Railroad injuries are handled entirely differently than other on the job injuries in Illinois, starting with who handles them. Typically, with on the job injuries, workers compensation will kick in to cover the employees medical and other expenses after an injury. However, railroad workers are covered under FELA. The Federal Employers Liability Act, also known as FELA was established to serve those who have been injured while working on the railroads. FELA protects not only those who work on the trains, but also those whose employer is a railroad company.

FELA is unlike workers comp in the way claims are handled. In a normal workers compensation case, fault of the employer’s negligence doesn’t need to be established. However in FELA claims, it does. This means an employee of a railroad company must show neglect which resulted in the injury.

There are several types of injuries which could be covered by FELA, from broken bones to carpel tunnel syndrome to obstructive pulmonary diseases all could be addressed as on the job injuries. FELA will provide compensation to an injured worker in the form of both future and past loss wages, any and all medical treatment involved with the injury, and past and future pain and suffering to include mental distress depending on the circumstances.

Unlike regular workers’ compensation claims, FELA cases are often worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or potentially millions.  That all of course depends on the severity of the injury, but often railroad workers are catastrophically injured.

FELA imposes a 3 year statute of limitations for lawsuits. However a competent attorney will be able to calculate these dates for you and help you along in the process to make sure you get the highest compensation possible.  Many attorneys dabble in this area, but very few have an amazing track record.  We know who those lawyers are and are happy to connect you with them. Please contact us to help you find an attorney in your area.  We are Chicago based attorneys who cover all of Illinois and can be reached at (800) 517-1614.  Our service is free and every call is confidential.

Recording a police officer is illegal, right? Not anymore. According to an amended Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/14-1, citizens now have the right to record any police officer without their consent. Apparently this amendment is a step in a good direction, however there are some areas that citizens need to be aware of before they decide to video tape that traffic stop.

One of the exceptions to the legality of recording a police interaction is called the surreptitious exception. This means you may not secretly record the interaction. The issue with this exception is that typically if someone is aware you are recording them, they will probably change their behavior.

The other exception is called the reasonable expectation of privacy. This is hard to prove for the simple reason that it is very hard to imagine a police officer would expect privacy during any interactions with a citizen.

One of the steps backwards with this amendment is that it allows for officials to be able to eavesdrop on private conversations and use them without a warrant. One of the steps forward is citizens who are found guilty of recording a police officer will now have less of a penalty.

Before you decide to record any police interaction under this newly amended law, make sure you are aware exactly what your rights are and what the penalties may be. This will save you from being the guinea pig in legal action that has not yet come under the scrutiny of the courts.

I had a pretty sad call the other day. It was from a woman who was looking for help with a divorce. She’s been married for 40 years and loves her husband dearly. He loves her too.

She doesn’t want a divorce and neither does he. Unfortunately she works and he is very ill. They applied for aid from the State of Illinois and were denied because she makes too much money. Essentially her income is being held against him.

So they are facing a choice. Get divorced and lose their best friend or stay married and watch your best friend suffer.

They were thinking about a divorce, but not a real divorce. They thought that they could get the benefits he needs, get a divorce and keep living together as they have for the last 40 blissful years.

Unfortunately, as I advised them, this would be considered a sham divorce and against the law. When you say you are getting divorced and go through with it only to obtain public aid benefits, you are essentially defrauding the Government.

This call was heart breaking because these are not criminals and they want to do the right thing. They did not realize that a divorce would mean selling the house or one spouse buying out the other. Didn’t realize they’d have to have separate bank accounts. They didn’t realize that they couldn’t live together as a husband and wife do.

Most of all they didn’t know this was a crime that theoretically could result in jail time and almost certainly, if they got caught, would require them to pay back all of the benefits plus a fine. In other words they could lose their home.

They appreciated our candor and directness which is how we talk to everyone who calls us. As we left it they were weighing their options, but the wife was leaning toward a real divorce because it pains her more than anything to see her husband suffer, even if that means being apart.

I would NEVER encourage a caller or client to break the law and didn’t here either. But it is a tragedy that they have to consider this option at all. If they stay together there is no guarantee they will get caught and if they did it would likely be from a nosy neighbor or a state aid worker who checked up on them. Either way they’d have to essentially be looking over their shoulders at all times. That’s not a way to live.

If there ever was a law or rule that needs to be changed, this is it. As lawyers we don’t make laws, we just deal with what they are and try to fight as hard as we can for our clients. There’s no fight in this case, just the hope that good people with an amazing marriage don’t get screwed over by our Government.

It’s a question most clients ask when they are in the beginning stages of deciding whether to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Chicago. How easy will it be to win the case? The answer is simple, it is not easy at all. Cook County, Illinois has a reputation of being Plaintiff friendly, which means the person filing the case, would be predisposed to winning. However, the doctors who are being sued win 80% of the cases that make it to trial.

Don’t get us wrong. We investigate over 100 cases every month and LOVE to help people who have been injured due to medical negligence. We’d love to help you and we have a great track record of success. We are also honest and want to be clear that these cases are not easy.

Bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit to trial is a very expensive undertaking. In most situations, if an attorney decides to take on a case he or she will incur all of the costs during the trial, and receive payment from an award given to the patient. Some cases cost over $100 thousand dollars to litigate after investigators and specialists prove the malpractice. Hundreds of hours of work go into the beginning stages of any medical malpractice case and attorneys typically don’t work for free.

Other big issues in winning medical malpractice cases are sometimes people confuse a customer service issue with a malpractice issue, and sometimes the end result is simply a risk taken for medical services. For instance, if someone is in an emergency situation and needs to be intubated on the spot, one risk is damage to the vocal cords. The person may have permanent damage, or may just have difficulties talking for the next few days. This person typically would not have a case for medical malpractice simply because the doctor intubated him or her because of the basic risks of the procedure. If a doctor is unkind during an exam with regards to prescription meds, and refuses to refill the prescription typically the patient would not have a medical malpractice case because no catastrophic and life changing effects would come from not refilling the prescription.

The burden of proof falls into the standard of care given to the patient. Sometimes people feel as though the doctor could have done more, or should have known circumstances; that doesn’t mean the standard of care was less than acceptable.

The other burden of proof is catastrophic injury or even death. What could of happened doesn’t count in a medical malpractice case. Take for instance a patient who went in to have her gall bladder removed. The surgeon missed a few gallstones that passed into the bile duct and later blocked the bile duct. This can cause extreme pain, and could even be life threatening. If the doctor caught the issue and treated it, and she made a full and complete recovery, there is no catastrophic damage – there is no medical malpractice case.

Attorneys will take great care in assessing your personal situation before taking on any medical malpractice case for all of these reasons. No one wants a patient to be injured or things made to be worse than they are in any medical situation, no one wants to have the consequences needed to be successful with a medical malpractice lawsuit.
For more information on medical malpractice and your personal situation, please call us for a free consultation.

You were injured at work, you’ve been to a doctor and are receiving workers comp benefits. You have pain that won’t go away and you feel like you are going to have to work in pain for the rest of your life. The pain has affected everything from your personal life to your income because you aren’t able to work as many hours as you used to. So, the question arises should I get a worker’s compensation attorney.

The first thing you should do is talk to an attorney about your specific situation. You may be able to recover some of your earnings loss. An attorney may be able to help recalculate your pre injury income based on not only your base pay but also based on the overtime you were consistently earning.

As soon as the injury occurs at work, the first step should be seeing the doctor. The second step should be talking to an attorney. Insurance companies always have attorneys on their side making sure their best interests are kept at heart. You should too. Too often the insurance companies will try to reduce their liability in paying medical bills or even in a settlement offer and you may end up holding the short end of the stick. A qualified workers comp attorney will make sure your interests are upheld too, to avoid being left with the short end of the stick.

Some key points in any workers comp case include, never settle your case before all of your medical issues and rehabilitation have been taken care of. Just because you feel better doesn’t mean you are fully healed. Closing a case prior to being fully healed could cause catastrophic issues. Settling your case without a workers compensation attorney could leave you hanging high and dry without all of the benefits you are aware you should be receiving.

If you have been injured at work, if you are losing wages due to the injury, if you are missing work because of the injury, you are entitled to many benefits. Make sure you call us to discuss your personal situation. We will put you in touch with a qualified workers comp attorney who will fight for you.

A common request we get when people call us looking for an attorney referral is to find a “cost effective” lawyer. We get that. We don’t like to spend more than we have to on anything.

That said, lawyers in Illinois, at least the ones that we know, do not work on a sliding scale or charge based on your income. It’s not much different than going to a restaurant. The price is what it is and you can either afford it or not. It sounds harsh, but it’s true and we always tell the truth.

So unless you were injured where an attorney will work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if they win, you have to pay an attorney what their rate is.

This isn’t a big deal for most people if it’s a minor issue like a traffic ticket. It becomes a problem for some people when it comes to getting a divorce where you usually need at least $2,000.00 up front in order to hire a good law firm.

But it’s a huge problem if you or a loved one is charged with a major crime like murder.

There simply is no such thing as a low cost murder defense lawyer in Illinois. If you get convicted you are obviously going to be in jail for a very long time if not for the rest of your life. So you need an attorney who has a track record of having defended these cases before.

Beyond that, there is a ton of work that needs to be done to defend one of these cases. We are talking hundreds of hours of work. So the attorneys we know of charge between $50,000.00 and $100,000.00 to take on a client. That’s a ton of money.

Most people can’t afford this amount and I don’t blame them one bit. What you can’t do is find a cut rate lawyer who won’t actually do the work. It would be a HUGE waste of money. So what do you do?

The only realistic option is to get the Public Defender who is appointed by the Judge to defend you. While lawyers in that office are over worked and underpaid, usually the ones on murder cases have great experience. And they are free. So while your chances aren’t as good as if you hired a private firm, it’s way better than hiring someone who has no experience or is so cheap that they won’t put in the hours needed to get the best result.

This advice is really true for all types of criminal cases. If you hire a cheapo attorney, you’ll probably just get talked in to pleading guilty. You can do that for free.

What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient, with most cases involving medical error.

What Types of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Do We Handle?

Prescription drug errors that result in serious injuries
Surgical errors that result in serious injuries
Misdiagnosis’ that result in serious injuries
Birth injuries that result in serious injuries
In all cases, negligence and serious or catastrophic injury must have occurred.

Is a misdiagnosis considered medical malpractice?

Sometimes a misdiagnosis will be considered medical malpractice. The determining factor in these cases would be the ongoing and continuing medical issues due to the misdiagnosis. For instance, if you have a hairline fracture in your foot that is discovered a week after you went to the emergency room, that heals normally you would not have a case. However, if a doctor misdiagnosed cancer as just being a cyst, and no further follow up occurred, you may have a case.

Does Illinois limit damages in a medical malpractice case?
Illinois does not currently have limit to damages awarded in a medical malpractice case.

How do I find a medical malpractice attorney for my specific case?
In the same way you would see a specific doctor or specialist, make sure that you look for an attorney who focuses day by day in medical malpractice. You wouldn’t go see a cardiologist for an earache; nor should you use a divorce attorney for a medical malpractice case. An attorney who focuses day by day in medical malpractice will be able to keep your best interests intact at all times.

If you Google what sentence someone gets for armed robbery, you’ll see a ton of cases where the defendant gets sentenced to 21 years in jail. That’s right, 21 long, hard years in jail.

Why is that?

Under the Illinois sentencing guidelines for robbery, a defendant will get a minimum of six years in jail if they are found guilty of robbery and a maximum of 30 years. But if you commit forceful robbery with a weapon, which usually means a gun, it’s a mandatory 15 year enhancer to the sentence.

If you take the mandatory 15 years, plus the minimum six years, you get a total of 21 years for the sentence.

That is a really long time and a stupid decision or one that was done while intoxicated on drugs can literally ruin your life. This is all true even if someone wasn’t shot or otherwise injured. It’s a very tough gun law.

The smart thing of course is to never commit this crime in the first place. That said, if you or someone you love does screw up and do this, it’s incredibly important that you get an experienced attorney in your corner to defend these charges. It’s not cheap, and it requires A LOT of work by the lawyer, but in many cases they can get the charges reduced to a lesser crime. That doesn’t always mean that you walk away with no punishment, but it can mean that you don’t lose out on the best years of your life.

Think about it. If you have a child and get the minimum sentence, your child will be an adult before you can ever see them outside of a prison. So if you get a really good attorney and end up with a five year sentence, that actually is an incredible result. In fact, if you read in the paper that someone charged with armed robbery or aggravated armed robbery received a sentence of less than ten years it’s a sign that either the case against them wasn’t very good or that they had a fantastic lawyer in their corner.

So where can you find a top robbery defense lawyer in Chicago, Wheaton, Joliet or Waukegan? That’s why people come to us. Since 2001 our lawyers have helped more than 300,000 people find the right Illinois attorney for their case. Call us at (312) 346-5320 to speak to one of our attorneys for free and in confidence. We’ll treat you like a family member or friend and do whatever we can for you.

Alternate energy companies have provided consumers an additional resource to be able to purchase gas and electric services to allow for choices opposed to only having the use of their local utility company to provide services. Such companies as North American Power & Gas, have used direct to consumer marketing to describe how their rates are lower.

In these marketing materials, consumers were promised a low “New Customer Rate” as well as a “market based variable rate.” The problem ensues when alternate energy companies do not always follow their own promises. One woman in particular was promised a new customer rate that was never applied to her account, and her monthly usage rate was much higher than the local utility company was. Again, a marketing practice that has been deemed false and deceptive.

According The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, claims against alternate energy suppliers can be filed in their local courts. In a recent decision, claims such as these no longer require that the Illinois Commerce Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over the legal claim. The consumers are able to file a lawsuit to recover damages in their local county courthouse.

If you have used one of the varying alternate energy companies in Illinois, and were a victim to false or deceptive advertising, please contact us. We will put you in direct contact with a local attorney who will review your case details and help you resolve your case with the gas company or electric company. These cases are all handled on a contingency basis which means that the lawyer only gets paid if they win the case. We are happy to talk to you for free to see if you have a case. We are looking for customers of any company other than Com Ed or People’s Gas. If you would like a free consultation, call us any time at (312) 346-5320.

When someone passes away, a series of issues start to compile. Besides the high emotions running there are also legal issues to worry about. Did the loved one do their estate planning documents while they were still alive? Is there a Will and Beneficiary Deed in order? If not, you may have a nightmare on your hands.

Say for instance, your father passed away and your older sister is not able to take care of the house your father lived in. He didn’t prepare a Beneficiary Deed or any other Estate Planning documents; he had just stated that he wanted the house to go to all three of you kids. Who gets the house officially? How does your sister get taken care of?

Many people have the misconception that a simple will is enough. It is not. A will simply states wishes and transfers personal property. There is a full set of Estate Planning documents that need to be completed to ensure that property is distributed per the person who has passed a way’s wishes. For a house, a beneficiary deed will help tremendously. If there is a beneficiary deed recorded prior to a person passing, whoever is listed, as the beneficiary will be able to obtain ownership based on that deed.

If there is not a beneficiary deed or other estate planning documents regarding the house, a probate case might need to be opened. Typically, without a will, the ownership would go according to family succession. Oldest children, spouse, etc. In the case above, if the older sister is unable to care for herself or the home, you may also want to obtain both guardianship and conservatorship of both her and the estate.

Before making any major moves after a loved one has passed away, the best thing to do is to speak to an attorney about your personal specific situation. In some cases, a probate case is needed, and in others, no legal action is needed at all. Only an experienced attorney will be able to decipher your situation.