Illinois schools and their staff have a responsibility to provide a safe learning environment. Parents entrust teachers, coaches, bus drivers, custodians and school counselors, every day, for the safety and well-being of their children.

The sad reality is that each year, far too many cases reflect situations in which school employees take advantage of their positions of trust over children and engage in sexual misconduct.

Under Illinois law, if your child goes to a private school and is molested or otherwise sexually abused, the standard for winning the case is showing that the school acted negligent.  You can always sue the scumbag who committed the abuse, but there must be some sort of negligence on part of the school.

If the abuse happened at a public school, Illinois law requires that the school be more than negligent, but instead show reckless disregard.  In most cases that means that you need to show that the school knew or should have known that the staff member was doing these awful things or likely to do so.  So if they get a credible complaint about a staff member and don’t remove them and then it happens again, there would likely be a lawsuit.

It’s important to remember that the age of consent in Illinois is 17, but I would certainly argue that it’s beyond inappropriate for a teacher or coach to have a sexual relationship with any student whether they consent to it or not.  Beyond the age gap the position of authority issue is a real problem.

If your child has been a victim of abuse or you suspect that might be I recommend a few things:

1. Go to the hospital for an exam.

2. Go to the police and file a report.

3. Talk to an attorney before talking to the school.  Our first goal is to prevent this from happening to anyone else.  Unfortunately some schools will manipulate the situation and only look out for themselves at the peril of others and any case your child may have.

Very few Illinois law firms have real experience with these cases and a track record of success.  No matter where in Illinois this happened we can refer you to the best lawyers for a child sexual abuse lawsuit.  Call for a free, confidential consultation with our attorneys at 312-346-5320.  There is never a fee unless a recovery is made.

There seems to be an issue within social service departments and how children are handled. While their main focus seems to be first reunite children with their biological parents, kids are slipping through the cracks and are getting hurt and even dying in the process.

In one case in Cook County, a 2 year old was beaten to death by his mother. The mother had a background that included violence, drug use, prostitution and much more. The child was born premature due to the mother use of drugs while she was pregnant. The child was hospitalized shortly after birth because of the effects of the drugs and alcohol. During this hospitalization the doctors called DCFS because of the child’s condition as well as the fact this mother had 5 additional children who had been taken away from her.

After a short investigation, Lutheran Social Services placed the child back with the mother and closed the case. Six months later there was a report made of possible child abuse and that the mother was missing. The caseworker did not follow up and a few months later, and 2 more emergency room visits later, the child was dead from the abuse at his mother’s hands.

In this specific case, the father of the child was begging for custody. Social service agencies and doctors have a duty to report child abuse, and to protect children from further abuse. In this case, their inaction was deemed fault of the death of a child, and a $45 million dollar mistake.   Lutheran allegedly did not perform any risk assessment before placing the child back in the home.

This was a unique case involving errors by multiple doctors, agencies and Lutheran.  If something like this has happened to your family please call us at 312-346-5320 to see if you have lawsuit.

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.

Many people call us to talk about “Pain and Suffering” after an injury. However, what they don’t always think about is what “Pain and Suffering” is, and in what circumstances you are able to file a lawsuit for pain and suffering.

There are two types of pain and suffering. The first is regarding physical injuries and the after effects of those injuries. A good example of this would be if were hit by a car and shattered your leg, resulting in a surgery with pins put in place to hold your leg together.  The pain you experience from getting hit, the surgery, the recovery and the long term effects would all be a part of compensation for pain and suffering.

The other type of pain and suffering is mental pain and suffering. Mental pain, anger, humiliation, post-traumatic stress, and emotional distress are all examples of mental pain and suffering. While these two can go hand in hand in cases of catastrophic injuries, typical injuries do not also include mental pain and suffering. For example, if a person was sexually assaulted in a hotel by a worker there.  If after they medically need to seek counseling, the mental anguish they are going through could also be proven as pain and suffering.

So how do you tell how much pain and suffering is worth in an Illinois personal injury lawsuit?

The honest answer is that every case is different and it’s quite often where the skill of an attorney will be the difference in getting a little or a lot out of a lawsuit.  If you strain your back in a car accident, there won’t be much compensation for pain and suffering.  If on the other hand you have to have a back fusion, your testimony as to how this injury impacted you in the past and is still causing you problems will play a big role in determining what the case is worth.

In wrongful death lawsuits, loved ones and/or medical experts will testify as to the agony the victim was in before they passed away.  There have been cases where it was proven someone died on impact and didn’t know it was happening that have lowered the value of a case and others where it’s been shown that a victim suffered for as little as 30 seconds, but that information greatly increased the value of the case.

Bottom line is that every case is different and the skill of your attorney, on a major injury case, can dramatically change the value of the claim.

If you have been injured and have ongoing medical and or mental issues due to the injury, contact us today at 312-346-5320 for a free consultation. We are experienced attorneys who have a state wide network of the best accident law firms and will recommend the one that is right for you.

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.

I received a call from a very nice senior citizen.  She was in a car accident in Chicago where the other side was clearly at fault and she sustained numerous injuries.

It seemed like good news to her that the person who hit her was insured by State Farm.  They are a reputable insurance company so she felt confident just as she would if the other party had someone like Geico or All State.  She trusted that they would be fair with her.

A few days after the accident they called her up, convinced her to let them record a call and tried to get her to settle for around $2,000 plus $3,000 for future medical needs.  This happened despite her having some really serious injuries.  Their hope was that if they got it on recording and then sent her a check that they cashed that they could close the case for much less than they likely would have had to pay.

This is shady and unfortunately it’s how insurance companies make money when you are injured in a car accident.  If the insurance policy was for $100,000 and they get away with only paying around $5,000, that’s a huge win for them.  Do that to 100 people and you’ve saved nearly $10 million. Do it to 1,000 people and it’s a bottom line savings of around $100 million.  It’s a really big deal.

So if an insurance company wants to record you, say no.

If an insurance company wants to offer you a settlement for anything other than your car damage and you are still receiving medical care, don’t talk to them about it.

If they send you a settlement check and you are still treating, don’t cash it.

If they try to tell you that you are partially at fault when you are rear ended while sitting at a stop light, don’t believe them.

In general, no matter how nice they are, no matter their reputation, no matter if they tell you that this is just how it is, remember that the insurance company is not there to look out for you.  Their employees get compensated, in part, based on how little they pay you as compared to how much they should pay you under the law.  Nobody who cares about you would tell you to settle a case days after you are injured when you have no idea what the ultimate outcome of your injury will be.

If you have questions on this or would like our help in finding the best attorney for your case, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with an experienced attorney for free.

There is absolutely nothing fun about divorce. While some may choose to celebrate once the divorce is final, the road to a decree of dissolution can be a long and bumpy one. These tips may help you secure your seat belt for the roller coaster ride ahead of you.

1. Talk to your spouse before you do anything else. You once loved each other; you may even still love each other. Find a way to speak to each other respectfully when it comes to the terms of the divorce. Attorneys will promise you the world in their ability to obtain a divorce settlement, but in the end, most attorneys stir the pot and make the process longer than needed. If you and your spouse can work out at least a partial agreement the divorce process will be more smooth and cheaper.  If you can’t work it out at least you tried.

2. Jump off the diving board. This tip doesn’t apply to everyone. It really only applies to those who know with 100% certainty that their marriage is over. Take the leap of faith, and call things what they are. The longer you wait to file, the longer it takes to get through the process, and into the spot in your life where you can finally move on.

3. Don’t try to do it alone. Divorce doesn’t need to be a dirty little secret that you hide from friends, and family. While the specifics of what is causing the divorce don’t need to be put out in public, admitting what you are going through can be very helpful through the process.  Don’t be afraid to lean on people.

4. When dealing with your spouse, try your hardest to do so pragmatically and remove emotion. No not villainize your spouse in front of your kids. Emotions are annoying things that cloud our brains at the best of times, and at the worst of times. Anger and sadness may cloud you into agreeing to a settlement you never would agree to.

5. Set some goals and game plan with an attorney.  It is very easy to get sucked into the bitterness that divorce causes. Even easier to get sucked into the drama and unnecessary fighting that happens when kids and money are involved. Avoid these at all costs and focus more on your future and what you want. Where do you want to live, where are the kids going to live, where do you want to retire? The difference between a good divorce attorney and a bad divorce attorney is how they focus on your case and situation. Are they only focused on the now? Has your attorney not even mentioned the future? Try and set 10 achievable goals, this shifting of your thoughts should help you keep a clear mind and help move the case along quickly.

6. Know that the court doesn’t care who did what to whom. If you are looking for sympathy or to make him/her pay for their moral sins (cheating, neglect, etc) this will never happen in front of a judge. Judges don’t care about infidelity and it will have little to no impact on your case. I am aware how harsh this sounds but unfortunately, it is true. Weather he or she cheated has no direct impact on who gets custody or parenting time, has no impact on who is awarded what in the settlement, and has no impact on things like spousal maintenance (alimony) or any other details of the divorce settlement.

7. Have a good support team including therapist if needed. Prepare yourself, you will more than likely have friends and family members who feel it necessary to choose sides. You might even loose longtime friend who were yours pre-marriage. Divorce is one of those times in life when you find out who your friends truly are. Know what you want and need from a friendship, and make sure you are only investing your time and energy into friends who are truly there for you. Talking to a therapist is never a bad idea. Especially if your marriage was a long-term marriage. Going from a family setting to being alone is a very hard transition. Friends, family, and a good therapist will help keep your mind on track.

8. Go over your finances before the divorce settlement is agreed on. At this point you should be close to reaching a settlement with your spouse. You need to protect yourself first and not just assume your spouse is being honest about debts and assets. Have you pulled your credit report to make sure every debt is included? Too often, a spouse will open a secret joint credit card, make sure you have all of the information so you can make an educated decision when it comes to how the debts and assets will be divided. Have you double checked your budget alone to make sure you can afford the debt to income changes? All of these minute details can affect your financial future. Make sure you look at everything before you jump into a settlement.

9. Do not lose your mind if your spouse starts dating before you. WOW. Just reading that screams the word, OUCH! But it’s true. Acknowledge again, the marriage is over and moving forward is part of the process. One of you will date before the other. Unless there’s some strange double date that occurs on the same night and all the stars line up making it possible for you both to become involved with new people on the same exact date; one of you will move on first. Breathe, do not Facebook stalk, do not become a green monster of jealousy. Talk to your friends and family (away from the kids) and perhaps a therapist about how you are feeling and get it out. Do not allow the anger to fester.

10. Treat yourself to something special. Take a trip, go to a ball game, have a spa day or treat yourself to a round of golf at that new course you’ve been dreaming about. Whatever it is, make it something that is just for you, and something to make yourself smile. You are about to start your new life, find out who you are now, and what really makes you happy. Don’t be afraid to try new things. You may have been afraid to try kayaking 20 years ago, but now you might find it exhilarating. You won’t know until you try.

Divorce is the death of a marriage. Not of the people who were married. It sucks, there’s no doubt. There will be days when you are absolutely fine, and others where you won’t want to get out of bed. Time helps, and while it doesn’t necessarily get “easier”, it gets different. Those differences in your day-to-day life are what makes it easier, and eventually better. I can tell you that the friends I’ve had who’ve gone through it all went through terrible periods but have become much happier than they were.


I recently read an article in Forbes about contesting a will.  It gave five “tips” from a lawyer, but if you read it, two of them are about how expensive this can be, one is how it’s emotional and the other one is that most cases settle. That’s not really great information in my opinion because it really is advice that could be true for most areas of law. So I thought I’d put together a real list of what you should know about contesting a will in Illinois.

1. Let’s start with cost.  Yes it can be expensive, but if the estate is worth enough money and the facts are on your side, we know lawyers who will take the case on a contingency basis which means that they only get paid if they win.  Their fee is typically 1/3 of what they recover.  So how much does an estate have to be worth?  It depends on the case and what your share would be, but in general the lawyers we know who work on a contingency want the eventual payout to them if they win to be at least in the high five figures.  So that would usually mean the estate is worth at least $500,000.00.  The bigger the potential payout, the more likely you are to find a contingency lawyer.

2. Generally speaking, to contest a will you have six months from the date the will is filed with the Court to do so or you can lose your rights to ever contest it.  So you need to act fast and if your relative that you are having a dispute with tells you that they will take care of everything, beware that this could just be a delaying tactic.

3. You can’t contest a will in Illinois because you don’t like that you were left out of it or you were told verbally that you were going to get something that isn’t in the will.  The best claim to a will not being valid is you being able to prove some sort of fraud or that the person who died didn’t know what they were doing when they signed the will.  The classic example is a will that is signed shortly before a death while the person is on medication or showing that they had severe dementia when the will was created and could not have had a lucid moment when they knew what they were doing.

4. If you are successful in getting a will thrown out, the previous valid will replaces it.  If none is available then Illinois intestate laws apply.  In cases of a parent death with no spouse that usually means that everything will get divided up among the children.

5. Contesting a trust is a little different because nothing has to be filed with the Court, but the same principle exists that if you believe the trust was fraudulently created, you have to act fast.

Hopefully this is more relevant to you than the Forbes article. If you have any questions or would like an attorney referral, call us at 312-346-5320 for a free consultation any time.

We are Chicago attorneys who help people find the right lawyer for their case and provide free legal guidance.  Call us at 800-517-1614 for a free consultation.

The false claims act is a federal law that is also sometimes called the “Lincoln Law.” This is the law that sets liability for those who defraud governmental programs. This law has been around and active on the books since the Civil War. It was originally started to help stop fraud against the government potentially caused by suppliers to the Union Army. However, in 1986 there were several mishaps by the department of defense contracting industry that brought on new amendments. Since those amendments, in the last three decades, over $48 billion dollars has been recovered on behalf of the government. With nearly half of the total recovered as a direct result of health care related cases.

Whistleblower and Qui Tam are provisions within the false claims law that allows others to file legal action for the government, even if they may be a party in the suit. The “others” that are allowed to file suit on behalf of the Government are not part of the government, and they are called realtors. These provisions were put into place due to the simple fact that our government doesn’t have the capacity to investigate all of the fraud and false claims that are submitted. Instead, private citizens have the ability to file suit on behalf of the government, submit evidence of fraud, and also receive monetary rewards sometimes up to 25% of any money that is retrieved from the suit.

Medicare and other healthcare fraud has taken over as a majority of these types of cases. While many Americans use privately held insurance, millions of Americans rely 100% on governmental programs and assistance such as Medicare. Due to the abundance of people using these programs, sometimes it is very hard to detect the fraud that is occurring. The fraud occurs when doctors or Medicare providers and facilities engage in behavior such as billing for services not rendered, billing for patients that were never seen, using billing codes that represent a more expensive treatment than which was actually preformed, billing for individual testing procedures instead of bundling them into one fee, and even billing for unnecessary medical tests and treatments.

Another form of suit that is becoming prominent is based on shareholders civil lawsuits filed Qui Tam, against their companies on behalf of the government. In one case like this, a software company that supplies it’s product to the government, did not disclose deep discounts and incentives given to private and commercial companies, while charging the federal government premiums that were highly inflated. The fraud was uncovered when a former senior executive filed a whistleblower action. In this case, the allegations were settled. The company agreed to pay $199.5 million dollars back to the government, less the $40 million that went directly to the former executive as a monetary reward for exposing the fraud.

If you would like to file a claim, or a whistleblower lawsuit, several very specific procedures must be filed for you to in fact receive the reward. The majority of the case will rely on evidence or proof you have of your claim. Facts on paper, emails, sales receipts, etc. anything that is solid evidence that your company was committing the crime will be submitted as evidence. If you have evidence of such fraud, you should contact a Qui Tam attorney immediately. They will review your documents, and determine if there was fraud, and if it falls within the statute of limitation to bring a case. Next they will draft what is called the Relator’s statement. This statement will serve as a complaint that explains to the government what exactly you are accusing or blowing the whistle on. This document gets filed first under seal with the attorney general and the US Attorney, then later is filed under seal with the US District Courts. Once that has been completed, the government will do their own investigation and determine if they would like to join the suit. For you to receive any benefit or award settlement, the government must join. After that, the case will either be litigated and decided upon by a judge, or settled out of court. Either way, once the case is “won” you will receive an award for coming forward.

Some recent Whistleblower’s Act claims that were litigated and won include a lawsuit against Respironics, a company that sells masks for people with sleep apnea. This lawsuit yielded a 34.8 million dollar gross to be paid, 5.38 million of which was rewarded to the Doctor that originally brought the suit. EV3 is a medical device company that allegedly convinced several hospitals to admit patients for a procedure prior had only been an outpatient procedure. In this suit, 1.25 million dollars was recovered. Another medical device company settled their case for $6 million dollars after being accused of participating in cash kickbacks to the doctors who referred patients to use its devices. One of the former product managers for the company came forward in her Qui Tam suit, and her recovery amount is not yet determined.

These cases are very complicated from the legal standpoint, but if you have proof that your employer or some other business is defrauding the government, an attorney will make the process easy on you. As well, there are anti-whistleblowers laws in place now that will protect you from any sort of retaliation.  Call or e-mail us at any time to ask questions or for help in finding the right type of lawyer for the fraud you want to expose.