KURASCH & KLEIN: FIGHTING FOR YOU AND PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS!
YOUR RIGHTS WHEN YOU ARE INJURED: ONLY YOUR LAWYER KNOWS FOR SURE
There are so many questions that need to be answered when you are injured. Many times a relative or a neighbor who means well will give you advice that they think is right, but so many times that relative or friend is WRONG! There are many legal facts that people so often do not know, or they are simply wrong about. Here are some of the true facts about your legal rights, and some of them may surprise you!
FACT #1: You can successfully make a claim against another person or a company or a branch of the government, even if the one being sued had no actual knowledge about the condition that caused the injury. For example, if you fall in a grocery store because of a piece of lettuce on the floor, the store manager might say that no one knew the lettuce was on the floor. But if your lawyer can help you develop evidence that the lettuce had been on the floor for a period of time, then you can often collect because the store manager should have known the lettuce was on the floor if he had been making proper inspections of the condition of the floor. Or a city can successfully be sued if you are injured when you trip on a large crack in the sidewalk, even if no one at the city government actually knew about the crack in the sidewalk. If your lawyer can help you develop evidence that the crack had been in the sidewalk for a long time, then you can often collect because the city should have known about the problem with the sidewalk.
FACT #2: When you are injured and miss time from work, you can collect money for the time you missed from work, even if your employer paid you while you were off. The law does not allow the person who caused your injury to be able to take advantage of the fact that your employer paid you while you missed work, and so you are entitled to the full value of the time you miss from work, whether you were actually paid for the time off or not.
FACT #3: When you are injured in an accident, the insurance company for the party that injured you is not likely to be looking out for your best interests. Insurance companies, like all businesses, are interested in making a profit. Many insurance companies are publicly traded corporations, and so they actually have a duty to their shareholders to make as much profit as possible. Their interest in talking to you after an accident is usually to want to settle with you for as little money as possible. Your case may be worth many thousands of dollars more than an insurance company offers you before you get a lawyer.
Only a lawyer experienced with personal injury claims can properly evaluate the money value of your injury. You will almost always wind up with a better settlement for yourself, even after your lawyer receives a contingent fee.
FACT #4: When you are injured in an accident, there are many expenses you are entitled to be compensated for, not just your medical bills and your time off of work. For example, you may be compensated for the cost of hiring extra household help, whether for cooking, cleaning, or child care. You may be compensated for extra transportation expenses you have for traveling to and from your doctor, your physical therapist, or your other care givers. You may even be compensated for the cost of job retraining and rehabilitation if you cannot go back to the kind of work you used to do before the accident. And, of course, you may be reimbursed for the pain and suffering you go through because of your injuries. These additional items can often be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Pain and suffering alone can be worth millions of dollars for very serious injuries.
FACT #5: Personal injury cases can often be complicated, and many times important legal work and investigation need to be started right away. Finding an experienced personal injury lawyer is important. You have the absolute right to ask a lawyer you are considering hiring for your case how much experience he has had handling injury cases. At Kurasch & Klein, we have obtained millions of dollars for our injured clients over the years. We treat every case with the importance and attention it deserves. We know what your case needs, and we know what has to be done to fight hard against the insurance companies.
FACT #6: At Kurasch & Klein, we offer free consultation to discuss your case. If you are in the hospital, or if you are unable to leave your home because of a serious injury, we will come to you. And, there is never a legal fee in a personal injury case until we win for you. You will never have to pay us any money whatsoever until your case is over, and even then, the legal fee is only a reasonable portion of the money we win for you.
HOW YOU CAN HELP YOUR LAWYER GET YOU THE SETTLEMENT MONEY YOU DESERVE
After an accident of any kind, your main job is to get better by getting all of the medical attention you need. If you are not seeing the doctor and telling the doctor about all of your complaints so that the doctor can record your problems in your medical chart, then the insurance company will assume you must be completely better, even if that is not true. More than anything else, your main job after an accident is to work closely with your doctors and therapists and rehabilitation experts to get back on your feet. Let your personal injury lawyer worry about getting everything else done to get you the money settlement or award you deserve. Here are some tips for you that will assist your lawyer in getting you that big settlement:
TIP # 1: Starting with the day of your accident, keep a written diary of everything that happens after your accident. You should write down all of your medical complaints, and all of your visits to the doctor. You should write down the date and time you have any important conversations with witnesses or doctors, or anyone else who might be a part of your case. It may be months before you are better, or the insurance company may try to stall your settlement, and unless you keep a diary that includes everything about your medical condition and your personal contacts, you might forget some of them.
TIP #2: Give your attorney all of the information he needs about your accident. Even if you think some of the information could possibly hurt your case, your lawyer must know everything. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to deal with all of the facts, whether they are good or bad - but, your lawyer must have all of the facts! Your lawyer will keep everything you tell him in confidence, and he will always treat you and your case with respect and dignity.
TIP #3: Don't talk to anyone but your attorney about your accident or your injury. You and your lawyer are the only ones truly interested in your success and welfare. The party that caused your accident, and his insurance company or legal representative will be doing everything they can to keep your final settlement down ---- or even from getting any settlement at all. That is why you must be very careful about who you talk to. Simple comments you make may be taken out of context and used against you.
Even if someone asks you how you are doing, and you say, "Fine," an insurance company could try to use that simple remark to mean that you weren't really hurt in the accident. There also may be differences of opinion about how an accident happened, and an innocent discrepancy in your story could be used against you. You simply should not speak to anyone at all about your case without your lawyer's permission.
TIP #4: Never sign your name to anything that your lawyer has not seen and approved. A representative of the insurance company for the person that caused your accident might try to have you sign your rights away, or agree to a smaller settlement than you deserve. They might even call you while you are in the hospital, or at home. You must tell such a person right away that you are represented by a lawyer, and give him your lawyer's name and phone number.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE INJURED ON THE JOB?
Injuries on the job are treated differently in the law than any other kind of injury. On the job injuries are covered by a written law known as the Workers' Compensation Act, which is a very long and complicated law. Work injuries are handled at the Illinois Industrial Commission, which has its main office at the State of Illinois building in downtown Chicago. The Industrial Commission itself encourages injured workers to obtain the services of a lawyer to safeguard your rights under the law.
There are three main areas of benefits that you are entitled to under the law known as the Workers' Compensation Act. Your employer carries a special kind of insurance policy called workers' compensation insurance which protects you when you are injured on the job, and that insurance policy pays out for each of the three areas of benefits you are entitled to.
Benefit #1: You are entitled to have all of your reasonable and necessary medical bills paid. You will be covered 100%, there are no deductibles which come out of your own pocket. You are covered for doctor and hospital bills, prescriptions, therapy, braces, casts, even occupational rehabilitation if that is necessary. You are allowed to go to any doctor of your own choosing, and you do not have to be treated by a doctor chosen by your employer's insurance company. While the insurance company is allowed to have you examined by a doctor they choose, their examining doctor is not allowed to treat you if you do not want him to. It is wise to be represented by a lawyer right from the start, so that you have the benefit of his advice as to whether the medical treatment you are getting will be covered. Also, the insurance company has the right to receive reports from your doctors, and your lawyer will help you make sure that your doctors are cooperating with the insurance company to the extent that all of your bills are paid.
BENEFIT #2: You are entitled to payments that take the place of your missed paychecks, no matter how long you are off work. These payments are known as temporary total disability payments, and they are generally in the amount of 2/3's of your gross, straight time wages. Your lawyer can help you make sure that your checks come regularly so that you can continue paying all of your normal bills for you and your family while you are off work.
BENEFIT #3: In the case of almost every injury, you are entitled to a settlement or an award of money to compensate you for the injury itself. These amounts are based upon a combination of your wages, the part of the body injured, and the seriousness of the injury. While the Industrial Commission must approve of any such settlement, there can be a very wide range of settlement amounts that the Industrial Commission will approve. The difference between an acceptable settlement at the low end of the scale, and an acceptable settlement at the high end of the scale, can be the difference of many thousands of dollars. One of the most important parts of your lawyer's job is to make sure your settlement or award is the highest possible amount of money you are entitled to.
At Kurasch & Klein, we offer you a free consultation about your work-related injury. You will not be charged a legal fee of any kind unless and until we win the case for you. Over the years, we have represented thousands of injured workers. At Kurasch & Klein, we work closely with your doctors, and we are in regular contact with the insurance company to make sure that all of your benefits are paid on time. We do everything possible to make sure that you and your family do not have to suffer because an insurance company might try to be slow in paying you your benefits.
The two most important things for you to do when you are injured on the job are to notify your employer right away that you have been injured, and to seek medical attention as soon as possible. There are many kinds of medical conditions that can be covered under the Workers' Compensation Act, and some of them would probably surprise you. There are certain circumstances where a heart attack can be considered an on-the-job injury. An allergic reaction to a substance you work with or near, or something in the air, can be considered a work-related injury. An injury like carpal-tunnel syndrome, which develops over a long period of time because of the kind of work you do, can be a work-related injury entitling you to all of the benefits of the Workers' Compensation Act.
After many years representing injured workers, we at Kurasch & Klein know that often an injured worker is afraid to hire a lawyer and make a workers' compensation claim because they think they will be suing their employer, or accusing them of something bad. That is absolutely NOT TRUE! A workers' compensation claim is not a lawsuit in any way, shape or form. It is not handled in a court, it is handled at the Illinois Industrial Commission. You do not file a lawsuit, you file an "Application" for your benefits. You do not accuse your employer of doing anything wrong because under the Workers' Compensation Act it does not matter whether the accident is your fault, your employer's fault, or no one's fault at all. It is simply enough under the law that you are injured on the job, and that by itself entitles you to benefits.
You must be aware, however, that an insurance company can dispute that your injury happened on the job. They can dispute that you are injured as seriously as you really are. They can dispute whether all of your medical bills were reasonable and necessary. That is why it is so important to have an experienced workers' compensation lawyer representing you right from the start. The sooner you are represented, the more likely it will be that your benefits are paid promptly and without interruption.