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.

One of the best additions to Chicago in the last 20 years has been Maggie Daley Park.  It’s made Grant Park and The Loop even better.  It’s not just The Bean, the ice skating, or the mini-golf.  The playground at Maggie Daley Park is one of the nicest around. I have great memories of taking my kids there when they were younger and it’s been a good choice for meeting up with friends when we are downtown. The kids run around and the adults can talk.

With my youngest child, when we first went there he wanted me to go with him on a big slide that has a bit of a tunnel. It’s called the Tower Slide and I remember thinking it was kind of fast. What I didn’t think at the time was that the slide was leading to injuries.  On a side note, being a lawyer leads me to think just about anything can be an injury. I’m not sure why my paranoia wasn’t in place that first time we were there.

It turns out that a lot of people have been injured on that slide over the years and it’s lead to multiple lawsuits against the City.  Both kids and adults have been injured, many from a sharp right turn that follows a nine-foot drop.

The end result is that the slide has been dismantled.  Obviously, not everyone who went down the slide got hurt, but it was enough to lead to a lot of lawsuits.  These lawsuits might take away the fun from some people, but the reality is that they make people safer.   While the Park District said that the slide was removed out of an abundance of caution, that’s likely lawyer-speak for “We know it’s dangerous, but we can’t admit it.”

It would be great if corporations, hospitals, cities, and others made changes without being sued.  The reality is that it’s quite often a lawsuit that pushes changes to be made.  And it’s not just a slide situation.  Often the best reason to sue a hospital or nursing home beyond compensation is to prevent a similar injury from happening to another person. Your lawsuit is, in a way, you looking out for others as well as yourself.

The reality is that most defendants are corporations and they think about the bottom line more than anything else. You might be suing a nursing home, but you’re really likely suing some nationwide company that owns many nursing homes. Your lawsuit can lead to changes because they don’t want to face similar claims from other people.

So it’s a bummer that the fun slide is gone, but it’s great that it happened because the Park is still a blast and people aren’t going to get hurt there as much anymore.

Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits are unique as compared to other injury cases like car accidents in many ways.  They are harder to win, they are much more complex and unlike a car accident lawsuit that can be filed in a day or two if you have a police report, a medical malpractice lawsuit usually takes at least six months to investigate and pull together.

As a result, if you call a lawyer looking to hire them for a medical malpractice case and only have a month before the statute of limitations expires, it will be very difficult to find a good firm to take your case.

The reason it takes so long to investigate a case is because there are usually tens of thousands of pages of medical records to go through when you sustain a serious injury and often they are from numerous medical providers.  We have to request records from those providers which can itself take 30-60 days.

For example, in a recent case we are investigating after a client had heart and kidney problems after a surgical error, there are 11 different medical providers we have asked to get records from.  He had a week long hospital stay which alone will likely result in thousands of pages to review.  A full internal review can’t be done until all of the records are received. After that, if the case seems to have merit, we then send the records to outside, independent medical experts for their analysis.

You can’t file a lawsuit without an affidavit that a medical provider believes malpractice has happened.  In some cases you want to have opinions from more than one expert.  In a birth injury case we are involved with we needed to have an expert discuss the actions of the nursing staff and another discuss what the doctor did.

So it’s possible that you could have had a great case, but if a lawyer doesn’t think there is enough time to investigate it, they will decline to get involved.

So you can certainly help yourself if you have medical records to give to a lawyer right away. That doesn’t guarantee they will look at it. The closer the time limits to sue are, the less likely they will. But I’ve seen cases where someone had the records and about two months left to sue and they were able to get a lawyer because they also had a big injury.

Bonus tip:  Don’t wait to call a lawyer until you have the records.  The sooner you call the better.  And many law firms can facilitate getting your files faster than you can.

If you have any questions or want to speak to a lawyer for free, call us at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form.

In general, I think most Illinois attorneys are honest.  Human nature, however, makes many people afraid of confrontation or unwilling to tell people something they don’t want to hear.  These traits, and a worry about getting sued, unfortunately lead some attorneys to lie.

So I get calls all of the time that start out something like, “I know I have a great case. I’ve talked to a lot of lawyers, and they all tell me I do.” This is a telltale sign that they’ve been lied to by a lawyer.

The typical case involves someone looking for a medical malpractice lawyer in Illinois.  Those are very tough cases to win and understandably, often very emotional ones for the potential client.

In the typical situation, the caller will describe the bad treatment or even negligence that may have contributed to an injury or death. There are also usually other factors like old age, underlying illnesses like diabetes, or other complicating factors.  As sad as it is, in most cases if there is medical negligence on a 90-year-old, for example, a lawsuit would not likely be worth the cost.

Whatever the situation, in many cases a lawyer can tell right away that the chances of winning a case aren’t great.  From their standpoint, it’s a business decision and they know right away that the risk of spending $50,000-$100,000 to win a case isn’t worth it when there are great defenses or a likelihood they won’t win.

You’d think they’d just explain this, tell you sorry, tell you that you can seek a second opinion and move on.  But lawyers have somehow convinced themselves that they could get sued by telling someone they don’t have a case when it turns out they do. This is ridiculous as attorneys can offer opinions and still make clear that other people may disagree with them or tell the potential client to seek out a second opinion if they want to.

Instead, they lie and say something like, “You have a great case, but I’m just too busy to take it.” Or, “It sounds like a great case, but we have a conflict because we know that doctor.” Or, “That shouldn’t have happened and you need to hold them accountable, but I can’t do it.”

These are all lies.  How do I know? Because lawyers like to make money. They are business people. Nobody is too busy to take on a great case.  I guarantee that if you called them back and said your loved one was killed in a trucking accident, they’d suddenly have the time to investigate that case.  Even if they know a doctor or don’t think they can handle your case, they can always refer it out to a reputable firm and make a referral fee. That happens all of the time.

What it is, is lawyers looking out for themselves and not considering that most people just want to hear the truth. Most people can accept that they likely don’t have a case if you explain why.  A bad result doesn’t always mean malpractice occurred. It’s always worth having a conversation about it, but an honest answer is the best one.

I don’t think these attorneys have bad intentions.  I also don’t think they have proper empathy or consider how their lies will negatively impact the people who seek out their help.

The state of Illinois could easily solve this problem by granting immunity from lawsuits to attorneys who offer their opinion. They could still be sued for missed statute of limitations or other acts of negligence.

The most common questions we get when someone is arrested in Chicago or anywhere else in Cook County are as follows:

  1. Who is the best Chicago criminal defense lawyer near me?
  2. What’s it going to cost me?

I’ve had other posts on who the best is. Briefly, it depends on which court you are going to, what you are charged with, your goals, your prior record, and what is unique about your situation.

As for the cost, it also depends.  The biggest factor is what are you charged with? If it’s a misdemeanor, which could result in jail time of up to a year, the cost seems to be between $1,500 and $2,500 depending on the case facts.

If you have a felony charge which is more serious, the cost for a good lawyer usually starts at around $2,500 and goes up from there based on the amount of work that needs to be done and the seriousness of the offense. By “good lawyer” I mean one who will do whatever they can to get the best result possible. While probation is sometimes a good result, it’s also a conviction that stays on your record.  A good lawyer isn’t going to tell you to accept that when a better result is possible.

In other cases, a good lawyer may be the difference between going to jail for two years versus going to jail for ten. I will never forget a call I got years ago from a mother thanking me because her son was only going to prison for four years when the previous lawyer told them that 12 would be the minimum. Fortunately, I was able to refer her to a very well-connected and experienced Chicago criminal lawyer.

The cost goes up based on the severity of the felony.  The cost of a felony retail theft charge for stealing a piece of jewelry is going to be much less than hiring a lawyer to defend a rape charge, attempted murder, aggravated assault, etc. even though all of those cases are very serious.

Just about every attorney I know and recommend for criminal defense cases works on a flat fee basis.  That means you aren’t paying them by the hour, but instead it’s a set amount.  Sometimes that can include a payment plan after a deposit.

A good private attorney is by far the best option. If you can’t afford a lawyer the next best option is to ask the Judge to appoint a Public Defender. This is a free, court-appointed attorney. The good is that they are free. The bad is that they are overworked, underpaid and it’s not likely they will communicate with you as the case goes on, certainly not to the extent that most people want.  That said, it’s a much better choice than hiring a super cheap lawyer who is basically going to hold your hand while you plead guilty and doesn’t do any work to help you.

I get that being arrested can be a confusing and scary time. If you’d like a free consultation with an experienced lawyer, call us at 312-346-5320 any time.

Most Illinois attorneys would love to get a good medical malpractice case.  If they are successful, they can be worth millions, and the lawyer will get paid very well for all of their hard work.

Just because a lawyer wants a case doesn’t mean they are the best choice for you.  Simply put, there are about 7-10 firms in Illinois that have a real track record of success. Medical malpractice cases are worth more in their hands than they are with others that are less experienced or don’t have the same track record of having handled hundreds of these cases successfully.

The medical malpractice law firms we know and recommend don’t win every case, but they give you the best chance of success.  When cases go to trial in Chicago for malpractice, doctors win about 80% of the time.  That means most law firms have a losing record.  But if you look at that elite list of 7-10 firms, their success rate at trial will be between 70-90%.  So not only are cases worth more in their hands, going with them can be the difference between winning and losing.

A recent caller to my office asked me my opinion about two firms that he had spoken to.  One of them was an elite firm and would be a great choice as they really have a track record and if you look at their website, you will see how many great results they have. The other one though on their “record of success” page only listed one medical malpractice result and that was for less than a million dollars.  Every other case they discuss is a car accident.

It’s not to say that the second lawyer couldn’t do a good job.  They might.  But when comparing the two, there is no comparison.  The first firm has over 50-million-dollar malpractice results.  They have doctors and nurses on their staff.  They won’t be learning on the job.

These are things that people don’t think about sometimes. Even with some firms that look like they have a great track record, there are things that you should know.  Some firms that look really good on their website might not be doing things in a way that’s best for you.  Here are some examples:

  1. They list a bunch of great results, but the reality is that they came at their old law firm and they weren’t the main reason they happened.  Yes, they got good experience assisting their boss, but the reality is that their involvement didn’t really make a difference in the end result.
  2. The law firm lists a bunch of attorneys and the firm name lists a bunch of people.  You think you are hiring some big group, but in reality, each lawyer works for themselves and they are motivated to not collaborate with their partners because if they do they have to split their fee with them. You want a lawyer who puts your best interests above all else.
  3. The big-name attorney you talk to when you sign up isn’t going to be there every step of the way.  There are a couple of malpractice law firms in Chicago that have achieved some amazing results.  When you talk to them, the main partner will be on the call and will meet with you.  They will also be the one in court if the case goes to trial.  Sounds good, right?  The problem is that they won’t be the one working up the case.  They won’t do the investigation.  They won’t be taking depositions.  They won’t be the one you talk to as the years go on.  That to me is a problem. There is nothing wrong with having an associate or partner help you.  But if it’s my case, I want the best lawyer at the firm involved every step of the way.
  4. The big-name partner handles everything, but they are older.  Does the firm have a succession plan in place if something happens to them? If that person dies will all the lawyers go their own way and start new firms or will the firm continue? You don’t want to have one lawyer handling your case and then have someone who knows nothing about it take over two years later.

Those are things that aren’t going to be on their website, but are questions you should be asking before you hire a firm.  If you want our guidance or have any questions, you can call us for free to speak with a lawyer any time at 312-346-5320.