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Face it — you are terrified of lawyers, or at least their bills. If you went through a divorce, you probably paid a large amount of money up front (a retainer), then received a monthly bill. Since your case went on for quite some time, the cost impacted your monthly budget for months (or even years). Perhaps you had a traffic ticket and had to pay a lawyer to handle it for you. Likely, the lawyer asked for the entire fee (a flat fee) up front. While you didn’t like having to fork over the money, you knew from the…
A question many people ask early in their personal injury cases is “How much will I receive?” or “What is my case worth?” Beyond the fact that it is next to impossible to predict the value of a case, due to dozens of factors that cannot be controlled or are not known at the onset, the question being asked is not “What is my case valuation?” but rather “How much money will I actually get in my pocket at the end?” The answer to that second question is dependent upon what amounts need to be repaid during the denouement of…
Does anyone actually read their auto insurance policy? If you are one of the few who have, do you have a detailed understanding of what it covers and what is excluded? What You Think You Get Is Not Always What You Actually Receive How many of you out there understand that when you purchase “full coverage,” it generally does NOT include coverage for liability? That means if you skid into another car and injure the occupants, you might not be covered for ANY of those damages. What about those of you who have tried to save a few bucks by…
The end of the year is often a great time to catch up on the “End of the Year” or “Top Ten” lists of the best movies, music, and … insurance scams. Recently, I came across an article published by an insurance industry publication Property Casualty 360, where they featured the Hall of Shame of insurance scams for the year.  This got me thinking about some of the ways people find themselves involved in what might be perceived as insurance fraud, and what rules everyone should follow when it comes to reporting insurance claims. Thou Shalt Not Invent, Falsify, or…
Snow and ice removal personal injury cases are just plain difficult. Essentially, you cannot recover for injuries caused by natural accumulations of snow and ice. However, you can usually recover damages caused by unnatural accumulations of snow or ice. Confused? I thought so! Snow and Ice Injuries in Illinois To try to explain this area of the law and the facts that play into it is challenging. The general gist of Illinois court decisions in premises liability cases involving injuries caused by ice or snow has been that if you slip on snow that’s just fallen, for example, it’s nobody’s…
As a personal injury lawyer, a question I receive often from clients is, “Do I have to talk to my insurance company if I am involved in an accident?” Duty to Cooperate Every insurance policy has a clause that requires an insured to cooperate reasonably, report claims in a timely manner, and provide information and materials as requested. Otherwise, coverage can be jeopardized. Yes, if you “blow off” your insurer’s calls, you may not be covered! But your lawyer is always telling you to “not talk to anyone” and “do not give any statements,” so what are you supposed to…
If you read my previous blog about depositions, you have a working familiarity with how sworn oral testimony works. But you may have heard the term “expert witness” bandied about and wondered, what happens if someone wants to take an expert deposition? What Is an Expert? Illinois Supreme Court Rule 213 governs classification of witnesses.  It sorts them into three major categories:  Lay Witnesses (ISCR 213(f)(1)): These are just ordinary people with no specialized knowledge. They may be the people involved in the auto crash themselves, maintenance workers at the store where the person allegedly slipped on a wet…
When someone hears the term “hit and run,” it conjures up an image. For some, it’s a baseball play where the baserunner moves toward the next base as the pitch is delivered, and the batter’s job is to put the ball in play. For others, it’s a movie or a song. For lawyers, it is a term we hear often from our potential clients, but one that people frequently misunderstand. Hit and Run — What Is It? A hit-and-run personal injury accident is one in which another vehicle strikes the vehicle in which you are the driver or a passenger,…
A wide angle of a outdoor baseball stadium full of spectators under a stormy night sky. The image has depth of field with the focus on the foreground part of the pitch. Stadium and all elements are made in 3D. The ball screamed off the bat of Chicago Cubs player Albert Almora, Jr. in Houston. All that television viewers saw was Almora crouching and grabbing his helmet in despair. Off camera, in the stands, a little girl attending the game had been struck in the head by the 100 plus mile per hour line drive. It was later disclosed that…
Smoking is bad for your health. We all know that in 2019. What may have been deemed a “healthy” endeavor up to the 1960s is now universally acknowledged to be bad for us (and those around the “second hand” smoke). But what about the seemingly healthier alternative of vaping or electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)? The Latest News on Vaping and E-Cigarettes—And it is Not Good! As of this writing, six people have died in the United States directly as a result of vaping. Further, nearly five hundred have become ill from vaping. Nearly every major news organization has published stories about…
The excited anticipation of a summer off in the Alice Cooper song “School’s Out” is now giving way to the angst-filled uncertainty of another new school year. With a new school year come school traffic safety issues and challenges for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. School Traffic Safety Issues: More Traffic, More Pedestrians, More Bicycles Once school begins, it means more cars, bikes, and people on the road.  Parents driving their children to school, school buses, and kids riding bikes and walking to school all contribute to this perceived glut of traffic. It also means that drivers must be more alert…
Recently, five Chicago area teens were charged with vicarious liability for murder. Not a single one of the teens did anything to cause the death of their friend—he was shot by someone else. So then, why are they charged with murder? Felony Murder Rule When I was in law school, I took a variety of classes.  Part of that was because first year law students had to take Criminal Law and Procedure. Then, I really didn’t know I’d wind up as a personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyer, so it seemed like an interesting class.  At least most classes seemed…
I am often asked by my clients what their involvement will be if a lawsuit is filed and the case does not settle before litigation. My typical answer is to explain they will have to answer written questions called interrogatories, which are part of the discovery process. They will also have to appear for trial if things get that far.  And they will almost certainly have to appear for their deposition to be taken by the opposing attorney. Over the 30 years I have done this, it has become apparent that very few clients even know what a deposition in…
Back in 2013, my blog examined truth tellers and liars, and talked about how jurors in a personal injury case (and the public) discern which are which. There, I examined some rather infamous liars, including Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire, Manti Te’o, and, of course, Lance Armstrong. We looked at how one could be so publicly forthright about something while knowing it to be false, yet be perceived by the public (at least for a time) to be telling the truth. That was all before the events of 2016. Jurors and the Public Since 2016 Whatever your political or personal…
In our previous blog, we answered the question, is “how much will I be compensated for my pain and suffering?” This blog will address another element of damages commonly sought in personal injury actions—loss of a normal life (LOANL). As with pain and suffering, loss of a normal life is a subjective element of damages, left to the jury or judge to determine. People often have differing ideas of what a normal life includes. Accordingly, things that are difficulties to some people are normal to others. Loss of a Normal Life Jury Instructions Also as with pain and suffering,…
In our previous blog, we answered the question, is “how much will I be compensated for my pain and suffering?” This blog will address another element of damages commonly sought in personal injury actions—loss of a normal life (LOANL). As with pain and suffering, loss of a normal life is a subjective element of damages, left to the jury or judge to determine. People often have differing ideas of what a normal life includes. Accordingly, things that are difficulties to some people are normal to others. Loss of a Normal Life Jury Instructions Also as with pain and suffering,…