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

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

Prospective clients call me all the time and the first thing out of their collective mouths is often “Can I speak to a lawyer?” or “Are you a lawyer?”
In my case, despite the fact that during the pandemic I don’t exactly “look like a lawyer” most of the time, I can answer those questions with a resounding “yes.”  This is not true for every law office.
People or their loved ones injured in a crash, hurt at work, injured by medical negligence, or fighting with an insurance company often have no idea what to say, who to talk to,
Continue Reading Can I Speak to a Lawyer?

If you read my last blog post, you remember the story of my client A, who suffered injury from having his car rear-ended and then problems from a botched surgery. Unfortunately, as his physical injuries were getting under control, his insurer continued to resist paying his claim.
UM, Why Does Your Own Insurance Company Fight You?
The simple answer is: because they can.  Every insurance policy is slanted to the insurer’s advantage.  Your Uninsured Motorist (UM) policy is probably much like A’s was.  It allows the insurer to hire a lawyer, ask you written and verbal questions under oath, and
Continue Reading The Long Road to Yes (Part 2)

One question clients and others always ask me is, “How long does it take to settle a case?”  My standard lawyer answer is, “it depends.”  There are dozens, if not hundreds, of factors that affect both the value and the timeline of a personal injury case.

When my client A got rear ended in August of 2017, I did not expect his case would take until February of 2022 to resolve.

But that’s what happened.  Below, I will give you some of the reasons why things took so long.
Elements Affecting A’s Case
A got rear ended while he was
Continue Reading The Long Road to Yes (Part 1)

Trust comes up a lot in any professional relationship, but especially in lawyer-client relationships.  For good reason, clients place enormous trust in their lawyers, often during very trying and traumatic times.  I would argue that if you don’t trust your lawyer, you need to find one you do trust.

There are legal rules in place to help make sure you can trust your lawyer with your money. Specifically, lawyers in Illinois are required by Rule 1.15 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (IRPC) to maintain IOLTA trust accounts, which are interest-bearing accounts used for specific purposes.  The interest is
Continue Reading Should You IOLTA Trust Your Lawyer?

Winter and fall go together.  Not just in the above sentence, but in life too.  In many parts of the country, winter means snow and ice, slippery sidewalks, floor aisles, parking lots, and roadways.
I get questions all the time from people who have fallen and gotten hurt wondering whether they have grounds for a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
The answer is, as with most lawyer answers, that it depends.  These cases are very fact-specific, which I will discuss below.
Slip and Fall on Snow or Ice
The general rule in Illinois is that to recover for falls on
Continue Reading Winter Fall Spring Summer

Everyone should have auto insurance.  Yes, even if you don’t drive regularly.  Everyone.  I’ve blogged about how people who are passengers in other vehicles and find out the hard way the driver causing the crash is not insured sufficiently to compensate them for their injuries.

Since I continue to bug you about getting insurance, and as much coverage as you can afford, why don’t we take a brief dive into what is actually covered by an automobile insurance policy.
Declarations Page 101—Liability Coverage
When you purchase insurance, you receive a listing of coverage and covered limits from your carrier.  This
Continue Reading Ensure that Your Insurance Covers You

Recently, I was able to resolve one of the older cases in my office.  My client, M, a labor and delivery nurse at a south suburban hospital in her 50s, injured her dominant, right shoulder, when a patient’s leg inadvertently pushed her arm during delivery.  This injury, way back in March of 2016, tore her rotator cuff completely, and required surgery.
If you have ever hurt your shoulder, or read any of my blogs about rotator cuff or labrum injuries, you know this is one of the worst joints to injure.  The shoulder joint is hyper-mobile, which makes it inherently
Continue Reading As the Rotator Cuff Turns

Some cases just cannot be resolved by the parties alone without the help of an impartial third party.  That might mean filing a lawsuit and letting a judge or jury make the ultimate decision.  It may also mean that an arbitration, mediation, or other form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is utilized to get the parties to yes.
In the case of my client N, it took all the methods and systems mentioned above to get the first portion of her personal injury case resolved.
Get Your Head in the Game
I often like to say that my job depends
Continue Reading Tell It to the Judge!

Most people think of the banana as the fruit most likely to cause someone to slip.  Perhaps banana peels really do cause falls due to their slickness.

But what if you fall while working for Apple?

That happened to my client, C, when she was working at a suburban Apple store.  In addition to her job as a Technical Specialist there, she also performed administrative duties in a school district office, and took care of her aging parents.  She was a busy woman.

One evening, the cleaning crew mopped the floor without providing any notice it was doing so or
Continue Reading Slipping on an Apple

Walking across the street in Chicago should not be an adventure, but, nevertheless, it often turns out to be just that.
As I’ve written about previously, the main reason it’s so dangerous to cross the street is that drivers are not paying attention to the road or those on it.  Most typically, the danger comes from vehicles that are turning.  As I have addressed numerous times, it is often vehicles turning left who fail to look through their turn who inflict the most harm.
Chef versus Truck—Truck Wins
My client L is a rising 31-year-old chef.  As is typical of
Continue Reading Pedestrian Fare

Regular readers know that one of my pet peeves is people who are unwilling to or disinterested in worrying about other fellow humans.  After all, isn’t that the entire purpose of a civilized society?
Apparently, drivers don’t seem to have received that memo, as I personally witness, and represent clients who are on the receiving end of, a complete lack of concern for laws, rules, and other people.
This is not just a “pet peeve” or really annoying, although it is both of those in spades.  What this really represents is danger and mayhem.  Peoples’ lives are at stake.
Continue Reading It’s All About Me