Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Earlier this year, we documented the successful effort to raise the limit capping compensation, reimbursement for medical bills and pain and suffering in Indiana for medical malpractice lawsuits. As a plaintiff’s litigation firm, we make our concern for these limits no secret as they impact the ability for people, injured through no fault of their own, to receive fair and adequate compensation for their injury. We have seen far too many tragic cases where victims in states with such caps face financial ruin because they are unable to be compensated for astronomical medical bills or worse, are unable to pay for the basic and necessary care that their injuries now require. The battle over these caps, and their constitutionality in our justice system, is playing out in states across the country. Today we look at the most recent battle that is taking place in the state of Florida, which has come to a head with a recent ruling this past month. Continue reading

Earlier this summer we wrote about Chicago’s expanded use of bicycle lanes and trails as well as bicycle safety and the steps to take if you are involved in a bike accident. It is wonderful to see Chicago investing in bike paths and expanding its reputation as a bike friendly city. In fact, Chicago now has more than 290 miles of designated bike lanes. However, this expansion and increased ridership has recently brought bicycle safety to the urefront of public discussion. Just last week, the Chicago Tribune published an editorial lamenting that bicycle accidents, injuries and even fatalities are on the rise.

The statistics speak for themselves. The Tribune notes that since June, four bike riders have lost their lives in collisions between bicycles and automobiles. These accidents are not confined to a single area but span points as far west as Garfield Park to the Oak Street Beach lakefront. In fact, in 2014, there were 1,663 crashes between vehicles and bicycles, which represents a 27% increase over the number of similarly reported crashes in 2005. Likewise, fatalities are also on the rise. Continue reading

Both attorneys at Leopold & Associates are avid bike riders who often take Chicago’s Lakefront Trail to get to and from the office each day. One of the best parts of Chicago is the numerous options for bikers to get around the city on beautiful trails along the lake or through some of Cook County’s forest preserves. So we were especially sad to learn of a recent death involving a rider of a Divvy bike-share bicycle in the Avondale neighborhood earlier this month. According to WGN, this death is believed to be the first bike sharing fatality in the United States.

In some ways, it is a testament to the City of Chicago’s bike-friendly approach that there have not been more tragic accidents involving the bike-sharing program. Chicago is in the midst of a massive bicycle expansion. As part of its Streets for Cycling 2020 plan, the city has begun installing more than 100 miles of separate and protected dedicated bike lanes across Chicago. These lanes come after years of planning and input from all corners of the city and aim to create not only recreational trails throughout much of the city’s waterfront and nature preserves but also lanes to be used by commuters that connect to all parts of the city. Studies show that recent installations have increased ridership by more than 60% in some areas with new dedicated bike lanes. Continue reading

The nation-wide recall of certain automobiles equipped with Takata airbags just grew by hundreds of thousands. Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration added more than three hundred thousand vehicles to a recall list that is not only record breaking, but quite simply, mind-blowing. With this latest addition, the number of recalled vehicles totals over sixty million in the United States alone. As the New York Times reported on June 30, 2016, “in an urgent plea to car owners, federal safety regulators on Thursday warned that airbags in more than 300,000 older Honda and Acura vehicles were at an unacceptably high risk of exploding, and needed to be replaced immediately.” Continue reading

This past summer, we wrote about a law in Indiana that prevents medical malpractice victims from receiving fair and adequate compensation when their lives are drastically altered by a doctor’s medical error. In its current form, Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act, Ind. Code. Ann. § 34-18-14-3, places an absolute cap on compensation for losses such as medical bills, pain, suffering, the cost of future medical care, a loss of wages or any loss of a normal life at $1.25 million. This law has caused families to go bankrupt, lose their homes or live on welfare because of a medical mistake that was no fault of their own. Recently, however, a family from Evansville, Indiana has challenged the constitutionality of this law. Continue reading

One of the most pressing issues facing the city of Chicago is the current gun violence that plagues the community. It seems as though every day the local news is reporting on another shooting or other violent crime involving guns across the city. While the issue of gun control and firearm regulation has sparked heated debate across the county, the neighboring city of Milwaukee recently tried a new, untested approach at regulating firearms: using the legal system to hold gun shops who are careless in firearm sales accountable for violent crime resulting from an illegal sale. Just yesterday, Milwaukee’s efforts appeared successful. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, “a jury late Tuesday found Badger Guns and its owner liable in the wounding of two Milwaukee police officers in a first-of-its-kind verdict that was being watched nationwide. Continue reading

Leopold & Associates has been fighting for victims of serious injuries in the Chicago area for more than 30 years. During that time, our clients have come to rely on us for being accessible and down to earth while working our hardest to be tireless advocates for our clients’ legal rights. We pride ourselves on being available for our clients, even long after a case may have ended. We are always happy to try our best to answer any legal question you may have. In that light, we tried to compile some of the most frequent questions our clients ask us about their cases. Continue reading

Quite often, the individuals involved in a serious car accident focus on the initial cause of the accident.  Did a vehicle cut another driver off when changing lanes?  Did a driver lose control of his or her car when racing down the highway at a dangerous speed?  Were the roads icy or unsafe to travel on?  These questions are generally the starting point of any accident investigation.  Yet it is also important to look at the resulting damage and what factors may have contributed to the severity of the accident and whether steps could have been taken to minimize or mitigate any harm that came to a driver or passenger after the initial cause of the accident occurs.  Recently, a federal court in Texas focused on the latter issue holding a highway guardrail manufacture liable for serious injuries, and even deaths, caused by a design change in the companies’ guardrails.  This finding of liability resulted in a $663 million judgment. Continue reading

Earlier this week, a Chicago CTA Bus drove off the road on Michigan Avenue killing one person and seriously injuring several others.  Last month, there was a horrific derailment of an Amtrak train outside of Philadelphia that left eight passengers dead, hundreds more injured and is expected to cost over $200 million in damages and insurance claims.  These tragedies are stunning in regards to not only the number of injured but also the extent of their injuries. And because they involve paying passengers who are being transported by someone else, they are looked at very differently under the law. Continue reading

One of the most common questions clients ask is why an insurance company, doctor or hospital has placed a lien on the proceeds from their claim settlement or lawsuit verdict? A lien is a type of claim seeking to recover money spent by a healthcare provider to treat a plaintiff’s injuries. The lien allows the provider to be reimbursed for these expenses from the proceeds of any settlement or judgment in connection to the event that caused these injuries. Under Illinois law, a lien is a valid way for medical providers to be reimbursed for outstanding expenses made on a plaintiff’s behalf. See 770 ILCS 23/10. Most health care providers also assert lien recovery rights as a condition of coverage in a health insurance policy.

Example of a lien: The most common example of a medical lien occurs when a health insurance company pays for a plaintiff’s medical care after the plaintiff was injured due to the fault of a third party. These situations commonly occur after auto accidents. For example, when a person is taken to the emergency room following an accident, his or her own individual health insurance policy general pays for the emergency services. When another person is at fault for the accident that caused this emergency treatment (referred to in the insurance industry as the “third party liable”), the injured person (the “plaintiff”) can generally recover the cost of their medical care from the insurance company of the responsible party. At the same time, his or her health insurance company will file a lien seeking reimbursement for the cost of his or her care. The plaintiff then satisfies the lien by refunding his or her own health insurance company for any amounts that were paid for their care. Such an arrangement is fair public policy as without a lien and subsequent refund, a plaintiff would recover their expenses twice: first, through the payment by their health insurance company and a second time when the insurance company for the responsible party reimburses the plaintiff for his or her medical expenses.

There are two important rules that affect how medical bills and liens are determined and compensated:  Continue reading