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




If you get in an accident and want to make a claim, one of the first things you have to decide is whether to use a lawyer, or whether to make a claim against the wrongdoer and his or her insurance company yourself.

For many reasons, if you are hurt in an accident, you should get a lawyer's help rather than try to do it yourself. Here are some of the main reasons.

  • To get an evaluation of your case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can tell you how strong your case is. Also, because a lawyer knows the many different things that accident victims can recover money for, you can get a good idea about how much money you're legally entitled to recover.
  • You need someone on your side who is experienced in dealing with insurance companies. Insurance companies have many people working for them. Often, they'll try to avoid or delay paying valid claims, or offer unfairly low settlements. Accident victims need someone to assert their rights to get what they are legally entitled to. An experienced personal injury lawyer, who knows how insurance companies work, is the best person to do this.
  • You pay a fee only if you win. A key benefit of using a lawyer for injury claims is the contingency fee. A contingency fee is a fee that's paid only if you win. It is typically paid out of the recovery. Contingency fees are great because they let anyone who has a good case get legal help, even if they don't have much money.
  • You will likely get more money. For most accident victims, this is the main reason for using a lawyer. A study was done which shows that auto accident victims who use lawyers receive about 25% more money than those who do not use lawyers - even after deducting all costs.

If you needed surgery, you would not operate on yourself. The same concept holds true in law - if you are hurt in an accident, you should get a profession-al's help. A lawyer will make recovering damages a lot easier, you'll have a better chance of re-covering money, and you'll likely get more money.


People in car accidents are often told to get legal help to make sure their rights are enforced. A study confirms two other key reasons for getting legal help if you are in an auto accident - you will likely receive more money, and you have a better chance of recovering money.

The study was conducted by the respected Rand Institute. It found that auto accident victims who hire attorneys receive about 25% more money than auto accident victims who do not hire attorneys - even after deducting all costs.

The study also found that using a lawyer increases an auto accident victim's chances of recovering money to almost 95%.


Millions of consumer products are produced every year. With mass production and use of these products has come numerous injuries. Sometimes the injuries are the user's fault. Many times, however, they are due to defective products.

Recovering Damages

Many grounds exist to win damages if you are injured by a defective product. The manufacturer may have been negligent, or it may have breached a contract or warranty.

Another ground for recovery in many cases is "strict liability." To recover damages under strict liability, a person generally only has to show that a product is defective and that the defect caused his or her injuries.

A manufacturer may be liable under all three grounds -negligence, breach of warranty and strict liability. However, rules vary from state to state regarding which grounds are available and the proof needed to recover damages. A lawyer should therefore be consulted in connection with any product liability claims.

When is a Product Defective?

A product can be defective in many ways. It may have a manufacturing defect. This occurs when it is not made according to specifications. A piece may be missing, or the product may not be built properly, causing it to be dangerous.

Another kind of defect is a "design defect." This occurs when there is something wrong with the product's design. Thus, a product built according to instructions may be defective if the instructions are the source of the problem. For example, the product's creators may have used the wrong type of material or may not have included adequate safety shields in designing the product.

A product can also be defective if it does not include adequate warnings about possible dangers or complete instructions on how to use it.

If you are injured by a product, consult your attorney to determine if there is a right to compensation, even if you think you are partly to blame. Injuries that on the surface look like they were caused by the user often turn out to have been caused by a defective product. Also, certain legal principles may let you recover money even if you are partly to blame for your injuries. Act quickly, since there are time limits for filing claims.


Next to car accidents, the most common type of injury mishap is a slip and fall. Whether you are the victim, or just a home or business owner concerned about potential liability, it is important to know when a property owner can be liable. Here are some legal rules as well as steps to take in the event you are hurt in a slip and fall accident.

Many people think that just because they are hurt in a slip and fall accident, the property owner is automatically liable. This is not always true. To be liable, a property owner must have known (or should have known) about the dangerous condition and failed to take steps to prevent injuries.

Suppose you slip on a wet spot in a market. Whether you can recover damages depends on how long the floor was wet and what employees knew and did. If the floor was wet for a while and employees knew about it but did nothing, you'll likely recover damages. But if the floor became wet just before you slipped, recovering damages may be harder.

  • How to Protect Yourself. If you get hurt in a slip and fall accident, there are several things you should do to protect your rights and help make sure you can recover as much as you are entitled to under the law. They include: make written notes on the accident; get names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses; and save any evidence, such as whatever caused the fall.

Also, do not sign anything or give any statements before talking with your lawyer. When a customer is hurt in a slip and fall accident, store employees often try to get statements to use against them later. You are not required to say anything to the other side, and you should not before you consult your lawyer.

If you intend to make a claim, seek legal help promptly. You will want to pursue your claim while the facts are fresh in your mind and the minds of witnesses. Also, there are time limits for making claims which, if not followed, can result in losing your claim.


Many people are concerned about what would happen if they ever became incapacitated and could not handle their own affairs. Who would make their medical decisions? Who would deposit checks, pay their bills and handle other business matters? Fortunately, there are documents you can prepare now to protect you in case you ever become incapacitated and cannot manage your own affairs. Here is a summary of the main ones.

  • Durable power of attorney. This is a document in which you name someone (called an "agent" or attorney in fact") to handle your business affairs if you cannot handle them yourself. The person does not have to be an attorney, but because he or she has control over your financial affairs, should be someone you fully trust.

    With a durable power of attorney, you can name someone to handle your business affairs immediately, or when a specific event occurs, such as your incapacity (this is sometimes called a "springing power of attorney").
  • Durable power of attorney for health care. In this document, you appoint someone to make your medical decisions if you cannot make them yourself.

    Powers of attorney can be changed or revoked any time while you are legally competent. Thus, if you want to change the person you have designated to handle your business affairs or make your medical decisions, you can do so.

If You Have No Documents

If you become incapacitated and have no documents, a "conservatorship" proceeding may be necessary. In a conservatorship proceeding (called a "guardianship proceeding" in some states), a court appoints someone to care for you and manage your estate.

Sickness and incapacity can happen suddenly, so it's best to prepare powers of attorney as soon as possible. They will help make sure that if you become incapacitated, your business affairs and medical decisions will be handled by the person you want. They can also help save your family the expense and inconvenience of a conservatorship proceeding.

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