Taking the Confusion Out of Common Injury and Estate Planning Worries: Answers to Your Frequent Questions

The most important job for any attorney is making sure that his client understands every aspect of her case. Although some lawyers are comfortable keeping their clients in the dark, we feel that you deserve more. You deserve to have all of your questions and concerns addressed in order to pursue your own case confidently and successfully. This is why we take the initiative to answer common questions that you may have even before you even step into our office. If you don't see your question answered below, please contact our office at 855-522-5291.

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  • What if I had Pain Prior to My Car Crash?

    One of the things an injured party must prove in a car accident claim is that the car accident actually caused the injury.  This is known as causation.  When someone suffers a broken bone or laceration as a result of a car accident, it is pretty easy to establish this causation requirement.  It can become a bit more difficult when there is a back or neck injury.
     
    With each year that passes by, we are exposed to more opportunities to injure ourselves.  It is not uncommon for individuals to injure their Pain Prior To A Car Accidentbacks or necks in one way or another throughout their lifetime.  Even when there is no specific injury, it is very likely that as we age, our spine will suffer from some form of arthritis.  This arthritis, also known as degeneration, can show up on x-rays, MRIs or CT scans.  It can cause us pain or can remain asymptomatic until trauma aggravates it to the point of causing pain.
     

    Will The At Fault Driver's Insurance Company Look Into Your Medical History Following A Car Accident?

     
    Typically, with neck and back injuries, the at-fault insurance company will argue that the person had a pre-existing condition prior to the crash.  The insurance adjuster will try to find prior radiological scans showing indications of prior problems or medical records showing prior complaints of pain.
     
    A skilled car accident attorney can deal with this issue effectively.  If a lot of time has passed from the last complaint of pain until the crash or from the last x-ray and the crash without intervening pain, there is a good argument that these prior pieces of evidence simply don't matter.  In Illinois, there is a helpful jury instruction on this issue.  Instruction 30.21 provides:
     
    If you decide for the plaintiff on the question of liability, you may not deny or limit the plaintiff's right to damages resulting from this occurrence because any injury resulted from EITHER an aggravation of a pre-existing condition or a pre-existing condition which rendered the plaintiff more susceptible to injury.
     
    This jury instruction is helpful because at a trial, the judge would read this to the jurors.  The jurors are not to reduce damages simply because the plaintiff had a prior back injury, for example.  Nor can the jury reduce damages because the plaintiff had a condition (a fragile spine from osteoporosis, for example), making future injury more likely.
     

    Can You Still Be Compensated Following A Car Accident Even With Prior Injuries?
     

    Sometimes, clients express concern that they will not be fully compensated following a crash because they had a prior injury.  It is important to know that a prior injury or medical condition does not necessarily reduce your ability to obtain full compensation for your injury.
     
    If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call us at 855.522.5291 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation. 

  • What is a lien, and who can file one on me?

    A lien is something that anyone who has outstanding medical bills, or who has paid medical bills, can assert against a recovery that you may receive. 

    The lien allows them to make a claim to being owed a portion of your recovery to pay back medical bills or medical payments that were made on your behalf.  These liens can be significant if you required a lot of medical treatment.  It is always critical to let your attorney know if anyone asserts a lien against you, so that they can attempt to minimize the amount you will have to pay back to those who have a lien against your recovery.

  • I'm being sent to collections for unpaid medical bills from a crash that wasn't my fault. Shouldn't the at-fault driver's insurance be paying these?

    As a personal injury attorney, my clients are often concerned about their medical bills after a crash or other injury suffered as a result of someone’s negligence.  I want to provide some information about this issue.  While it seems like they should, the at-fault insurance carrier does not pay your bills as they come due - they reimburse you, or your health insurance company, for your incurred medical bills at the time the case resolves.  Sometimes injured individuals will treat for a year or more.  This means that medical bills can go unpaid for that period of time too.

    I have seen situations where my clients’ injuries are so severe that the patient is unable to provide health insurance information at the hospital’s emergency room.  This certainly happens when the client is unconscious at the time of transfer.  Because the insurance information is not provided to the medical provider, the medical bills grow.  Sometimes, these medical bills are sent to collections and can damage credit scores.  This is obviously unfortunate considering the bills should have and could have been paid.  If you have been injured, always make sure you you’re your medical providers to bill your health insurance.  You should make sure your family members know this so that they can help you in case you are unable to pass on the insurance information yourself.  If you have been to a medical provider immediately following a car crash or other injury and you aren’t sure if the provider has your health insurance information, call the medical provider now.  Often times, the provider has a limited amount of time to properly submit your bills to insurance.

    As you are treating for your injuries, make sure you submit your bills to your health insurance company. Sometimes, the medical providers will see that your injuries were caused by a car crash and will try to bill the at fault driver's insurance.  Unfortunately, while the medical provider may mean well, this puts you in a bad position.  The at fault carrier won't pay the medical bills until they accept liability and sometimes not until the case is resolved.  This confusion can leave medical bills unpaid.  So, even if other driver had car insurance at the time of the crash, tell your medical providers to bill your health insurance company. 

    If you don't have health insurance, hopefully, you had MedPay coverage with your car insurance.  MedPay is an optional component of your car insurance that pays medical bills.  It will pay for medical care for you and your passengers, up to certain amount, regardless of fault.  If you don't have health insurance or MedPay, sometimes doctors will hold their bills until the claim is resolved - it's always worth asking.  The key is that you seek treatment and make sure the bills aren't sitting unpaid.

  • I want more visitation with my daughter. Do I need an attorney to go back to court?

    In January of 2016, Illinois greatly revised the way divorce proceedings will be handled in our state.

    For starters, 'grounds' and 'waiting periods' were basically eliminated.

    The new law allows for only one ground: irreconcilable differences. This phrase assigns no blame to either party.

    Another major change to the law is that parenting plans are now mandatory in Illinois. 

    That means that each parent will be required to submit their own plan for how the children should be parented in regards to education, religion, athletics, and other important areas. 

    Finally, custody and visitation have been redefined.

    As a matter of fact, those terms have been almost completely eliminated. Now you will hear attorneys and judges using the terms 'parental responsibilities' and 'parental time.' Parental responsibility functions as custody used to. In other words, it will determine who has decision making rights for the children in the important areas set forth in the parenting plan. Parental time functions as visitation used to. It determines who the child will stay with, and for what periods of time.

    As you can see, the new Illinois Dissolution of Marriage Laws are good for children and families, but they are complicated. Your time with your children is at stake, so we believe it's a good idea to find an attorney you trust to walk you through this process. If you are considering a divorce or you believe that your parental time needs to be revisited, call us anytime for a free consultation at 855-522-5291.

  • I had surgery for a back injury about 5 years ago. I was recently in a wreck while driving to an off-site work meeting and now it is flaring up. Is there any way for me to get Workers Comp?

    Many people believe that they cannot file for workers' compensation benefits on a preexisting condition like your back injury. In reality, you may be entitled to compensation if your injury/surgical site was aggravated by a work-related task. Since you were in the wreck while driving to a work-related function, it would most likely be covered by workers' compensation. Be sure to notify your employer, set up a doctor's visit, and then call us for a free consultation at 855-522-5291.