Personal Injury FAQs

Q. How are fees handled?
R. Injury claims are generally handled on a contingent fee basis. The client pays no fee until money is obtained at the successful conclusion of the case. The contingency fee percentage is typically 33 1/3 percent for tort claims and 20 percent for workers' compensation claims. Different percentages can apply such as when a minor is involved, an appeal is taken for medical malpractice claims.

Q. What are case costs?
R. All litigated cases have costs. They include filing fees, summons service fees and subpoena fees. Often times, an expert is required, and an expert witness understandably charges for his or her time. We advance all costs of prosecuting cases we accept.

Q. Is it "wrong" to sue for damages?
R. Incredibly, many people think it is, thanks to the massive campaigns of misinformation that bombard the public. The truth is, the law of torts is really quite fair. The basic principle is simply that a person or corporation that is found to be negligent is responsible for the injury and loss that their negligence caused.

Q. What are damages?
R. In Illinois, for example, damages typically include medical bills, lost income, disability, pain and suffering, all resulting from the injuries caused by the defendant's unsafe conduct.

Q. Is it better to settle a case or try it?
R. Depends. Certainly, settlement has advantages. It is cheaper (fewer costs), it is generally quicker and it removes the uncertainty of a trial. But, it takes both sides to come to a fair settlement. Far more often then not, insurance companies, in my opinion, are less than fair. The best settlements often come from the pressure of trial. Therefore, you and your law firm should be prepared to take the case to trial.

Q. Do I approve all settlements?
R. Absolutely. Communication to the client of offers is ethically required. When we get an offer from the other side, we pass it along with our view as to why the offer should be accepted or rejected. Many times, hours of discussion and analysis go into the decision, but ultimately it is the client's decision.

Q. Must a case be filed within a certain time?
R. Yes. If a case is not filed within the time the law requires, it is fatal to the case. It is absolutely critical that you consult with a knowledgeable attorney to determine what law applies to your case and make sure it gets timely filed and served.

Q. What if the person who injures me has no insurance?
R. Unfortunately, that happens fairly frequently even though Illinois has mandatory liability automobile insurance. A more common problem is not enough insurance. In these cases, we hope to find that our client has adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, as that can solve the problem. It is a good idea to consider getting as high a limit as you can for uninsured/underinsured coverage.

Q. How does communication with your office work?
R. For cases we accept, clients get not only the office number, which includes 24-hour live answering service but my cell and home numbers also. Real trial lawyers obviously spend most of their time in court and on depositions. Even so, we have a policy of returning client calls within 24 hours if in-office personnel cannot supply the requested information.

Q. What kind of cases does your office accept?
R. Truck crash cases, automobile crashes, construction accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death and product liability. If you think you have a claim we might be interested in, we are always happy to discuss it with you. There is no charge for this. Generally, we tell you immediately if your case is accepted. For cases we accept, it is generally filed in court promptly upon acceptance. The exception to this is medical malpractice because the law requires a certificate of merit to be filed with this type of case, and it takes additional time to obtain the report for the certificate.