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Hillside, IL 60162

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Recent Blog Posts

If You Have An Injury Claim, Don't Delay

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

if-you-have-an-injury-claim-don-t-delay

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.

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How To Protect Your Rights When Accident Injuries Seem Minor

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

how-to-protect-your-rights-when-accident-injuries-seem-minor

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.

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How To Hold Title To Your Home

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Real Estate

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In economic times with an active real estate market, many people change homes or buy a first home. Many buyers give little thought to how to take title to the home. But this decision is vital, as it affects who can sign documents regarding the property and how the property can be transferred in case of death. Here are some common ways to hold title to a home.

  • Sole ownership. This is how an individual holds title to property. This ownership form does not apply to property bought by married couples. However, if a married couple wants to put title in the name of one spouse, the deed could say the spouse is "sole owner."
  • Community property. For husbands and wives in "community property" states, this is one of the main ways the couple can hold property. Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. In these states, if a married couple acquires property and the deed says they are husband and wife, or is not clear about how they intend to hold title, the law presumes it's held as community property. Each spouse owns an equal interest in community property and each may manage it. Both spouses need to sign an agreement for a transfer to be recognized.

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How "Probate" Works

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Estate Planning

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Many people who hear the word "probate" conjure up images of the long and complicated process that takes place when someone dies. Although traditional probate procedures have tended to be lengthy and complex, many states now have simplified procedures for most estates, so that with a lawyer's help most people shouldn't have too much difficulty serving as the personal representative of an estate (called the "executor" if a person dies with a will or "administrator" if the person dies without a will).

The probate process is conceptually simple: someone supervised by a court accounts for the decedent's property, pays debts and taxes, and distributes what remains according to the person's will or state law. Here's a closer look at what would be involved if you were named an executor or volunteered as administrator.

1. Opening the estate. You begin the probate process by submitting the will (if any) to the probate court in the decedent's county and notifying relatives, heirs and creditors of the death. The court will issue you documents authorizing you to act on the estate's behalf.

2. Investigating the estate. You next must locate all the property, determine its value, collect money owed the estate, and pay debts. Professional appraisals may be needed for some items.

3. Paying taxes. You are responsible for estate and inheritance taxes and for the decedent's final federal and state income tax returns. Only a small percentage of estates owe federal estate tax, but most states have an inheritance tax. Sometimes the estate pays it, sometimes the heirs.

4. Distributing the estate. You can't usually distribute property to heirs until you have receipts showing all taxes have been paid and you have filed an accounting with the court. There is a waiting period during which people can object to what you've done, but sometimes this comes after you've distributed the property. In any case, once you've filed the accounting and distributed the property, and the waiting period has expired, the estate is "settled" and your responsibility ends.

Non-Probate Property

Not all property goes through probate. Non-probate property is transferred automatically to another person. One example of such property is property held in "joint tenancy." It automatically goes to the surviving joint tenants. Another example is life insurance. The proceeds go to beneficiaries outside of probate.

Although probate in theory is simple - a person's will is verified, property gathered, debts and taxes paid, and remaining property distributed to heirs - the process can be complex and time-consuming, as it involves paperwork and court appearances. Legal assistance can be obtained to help the executor or administrator perform some or all of the duties of probating an estate, and to help you decide who will be your executor.

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How Injury Cases are Valued

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

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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.

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Get a Lawyer's Help When Dealing with Insurance Companies

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

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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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Estate Planning Question

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Estate Planning

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Q. I am not very wealthy. Why do I need estate planning?

A. Estate planning is for everyone. Your estate plan may cover a lot of issues other than just money. If you want to designate the guardian of your children, you need an estate plan. Even if your savings or wealth are modest, an estate plan lets you decide who will receive your property when you die. For many people, their estate plan also addresses matters like old age, disability and illness.

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Enforcing Child Support Payments

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Divorce

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For many divorced parents, collecting unpaid child support is a problem. There are several steps that can be taken to collect unpaid child support, including intercepting the delinquent parent's tax refunds, attaching his or her wages, and seizing his or her bank account or other property.

A parent who owes child support usually will not be allowed by a court to get out of paying overdue amounts. However, he or she can ask a court to lower future payments.

Collecting unpaid child support can be difficult. Legal help can be obtained to use one of the above options for enforcing a child support payment or to learn about other options.

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Enforce Your Rights If An Accident Occurs

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

enforce-your-rights-if-an-accident-occurs

If you've been in a car, slip and fall or other accident, your first thought may be to forget about it - especially if the accident was minor. But there are important reasons why you should seriously consider making a claim if an accident occurs.

One obvious reason is to recover money you are entitled to receive for your injuries and losses. If you don't make a claim, you'll have to pay for these yourself. You may think you were not badly hurt or that your injuries are minor. But remember that some injuries take a long time to develop. Making a claim will protect you in case the physical symptoms of your injuries show up later.

Another reason why it's important to make a claim after an accident is that it helps prevent injuries to other people. Making a claim sends a strong message to business owners and others that steps must be taken to fix dangers and protect consumers.

The first step in making a claim is seeking legal help. Your lawyer will tell you if your case is strong and advise you how much money you may be entitled to recover. Once you know this information, it is much easier for you to decide whether to make a claim.

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Do You Have A Case?

 Posted on January 05, 2017 in Personal Injury

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If you've been in a car, slip and fall or other accident and want to make a claim, probably the first question you will have is "Do I have a good case?" There are several factors to consider when answering this question. They include:

  • Is the other person at fault? If the accident was caused by someone's negligent or intentional act, you can make a claim. But don't give up making a claim just because you were partly at fault for the accident. In most states, accident victims can recover money even if they were partly to blame for an accident.
  • How badly were you hurt? To get money for your accident, you must have "damages." Damages include many things, like money you lost from missing work, medical bills, and your pain and suffering. Even if right after the accident you did not feel badly hurt or think you did not suffer "damages," you still may have a good case. That's because some injuries take time to develop. Since all your injuries may not be known for a long time, consult a lawyer after your accident, even if your injuries seem small. Your lawyer will protect your rights if they get worse.

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