On average we talk to 8-10 people a day who have been hurt on the job and have Illinois workers’ compensation legal questions.  We hear a lot of the same things over and over.  Here is a list of ten things that we think everyone should know about Illinois work comp law.

  1. It’s a no fault law.  Unless you are drunk or reckless (e.g. you jump off a roof for fun instead of using a ladder), your fault doesn’t matter if you get hurt at work.  You don’t have to prove the company was negligent and they aren’t off the hook if you are careless.
  2. Lawyer fees are 20% and don’t exceed that amount without special circumstances.  If an attorney asks you for any money up front you should not hire them.
  3. 100% of your medical bills should be paid for any treatment that is reasonable and related to your job injury.  No co-pays, no out of pocket expenses.
  4. The insurance company and your employer can not talk directly to your doctor and they should not be in your medical appointments. This includes any nurse case managers.  Don’t let them schedule your appointments either.  They have a right to get a copy of your medical records and bills.  That’s it.
  5. Any lawyer who tells you what your case is worth right after you’ve been hurt is probably full of it and telling you that just to try and get you to sign up with them.  No way to tell you for certain what the case is worth until you are finished with medical care and at maximum medical improvement.
  6. The value of your case is determined in part based on the severity of your injury, how it will affect you in the future, the medical care you have, how much money you were earning when hurt, your age, the job you can return to, whether or not you have any work restrictions and the need for future medical care.
  7. If you don’t want to sue your employer you are in luck.  Workers’ compensation cases in Illinois are  not lawsuits, but instead are claims for benefits like any other insurance claim.  There is no Judge or lawsuit although if you aren’t receiving payment we would go to arbitration on your behalf.
  8. Your employer can drug test you after an accident.  If you test positive it creates a “rebuttable presumption” that the drugs caused the accident.  You can overcome this based on the facts of how you got injured and witness testimony.
  9. You need to provide notice to your employer within 45 days of when you knew or should have known your injury was work related.  The sooner you report it, the better and do so in writing. You don’t want to lose a case on a technicality.
  10. You can switch attorneys if yours isn’t doing the job and it won’t cost you anything.  Lawyer fees can’t exceed 20%.  The new firm and old firm will have to work it out to split the 20% but it won’t affect your bottom line at all.

And of course if you have any questions about Illinois law, call us any time at (312) 346-5320 or fill out our contact form. It’s free, confidential and we cover all of Illinois.

I got called by someone the other day who was beat up on the CTA red line and wanted to sue the Chicago Transit Authority because it happened on their property.  A month ago a woman was was sexually assaulted outside her apartment wanted to sue the building owner and asked for our help.  That same week a woman who fell down the stairs at her friend’s house when a railing broke called me looking for legal advice.  I was only able to help one of them.

To sue anyone for personal injury, you have to show that they were somehow negligent.  Getting hurt on their property does not make them liable under Illinois law.  You need to show negligence too.

So the guy who got beat up on the el train doesn’t have a case because the CTA had no way of knowing it was going to happen and they don’t have to provide security on every train.  If CTA staffers were watching it all go down it might be a case, but that’s not what happened here.

The woman who was sexually assaulted also doesn’t have a case. It was a stranger who followed her home that assaulted her.  It’s awful that this happened to her, but there was nothing that the building owner did that lead to this happening.  It would have been different if the door lock was broken and that allowed the criminal to get in.  Again, you have to show some sort of negligence.

Finally, the woman who fell down the stairs does appear to have a case.  A property owner has a duty to maintain their residence. If a railing breaks that is most likely due to some negligence and assuming there’s an injury, you can sue them and their homeowner’s insurance would likely have to pay for your medical bills, lost wages and any pain and suffering.

The bottom line is that getting hurt on someone else’s property is not enough to bring a case. You need to show negligence as well.  So it’s important to get all of the facts and see if we can make a case.

If you have questions or would like to talk to an attorney for free, call us any time at (312) 346-5320.  We cover all of Illinois.

It’s an Uber rider’s nightmare; sitting in the back seat, when an accident occurs due to the driver being distracted. In many cases, ride share drivers will work for both Uber and Lyft. With both of these companies relying on cell phone technology, some drivers will use two phones at once and others are new to town and have no idea how to navigate without the help of their phones. So, what happens if you are that dreaded rider in the back when an accident occurs?

I was once in an Uber in Chicago, with a driver that didn’t know how to get from the Loop to Wrigley Field. Constant eye contact on his phone/GPS trying to figure his way around a new city instead of safely delivering me to my destination. Often, people will relocate to a new city and sign on to be an Uber or Lyft driver because it is an easy way for them to make quick money. The problem of course is they are completely unaware of their surroundings when they are so reliant on the app or GPS to get them where they are going or to pick up their next fare. There have been cases in other cities of pedestrians hit by Uber and Lyft drivers because the driver was too busy looking for another fare, to look up and see the pedestrian crossing the street. One accident left a man sitting in the back of an Uber with a broken leg after the driver ran a red light. Another left a woman with a broken collarbone after a Lyft driver was struck by another driver, who ran a red light.

Both Uber and Lyft have similar minimum insurance coverage of $1 million dollars in coverage for death, personal injury, and property damage. If you are the rider in an Uber or Lyft accident, the coverage can establish a claim against the other driver involved in an accident if they were at fault. This coverage will cover not only a passenger injured while in an Uber or Lyft, and will also cover damages if an Uber or Lyft driver causes damages or injury to your car. If you have been involved in an accident as a passenger,  pedestrian, or another vehicle struck by an Uber or Lyft driver, give us a call at (312) 346-5320. We will put you in touch with an attorney in your area who will make sure your medical bills are covered as well as any additional compensation you may be due including lost time from work.

We’ve all heard the expression, “like a pressure cooker ready to explode.” But what happens when a pressure cooker actually explodes and injures the person just trying to cook or jar their foods?
Pressure cookers have been used for decades in the kitchen for various meals. Personally, my mom used her pressure cooker all summer long. She would prepare strawberry rhubarb jam, rhubarb based butter, apple and pear sauce and of course any of the vegetables from the garden and can them in mason jars in the pressure cooker. I know other people whose favorite recipe for black and pinto beans include only using a pressure cooker.

However, not everyone has a fond memory of a pressure cooker. One woman had severe burns covering her chest and arms after a pressure cooker exploded in her kitchen. A simple malfunction, the cooker’s lid came off before the pressure was released. When the lid flew off it was a virtual explosion of scalding hot soup, hot enough to leave her skin burnt and blistered. She was in the hospital for over a week while doctors tended to her wounds.

One pressure cooker manufacturer, Tristar, has been hit with lawsuits over what customers are calling defective products. Their product allegedly explodes without warning. Two cases have already been settled, and at least one more has been filed. Consumer reports have raised serious safety concerns about other pressure cookers, including models manufactured by Fagor America, Tabletops Unlimited and Maxi-Matic.

What’s crazy is that in many of the injuries, the explosions have happened when directions on the box are properly followed or even after the product is done cooking the food and has been unplugged.  You wouldn’t think a machine just sitting there could cause harm, but it can.

The issue in these cases is often that the safety mechanisms designed to stop explosions have failed.  The beauty of these products is that they can cook meals in a fraction of the time.  They are supposed to be safe, but when they are defective it can cause a major injury. If you were injured when your pressure cooker exploded, contact us after seeking medical attention. We will put you in contact with an attorney in your area who has experience with these cases.

It’s always free to call us and speak with one of our lawyers.  We can be reached any time at (800) 517-1614.  You will usually speak to a lawyer right away and always within a few minutes.

I got a call from someone the other day who was upset that her attorney hadn’t called her back since she signed up with him.  She gave me his name and I looked him up. It turns out this person isn’t a lawyer.  I referred her to a top Chicago car accident lawyer and the case is on the right path.

The real story is that the guy who she hired was someone that got a hold of the police report following her accident and called her out of the blue.  This is called being an ambulance chaser and it’s illegal as well as unethical and just plain scummy.  He works for a law firm and likely gets paid per lead.

It’s a big scam as his firm does a ton of TV advertising and he uses that as his pitch when he calls these victims.  That firm doesn’t even handle the cases, but instead refers them to another firm.  This woman and presumably most of their clients have no idea what’s going on.  When she fired them, this scumbag threatened her and then threatened her new attorney.  It’s all being reported to the proper authorities and hopefully these guys get busted.

I hate ambulance chasers.  They prey upon victims of accidents and lie to them. They break the law.  They make honest lawyers look bad.

It’s competitive to get good cases, but that is no excuse for breaking the law.  If someone is going to call you out of the blue to try and get you to hire them, they know what they are doing is wrong.  They may justify it in their head some way, but facts are facts, it’s illegal.  If they’d break the law to get your case, they’d just as easily sell you out.

The good news is that their are tons of honest lawyers out there who will truly fight for you and do it the right way. They won’t make false promises about how much they are going to get for you and they won’t show up at your door step or hospital bed.  In the long run, an ethical, experienced attorney who gets cases the right way will get more money for you and do a better job.

Railroad injuries are handled entirely differently than other on the job injuries in Illinois, starting with who handles them. Typically, with on the job injuries, workers compensation will kick in to cover the employees medical and other expenses after an injury. However, railroad workers are covered under FELA. The Federal Employers Liability Act, also known as FELA was established to serve those who have been injured while working on the railroads. FELA protects not only those who work on the trains, but also those whose employer is a railroad company.

FELA is unlike workers comp in the way claims are handled. In a normal workers compensation case, fault of the employer’s negligence doesn’t need to be established. However in FELA claims, it does. This means an employee of a railroad company must show neglect which resulted in the injury.

There are several types of injuries which could be covered by FELA, from broken bones to carpel tunnel syndrome to obstructive pulmonary diseases all could be addressed as on the job injuries. FELA will provide compensation to an injured worker in the form of both future and past loss wages, any and all medical treatment involved with the injury, and past and future pain and suffering to include mental distress depending on the circumstances.

Unlike regular workers’ compensation claims, FELA cases are often worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or potentially millions.  That all of course depends on the severity of the injury, but often railroad workers are catastrophically injured.

FELA imposes a 3 year statute of limitations for lawsuits. However a competent attorney will be able to calculate these dates for you and help you along in the process to make sure you get the highest compensation possible.  Many attorneys dabble in this area, but very few have an amazing track record.  We know who those lawyers are and are happy to connect you with them. Please contact us to help you find an attorney in your area.  We are Chicago based attorneys who cover all of Illinois and can be reached at (800) 517-1614.  Our service is free and every call is confidential.

It’s a question most clients ask when they are in the beginning stages of deciding whether to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Chicago. How easy will it be to win the case? The answer is simple, it is not easy at all. Cook County, Illinois has a reputation of being Plaintiff friendly, which means the person filing the case, would be predisposed to winning. However, the doctors who are being sued win 80% of the cases that make it to trial.

Don’t get us wrong. We investigate over 100 cases every month and LOVE to help people who have been injured due to medical negligence. We’d love to help you and we have a great track record of success. We are also honest and want to be clear that these cases are not easy.

Bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit to trial is a very expensive undertaking. In most situations, if an attorney decides to take on a case he or she will incur all of the costs during the trial, and receive payment from an award given to the patient. Some cases cost over $100 thousand dollars to litigate after investigators and specialists prove the malpractice. Hundreds of hours of work go into the beginning stages of any medical malpractice case and attorneys typically don’t work for free.

Other big issues in winning medical malpractice cases are sometimes people confuse a customer service issue with a malpractice issue, and sometimes the end result is simply a risk taken for medical services. For instance, if someone is in an emergency situation and needs to be intubated on the spot, one risk is damage to the vocal cords. The person may have permanent damage, or may just have difficulties talking for the next few days. This person typically would not have a case for medical malpractice simply because the doctor intubated him or her because of the basic risks of the procedure. If a doctor is unkind during an exam with regards to prescription meds, and refuses to refill the prescription typically the patient would not have a medical malpractice case because no catastrophic and life changing effects would come from not refilling the prescription.

The burden of proof falls into the standard of care given to the patient. Sometimes people feel as though the doctor could have done more, or should have known circumstances; that doesn’t mean the standard of care was less than acceptable.

The other burden of proof is catastrophic injury or even death. What could of happened doesn’t count in a medical malpractice case. Take for instance a patient who went in to have her gall bladder removed. The surgeon missed a few gallstones that passed into the bile duct and later blocked the bile duct. This can cause extreme pain, and could even be life threatening. If the doctor caught the issue and treated it, and she made a full and complete recovery, there is no catastrophic damage – there is no medical malpractice case.

Attorneys will take great care in assessing your personal situation before taking on any medical malpractice case for all of these reasons. No one wants a patient to be injured or things made to be worse than they are in any medical situation, no one wants to have the consequences needed to be successful with a medical malpractice lawsuit.
For more information on medical malpractice and your personal situation, please call us for a free consultation.

You were injured at work, you’ve been to a doctor and are receiving workers comp benefits. You have pain that won’t go away and you feel like you are going to have to work in pain for the rest of your life. The pain has affected everything from your personal life to your income because you aren’t able to work as many hours as you used to. So, the question arises should I get a worker’s compensation attorney.

The first thing you should do is talk to an attorney about your specific situation. You may be able to recover some of your earnings loss. An attorney may be able to help recalculate your pre injury income based on not only your base pay but also based on the overtime you were consistently earning.

As soon as the injury occurs at work, the first step should be seeing the doctor. The second step should be talking to an attorney. Insurance companies always have attorneys on their side making sure their best interests are kept at heart. You should too. Too often the insurance companies will try to reduce their liability in paying medical bills or even in a settlement offer and you may end up holding the short end of the stick. A qualified workers comp attorney will make sure your interests are upheld too, to avoid being left with the short end of the stick.

Some key points in any workers comp case include, never settle your case before all of your medical issues and rehabilitation have been taken care of. Just because you feel better doesn’t mean you are fully healed. Closing a case prior to being fully healed could cause catastrophic issues. Settling your case without a workers compensation attorney could leave you hanging high and dry without all of the benefits you are aware you should be receiving.

If you have been injured at work, if you are losing wages due to the injury, if you are missing work because of the injury, you are entitled to many benefits. Make sure you call us to discuss your personal situation. We will put you in touch with a qualified workers comp attorney who will fight for you.

You and your friend were out for a drive when another car ran through a stop sign, striking your car on the passenger side. Your friend has decided to sue the other driver as well as you. If these two lawsuits end up going to settlement instead of trial, who pays the settlement?

Several factors would apply to this case. For instance, were you going the speed limit, did your seatbelts work properly, had you done anything at all that could lay some culpability on you? Were you injured in the accident as well? All of these are important factors both the other driver’s insurance and your own insurance company will look at. Depending on where the fault actually falls, both insurance companies may choose to settle based on a percentage of fault.

If you were speeding as the other person went through the stop sign, they could find you 30% at fault and the other driver 70%. In which case, 30% of the settlement would need to be paid by your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company would pay 70%. If you are found to have zero fault in the accident, then only the other driver’s insurance will accept liability and pay for actual damages such as medical bills. In many instances, the amount of settlement is based only on making sure the actual medical bills are paid. To sue and win any monetary damages, the passenger would have to prove a “serious injury” occurred.

In a situation like this, especially if you were injured too, it is very important that you speak with an experienced attorney. If you were injured as well, getting your own attorney separate from your friend is essential in making sure your personal best interests are upheld. Call today to have a qualified attorney assess your specific case.

I talk to approximately 200 people a month who have questions about Illinois workers’ compensation law or need representation for an injury.

In about 10 of those calls I hear something that I find a little odd. It’s something along the lines of “I’m too busy to get medical treatment for my injury.”

If you don’t go to a medical doctor, you can’t prove you are injured. You might get hit by a car and think your leg is broken, but the way to prove that is with an X-ray. Generally speaking it’s assumed that if you aren’t seeking medical help, you aren’t injured. You can testify that you hurt your back lifting a box and tell the Judge about all of the pain you are in. But if you’ve been treating your pain with only Advil then it’s pretty much impossible to prove something is wrong with you.

Another, more understandable, example is when someone has PTSD after getting robbed at gun point. Many people have nightmares, are afraid at work, become teary, etc. It usually sounds to me like they are going through post traumatic stress. If they don’t go to a psychologist of psychiatrist who confirms that they have that diagnosis and it’s related to the job then they have no case.

You also can’t decide that you are too injured to work and expect to get paid for your time off. Only a doctor can do that.

The reason for all of this is that you are biased in your own favor even if you are being honest. A doctor is independent and much more credible and if you want to pursue a case you have to see them.

You shouldn’t see a doctor just to have a case, you should get medical help if you really need it. Nothing is more important than your health. If you do get medical help, make sure not to delay in doing so. If you were injured in April, but don’t see a doctor until October, it’s really hard to prove the need to go to the doctor is due to your work injury. A six month delay in treatment is a long time. You still could win a case, but it would be much harder.