Have you been injured at work in Illinois and been waiting for a settlement offer?  I have potentially good news for you. There is no better time of year than right now to get an offer.

While there’s no law that requires an insurance company to make an offer when you are hurt in Illinois and if you don’t have a lawyer there is a much higher chance that they’ll never make an offer or will low ball you, insurance companies are looking to settle this time of year.

Most insurance companies work on a calendar year and adjusters and supervisors are paid bonuses based on how many files they close.  So if they can get your case settled, approved and paid by the end of the year, it could result in a bonus to them.

In fact, many insurance adjusters will call up law firms and ask to have “settlement days” where they can meet about a lot of cases and get as many resolved as possible.

It’s a big advantage you have as an injured worker.  The person making the decision on your case isn’t worried about what’s in their company’s best interests as much as they are their own.  So you might get more than your case is worth and certainly more than what you can get in January by being aggressive now.

So if you have a lawyer for your work injury and your case is ready to settle, call them now and tell them to be aggressive.  If you don’t have a lawyer but want to speak to one for free, fill out our contact form or call us at 800-517-1614 and we will talk to you for free.

In general it takes 30-45 days to get a settlement processed, so the sooner you act the better it is for your case. Once Thanksgiving passes it’s not impossible to settle, but some of the motivation the insurance adjuster has disappears as every day passes.  In fact I’ve seen cases where offers were made and the adjuster said they’d only do it if the lawyer would guarantee to get it done before December 15th so they had time to pay out and close the file.

If you want help we are here for you when you are ready.

Lawyers can be known for many things, and many times these things aren’t always good. There are the attorneys that have a know-it-all arrogant vibe. Or the attorneys that come off as unethical, money hungry sharks. Others just seem to slimy or dishonest.

For Personal Injury Lawyers, the worst kind of a reputation to have is that of an ambulance chaser. These types of lawyers are mostly known for their unethical practices in obtaining clients. Okay, so maybe they don’t chase down your ambulance and show up in your hospital room, as the name implies, but if they make an unsolicited call to you or a family member offering legal counsel: that’s illegal.

Ambulance chasing is considered to be one of the oldest and most unethical practices and some attorneys still engage in it. Sure, lawyers need to stay competitive to get good cases, but preying upon victims of accidents is unlawful and makes honest lawyers look bad.

Undoubtedly, ambulance chasing still occurs. Every week calls come in from confused clients telling me they were in a car accident. Whether it was a big or small accident, police report was filed or not, or if injuries were sustained or not, victims find themselves receiving numerous calls, texts, emails and visits by lawyers and their investigators offering their services.

The Illinois Supreme Court forbids soliciting in this way, and that includes using a third party. These third-party investigators, or “case runners”, often will pay off cops, paramedics, hospital staff, nurses and others to provide contact information from the injury victim. Sometimes, these case runners will make the initial contact with the victims, confusing the situation even more.

Countless firms are still engaging in this illegal practice, knowing that they can be disbarred for it. So why do they do it? It doesn’t make much sense, but it seems most prevalent in two types of law firms.

First, you have the young, aggressive, go-getter law firms who seem to lack any moral foundation and are just after the quick buck. Their motivation is strictly the dollar sign. Pushing clients into unnecessary claims or settling when there is a serious case needing honest representation.

Secondly, is quite the opposite: It’s the older attorneys, in their 60’s and 70’s, engaging in ambulance chasing. Surely, they know better, but their way of marketing has long gone with the Yellow Pages as everyone relies on the internet. Their unwillingness or inability to adapt and learn with internet marketing has ambulance chasing the only way they feel comfortable obtaining clients. Ethically speaking, if they were to be caught and lose their license to practice, no harm since they were likely going to retire soon anyways.

The ARDC is in place to promote and protect the integrity of the legal profession as well as investigating and prosecuting unlawful practices. Overall, they do a great job, but ambulance chasing is still a problem and will continue to be unless action is taken.

Ambulance chasing is a disservice to the public and honest lawyers. Ask yourself, if your lawyer would break the law just to represent you, what other illegal activities would s/he do with your case and settlement?

Part of my job allows me to educate people in all areas of the Illinois law. Medical malpractice seems to be the trickiest to grasp, so here is a list of 39 great tidbits, in no particular order, on the law specifically for Illinois Medical Malpractice. Of course, every case is different and this is not legal advice. Always consult an attorney before making any decisions.

1. Medical Malpractice is the third leading cause of death, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
2. Just because you had a bad medical experience doesn’t mean there is a case. Many procedures are very risky in nature.
3. To win a malpractice lawsuit, you will need to be able to show negligence, resulting in further injury.
4. Symptoms of medical malpractice do not always appear right away.
5. Medical malpractice covers a wide range of medical errors. This could be in diagnosis, medication dosage, health management, treatment, surgery or aftercare.
6. In Illinois, a medical malpractice case is typically filed in the same county that the malpractice occurred in.
7. Illinois doctors are not required to carry malpractice insurance. However, most do. Those that do not carry medical malpractice insurance are required to post a sign informing patients that the doctor or doctors have no malpractice insurance.
8. Every medical malpractice case has a statute of limitations. According to Illinois malpractice law, the patient has up to two (2) years from the date they knew or should have known of the injury to file a lawsuit no more than four years from when it happened.  The time limits are longer for minors.
9. On average, it will take six months for a lawyer to investigate a case. This starts from your first call. Your lawyer and you can then decide to move forward with a lawsuit or not.
10. If you feel you might have a case, it is important to document everything. Every appointment, conversation, procedure, diagnosis, and test completed should be properly documented.
11. There must be a direct link between an alleged negligence and the injuries claimed to be from the negligence.
12. The plaintiff, the person filing, has the burden of proof. This means it is their responsibility to prove there was negligence by the defending party.
13. Unfortunately, in most cases, when medical negligence suffered it is too minor and is not worth pursuing a lawsuit.
14. Birth injuries are one of the most devastating cases and, naturally, require some of the highest damage amounts.
15. Most infection cases are a result from having a medical procedure.
16. It is always a good idea to order your medical records as soon as possible.
17. Even if you signed a consent form, you might still have a case.
18. Medical malpractice cases are rarely quick cases. There is usually a delay by the insurance companies in hopes they can fight the case. Stay calm and fight the good fight.
19. With that being said, good lawyers will be aggressive to get you what you deserve in the quickest time possible. Remember, patience pays off. A case that gets you a $2 million settlement may take 18 mos. That same case could get you a settlement of $10 million settlement, but may take up to 4 years. Embrace patience.
20. Medical malpractices trials can easily last for 2-3 weeks.
21. The standard of care, or the level of care by a competent health care professional with a similar background would have provided under the same circumstances, can be very subjective and differs from location to location.
22. To have a strong medical malpractice case, you will need to have a doctor in the same area of practice certify with an affidavit that in their medical opinion malpractice did occur.
23. It’s a conflict of interest for doctors to speak ill about other doctors in their office. It is often best to seek an expert opinion from doctors out of their network.
24. Good lawyers will spend 1,000+ hours working on a medical malpractice case.
25. In medical malpractice cases, it could be doctors, nurses, hospitals, facilities and the like that are being sued. Each of these identities would need their own lawyers. Coordinating so many schedules can be a challenge so cases are often scheduled months down the road. This is often a reason for why a case may take longer than expected.
26. Young and eager attorneys, having less than ten (10) years’ experience, will gladly accept a medical malpractice case, but it is most beneficial to seek an experienced attorney.
27. Many law firms already have hired relationships with doctors and nurses to help perform initial reviews of cases.
28. While medical malpractice lawyers often handle personal injury cases, the reverse is not the same. Personal injury lawyers usually don’t handle medical malpractice cases.
29. There are very few firms that have a track-record of winning medical malpractice cases. Hiring inexperienced firms can ruin your chance of winning your case.
30. There is no legal published list stating how many times a doctor has been sued in the past or was a part of a medical malpractice settlement.
31. Veterans Administration hospitals is held liable for medical malpractice under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Still, their rules and procedures will be handled differently.
32. Cook County is known to be the most supportive in Illinois for plaintiffs to file, but the success rate for cases that go to trial is still only around 20%
33. The success for plaintiffs in smaller downstate regional counties is very low.
34. Sadly, medical malpractice cases for the elderly are hard cases to win. No matter how bad the care was their case damages are limited as their life expectancy is already short.
35. In a winning case, there is no cap as to how much can be won, but there are usually no punitive damages towards the defendant.
36. Medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means they can only be paid if your case wins. Under Illinois Law, lawyer fees are capped at 1/3 of the money recovered.
37. Medical malpractice cases are very expensive to bring to trial. Many attorneys will have to pay, out-of-pocket, over $100,000 in expenses for expert and court fees.
38. You hold responsibility for your own treatment. Failing to do so can be comparative negligence. This means if you found to be 50% responsible, then you may only recover 50% of the associated damages in an injury claim. If found more than 50% at fault, you will get nothing.
39. Every case is different and there is no way of outlining how much a case is worth if winning or settling.

If you have any questions or want our recommendation as to who the best Illinois malpractice attorney is for your case, please fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320.

Many preexisting injuries, such as arthritis and degenerative disc disease, often get aggravated by a work injury. A workers’ right to file for worker’s compensation in Illinois for these preexisting injuries is often misunderstood. You do have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits if an injury causes, aggravates or accelerates your arthritis or degenerative disc disease.

Arthritis is very common, but is not well understood. With over 100 different types of arthritis, it is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. With degenerative disc disease, changes in the disks in your back cause pain.

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go, they can be mild, moderate or severe and may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs.

Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of low back and neck pain and a form of arthritis. Despite what the name suggests, degenerative disc disease is not a disease, but a condition in which natural, age-related wear-and-tear on a disc causes pain, instability, and other symptoms. An injury to the disc can activate and accelerate degenerative disc disease often causing chronic neck and back pain.

Plenty of job requirements create an environment to make a person more likely to aggravate these pre-existing conditions. Jobs requiring repetitive motion, such as typing and assembly line work, high impact activities, such as manual labor and construction, or remaining sedentary for too long can all lead to aggravating arthritis or degenerative disc disease.

Repetitive motion work injuries can be a serious detriment to your health. It is important to understand that these pre-existing conditions, when aggravated, are covered by Illinois Workman’s Compensation and a pre-existing condition does not disqualify an injury as a work injury. When claiming compensation for an aggravation of a pre-existing condition, you must be able to show that the aggravation of the injury was a result of work.  A good attorney can help you talk to your doctor about this.

Employers are required under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law to carry insurance covering work-related injuries. Injuries that aggravate or accelerate a work injury are compensable under workers’ compensation, regardless of an employer’s culpability or the employee’s prior physical condition. The basic eligibility requirements for a claim must show that an employee suffered a work-related physical injury.  Any medical care would be 100% paid for, lost time would be compensated and you’d be owed a settlement when all is said and done.

Workers’ compensation is a complicated system. Many injured workers do not get the benefit settlements they deserve. We are experienced attorneys and can help you find the best Illinois workers’ compensation law firm for your case.   If you would like our help, fill out our contact form or call us at 800-517-1614 for a free consultation.  We cover all of Illinois.

Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! Don’t worry!!! Help is on the way! But before you get ready to look into a slip and fall legal action, or a lawsuit against the establishment where you fell, one part of the fall is very important. Why did you fall?

Take this situation into consideration. You are at a restaurant in Chicago and need to go to the bathroom which is located downstairs at the restaurant.  You are a few stairs from the bottom and you fall, badly breaking your ankle.  You scream in pain and are rushed to the closest hospital where you have surgery with pins and a metal plate put in to your ankle to hold it in place.

Do you have a good slip and fall lawsuit?

While it seems like a great case, we need to figure out why you fell.  Did you just miss a step?  If so, that’s a bad case.  Were the stairs wet?  It could be a case.  It depends on why they were wet.  If you can’t prove why, you probably lose.  If it’s from a customer who spilled a drink a few minutes ago, you probably lose.  Restaurants don’t have to monitor the stairs 24/7.  If it’s from a leaky pipe then it’s probably a great case.  If a waiter spilled a tray of drinks on the stairs you’d likely win too.

Maybe you fell because the stairs were poorly lit and you couldn’t see where you were stepping. That’s likely a strong case.  Same if the handrail broke or there was a tear in the carpet that caused you to trip.  In some places not having a handrail could be enough to win the case.

 

When you are laying on the ground in tremendous pain you of course aren’t thinking of anything other than how bad it hurts. Unfortunately this causes many people to lose their slip and fall case because if you can’t prove that you fell because of negligence, you can’t win.  So if you did have an accident and didn’t have a chance to inspect the property, send a friend back ASAP or even better yet, go back yourself and take pictures.  If there were witnesses try to get their information.

In general, Illinois slip and fall lawsuits are challenging and many personal injury lawyers don’t take them.  We know the ones that do and they get great results for their clients.  If you’d like to speak with one of our lawyers for free and find out if you have a case and/or get an attorney referral, call us for a free consultation at (312) 346-5320.  We cover all of Illinois.

Although they are very hard cases, we have had tremendous success over the last 17 years with Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits. To win these cases you must show that the doctor was negligent. As it costs a ton of money to pursue these cases (on average it’s around $100,000.00 to go to trial in expenses) you also need big damages to make it worth pursuing.

A caller to my office thought she had a great case. She went through a surgery where her bladder was cut.  When she woke and found out what happened the doctor apologized profusely to her and said that it was his fault.

So in her mind this was a slam dunk and I get why she feels that way.  The doctor said he screwed up so he’s in the wrong, correct? Unfortunately this is wrong for two reasons.

First, even if a doctor says sorry, if the error is considered an acceptable risk of a surgery then it’s not negligence.  In this case, when you have a hysterectomy, it’s a risk that the doctor could nick your bladder.  If that happens and it’s caught in a timely manner it’s not negligence in most cases.

Second, as part of their risk management practices, insurance companies have been advising doctors to apologize to patients who get injured under their care.  It’s a strategy done to prevent you from looking for a lawyer.  Essentially insurance companies want you to feel that the doctor is a good person who just made a mistake and not sue them as a result even if they hurt you really badly.  So if push came to shove and this went to trial, a doctor could simply say that they only apologized because the insurance company recommended it.

Does this sound fishy?  Welcome to the world of dealing with insurance companies.  They’ll do whatever they can not to compensate you with money you are entitled to.

None of this is to say that a doctor apologizing is a bad thing.  I’ve actually seen doctors admit they messed up and encourage their patients to get a lawyer.  But in general, while the apology can be helpful, it doesn’t guarantee anything.

Bottom line is that if a doctor apologizes you should write down what they said to you and definitely call an attorney right away, but it’s not a slam dunk win. It’s just a potential piece of the puzzle.

If you’d like to speak to a lawyer for free about a potential malpractice lawsuit, call us any time at (800) 517-1614.

We are experienced Chicago based injury attorneys for cases throughout Illinois. If you would like a free consultation, please call us at (312) 346-5320.

As an expecting parent, you have so much hope for your unborn son or daughter.  It’s a terrible shock when they are injured at birth.  If it’s possibly due to negligence from the doctor or hospital, it’s important that you know what to look for.  We put together a list of things you should know.

– There are all sorts of birth injuries that we see.  The most common is when they keep the baby inside the mother too long.  This can result in a brain injury.

– To determine if there is a brain injury, we look at the cord gas (blood taken from the umbilical cord).

– In most brain injury birth cases, the child will have a seizure and abnormal MRI within the first 48 hours after delivery.

– It’s typical, when a brain injury is suspected, for the doctors to apply a cooling process as this can potentially reverse or limit brain damage.

– When a baby shows distress through the fetal monitoring system they should be removed from the mother within 30 minutes.

– Another big warning sign is when the baby’s heartbeat drops after a contraction. Typically being squeezed would raise the heartbeat.

– The other big birth related injury is to the arm and shoulder.  Brachial plexus and Erb’s Palsy are the two most common ones, usually from the child being too big for the birth canal or the doctor making an error while pulling the baby out.  If the baby has a permanent injury it could be worth filing a lawsuit.  Shoulder dystocia happens when a baby’s head gets trapped behind the mother’s pelvis during delivery.  It can lead to terrible outcomes including difficulties when breathing, a collarbone fracture, cerebral palsy, a brachial plexus fracture, and in some instances, death.

– The time limit to sue for most birth injury cases is eight years from the delivery.  Note if you treated at a Government run hospital, the time limit could be as little as one year.  And if your pediatrician is employed by a Federally funded clinic, the time limit to sue is no more than two years from delivery and must be done under the Federal Tort Claims Act. So even if you delivered at a hospital like Rush or Northwestern, if the doctor is actually an employee of the Federally funded clinic, the time limit to sue them is only two years.

– In most cases you have to wait a couple of years to see what the ultimate outcome of the baby is before proceeding with a lawsuit because otherwise you can’t fully assess their damages and the case value.  In other words, don’t be stressed if your case is taking many years.

– The most important point you should know is that there are really only a handful of attorneys who have a great track record of success with these cases.  In a case with a really serious injury, the right law firm isn’t only the difference between winning and losing, but it can also be the difference of many millions of dollars.

If you want to discuss your case and/or find out who the best law firm is for you, call us for a free consultation.  We will give honest, blunt advice and recommend a firm with an incredible track record.  This doesn’t guarantee a win, but gives you the best chance at a good result.

 

Rehabilitation centers can be integral to the treatment and rehabilitation of a patient suffering from functional limitations or loss resulting from a stroke, injury, disability, disease or recent surgery. While rehabilitation centers may help you to improve your body’s functions, a recent government study found they sometimes can go wrong and even make things worse.

The office of the inspector general of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services published a report in 2016 stating that 29 percent of patients in a rehabilitation center sustained an injury or other type of harm because of the care received leading to prolonged stays, hospital transfers, life-sustaining interventions or death. The study found 46 percent of these cases were likely to be preventable.

The injuries following rehab care identified in the study ranged in severity. From a temporary injury to something that required a longer stay at the facility or that led to permanent disability or death.
Harm can occur in any type of an inpatient setting, but rehabilitation facilities are underestimated in terms of what type of harm can occur. Some of the most common injuries from rehabilitation facilities are here.

• Medical Errors – The study suggests that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. Many of these rehab centers are staffed inadequately causing substandard treatment, insufficient patient monitoring and failure to provide needed treatments to patients. These are the key reasons harm occurs at rehab facilities. These failures lead to one in three patients receiving a medication error. The harm from medication errors range from dizziness and unbalance to bleeding from gastric ulcers due to blood thinners and a loss of consciousness linked to narcotic painkillers.

• Bed Sores – Bed sores occur when there is unrelieved pressure to the skin, occurring most frequently to areas of the body where bone and skin are very close to contact. Patients most at risk are those immobilized from medical conditions such as joint replacements, hip, pelvis or leg fractures, paralysis or coma. Staff in a rehabilitation center needs to remain aware that rehab patients, of all ages and health, are at risk and need to be diligent with their preventive programs. If not treated they can cause serious health problems like infections and other life-threatening injuries.

• Infections – Infections can occur not only by bed sores, but also after a surgery. Various types of organisms can develop at the site of the surgical wound or any type of line or catheter inserted into the patient. Unfortunately, rehabilitation centers are frequently not set up to treat serious infections.

• Falling – Falls are a common patient injury in a rehabilitation center, and while some are unavoidable, others are due to the staff’s negligence. During a physical rehabilitation session, staff may become distracted allowing a patient to fall. Clean floors usually mean slippery floors and are a common cause for a fall. Countless medical conditions and medications can lead to dizziness and a loss of balance causing a patient to fall. For the injured, a fall can have serious consequences.

• Dropped by Staff – Facility staff are often required to transfer a patient. Staff should be experts at transferring patients safely and effectively while minimizing pain and injury. However, if done negligently, it can lead to accident or fall resulting in injury.

These cases are very much like nursing home abuse claims, but they are different and certainly require experience.  Beware general personal injury attorneys who try to handle these cases without a true track record of success.  We work with the best firms in Chicago and throughout the state on this very niche area of law.  If you would like a referral please call us at 312-346-5320.

We are experienced Illinois lawyers who will help you find the best attorney for your case.  If you would like a free consultation, call us at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form.  We are based in Chicago, but cover all of Illinois.  For more information on strokes in surgery, please read on.

Anytime you go in for surgery, it can be frightening. Even a small every day procedure can turn into something unexpected very quickly. One of those things is a stroke. For the majority of people, the chance you may have a stroke during or after surgery is as low as 1%. However, this can go up to 10% depending on your age, overall health and what exactly your surgery is for. Heart patients have the highest risk of stroke during or after surgery.

In one case in Cook County, Illinois, a patient was awarded $4.6 million dollars after having a stroke during surgery. In her specific case, the cause was the anesthesiologist using a technique that caused the patients’ blood pressure to drop below the normal range. In this case, the woman was 70 years old with a history of blood pressure issues and diabetes. The stroke left her unable to move part of body, which eventually improved, however she didn’t regain full strength on the left side of her body.

One of the most common reasons people have strokes during or after surgery is a blood clot. This of course causes a problem because one way to avoid blood clots is administering blood thinners. Having blood thinners in your system during surgery could seriously increase the risk of bleeding, however some research shows a simple dose of aspirin may be enough to help decrease the risks of bleeding and blood clots at the same time.

With an ischemic stroke, there is a problem with blood flow to the brain during or after surgery. The anesthesiologist has to monitor this during the entire surgery as the results can be catastrophic if a problem occurs.  Time is of the essence when this happens as within minutes brain cells begin to die.

All surgeries carry some risk. Not all surgeries carry catastrophic risks. Stroke being one of those catastrophic risks. If you or a loved one had a stroke during or after your surgery, you may have a medical malpractice or negligence case. Contact us to discuss your situation and get a free review to see if you have a claim.

We are experienced Chicago attorneys who will talk to you for free and help you find the right Illinois malpractice law firm.  If you would like our help, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320 for a no cost, confidential consultation. Have a lawyer help you find the best lawyer for you.

One of the biggest myths of the legal industry is that suing a doctor, nurse or hospital and winning is easy.  Unfortunately it’s not.  Even in Cook County, about 80% of the cases which go to trial are won by the defense.  As a result the concern of many of my callers that “they will just get away with it” sadly often comes true.  It’s unfortunate, but the truth is that to win a medical negligence lawsuit you need a bad screw up and a bad injury.

When you do have a good case or the potential for one, two goals can be met.  Both of the goals are to make the responsible party be accountable.

The first goal in bringing any medical malpractice lawsuit is to bring awareness to the doctor’s mistake in an attempt to stop it from happening to other patients. Unfortunately because doctors are “practicing” medicine, there are times when they are simply in over their heads, or they make absolute mistakes. Other times hospitals have bad policies that are put in place carelessly or to save money.  These mistakes can have catastrophic consequences and the only way to make sure they never happen to anyone else in the future is to make sure the medical provider is fully aware of their error. Your medical malpractice lawsuit may save someone else’s life because it can force a change in how they behave.

The second goal in a medical malpractice lawsuit is to ensure you and/or your loved ones are compensated for the error.  Your medical expenses, both current and future, need to be taken care of as well as compensation for your loss of income due to the malpractice, and for any pain and suffering the malpractice caused.  The worry about having to pay out money causes medical groups to do the right thing for future patients.

These two goals go hand in hand, one helping the other. For instance, hospitals do not want to work with doctors who have made catastrophic mistakes. It isn’t in their financial best interest to keep these doctors on staff. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit brings the mistake to the forefront and is reported for the rest of the time that doctor is in practice. Hospitals have to keep their profit and loss in mind when they are hiring doctors and if one has several documented mistakes on his or her record, they will probably not allow them to have practicing privileges.

Medical Malpractice lawsuits are not just about punishing doctors who make human errors or “paying out” those who had a bad experience with a doctor or hospital. Medical malpractice lawsuits are meant specifically to point out and acknowledge a medical providers error as well as to make sure the patient is cared for in a quality fashion moving forward. Also, to make sure no one else has to endure a catastrophic medical error.

If you think you might have a medical malpractice situation, call us today to review your case history. We will let you know if you do have a case, and put you in touch with a qualified attorney in your area.