We are Illinois attorneys who will help you find the best lawyer for your case. Call us at 312-346-5320 for help anywhere in Illinois. We have helped tens of thousands of injured workers since 2001.

When you are injured on the job in Illinois, you generally speaking have the right to choose your own doctor. And the insurance company has to pay for 100% of that care.

The work comp insurance company for your employer has a right to send you to a doctor of their own choosing called an independent medical examination or IME. This is not a doctor who is there to treat you or look out for your best interests. Their job is to review your medical records and examine you to answer questions the insurance company has. These questions include do you have a work related injury, what treatment is needed, can you return to work and more.

Many of these IME doctors are hired guns who will say whatever the insurance company wants and hurt your case. Some of them are honest even if they skew their opinions in favor of the insurance companies.

When the IME doctor writes a report that says you can return to work or your injuries aren’t work related, you can bet that the insurance company will tell you about it right away. They are looking for any reason possible to cut you off. So when they have news that helps them, they will go forward with it.

But many times an IME happens and you don’t hear anything. Not hearing within a week or two can be normal. Over a month isn’t. So where is the IME report?

There is no law that requires the insurance company to give you or your lawyer a copy of the IME. We’ve seen many cases where they simply don’t do that. In that case we can subpoena the doctor directly to try to get a copy of the report. That is usually but not always successful.

In other cases, the doctor simply won’t write a report. What they will do is call the insurance adjuster or defense attorney and tell them what they would say. They’ll then ask if they should write a report or not. If it’s bad news, the insurance company will say don’t do it. Does that sound sleazy? Hell yes, but it’s totally legal.

So what do you do if you can’t get a report?

A smart attorney will push forward. When an IME happens and isn’t produced, it’s assumed in court that the findings would be in your favor. So while you might not have the evidence in hand, it actually will work for you.

Realistically though, once your lawyer pushes forward, most insurance companies will roll over because they know that they don’t have a defense.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t wait forever. If it’s been two weeks and there’s no report, it’s time to get aggressive. If you’d like our help in any way, please let us know.

Someone I care greatly about is a week away from their 25th anniversary. While they are lucky to have a great marriage, the reality is that around 50% of marriages do end in divorce. Here are 25 things you should know about Illinois divorce law.

  1. While there is technically a waiting period to get divorced, if you both want it to happen, it will happen. And if one of you doesn’t want it, the waiting period will be over by the time the case is ready for trial.
  2. Divorce is filed in the county you live in.
  3. If you just moved to Illinois, you have to be a resident here for 90 days before you are eligible to file for divorce here.
  4. An uncontested divorce means you and your spouse agree on EVERY issue there is to agree on.
  5. The total cost for a divorce depends on how long it lasts. The longer it takes, the more it costs. So if you can agree on things it will be much cheaper.
  6. If one spouse makes a lot more than the other, a petition can be filed to have the higher earner pay the lower earner’s lawyer fees. This is done so the wealthier person can’t abuse the court system.
  7. The county will charge a filing fee. It is around $500.
  8. It’s illegal for an attorney to handle a divorce on a contingency basis.
  9. There is no such thing as alimony in Illinois. We do have maintenance which is designed to help you maintain the lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed to. How long it lasts depends on the case facts.
  10. We highly recommend that you hire an attorney who almost exclusively handles family law cases. Attorneys who handle multiple areas of law tend not to do the best job, especially if the case gets complicated.
  11. A QDRO is a division of retirement benefits. You should make sure your lawyer handles that as part of the divorce. Too many fail to do it which can cause problems down the road.
  12. Things acquired during the marriage are considered marital assets. This includes any businesses started or joined. So if your spouse became a partner in a medical group for example, you’d have an interest in their financial share of that business.
  13. Judges generally do not care if your attorney is male or female. Most follow the facts and don’t have crazy biases.
  14. Custody can be part of a divorce. There is no such thing as “father’s rights.” That’s just a marketing term. Fathers and mothers have the same rights under IL law.
  15. If your spouse has a child with someone else and you did not adopt that child, you don’t have to legally support them.
  16. Legal separation means not living together as husband as wife. In other words, you aren’t sleeping together or having sexual relations.
  17. You can be legally separated but still live in the same house. That is way more common than you think.
  18. Just because a divorce is filed does not mean you have to go through with it. In some cases it’s a great way to get into marital counseling or work out issues that are causing strife in the marriage.
  19. If one parent refuses to participate in raising a child, they generally can’t be forced to. That won’t get them out of paying child support however.
  20. If your spouse is making you feel unsafe, you can file an order of protection against them which will usually result in them being barred from the marital home.
  21. Mediation is a great option to make the divorce quicker and cheaper if you are both interested in resolving any differences. Even doing that though, it’s wise to have an attorney in your corner to protect you and make sure you are thinking of everything you need to know. The mediator is a neutral and can’t give legal advice.
  22. A lawyer can’t represent both parties in a divorce. If your spouse says a certain lawyer will handle everything, know that your spouse has an attorney and you do not.
  23. The #1 thing you can do in the beginning of a divorce is meet with a lawyer and come up with a list of goals. That could be related to custody, support, property or a lot of other stuff. If you are goal focused that will help you achieve the best result possible.
  24. Nobody finishes a divorce and says “that was great,” but if you are goal focused, it’s our experience that you will be satisfied sooner.
  25. It’s the job of an attorney to take the emotion out of a situation. They aren’t there to provide emotional support and if they do, you are paying them a really high rate to listen to you and give sympathy. We highly recommend people go to therapy if they are (understandably) emotional while going through a divorce. A trained professional is way better for you than a divorce attorney who probably charges twice as much.

I hope that if you are possibly going through a divorce in Illinois that these tips help. And if you need assistance with a case, please call us for free any time at 312-346-5320.

Baseball is back! Hope spring eternal and Cubs fans can dream of winning our first World Series since 2016. And White Sox fans can dream of not losing 100 games.

When I was in law school, a professor pointed out to us how everything around us could potentially be a legal issue. It’s really changed the way I think. With that in mind and in celebration of the new season, here are the top ten legal issues that will happen at and around Wrigley Field this year.

  1. Workers’ Compensation – We don’t think of professional athletes as employees, but they are. Injuries are a part of baseball and when a Cubs player gets hurt or a visiting player gets hurt, it can lead to an Illinois workers’ compensation claim. In recent years, players such as Chris Bosio, Jason Adam, Allen Webster and others have filed cases. So have park employees who get injured in a variety of ways.
  2. Trespassing – You can bet at some point, some drunken idiot is going to run onto the field. There’s actually a law that can make this a felony after a father and son attacked a Royals coach years ago at Comiskey. Stay off the field.
  3. Public Urination – There’s going to be a theme here that baseball games lead to a lot of criminal charges. I used to live across the street from Wrigley and can tell you by experience that there aren’t enough bathrooms for people out in the street. The drunk and desperate ones will pee anywhere.
  4. Battery – Baseball should be joyous, but there are a lot of jerks and people who can’t handle their liquor around. I’ve seen double digit fights over the years, usually from opposing fans and Cubs fans getting into it.
  5. Prostitution – You wouldn’t think it happens, but it’s definitely out there and around the ball park. While I personally think it should be legal, it’s not and every year people get caught. There are so many tourists and business people that get targeted and often arrested for solicitation too.
  6. Counterfeiting – It’s not as common as it used to be, but there are still fake tickets floating around and being sold on the streets.
  7. Personal Injury – Getting hit by a foul ball is a risk of being at a game. But getting hit by a ball that a player throws into the stands isn’t. Neither is getting trampled by fans trying to get that ball. And we’ve seen people hit by cars because drivers don’t know how to drive in a crowded area. And of course there is the risk of injuries due to defects in Wrigley itself.
  8. Divorce – While I’ve seen a handful of marriage proposals at stadiums, I’ve also seen a lot of (usually drunk) couples fighting in a way that signals the marriage is over. The baseball game might not be the primary cause of a divorce, but you’ll see a lot of evidence of marriages that need to end.
  9. Theft – There are people who hang out by the games with one purpose in mind. To steal your stuff. Drunk people and out of towners are easy marks. Even as someone who has been to hundreds of games, I don’t take a lot of cash with me and make sure my phone and wallet are really secure. Getting out of Wrigley is a huge challenge as the corridors are packed tightly. Watch your stuff!
  10. Child Endangerment – Taking a kid to a ball game is a great idea. They’ll remember it forever. Hopefully it’s not because you left them at the seats for an hour while you were smashing drinks or getting high.

Hopefully it’s a great baseball season. Go Cubs!

We get so many great questions from people who don’t necessarily need a lawyer of just want to find out if they have a case. Here are some good ones we’ve received recently. If you have any Illinois legal questions, you can call us any time for free at 312-346-5320.

What is an alias summons?

Any time there is a lawsuit, a defendant has to be served with a copy before the case can proceed. When the sheriff tries to serve the summons unsuccessfully, the Judge will issue a second summons which is called an alias summons.

Difference between a lawyer and an attorney?

In real life, there is no difference as we use those terms interchangeably. Technically speaking though, a lawyer is someone who’s graduated law school while an attorney is someone who graduated law school and passed the bar exam so they are licensed to practice law and represent clients.

My boss gave me a check and it bounced. What should I do?

It’s technically a crime so you can call the police although it’s a law that doesn’t always get enforced. You should also file a wage claim with the Illinois Department of Labor and consider filing for unemployment.

My employer found out I was interviewing on my day off and fired me. Is this legal?

It is. It’s totally unfair, but within their rights as an employer. This is part of at will employment which means you can be let go at any time for any reason as long as it’s not an illegal reason. Treating you unfairly is not by itself illegal.

I got hurt at work because I was put on a job I wasn’t trained for. Can I sue them for that?

You can’t sue your employer for negligence. The good news is that if this happened to you, you can get workers’ compensation benefits which in Illinois can be significant.

My mom never pursued child support against my dad. He never did anything for us. I’m 28 now, can I bring a case against him?

A child support case can not be brought by the child, it has to be brought by the parent. There’s nothing that can be done unfortunately.

Hopefully you notice that we are direct and honest with our legal answers, even if it’s not what someone wants to hear. If you’d like our help please get in touch any time.

We are experienced Illinois attorneys who help people fight for payment of life insurance benefits. If you’d like a free consultation, please call us any time at 312-346-5320.

We thought it would be helpful to provide some tips on working with a life insurance attorney and how to win a case. So in no particular order:

  • The cases that we and the attorneys we recommend get involved with focus on situations where a person passes away, and the life insurance company doesn’t pay out the owed benefits in a timely manner.
  • Sometimes they give you an outright denial, other times they just blow you off or don’t respond. Another common tactic is to state that the case is under investigation, but not really provide you information as to what they are investigating or communicate updates.
  • We are looking to talk to people who have either received a denial or filed a claim more than 30 days ago without a response.
  • These cases are handled on a contingency basis which means there is no fee unless a recovery is made.
  • The first thing an attorney will want to do is see a copy of the policy to see what possible exclusions for paying out exist. For example, some policies state that if there is a drug overdose then no benefits will be owed.
  • We will need to know the cause of death and be able to have access to medical records.
  • Accidental death policy cases are very similar, but as the name states, typically involves a payout for an accidental death like a car accident.
  • The good news on these cases is that they tend to resolve very quickly. We settled one case for $2 million within months of first talking to the client. That was not at all unusual as the facts were on our side.
  • We will help people with any size life insurance denial case.
  • It doesn’t matter where in Illinois you are. We help everywhere in Illinois and you won’t have to travel.
  • A common question we get is “how could they deny my benefits?” The answer is that insurance companies are ruthless and to them this is all business. Their hope is that they will frustrate you enough to go away and they can save the money that they owe.
  • Because of how insurance companies act, we usually file a lawsuit within the first couple of weeks. Being aggressive is how you win these cases.

If you want to discuss hiring an attorney or just have questions, please get in touch any time. All calls are free and confidential.

We are experienced Chicago malpractice attorneys with over 25 years of experience helping people who have birth injury claims. Call us any time at 312-346-5320 to speak with attorney for free and in confidence.

Fetal Distress

In simple terms, fetal distress is a sign that your baby is not well or having problems. Fetal distress occurs when the baby is not getting enough oxygen. Fetal distress can sometimes happen during pregnancy, but it is more common during labor. Most healthcare providers have replaced the term fetal distress with non-reassuring fetal status (NRFS), but we will use fetal distress in this article.

Causes of Fetal Distress
Fetal distress occurs when the baby doesn’t receive enough oxygen because of problems with the placenta (e.g., placental abruption or placental insufficiency) or problems with the umbilical cord (e.g., cord prolapse).

Fetal distress is more common if the mother:
• Is past her due date
• Has a multiple pregnancy
• Has pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia
• Has contractions that are too strong or too close together
• Is obese
• Has a chronic disease such as diabetes, kidney disease or heart disease
Signs of Fetal Distress

The most common signs of fetal distress are:
• Changes in the baby’s heart rate (lower or higher than normal)
• Less movement from the baby for an extended period of time
• Low amniotic fluid, or meconium in the amniotic fluid
• Excessive bleeding during labor

Detecting and Addressing Fetal Distress
Health care professionals trained in obstetrics and labor and delivery should recognize the signs of fetal distress during late pregnancy and childbirth and take quick action to manage it and prevent harm. Often a Caesarian may be necessary. Failure to act in a timely manner can sadly lead to brain damage and possibly death of the baby. The damages could be in the tens of millions of dollars in the worst case scenario.

What to Do If Your Baby Has Suffered
Doctors and hospitals are expected to look for signs of problems with your pregnancy. Items like fetal monitoring strips exist to prevent otherwise healthy babies from suffering a catastrophic injury that could lead to a greatly diminished life and a lot of suffering for your family. When they screw up you may have a lawsuit.

If fetal distress led to a death or permanent disabilities, there is a possibility that your doctor, nurses, or the hospital or birthing center is at fault. At the very least, they should be investigated. We understand that this may be an emotional time, but time is often of the essence. We can investigate what happened and hold those responsible accountable if they were negligent.

For a free consultation to speak with an experienced attorney, please call us any time at 312-346-5320.

The only thing worse than losing a loved one, is doing so when it wasn’t their time. Often this is the result of the negligence or intentional act of someone. When that happens, you may have a wrongful death lawsuit.

In Illinois, there are time limits for suing over a death. It is all covered in the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. The Act states that whenever a death happens, you can sue the party responsible for damages, sometimes including punitive damages. Generally speaking, these lawsuits have to be filed within two years of the death. There are two big exceptions to that which I’ll discuss, but I’d say 99% of calls we get have the two year time limit apply.

In considering a lawsuit, you should know that there aren’t loopholes to this time limit. About once a month someone will call me who lost a loved one more than two years ago. When I ask why they didn’t call sooner I usually hear that they were grieving and not ready to process it. That makes sense and is a normal emotional reaction. Unfortunately it doesn’t get you around the time limits. The same holds true for people who tell me they hadn’t contacted a lawyer because they’ve been busy, sick, moving, thought someone else was doing it or just about anything else.

Time limits are in place to make the process fair to all parties and because over time, witnesses disappear and memories fade. It’s not seen as fair to a defendant to make them try to fight a case that they didn’t know was coming for over two years.

There are, as I said, two really big exceptions.

The first has to do with criminal cases. Let me quote the statute for you:

An action may be brought within 5 years after the date of the death if the death is the result of violent intentional conduct or within one year after the final disposition of the criminal case if the defendant is charged with:
(1) first degree murder under Section 9-1 of the
    Criminal Code of 2012;
(2) intentional homicide of an unborn child under
    Section 9-1.2 of the Criminal Code of 2012;
(3) second degree murder under Section 9-2 of the
    Criminal Code of 2012;
(4) voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child under
    Section 9-2.1 of the Criminal Code of 2012;
(5) involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide
    under Section 9-3 of the Criminal Code of 2012;
(6) involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide of
    an unborn child under Section 9-3.2 of the Criminal Code of 2012; or
(7) drug-induced homicide under Section 9-3.3 of the
    Criminal Code of 2012.

Basically you may have up to five years if the death is from violent intentional conduct or up to one year after criminal charges have been resolved. That said, it’s playing with fire to wait too long and we always encourage people to act sooner rather than later so their rights aren’t lost. And note, that this extension only applies to suing and recovering from the criminal defendant, nobody else.

The other exception has to do with children who had a right to bring the lawsuit. In their case, it can be brought within two years of them turning 18. Again, we strongly advise you to bring a lawsuit or at least consult with an attorney ASAP so you don’t lose your rights.

These are tough situations, but a great Illinois wrongful death attorney can take the emotion out of the situation and help you determine if there’s even a case at all. If you’d like to speak with an attorney for free, please call us any time at 312-346-5320.

Sexual abuse can be rape, fondling, unwanted touching or kissing or other forced acts. Sexual abuse often occurs when a person has some type of status or power over the victim. Nearly all of us are aware of the high-profile sexual abuse scandals involving the clergy with their parishioners and teachers with their students. But another relationship between abuser and victim is that of doctor and patient.

We are raised to respect and trust doctors. They have the education and expertise about health and our bodies. We assume they will do no harm. We assume that they have our best interests at heart. We assume that whatever they ask us to do during an exam is a necessary part of our health care. Sadly, this is not always the case. Sometimes doctors sexually assault their patients.

This abuse is often physical touching that isn’t consented to, but what seems like consensual sex can also be sexual abuse. That occurs when someone like a psychologist convinces a patient to engage in a sexual relationship. Generally speaking, it’s never appropriate for a doctor to sleep with a patient.

The emotional after-effects of the sexual abuse can last for many years or even a lifetime. Victims may want to repress what they experienced and never acknowledge or speak of it. They worry that their word may not be believed against the word of the doctor. However, if they choose to pursue legal action against their abuser, the process of seeking justice may be incredibly healing for them. In addition to the emotional benefits of getting justice and peace, a financial settlement can pay for therapy and other treatments and compensate you for the harm suffered.

Illinois used to have a 20-year statute of limitations for bringing these lawsuits. Now there is no time limit for claims after 2013. However, time is of the essence to bring these cases as you want to bring the lawsuit while evidence is fresh and more reliable. A sexual abuse lawsuit may be filed against the doctor, the abuser. In many cases though, the practice or hospital behind the doctor may be liable as well.

Sexual assault cases are very sensitive and emotional. You can speak with us confidentially and we can point you in the right direction. The attorneys we work with on these cases have a track record of success and are only paid if they are successful for you.

I was contacted by a woman who was curious about Illinois medical malpractice laws. The father of her two children had died from what may have been a medical malpractice situation and she was hoping to talk about the process.

Before we could get going though, she told me something I hear a lot. She said:

I don’t even know if I want to do this. My kids are grieving and I’m not sure I want to put them through this.

That is a common thought process and makes sense. This is a great mom who is trying to protect her kids.

All of that said, she is over analyzing things right now. Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits are very hard cases to win. Talking to a lawyer about a possible case doesn’t mean you are going to sue. It means you are having a discussion about having someone investigate a case.

Unlike a car accident where we can usually tell you from your own statements and/or a police report if you have a case, nobody can tell you that you definitely have a medical malpractice case over the phone.

To determine if you have a case not only requires to hear your version of events, but much more importantly, requires us to review the relevant medical records of the person who was harmed. That is an involved process that often requires a review of thousands of pages of medical records.

These reviews are first done internally and then if it appears there might be something wrong, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer will contact an expert in the relevant field to arrange to send the records to them for their review and opinion. In some cases multiple physicians need to be involved.

The whole investigation process commonly take 6-12 months. So by contacting a lawyer, even while grieving, you are not committing to anything other than the chance to find out if you might have a case. If the answer is yes, then you can decide if you want the attorney to file a lawsuit or not.

Even once the lawsuit has been filed, it doesn’t mean that your family will have to go through a trial. While that is definitely a possibility, many cases settle long before that has to happen.

All of these situations come down to case facts. Just know that time is of the essence. Usually once two years has passed it’s too late (there are exceptions, call us any time to discuss your time limits). So know that if you are really “just thinking about it” that means you should have an attorney review the case with you and go from there.

In an ideal world, Illinois law would change so that every marriage would require a pre-nuptial agreement that would dictate the terms of divorce if a marriage doesn’t work out. It would save people a lot of money and heartache. Of course, that’s not the world we live in.

As a result, a lot of divorces in Illinois are nasty and contentious. That makes sense because when a relationship is ending, there are often a lot of bad feelings. Often people treat their husband/wife poorly because their feelings are hurt. One way we commonly see this is when one person makes a lot more money than the other or has control of the money.

The most typical way this happens is when one person works and the other stays at home to raise the kids. This was the scenario of a woman who called me recently and didn’t think she could afford a lawyer. She stayed at home while her husband worked a good union job making about $150,000.00 a year. He had emptied out their bank account and his 401k. She felt helpless.

The good news is that Illinois divorce law is written in a way that anticipates this type of power imbalance scenario. When one spouse makes significantly more than the other, you can file a motion that will ask the Judge to order them to pay your lawyer fees. It is usually filed right away and is commonly granted.

So you likely don’t have to worry about paying for a lawyer. It’s more likely that you’ll have to find a way to come up with an initial retainer fee and that’s it. After that, your spouse would be responsible for your attorney’s bill.

And if your spouse does something shady like emptying out a bank account or 401k, you can likely get that money back through a court order too. Judges do not look kindly on that type of behavior and they don’t usually reward people who are acting like bullies.

This is not to say that the divorce will be easy or stressful. It’s often not when you are dealing with someone who is mentally abusive. But we have found that when someone realizes they are going to have to pay for two lawyers, they realize they need to stop playing games or otherwise they will go broke.

The bottom line is that Illinois divorce law is mostly common sense and is designed to protect people who are not making the same money their soon to be ex is. So take a deep breath and know that options likely exist for you. And if you want a free consultation with an experienced lawyer, call us any time at 312-346-5320.