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.

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A constant theme in our lives is what we notice, what seems different or unusual.  About people, situations, the décor of a room.
But in the legal world, so many of our personal injury and negligence cases hinge upon notice—that is, what did the defendant know and when did they know it?  Myriad examples abound.  Was the manager of the restaurant aware that the floor was super slippery by the door when the customer wiped out?  Did the city know its sidewalk had a two-inch defect when the plaintiff tripped?
Recently, a great example of notice has arisen involving the
Continue Reading Notice Anything?

Why should Public Act 102-0006, the new law signed by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on May 28, 2021 matter to you? The law becomes effective July 1, 2021. The short answer to why it should matter to you is that on certain personal injury claims, 6% prejudgment interest will accrue.
What Does Prejudgment Interest Apply to and How Does it Work?
Prejudgment interest applies to specific types of injury claims, namely those cases based upon negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, intentional misconduct, or strict liability.
That means that prejudgment interest accrues if the judgment on the case (the verdict in
Continue Reading Does This Interest You?

Life is risky and uncertain.  We know that inherently, but we always assume that major accidents happen to other people and that our regular commute to work will not end in catastrophic injuries.  We believe this because if we truly weighed the risk of every car ride, crossing of a busy street, or bike ride in traffic, we might never venture out. 
However, the possibility that something terrible can happen to you, while ever-present, is not in our collective consciousness.
What Would You Do For Money?
Many of us speculate over drinks with friends what we would be willing to
Continue Reading A Fractured Life

Lawyers use jargon.  The entire industry contains many terms of art, abbreviations, and words that are unknown to the general public. And few areas of the law involve as much jargon as the law involving automobile insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance, or UM, in the parlance of those who deal with it all the time, is one of those terms.  What exactly is it, why do you need it, and how do you get it?
Um, What Is It?
Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance coverage is an insurance product designed specifically for situations in which the person responsible for your injuries did
Continue Reading UM, What Does That Mean Again?

You were in a car crash, or you fell and hurt yourself. Seems like you might have a legal case against the party responsible for your injury. They might even pay you enough money to cover your medical bills and maybe your pain and suffering. Before long, a nice person from the insurance company calls you or comes to your home. But you don’t have a personal injury lawyer.
And before you know it, without even meaning to, you have given up all your rights.
How can that be fair or legal?  Read on to find out.
When Settlements Go
Continue Reading It’s All Settled!

Many people have heard of athletes or workers injuring their rotator cuff or labrum, but few laypeople truly understand the anatomy of the shoulder joint, the causes of injury, and the treatments. Here’s a primer that may come in handy should you become one of the 3 million people in the U.S. with a rotator cuff injury each year.
The Labrum SITS in the shoulder socket
The labrum is the soft cartilage that cups the ball-shaped joint that connects your upper arm (humerus) and the glenoid.  (You can learn more about the labrum in this blog post about SLAP tears
Continue Reading An Off-the-Cuff Discussion of Rotator Cuffs

Many injured workers pursuing a workers’ compensation case receive a letter telling them to attend an independent medical examination. 
Do they need to attend?
Who chooses and pays the doctor?
What impact does this exam have on their worker’s comp case?
While independent medical exams may be part of your workers’ compensation claim, there are several ways to navigate them with proper guidance from your attorney.
Nothing Independent About This Medical Exam
First of all, there’s nothing remotely independent about an insurance-required medical exam. If an insurer disagrees with your doctor’s evaluation or feels you are taking too long to
Continue Reading Independent Medical Exam

If you paid attention in Chemistry class (I tried, honestly), you probably remember measuring liquids in a test tube or beaker. Then, the teacher would say something about the bubble at the top of the liquid being the meniscus. I don’t know why they made it so hard. Essentially, a meniscus is just a curved surface.
More likely, you have heard the term connected to sports injuries, as in “did you hear LeBron’s son tore his meniscus?”
So, you ask, what the heck does science class in high school have to do with basketball? And personal injury law?
Read on
Continue Reading Meniscus Tears

If you have ever been injured in a car crash, you may have used your medical payments (“med pay”), also known as PIP coverage, to pay for your medical bills. But you probably didn’t really understand what this coverage was or how it worked.
Let’s dive into the world of med pay.
A Real PIP of a Coverage
Med pay coverage is commonly called PIP, which stands for Personal Injury Protection. Part of your auto insurance, it covers your medical bills incurred as a result of an accident.
There is typically a dollar amount limitation on how much will be
Continue Reading What Does Med Pay Anyway?

With apologies to Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, just like there’s nothing funny about Peace, Love, and Understanding, there is nothing funny about falling on snow or ice.
Those of us who live in intemperate climates have certainly had the experience at least a few times, of falling or sliding on snow or ice. Often, we injure nothing but our dignity and perhaps our new clothes. However, unfortunately, some injuries can be severe, involving fractures or other serious damage.
When and who can you sue for this if it happens to you? And what can you do as a property
Continue Reading What’s So Funny About Slipping, Sliding, and Falling?

Most auto negligence claims involve insurance companies. Since most drivers carry insurance, after an auto accident, the insurance company takes over the driver’s seat in trying to resolve the claim.
However, if negotiations fail and a lawsuit must be filed for damages, in Illinois, we sue the other driver who was at fault – not the insurance company. Does the insurance company then disappear from the process? Absolutely not! They stay highly involved.
Why, then, do we not sue the insurance company?
Long Story Short: The Collateral Source Rule
There are plenty of situations whereby a person can sue an
Continue Reading Why Can’t I Sue the Insurance Company?

Over the years, many potential clients have come to me with questions about whether they have an actionable personal injury case for money damages if they order food and it comes with a “surprise,” such as bug legs, a staple, mold, or human body parts.
Yes, I’ve fielded questions involving all of those things, including some that are even more disgusting. I’ll spare you those.
You should be able to sue for this, right?
Not quite so fast.
Let me explain.
Gross and Disgusting a Lawsuit Do Not Make
To break things down to the basics, four elements are required
Continue Reading Can I Sue for Gross and Disgusting?

One legal term that many have heard but few really understand is Summary Judgment.
It’s a common legal term and a tool for many a case. A recent ruling on one of my cases spurred me to think about how I could demystify what summary judgment means.
Hopefully, after you judge this little summary of mine, you’ll have a much firmer understanding.
A Genuine Issue Of Material Fact
That, in a nutshell, is the standard for summary judgment. But more on that later.
First, what exactly IS a summary judgment?
Summary judgment is a motion that is filed where the
Continue Reading I Hereby Judge You Summarily…

After a car crash, numbness and tingling in the arms or hands can be a sign of much more serious injury.
However, many people are unaware of how serious numbness can be. As a result, many ignore it, fail to report it to medical personnel, or both.
Recently, I settled a case for a gentleman who knew better than to ignore his numbness. Joseph reported his symptoms to the paramedics, the emergency room physicians, and the other doctors he saw, and he received a much higher settlement than it would have been without that symptomatology.
The Chain Reaction Crash
Continue Reading Don’t Become Comfortably Numb

Getting involved in a motor vehicle crash might leave you with injuries and medical bills. If you have read any of my prior posts, you know what to do in the event of a crash, and that you should submit your medical bills to your health insurance. Your health plan is there to cover medical bills, right?
Then the dreaded happens. What do you do if your health insurance says “no?”
Can they do that? The short answer: yes, most likely. But all hope is not lost so long as you’ve taken the steps to ensure you are fully
Continue Reading Ensure Your Bills Get Paid By Insurance

One cliche about the law that many are familiar with is the wheels of justice and how they move slowly. The cliché is certainly not as poetic as Dr. Martin Luther King’s observation that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. However, the slow wheels of justice is an apt description of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation system.
Four years and eleven months ago (in keeping with our historical theme, not nearly as good as Lincoln’s “Four Score and Seven Years Ago”), my client was injured at work. The case is only just now resolved.
Continue Reading Wheels of Justice—Are they Round?