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How to Drive Safely in Fog

How to Drive Safely in FogFog is a thick, low-lying cloud formed as the air cools and condensed water droplets form. Although most commonly found along the coast, you can experience fog in Illinois during times of temperature fluctuation and especially along the lake.

Typically worst in the morning and at night, fog reduces visibility to below 1km (about .63 miles.) The best way to avoid the dangers of driving in fog is to avoid morning and evening trips. But if you do have to drive in the fog, keep these safety tips in mind to reduce your risk of getting in an accident.

Slow Down

Driving at posted speed limits in fog is dangerous. Your visibility is compromised, so slow down. Giving yourself more time to stop is the best way to avoid accidents in the fog.

Use Low-Beams, Not High-Beams

The water droplets in fog reflect and spread light. High beams can affect your visibility—and that of other drivers— by reflecting light. Your low beams and fog lights will not reflect light back at eye level but will help keep the road in front of you visible.

Stay Alert and Ready for Anything

Reduce distractions, and roll down your window to listen for cars if you can’t see them. Pull over if your visibility is so low that you can’t see the road. Drive with extreme caution and only when you have to.

Remember; it’s not just you out there in on the road. Other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and even wild animals can increase your risk of getting in an accident. To make matters worse, factors like fog and ice can potentially make determining liability more difficult.

You should speak with an attorney if you’ve been injured in an accident. A knowledgeable Arlington Heights auto accident attorney can help you through the complicated process of filing an insurance claim, establishing liability, and seeking fair compensation for your losses.

Fall in Illinois is beautiful and meant to be enjoyed. Don’t let fog and inclement weather keep you from enjoying a drive. Keep the above tips in mind when driving through the fog to keep yourself and others on the road safe.

 

If you’ve recently been in an accident and want compensation for your losses, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

 

The Rewards and Risks of Hockey Season

The Rewards and Risks of Hockey Season

Hockey season in Illinois is nearly upon us. Soon, the Chicago Blackhawks and countless junior hockey leagues will be hitting the ice and dropping their pucks. Hockey is one of those sports that come with the risk of serious injuries. For professional and peewee leagues alike, injury prevention is a top priority. Some of the most common injuries include concussions, traumatic brain injury, and broken bones, all of which can require a long recovery.

Hockey Injuries and Insurance Claims

Typically, professional athletes sign releases in their contracts that limit the liability of the team as a legal entity (e.g., a franchise or an organization.) Thus, a professional player who is injured might not have grounds for a personal injury claim. The same goes for amateur and junior league hockey players. Once a release is signed, the player—or the player’s parent—then assumes responsibility for any and all injuries suffered when in practice or the game.

Exceptions to the Rule

Under certain circumstances, injured players can still seek compensation even if they signed a release. Injuries inflicted by negligent or malicious players—not uncommon in hockey—could result in civil liability. Teams aren’t necessarily responsible for every action of the players. So, when the gloves drop, liability isn’t as straightforward. Another situation where an injured player may be able to seek compensation is if his or her gear—such as a helmet—were defective. Unfortunately, these cases can be difficult to litigate.

Hockey injuries aren’t limited to the players. Even as a spectator, you could suffer serious injuries from a rowdy crowd. Indeed, hockey fans are notorious for their passion for the sport. A person who injured you could be liable if he or she were acting negligently, with intent, or were strictly liable for your injuries. The releases athletes sign often absolves the team itself of any strict liability. But if a player intentionally injures you—or your child—it helps to speak with an attorney to learn about your rights.

You’ll need the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney if you are seeking compensation for a hockey injury. Consult with a knowledgeable Arlington Heights personal injury attorney to discuss your case. An attorney can identify any liable parties and advise you on your legal rights. Again, contract releases and player agreements can limit the liability of the parties involved. This leaves the injured person with fewer options. But speaking with an attorney is the only way to know you’ve covered all your bases and can exercise all your rights.

Hockey Season Is Right Around the Corner

Stay safe this hockey season by being a considerate spectator and educating your junior leaguer on how to gear up properly, minimize the risk of injury when checking, and settle their disputes on the ice according to the league rules. Have a fun season, and let’s help the Blackhawks hoist the cup!

 

If you or a loved one suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

Ridesharing Accidents: Where Is the Liability?

Ridesharing Accidents: Where Is the Liability?Ridesharing is a great way to conveniently get around town without the hassle of driving and parking. Supplementing the local taxi market, rideshare services through transportation network companies (TNCs)—like Uber and Lyft—connect passengers with drivers via smartphone apps.

But unlike taxis, rideshare cars are not subject to the same strict regulations. Each TNC maintains its own policies, but drivers operate independently and contract directly with the passenger. This begs the question of who is responsible for the actions of the drivers if they get in an accident. Is it the driver or the rideshare company? To answer these questions, let’s take a look at the insurance requirements for rideshare drivers.

Insurance Standards for Rideshare Drivers

Rideshare drivers are required to carry liability insurance. Insurance coverage for rideshare drivers can change depending on what the driver is doing (i.e., waiting for a passenger, on the way to get a passenger, or with a passenger in the car.) The coverage we are concerned with in this blog is that which will cover the passenger in an accident.

As the TNC industry continues to grow, insurance companies are working on developing a coverage type that meets the needs of TNC drivers. Some insurance companies offer rideshare coverage in Illinois. This insurance typically works as a hybrid, covering the driver on a personal level and when “on the job.” This insurance can also cover passengers for bodily injury.

TNCs also have insurance that covers passengers. A standard policy limit is $1 million in liability insurance. But these companies often deny claims by disputing liability and fight aggressively in court.

Stay Smart and Safe

You can get safely from point A to point B using a rideshare service, but be an educated passenger. Choose well-reviewed drivers and verify their identity. Share your trip details with a friend, and ride in the backseat. Also, know the risks of using these services, and never assume you will automatically be covered if you are injured as a rideshare passenger. Although insurance coverage for ridesharing has become more sophisticated, gray areas in the law remain. For this reason, you should work with an attorney if you are in an accident while using a rideshare service. An attorney can work to defend your rights, hold the liable party responsible, and seek fair compensation for your losses.

 

If you’ve recently been injured in a rideshare accident, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

If I’m Injured in an Accident, Who Pays for My Immediate Medical Bills?

If I’m Injured in an Accident, Who Pays for My Immediate Medical Bills?A main concern after an auto accident in Illinois is who will pay the medical bills. Who pays for what before liability is determined? Does your health insurer have a right to deny your claims? When you’re facing a $5,000 bill from the emergency room, these questions are first to come to mind.

How Insurance Claims Work

Contrary to popular belief, the other driver’s insurance doesn’t have to pay your bills when they are due, even if he or she were at fault for the accident. Insurance settlements are typically paid in one lump sum, determined after you have completed treatment. In most cases, you will have to pay your bills before they pay your claim. While this works—in part—to ensure the insurance company compensates you for all your damages, it means you could be on the hook for those bills in the meantime. Understandably, many people feel this is unfair.

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How do Preexisting Injuries Affect Personal Injury Claims?

How do Preexisting Injuries Affect Personal Injury Claims?Insurance companies are always looking for ways to minimize your claim. Companies will try to parse out every detail of your claim that could mitigate their liability and therefore your claim payout. One of the most common ways they will do this is by looking for proof of preexisting injuries when reviewing your medical records.

If you seek compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident, for example, and had a prior back injury, the insurance company will probably argue it is not liable for all your medical bills as they were incurred—in part—because of your previous injury.

How Preexisting Injuries Affect Claims

The insurance company might still have to pay your claim if you have a preexisting injury. If the liable party’s actions were the proximate cause of your injuries, you have a right to compensation. But insurance companies routinely use evidence of preexisting injuries to claim they do not have to compensate you fully for your medical bills. You should be cautious whenever speaking with insurance companies after an accident if you have preexisting injuries.

To receive fair compensation for your losses, you will need to provide medical records. But the insurance company doesn’t have a right to see all of your medical records. They will ask you to sign a release that gives them the right to ask your providers for records directly. The records the medical provider hands over are typically more detailed than the ones you may have access to. The company will then search through those complete records for a reason to minimize your claim.

Releasing Records

When asked to sign a release, make sure you are only giving them access to relevant medical records. You can specify in the release what specific records—typically those created after your accident—and from what providers. This reduces the chance the insurance company will find anything in your records that could minimize your claim. But be honest. Your provider may have records of your previous injuries and could even include information about them in your full medical records. They have a right to do this, and if you fail to disclose any information requested, the insurance company could use that to deny your claim outright.

Minimizing Your Claim

If you aren’t sure whether you should sign a release, you should speak with an attorney before doing so. A knowledgeable Illinois personal injury attorney can advise you on what records you should release and what records are irrelevant. It’s best to let an attorney read through the release to make sure your rights are protected, and you don’t release anything that could compromise your claim.

 

If you have been injured in an accident and have a preexisting injury, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

Knowing When to Settle and When to File Suit

Knowing When to Settle and When to File SuitFiling an insurance claim is like playing a game. And, when out on the field, it helps to know the playbook. Knowing when to settle your claim and when you should file suit is one of the most important strategies you can master. But choose your strategy wisely to ensure you receive fair compensation as soon as possible with as little expense as possible.

When to Settle

The majority of insurance claims are settled out of court. Typically, the parties involved—the plaintiff and the insurance company—can come to a settlement agreement. Reaching an agreement saves both the time and cost of litigation. Cases most likely to settle successfully are those where liability is clear, and the damages are undisputed. Likewise, low-value claims and those involving minor injuries are rarely worth the hassle of a trial.

When to File a Law Suit

You can face many barriers to settling an insurance claim. Sometimes it is necessary to file suit if you’ve tried to settle, but the insurance company will not offer fair compensation. Consider filing suit if the insurance company is denying liability, disputing your losses, or is firm on a lowball settlement offer. You can still attempt to settle after you commence litigation and before trial. Keep in mind you may or may not have the same bargaining power at that point.

A Note of Caution

The only good time to settle or file suit is after you’ve treated your injuries to the fullest extent. Once you receive compensation, you are responsible for all future medical bills, so make sure you have a good idea of your future expenses before you even think about resolving your case.

Playing the Game

Filing suit can be costly and involves the court. It can also significantly prolong your case. You should never file suit unless you cannot settle for fair compensation. Don’t let the insurance adjuster pressure you into signing a settlement agreement. If you don’t know whether you should file suit or try to settle in your case, speak with an attorney. Working with an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney can ensure you receive fair compensation, no matter the route you have to take.

 

If you’ve recently been injured and need help with your insurance claim, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

Does the Insurance Company Have a Right to See All My Medical Records?

Does the Insurance Company Have a Right to See All My Medical Records?Insurance companies frequently request medical records when evaluating claims. The adjuster needs to corroborate your records with the medical bills you submitted for compensation. The insurance company doesn’t have an inherent right to view your records, which is why they will ask you to sign a release granting them the right. But without medical records, your claim will most likely be denied.

Determining the Scope

Typically, an insurance company will only need to view records of treatment received for the injuries in question (i.e., the ones you are seeking compensation for.) But it is not uncommon for adjusters to try to get a hold of your past medical records, too. They do this to try to get an upper hand in your case.

Claims adjusters will look through medical records to determine the value of the claim and to find reasons to deny your claim. For this reason, don’t sign a blank release giving them access to all your records. Instead, limit the scope by listing the specific providers who’ve treated your injuries sustained in the accident and the date range of the records.

You can also protect yourself by having a lawyer request the records before sending them to the insurance adjuster. By reviewing your records before they are sent out, you can make sure there is not irrelevant information in them. If there is, you can redact what information the insurance company doesn’t need.

Your Right to Privacy

Don’t let insurance companies snoop through your entire medical history. Be smart about what records you release, and have an attorney review the release before you sign it. Protecting your rights when dealing with insurance companies is the key to getting fair compensation. If you want to learn about your rights, speak with an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney. An attorney can advise you of your rights and help you cooperate with the insurance adjuster without compromising your claim.

Even if you have a right to fair compensation, it’s no picnic going up against mega insurance companies to fight for what you deserve. So when out on the road, remember to drive defensively to reduce your risk of getting in or causing an accident. Also, speak with an experienced Arlington Heights personal injury attorney if you need help filing a claim. An attorney can help you navigate the insurance claims process, so you get the compensation you deserve.

 

Getting the compensation you deserve shouldn’t be a battle, and Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer understands how you feel. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

 

 

How to Keep Your Car Road Ready as the Seasons Change

How to Keep Your Car Road Ready as the Seasons ChangeAs summer winds down, many of us look forward to the beautiful foliage, back to school activities, and upcoming holidays, all of which can have us out on the road. To make sure your fall activities are safe and fun, consider these tips for getting your car road ready as the seasons change.

Check Tire Pressure

Checking your tire pressure is important whenever temperatures fluctuate. Check pressure before road trips and regularly when the tires are cold to ensure proper readings. Always keep tires full for optimal performance.

Check Tire Tread

The tread that got you through the summer might not be adequate when the roads get wet and slippery. Check your tread and consider winter or all-weather tires for when the weather takes a turn for the worse. You might also want to check for uneven wear and rotate your tires for safer handling.

Test Your Lights

As road and weather conditions change, so will your visibility. Check your lights to ensure they are working properly and are bright. Keep spares in your car for emergencies.

Do Routine and Preventative Maintenance

While it’s best to keep your car in tip top shape year round, it’s especially important when the leaves drop and weather becomes unpredictable. Check windshield wipers, fluids, and your battery.

Create an Emergency Kit

If you already have an emergency kit, now’s a good time to replenish it and make sure you have it tailored for colder weather. Include items like emergency blankets, non-perishable food, water, and first aid supplies. When falls starts turning into winter, also include chains and an abrasive material—like cat litter or sand—to help you if you get stuck in the snow.

The carefree days of summer are coming to an end, and fall is right around the corner, which means more risk and poor road conditions. It’s especially important to make sure your car is outfitted right in fall because of added factors like children going to and from school, wet leaves, and leaf peepers, which can all increase your risk of getting in an accident. Make sure you make any necessary repairs and follow the above steps to ensure your car is road ready as summer turns to fall. And, if you are involved in an accident, work closely with an experienced Arlington Heights car accident attorney to ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve.

 

If you’ve recently been in an accident, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

Moving on After Traumatic Brain Injury

Moving on After Traumatic Brain InjuryYou can suffer traumatic brain injury whenever your brain experiences impact, such as in auto accidents. Scientists are learning more about traumatic brain injury (TBI) and how you can treat it every day. But what we do know is not everyone fully recovers. This poses a problem if you’ve been injured in an accident and are seeking compensation. How do you know what fair compensation is? When should you settle your case if you are still experiencing symptoms? A good place to start when trying to answer these questions is taking a look at the effects of TBI.

TBI can cause a multitude of problems that affect everything from cognition to motor skills to emotional regulation. Depending on the severity and nature of the injury, treatment can include a variety of therapies—such as speech and occupational therapy—hyperbaric oxygen treatment, and even meditation. Unfortunately, there is no real cure, and everyone’s recovery journey will be different.

Prognosis and Treatment

Moving on from TBI can include both short and long-term treatments, as your doctor recommends. It also involves learning how to live with TBI because you can experience symptoms for the rest of your life. A typical TBI treatment regime can include targeted therapies to treat the effects of TBI. For example, you may need ongoing occupational therapy to develop and maintain fine motor skills necessary for daily living, or counseling to help you with emotional regulation. Again, every case is unique, and every patient’s prognosis and treatment plan will vary.

Future Costs

The ongoing costs of therapy can add up significantly. If you were involved in an accident and suffered TBI, it is vital to treat your injuries to the extent that you can before settling your claim. If you have TBI and expect to have lasting symptoms, work with an attorney to ensure your settlement includes compensation for your future medical bills and pain and suffering. Your doctor and your attorney can help you determine when you are ready to settle, which is typically when you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI can be equated to a treatment plateau.

The Journey Ahead

Once further treatment no longer helps your condition, you might be ready to settle. Just make sure your settlement figure represents the cost of any future therapy needed to help you cope with your condition. Speak with an attorney if you’ve been injured and have TBI. If you are seeking compensation from the liable party, you should work closely with an experienced Arlington Heights personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are protected, and the liable party is held responsible. If your TBI leaves you experiencing symptoms for years to come, you deserve compensation.

 

If you’ve suffered injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

When Driving With Kids, Remember these Airbag Safety Tips

When Driving With Kids, Remember these Air Bag Safety TipsAirbags can buffer the impact of a car accident, reducing injuries and saving lives. But for young children, they can pose a safety risk as well. When the force of an airbag hits a child, he or she can suffer serious injuries from a device that’s meant to keep us safe.

Why Airbags Are Dangerous

Airbags deploy at a speed of up to 200 mph. Young children can’t handle this kind of impact. As a precaution, all children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat in a car seat appropriate for their age and size. Older children can sit in the front seat, but move the seat as far back as it can go to reduce the risk of injury. And never put children with health conditions or injuries in the front seat.

The Impact of an Airbag

On a child’s body, the impact of an airbag can be fatal. Deploying airbags most commonly cause skull fractures and brain injuries in a child. Airbags aren’t meant to protect a child’s body; they are intended to protect an adult’s body. Accordingly, their force well exceeds that needed to protect a child. This begs the question of who is liable when a child dies because of an airbag impact.

Generally, you will find warning stickers in the car—typically on visor mirrors—cautioning against letting children ride in the front seat. Child safety car seats will have similar warnings. These warnings help you prevent injuries and also limit the company’s liability. Follow these warnings to stay safe. If you or your child were injured from a defective airbag, however, you could have grounds for a personal injury claim.

The Lesser of Two Evils

Front airbags protect occupants who are at risk of hitting the steering console, windshield, or dashboard. Children riding in the back seat don’t face the same risks, but they can still suffer impact in an accident. For this reason, put younger children use car seats, and make sure older children use seat belts properly. Children can also be injured by side-impact airbags; so check your car manual to find out where your airbags are.

If you were injured in an accident or from a defective airbag, speak with an experienced Arlington Heights car accident attorney about your right to compensation. An attorney can help you file a claim, so you recoup your losses.

 

If you’ve been in an accident and want to know your rights, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

About the Firm


Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron

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