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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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A Social Security disability hearing can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially for those unfamiliar with the process. Depending on the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), a hearing can be contentious and adversarial or relatively laid-back and easygoing.  No matter the judge, your chances of success will definitely increase if you avoid several of these common issues at your hearing.

It is important that you don’t argue your case with the ALJ. Leave arguing your case to your lawyer. Your job is to testify to facts, describe your symptoms, give estimates of your limitations, outline your daily activities, and provide lots of examples of your problems. Further, you should avoid attempting to draw conclusions for the judge.  Let the judge draw his or her own conclusions.  Don’t say things such as, “If I could work, I would be working.” Or “I want to work.”  There are many people with extreme disabilities who work. However, it is never the issue in a social security disability case that there are others who work.  It is also not relevant that there may be people less disabled than you who receive disability benefits. That is why you should never compare yourself to others. It is unhelpful to say things such as “I know people less disabled than me who get disability benefits” or “I know a guy who has nothing wrong with him, but he gets disability benefits.” None of these comparisons helps your case

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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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Social security hearings are designed to be much less formal than hearings in court. Although this is an informal hearing, there are a couple of procedures that are necessary to follow. All witnesses are required to testify under oath, so each individual who testifies will be asked to raise his/her right hand and take an oath to tell the truth. It is important to remember that, when testifying, the witness cannot look to anyone, including the attorney, to help answer questions. If you don’t understand a question, you can ask that the question be explained or restated, but nobody can answer for you.
The judge will usually begin a disability hearing by discussing the history of your case and the issues that will need to be decided. The judge will then ask some general questions, such as your address, social security number, etc. Next, the judge will ask questions about any jobs you have performed over the past 15 years. This is done to determine whether you could return and do any of these jobs with your current impairments. Next, the judge will usually ask you why you believe you are unable to work. This is your opportunity to explain, in your own words, why you feel that you are unable to work a full time job. When that questioning is done, the judge will usually give your lawyer a chance to ask questions. Occasionally, if a claimant is well prepared to testify, the lawyer does not have to ask any questions at all.

Some judges may prefer to have the lawyer handle most of the questioning. If so, answer questions asked by your lawyer the same way you would answer them if a person you did not know were the one inquiring. Even though your lawyer knows all about your case already, it is important to keep in mind that the judge, who will decide your case, does not. Although the judge will have read your file before the hearing, when you are testifying it is best to assume that the judge knows nothing about your situation.

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Will County Bar Association Illinois State Bar Association Lions Minooka AV 2019 Rotary DuPage County Bar Association
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