– Personal Injury/Wrongful Death
talked to the insurance adjuster, who seems very nice, and very willing to
help me out. Can’t I trust her/him?
The insurance adjuster is an employee of the insurance company and is
acting on behalf of the person or corporation that you are making a
claim against. Their job is not to protect you. Their job is
to protect the interest of the person that you are making a claim
against! Further, their job is to save money for their employer,
the insurance company. Why are they being so nice to you?
Think about it. They want you to accept what they say. They
want to stop you from getting proper legal advice. For instance,
they frequently say to send the bills, or sometimes they will actually
say send the bills and they’ll pay them. Try asking them if they
have actually paid the bills that you sent them!
date am I required to file a lawsuit for a personal injury?
statute of limitations determines when you must file a lawsuit. It
would be nice if there was a simple answer to the question of when your
case must be filed in court. There is not. The general law
is that in Illinois a person has two years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
There are many exceptions to these laws. Some of these exceptions
decrease the time to file. Some increase the time. Some
exceptions require notice of the claim even before you file a suit.
There are different rules for claims for children. There are
different rules if you make a claim against a school, a local
government, the CTA, the State of Illinois, or against an estate of a
deceased person. There are different rules depending on what type
of lawsuit you are filing: malpractice, products liability,
construction, dramshops (liquor serving establishments).
association puts out a book for attorneys that has 37 pages of listings
of statute of limitations! Thus, the only way to apply the statute
of limitations to your case is for an attorney to review the facts of
your case. Do not wait until it is too late. There is almost
never an acceptable reason for filing late.
suing (or making a claim against) the insurance company?
we generally are dealing with insurance companies in handling a lawsuit
or claim for you, the actual claim/lawsuit is made against the person or
entity that caused your injury. In an auto accident the
claim/lawsuit is against the other driver and the owner of the vehicle.
Once the claim is made, their insurance company handles the claim, and
if a lawsuit is filed, the insurance company hires and pays for the
attorneys to represent them. In most other claims
(malpractice, construction, falls, product liability) we again deal with
insurance companies, although occasionally large corporations will be
self-insured and thus handle the claim/lawsuit themselves.
If I had
an auto accident while working can I have both a personal injury claim and
a worker’s compensation claim.
If traveling during work, or traveling overnight, or traveling other
than to your normal workplace, you can make a worker’s compensation
claim along with a personal injury claim. This is especially
advantageous when you are missing time from work or have what is likely
to be a permanent injury.
my case worth?
of your case is dependent on many factors. First is the likelihood
of showing the other party was at fault. Second is the likelihood
that you will be found to be partly responsible (for instance,
historically juries frequently find both parties at fault when someone
makes a left turn and causes a collision). Most important is the
seriousness of the injury. This is usually determined by what the
doctors put in your medical records. Of related importance is
whether the doctor is a specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon or a
neurosurgeon. Also of importance is the extent of your medical
care, the extent of your medical bills, whether you missed time from
work, and whether the missed time is supported by a doctor’s
recommendation. Another factor of importance is the consistency of
the medical treatment. Insurance companies, attorneys and juries
look at whether there was immediate medical care, whether the patient
followed the advice of the doctor, and whether there are large gaps of
time with no treatment.
cases prior medical care is relevant. Although the fact that you
have aggravated a pre-existing condition does not prevent you from
making a claim, the claim may be more difficult depending on such
factors as when you last received medical care before the accident and
what the doctor indicates in those prior records as to the seriousness
of the condition.
determine a value on a case we consider all this information and more.
We also compare your case with similar cases.
make a claim for an injury that aggravates a pre-existing condition?
This is a frequent occurrence, especially in motor vehicle accidents.
Many people have suffered neck and back injuries or pain. However,
this does not bar them from making a claim when their condition is
aggravated by a new accident or occurrence. However, the
pre-existing condition may make proof of the claim more difficult.
Important facts include the date of last medical treatment before the
new accident or occurrence, the diagnosis at that time, and the symptoms
at that time. Each of these cases is very unique. Thus, the
strength of your case depends on the facts of your case. Consult
with a lawyer to determine whether you have a claim.
can’t I just handle this myself? Why do I need a lawyer to talk to
the insurance company?
who try to handle their cases on their own are attempting to deal with a
trained professional insurance adjuster who knows the ins and outs of
handling a claim. Their job is not to pay you what you are due.
Their job is to resolve a claim at the lowest amount possible.
Shouldn’t you also have a trained professional in your corner?
If you do not, then how will you know how to deal with a request by the
insurance company to take your statement? What will you do with
your medical bills until a settlement is worked out? If your bills
are paid by your auto insurance or health insurance while you wait for
your settlement, how will you deal with your insurance company’s
lien/subrogation rights on the settlement? How will you know if
what the insurance company is offering is fair? Are you going to
sign the insurance company’s authorization allowing them to contact
your doctors? Are you able to read medical charts and understand
the legal significance of what the doctors put in their charts?
Are you going to know what laws apply to your case?
in Illinois, but I was injured out-of-state. Can I hire an attorney
We handle numerous cases that have occurred out-of-state. Some of
those cases can be filed in this state. Others must be filed in
the state of the occurrence. We either handle those cases
ourselves, or, where appropriate, we hire attorneys in that state, to
handle the case or to work with us. There are no extra fees to the
client. When we hire attorneys out-of-state we always hire
experienced attorneys through the American Trial Lawyers Association.
In the larger cities we already have attorneys that we have worked with
in the past.