It used to primarily be that if you had a job that was your only job.  You’d work 9 to 5 and go home to your life.  That’s certainly not how things are now. We are in the era of grinding and it’s not uncommon for people to have two or even three jobs.

If you are injured while working in Illinois and have more than one job, that could be a huge factor in your case.   Your payments for time off work and any settlement are based on what your wages are.  So if you have two jobs, you’ll want to make sure that your pay from both is included. That’s not automatic and there are other things you really need to know if you are in that situation. Here are some big ones:

1. Let’s say you primarily work at FedEx, but have a part time job tending bar. If you get hurt at FedEx and want your second job income to be included in your work comp claim, you have to show that FedEx was aware of that other job. If they weren’t, those wages won’t get included nor would they if they told you that you can’t have a second job and you did it any way.

2. The same would be true if you were hurt on your part time job.

3. If they are aware of your other job then both wages should be calculated in paying your time off work (temporary total disability benefits or TTD).

4. If you are hurt on job #1, but can work job #2, your TTD payments would only be based on your inability to work job #1, but both wages would be used in calculating your settlement rate.

5. If you are hurt on job #1 but can still do that job, but not job #2, you should get partial TTD payments for your loss from that job.

6. If you are hurt on job #1 and can work only job #2, you need to be very sure that the job you can work won’t make your injury worse. If it does then it could screw up your work comp claim.  Let’s say your main job is in a factory and you can’t work that job because it requires lifting over 20 pounds.  If your second job is at a grocery store and they say you won’t have to lift more than 20 pounds, if your injury gets worse from the lifting you can do, it will screw things up. So in most cases I’d suggest you only work a really sedentary job if you have serious restrictions.

7. When it comes to settlement time, it’s important to consider how your injury will affect both jobs and your ability to work in the future. Failure to do this correctly could cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These are some of the main things to consider, but there are others as well. If you’d like to speak with an experienced attorney for free, please contact us any time at 312-346-5320. We cover all of Illinois.

There is a really bad Chicago personal injury law firm that I recently saw advertising looking for a lawyer with at least two years of experience to handle injury cases. First off, if you are in an accident, you don’t want a lawyer with only two years of experience on your case. The lawyer fee is the same no matter which attorney handles your case.  So you are better off with someone who has experience and not much to learn represent you.

Second, my very educated guess is that this job posting is in response to an order from the Chief Judge of Cook County.  It was ruled earlier this year that all personal injury cases estimated to be worth less than $50,000.00 are required to go to mandatory arbitration.  This is in part because of the huge back load of cases due to trials being delayed by Covid.

What this means is that there about to be a ton of hearings and a lot of these high volume, crappy Chicago law firms are not going to be able to handle them. So they may have a need to hire lawyers and throw them in to the fire on cases they aren’t familiar with. In other words, some people who have been dealing with one attorney for months or years are about to have their fate decided by a lawyer they’ve never spoken to.

Good car accident attorneys keep their case volume manageable and don’t take every case that walks through the door.  A lot of these law firms that heavily advertise and take almost any case that comes through the door are about to have a lot of unhappy clients.

Mandatory arbitration requires you to accept what the arbitrators decide or risk that if you go to trial and do worse you will have to pay the fees of the defendant’s lawyers. In other words, you are almost surely going to have to accept the arbitration result.

Arbitration is like a trial. You will testify. There is evidence. It’s really important that you have an attorney who knows your case and is not only prepared for the hearing, but also prepares you.   While bad execution at arbitration won’t cost you hundreds of thousands, it could be the difference between $50,000 and nothing.

My advice to you is that you need to insist on an experienced lawyer to handle your case and if the firm you hired won’t provide one, you probably need to find a new attorney before it’s too late.

If you have any questions or want to speak with a lawyer for free, contact us any time in confidence at 312-346-5320.

We get a lot of calls from people looking to sue their lawyer. We are happy to bring on a legal malpractice case if it’s a good one. In most of the calls though we hear about bad customer service, lack of effort or bad results on a case. Those things are unfortunate, but don’t usually rise to the standard needed to successfully sue your attorney in Illinois.

Many of the people who call us really just don’t want their lawyer to “get away with it.” If they’ve done something unethical or illegal, the proper place to go is the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. They aren’t going to suspend a lawyer for not returning a couple of phone calls, but they might if they skip court, abandon a case or steal from you.

These excerpts are from the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and highlight reasons some lawyers have recently either lost their license or been temporarily suspended:

The high court disbarred four attorneys. They are:

— John L. Allen of Bedford, N.H., who also is licensed in New Hampshire, on a reciprocal basis. Allen abandoned his law practice and misappropriated about $690,000 he had agreed to hold in trust. He also transferred about $943,000 from his client trust accounts to his operating account and commingled $350,000 of operating account funds with client funds. M.R. 30741.

— Michael Lee Henneberry of Walnut, Ill., by consent. Henneberry made sexually explicit comments to a client he was representing as a court-appointed defense counsel, touched her without her permission and masturbated in front of her. He also pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of providing alcohol to a minor. M.R. 30711.

— Radford Reuben Raines III of O’Fallon, Mo., who also is licensed in Missouri, on a reciprocal basis. Raines failed to pay fees to a deceased lawyer’s trust for work the lawyer had done on cases before Raines took them over. M.R. 30708.

— Nikola Duric of Park Ridge. Duric misappropriated more than $400,000 in funds belonging to clients and third parties, neglected client matters and failed to return unearned fees. He was suspended on an interim basis in Oct. 2020. M.R. 30734.

The Supreme Court suspended 10 other attorneys this month. They are:

— Dwight A. White of Chicago, two years and until further court order, stayed after one year for three years of conditional probation. White converted nearly $14,000 belonging to two clients, failed to return unearned fees, neglected three clients’ cases and failed to put two contingent fee agreements into writing. The suspension begins June 8. M.R. 30721.

— Marie A. Durbin of St. Louis, who also is licensed in Missouri, one year and until she is reinstated to Missouri’s bar. The Missouri Supreme Court suspended Durbin indefinitely and barred her from seeking reinstatement for at least a year. Durbin missed the deadline for filing a workers’ compensation claim on behalf of a client, lied to the client about the matter and failed to respond to disciplinary authorities’ complaint about her conduct. The suspension begins June 8. M.R. 30694.

— Howard Randolph Baker Jr. of Decatur, one year and until further court order, with the suspension entirely stayed by two years of conditional probation. After failing to meet discovery deadlines in a client’s dissolution-of-marriage case, Baker blamed the failure on his own mental health problems and falsely claimed he was in therapy. M.R. 30704.

— Jeffrey P. White of Auburn, Maine, who also is licensed in Maine, nine months and a reprimand, on a reciprocal basis. White neglected two client matters and hid from a bankruptcy court the attorney fees a client had paid him. The suspension begins June 8. M.R. 30656.

— Shelby Kanarish of Scottsdale, Ariz., who also is licensed in Arizona, six months and until he is reinstated to the Arizona bar, on a reciprocal basis. Kanarish was suspended in Arizona for six months and one day, followed by probation. After settling a personal injury case, Kanarish made false statements about his purported fees to disciplinary officials and to a doctor seeking to be paid for services he had provided Kanarish’s clients. The suspension begins June 8. M.R. 30764.

— Jennifer Prager Sodaro of Scottsdale, Ariz., who also is licensed in Arizona, six months followed by two years of conditional probation, on a reciprocal basis. Sodaro contacted a represented party and sent a letter to a judge presiding over a case in which she was involved accusing the opposing party’s lawyer of lying. She also disbursed the proceeds of a home sale without permission. The suspension begins June 8. M.R. 30600.

— William Briskin Kohn of Highland Park, six months, with the suspension stayed after 90 days for one year of conditional probation. Kohn did not respond by the deadline to summary judgment motions filed by the opposing party in a business dispute and did not file a brief in the appeal that followed. The suspension begins June 8. M.R. 30730.

— Joseph C. Farwell of Schaumburg, 90 days. While in the process of shutting down his law firm, Farwell converted more than $8,000 he was holding for a client and did not return the money until the client complained to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. The suspension begins June 8. M.R. 30743.

— Eric James Dale of Clinton, Iowa, who also is licensed in Iowa, 60 days and a public reprimand, on a reciprocal basis. Dale neglected client matters, put a client’s signature on a document without her permission and entered a plea of not guilty for that client without consulting her. The suspension begins on June 8. M.R. 30702.

— John Thomas Sheets of Havana, Ill., 30 days. Sheets engaged in the unauthorized practice of law for six weeks after being struck from the roll of attorneys in 2019 for failing to complete registration requirements and for 23 weeks after being struck from the roll of attorneys in 2020 for failing to complete Minimum Continuing Legal Education requirements. The suspension begins June 8. M.R. 30709.

As you can see, lawyers do get disciplined.  I find it a bit shocking that someone who has taken client funds might be able to get their license back some day.  It is good to know that lawyers who blow off their cases can be suspended. That is probably the only way to protect the public from hiring these people.  You also see a lot of lawyers being disciplined for lying. It is a big no-no and has shaped our attitude of being very direct and honest whenever we are asked questions.

Here’s a scenario that nobody wants to be in, but sadly happens all of the time:

You find yourself in this situation where a loved one dies. A couple of weeks later you file a life insurance claim. Shortly after that you get a wordy letter notifying you that the life insurance company will not be making a payment. There seems to be no rationale basis for them not paying.

Are you out of luck?  What can you do to show the insurance company that you mean business, you won’t go away quietly, and you aren’t giving up on the payout that is rightfully yours? Often the best next step is to hire an attorney and force the hand of the insurance company.  The reality is that life insurance companies make bogus denials all of the time. They will claim something wasn’t disclosed or that the policy has lapsed.  They do this because they want to frustrate you to the point that you just give up.

Fortunately most people know that hiring an attorney in this situation costs nothing up front and that these cases are often winnable.

We get contacted by people in this situation who want to know, “Who is the best life insurance attorney in the state of Illinois?” First of all, there is no indisputable “number one” life insurance lawyer or law firm. There are, however, a handful of lawyers who have decades of experience in this niche area of law and get great results for their clients. Beyond that, we need to consider your unique circumstances. What is the size of the insurance policy? Some attorneys only take on a case if the policy is in the six figures or higher. For other attorneys, the size of the policy doesn’t matter. We need to consider who the best life insurance lawyer is for you.

Another common question asked by people who reach out to us is, “Can you recommend a lawyer who has offices near me?” The location of an attorney’s office should not be an important factor in deciding who to hire for your case. In fact, it shouldn’t matter at all. As we mentioned earlier, life insurance law is a niche area. There are a very small number of firms that specialize in this area of law and can show a track record of success. These law firms tend to have offices located near the courts because the lawyers spend so much time there. In addition, communication between you and a lawyer can be done over the phone and via the internet. Often everything related to hiring an attorney and proceeding through a case can be done virtually. If you live downstate, it may likely be in your best interest to hire a Chicagoland attorney.

The most important thing to remember is that your main goal is to have the policy paid out.  To make that happen requires a law firm that knows what they are doing and can prove it based on their past results. The attorneys we recommend often can get these cases settled in less than three months. When the facts are on your side and the attorney knows the law, there becomes no defense for the insurance company.

If you have a life insurance case and are in need of an attorney, call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with a lawyer for free.  We cover life insurance disputes in all of Illinois.

We are experienced Chicago attorneys who help people find the best lawyer for their case, for free. We cover all of Illinois. If you would like our help, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320.

It’s no surprise that, when people call us looking for a referral to an attorney, they often ask for the best lawyer nearby. We especially hear this from people who are calling to sue after a car accident. “Who is the best car accident attorney near me?”

The driver, and possibly the passengers, have likely suffered some injuries. Often their vehicle has been towed away for repairs, or it is a total loss. So not only do they want a highly competent attorney who has an excellent track record on car accident cases, but they also want a lawyer close to their home, because they think that they will need to go to the lawyer’s office several times over the course of the case. And they now may not have access to their car, their main method of transportation.

But in reality, there is no one “best attorney” for every car accident case. In addition, whether or not the law firm’s office is within a 5-mile radius of you should not be the most important factor for who you hire. Here’s why.

The “Best” Car Accident Attorney

The best car accident attorney for one person may not be the best for another. A variety of factors influence who you should hire. The most important factor is who hit you. Was it a semi-truck? A pizza delivery vehicle? An individual driving a 2001 Scion? A case against a trucking company or a commercial vehicle is different from a case against an individual driver. How much insurance coverage the other party has is a related factor.  Some of the “best” law firms won’t touch a case where there is only $50,000 in insurance. And if it’s a major injury and the other driver was operating a commercial vehicle, most law firms out there don’t have the track record to get you the most compensation possible.

“Near Me”

Some people mistakenly think that they will have to shlep to and from an attorney’s office repeatedly over the course of a case. Even before COVID, law firms were signing up clients and communicating with them virtually. Technology allows for e-signatures and facetime or zoom calls. Very rarely is in-person communication necessary. In addition, the vast majority of lawyers who specialize in car accident cases have offices near the courthouses because they need to appear in court so frequently. So being a mile or two from the attorney’s office should definitely not be a key factor in who to hire. None of the lawyers we recommend ask you to come see them if it’s a problem. They will come to see you.

To put it another way, would you rather have a close by lawyer and have your case settle for $1 million or have a lawyer from a prestigious firm who’s a bit farther away and have the case settle for $3 million. The reality of Illinois car accident law is that some cases are worth more money in the hands of better firms.

What we do is evaluate your case and make sure we recommend the best one possible for you.  Sometimes that will be someone who is in your town. Other times it might make sense to get someone far away because of the type of case it is. Whatever your situation, we’ll treat you like a family member or fried and give you honest, straight forward advice.  If you want our help, please fill out our contact form or give us a call at 312-346-5320 to speak with an attorney for free.

It’s almost stunning that Coronavirus isn’t behind us yet.  Unfortunately it’s still here and going strong, although not as bad in Illinois as places like Texas and Florida.  Certainly the most common question we have received of late is can an employer require you to get a Covid vaccine?

The answer, with very limited exceptions, is yes.  You can refuse of course, but then they can fire you without recourse.  The reason this is true is because generally speaking, employers can set safety measures within their businesses. So just like you can be required to wear a hard hat on a construction site or steel toed boots in certain jobs, your employer can decide that for everyone’s safety, employees need to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

In fact, the state of Illinois could also require vaccinations to get in to restaurants, bars, gyms or really anywhere else. Again, it’s a safety law like wearing a seat belt in a car, not driving drunk, etc.

The reality is that many employers already require other vaccines like tetanus shots and if you went to school in Illinois, you were required to show proof of vaccination against diseases like polio and the measles.  Polio would never have been eradicated without those requirements and it’s probably why nobody knows someone under 40 who has polio.

Because Covid can mutate and get more dangerous as it has with the Delta variant, arguments against vaccination have no legal chance in my opinion. Lawsuits have been brought and more will likely come, but I expect that they will continue to get dismissed. You don’t have to get vaccinated if you don’t want to, but just like there are consequences to free speech, there are consequences to choices you make including potentially losing your job.

While I agree with the right of an employer to require vaccination, even if I didn’t it wouldn’t matter.  Our job as attorneys isn’t to tell you what we think the law should be, it’s to tell you what it is so you can make an educated decision for yourself about what you want to do.

There has been a phenomenon in the last ten years or so of attorneys spending millions on billboards and TV ads to try and get personal injury clients. It’s scummy to me, but not against the law.

Some of these big spenders are actual Chicago law firms. Others are actually based in places like Florida, Nevada and elsewhere and their main partners are not licensed in Illinois. They hire local attorneys and feed them the cases for a share of the profits. It’s not the best way to get a lawyer.

Car accident lawyers in Chicago and really all of Illinois only handle cases that involve injuries.  Some of these cases also, of course, involve damage to the car itself.  While we don’t know lawyers who do just property damage cases, every car accident lawyer we work with handles both the injury part and the property damage part. Those two things go hand in hand and it’s part of giving full service to clients.

What I’ve seen with these big advertisers is that many of them tell their clients that they will only handle the injury part.  Some of these firms are overwhelmed with cases and want to limit their work only to the part that makes them money. So they tell their clients that they are on their own even if they no longer have a car to drive or are getting screwed by the insurance company’s offer to make repairs.

This is ridiculous and just terrible customer service.

The good news though is that you will find out about this terrible service early on in the case. If they won’t help you out then they are not the right law firm for you. You can and should switch lawyers and given that it’s early on in the case there should be no cost to do so.

A sad fact is that insurance companies will try and take advantage of people whose main concern is the damage to their car. They know that lawyers won’t get involved over just that issue because there is no money to be made. They also are aware of these shady firms and know that they don’t always fight for their clients. The insurance companies have nothing to lose by not paying you fair value for your car or even paying you at all. In fact, a person whose car is totaled and has a major injury has a better chance of getting paid for their car than someone who was rear-ended at a stoplight but didn’t see a doctor.

The reason attorneys only handle cases that involve an injury is that there is no money to be made if they are only being compensated for the work they do to get your car repaired.  They’d have to charge you by the hour which wouldn’t make financial sense.

If you’d like to find and attorney that will handle both the injury part and property damage part of your car accident case, we can help you. Call us at 312-346-5320 any time to speak with a lawyer for free. We cover all of Illinois.

We are experienced Illinois injury attorneys with a track record of success. There is no fee to talk to us or to hire a lawyer. If you would like to speak with an attorney for free, fill out our contact form or call us at 800-517-1614.  All calls are confidential. We are based out of Chicago but cover all of Illinois.

What is a C-section? 

A caesarean delivery or caesarean section (C-section for short), is a surgical procedure in which the baby is delivered through an incision in the mother’s belly and uterus.

What are the reasons to perform a C-section? 

Obstetricians perform C-sections when a vaginal delivery would put the mother or baby at risk. Reasons for a C-section include, but are not limited to:

  1. Prolonged labor, failure to progress
  2. Fetal distress
  3. Breech birth
  4. Placenta problems (e.g., placental abruption, when the placenta separates early from the uterus; and placenta previa, when the baby’s placenta partially or fully covers the mother’s cervix)
  5. Umbilical cord issues
  6. Failure of delivery by forceps or vacuum device
  7. Large size of the baby
  8. Hypertension or tachycardia in the mother
  9. Shape of the mother’s pelvis
  10. Mother’s history of previous C-section(s)

Planned vs. Emergency C-section 

In many situations, the obstetrician will recognize an issue before labor begins and schedule a C-section. There are other circumstances, however, in which a complication arises during the birthing process, and the obstetrician has to order an emergency C-section. If the fetus is experiencing distress, there is a very limited amount of time to deliver the baby before tragic injuries occur.

Detecting Fetal Distress C-section 

How is fetal distress detected? The mother may feel decreased movement of her baby. Meconium may be present in the amniotic fluid. But often, the key is in the fetal monitoring strips. They are small devices attached to the mother’s belly that use Doppler ultrasound to capture and track the baby’s heartbeat. The obstetrician and labor and delivery nurses observe the carditocography for: increased or decreased fetal heart rate, especially during and after a contraction; decreased variability in the fetal heart rate; and late decelerations. 

Delayed C-section 

If the doctors and nurses fail to detect the fetal distress (or placental abruption or other clear indicator), or it they detect the distress but fail to perform an emergency C-section in a timely manner, the baby may be deprived of oxygen and suffer life-altering injuries. Time if of the essence, so the health care workers need to be adept at quickly coming together and performing a C-section.

Birth Injuries 

A delayed C-section may result in the following injuries to the baby:

  1. Cerebral Palsy
  2. Erb’s Palsy
  3. Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
  4. Damage to vital organs

All of these birth injuries can be significant and life altering for both the child and their parents.  It’s not always clear right away if you have a lawsuit, but it’s important to have your case investigated ASAP as the time limits for suing can be as little as two years from the delivery date if the doctors are part of a federally funded clinic and no more than eight years from the delivery date.  It takes around six months to investigate a case properly so time is usually of the essence. If you believe that the health care providers and/or hospital were negligent, and delayed your C-section, resulting in serious birth injuries to your baby, please contact us to speak with a lawyer.

We are Chicago lawyers who help people find the right attorney for their situation. Since 2001 we have helped over 500,000 people and would be happy to talk with you for free about your legal situation.

As part of our service, we educate the public on various injuries that can lead to lawsuits. One common one is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy.

What is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, or HIE, is very serious type of infant brain damage that occurs during childbirth. The damage is caused when the baby is deprived of both oxygen and blood flow during childbirth or immediately after. Brain cells in the baby die within minutes when they are cut off from oxygen and blood.

Hypoxia = the supply of oxygen isn’t sufficient

Ischemic = the supply of blood isn’t sufficient

Encephalopathy = damage or disease that affects the brain

What causes HIE?

There are a number of causes of HIE. It can develop during pregnancy, during labor and delivery or in postnatal period, but here we will focus on causes of HIE during labor and delivery. They include:

  • Problems with the umbilical cord
  • Extremely low blood pressure in the mother
  • Excessive bleeding from the placenta
  • Abruption of the placenta or rupture of the uterus
  • Baby in breech or other abnormal fetal position
  • Prolonged late stages of labor

What are the symptoms of HIE? How is it diagnosed?

The symptoms of HIE vary based on how severe the injury is, as well as which area(s) of the brain were affected. A baby with HIE may have:

  • Seizures or abnormal movements
  • Feeding problems because muscles in their mouth and throat are weak
  • A weak cry
  • Organ disfunction of the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys
  • Little to no reactions to sights and sounds; or conversely, stronger, more tense reactions to sights and sounds than a healthy newborn

To confirm an HIE diagnosis, a neurologist will examine your baby. An electroencephalogram will monitor your baby for seizures and signs of brain disfunction. Tests, such as an MRI, will check for signs of brain injury. You will meet with the medical team to review the results of the tests and plan for therapies, future care, etc.

What happens next?

If your baby was diagnosed with an HIE, and has passed away or suffered permanent brain damage, it may be a case of doctor negligence or medical malpractice during your labor and delivery. You may be entitled to compensation to pay for your baby’s medical bills and future medical care.  The first step is to find the right firm and have them review the medical records to see if they can prove negligence occurred. Often these cases are worth tens of millions of dollars because a lifetime of care will be needed. We have had success with these cases and would be happy to help you find the best law firm for your case. To discuss this confidentially with a licensed attorney, fill out our online contact form or call us at 800-517-1614.

We are lawyers in Illinois who will talk to you for free. If you would like to speak to an attorney please call us at 800-517-1614 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.

With the rise of the #metoo movement, victims of sexual harassment and assault have found the courage within and the support from others to speak up, and to discuss the injustices they suffered. Sexual harassment and assault are not new phenomena, of course. They existed long before the hashtag took hold in the fall of 2017.

In fact, in 2003, the Illinois General Assembly moved to protect victims of sexual harassment and assault by passing the Illinois Gender Violence Act.

Gender violence is a violent act that is committed because of a victim’s sex. It can also be a threat of a violent act. The Illinois Gender Violence Act (“IGVA”) protects victims of sexual harassment and violence, and has a relatively long statute of limitations.

This is very important, because all too often, victims who have suffered awful treatment are too traumatized to act right away. They may feel hesitant to report incidents that occurred at their workplace, that involve a coworker or boss. Before the IGVA, if a victim waited a year to come forward, the short statute of limitations would have been up, and there would be no opportunity to seek justice in court against his/her abuser. )

Another important aspect of the IGVA was its language centered around “persons” who could “personally” commit, encourage or assist in acts of gender-related violence. It was unclear if employers could be held liable for their employees’ sexual violence. If someone’s boss repeatedly groped her/him, would the company be responsible for the boss’s actions?

In 2019, a decision made by the Illinois Appellate Court (Gasic v. Marquette Mgt., Inc.) brought some clarity to this. Under certain circumstances, corporations can be held liable under the IGVA. Since that decision, a growing number of courts in Illinois have agreed that corporate employers can be liable for their employees’ gender-related violence.

In addition we have used this law to bring lawsuits for other acts of sexual abuse including against fraternities where rapes have occurred.

This is an important law for victims of sexual violence. It provides damages for emotional distress, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. In other words, it costs nothing to bring a lawsuit under the Gender Violence Act and you can make a significant recovery.

This may be a bit confusing. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment or assault, feel free to contact us. All calls and emails are confidential, and we can advise you on what the next steps should be.