Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C.
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213, Hillside, IL 60162
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162




A surprisingly large number of people have valid, and valuable, legal claims - which they do not pursue. Why? Many people fear that making a claim means going to court. Others do not know their claim is valid. Still others drop their claim to avoid upsetting the other party.

Ignoring a valid claim can mean losing valuable damages you are entitled to. Most legal disputes - over 90% - are settled out-of-court. Many claims are paid not by the wrongdoer, but by an insurer. So making a claim usually does not mean there will be a trial or that the other party must pay.

If you have a possible claim, seek legal assistance. Along with easing the process of recovering damages, legal assistance helps result in receiving full compensation for your injuries.


If you've been in a car or other kind of accident and intend to make a claim, there are several reasons why you need to consult an attorney promptly.

One reason is there are time limits ("statutes of limitations") for making claims. If you wait too long and the statute of limitations passes, you will be prevented from bringing your claim.

Courts strictly follow statutes of limitations. Recently, a woman hurt in a car accident made a claim one day after the statute of limitations passed. Even though this was a minor violation (just one day), a court dismissed her claim and she could not recover any money for her injuries.

Another reason why you should seek legal help immediately is that delay can hurt your case. As time passes, it becomes harder to gather evidence and to find and interview witnesses, who may move or forget the details of your accident.

Since waiting can cause your claim to be dismissed or hurt your chances of getting the best recovery, seek legal help as soon after an accident as possible.


After an accident, if you have no pain, does this mean you were not hurt and therefore should not make a claim? Not at all. Delayed onset of pain is common after accidents. Some kinds of pain can take weeks or even months to set in. For example, a back injury caused by a car accident could develop for weeks before hurting. Some joint injuries can gradually change body movements over time, and therefore take a while before causing pain.

A key issue in many personal injury claims is proving the accident caused an injury. Proof can be harder when there is no pain or when it takes a long time to develop. But lack of pain right after an accident does not necessarily mean there was no injury. Therefore, if you get in an accident, take steps to protect your rights, even if you don't feel pain right away. Here are some of the key things to do:

  • Be careful what you say about your injuries. Things you say at the accident scene and elsewhere can be used against you later. So try to avoid saying things like "I wasn't hurt," until all the facts about your injuries are known.
  • Get a prompt exam by your doctor. Your doctor can evaluate the extent of your injuries and identify those that may not be immediately known.
  • Keep a diary or other written record of any symptoms you feel at any time.
  • Don't settle your case too early. Insurance companies often try to get accident victims to settle early for a small amount of money and to release all claims, even those they don't know about yet. They do this in the hope of avoiding having to pay the person for injuries that don't get discovered until later.
  • Speak with your lawyer. Your lawyer can advise you about all possibilities including the many kinds of injuries that may not be apparent at first. Your lawyer can also advise you on other steps to take to protect your rights to make a claim for injuries that are discovered later.

By taking fast action, consulting your doctor and lawyer, and being careful not to settle too early, you can protect your rights to recover money for all your injuries after an accident, including those that do not become known until later.

How Injury Cases are Valued

Posted on in Personal Injury


Most people have heard about accident victims who recover large sums of money for their injuries. If you are hurt in an accident, one of the key things you will want to know is how much you may recover.

Estimating a victim's potential recovery requires evaluating the factors that courts consider when awarding money for an injury. These include:

  • the type of injury
  • the duration and severity of pain
  • whether damage is permanent
  • the cost of medical treatment
  • the victim's lost income
  • the victim's emotional suffering

These factors help in estimating how much an accident victim may recover. By looking at settlements and jury awards in the community for similar injuries, a lawyer can estimate the amount that might be recovered in another case.

Lost income is a key factor in estimating accident recoveries. A victim can recover income lost due to missed work because of the injury.

Most accident victims want to know immediately how much they might recover. But an early estimate is sometimes hard to make because many injuries take time to appear. Because the full extent of many injuries is not known for some time, if you are in an accident, do not accept a settlement offer or sign a release before consulting your attorney. There are many cases of accident victims who quickly signed away their rights, only to discover later that their injuries were far worse than they originally thought.

Why Recoveries Differ

Many people ask why two people with similar injuries receive very different amounts of money. One reason is that because so many factors go into valuing an injury, a variation in one factor can cause a big change in the outcome. For example, if two accident victims earn very different amounts of money, their recoveries will not be the same.

Another reason for different size recoveries is different communities. In some areas, juries are more conservative than others, and awards reflect this. Thus, two people can suffer similar injuries, and because they live in different areas, receive different awards.

Valuing an injury can be hard. But with an attorney's help and by evaluating factors like those discussed here, accident victims can usually make a better estimate of their potential recovery.


People who have been in an accident face many worries. They have to worry about their pain, medical bills and possibly missing work. Another distraction they face are efforts by the other side or an insurance company to get them to sign papers settling their claim. As a recent case shows, accident victims should consult their lawyer before signing anything.

Martha T., an elderly woman, was in a car accident. Shortly after she left the hospital - and while she was still on medication and was very weak - an insurance adjuster for the other driver contacted her. The adjuster gave Martha a check for a small amount of money. Martha claimed the adjuster told her this was just a part payment for her medical bills and that she'd receive more money later. But the adjuster had Martha sign a document to "release all claims" against the other driver.

Martha later had more medical bills. She asked for more money, but the insurance company refused, saying she had signed the release. Martha sued, claiming she was mislead into signing.

A court ruled that if the insurance company used fraud to get Martha's release, then it was void. The court said a jury should decide if fraud was used, and the jury could consider that the insurance adjuster knew Martha was very weak when she signed the release, and that he covered up the document (except for the signature line) to get Martha to sign it.

This case is a reminder that if you are in an accident, do not sign anything without first consulting your lawyer. Getting legal help before signing anything or talking to the other side or an insurance company is much easier than going to court later to try to undo a bad settlement.

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