For a licensed professional in Illinois, having their hard-earned professional license investigated by The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is a threat to their career, livelihood and personal life. Professional licenses can be investigated and disciplined for a variety of reasons. Federal laws, administrative regulations, new licensing board rules, statues and ordinances all regulate and control every facet of a professional practice. If you are under an investigation by the IDFPR, be careful with your behavior and actions as your license, reputation and future are at risk.

The thought of an investigation and potentially losing your professional license can be panic-inducing, but do not panic and do not get in a hurry. Remain collected through the investigation and work with your attorney immediately to dispute the complaint. During the investigation, you will still be permitted to practice in your field and continue to work with clients.

While you’re calm and collected, that doesn’t mean to put your guard down. The investigators and prosecutors are not your friends. With the guide of your attorney, protect yourself through the investigation at all times. You are entitled to seeking and asking your own questions: Which agency is conducting the investigation? Why, what and who is the investigation towards?

If you’re told that you have the right to remain silent, then do just that. Remain silent as you are clearly the subject of a criminal investigation.

Once you know more about who and what is being investigated, you have the right to decide to submit to an interview or not. By law, it is not usually required to submit to an interview. However, if opting to an interview, it is always best to have your attorneys present. During the interview, as any part of the investigative process, it is important to remain truthful and do not justify a situation. The investigators’ job is to collect evidence and information for the prosecuting attorney. Hold your explanations for a time more suited to this information, but also be aware that there will not be an opportunity to review or correct any information given in an investigators’ report. It is also important not to offer up any authorized original documents or copies without a subpoena or search warrant. Your words and actions can and will be used against you, if the investigator sees fit to.

Being investigated is not a trivial matter and can be overwhelming. Investigators have been known to be intimidating in nature often downplaying the importance of an investigation, declining information and making the interview uncomfortable. This is unreasonable for a professional and is a serious matter. You are entitled to information, professionalism and have the right to terminate an interview at any time.

Once a complaint is fully investigated the case will be either dropped or the license holder will be subjected to an informal hearing or a formal evidentiary hearing. In a typical calendar year, the IDFPR imposes discipline on 3,000+ licensees in various regulated professions, yet less than 200 are actually subjected to an evidentiary hearing. Most settlement agreements are negotiated during or as a result of an informal Disciplinary Conference.

The longer one practices, the more likely to be investigated. Stay calm and safeguard the process of your investigation with careful and precise steps with your attorney as described above.

You should not go through an investigation without a lawyer.  Very few attorneys have experience with these cases. If you want a referral to an experienced IDFPR law firm that will protect you, call us at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form.

We are Chicago attorneys who help people with legal matters throughout Illinois. If you would like our help please call us at 800-517-1614 or fill out our contact form and we will call you. All communication is free and confidential.

Workers’ Compensation laws vary by state.  Some heavily favor the insurance company and employers, others are stronger for workers. Illinois has common sense workers’ compensation laws that are very strong for workers legitimately hurt on the job.

Just like other types of employees, the threat of injury is real and pervasive for truck drivers. Truck drivers that are injured on the job, whether in an accident on the road or performing other job duties, like servicing their truck or loading and unloading, are entitled to workers’ compensation.   If you get hurt in Illinois, principally work out of Illinois or were hired out of Illinois, you can file for benefits here.  Under IL law, traveling employees are covered for most injuries even if it’s not while on the clock.

When it comes to workers’ compensation, Illinois is just better in regards in many ways. In many states, the income received from workers’ compensation is limited. Other states put a cap on the total received regardless of injury and others mandate you to use their chosen doctor and not a doctor of your choice. Some states allow nurse case managers to talk directly to your doctor or attend your appointments.  Those problems don’t exist in Illinois.

Another tricky factor when it comes to truck drivers and workers’ compensation is that many trucking companies often like to label their drivers as “independent contractors’ for various reasons. The biggest reasons are Independent contractors are responsible for their own taxes and don’t always qualify for Workman’s Compensation.

However, there are many gray areas to whether a truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor of a trucking company, and therefore whether or not qualifies for workers’ compensation when injured. These factors are applied case by case. Here are some factors courts typically look at in making a determination if someone is an employee or an Independent Contractor:

1. Is the trucking company in control of the driver’s work performance?
2. Does the driver set their own hours for work?
3. Can the driver decline certain loads or jobs?
4. Is it the company or the driver establish the given routes?
5. How is the driver paid? Weekly, hourly, mile, etc.?
6. Can the driver contract with other trucking companies?
7. Is the driver required to wear a uniform?
8. Is the driver required to adhere to company standards and/or attend safety meetings required by the company?
9. Is the driver allowed to keep the equipment on a nightly basis or is required to return the equipment?
10. How is the wording in the contracts between driver and trucking company?

The more they control you, the easier it is to show you really are an employee even if they pay you as a 1099 or you signed a document stating you don’t work for them. If you can be proven to really be an employee you can get work comp benefits.

We get that this can be confusing. If you’d like to discuss it for free with a lawyer, please contact us at any time.

If a loved one has passed, the last thing you need is an unnecessary headache.  You are grieving and trying to get the pieces of your life back in place.  People should be sensitive to you at that time and not give you any unwanted stress.

Despite all of this, people who are entitled to payouts for life insurance policies are denied payment without reason.  So the question is why does this happen so often?

The answer is a simple and sad one. It’s all business.  If you are expecting a payout on a $100,000.00 policy and need that money to pay for a funeral or mortgage, you might be desperate.  So sometimes an insurance company might offer you a partial payout on a disputed basis to take advantage of your desperation.

More often though, they will just deny the whole thing. They do this because they hope you will go away.    There are very few Illinois lawyers with experience fighting for denied life insurance benefits and if your policy is not that large, it might be hard to find one willing to take on the case at all.

So from the insurance company standpoint, they can deny you without good reason because in their best case scenario you go away or take less money and in the worst case scenario for them, they just pay out what they would have had to any way.

They look for loopholes or accuse your loved one of not telling them everything about their health history. I’ve seen that as the basis for a denial when someone died in a car accident.  It’s absurd and abusive and beyond unfair.

The good news is that we do know attorneys who handle cases when someone dies and the life insurance company won’t pay out the policy.  And these lawyers work on a contingency basis which means you won’t pay them unless they make a recovery for you.

So don’t be frustrated.  Give us a call and our attorneys will talk to you for free and refer you to an experienced law firm that should be able to help you.  Fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320.  We cover all of Illinois and can usually put to an end this terrible insurance company behavior.

We are Chicago attorneys who help people find the best law firm for their Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit. We will speak with you for free, discuss your situation and then recommend an independent firm that we feel has the best track record to succeed for you based on your unique facts.  We cover all of Illinois.  If you would like our help please call us at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.

The human brain is not only fascinating in its complexity, but is one of the most important organs in the human body. Essential to living a normal life, the brain acts as the command center for our cognition, physical abilities and emotional and psychological functions. Naturally, an injury to the brain can cripple a person for the rest of their lives.

The brain requires a constant flow of oxygen in order to perform normally. If there is a diminished amount of oxygen, brain cells can die and brain damage can occur. This is referred to as hypoxic brain injury. Although rare, medical professionals sometimes act negligently, making critical errors that can lead to oxygen deprivation and brain damage. Hypoxic brain injuries are often caused by medical negligence due to surgical errors, medication mistakes, general anesthesia complications, labor and delivery injuries, failure to monitor and treat extremely low blood pressure, intubation errors, and the poor use of heart-lung machines during coronary artery bypass graft surgeries. Depending on the part of the brain affected and how long a person was without oxygen determines if someone will be able to recover. Sadly, oxygen deprivation typically causes brain injuries that can lead to a lifetime of impairments and disabilities.

A person with a hypoxic brain injury may suffer from cognitive and behavioral changes, but also physical problems. Again, dependent on the area of the brain effected and the level of the hypoxic damage, different symptoms may appear including dyskinesia, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, chorea, athetosis, tremor and Lance-Adams Syndrome.

If you don’t recognize Lance-Adams Syndrome, or LAS, you’re not alone. In fact, there are less than 150 reported cases worldwide. LAS is an uncommon neurological disorder mostly seen in patients who have undergone a cardiorespiratory arrest, later regaining consciousness, then developing quick and involuntary muscle jerks, known as myoclonus, sometime after. As the development of emergency medicine grows and the increasing number of patients survive a hypoxic brain injury, the amount of LAS diagnosis will gradually grow.

Currently, LAS is often misdiagnosed causing inappropriate therapy and delayed treatment. Making an early diagnosis and properly managing LAS is positively related to improving the patient’s functional outcome, minimizing the patient’s disabilities and improving the prognosis.

Similar to the tremor effect of Parkinson’s disease, Lance-Adams syndrome makes even the simplest of tasks difficult. With the quick and involuntary muscle jerks, patients have lost their sense of balance and fine motor skills. Living with LAS takes a toll on one’s life physically, financially and emotionally, often leading to sever depression as their sense of identity is gone. Patients of LAS often need years of rehabilitation, counseling, ongoing medical care and financial assistance.

When there is a loss of oxygen during surgery or from another medical incident, the cause is often medical malpractice. With any medical negligence case you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney.   There are very few law firms that have LAS experience, but we can help you find one that gives you the best chance of winning a case and understands this rare complication.

If you are going through a child custody case in Illinois, your goal might be sole custody or joint custody or just reasonable visitation.  Hopefully your case can be amicable, but usually that is not the case.  We are attorneys in Chicago who help people find the best lawyer for their case.  We talked to some of the top child custody attorneys in Illinois and asked their tips for getting a great result.  Here are some of the things they said.

– Remember that custody is about the best interests of the child.  That means the child doesn’t get to pick where they live or who they want to spend time with.

– As the kids get older they have more influence on custody, but a Judge isn’t going to punish a parent who disciplines a child in favor of one that gives them free reign.

– You should keep track of what you do for your child and how often you do it.  This includes attending their events, helping them with homework, driving them to and from school, etc.

– It’s not realistic to expect sole custody when the other parent is involved in the child’s life and doesn’t have major red flags such as abusing the kids or a bad criminal record.

– You can’t move out of State with a child without the court’s permission. They don’t allow that when it isn’t in the best interests of the kids, you don’t have a realistic plan or the other parent’s rights will be adversely effected.

– Your best chance at getting the result you want comes when the facts look the strongest for you.  So if your ex got a DUI the other day, it sounds cruel, but this is likely the worst they will ever look which gives you leverage to get a better result.  You can’t come to court and pin your hopes on something awful your ex did five years ago.

– It’s a myth that women automatically get custody.  It happened that way for years because women traditionally stayed home with the kids so it made sense for them to have primary custody.  But times have changed and custody cases are truly about what is in the best interests of the child.

– Father’s rights is a marketing term used to scare people.  Men and women have the same rights under Illinois law.

– Judges aren’t stupid.  If they think you are going for custody just to avoid paying child support you will likely get a bad result.

– Unfortunate, but true, Judges tend to not listen to people who don’t have a lawyer.  These cases can be expensive and I get why people don’t want to spend the money on legal fees. But if you go at it alone and your ex has a lawyer, they will likely win. After that happens it’s really hard if not impossible for us to get things turned around.

– Unless you can show a drastic change in circumstances, most custody orders can’t be amended for at least two years.  A “drastic change” would be new information like your ex getting arrested.

 

I hope this helps, if you have questions or want an attorney referral, call us at 312-346-5320 for a free consultation.

 

 

We are Chicago attorneys who help you find the right lawyer for your case.  If you’d like a free consultation, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320.

Getting arrested can be really scary, especially in Chicago.  Most misdemeanor charges can be punishable by up to a year in jail and felonies can put you away for a really long time.

The sad truth about being arrested is that having the right attorney in your corner can not only be the difference between winning and losing, but even in cases of obvious guilt can result in you avoiding any significant jail time.

Everyone wants the best lawyer for their case, but what does that really mean?  Here’s our advice on looking for a criminal defense attorney in Chicago.

1. Make sure they are a former prosecutor, former public defender or worst case scenario have been doing nothing but criminal defense for at least ten years.  It’s a high volume type of practice and when you have this type of experience there are very few scenarios you don’t know how to handle.

2. Make sure the attorney you hire appears at the courthouse you will be going to all the time.  If you have a drug charge at the Grand and Central court, you want an attorney who can walk in and will know everything there is to know about the Judge and hopefully the prosecutor. Relationships matter.

3. Verify that they have a lot of experience with your type of case. While there are a lot of murders in Chicago every year, the truth is that very few attorneys have handled those cases as most are done by the public defender’s office.

4. Realize that the “best” attorney for one case isn’t the best for all.  There is one great attorney we recommend for cases at the court at Harrison and Kedzie, 555 W. Harrison.  He also does great work at 26th and California. But he doesn’t really do DUI’s, so if you were arrested for that and had to go to any of those courts or the Daley Center, he’d be the wrong guy for you.

5. Avoid attorneys who have to drive a long way to get to court. If their main office is in Rolling Meadows and you have to go to court at the 111th Street Courthouse, they probably aren’t the best choice for you.  If court is at 9 a.m. and it’s a bad Chicago weather day, you don’t want to have to worry about them making it there on time.

Beyond all of this, I highly recommend that you talk up front about what the costs will be, what the best and worse case scenarios are as well as the most likely scenario.  Ask them about the timeline, the strategy, what they know about the Judge.  Be wary of attorneys that act like probation is a great result for a first time misdemeanor offense.  You should want supervision if it’s possible to get this charge off your record.

As always, if you have any questions or want a referral, contact us at any time.

There are a lot of standard questions that go through an attorney’s head any time a potential client contacts them.  First and foremost usually is how long do I have to file a lawsuit.

With the disclaimer that I don’t want you take any of this as legal advice, and that if you have any questions about it you can fill out our contact form or call me at 312-346-5320 for free, it’s important to know the statute of limitations in Illinois wrongful death cases and the many exceptions to that.  If you have any questions call us at no cost at any time.

Generally speaking under Illinois law you have two years from the date someone dies to sue for negligence.  So if you are in a car accident on June 1, 2019 and die from that, your family has until June 1, 2021 to file a lawsuit for that.  If you don’t feel emotionally up for it or didn’t know you could sue that doesn’t delay the time limit.  But what are the exceptions?

The most minor would be if the two year date falls on a day in which the court is not open such as a weekend or holiday.  In that case the time limit would extend until the next date the court is in fact open for you to file a case.  Why anyone would wait until the last second to file is a mystery, but it happens.

Another exception has to do with if the person who is entitled to bring a lawsuit is under the age of 18 when their  loved one passes, they can bring the lawsuit any time prior to their 20th birthday.

If you are suing a city or county, your time limit to sue is one year from the date of the death.  So if you were suing the City of Chicago police officer for wrongful death you likely have to act faster than normal.

A final large exception has to do with criminal acts.  Because courts don’t like to bring civil cases while a criminal case is pending and because you sometimes don’t have proof of wrongful death until after a criminal case is done, the time limits to sue are extended up to five years after the date of death against defendants charged with intentional violent crime (murder, manslaughter and drug induced homicides) or one year after the end of a criminal case.  Note that this only extends the statute against the person who committed the crime, not against anyone else.

There are other exceptions as well.  Bottom line is that the sooner you act with a competent attorney in your corner, the less likely you are to lose your chance for justice over a technicality. If you would like a recommendation to an experienced wrongful death lawyer with a track record of success, call us any time to speak with an attorney.

We are Chicago attorneys who, for free, will help you find the best lawyer for your case.  Call us at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.

I was downtown in Chicago recently after meeting a friend for dinner.  We joked as we waited for an Uber that ten years ago it seemed like every car on the street was a taxi, but on this night, we saw eight card in a row that had Uber and/or Lyft stickers in the window.

While these services are for the most part fantastic – I have terrible memories of trying to get a taxi on cold nights in my 20’s – the reality is that some of the drivers simply should not be on the road.  To drive for these companies you need a license and have to pass a background check, but you don’t have to prove you are a safe driver or that you know where you are going.  I have had drivers who didn’t know how to get to Wrigley Field, Union Station  and which direction Lincoln Park is in.

As a result, many of these drivers rely on their map apps on their phone which causes them to often take their eyes off the road. This has caused thousands of accidents.

If you are wondering who the best attorney is to sue a ride share company, it depends on a few things.  Here are some things to think about.

1. I would recommend a Chicago firm for you if it’s a really serious injury no matter what city the accident was in.  That’s because there are way more Lyft/Uber cars in Chicago so there are more accidents which leads to the most experienced attorneys being in Chicago.

2. Because their drivers are sued so often, Lyft/Uber really fight these cases hard.  If the driver was not on a ride but still on the app, they will say he/she wasn’t working.  If they are successful you are stuck with whatever insurance policy the driver has.  The difference between winning or losing this issue could be seven figures potentially if the injury is catastrophic.  Getting an attorney experienced with taking them on is hugely important.

3. Uber has a $1 million insurance policy they give drivers for accidents with a passenger in the car, but only $100,000 if they are available and don’t have a passenger.  It’s been argued that if they are driving to pick up a customer the $1 million should apply.  You want a lawyer who can do this and also who can fight against the notion that the drivers aren’t employees.

4. Attorney fees in these cases will almost always be the same (they shouldn’t exceed 33% and you should never pay anything out of pocket). Getting the most experienced lawyer makes the most sense for you as it gives you the best chance at a good recovery.

5. You don’t have to be a passenger to sue. Most of the calls that we get are from people walking on the street or in other cars.

If you have any questions about these cases or want our recommendation as to what lawyer is best for you, please get in touch with us at any time.

We are Chicago attorneys who help people find the right law firm for their case.  If you would like our help please fill out our contact form or call us for free at 800-517-1614.

Last month there was a tragic plane crash in Ethiopia of a Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane that killed all 157 people on board.  It’s more tragic in that everything we’ve learned about the crash since shows that it likely could have been avoided as this does not appear to be a crash from pilot error, but instead a Boeing error related to the design and safety features of the airplane.

Even though the crash was in Addis Ababa Bole, Ethiopa, near the airport, lawsuits filed since the crash has happened have been done in Chicago where Boeing is headquartered.  It’s not surprising that most of the experienced, successful law firms for airplane crashes are in Chicago as well.

There is one firm that we work with that is going the extra mile or literally the extra 7,619 miles on the case they are filing.  This Sunday they are sending two of their attorneys to Ethiopia to meet with the family of a victim and investigate the crash.  And the aren’t sending a young associate, but instead sending their experienced managing partner.

This is important because some firms that are handling these claims will choose to piggyback their investigation off what local authorities and the FAA find out or what other law firms find out.  It’s not that they can’t get a good result for their clients with this information, but it doesn’t show the aggressiveness and experience needed, in our opinion, to get the best result possible.  You want a law firm in your corner like this Chicago aviation law firm that has won these cases before.

There are very few plane crash lawsuits every year and as a result there are very few firms that can really show that they know how to handle these cases.

But no matter what type of case you have, you want a law firm that is willing to put in this extra work that may be personally inconvenient for them, but is in the best interests of the client and the case.  I’ve seen lawyers that don’t want to drive from Chicago to Rockford.  There’s no way those lawyers would get on an airplane and go to Ethiopia.

So no matter what your case is about, make sure you have an attorney in your corner that cares about you and takes pride in getting the best result possible for their clients.

I got a call the other day from someone asking who I think is the best workers’ compensation lawyer in Rockford?  I’ve gotten a variation of this question many times over the year.

The honest answer, and don’t you want to talk to a lawyer who is honest, is that there is no such thing as the “best” work comp attorney.  The question is, who’s the best attorney for the unique facts of your case.

First and foremost, unlike divorce or criminal cases where getting someone local can be the difference between winning and losing, with workers comp cases in Rockford you will find that at least half of the lawyers are from Chicago.  That is because both the insurance companies and injured workers want to hire someone who does nothing but work comp cases all day.  There are more of those attorneys in Chicago than anywhere else.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t qualified firms in Rockford too. We sometimes recommend those firms to people who call us and other times don’t. Why wouldn’t we?

If you were in a serious car accident on the job, you’d want a firm that can handle both cases.  The best ones for that are in Chicago.

If your injury is really unique or severe, you want to make sure your attorney has a lot of experience with that type of case.

If your work for Chrysler (their Belvidere plant has their work comp cases in Rockford) , UPS or one of the local hospitals, you’d want an attorney who has taken them on many times before.

Who your doctor is might even influence who you hire.

The most important thing to consider in hiring an attorney is that they are doing work comp all day, every day.  If they just dabble in it or are more of a personal injury attorney then they are not for you.  If they are really experienced but are going to have a young associate handle the case, then they are not for you.  If they don’t deliver great customer service then they are not for you.

Is this confusing?  It can be.  If you want an unbiased opinion from a lawyer  about who you should hire for your case, call us for free any time at 800-517-1614.