Drunk driving car crash? Holidays and the summer bring vacations, more travel and – unfortunately – drinking and driving situations. Be vigilant! If someone driving appears to be driving “erratic” or is “all over the road,” stay away and stay back!

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) found here:

Alcohol-impaired driving crashes account for nearly 11,000 crash fatalities, or about one third of all crash fatalities in the United States.

Not only can drunk driving kill, it can seriously maim and injure. Even “soft tissue” or minor injuries interfere with your life – and that of your family. It can be difficult to work, even get to work, and handle normal daily routines and functions after an accident. Most people are unaware of some of the following until an accident occurs:

1. You may not have car rental on your own insurance and the other person who hit you (their insurance) may not agree to get you “into a rental car asap” and may delay a car rental. You need to get to work, take your kids to school or daycare and function! What to do? Call a lawyer ASAP to try to “push” for a rental or work out another scenario for a rental until things “calm down”.

2. Your own health insurance may “cut you off” and not honor or pay for your medical bills! Your health insurance may not have to pay for your treatment and tell you “get your bills paid by the person who hit you”. Well – that takes tremendous time and, in the meantime, your bills are turned into collection companies and now your credit is getting ruined. Again, there are ways to potentially deal with this situation.

3. You have no health insurance – now what? Sometimes, certain doctors and therapists will work with you on a “lien” basis (that is, they might treat you and “lien” the case/claim hoping to be paid from a recovery long down the road). A lawyer may be able to help you with this situation. Health first!

4. Your car note is “upside down” and they total your car. Now what? Certain “programs” with lenders may exist to help you through this situation and other alternatives (potential “diminished value” claims) may assist you. You have to fight and fight hard to get back to where you should be financially with your car and payment situation.

5. The other person has no insurance at all! Now what? You might have to make a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage (“UM” coverage). A lawyer will know how to make such a claim generally through demands for arbitration.

6. The other person doesn’t have “enough” insurance! In Illinois, in 2015, a person need only carry $25,000.00 of insurance coverage. One hospital bill could easily surpass that amount. Now what? If you have more coverage than the person who hit you, you might have to make a claim under your underinsured motorist coverage (“UIM” coverage). Again, a lawyer will know how to make such a claim generally through demands for arbitration.

7. This takes a LOT of time! Insurance companies can investigate a claim / lawsuit – and they will. In fact, they have a duty to their insureds to investigate and not just “pay blindly”. Investigations of car damage and your health situation can take tremendous time. Just to gather your medical records and bills could take months because you may need to seek treatment yet or treatment from multiple/various providers. Now what? Be patient! A good lawyer will “push” all of these issues expeditiously but, even then, extraneous factors like insurance adjusters who are not available, delay issues and the court system can still cause your claim or lawsuit to last many, many months and, often, even years. It is very unfortunate but you must remain patient and work closely with your lawyer to fight!

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, time is of the essence. Don’t Wait!

Call Chicago Injury Attorney Phil Berenz today at 312-888-6058 for your free case evaluation.

We are happy to help you and will fight for you!

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