Answers To Personal Injury And Workers’ Compensation FAQ
What is the time deadline to file a personal injury claim in the State of Illinois?
ANSWER: The time deadline to file a lawsuit is called the Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitations for a personal injury claim in the State of Illinois is two (2) years from the date of the accident. Therefore, an injured party has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in Circuit Court. If the lawsuit is not filed within two (2) years from the date of the accident, any claim for damages is barred. However, the Statute of Limitations cannot expire on a minor, except the Statute of Repose can expire on a minor in a medical malpractice claim. Consult our office for further details.
What is the time deadline to file a Workers’ Compensation claim in the State of Illinois?
ANSWER: The time deadline to file a Workers’ Compensation is also called the Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitations to file a Workers’ Compensation claim in the State of Illinois is three (3) years from the date of the accident or two (2) years from the date the injured employee last received Workers’ Compensation benefits, whichever is later. The Statute of Limitations on a “repetitive trauma” claim can be various dates. Consult our office for further details.
I was injured at work. What, if any, Workers’ Compensation benefits should I receive?
ANSWER: Generally, there are three types of Workers’ Compensation benefits. The benefits are as follows: (1) the employer, through its Worker’s Compensation insurer, is responsible to pay, in full, the injured employee’s medical bills; (2) the injured employee is entitled to receive 66-2/3% of their gross weekly wage, while that employee is temporary totally disabled; and (3) there is a permanency benefit for “permanent” injuries involving ongoing symptoms. Consult our office for further details.
How much does the attorney charge in a personal injury and Workers’ Compensation claim?
ANSWER: In personal injury and Workers’ Compensation claims, the attorney’s fee is usually based upon a contingent fee. A contingent fee agreement is an alternative to an hourly attorney’s fee agreement. Under a contingent fee agreement, there is no attorney’s fee charged, if the injured person does not secure a recovery. The well accepted contingent fee in a personal injury claim is 33-1/3% of any recovery. In an Illinois Workers’ Compensation claim, the attorney’s fee is set by the State of Illinois at 20% of the injured employee’s recovery. Consult our office for further details.
Do I need to hire an attorney, if I have a personal injury or Worker’s Compensation claim?
ANSWER: Insurance companies are in the business of handling injury claims. An injured person, without a lawyer, is at a major disadvantage against an insurance company. An unrepresented individual does not have the knowledge or expertise to pursue a claim against an insurance company or its attorney. By hiring an attorney, the injured person “levels the playing field”. A represented injured person will gain insight into his or her claim which will enable that injured person to make informed decisions based upon the strengths or weaknesses of the claim, the options available etc. This will ensure the best results. With an understanding of the issues, the injured person will have the information to make the best decisions for his or her particular situation. Consult an attorney for further details.
In a personal injury claim such as an automobile accident claim or a Worker’s Compensation claim, should I provide the insurance company with a recorded statement?
ANSWER: No. It is not advisable to give the opposing insurance company a recorded statement. Often, answers on a tape recorded statement can be interpreted in different ways. Also, sometimes answers do not provide all of the details in response to a question. Insurance companies tend to look for certain answers. Once that information is provided to the insurance company by the injured person, the insurance company may not be interested in the remaining portion of the answer, a clarification, or further details. In Illinois, an injured person is not required to provide the opposing insurance company with a recorded statement. Consult our office for further details.
If I am pulled over by a police officer and suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, should I “blow” into the breathalyzer device?
ANSWER: While the answer to that question will differ depending on how much alcohol an individual has consumed, it is important to keep in mind that collecting breath samples and/or requesting drivers to perform field sobriety tests is for the purpose of collecting evidence against the driver. A police officer may tell you prior to administrating any tests that he or she only wants to determine that you are “ok to drive”, but they are actually more concerned with building their case against you. Finding yourself being asked to exit the vehicle and take a variety of tests usually means you are likely not going to avoid an arrest no matter what you do. Since that is often the case, refusing to take sobriety tests leaves the State without necessary evidence to later convict you of DUI. Likewise, when you are told by an officer that you will lose your license if you do not blow, it is important to know that you will also lose your license if you blow over the legal limit. This means that you will not only lose your license, but then the State will have strong evidence in the form of the breathalyzer results on the DUI portion of the case. Finally, while most police officers do not mention this fact, there is a hearing procedure available to contest the “automatic” suspension. However, it is your burden of proof. Consult our office for further details.
Because I took the breathalyzer and “blew” over .08, which is over the legal limit in the State of Illinois, will I automatically be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol?
ANSWER: No. First, there are many procedures required to properly administer a breath test. Improper administration of breath tests means that some errors could result in the test not holding up in court. Furthermore, even with a breath test result against you, the State must still prove that you are under the influence of alcohol. Finally, unlike an “automatic” suspension for blowing over the legal limit (or refusing to blow), there is no automatic conviction for driving under the influence. Every citizen has the right to a trial by a jury of his peers, wherein the State would have the burden of proving you guilty. Consult our office for further details.
I am a first time offender and I have recently been to court and the Prosecutor told me that I would be granted “supervision”, a fine and no jail time, if I plead guilty to DUI. This sounds like a pretty good deal. I was told that the supervision will keep the DUI from affecting my driving record, which I understand could lead to a difficult revocation, if I am convicted without supervision. Should I just go ahead and get it over with?
ANSWER: There is absolutely no drawback in pleading not guilty, requesting a trial, and then consulting our office. Whatever offer that has been made will likely stay on the table. In Illinois, you are only allowed supervision for DUI once in a lifetime. There is no reason to use it prior to having an attorney review your case to determine if that in fact is the appropriate course. If an attorney can get your case effectively negotiated, reduced, thrown-out on a technicality, or won at trial, you have preserved your supervision in the event that you are arrested for another DUI. In fact, our office has special reduced attorney’s fees for first offenders. Consult our office for further details.
I had a trial and was found not guilty of DUI. I was told that my suspension is still on-going. Is this true?
ANSWER: There is a hearing available to contest your suspension, which is not the same as a DUI trial. Although, your DUI and your suspension involve the same evidence, they are separate procedures. Unless you are successful in your “Statutory Summary Suspension” hearing (referred to above), your suspension remains for the duration of it. Success in your DUI trial does not change that, however, ironically, often the success of the DUI trial is the result of no breath test results, which would have meant that the suspension is longer due to a refusal. Consult our office for further details.
I have multiple arrests (or convictions) for driving under the influence of alcohol. Will I ever be able to obtain an Illinois Driver’s License?
ANSWER: Yes. The proof necessary to obtain full reinstatement depends upon whether you are classified by the treatment provider as being a Significant Risk – Level II, High Risk – Level III Non-dependent, or High Risk – Level III Dependent. A High Risk, Level III Dependent needs to establish proof of abstinence, a good support system (preferably Alcoholic’s Anonymous) and verification of appropriate treatment. If the hearing officer for the Illinois Secretary of State is inclined to grant driving relief, he or she will likely issue a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) requiring a breath alcohol ignition device (BAID). The restricted driving permit (RDP) is usually used by the hearing officer as probationary service prior to full reinstatement of driving privileges. Hiring an attorney experienced in the practice of driver’s license reinstatement, will certainly increase the chance of obtaining a restricted driving permit (RDP) and/or full reinstatement of driving privileges. Consult our office for further details.