Blog Authors

Latest from Hoff Lawyer Blog

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

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?