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Hillside, IL 60162

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Recent Blog Posts

The Value of Having a Personal Injury Lawyer

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

the-value-of-having-a-personal-injury-lawyer

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.

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Study Shows Using a Lawyer Results in Higher Money Awards

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

study-shows-using-a-lawyer-results-in-higher-money-awards

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%.

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Should You Have a Premarital Agreement?

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Family Law

should-you-have-a-premarital-agreement

When a couple decides to marry, they have many decisions to make. A key legal decision they must make is whether to have a premarital agreement.

A premarital agreement is a contract made by a couple before marriage. It is usually used to say how property will be divided in the event of divorce or death, but it can cover many other issues in the marriage as well. Premarital agreements are most commonly used in second marriages when there are children from a prior marriage or when one party to the marriage is a lot wealthier than the other.

There are several benefits to having a premarital agreement. Working out difficult issues in advance can help avoid problems later. Also, a premarital agreement can help protect an inheritance to a child from an earlier marriage. Finally, if a divorce does occur, the premarital agreement may make it go easier since some key issues will already have been decided.

There are also disadvantages to having a premarital agreement. One is the discomfort in addressing issues of divorce before the marriage. Another is that there's no guarantee a court will uphold the agreement. Also, even if an agreement is upheld, there's no assurance the entire agreement will be upheld. For example, provisions that address child custody or child support issues are not binding on a court, since the child's best interests are the deciding factors. There are several grounds for invalidating premarital agreements. They vary from state to state, but generally include:

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Recovering For Injuries From Defective Products

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

recovering-for-injuries-from-defective-products

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.

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Recovering Damages For Slip and Fall Accidents

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

recovering-damages-for-slip-and-fall-accidents

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.

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Raising or Lowering Child Support

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Divorce

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After a divorce, because of a change in circumstances, or for other reasons, the parties may want to change the amount of child support. Both parents may agree to the change. However, a judge usually must approve the change for it to be legally enforceable.

If the parties cannot agree on a change, either of them can ask a court to order it. Courts usually revise child support amounts only if there has been a significant change in circumstances. This helps prevent them from being burdened with frequent change requests. Several situations can support a request to change the amount of child support, including:

  • the party paying support is out of work or now earns less money;
  • the party receiving support now earns a lot more money;
  • the child's needs change. This could be due to a school expense, medical emergency or other reason.

Generally, just because the paying parent now earns more money is not enough to justify raising the amount of child support.

People who want to modify child support should get legal help to do so. Seek the change request promptly, as judges usually will not make the new amount of child support retroactive.

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Preventive Law Tip: Estate Planning

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Estate Planning

preventive-law-tip-estate-planning

Proper estate planning has great benefits for you and your family. It gives you security that your property will be divided how you want, and it can save taxes during your life. For your heirs, proper estate planning means they will receive property with few hassles and minimal expense.

Estate planning is more than just wills and trusts. It includes such other matters as right type of life insurance, how to hold title to your property and whether to make gifts during your life or by a will at death.

Estate planning is one kind of preventive law where the financial and other benefits can far outweigh the cost.

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Plan Your Medical Care In Case Of A Serious Illness

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Estate Planning

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If you became so seriously ill that you could not tell others your wishes, who would make your medical decisions? Would your family members know your desires about using life-support equipment if it was necessary to keep you alive? Fortunately, there are documents you can prepare now to help plan your medical care in the event you ever have a serious illness and are not able to communicate your wishes. These documents are a "living will" and a "durable power of attorney for health care." Here is a brief summary of each.

  • Living wills. A living will is a legal document that states your desires about using life-support equipment if you are terminally ill and cannot communicate. With a living will, you can authorize the withholding of life-support equipment so you can have a "natural" death. You can also use a living will to specify that you want all types of treatment used to sustain you.
  • Durable power of attorney for health care. The other main document that helps you receive the medical care you want if you ever become incapacitated is a "durable power of attorney for health care." This lets you appoint someone else (such as your spouse or child) to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to make these decisions yourself.

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Plan In Case You Ever Become Incapacitated

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

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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").

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Most Legal Disputes are Settled Out-of-Court

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

most-legal-disputes-are-settled-out-of-court

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.

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