An Auto Accident Attorney Serving Erie Insurance Policy Owners in Greater Chicago and Illinois
Erie Insurance doesn’t quite qualify as one of the top-tier players in the auto insurance industry, but they still insure millions of clients. Although that might be a justifiable source of comfort to you, it is still important to remember that the relationship between an insurance company and a client or a third-party claimant is troubled with a built-in conflict of interest – the less they pay to settle your claim, the more of your money they get to keep. And that is exactly why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you if you have a sizeable claim against them.
At Malman Law, we are big enough to wield clout, but small enough to resist the temptation to treat clients as mere case numbers. What we see when we meet an injured client is a human being, in pain and under financial distress. Despite the financial pressures bearing down on you, you don’t need to worry that you can’t afford to pay for a lawsuit. Unlike Erie, we have no conflict of interest with you – we are so confident that we can add you to our long list of happy clients that we offer our Zero Fee Guarantee – you won’t have to pay us anything up front, and if we don’t win, you will owe us nothing for the entire case. We don’t earn a dime unless you do.
We almost always settle our client’s claim, but we are ready to fight it out in court if needed
From the moment when we take your case, we will be aiming to reach an out-of-court settlement – and that is exactly what happens in well over 90 percent of our cases. If we weren’t who we are, that would be problematic. Insurance companies like Erie frequently make mincemeat out of inexperienced lawyers at the negotiating table, since they negotiate insurance claims for a living.
Even mastery of negotiating skills is not enough to protect your interests, however – insurance companies negotiate out of necessity, and they are disinclined to raise an anemic settlement offer unless they are convinced that you have the ability to force them to pay in court. A lawyer with h3 negotiating skills but no courtroom prowess cannot win the respect of an insurance company. We don’t worry about that, because we don’t have that problem – insurance companies know our reputation, and they know we are not to be trifled with.
“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
- Personal injury: “Personal injury” is a catch-all term that includes any claim for an injury you may have suffered that was caused by someone else’s wrongful act or omission. Sizeable personal injury claims can get complex, and they require experienced legal representation to maximize your chances of victory.
- Nursing home abuse: Nothing is more infuriating than the sudden realization that your elderly loved one is being abused by caretakers in a nursing home. Abuse takes many forms – some of it is active and some of it is passive, while some of it is negligent and some of it is intentional.
- Vehicle accidents: Traffic accidents claim hundreds of lives in Illinois every year and leave many more with serious injuries. Furthermore, they are usually someone’s fault. When that “someone” isn’t you, yet it is you who are lying in a hospital bed recovering from your wounds, it’s time to call an accident and injury attorney.
- Workers’ compensation: Workers’ compensation law is a maze of byzantine corridors and bureaucratic obstacles, at least without the help of an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer. Workers’ compensation claims are easier to win than ordinary personal injury claims, but it is harder to obtain high damages awards. In some cases, however, you can bypass the workers’ compensation system completely and receive full compensation.
- Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice occurs on a scale that horrifies experienced personal injury lawyers like us. When a healthcare provider harms you through unprofessional conduct, a medical malpractice attorney with a thorough understanding of Illinois medical malpractice law can be literally worth his or her weight in gold, considering how much can be added to the value of your recovery.
- Slip and fall accidents: Falling down a flight of stairs or even slipping on a wet floor can seriously injure you, especially if you are elderly. What you may not realize is the extent to which shop owners and even private homeowners are responsible for ensuring the safety of guests who enter their premises.
- Product liability: A defective product, such as a malfunctioning brake drum or a medicine with unexpected side-effects, can disable or even kill you without you ever becoming aware of the danger until it is too late. Fortunately, you can win an Illinois product liability claim against a manufacturer without even proving that the manufacturer was at fault.
- Dog bites: Illinois dog owners are held strictly liable for the actions of their dogs. This means that you can win a dog bite case without having to prove that the owner negligently supervised the dog. Homeowner’s insurance generally covers these claims. A dog owner is likely to raise legal defenses, however, that could greatly complicate your case.
- Wrongful death: A wrongful death claim is filed by the personal representative of the deceased victim when a personal injury results in the death of the victim. Wrongful death recoveries are typically large, especially if the victim was a young adult with dependents. Compensation goes mostly to close relatives.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is comparative negligence?
Comparative negligence is a concept that allows Illinois courts to apportion fault for an accident when both parties were at fault. Under Illinois comparative negligence rules, a court will assign each party a percentage of fault based on the evidence. A party 50 percent or more at fault will recover nothing, while a party less than 50 percent at fault will recover his or her own damages minus a discount that equals his or her percentage of fault. If the individual was 25 percent at fault, for example, 25 percent will be subtracted from damages.
Can I reject Erie’s settlement offer?
Yes, you can, and you should reject it if it is inadequate. Insurance companies will typically try to lowball you by offering you a quick but inadequate settlement, hoping that you will jump at the chance for a quick buck. Rejecting a settlement offer doesn’t necessarily mean a lawsuit – settlement negotiations typically continue even after the first rejection.
How do I collect my settlement?
If your case is settled, in most cases Erie will simply write you a check. If you win a courtroom verdict and they decide to get stubborn (an unlikely scenario), you may need to institute a separate collection lawsuit asking the court to seize their assets and transfer them to you.
How long will it take to resolve my claim?
This is an impossible question to answer without knowing more about your case. Some claims are resolved in a few weeks, while others take years. A lot depends on the size of your claim, the evidence in your favor and, of course, the skill of your accident attorney. Lawsuits typically take longer to resolve than settlements.
What defenses can the defendant or Erie raise to defeat my claim?
Any number of possible defenses may apply, depending on the facts of your case. Some of the most common are:
- Comparative fault: The accident was partly your fault.
- Pre-existing injury: Your injury was not caused by the accident.
- Someone other than the defendant is liable for the accident (if you sue a trucking company for the negligence of a truck driver, for example).
Will the IRS tax my settlement?
- Any amount for lost earnings will be taxed at the same rate they would have been taxed, had you earned them instead of won them at the settlement table.
- Medical expenses will not be taxed unless you claim a deduction for them.
- Pain and suffering damages will not be taxed.
- Punitive damages, if you receive them, will be taxed at ordinary income tax rates.
Contact the Professionals at Malman Law
Our track record speaks for itself. Here at Malman Law, we have spent the last two decades recovering literally hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients. A 95 percent success rate for over 15,000 clients has led to more endorsements from satisfied clients than we have room to include on this website. Obviously, this is a source of great satisfaction for us.
We will have someone available to speak to you 24/7, and if your injuries prevent you from coming to our office, we will come to you. If you believe that you might have an Erie auto insurance claim in Illinois or Greater Chicago, phone us today or contact us online for your free case consultation.