Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC

Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen Hoffman has been providing expert legal representation since 1990. During his legal career, which has spanned nearly 25 years, he has gained experience in a diverse array of legal settings. His experiences have not only shaped his professional career but also his legal practice. Stephen understands the need to approach the practice of law with politeness, professionalism, knowledge, and dedication.

Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC Blogs

Latest from Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC

Maybe you have heard about “greedy trial lawyers” whose actions raise the costs of medical care, insurance, and other things for everyone. Or perhaps you have been led to believe that the “Good Hands People” really are on the “right” side.
I have been a lawyer representing injured people and their families in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases for almost the entire 32 years of my legal career. I have encountered much misinformation about what I do, why I do it, and how I am perceived.
Allow me to examine some of this misinformation and give you a better
Continue Reading What Does A Trial Lawyer Do…And Why Should You Care?

Have you heard the term “nuclear verdicts” before? What about plaintiffs’ injury lawyers referred to as “greedy injury lawyers” or “ambulance chasers?”
These are both examples of how interest groups try to craft a narrative about the American civil justice system. Much like the ubiquitous political ads we were recently bombarded with, the people making these statements have an angle. No one should accept these “assessments” at face value.
An Example 
One need only look at a recent verdict against a company called Sterigenics and its predecessor and successor companies. A jury in Cook County, Illinois returned the verdict in
Continue Reading Nuclear Verdicts

Workers’ compensation is based in large part upon the wage rate earned. That rate is known as the Average Weekly Wage, or AWW. Theoretically, this is calculated by looking at the 52 weeks preceding the date of the work injury and averaging them.

There are a myriad of exceptions, quirks, and technical rules that govern these calculations. For example, overtime may count, but only if it is regular and/or required. There are also disputes about how to calculate things like the wages of teachers, who often are paid for 52 weeks but do not amortize that amount for the entire
Continue Reading Your Side Hustle and Average Weekly Wage

I blogged previously about my client C, who was rear ended at high speed, which resulted in a fractured cervical vertebra. 
She spent several months immobilized in a hard neck collar (which is extremely uncomfortable). Although her doctor determined she did not require surgery to repair the fracture, I was able to convince the insurer for the driver who rear ended her to pay its entire policy limits of $100,000. That was the “easy” part of the case.
Next up, was the Underinsured Motorist Claim portion of the case (UIM). As I’ve mentioned in many prior blogs, UIM kicks
Continue Reading We Will See You in Court…Or Zoom…Or Settle It!

Have you heard the term “independent medical exam,” or IME for short? If you have, you likely heard it in the context of a workers’ compensation case. There are many misconceptions about these exams, how they work, and what your rights and duties are if you are an injured workers’ compensation claimant. 
Calling It Independent Doesn’t Make It So
Independent medical examinations, commonly referred to as IMEs, are actually not called that at all. Well, sure, people use the term all the time, but if you read the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, Section 12, you will find no mention of
Continue Reading Do I Have to See Their Doctor?

Most people assume that when they are involved in a car crash or slip and fall personal injury case, their medical bills will be paid by the other party at fault. 
Actually, that’s not at all how it works. Our system is terribly unfair to injured parties. Let’s explore how it is unfair, why the system is what it is, and what you do about it.
Systemic Inequality
Hospitals, physicians, therapists, and other health care providers can place a lien upon a personal injury case, hoping to get paid in full out of the settlement funds. Many refuse to directly
Continue Reading Don’t Lean On Bills Being Paid

The pandemic has made owning a bike shop a lucrative business. Bikes were nearly impossible to get early in the COVID lockdown, as shut-in people with time on their hands decided there was only so much Tiger King they could watch without doing something outside. There is a sense of freedom when riding, which is one reason I love riding my bike.
However, many people who took up riding had no idea what they were doing, and had never learned the basics of how to handle a bike, where they fit in among fellow riders, vehicular traffic, or what rules
Continue Reading Bike Path Etiquette

(Yes, I’m guilty again of making a lousy song reference as the hook to my blog. If you are not old like I am or an REM fan, you may not even recognize this one.)
At any rate, over the years, I’ve mused deeply about the emerging trend of autonomous vehicles. Will we ever see a completely driverless world? If so, what does it look like, and how soon can I expect it?
When I first started contemplating self-driving cars, about seven or eight years ago, I was genuinely concerned that the world of personal injury as I
Continue Reading Autonomous for the People

The general public often gathers a skewed view of how injury cases are resolved. The cases that make the news always involve the extreme verdict or settlement; the famous (and wrongly reported as “excessive”) McDonald’s hot coffee case, and a multitude of criminal cases where seemingly overwhelming evidence does not lead to the verdict  the press has led people to expect.
Some of this is simply because boring cases are boring to read about. The extremes, the oddball facts, the cases involving huge amounts of money, or sex, or drugs tend to occupy most of the press’s and public’s attention.
Continue Reading Okay, Fine—Prove It!

Okay, that’s great. Maybe those words put some fear in your adversary. But how do you know that the lawyer you hire will be the right lawyer for your case or the best fit for your personality? How can you determine if that lawyer is even competent, let alone excellent at her job?
With so much information available, the answers to these questions should not be a secret. In fact, if you do just a little homework and research, you should be able to find the best fit far more often. I’ll share my thoughts and tips on hiring the
Continue Reading I’m Hiring a Lawyer!

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted mental health and well-being. Despite shorter (or no) commutes, many people report feeling more anxious and stressed in the past two plus years. People have been living in close quarters, and many parents had to deal with their children being home and having to get them set for online school while also managing their own work responsibilities. Others reported feeling confined and unable to relax, especially those living in unhappy or unsettled households.
What does this have to do with law, being a lawyer, or anything else?
Read more and find out.
The Struggle is
Continue Reading Life Gets in the Way

Many people assume that workers’ compensation will never apply to them because they “work a white-collar job,” “work from home,” or “don’t do anything dangerous.”
You might be surprised how many scenarios are actually covered by workers’ compensation.
First, the Basics
 In Illinois, workers’ compensation is governed by the Workers’ Compensation Act, 820 ILCS 305.  There are also a ton of regulations that have been written to fill in the gaps in the Act.
 But the basics are that you are covered when you are performing your job in the prescribed way.  The language of the Act is “arising out
Continue Reading Workers’ Compensation Refresher

A guy walks into a garage and conks himself out cold on a lead pipe hanging from the ceiling.
Sounds like the beginning of a joke, right?
But it isn’t a joke.  It actually happened to my client and he was injured seriously as a result.
In fact, when J had this happen in March of 2017, I knew from the outset it would be a very difficult case.  With a bit of help from the Covid-19 pandemic, it took me five years to resolve.
Head Games
J was cutting through an open downtown Chicago parking garage on the way
Continue Reading Pipe Dreams

Few people understand what their insurance policies cover.  Even fewer people read their insurance policy. 
Umbrella policies are misunderstood and often overlooked.
They shouldn’t be. 
What is an Umbrella Policy? 
Much like an umbrella protects us from rain, snow, sleet, and just about anything else (sun too!), an umbrella insurance policy protects us from all sorts of liability.
Your automobile liability policy will cover you for crashes for which you are partly- or completely at-fault up to the limits of liability you choose.  For example, in Illinois the state minimum liability limit is $25,000 per incident per person and $50,000
Continue Reading An Umbrella To Protect You From the Rain…and Everything Else

Many people have a bad result from a medical procedure and immediately assume they have a medical malpractice case. 
However, not every unfortunate result is malpractice.  There are even many instances when there is malpractice but there is not a realistically viable case to be pursued. For instance, a doctor might order a medication for one patient that is intended for another, but the patient who receives the medication is not harmed by it. The doctor certainly made a serious error that a reasonable doctor would not have made, but without injury or damages, there is no case. 
Standard Procedure
Continue Reading (Mal) Practicing Medicine

One of the great things about having my own firm is being selective about the clients I accept.  Unlike working for a firm, there is no one to answer to and I get the final (only) say in all decisions on client selection, case strategy, and legal maneuvers.
However, there are times when I accept a difficult case or challenging client despite knowing from the outset that the situation will require extra attention and may cause me additional aggravation.
Why would I deliberately take on a challenge?  Read more to find out why and I will highlight a recent case
Continue Reading Challenge Accepted