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McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC

Every day, people find themselves injured due to the negligence of another, whether it be in an auto accident, at the grocery store, or walking into an office building. Illinois law allows an injured person to be compensated financially for his or her damages under those circumstances.  Unfortunately, the incident that causes the injury may be traumatizing, and the injured person may find himself or herself overwhelmed and uncertain what to do next.  Often, he or she does not know whether they can or should make a claim for the injuries, and does not know what steps to take to do so.  Consulting with an attorney can help.

Ideally, your attorney would prefer that you, (or someone you know), takes contemporaneous photos of the scene of the accident, and jots down pertinent information, including the names and contact information of witnesses to the incident. If the accident involved motor vehicles, photos of the vehicles and the area where the accident occurred can be very helpful in evaluating a claim of negligence and presenting evidence at trial, if that becomes necessary.

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When injured while working in Illinois, you are entitled to the all the protections offered under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Section 12 of this Act allows the respondent (your employer) to send you for an examination by a non-treating doctor.  A respondent will use this examination to determine if you should continue to receive benefits, such as payment of medical bills or temporary total disability payments.  Before heading into this type of exam, there are some things you should know.

A respondent has a right under the Act to send you to an independent medical examination, (IME), provided that they pay for your reasonable expenses of attending the examination. This usually means paying for mileage and a meal, but depending on the circumstances, could involve arranging transportation or compensating you for having to miss work.  These expenses and arrangements should be provided to you before the exam takes place.  Notice must also be given and it must be reasonable.  Once notice is given, if the appointment needs to be rescheduled, this should be communicated to the respondent so that a non-appearance fee is not generated.  While attendance at this appointment is mandatory, you do have some say as to when it should occur.

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Asset forfeiture is the legal process where property which has previously been seized may permanently be confiscated.

When faced with a potential forfeiture issue it is important to understand some basic principles:

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In Illinois, a person is liable for an accident in which that person was negligent. Where a person has been injured as a result of the negligence, the negligent person is obligated to make financial payment to the injured one.  Among the damages for which the negligent party is responsible is a category commonly referred to as “pain and suffering.”

While it is fairly simple to add up the money spent and money lost for things like medical bills and lost income, there is no precise way to put a dollar figure upon the injured party’s pain and physical suffering. The Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions define pain and suffering as “The pain and suffering experienced [and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future] as a result of the injuries.” This leaves the determination of the value of pain and suffering damages greatly to the discretion of a jury or other finder of fact.

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