Archive for the ‘ Car Accidents ’ Category

Uber Or Lyft Accident In Chicago? Here’s What To Do

Posted on: November 24, 2017 by in Car Accidents
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Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have expanded – all over the world – with astonishing speed. But what happens if you’re injured in a traffic crash while you are an Uber passenger or a Lyft passenger? How does their insurance coverage work? Are you covered if you’re seriously injured? Here in the greater Chicago area, before you order another ride on your smartphone, you need to know.

Uber is a unique business success story. Founded less than nine years ago, today the company is valued at $70 billion. Uber estimated in 2015 that it was serving more than two million customers every day. In fact, the rideshare industry has expanded so rapidly that many rideshare drivers – as well as their customers – may not fully understand all of the risks involved with transporting passengers commercially.

The insurance coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers and passengers depends on a driver’s “status” – that is, whether or not the driver is carrying a passenger, is waiting for a passenger, or is off duty. When a rideshare driver has a passenger, Uber and Lyft cover both the driver and passenger with a one-million dollar liability policy and a one-million dollar uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF YOU’RE INJURED RIDING WITH LYFT OR UBER?

In most accidents that involve rideshare vehicles, passengers should be covered by Uber’s or Lyft’s insurance policy, without regard to which driver was responsible for the accident. However, if your injuries are severe or catastrophic to the extent that your final damages exceed a million dollars, you may face some difficulty obtaining the full compensation you need and deserve.

That’s because rideshare drivers are categorized by Uber and Lyft not as employees, but as contractors, and while employers in most cases can be held liable for the actions of employees, in most cases they cannot be held liable for the actions of independent contractors. Thus, if an injured passenger’s damages surpass Uber’s or Lyft’s million dollar limit, that person will very likely need a personal injury attorney’s help.

If you are a pedestrian, or if you are a driver or a passenger in another vehicle, and you are injured by an Uber or Lyft driver, you are only covered by the rideshare company’s policy if the driver was carrying a passenger or was in route to pick up a passenger. Again, how the accident is handled depends on the driver’s status, because drivers are only covered by Uber or Lyft if they are carrying a passenger or in route to pick one up.

Consumers should also understand that although they are “covered” as rideshare passengers, the insurance companies which provide that coverage are like every other auto insurance company. If you are injured as a rideshare passenger, the rideshare company’s insurance provider may seek to limit its liability and to compensate you as little as possible for your injuries.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’RE INJURED RIDING WITH LYFT OR UBER?

Thus, if you are injured in a traffic collision in or near Chicago while you are an Uber or Lyft passenger, it’s best to get the advice and insights of an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney – and to seek that advice as soon as you have obtained medical treatment after the accident.

If you are injured as an Uber or Lyft passenger, take most of the same steps you would take if you were a driver in any other accident. Summon medical help to the accident scene, and call the police. Try to obtain as much information as you can from the drivers – names, driver’s license numbers, personal contact information, and how to contact their insurance companies.

Take photos of the accident and your own visible injuries. If there were eyewitnesses, try to get their contact information as well. If you do not think that you’ve been injured, have a healthcare provider examine you anyway within 24 hours. An undetected or latent injury can emerge later as a serious medical problem, and if you require compensation, you will need the paperwork that medical exam provides.

If you are injured as an Uber or Lyft passenger, or if you are injured by an Uber or Lyft driver, do not provide an insurance company with a written statement or a recorded statement, and do not sign any insurance documents before you speak with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. You might unknowingly sign away your right to bring a legal action.

WHY SHOULD YOU AVOID A QUICK SETTLEMENT?

Never settle hastily with an insurance company. Instead, exercise patience, and seek advice from your doctor as well as your personal injury lawyer. If you think that you will recover rapidly from your injuries, and you agree to a quick settlement, you’ll be waiving any right to additional compensation if your medical condition changes.

When the amount of compensation that an injury victim needs is substantial, negotiating by yourself with an insurance company is not a good idea. However, an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney negotiates with insurance companies regularly, understands what to expect, and knows what is required to succeed on an injury victim’s behalf.

After a serious injury, you should be allowed to focus on recovering and regaining your health. Let an experienced personal injury lawyer provide sound advice, protect legal your rights, manage your injury claim, and fight for the compensation and justice that injury victims need and deserve – while you concentrate on recuperating.

HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION?

If you’ve been seriously injured, it’s important to act quickly. Illinois’ statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the injury or injuries, and after two years, your case will not be heard. But you should not wait two years – or even two weeks – to consult a personal injury attorney regarding your rights and options as an injury victim. If you are injured by a negligent driver in this state, compensation is your right.

Rideshare drivers and passengers need to understand both their risks and their rights. Ride-sharing can be smart, fast, convenient, and less expensive than other ways of getting around the Chicago area, but there is also risk. As the risks linked with ride-sharing are understood and reduced, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft should continue to be popular with consumers in Chicago and around the world.

Insurance Company Denied Your Claim? Here’s What To Do

Posted on: June 22, 2017 by in Auto Accidents, Car Accidents
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More than ten million automobiles, trucks, and other motor vehicles are registered and insured in the state of Illinois. If you are driving or riding in one of those vehicles and you are injured in a traffic collision, you will probably file an injury claim with an insurance company, either your own company or the other driver’s.

However, in some cases, the insurance company may insist that the insurance policy you are making a claim against does not cover your accident. You may even receive a letter from a company attorney telling you there is no coverage.

Don’t be intimidated. That’s almost always an insurance company’s initial negotiating position – not the end of negotiations but the beginning. If a negligent motorist’s auto insurance company – or your own insurance company – will not pay your claim after you’ve been injured in the state of Illinois or if the company refuses to negotiate with you, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit with the advice and help of an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney.

When an insurance company is not straightforward with you – and even if you don’t end up suing the company – you should still have sound legal advice and the insights of an Illinois personal injury lawyer who routinely battles the insurance companies and knows how they operate. The right attorney can explain your rights and options, and if necessary, advocate on your behalf for the compensation – and for the justice – that are rightly yours.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’RE TOLD THERE’S NO COVERAGE?

So, why would an insurance adjuster tell you that your policy – or the other driver’s policy – does not cover your accident? The adjuster might say that the policy has lapsed or expired, or that the nature or location of the accident makes that accident an exception.

But an insurance company’s claim that there is no coverage does not end your effort to obtain compensation from the company. It’s simply one more element in the overall picture.

If you are told there is no coverage, ask the insurance adjuster to furnish you with an explanation in writing that spells out why the insurance company insists that there is no coverage. The letter should cite the specific provisions in the policy that restrict coverage. The company’s response in writing gives you the opportunity to respond in kind and to challenge the insurance company’s denial of your claim with precise details.

If the insurance adjuster will not provide you with an explanation in writing, write a letter to the adjuster’s manager or claims supervisor. Recount your discussion with the adjuster and the adjuster’s refusal to cooperate with you.

Make a copy of the letter for yourself, and send it “return receipt requested” so that you will have proof that the company received it. Your letter may put pressure on the company to take action, and if you eventually have to take legal action, it’s evidence of the company’s unwillingness to cooperate.

When an adjuster tells you that a policy does not cover your accident and injury, the adjuster may tell you that is the judgment of the insurance company’s lawyers. You may even receive a letter to that effect from an attorney representing the company. Don’t be intimidated – it’s just one attorney’s opinion.

WHAT IF THE INSURANCE COMPANY IS RIGHT AND THERE’S NO COVERAGE?

However, after talking with the adjuster and reading the key sections of the policy, if you suspect that the adjuster is right and the policy offers no coverage, speak to an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. A good personal injury lawyer may be able to identify another party with liability – that is, another potential source of compensation.

If a defective auto part or a poorly-maintained highway had any role in the accident, you make have a claim against the part manufacturer or against the government agency responsible for highway maintenance. If the collision involved a commercial vehicle, liability could potentially be shared by several parties.

From the moment a traffic collision happens, you need to think about liability, insurance coverage, and compensation for damage and injuries. Report any crash with injuries to the police so that you can receive a copy of their traffic crash report. You’re going to need it. Make sure the police include the complete insurance details in their traffic crash report, and then notify your auto insurance company at once.

WHAT IS INSURANCE BAD FAITH?

In the state of Illinois, when an automobile insurance company fails to meet its responsibility to an injury victim and does not exercise “good faith,” that injury victim may file a “bad faith” lawsuit against the insurer.

An insurance company may be operating in bad faith if it handles your claim carelessly or unjustly by giving you no reason – or false reasons – for rejecting your claim or by:

  • endlessly asking for more information in order to keep delaying payment
  • offering you only a small percentage of your claim’s actual value
  • failing to return calls or respond to letters or emails

Sometimes, hiring a lawyer who is experienced with insurance bad faith claims is all it takes to make an insurance company responsive and cooperative. If your bad faith claim against an insurance company prevails, you may be awarded the original amount you were denied plus your attorney fees and any additional monetary penalties ordered by the court against the insurer. Illinois law places a cap on the amount of monetary penalties that can be ordered in insurance bad faith cases.

If you are seriously injured by a negligent driver it may be best to avoid making any statement to the insurance company, agreeing to a settlement, or signing any insurance documents before consulting an Illinois personal injury lawyer. When you’re recovering from serious injuries, you need to focus on your health and let your lawyer handle the legal matters on your behalf.

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Posted on: September 30, 2016 by in Car Accidents
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Working people in the United States simply do not get enough sleep. About fifteen percent of the adults in the United States could be described as “insomniacs,” but more than one in three of us have trouble sleeping at least once a week, according to the National Sleep Foundation. While sufficient sleep is essential to good health, insomnia poses a more immediate risk to all of us – personal injury. In fact, drowsy driving is responsible for thousands of fatalities each year in traffic collisions that cost the nation more than $100 billion annually, according to figures released in August by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Drowsiness behind the wheel doesn’t garner the attention given to drunk driving and distracted driving. Diagnosing insomnia as the cause of any particular wreck is difficult. When someone dies crashing his or her car into a tree, and no alcohol or drugs were involved, was drowsiness the cause? It’s impossible to know. Investigating police officers identified drowsiness as the cause of at least 72,000 traffic accidents from 2009 through 2013, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Those collisions resulted in about 41,000 injuries and 800 fatalities.

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The AAA Foundation reports substantially different figures. AAA estimates that drowsiness causes about 328,000 accidents a year, with approximately 109,000 injuries and about 6,400 fatalities. The wide statistical differences between the two reports point to the difficulty of assigning insomnia as the cause of any particular crash. But in the end, the NHTSA and AAA figures send one powerful message – insomnia behind the wheel is dangerous and often deadly. Dr. W. David Brown, who is board certified in behavioral sleep medicine, says, “Falling asleep while driving is a near-death and near-homicidal experience. It must be treated that seriously.”

WHAT’S THE SOLUTION TO DROWSY DRIVING?

Registered nurse and certified clinical sleep educator Terry Cralle says that one problem with drowsy driving is the way we speak about it: “I hate the term drowsy driving – it’s too benign and does nothing to convey the seriousness, the harm and heartbreak that drowsy driving causes. I have seen too many broken bones and lives shattered as a result of drowsy driving. It’s deadly but very few people understand the seriousness of this problem.”

Cralle adds that “People are under the misconception that they can turn up the radio or open the window to stay awake while driving – and that is simply not the case. Drowsy driving continues to fail to get the attention it warrants – and it’s simply too dangerous to continue to languish as a non-issue when it comes to our collective health, safety and well-being.”

Pam Fischer is a former New Jersey highway safety official who wrote the report released in August by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Titled “Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do About It,” the report runs to 73 pages. Ms. Fischer told USA Today, “Drowsy driving is more pervasive than we recognize, more commonplace and we’re all guilty of it. And we have the ability to correct it. The fix is simple: Get more sleep.”

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When asked, Modesto personal injury lawyer Jeffrey Nadrich says “the risks of drowsy driving are quite similar to the risks of intoxicated driving”. Insomnia and alcohol both lead to a slower reaction time, slower thinking processes, and the possibility of nodding off while behind the wheel. The average driver, when awake for twenty-one straight hours, will drive in a manner comparable to someone with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent, the definition of intoxicated driving. Dr. W. David Brown says, “In many ways the sleepy driver is more dangerous than the drunk driver. The drunk driver has an impaired perception of the environment. The asleep driver has no perception of the environment.”

Dr. Brown explains what happens to the drowsy driver: “When sleep deprived, individuals begin to experience micro sleeps. You have seen someone in a micro sleep. You may be talking to them and their eyes may be open, but you know no one is home. A micro sleep occurs before the head bobs or the eyes close. During a micro sleep, the individual is cut off from the environment. Traveling 60 miles an hour with a 5-degree deflection, it takes only seconds to go off the road.”

Everyone knows what the basic symptoms of insomnia are: fatigue, reduced cognitive function, irritability, and sleepiness through the day. Insomnia puts its sufferers at risk for heart problems, respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, allergies, obesity, diabetes, digestive problems, severe headaches, and more. But if you suffer from insomnia, it may not have occurred to you that insomnia increases your chances of sustaining – or causing – a severe personal injury.

Without sufficient sleep, and especially as we get older, our health will suffer. And while insomnia tends to be associated with older drivers, everyone’s at risk. Dr. Brown writes, “My study showed that 17% of teens have already fallen asleep at least once while driving. These teens had only been driving for one year.” If you’re injured in traffic in the greater Chicago area because another driver was fatigued or asleep behind the wheel, an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover reimbursement for your medical costs and your other injury-related losses.

Drowsy driving continues to be the leading cause of traffic collisions involving large commercial trucks. You almost certainly know about the June 2014 tragedy on the New Jersey Turnpike that seriously injured television star Tracy Morgan and killed his friend, comedian James McNair. A Wal-Mart truck rear-ended the limousine that the two were riding in because the truck driver was fatigued, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The Wal-Mart driver had been behind the wheel for more than 25 hours at the time of the crash, according to the lawsuit filed by Mr. Morgan’s attorneys.

In 2011, fifteen passengers died when the bus they were riding from Connecticut to New York crossed a paved shoulder, hit a guard rail, and skidded more than 500 feet. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the catastrophe was caused by a “perfect storm” of sleep deprivation and speed. The driver “was impaired by fatigue at the time of the accident due to sleep deprivation, poor sleep quality and circadian factors,” according to the NTSB report.

WHO IS GUILTY OF DROWSY DRIVING?

Unlike driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there is no way to test definitively for driver fatigue. Also unlike intoxicated driving, drowsy driving is far too common because, quite honestly, almost all of us have done it. According to a AAA Foundation survey conducted in 2015, nearly a third (31.5 percent) of all drivers admitted driving at least once during the previous month while fatigued.

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Only two states have adopted laws that specifically penalize fatigued drivers who cause an injury or fatality. A New Jersey law passed in 2003 applies to reckless drivers who go sleepless for 24 hours or more, and a similar law was adopted in Arkansas in 2013. Some states are financing educational programs; others are considering new laws with criminal penalties, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of course, fatigued drivers can be held accountable in civil court when they injure others. In Illinois, anyone who is injured by another person’s negligence can file a personal injury claim with help from a Chicago personal injury attorney. The laws in some states like Rhode Island may be different, but if an injury arises, contact a Rhode Island personal injury attorney.

HOW CAN ILLINOIS DRIVERS AVOID DROWSY DRIVING?

Even if you don’t have a problem with insomnia, it’s imperative to develop good sleep habits and to be alert when driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides the following alertness suggestions for truck drivers, but all of us can benefit from the recommendations:

  • If possible, sleep on a regular schedule. Get seven hours of sleep every day and more if you need it.
  • Avoid prescription and over-the-counter medicines if you plan on driving.
  • Fatigue can be caused by a poor diet. Eat right.
  • For most adults over thirty, naps are better at refreshing you than coffee. A 20-to-45-minute nap is ideal.

The National Institutes of Health offer several additional suggestions. Avoid exercise and caffeine before going to bed, and have a comfortable place to sleep. “We all have the potential to be drowsy,” says Pam Fischer. “Not everybody drinks. Not everybody is distracted by cell phones. But everybody has the potential to do this. We have the ability to do something about this.”

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If your insomnia is serious and persistent, Brandon Giegling, the President of Parkway SleepHealth Centers, suggests seeking professional help: “When we lack sleep our decision making, response time, and our overall performance is less than optimum. When we are sleep-deprived it has a large impact on our driving capabilities, almost to the level of driving while under the influence of alcohol. People who have missed increased hours of sleep are between 2 and 20 times more likely to get in a crash than a well-rested driver. Sleep deprivation is a serious issue that should be discussed with a sleep specialist.”

Why are Car Crash Fatalities More Common in The U.S. than Other High-Income Countries?

Posted on: August 29, 2016 by in Car Accidents
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Politicians and public health authorities in the United States often point proudly to reductions in traffic fatalities due to seat belts, airbags, and heightened enforcement of DUI laws. From the years 2000 through 2013, traffic fatalities in the United States dropped by 31 percent. Still, the National Safety Council estimates that more than 32,000 people were killed and more than two million were injured on U.S. streets and highways in 2013. Can we do better?

Yes, we can, and a number of other nations already are. According to a study released this summer by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), our nation had the highest rate of traffic fatalities in 2013 per 100,000 people when compared against nineteen other developed nations. Traffic fatalities continue in the United States because of intoxicated driving, speeding, and the failure to use seat belts and booster seats. In 2013, about half of the people who perished in traffic in the U.S. were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

Erin Sauber-Schatz, one of the authors of the CDC report, added that distracted driving is a factor in at least ten percent of all fatal accidents and eighteen percent of accidents with non-fatal injuries. Anyone injured by a driver who is drunk, texting, talking on the phone, or otherwise impaired or distracted has the legal right to full compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, and all other injury-related damages. In the Chicago area, an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney can provide more details if you’ve been injured in a traffic collision.

IN WHAT NATIONS DID THE CDC STUDY TRAFFIC STATISTICS?

The CDC report considered statistics gathered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and by the World Health Organization. CDC researchers made statistical adjustments for differences in population size, vehicle ownership, and miles traveled. The other nations considered in the study were Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The U.S. reported the most traffic fatalities per 100,000 people as well as the most fatalities per 10,000 vehicles.

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One reason for the poor showing by the U.S. is seat belts. Of twenty nations, the U.S. ranked 18th in seat belt use – 87 percent – by drivers and front seat passengers, and we ranked 13th in seat belt use by back seat passengers. France reported the highest compliance – 99 percent of French drivers and passengers wear seat belts – while Austria had the lowest compliance rate, just under the United States, at 86 percent. On average, however, 94 percent of the people in the other nations studied use their seat belts consistently.

HOW DO TRAFFIC RULES DIFFER IN OTHER COUNTRIES?

All nations differ slightly in the details of their traffic laws and enforcement. In some of the fifty U.S. states, for example, seat belt use isn’t required for back seat passengers. Alcohol consumption also varies widely among the populations. Of the nations studied by the CDC researchers, the U.S. tied for the second-highest percentage of deaths involving intoxicated drivers. “Drunk driving” is defined differently, too. While the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level for drivers in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada is 0.08 percent, in many other nations it’s lower – 0.05 percent.

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Speeding also significantly impacts traffic fatality and injury statistics, and the U.S reported the eighth-highest percentage of speeding-related traffic deaths among the fifteen countries for which information about speeding was available. Other differences among the nations under consideration challenged the researchers. For example, while the U.S. has a higher legal drinking age than many other developed nations, it also has a lower legal driving age. “It is difficult to tease out the different pieces of road safety because it’s a complex issue,” said researcher Erin Sauber-Schatz.

Ms. Sauber-Schatz cited speed cameras as one effective way to reduce traffic fatalities. She says that Sweden had the lowest traffic fatality rate of the nations under study, and the extensive deployment of speed cameras in Sweden is probably one reason why. The CDC report says that if the United States had the same traffic fatality rate as Sweden, 24,000 fewer traffic fatalities would have happened in 2013.

CAN THE UNITED STATES DO BETTER?

While traffic deaths in the U.S. have significantly declined since 2000, other nations do better. Spain reduced traffic fatalities by 75 percent from 2000 through 2013, and the other nations averaged a reduction of 56 percent. “It is important to compare us not to our past but to our potential. Seeing that other high-income countries are doing better, we know we can do better, too,” according to Dr. Debra Houry, director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

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Safe driving is imperative. We can all do more to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities. Most of us already know the standard rules and precautions; don’t drink and drive, keep your vehicle maintained, obey all of the traffic rules, and keep plenty of distance between your vehicle and the others on the road. Listed here are four additional recommendations to help you drive safely and avoid accidents and injuries:

  1. Eliminate possible distractions: Turn off your cell phone. Don’t eat take-out food or apply make-up while driving. If you enjoy music while driving, set up your music so that you don’t have to keep adjusting it. Never try to read a newspaper, map, or GPS device while driving. And of course, never drink and drive.
  2. See the big picture: Your driving environment isn’t all in front of you. You’re in the center of it. Whenever you drive, keep on top of what’s happening behind you and alongside you.
  3. Frequently look into the distance: At sixty miles per hour, a vehicle travels the length of a football field in fewer than four seconds. While it’s imperative to see what’s directly in front of us, an automobile’s speed also requires drivers to look farther ahead. Get in the habit of looking into the distance to avoid dangers developing ahead of you.
  4. Be able to swerve away: Have an escape plan. For example, if a child darts out in front of cars that are in front of you, will you be able to stop in time? Always keep sufficient distance between your vehicle and others so that you can stop or swerve away safely.

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If – despite your safety precautions – you are injured by a negligent driver, seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer, and in Illinois, speak with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. The law in the U.S. and the state of Illinois entitles those injured by negligent drivers to be fully compensated for their medical care and related expenses. Lawmakers, auto manufacturers, and police agencies have done a great deal to improve traffic safety in the United States, but as individual drivers, we can all do more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents and Chiropractic Care

Posted on: May 9, 2016 by in Car Accidents
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Chiropractors represent less than five percent of the total healthcare industry in the United States, yet they treat more personal injury patients than any other kind of specialist. The word “chiropractic” comes originally from Greek and means “done by hand.” Chiropractic care is designed to heal musculoskeletal injuries and is based on the premise that when the skeletal system is aligned properly and when the nervous system functions properly, the human body is self-healing.

Chiropractors provide treatment to a third of all accident victims in the United States. A chiropractor is in fact often the right choice for a traffic accident victim, since about 65 percent of traffic accident injuries include musculoskeletal injuries from whiplash or cervical, thoracic, and lumbar strains or sprains. Chiropractors are trained specifically to treat these types of soft tissue injuries.

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A chiropractor performs specific manipulations of the vertebrae. When the spine is improperly aligned, the condition is called “subluxation,” which is presumed to impact nerve transmissions that may cause neck and back pain as well as other kinds of pain. A chiropractic adjustment refers to a chiropractor manipulating vertebrae that have abnormal movement patterns or fail to function properly. A chiropractic adjustment, also known as chiropractic manipulation, manual manipulation, or spinal manipulation, is a common therapeutic treatment for lower back pain.

Chiropractic treatment has historically been considered an “alternative” therapy, but in recent years, the approach has become a virtually mainstream treatment. Chiropractic therapy is covered by a number of insurance plans, and in 2004, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced the full inclusion of chiropractic treatment for veterans. Chiropractic treatment has long been a widely-accepted treatment for spinal problems including back pain and whiplash.

Q: What kinds of injuries typically suffered in traffic accidents are treated by chiropractic care?

When someone is in a traffic accident, along with the visible injuries, there may be injuries we can’t see, such as herniated discs, neck and back pain, misalignments in the vertebrae, and severe headaches and head pain. There is simply no such thing as a “trivial” head, neck, or spinal injury. Chiropractic therapy treats these injuries “holistically” without using drugs or conducting surgical procedures.

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Q: What is whiplash?

A: Traffic accident victims frequently sustain the cervical/neck strain known as whiplash. Whiplash injuries happen mainly, but not only, in rear-end collisions, and they happen in low- speed accidents as well as high-speed collisions. When someone’s head is violently snapped forward and then instantly thrown backward, that person will very likely sustain a whiplash injury.

Specifically, whiplash happens when neck muscles and tendons are stretched by force beyond their natural range of motion. This can happen in traffic collisions when the head is shoved forward and then tossed immediately backward. Along with sprains and strains of the neck, the shoving or yanking force may sometimes result in severely misaligned cervical vertebrae. After any traffic accident, seeking medical attention must always be your first priority – because some injuries can’t be seen.

Q: What are the symptoms of whiplash?

A: Whiplash may cause severe headaches and migraines, a stiff back and neck, shoulder pain, light and sound sensitivity, nausea and dizziness, and pain and stiffness radiating from the neck to the arms and shoulders. A person who suspects whiplash should have an examination as quickly as possible, because it does not fade away. Whiplash symptoms typically get worse with time, and without timely treatment, whiplash can permanently restrict the motion of the neck. Some accident victims recover quickly from whiplash, but for others, the suffering is long-term.

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Q: When should an accident victim seek chiropractic treatment?

A: Accident victims shouldn’t wait. In the Chicago area, traffic accident victims should seek medical attention immediately after an accident, and if negligence was responsible for the accident, victims should also consult with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. Some injuries may not appear until days or even several weeks after an accident, but the sooner treatment begins, the better.

Chiropractors heal traffic accident injuries – or more precisely, they help the body to heal itself – by correcting misalignments in the vertebrae, reducing swelling and inflammation, and enhancing the circulation by using manual adjustments, spinal decompression, acupuncture, and physical therapy. Most chiropractors will also make dietary supplement recommendations.

Q: What happens at the initial chiropractic session?

An initial chiropractic examination will usually include a history and a physical. A patient will be asked about the current injury, if there is any underlying health problem, about the family’s history of disease, and about his or her dietary habits, previous medical care, and any current medications. Patients should describe the injury as precisely and as clearly as possible to the chiropractor.

An initial chiropractic examination will look for signs of inflammation and improper spinal alignment. The range of the neck’s motion may also be determined and assessed. Laboratory tests may be recommended to rule out serious infection or to discover issues that may require a referral for a different type of treatment. Many chiropractors will also insist on x-rays during an initial evaluation.

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Q: How long is Chiropractic treatment typically required?

A: The length of time a patient may need for chiropractic treatment after a traffic accident injury hinges on several factors: the nature and the severity of the injury and any underlying illnesses or medical conditions the patient may suffer. Generally speaking, a healthy individual’s traffic-related injury will heal faster than a comparable injury sustained by someone with an underlying medical condition. Some injury victims can complete chiropractic treatment in as little as a month or even less; other patients may require as much as two years of chiropractic treatment.

Q: Will insurance cover chiropractic treatment?

A: The answer to that question is “it depends.” To ensure fair treatment and justice after a traffic crash in the greater Chicago area, for example, an injured victim should not speak to any insurance company representative before speaking first with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. Some insurance companies still tend to be suspicious of physical therapists and chiropractors. Nevertheless, the primary concern after a traffic crash must be to obtain the treatment that will help the most.

Can a passenger recover damages for accident injuries caused by a driver of the same car?

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If you’ve received injuries from a car accident in which you were a passenger, you may be wondering whether you’re eligible to recover damages from the driver. While this hasn’t always been the case in Illinois, our Chicago auto accident attorneys assure that, yes, it is possible to file a claim against one’s own driver.

Before the early 1950s, the law in Illinois didn’t do much to protect passengers. In fact, it specified that injured passengers were not allowed to recover from the driver of their own vehicle. But plaintiff’s lawyers lobbied legislators in the state, explaining that the purpose of car insurance was to allow victims full and fair compensation for their injuries. Today, Illinois law encourages people who are wrongfully injured to seek compensation.

Of course, not everyone agrees with passenger’s rights. Insurance companies will frequently attempt to deny claims by arguing passengers endanger themselves by making poor decisions, such as getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking or has exhibited reckless behavior in the past. This is why it’s so important to enlist the help of an experienced Illinois car accident lawyer when seeking damages. A good attorney understands the legal rights of all parties in an automobile crash – and has the skills and knowledge to defend those rights.

If an at-fault driver is insured, his or her insurance company is responsible for paying damages to parties who are injured as a result of the driver’s negligence – whether those parties are pedestrians on the street, drivers of other vehicles or passengers within the driver’s own vehicle.

If you’ve been injured in an Illinois car accident, speak with an Illinois car accident attorney. Your lawyer can determine whether you have a case against your driver – and, if you do, help you receive maximum compensation for your damages.