We are Illinois lawyers who will talk to you for free. Fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320. We cover all of Illinois.

Illinois workers’ compensation laws are designed to provide medical treatment and payment for time off work for injured workers.  To receive that, you need to show that you sustained an injury that arose out of and in the course of your employment. In other words, you were hurt doing your job duties due to a risk of your job.  It’s a no fault law which means that you don’t have to prove negligence and making a claim for benefits isn’t a lawsuit.

Insurance companies for your employer can’t deny your case and refuse to pay benefits unless they have a good reason.  Despite that, we see insurance companies all the time telling injured workers that they don’t have a case and the claim is denied.

They do this because insurance companies aren’t about your health, but instead about their bottom line.  If they wrongly turn down your claim and you accept that, it saves them money.  It’s a strategy that works because most of these insurance companies make billions.

The good news is that if you know the law, they won’t get away with it.  And beyond that, Illinois workers’ compensation laws can actually punish them or their bad behavior.  This was shown in a recent court case.

In that claim, a grocery store worker at Jewel Foods was collecting carts when he was struck by a car.  He fell, hit his head and received treatment at the scene. The next day he was found slumped over and it was determined he had a brain injury.  Emergency surgery took place.

Despite the obvious nature of his injury being related to the job accident, Jewel did not pay his time off or bills.  The worker got a lawyer and went to arbitration. Not only was all of his time off awarded and the bills paid, the Arbitrator awarded penalties and fees due to the unreasonable denial of benefits  The employer had surveillance video that showed how the accident happened and presented no medical evidence that the problems were anything other than the work place injury.  They simply denied the case without explanation or reason.

When that happens, the insurance company/employer can get punished which includes extra payments for time off work, extra money to the worker for the unpaid bills and payment of lawyer fees.

The problem is that only the best Illinois work comp attorneys pursue this strategy on a regular basis. Too many lawyers let insurance companies get away with this nonsense.

The good news is that the law is on your side. It can be very frustrating when cases are denied for no reason.  We know experienced, aggressive work injury lawyers who will fight for you. If you want a recommendation or just have questions, contact us at any time.

They say that the best things in life are free. I don’t know if talking to an attorney should be classified as one of the best things in life, but it exists.

We are Chicago lawyers, who since 2001, have been talking to people for FREE about their Illinois legal matters.  There is no catch or hidden agenda. You can call us at 312-346-5320 any time.  Usually, a lawyer will answer and your free consultation will begin.  It will last as long as it needs for us to answer your questions and give advice.  If you call and a lawyer doesn’t answer, the call will go to our answering service who will immediately message us and we almost always then call you back right away.

We want to help people and like to help people.  We don’t promise you will like what we have to say, but do promise it will be honest, even if that means saying you don’t have a case. And of course if you do have a case we will guide you as best we can as to who the right lawyer is to hire.

We started www.illinoislawyers.com because the way people typically find lawyers doesn’t always work.  Many people can’t read through the b.s. or rely on a friend who may not know the best lawyer to talk to for your case. Other people don’t want to pay any money just to ask a simple question.  Some people know they have a great case but can’t figure which attorney is the best for them.

Whatever your situation is, we are happy to talk to you.  Here’s how it works:

  1. You call or fill out our contact form.
  2. We listen to what you have to say, ask you questions if we need to and tell you what we honestly think and what we would tell a family member or friend if they were in the same situation.

That’s it.  If we don’t know anyone for you, we’ll say it. If we feel strongly about what you should do, we’ll say it. If you need to know your options we’ll tell you what they are so you can make an educated decision.

And again, this is all free.  We cover all of Illinois and while we can’t promise a result, we do promise to tell it to you straight.  Call or email us any time.

We are experienced Chicago lawyers who will talk to you for free about any Illinois legal matter. Call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with us or fill out our contact form and we will reach out to you ASAP.

Covid has changed our world in countless different ways.  It has also seemingly lead to a pandemic in the legal community.  From the people I talk to, it seems like attorneys are committing legal malpractice at a rate unseen before.

Because of the pandemic, many law firms are working remotely.  What this has revealed as that a lot of “old school” lawyers are not set up to work electronically and as a result their practice and clients have suffered.

The best type of legal malpractice lawsuit in Illinois is against a law firm who failed to file your lawsuit on time.  Blowing the statute of limitations is a big no and shouldn’t happen. When it does, it’s almost always a case for legal malpractice assuming you can also prove that the attorney would have won your case had they done everything else correctly.

What we are seeing is that due to remote working and not having good electronic systems in place, a bunch of law firms have missed filing deadlines because nobody is on top of it as they would be in normal times.  In other cases lawyers have gotten sick and didn’t have a good backup plan in place for their absence. Their clients lose out on their rights to bring a case and their only recourse ends up being suing their attorney. In one case I was told about, a lawyer missed the deadline to file because they couldn’t figure out how to file a lawsuit electronically with the court.

Most of the lawyers we work with and recommend are able to work in a paperless environment. This has been standard operating procedure since even before Covid.  It’s more efficient, saves money and is safer for everyone.

As a result of all of this negligence, some legal malpractice insurance carriers are dropping small law firms, even if they haven’t made a mistake. That can be dangerous for you because suing anyone who doesn’t have insurance is not easy.

We have long warned about possible concern with hiring really old lawyers, especially if they aren’t part of a law firm. In normal times they are often gone for the winter or not as hungry as a younger attorney.  Covid has made clear that lack of experience with technology is also a problem.

My advice to you if you hire a lawyer is to ask at the get go when a lawsuit has to be filed by.  It’s a date you should keep in mind. If you get within six months of that date you should ask the lawyer if they are going ahead because if they don’t you want to have time to find someone new.  It’s their job, but you need to look out for you. And in being an advocate for yourself, you might prevent them from committing legal malpractice.

In the famous words of Rainman, “Walmart sucks.”

My unscientific poll of the hundreds of thousands of people I have talked to about Illinois legal matters in the last 20 years shows that Walmart treats their workers worse than most, if not all, companies.

I have heard countless stories of injured Walmart workers having their work comp claims denied or interrupted for ridiculous reasons.  It’s not that Walmart doesn’t have a right to defend the cases.  They do.  It just seems that they often try to discourage workers from bringing cases at all and they fight cases with positions that don’t always seem legitimate.

One thing I hear from their workers is that they think that lawyers will be scared to take on Walmart because they are a multi-billion-dollar corporation.  There is a belief that they have a team of lawyers that can’t be beaten.

The reality is that while Walmart might be more difficult or appear at times of having a strategy of screwing workers over, the laws apply the same to them as any other company.  The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act doesn’t make it easier for big companies.

Beyond that, Walmart doesn’t have a “team of lawyers” to fight these cases.  They hire good law firms who fight hard, but it’s not like you are going to show up to a court hearing and see 3-5 lawyers sitting there working against you.  It will be your lawyer against their lawyer.  If they hired a “team” they’d end up spending more money on lawyer fees than your case is likely worth.

So if you have a good work comp attorney in your corner who knows the laws and is a fighter, you should win your case if the facts are on your side.  Meaning that if you lifted a box at Walmart while working and felt a pop in your back, you should have a winning workers comp case.

What Walmart does, in my experience, is make workers nervous and frustrate them.  But when push comes to shove, if you have the facts on your side (meaning you got hurt, reported it right away, went to the doctor right away, etc.) you should win your case and get benefits.

We also have found that they will often deny cases, especially in rural areas, with the hopes that you won’t get a lawyer.  It’s probably a strategy that saves them money because some people in small towns can be hesitant to get legal help.  They don’t always know that hiring an Illinois work injury lawyer costs nothing upfront nor do they know that it’s illegal to fire someone for bringing a work injury.

The good news is that we’ve had a lot of success in cases against Walmart because Illinois work comp laws favor honest, hard-working workers. So don’t stress or think your case is harder because your employer is Walmart, Amazon, or anyone else.  If you would like a free consultation with an attorney to discuss a case you can call us for free at 800-517-1614 any time.

I got a call from a very angry woman whose husband had an Illinois workers’ compensation claim.  She was really pissed because he was taken off work by his doctor for a week and she discovered that under Illinois law, he will not get paid for the first three days he missed.  This is going to really hurt them financially as they live paycheck to paycheck.

She wanted to hire an attorney to have this law changed and was very mad when I told her it was not possible. In her mind, laws get changed in court all the time and the “right” lawyer could make this happen. I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain that this wasn’t realistic and even if it somehow was, no attorney would spend years in litigation to try and get them three days of pay.

I feel bad for her as she’s clearly frustrated.  The knowledge that her husband could get a settlement for his injury which would hopefully make up for some of the financial loss did not comfort her.  That said, a good lawyer doesn’t tell you what you want to hear or fill you with false hope. It’s our job to tell the truth and that’s what I did.

So how do you change the law in Illinois?

Obscure issues can get changed based on a Judge’s decision.  For example, Illinois workers’ compensation law on the settlement value of shoulder injuries has changed through the courts because it was not clearly defined in the law.  But when a law or rule is plainly laid out, a court can’t change it because they think it’s bad or should be something else.  Judges only make law when they are interpreting something that wasn’t obvious when the law was made or if it’s unconstitutional.

If you really want to change a law, the way to do it is through the legislature.  They propose and make laws that the Governor then signs off on.  It’s a marathon in most situations to make this happen, but it’s really the way it most commonly happens. It’s very rare that a court ruling drastically changes the way we function in society. When it does happen it’s usually in big cases like interpreting the equal protection clause to apply to same sex marriage.

Issues like work comp benefits or child support or time limits to file a lawsuit, etc. are almost always going to come from the legislature. So if you have an issue to bring, contact your state Senator or state Representative and discuss the issue with him or her.  They have the ability to propose laws and have them voted on.

I’d love to say that brilliant, aggressive attorneys are the exception to this rule, but it’s really just not true.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is likely giving you false hope.

We get a lot of great questions from people who call us for legal guidance. If you have any questions, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with a lawyer for free.  Here are some questions we’ve gotten in recent months that I think the general public should know the answers to.

My boyfriend sold his house and is moving in with me.  He’s fixing up my basement.  How do I protect myself so he doesn’t have a legal right to the home if we break up?

The most important thing is to not add him to the title.  That is how ownership of property is determined. If he’s not on the title, he’s essentially a tenant.  Beyond that, don’t enter in to any contracts or agreements that indicate he has any rights to the property.

Is it legal for the insurance company to conduct surveillance on me if I’m hurt at work? I’m on my own property and they are watching me.

Yes it is legal unfortunately.  That said, it is really expensive so if you are following your doctor’s orders, they usually will call it off after a couple of attempts if it doesn’t show you doing anything that you shouldn’t be doing.

My dad paid for life insurance for 20 years. He missed his last payment because he was in the hospital with Covid.  He died and we filed a claim, but they denied it because they said his coverage lapsed.  Are we out of luck?

No, this is a common reason for Illinois life insurance companies to deny payment, but in most cases, the attorneys we know will sue for this and have been very successful in getting compensation.  The insurance companies have nothing to lose by doing the wrong thing so they often do.

My uncle is in a nursing home. He has dementia.  He asked me the other day to take money out of his bank account and gave me his ATM card.  Is it ok to do that?

I wouldn’t unless you were appointed his financial power of attorney while he was competent.  The nature of dementia means he might not know what he’s doing and it would certainly look like you are stealing from him.  The safest bet is to petition the court to become his power of attorney.

The Judge is biased against me.  Can I sue them?

The answer is almost always no.  They are essentially immune from lawsuits.  And most likely they aren’t biased against you.  They have hundreds of cases and just want to get through them. They certainly aren’t thinking about you very much.

Do I need to get a lawyer licensed in my county for my case?

No, lawyers are licensed by the State.  Any Illinois attorney can practice law in any Illinois county.

 

We provide these short answer posts every few months.  As always, if you want to ask a Chicago attorney an Illinois legal questions for free, contact us any time.

We are in the time of year when we get a lot of calls from people who have sustained injuries due to slip and falls. It’s not just a result of snow, ice or slush, but also of wood that gets worn down or it being dark early on which hides defects on some properties.

A recent caller wanted me to tell them who the “best slip and fall attorney is in Chicago” and specifically wanted someone near her on the northwest side of town.

What I told her is that nobody is the “best” but it depends on the facts of your case.  There are so many variables that determine who I as a lawyer would recommend to you if you were hurt.  They include:

Who is the defendant?  If you are suing a big box store that can require a different type of lawyer than if you are suing your landlord.

What is your injury? There are some amazing Chicago slip and fall attorneys who won’t take a case that is worth less than $250,000.00.  If you shattered your hip, they might be right for you, but if you fell and broke your hand you likely need someone different.  You can still get a great attorney, but it would be one who is used to handling injuries worth around $50,000 and will still fight hard for you. The lawyer who handles seven figure cases isn’t going to care much about your case if your accident resulted in a broken hand or not a lot of medical care.

How did you get hurt? These are not easy cases, especially when your accident is a result of snow or ice.  We try to evaluate the likelihood your case may have to go to trial when determining who we’d recommend for you.  Some lawyers are great at negotiating, but don’t love to try tough cases.  The best one for you depends on where the case is likely headed.

What is unique to you? Maybe you only speak Spanish.  Maybe you are more comfortable with a female lawyer. This all goes toward getting the best one for you.

The bottom line is that there is no “top attorney” but instead you want the top one for you.

As far as the caller’s wish to get someone near them, in my opinion, based on lots of evidence, the most successful Chicago lawyers are downtown because that is where the courthouse is.  While things have changed a bit with Covid, in general if you are going to court a lot you want to be near the Daley Center.  Neighborhood based attorneys tend to take all sorts of cases. We recommend that you get a lawyer who only handles injuries.  The good news though is that you almost never have to travel and often the lawyer will come meet you in person.  Just like you’d want to get the right doctor for your treatment, getting the right lawyer is important too even if they aren’t up the street from you.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions or want a free lawyer referral, call us at 312-346-5320 any time.

We are Illinois attorneys who offer free legal guidance and lawyer referrals for cases all over Illinois. If you would like a free consultation, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320.

Nobody really wants to hire a lawyer if they don’t have to, but if you do, you want it to be a good one.  There is no way to know for sure that you’ve hired the right lawyer until you get in to the case. Maybe you discover their customer service is terrible and they don’t return phone calls or they yell at you.  Maybe you realize they don’t have the right experience for your case or aren’t going to fight for you. In some cases you discover your attorney is a liar.  In others you just don’t like them or get along with them.

The question that we get all of the time is, “Can I fire my lawyer?”

The answer is usually yes.  In hourly fee cases like divorce or criminal law, it’s usually just a matter of finding a new attorney and paying them a new retainer fee.  For contingency fee cases like car accidents, malpractice or work injuries, the answer is also usually yes depending on how far along the case is.  If there is a significant settlement offer for example, it can be hard to get new representation.

Our advice if you don’t like your lawyer is to do a few things:

1. Talk to them. Don’t be intimidated. You are the customer and should expect customer service.  That doesn’t mean your attorney is available 24/7, but does mean they should be respectful and respond to you in a reasonable time period.  We never go more than 12 hours without returning a call, but for most attorneys it’s reasonable to expect a call back within a day or two.  Tell them your frustrations and see if you can right the ship.

2. Don’t go crazy listening to non-lawyers.  A lot of people are concerned about their attorney because a friend had a case that was handled in a different manner.  The best advice we can give you is don’t take legal advice from non-lawyers. That’s not to say your attorney is doing a good job, but it is to say that in our experience, non-lawyers don’t usually know what they are talking about when it comes to your case.

3. Don’t wait too long to address your concerns or switch.  If you do getting a new lawyer may be impossible. If you want to fire your divorce lawyer two weeks before a trial for example, I don’t know anyone who would drop their schedule and take your case over.  If you went to trial and lost, no attorney I know would do the appeal of someone else’s mistakes.

4. If you have tried to work things out with your law firm and it’s time to jump ship, don’t fire them until you have a new lawyer in place.  When hiring a new lawyer, be specific about what you didn’t like about the old one and try to see if things will be different with the new one.  Lay out your hopes and expectations and use the knowledge you’ve gained to make a better decision.

Of course our service has been around since 2001 to help people find the right lawyer for their case. It doesn’t always work perfectly, but we are attorneys who will tell you what we think you should do.  We’ve had a lot of success and would be happy to help you, for free, any time.

We are Illinois attorneys who will talk to you for free about your legal matter. Call us at 312-346-5320 for a no cost, confidential consultation.

As we head in to 2021, we are about to see one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. People are going to file for divorce. While being sheltered in place in 2020 may have contributed to that, the reality is that after the holidays and at the end of the year, people take stock in their lives and often decide they need to move on from their marriage.

This is a huge step for many people.  That is especially true when you have a bully for a husband or wife.  In those cases, there are many important things to consider. It’s very common for the bully spouse to not be open to the possibility of you filing for divorce.  So while it’s advisable to talk about divorce if you can, in these cases it may not be safe or a good legal strategy.

When a spouse is a bully, they tend to bring a lot of drama and emotion to the marriage.  They will blame you and others for their problems and can be physically or verbally abusive and controlling.  It makes sense that you’d want out of that situation and we have some tips for doing so in a safe manner that will protect you in the long term and short term.  A divorce from a bully can be high conflict and you want to try and focus on what you want legally.

  1. Try to let your lawyer do most of the talking for you. If you aren’t going to be able to calmly negotiate issues with your soon to be ex, doing so only rewards their desire for conflict.  Come up with a list of goals with your divorce attorney and work with them to meet those goals.
  2. Avoid interaction. Hopefully you don’t need to live together under the same roof.  The less you are around each other, the less you can be provoked. If there have to be exchanges of the kids, ask your attorney for help on facilitating that or get a family member or friend to accompany you when possible.
  3. If you have been physically abused or feel unsafe, consider filing for an order or protection.  This will buy you some peace and safety, at least on a temporary basis and potentially permanently. I highly suggest that you talk to your attorney about this first.
  4. Don’t feel the need to defend yourself verbally to them. This is much easier said than done, but the reality is that once the divorce is filed, any verbal arguments won’t help your ultimate goal of getting out of the divorce.  Nod and smile or walk away if you can.
  5. Try and establish boundaries. If you are co-parenting, maybe deciding to only communicate by text or email makes sense.  Agree to only talk about your child and nothing else.
  6. Don’t sign off on bad terms just because you want out.  Giving up rights to a 401k or equity in the house in order to get out quickly could really hurt you financially.
  7. Never take legal advice from your ex. This is a huge trait we see in bullies.  They are know it alls and will try to tell you what is going to happen in court, what their rights are, how things are going to play out, etc.  Often it’s done in a threatening way such as, “I know the law and you are going to lose the kids to me.”  They are not looking out for you.  That’s why you have an attorney.  Game plan with your lawyer and take legal advice from your lawyer, not your ex.

I hope this helps. It’s really just the beginning of thinking about this process. If you are looking for a referral to a tough, experienced Illinois divorce attorney, please contact us any time for a recommendation.

 

 

Despite what insurance companies and some politicians like to tell people, it’s very hard to win a medical malpractice lawsuit in Illinois.  You need to show that the medical provider screwed up, that without their error you wouldn’t have suffered your harm and in most cases, that your damages are really significant. In other words, saying “I could have died” isn’t enough, even when their mistake was terrible. You don’t have to die, but do need to show some harm.

In my opinion, there are about ten really good Illinois medical malpractice law firms.  They have the track record of winning cases, have many lawyers and a large support staff often consisting of doctors and/or nurses and can afford the risk of bringing these very expensive cases without cutting corners to do so.  They take cases that they think they can win and also recover enough to justify their time, expense and risk. In other words, if it typically costs $100,000.00 to go to trial in a malpractice lawsuit, you aren’t going to spend that money if you think the case is only worth $200,000.00.

As a result, most people who want to sue a doctor or hospital can’t find an attorney to bring a case for them.  This can, understandably, be really frustrating for the people who call us looking for an attorney referral.  We get that, but are always honest. We love to make money and do so by taking on cases, but we always tell the truth. And if the truth is that we don’t think you have a case or don’t have enough of an injury, we will tell you.

Being wronged by a medical provider can be emotional. So callers will often say to us, “Well, if it’s not medical malpractice, can I sue for negligence?”  Unfortunately those two terms mean the exact same thing.  Medical malpractice lawsuits are when doctors, nurses, etc are negligent. So there aren’t different standards or time limits for bringing these claims.

So if you can’t find an Illinois medical malpractice attorney, what can you do?

  1. You can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulations (“IDFPR”).  The license and discipline doctors and nurses.  In some cases you might not be able to get money from suing, but the IDFPR might be able to take away their license.
  2. In some cases you can get results from the risk management department at a hospital.  That could mean them reducing or eliminating your bill and in some cases it could mean them offering you a small amount of money.
  3. I’m not a fan of Yelp or those types of places, but I get that doing so could be therapeutic.
  4. Be mad, but realize you’ll probably have to get over it. That sucks to hear, but if five lawyers who have a great track record tell you there’s no case, at some point you have to move on.  It’s a product of how hard and expensive it is win these cases.

Is it weird for an attorney to tell you to move on? Again, we always tell the truth, even if we know it’s not what you want to hear.  The bottom line is that if you have been wronged and want to know if you have a case, we are happy to speak with you for free and offer an honest opinion and if needed, recommend a law firm that has a great track record.  Call us for free any time at 312-346-5320.  We cover all of Illinois.