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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,…
I recently reached a settlement in an accident case from 2016.  The case bounced around the court system for several years. My client is a truck driver.  As he was driving along the highway, a driver coming from the opposite direction fell asleep and hit a light pole.  The pole fell into the lanes of traffic where my client was driving, causing him and five other vehicles to crash into the pole. His truck was totaled, meaning he could not operate his trucking business.  He also experienced back pain. Sounds like an easy case, right? If it was, I wouldn’t…
That missive — “Let’s be careful out there!” — from the long-ago television series, Hill Street Blues, was how Sergeant Esterhaus ended every roll call.  The show depicted a fictional, gritty Chicago precinct of police and detectives. Danger was there, every shift. While many of us accept the danger a police officer faces in a high crime area, many of us are oblivious to the danger motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians face every day on the roads. What You Must Do as an Illinois Driver (This means you!) Illinois requires that you stop for pedestrians at marked crosswalks.  Despite the fact…
One of the most common questions asked by clients is “how much will I be compensated for my pain and suffering?” The answer I, and most lawyers, give is that “it depends.”  It depends on many factors, such as the objective injuries you can prove, liability of the defendant(s), and the hard amounts of your medical treatment bills. But mostly there is no way for us to predict what a jury of one’s peers will do to compensate you for pain and suffering in an injury lawsuit. Pain and Suffering Jury Instructions When you go to trial in Illinois before…
Marijuana is legal to some extent in over 30 states and counting — some for medicinal purposes, some fully decriminalized. What are the implications for driving (including getting a DUI for marijuana intoxication), operating machinery, and driving through states where this herbaceous substance is not legal? Most importantly, how can you tell when you are intoxicated? Legality of Marijuana in the U.S. Some states have decriminalized marijuana use for all purposes, or have made it illegal only to the extent of a minor municipal violation.  Others allow medicinal use.  Many allow both.  Meanwhile, the other states still hold marijuana to…
There are at least twenty million reasons why it is impossible to answer in a straightforward manner who is the best personal injury and medical malpractice lawyer in Chicago.  More on that later. It depends on many factors, but, the most important thing is the “fit” between you and your attorney.  In essence, the best attorney in any given field is the lawyer that you feel best about working with on your case. I am a Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Chicago, but I do not handle every type of case. Some cases require specialized expertise, such as…