We are Chicago lawyers who help people find the right attorney for their case.  If you would like to speak to one our lawyers for free to get a referral or some advice, please call us any time at 312-346-5320.

A big part of any community is those who are dedicated to serving and protecting it. First responders are an important part of society and they put their lives on the lines to save others. Their jobs can be dangerous in many ways and sadly roadway safety is becoming one of them.

This year alone, there has been 26 total number of traffic crashes involving an Illinois State Trooper. In the history of the Illinois State Police, this has been the deadliest year on record, with four troopers having died in the line of duty. All 26 crashes and three of the deaths were traffic-related. A majority of these senseless accidents were a direct result of another motorist failing to use caution and mover over while a trooper was parked along the side of the road with emergency lights on.

While moving over for emergency vehicles may seem like common courtesy, it is actually the law. “Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle”, The Move Over Law or Scott’s Law, as best known, is an Illinois statue enacted in 2002 after the tragic death of an active Chicago firefighter in 2000.

With this law motorists are required to slow down, move over and proceed with caution. Initially this law only applied for law enforcement and first responders but an update to Scott’s Law in 2017 now governs emergency stopped commercial trucks and cars, such as licensed tow trucks, emergency management vehicles, vehicles from federal agencies and even some buses.

Just recently, In July 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a legislation that will enhance penalties for who do not obey Scott’s Law.

First time violators will now have to pay a minimum of $250 in fines and a second offense could cost violators $750. Fines for violations can go as high as $10,000 and motorists could even have their license suspended. Jail time can be a penalty too if there is a result of harm to others.

In response to the increase of crashes resulting in injuries, Illinois law enforcement is extremely motivated to enforce Scott’s law this more than ever. Citations issued by the Illinois State Police has more than doubled this year compared to last year. Through November of this year, there has been a little under 6,000 citations issued from Scott’s Law compared to the same time period in 2018, issuing less than 750 citation.

Also signed into the law this year is the creation of the ‘move over’ task force. The objective of this work force is to study Scott’s Law violations in an effort to continually improve protection to law enforcement, first responders and civilians. With the help of social media, law enforcement is set on educating the public with the importance and changes in Scott’s Law.

We are attorneys who help people find the right law firm for their case.  We have over 20 years of experience and will talk to you for free and in confidence. If you want our help please call us at (800) 517-1614 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.

The number one question Illinois personal injury attorneys get asked is, “What is my case worth?”  What they don’t get asked enough is, “How do I handle all of the money I am going to receive?”

Most cases aren’t worth millions or even anywhere in the six figures.  To have a higher value case you need to have a really catastrophic result like death, brain damage, permanent disability, major injuries, etc.  So while most cases aren’t like that, some are and the money that you receive can be life changing.

For purposes of this post, I’m going to give five tips on what you should do if you do receive millions in a settlement from an injury case.

1. Don’t tell anyone.  Whether the funds are for you or because you lost a loved one, the funds are for you alone.  Telling your neighbor or cousin or whoever is a bad idea, even if you don’t think they will bug you about it or try and take advantage of you.

2. Don’t give any money to anyone, even if it’s in a loan.  You’d be surprised how quickly this money can go away.  It’s not much different than lottery winners.  Doing something nice for yourself for what you’ve been through is a good idea.  Doing it for a ton of other people, even if they seem like they have good intentions, is a bad idea.

3. Talk to a financial adviser from a reputable company.  Actually talk to at least three.  How do you know if they are reputable?  Well, just like lawyers you can never know for sure, but in general you’d want to look for someone who is affiliated with a big company, check out their client reviews and in cases like this, make sure that they are being conservative with their recommendations. Anyone who’d recommend a high risk venture or try to get you to invest with one of their clients is not someone I’d go with.

4. Don’t make any crazy big purchases within the first year.  Taking a vacation is a good idea.  Buying a car might not be a bad idea.  Spending 150k on a car or buying a seven figure home right away is probably a bad decision.

5. Could the money last you the rest of your life?  If so, make a plan as to how that will happen and stick to it.  If you have cleared five million from a case and expect to live another 35 years, you can spend approximately $140,000 a year (although it could be more if your money is earning interest or being properly invested). You have to really think about how you want to spend your days.  Will you continue to work if you are able to? Will you have health insurance? How much do you spend a year on food, clothes, travel, etc.?

None of this is legal advice, but is based on our experiences and from talking to attorneys whose clients have been through this process.  If you have any questions please contact us at any time.

With the holiday season upon us most people are thinking of Thanksgiving Dinners, Christmas shopping and spending time with loved ones. As families and friends prepare for the holiday season, workers compensation adjusters prepare for the increased potential of year-end insurance settlements, which also means a potential increase in their bonuses.

But for those injured on the job, this can be played out to your advantage. If there was ever a right time to settle a worker’s compensation case the time would be now, assuming you have reached maximum medical improvement. This means you and your doctor have a good idea of how your injury will affect you in future and what future medical treatment you may need.

You see, most insurance companies are businesses and they operate for-profit like other businesses do. They are in business to make money. Period. So, the more open cases there are, the more payments are still being made for medical bills and visits, disability benefits, lawyer fees, case managers and investigators. To make the most money, insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible on work injuries in settlement.

When someone is injured at work, insurance companies try to predict how much that injury will likely to cost them in the future. Adjusters jobs are to reasonably predict what an injury suffered is likely to cost them in benefits. This is called a reserve. If an adjuster reasonably stays below the reserve, they can seek towards a settlement.

But unfortunately, many adjusters aren’t paid out by their good performance, but rather a bonus based on how many settlements they can close. The more costs for the insurance company, the less money for the adjusters. And since upper-management work for bonuses too, there is pressure from upper-management to close out as many cases as possible.

So, come the end of the year many adjusters are anxious to close as many open cases as possible by to get that year-end bonus. The more settlements they close by the end of the year, the more money in their pocket for the holidays, gifts, trips or whatever. So they are more likely to offer the highest amount they are able to in order to get your case resolved.  The caveat for them is that they want it closed and paid before the end of the year, so you could have money in hand by Christmas.

Come spring time, insurance companies will not be as anxious to settle. If it makes sense to them, sure they will consider settle. But during this time of the year, it’s a give-away that they will want to settle. Take this to your advantage and if settlement is an option, consider now the time.

If you have any questions about Illinois workers’ compensation law and want to speak with an attorney for free, call us any time or fill out our contact form and we will call you.

Because Illinois, and more specifically Chicago, has millions of people, there are many out-of-state attorneys who see our state as a potential cash cow.

So what ends up happening is that law firms from places like Nevada, Florida and other places rent an office in Chicago, place an attorney there and then start to do a ton of advertising.  Nothing in their billboards, TV commercials or radio ads make it clear that most of their law firm isn’t in Illinois, that they don’t have a long track record of success in Illinois and in some cases, that the attorneys that are all over the ad aren’t even licensed to practice law in Illinois.

These law firms, in my opinion, don’t care about their clients in Illinois, they care about making money.  Our rule of thumb is that we only recommend to you attorneys that we’d recommend to a family member or friend.  For us, the client’s best interests come first.  For many of these out of state firms it’s about making money and nothing else.

I was reminded of this recently when a woman who was badly injured in a car accident called us.  She had hired a law firm that advertises a lot here, but a quick look at their website shows that most of their attorneys are in Florida, not Illinois.  She told me her attorney hadn’t answered her questions and wasn’t returning phone calls.  I connected her with a Chicago car accident lawyer who has an incredible track record.

This firm, showing that they only look out for themselves, pulled a slimy move when the new attorney called to say they were being let go.  They had never received medical records or bills for the client and didn’t know where she was in the recovery process or if the case was ready to settle.  But to try to make a quick buck they sent a demand letter to the insurance company, without her permission, offering to settle the case for $300,000.  It’s incredibly unethical in my opinion.

The bad news is that more of these firms are on their way.  Nothing says that a lawyer can’t have offices in multiple states.  But if they are essentially franchising themselves, it’s a red flag and a true sign that they aren’t the best firm for your case.

Beware these firms and make sure you are looking at the website of the lawyer you are hiring before you hire anyone. If you would like our recommendation as to which Illinois personal injury law firms are reputable, care about their clients and get great results, please call us at 312-346-5320 any time to speak with an attorney for free.

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.