Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost for a consultation?

The consultation is free. 

How much does it cost to retain you as my attorney?

Nothing. Personal Injury is performed on a contingency fee basis, which means we only earn a fee when we settle or resolve your case. The attorney fee earned is a percentage of the overall recovery. If there is no recovery, there is no fee. 

Do I have to put down a retainer or pay for the costs for pursuing my claim?

No. We will pay all necessary costs to pursue the claim, however, once the claim is resolved we will be reimbursed those costs from the settlement proceeds. If there is no recovery, the firm will not seek reimbursement of those costs.

When should I meet with an attorney to discuss my claim?

As soon as possible. The actions or inaction you take immediately following the date of injury could seriously impact the value of your case. 

The insurance company has contacted me for a statement, what should I do?

Do not speak with the insurance company about your injuries, even your own insurance company, before consulting with an attorney. Simply ignore the call or let the adjuster know that you are meeting with an attorney. 

What can I do to best protect myself before an accident occurs?

The best thing you can do for yourself prior to an accident is to have adequate insurance coverage. In Illinois, the minimum policy provides only $25,000.00 in coverage, which in many cases is insufficient. If the at-fault driver has no insurance or inadequate insurance coverage, your own insurance policy could make up the difference (i.e., an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist claim). On a related note, you should check to see how much medical payment coverage exists on your auto policy. While most standard policies have $5,000.00 in medical payment coverage, you may find that it is only a nominal cost to increase this coverage up to $25,000.00 or more. In the event that you are injured in an automobile accident, the increased level of medical payment coverage, which can be used to pay related medical expenses, can be the difference between settling a claim or needing to file a lawsuit.

What should I do to best protect myself after an accident occurs?

  1. Exchange driver and insurance information with the other drivers.
  2. Call the police to the scene. If this is not feasible, go immediately to a police station to make a report.
  3. Provide the police with a detailed description of how the accident occurred and any injuries you are feeling at the time (it is perfectly normal to not feel any pain immediately following the accident, but then develop pain within hours or days later). If the police provide you with any forms to complete re: the accident, do so immediately. 
  4. Take photographs of any damage to all vehicles involved in the collision; 
  5. Take photographs of any bruising, cuts, scrapes or other injuries.
  6. Seek immediate medical attention. You will not receive credit for being tough or stoic. If you do not get medical treatment or do not get medical treatment soon after the accident, the insurance company will use this as a reason to limit the value of your injury claim or even deny that your injuries are related to the collision.
  7. When you see the doctor, provide him or her with a detailed description of any and all injuries, even minor discomforts.
  8. Keep a diary of your doctor appointments, lost income, out of pocket expenses, as well as your injuries and pain levels.
  9. Stay off social media! Assume that everything you say or post online will be viewed by an insurance company seeking any reason to limit the value of your injury claim. Even social media posts that are seemingly unrelated or innocuous may be used against you.
  10. While it is OK to report the collision and discuss property damage to your vehicle with the insurance company, do not speak with the insurance company about your injuries, even your own insurer. If an insurance adjuster contacts you, simply tell them that you are consulting with an attorney. If you do speak, assume that everything you say will be used to limit the value of your injury claim.
  11. Consult with an attorney. The above steps are just a few examples of how your actions or inaction immediately following the accident can dramatically affect the value of your injury claim.

What is considered to be a personal injury?

A personal injury case is a civil action, seeking money to compensate you for your injuries and damages that resulted from the accident. Damages in a personal injury case include, but are not limited to, medical bills, lost wages, other out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, disfigurement and disability. 

Does bodily injury include pain and suffering?

Yes, pain and suffering is one of the elements of damages in a personal injury case. 

How much money can you sue for pain and suffering?

Pain and suffering is just one element of damages in a personal injury claim. There is no standard calculation for pain and suffering, but it is typically measured by looking at the type of injury, severity of injury, duration of medical treatment, permanency of injury, need for future medical treatment and the amount of medical bills. 

How much is the average settlement for pain and suffering?

There is no standard calculation used to measure pain and suffering, but rather it is case specific based on the type of injury, severity of injury, duration of medical treatment, permanency of injury, need for future medical treatment and the amount of medical bills. 

Do you have to pay your medical bills from a personal injury settlement?

In certain situations, it is required that medical bills be paid directly from settlement proceeds. Even when it is not required, we recommend paying any outstanding medical bills from the settlement proceeds, as those bills are ultimately your responsibility and may affect your credit. We will negotiate the balances on any outstanding medical bills in order to protect your credit and maximize your recovery.

Will my medical providers accept my health insurance?

While your providers may accept any private or public health insurance to satisfy their bills, unfortunately they are not required by law to do so when the treatment is related to an injury claim. When medical treatment is rendered in connection with an injury claim (most typically a motor vehicle accident), it is common for doctors, hospitals and therapists to issue a notice of lien instead of billing your health insurance. In those situations, the providers are seeking payment directly from the injury claim. Regardless of whether or not the providers have issued a lien, we will work to negotiate the amount of any outstanding medical bills. 

Do I need to reimburse my health insurance from a personal injury settlement?

In the case of public health insurance (i.e., Medicare or Medicaid), yes. We will work with those providers to negotiate the amount of their reimbursement. If you have private health insurance, those providers may also seek reimbursement. We will work with those providers to negotiate the amount of their reimbursement.   

Should I sue for personal injury?

Before filing a lawsuit, we will attempt to resolve your claim with the insurance company. If the claim is not settled by the statute of limitations period (most personal injury cases in Illinois have either a two-year or a one-year statute of limitations date) then a lawsuit will need to be filed in order to preserve the claim. If your claim is not resolved within the statute of limitations period and a lawsuit has not been filed, then you will be unable to recovery for your injury. 

If we file a lawsuit, does that mean I have to go to trial?

Most cases do not reach trial. However, if we are not able to settle the case, you will be required to attend and testify at the trial. 

What is the average settlement for a personal injury?

It is difficult for anyone to accurately value your personal injury claim at the onset of the injury, because there are many different elements of damages that must be considered, including but not limited to the amount of medical treatment, severity of injury, duration of medical treatment and need for any ongoing or future treatment. Because a settlement brings a final resolution to the claim, we will typically wait until your treatment has ended and we have a full understanding of your medical damages, economic damages and non-economic damages (i.e. pain and suffering) before attempting to settle the claim.