We are Chicago attorneys who have since 2001 been helping people find the right law firm for their case. If you would like our help, please call us at 312-346-5320.

What is one thing you do more than anything else in your life? It is more than you eat, more than you drink and is the one thing, other than your heartbeat, that continues to happen even when you’re not thinking about it: You breathe.

Naturally, clean air is a basic requirement for human health. Air pollution can cause and worsen many health conditions. And unfortunately, traces of chemicals known to cause human cancer lurk in the air everywhere. None know better than residents in Willowbrook, IL where 40+ lawsuits have been filed to seek damages from chemical emissions by the Sterigenics plant.

Sterigenics is a plant in Willowbrook that sterilizes primarily medical instruments as well as pharmaceutical drugs and food. The company uses high doses of ethylene oxide, a colorless and odorless gas that has been linked to cancer, to sterilize the medical equipment.

The U.S. EPA regularly assesses cancer risks from air pollution with a National Air Toxics Assessment. The assessment sends red flags to areas where there is an impact from air toxins. Officials began investigating Sterigenics last year when surrounding communities were showing red flags on this assessment. The recent study found that people living or working within a mile of the plant in Willowbrook face some of the nation’s highest cancer risks, and in some areas more than nine times the national average.

Sterigenics primarily uses ethylene oxide, a gas known to cause cancer, the most common being lymphoma and leukemia, but stomach, blood and breast cancers can also be linked with ethylene oxide exposure. Can this be a coincidence? The residents of Cook County don’t think so and neither does our law office.

Backlash against the company has been brewing for months since residents learned of the dangers last year. The company has maintained their stance that these emissions have been within legal limits, but still the plant was ordered to be temporarily shut down in February 2018 by the Illinois Attorney General. Upon closing, ethylene oxide air pollution in the area plummeted by nearly 90%.

After 34 years of the plant being in production too much damage has already been done. Too many residents find too many similar stories and health issues to not fault the company that stole their good health and ruined their lives.

A woman, who has no family history of cancer, was diagnosed with breast cancer and has been dealing with the horrors of it for over 6 years. Another man, whose wife recently died of cancer, is now standing by while doctors treat his daughter who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. A daughter, who since second grade has had violent coughing fits causing sever sickness. They are not alone. Families all over the area have been plagued with several health problems.

The plant did reopen in July of 2018, but was permanently closed by September 2019 for reasons unrelated to the cases against it.

When a family member requires more care then their relatives can provide, many families consider a nursing home. They are an amazing way to ensure that your loved one is being cared for and getting the treatment and care they deserve.

Many of these elders are well-cared for but sadly some are the victims of abuse. Abuse continues to be more prevalent than most people wish to believe and over 3/4th of the cases of nursing home abuse are perpetrated by caregivers.

Abusive treatment is nothing new at nursing homes. Workers have been accused of sexual harassment, improper treatment or sedation, neglecting to clean or rotate as need or even dropping patients.

And now enters the newest form of elder abuse: Social media. It is redefining the way we interpret privacy, free speech and employee rights. While it can be a fun and enjoyable way of sharing photos, videos and memories with others, social media is now one of the biggest dangers to nursing home residents.

Since 2012, at least 65 instances have been reported nationwide in which workers at nursing homes have shared inappropriate photos or videos of residents being bathed, fully or partially naked, and some even deceased. At least 16 of these cases involved Snapchat, a social media service in which photos appear only for a few seconds and disappear without record.

Take for example an Illinois nursing home being sued after videos emerged on social media of caregivers taunting an elderly woman. The two staff completely exploited this elderly woman’s privacy and dignity. The nursing home is also being accused of failing to properly implement their abuse prevention policy. The hope from this lawsuit is to help prevent abuse like this happening to other individuals all across the state.  What kind of scumbag would taunt an elderly patient they are supposed to be caring for?

The numerous incidents illustrate the emerging threat that social media poses to patient privacy as well as the potential for capturing transgressions that might have otherwise gone unrecorded.

Illinois law requires certain professionals, including those in the medical field and adult care, to make reports of suspected abuse of adults age 60 or older who are unable, due to dysfunction, to report for themselves. Yet, the reported nursing homes rarely found these controversial media postings themselves. Most came from concerned members of the community whom saw the posts, posted privately or publicly.

The irresponsible use of social media has created a number of potential ethical and legal challenges. Federal agencies are now asking state officials to help enforce rules that prohibit nursing home staff from taking demeaning photos and videos of residents.

Making the decision to put a loved one in the care of others in a nursing home is an emotional and stressful situation for many families. Factoring in the risk of social media abuse should not have to be one of the concerns. If this has happened to someone you love, please call us at (312) 346-5320 for a free consultation with a lawyer to discuss what options you may have.

We are Illinois attorneys who will talk to you for free about your case and if needed, recommend an experienced attorney with a track record of success.  We only recommend law firms we’d suggest to family members or friends.  Call us at 800-517-1614 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.

Nursing homes are an amazing way to make sure that your loved ones are being cared for and are getting the service that they deserve. They offer the most extensive care a person can get outside of a hospital offering help with custodial care, such as bathing, getting dressed, and eating, as well as skilled cared. Skilled nursing care is given by a registered nurse and includes medical monitoring and treatments.

Medical professionals in nursing homes deal with the most precious and delicate commodity of all:  life. It is practically essential in a medical occupation to achieve perfection. Nurses, no matter how logical they may be, and how prepared they are to do the best possible job, are still humans capable of making errors.

Studies suggest that one in five nursing home residents suffer from medical errors. Sadly, 37% of those medical errors are medication errors, accounting for nearly ¼ of all medical malpractice cases in the United States. A medication error is defined as mistakes that are made while making or administrating a resident’s medication by a physician, nurse or caregiver. Medication errors include incorrect dosage, incorrect method of administration and even providing the incorrect medication to the wrong patient.

Most medication errors are genuinely made by human error, but sadly medication errors are a serious and pervasive problem, often caused by negligence and malpractice. Negligent medication errors occur when staff administers expired medication, the wrong dosage, documenting incorrectly, following wrong implemented ‘med pass’ routines, giving too much or too little medication, and giving at the wrong time or rate. Medication malpractice is more when ignoring an order, poor medication management during ‘med pass’, knowingly substituting wrong medication, and diversions of the correct medication.

Although most errors cause minor effects, there is a huge spectrum of consequences, including the possibility of death. In fact, approximately 7,000 deaths are the result of medication errors. Other possible consequences to medication error are unexpected medical complications, reduced immune responses, failure to organs, malnutrition and dehydration.

More often than not, mistakes become more common during extended shift hours, heavier workloads and the simple matter of inexperience. However, the most common cause of medication errors is incomplete patient information, meaning staff not knowing a patients’ medical history, previous treatments/diagnoses, allergies or current medications. Another cause of medication errors can be miscommunication. Messy or illegible handwriting, confusion with decimal points, mix ups between drugs with similar sounding names and even medical abbreviations can be misunderstood resulting in a medication error.

If this has happened to a loved one of yours and you would like to speak with an attorney for free to discuss your options, please contact us at any time.

The beginning of 2019 brought some significant changes to Illinois state divorce laws, impacting spousal maintenance, or also known interchangeably as spousal support and alimony in Illinois. Most are aware of the basis of spousal support, but to be clear it is a recurring payment from one former spouse, typically the higher earning individual, to the other former spouse. Essentially, the purpose is to avoid unfair financial effects of the divorce on the spouse who earned less income than the other spouse. The duration that spousal maintenance is paid largely depends on the length of the marriage.

As it was before, the court must still make a finding that maintenance is appropriate given the specifics of each individual case, including:

  • Each former spouse’s income, property, needs and earning capacity
  • The standard of living while married
  • Any contributions to the education and career of the higher earning spouse.
  • The tax impact of property division in the couple’s divorce.

Before now starting in 2015, spousal maintenance was calculated by subtracting 20 % of the recipient’s gross income from 30% of the payor’s gross income. As of January 1st of this year, spousal support payments will be calculated by subtracting 25% of the recipient’s net income from 33.3% of the payor’s net income.

Under this new law, the recipient’s spousal maintenance and net income, when added together, cannot amount to more than 40% of the former couple’s combined net income. If this were to happen, the amount of maintenance would be reduced until below the combined net income.

Not only was there a change in state spousal maintenance law, but also a significant federal law change is now in effect. For those whose judgment was entered before January 1st, 2019, the ex-spouse paying alimony could deduct the expense from his or her federal taxes. On the same note, the ex-spouse receiving alimony payments could claim the payments as taxable income. Now, the recently passed tax bill eliminates the tax deduction for payor’s spousal maintenance payments and makes the spousal maintenance income tax-free to the recipient.

These changes have lead to a ton of court cases where people are modifying their old support orders.  If you haven’t done so already you may be making a huge mistake that could cost you a lot of money.

The changing laws for spousal maintenance law can be complicated and confusing. Speaking to an experienced attorney can help clarify and ease any tension and confusion.  If you would like us to recommend an experienced family law attorney who will consult with you for free, call us any time at 312-346-5320.

There are a lot of “dirty secrets” when it comes to lawyers and how they market themselves, celebrate their success and talk to clients.  One dirty secret covers all three of those areas and it has to do with what a case is worth.

When you go to a lawyer in Illinois, it’s expected that they will know what they are talking about and that you will not.  Your hope is that they will be honest with you and look out for your best interests.  When it comes to accident cases, it’s not uncommon for an attorney to say something like “The more I get for you, the more I get for me, so I’m motivated to get you the most money possible.”

If I was a client and I heard that, I’d assume that the attorney is on the same page as me. If down the road they told me that my case was at most worth a million dollars and that’s what the settlement would be, I’d believe them and think they did a great job.

The problem with this is that I could be very wrong and it could cost me a lot of money.

I’m not saying one million isn’t a lot. It is. But if your case is worth 5 million and they get you one million or two million and they get you one, then they really sold you out.

What happens in some cases is people hire law firms that either aren’t doing well financially or don’t want to do the work needed.  If you are a lawyer and struggling to pay the bills, getting 333k now for settling a case for one million dollars might be better for you rather than doing the work needed to go to trial and possibly get five million in a year. If your office is closed by then it doesn’t help you.

The problem is that shouldn’t matter.  The client’s best interests should be all that matter, but unfortunately that’s not always the case.

The second and more common scenario is when an attorney just doesn’t want to do their job. If they went to trial that would mean a lot of depositions, a lot of prep work and in most trials, a week or two where they are doing nothing else.  Sadly some attorneys will tell their clients lies and make it seem like their position won’t get much better at a trial or lie and say “you could end up with nothing.”  That could be true in some cases, but some attorneys use that in every case as a lie to convince their clients to take an offer.

To me it’s outrageous that attorneys would sell out their clients and crazy that they would turn down the strong likelihood of a much higher payday for themselves, but it does happen.

On the plus side, their are a ton of really good personal injury attorneys in Illinois.  There is a famous story of a top Chicago accident lawyer who turned down a six million dollar offer because he was confident his client’s case was worth at least 20 million.  He took the case to trial and got over 29 million awarded by a jury.  Because he cared about his client she ended up with more than 35 million at the end of the day after the appeals process played itself out.

It’s not just these seven and eight figure cases where this can happen.  We see cases worth $50,000 get settled for $30,000 all the time.  You won’t always get the maximum, but should avoid getting low balled whenever possible.

If you want our recommendation of the right attorney for your case, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with a lawyer for free.

We are Chicago attorneys who help people find the best medical malpractice lawyer for their case, anywhere in Illinois.  If you would like to speak with one of our lawyers for FREE, please fll out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320.

It’s a question asked by most anyone involved in a case of medical malpractice: how much is my case worth? With the time, expense and stress that goes in to a case, it is understandable to want to know a cases’ worth even when your main goal is to prevent a similar medical error from happening to a different patient in the future.

Unfortunately, there is not a “formula” for calculating the value of a claim and, in fact, the worth of a case depends on a slew of different factors. These include, but are not limited to, jurisdiction, severity, life expectancy, income loss, future treatment or pre-existing conditions. Here’s the lowdown on some of the factors that can make or break the worth of your medical malpractice case.

Essentially, it comes down to economic and non-economic damages. However, both can be complicated to determine.

Economic damages or “specific” damages, refer to more actual, measurable losses, such as lost earnings, future earnings or to expenses incurred as a result of an injury, such as medical costs, co-payments and insurance costs. Lost earnings and medical costs are more specific and concrete figures and are easier to calculate. However, with medical costs they can become problematic as doctors may disagree about the necessary medical treatments needed. And since treatments costs differently, this can alter the claim cost. Future earnings are where it gets really tricky. Without knowing the remaining numbers of working years a person has or what those years earnings would offer, future earnings are more speculative and harder to predict in advance.  As a result, in many malpractice cases an economist will testify to try and establish a financial harm.

Non-economic damages or “general” damages, on the other hand, are not measurable. Meaning the damages cannot be calculated or added up with documented bills and receipts and are non-monetary and not readily quantifiable losses. Examples of non-economic damages include loss of consortium (the inability to have normal marital relations, sexually and emotionally), pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and disability, just to name a few. Again, these damages are highly subjective and vary from case to case.  Punitive damages are not allowed in Illinois malpractice cases, but it does seem that the more egregious the error, the higher the non-economic damages are.

The location where the incident took place also counts. Bigger counties like Cook County are more likely to yield higher reward than smaller southern counties such as Urbana or Winnebago. This can be due politics or doctor liability by county. Some rural counties in Illinois have not had a medical malpractice case in a number of years.

Lastly, in any type of case, choosing the right lawyer for your type of case greatly influences the worth of your case. If the representing law firm has a positive and proven track record as well as resources, cases often will settle for a higher amount than they might otherwise. Based on the facts of your case, an experienced lawyer will know which expert witnesses can be vital importance as well as where to file for the best verdict possible.  While $4 million is a big number for a case, if a lawyer feels pressure to take that offer when the case is really worth $15 million, they are doing a bad job for you.  In our opinion there are really only around ten law firms in Illinois with the track record to get you the most money that a case can be worth.

Medical malpractice suits have the potential to get complicated quickly. Seeking the most experienced and successful lawyers helps ensure you receive the best settlement possible. The compensation does not undo the harm caused by a health care provider, but it can provide much needed medical and personal care for someone injured by a medical provider.  If you’d like our help in finding the right lawyer for your unique case, please contact us any time.

We are attorneys in Chicago who will talk to you for free about any Illinois legal matter.  Call us at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.

If you are considering a dissolution of marriage, you may have several questions and concerns. It can be a difficult time, but it is important to understand the process of family law. Just as each state enforces their marriage laws, the states regulate their divorce laws. Here, we have given you a few things we think you should know when considering a divorce in Illinois.

1. No-Fault Divorce – For the most part, fault doesn’t matter in a divorce. One may think that issues such as adultery, cruelty or abuse should be taken into consideration during a divorce, but for the most part, they aren’t. Like the rest of the US, Illinois follows no-fault divorce laws, meaning that grounds for divorce are not taken into consideration when deciding how marital property should be divided, whether alimony should be awarded or how much child support a parent should pay.

2. Annulments – In many ways, an annulment of a marriage in Illinois is very similar to divorce. You can expect to see the same kinds of property division, child and spousal support arrangements, and court proceedings in an annulment case as in a divorce case. However, annulments are rare and have strict grounds to be able to obtain an annulment.  Usually it’s just a Church term.

3. Attorney Fees – Attorneys’ fees are a significant chunk of the cost of divorce. Not only do you pay the attorney’s rate, you may be responsible for paralegals rates, court fees, witnesses, consultants, etc. A majority of attorneys require a retainer. With a retainer, you will pay a couple thousand up front and the attorney will then deduct their rate from the retainer as the case is handled. Once the retainer runs out, you’d most likely be required to refill it.

4. Civil Unions – When it comes to the Illinois marriage and divorce laws, a civil union is similar to a marriage. The dissolution of civil unions follows the same procedures and is subject to the same rights and obligations that are in involved in the dissolution of marriages.

5. Child Custody – Children do not necessarily get a say in their custody preference. Illinois requires judges to determine child custody based on the best interests of the child, if the parents cannot agree. The custody preferences of mature children may be considered, but ultimately it is up to the judge to decide.

6. “Father’s Rights” – Don’t be fooled by a “Father’s Rights” lawyer. This term is just a marketing ploy. A good family lawyer is capable of handling a child custody case, no matter whom they’re representing.

7. Conflict of Interest – If you and your spouse are on good terms you may think using the same attorney would be a smart and financial choice. Not only is it a conflict of interest, it is illegal. An attorney can only represent one party. What is best for one spouse is not necessarily best for the other spouse.

Divorce can be a tricky process and there are other laws you should be made aware of. Call and talk to one of our attorneys for free consultation.

Imagine an occupational hazard that affects millions of workers and potentially contributes to one of the main reasons people see a doctor for pain. Did you consider whole-body vibration? If you’re like many you may not have even been aware of whole-body vibration, let alone the injuries caused by it.

So, what is a whole-body vibration injury? First off, whole-body vibration occurs when a person’s entire body is supported by something that shakes. Mechanical vibrations from machines are then transmitted into the entire body at various frequencies, leading to cumulative type injuries. In the U.S., approximately 6 million American workers are exposed to whole-body vibrations for more than two hours a day. Whole-body vibration can cause a variety of health problems, most commonly low back pain, but also has been linked to musculoskeletal problems, digestive problems, prostate problems as well as miscarriages in women.

At first glance, whole-body vibration may not appear to be so serious. And while the number of injuries or illnesses caused to workers as a result of whole-body vibrations may be low in comparison to other occupational hazards, this doesn’t mean it should be ignored. The truth is, it is very likely that the number of injuries or illnesses caused by whole-body vibrations may be under reported.

When it comes to whole-body vibrations, it is important to realize that not all vibrations cause injuries, and not all injuries that do surface, such as lower back pain, are caused by vibrations. Whole-body vibration is exposed to nearly everyone, at some point in their life. It occurs in airplanes, boats and cars. Exposure from these rarely causes problems. It is people who at are at risk are those in occupations such as agriculture, forestry, construction, mining, automotive and driving or operate heavy equipment.  But the biggest risk is probably for truck drivers.

Any workplace accident should be fully compensated by the business. However, as harm from vibration may be subtle and difficult to detect, there may be controversy between the injured employee and their employer as to exactly how much of the harm came from workplace exposure. An attorney may be able to help an injured employee prove that their damage came, in part from their occupation which is what you need to do in order to win your case.

If you would like our recommendation as to a great Illinois work injury attorney for a whole-body vibration injury, please call us any time at 800-517-1614.

Building codes may feel like the bane of a contractor’s and business owner’s existence, but they are integral to public health, safety and environmental protection. Basically, they are designed to keep buildings and other structures safe for everyone. If these building codes are ignored or violated, people can get hurt.

Building owners and managers are required to perform regular inspections and maintenance to ensure everything is up to code. The theory of premises liability obligates property owners to maintain safe buildings and structures, and holds them liable for any damages or injuries occurring on their property when failing to keep their property in safe conditions. In Chicago and other parts of Illinois there are specific rules required purely because it’s been determined that it is the best way to keep the public safe.

Unfortunately, premise safety often takes a back seat to financial considerations. When innocent peoples are injured because of an accident involving a building that was not in compliance with applicable building code provisions, the victim may be entitled to compensation through premises liability.

Take for example Bonita Milem. A 68-year-old woman who broke her right ankle and wrist at a Chicago restaurant when she fell walking down the stairs to a basement dining area. Obviously, a slip and fall can happen almost anywhere but in Milem’s case the 10.25-inch stair riser violated Section 13-160-300 of the city’s building code stating the maximum height of a stair riser should not exceed 7.5 inches.

In Milem’s premises liability lawsuit, a Cook County jury awarded Milem $500,000 arguing that the restaurant’s manager failed to not only warn customers of the step, but also failed to resolve the violation.

Generally speaking, if you fall coming down a stairs you have to show that something negligent made you fall.  If you are at a private business you probably don’t have a tape measure handy to determine if the stairs are too big and certainly won’t be thinking about that if you lay on the ground in pain.  But if you do get injured from a stair fall, you should have someone go back and check the height of the stairs.

So while this is a unique case and it’s more common to fall due to bad lighting, holes in stairs or a lack of required railing, there are some stairs and risers built too high. If that’s why you fall and get hurt, you’d likely have a case.

Property managers and building owners can be held accountable for any injuries caused if they choose to ignore building code requirements. Because premises liability involves complex legal issues with the need of solid evidence, it is important to consult an attorney that has experience with a personal injury and premises liability laws.   Not every accident lawyer can really demonstrate a track record of winning those cases. If you’d like our recommendation as to a law firm with a real record of success, contact us any time.  There is never a fee unless the case is successful.

If this post were a tweet it would say: Are lawyer awards worth anything?  No.

But I’m going to give a longer explanation as to why.

The marketplace for legal services is overcrowded, with no shortage of attorneys. It’s no wonder why lawyers feel the need to distinguish themselves from their peers. Lawyers can easily discuss their educational background and experience for recognition, but for a perspective client this may not be enough to stand out. Applying for a variety of attorney awards and submitting to be listed in attorney rankings is a way an attorney can get a leg up in the marketplace because for many consumers, perception is reality.  Naturally, with any profession, there are awards and rankings for lawyers that are prestigious, worthy and are based on an attorney’s good works. But also, with any other profession, there are the rankings that have no merit or meaning to the works of an attorney.

The biggest sounding of these is being awarded as a Super Lawyer. While many worthy attorneys are designated as Super Lawyers, the designation does not necessarily mean that the Super Lawyers are any better than other lawyers who do not have this designation or any good at all. It seems, as far as I can tell, that the award of a Super Lawyer is really more of a “social” title. The Super Lawyer designation is primarily based upon how many votes an attorney receives from other attorneys, making it more of a popularity contest, or by how extensively an attorney has engaged in a website operated by the ranking organization. There are basic qualifications of those applying for these ranking, but otherwise the vetting process appears to be lacking and the award is used more as a marketing tool for lawyers.

They of course aren’t unique.  There are tons of other awards that sound like Super or Best or Top, etc.  Some of them only give you the award if you pay a fee.

It’s a natural feeling to want to feel good about oneself and what better way than to receive an accolade. Most are happy to have been selected for something, but few lawyers consider the vetting process when considering if an accolade is worthy of praise. There will always be organizations profiting off the underlying desire to be recognized and awarded.

The idea of organizations profiting off the “ego industry” is nothing short of new. These organizations feed on people’s need for feeling accomplished even at an early age. Some will ‘recognize’ an elementary student’s literary work just to turn around to sale their ‘published’ work for an outrageous fee to their parents. High School students are frequently ‘selected’ in a list of accomplished high school students. Just another way to go after one’s wallet. Even college students will receive letters claiming to be selected for an exclusive honor society, only to have to pay fees or dues to the society.

Many of us have encountered at some point of our life an “ego accolade”. Lawyers are just as easily targeted, perhaps due to their need for prestige. Websites and companies that offer accolades, rating and reviews often encourage lawyers to reference their recognition or ratings when advertising. This may help a lawyer stand apart from other lawyers, but really it is just lining the pockets of these organizations.

The bottom line for you is that you shouldn’t hire a lawyer because of an award or a fancy looking website.  Hire them because of their track record, the type of case you have and because you connect with them.