“I should sue them!” You hear those words said all the time. You’ve actually probably said them yourself. This phrase is sometimes used jokingly – after a bad haircut or the waiter spilling water on you. But often it’s said in frustration. Something has gone horribly wrong through no fault of your own. You feel victimized, powerless. We don’t trust the guilty party to adequately fix or make up for their error. Maybe they’re denying fault all together. And pursuing a lawsuit against them feels like the only way to be heard, for the truth to be known – to receive justice. Regardless, once these words are said, your next step is: am I serious?
Each year in the United States there are approximately 5 million police-reported motor vehicle accidents. At this high rate, odds are good you will personally be involved in a car accident at some point in your lifetime. Many of us, thankfully, never experience more than mild fender benders or parking lot scrapes. However, around half of these reported accidents involve some sort of injury. In other words, over two million people a year are injured in the U.S. as a result of a motor vehicle crash. If you are a driver, you likely understand your rights regarding insurance and coverage. But what about passengers? A passenger rarely has any culpability when a crash occurs, putting them in the unique position of being a victim regardless of whether the car they were in or another’s caused the accident. If you are injured in a crash, therefore, it’s helpful to know what compensation you may be eligible to pursue for your injury and damages.
At the Law Offices of Millon and Peskin, few things are more frustrating than learning about an injured worker who has not received the help they need for their injuries. As experts in workers’ compensation, we know how vital these benefits are for preserving the health, wellness, and financial stability of those who have been hurt or sickened at work. But often, without professional legal assistance, their claims are denied or their benefits insufficient. When an injured worker does not obtain the legal help he or she requires, we ask ourselves, “Why?” And we try to understand what we could have done to ensure more of these workers are getting the help they deserve. Though the causes can be number and complex, often such workers fail to seek assistance due to three main areas of concern:
When a worker in Illinois is injured on the job, he or she often is eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits. State law in Illinois requires most employers to provide such coverage for their eligible employees. But as we explored in a recent article, the reality is that sadly some employers’ flout the law. Whether they allow coverage to lapse, never obtained coverage, or simply fail to pay awarded benefits, injured workers are the ones who suffer the most. Such workers, however, may not be without justice or options. As discussed in a previous article, employers in violation of the law may be fined and even jailed for failure to provide coverage. More importantly, such employers make themselves vulnerable to expensive lawsuits. While the Workers’ Compensation Act sheilds employers in most cases from lawsuits by injured workers, noncompliance may negate this protection. As such, employees may be able to seek a far greater amount for their injuries than would otherwise have been paid out by workers’ compensation coverage. Another possible option for workers without coverage, and the subject of this article, is the Illinois’ Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund.
For a worker, a job-related injury often makes them aware of how little they know about their rights. Not until they are hurt do many employees realize that what they’ve assumed about their benefits may not be entirely accurate. It’s often a shock to find that coverage and care for their injuries is hard to achieve, limited in scope, and at times, nonexistent. There are many aspects to the workers’ compensation system with which all employees should familiarize themselves. However, the most essential is this: does your employer carry workers’ compensation insurance? For Illinois workers, the good news is that most employers are required by law to carry some form of workers’ compensation insurance. Very few exemptions exist for employers to not provide their employees with coverage. But the truth remains, not all business owners comply with the law. It’s distressing for an employee who is injured on the job to find out too late that their employer has failed to obtain or maintain their coverage. Fortunately, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission provides guidance and assistance for workers whose employers are in noncompliance.
At some point, many people will require the services of an assisted living or nursing facility. Whether they are considering this option for themselves, a spouse or a parent, there are many aspects to consider when choosing the right facility. Your assistance needs, location, personal preferences, as well as your finances will all play a part in your decision. But perhaps the most important consideration is to choose a facility that will keep you safe.
If you’ve been injured at work, you likely know your best hope for winning workers’ compensation benefits is to hire an attorney. Your check-list for choosing legal representation is generally clear. You want a lawyer with extensive experience with your state’s laws, who has a proven track-record of success, and with whom you feel comfortable working. But for some injured workers, their needs may extend beyond just a workers’ compensation attorney. Some on-the-job injuries involving a third-party may actually also fall under the heading of “personal injury”. And for such workers, choosing an attorney who is experienced in practicing both areas of law is crucial to the success of their case.
What is defined as a successful relationship between an attorney and their client? It’s clear that ultimately your goal in hiring an attorney is to win your case. So it may seem that your best bet is to seek out a “win at all costs” attorney, who promises to do anything and everything to win your case. But unfortunately, complaints are legion from clients of such lawyers, who not only often failed to achieve the results their client are promised or satisfied with, but who also made life miserable in the process. A winning conclusion to your case is vital, but it is only part of what makes it successful. So what, then, is considered a successful attorney-client relationship?
If there is one thing as common as the use of cell phones, it’s concerns about the safety of cell phones. We worry about the safety of our information on cell phones -- as they may get “smarter”, so do their hackers. Scientists even disagree about their effect on our health – maybe they cause cancer, maybe they don’t. But one thing we know for sure: cell phone use does and has led to an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities. This is why more and more states have enacted laws regarding cell use while operating a vehicle. Today, most are aware not only of the physical risks, but that we risk tickets, fines, and even jail time. There is little doubt that such a driver can also be held liable for any damages and injuries they cause. But in a recent surprising lawsuit, the question was raised, “Can the person on the other end of the line be held equally liable?”
For an injured worker seeking to win their workers’ compensation claim, having an attorney is often the best tool at their disposal. However, it’s not just important to have an attorney, but to have the best attorney most suited to your needs. Finding such an attorney requires asking important questions of any you are considering hiring. Previously, in part one of this article, we discussed some basic questions involving background and experience. In this section, we will explore both practical and philosophical concerns you should discuss when interviewing an attorney. Remember: researching and screening all potential legal representatives will better ensure the success of your case.