to do so! I would highly recommend their services. Also- a plus is many employees are fluent in Spanish. My experience was easy and worthwhile.
- Adrianna Gomez
Dan Petrich was the best man for my case of falling through my porch of an apartment I rented. He made sure I got what I deserved not only $ wise but medical wise and that my hospital bills and Dr bills were left at a $0 balance before closing my case. I was definitely happy and glad I choose him. Thank you. 5 stars
- Jose Cruz
Steve Malman helped me with my auto case. He quickly responded and answered any and all the questions I had. My case was a success as well as 2 other family members I recommended to him won their cases as well. Definitely a 5 star!
- Meagan Cruz
- Eddie Villarreal
I am very impressed with Malman Law and my experience with Tiffany Alberty. She was very professional and knowledgeable. I appreciate the great communication and never felt out of the loop. She was very patient and hard working on my case. I would highly recommend this firm. Thanks for the hard work and all your help!
- Madissen Miller
Malman Law is definitely professionals and skilled at what they do. Mr. Adam Meadow always kept me informed and never hesitated to answer my questions and was open to hearing my concerns. Wouldn’t think twice about referring them to family and friends. Thank you to all at Malman Law!
- Christina Ocon
Mailman Law, Excellent firm!! Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie Gallegos were super efficient and knowledgeable. Great communication—very quick response and great follow up! My case was resolved sooner than expected. I highly recommend them!
- Adriana Martinez
So glad I contacted Malman Law regarding my accident. Professional and caring. Thank you Mr. Malman. I most definitely recommend to anyone if you need the best to call Malman Law!!!
- Virgil Sanner
I really appreciated and enjoyed Yennin Calderon’s service. I called asking questions and she was so helpful. Not only did she answer all my questions and concerns. It was also a bonus that she was bilingual in Spanish! Loved the warmth she brought. Thank you!
- Jazlyn Caraballo
My experience with Malman Law was great. I worked with Attorney Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie. Both communicated what was going on with my case, explained the next steps, and got my case resolved early. I would highly recommend Malman Law.
- Ashley Jenkins
ALL FIELDS REQUIRED
2 years ago I was involved in a trucking accident involving a 14-wheeler truck that nearly disabled me for life. Steve fought to make sure that I received the most possible compensation for my injuries. I was about to take the insurance company’s lowball offer, but decided to call Steve first – it was the best decision I’ve made yet
NOAH TAFFELPersonal Injury Victim