A Personal Injury Law Firm Serving Greater Chicago and Illinois
The Hartford Insurance Group sits just outside of the top 10 players in the gigantic U.S. auto insurance market. Despite the millions of dollars it pays out in claims every year, the bottom line is that The Hartford operates just like every other for-profit business – it attempts to maximize revenue while minimizing expenditures. And, paying your auto accident claim is an expenditure that cuts into its profits.
When you are injured in an accident caused by another driver, you will face one of two possible scenarios: Making a third-party claim against the defendant’s insurance policy, or making a claim against your own insurance policy (if the defendant was uninsured, for example). There are two mistakes that you can make when you have a sizeable claim against The Hartford for an injury auto accident – attempting to negotiate with them yourself, and retaining substandard legal representation to do it for you. Negotiating insurance claims is what insurance companies do for a living, and they know exactly what they are doing.
It is not enough, however, to hire a lawyer who knows how to negotiate auto accident claims. Insurance companies laugh at lawyers who know how to negotiate but lack the skills to enforce their claims in court, because negotiating skills are useless without the ability to actually compel an insurance company to pay if it refuses to raise its offer. The Hartford Insurance Group knows about Malman Law from years of experience resolving claims with us – and they’re not laughing. That is one of the reasons, ironically, that we settle 95 percent of our clients’ claims out of court.
The term “95 percent” has two meanings at Malman Law – it represents the percentage of our clients’ claims that are settled out of court, and it also represents the percentage of our cases that are ultimately successful. Furthermore, our success rate is based on more than 20,000 personal injury clients over two decades of practice.
Our track record is one of the reasons why we offer our Zero Fee Guarantee – if we don’t win, you don’t pay us a dime in legal fees. Moreover, any legal fees we charge you will be proportionate to the amount we recover for you. Unlike the relationship between you and The Hartford (where they make money only by diminishing your claim), your interests will be harmonious with ours.
We understand that your main concern is to receive a recovery as fast as possible without having to settle for an amount that is less than your claim is worth, and that is what we will be aiming for from the moment we take your case. We will not hesitate to fight it out in court, however, if The Hartford insists on being stubborn.
Our Results Speak for Themselves
“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
- Vehicle accidents: A traffic accident can turn your life upside down in an instant. In most cases, however, accidents don’t “just happen” – they are caused by careless behavior such as texting while driving, speeding, drunkenness, and aggressive driving. Even if the accident was partly your fault, you may still be entitled to at least some compensation.
- Nursing home abuse: Symptoms such as fractures, bedsores, and even emotional problems can point to nursing home abuse. Since nursing homes are governed by comprehensive regulations at both the state and federal level, tracing such symptoms to a regulatory violation is often crucial to establishing liability.
- Workers’ compensation claims: Workers’ compensation rules generally apply to occupational injuries. These types of claims offer both advantages and disadvantages over ordinary personal injury claims. It is not necessary to prove employer negligence, for example; yet, damages for “pain and suffering” are prohibited. Our lawyers fully understand the Illinois workers’ compensation bureaucracy and know how to make it work for you.
- Medical malpractice: Every one of us is forced to trust a doctor with our life at some point or another, which is why it is so shocking when a doctor harms a patient by breaching that trust. Illinois medical malpractice law provides for full compensation if you know how to apply it.
- Slip and fall accidents: Slip and fall accidents result in a wide variety of injuries, ranging from sprained ankles to broken hips to lifelong paralysis. The typical slip and fall claim arises when a property owner fails to keep the property safe for visitors.
- Product liability: A product liability claim arises when a product in the stream of commerce causes injury to a user or a third party. Product liability claims work differently than other types of personal injury claims, in part because they are based on well-defined product liability statutes that do not necessarily require the victim to prove negligence.
- Dog bites: Dog bite claims are governed by the Illinois dog bite statute. This statute holds a dog owner liable for injuries caused by the dog, with no need to prove the owner was at fault. Any dog bite injury will qualify – liability is not limited to bite injuries alone.
- Wrongful death: A wrongful death claim arises when a victim with a valid personal injury claim dies from his or her injuries. Any type of personal injury can qualify, including auto accident injuries, slip and fall accidents, product liability accidents, and even intentional criminal acts. Wrongful death settlements go to the victim’s estate and close relatives.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1) Am I entitled to a minimum settlement of my personal injury claim?
No. You are only entitled to the actual damages you can prove. The three main categories of damages are:
- Economic damages: Easily quantifiable damages, such as medical bills and lost earnings.
- Non-economic damages: Intangible psychological losses, such as pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages: Damages designed to punish the defendant for particularly culpable behavior (seldom awarded).
2) Can I reject The Hartford’s settlement offer?
Yes, you can, and you should reject an inadequate offer. You can then make a counteroffer, which The Hartford will then be free to accept or reject. Normally, settlement negotiations continue even after you reject an offer. In some cases, however, the only option is to file a civil lawsuit.
3) How do I collect my settlement?
If you are negotiating with an insurance company, it will usually write you a check in exchange for your signature on a document releasing the insurance company for any further liability for your claim. If the defendant has no insurance and few assets, however, it may be difficult for you to actually collect the money.
4) How long will it take to resolve my claim?
This is a difficult question to answer without knowing the specifics of your case. Some cases are resolved in a few weeks; in extreme circumstances, however, a claim may take years to resolve. The time frame depends largely on how h3 your claim is and how stubborn the other side is.
5) What defenses can the defendant or The Hartford raise to defeat my claim?
There are many defenses that a defendant might use to try to escape or reduce their liability, depending on the facts of your case. Some of the most common are:
- Your injury was pre-existing – it was unrelated to the accident, or the accident worsened it but didn’t cause it.
- The accident was partly your fault. Under Illinois comparative fault principles, this will merely reduce your recovery as long as the defendant was mostly at fault.
- The defendant’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances and therefore not negligent.
6) Will the IRS tax me on my settlement?
- Medical expenses are non-taxable unless you claimed a deduction for them.
- Pain and suffering and similar intangible damages are non-taxable.
- You will be taxed on lost earnings compensation to the extent that you would have been taxed on these earnings, had you not lost them.
- Property damage compensation is usually not taxable.
- Punitive damages are taxable.
Take “Fate” into Your Own Hands
Your choice of law firm could turn out to be the most important decision you make from the time you are injured until the day when your claim is resolved one way or the other. When it comes to personal injury law, Malman Law plays in the major leagues – and the more than $200 million we have won for our clients testifies to this reality. We will assign your case to a team of lawyers, and although we will provide you with the attention and guidance you need, we will leave the major decisions to you after making sure you understand the issues at stake.
We will have someone available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call, both before and after we begin working together. If you cannot visit us due to your injuries, we will come to see you. The sooner you retain representation, the better your chances will be. If you believe that you might have an personal injury claim with The Hartford in Greater Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, telephone us today or contact us online for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.