Faq

IllinoisAttorney.Com

Is IllinoisAttorney.com a law firm?

Answer: Yes. IllinoisAttorney.com is a law firm registered with the Illinois Supreme Court. Unlike Lawyers.com, FindLaw.com, Legalzoom.com and other legal sites, we are a law firm actually solving legal problems. We do not cater to paid advertisers like many legal websites; we cater to our clients.

What happens if IllinoisAttorney.com refers me to another law firm

Answer: The rules of Illinois require that IllinoisAttorney.com will represent you as well as the other firm. It is like having two law firms for the price of one. The Retainer Agreement will identify which firm(s) represent you and will identify how the duties and responsibilities will be divided. Do not worry. The fees will be easily understandable and of course you will not be charged twice. IllinoisAttorney.com wants our service to make financial sense.

What is a contingency fee?

Answer: A contingency fee is where the law firm agrees to accept a percentage of an amount recovered as the fee. Under a contingency fee, the law firm assumes the risk of not recovering anything. The details of the amount of the fee and the recovery of expenses will be identified clearly in the Retainer Agreement. Contingency fees are customary for injury and collection cases. They are not permitted in criminal cases.

Can IllinoisAttorney.com help me if I have been sued?

Answer: Yes. If you have been served with a summons to appear in court, you should contact us right away. If a party does not file a response to the complaint in a timely fashion, a default judgment can be entered against the party. By the way, a default judgment can have the same force of law as a judgment after trial. We have experience defending cases as well as prosecuting them.

How much does it cost?

Answer: There is no fee to use our service. If you submit your matter and IllinoisAttorney.com agrees to represent you, there will be a Retainer Agreement that clearly identifies the fee for the service. There is no fee unless you sign something in writing which will clearly identify the fee.

What is a flat fee?

Answer: In many cases, IllinoisAttorney.com will offer a single fee for a service. It is kind of like a proposal to do work on your house. The only difference is that a home repair professional does not usually encounter another home repair professional trying to undo what he/she just did! When we offer a flat fee, we are taking a risk that something may get more complicated, but it provides financial certainty for our clients. Many of our large clients prefer the flat fee as it provides predictability for cases in large volume.

What is an hourly rate?

Answer: An hourly rate is when lawyers charge by the hour. At IllinoisAttorney.com, we charge hourly rates when identified in the Retainer Agreement. We break our time in to tenths of an hour. For example, if we speak with you on the phone and analyze an email you may be charge .1 of an hour multiplied by the rate charged by the attorney based on his experience. Our hourly rates are very competitive.

Can IllinoisAttorney.com help me if I am involved in a criminal action?

Answer: We have a network of defense lawyers that are experienced in your area. You could find one on your own, but let our experience work for you.

Creditor’s Rights

What are creditors’ rights?

Answer: Creditor’s rights are simply the right of an individual or an entity to collect on money that they are rightfully owed. Each state or jurisdiction has their own set of rules, but in Illinois, a creditor has the right to file a law suit and obtain a judgment against a debtor, put a lien on the debtor’s property, file wage garnishments, file bank garnishments, and various other remedies to make the creditor whole again. In addition, the rights of a creditor may not only be enforced against a debtor, but also against different creditors with competing claims.

Do I need an attorney?

Answer: If you have a debt you are trying to collect on, finding a creditors rights attorney would be the best avenue to protect yourself from violating any collection laws as well as to achieve the optimal results in collection of the debt that is rightly owed to you, such as the Fair Debt Collection Act, which is described more fully below. In addition, it will be the most efficient way in obtaining a judgment order and being able to exercise any post-judgment remedies, such as a wage or bank garnishment.

How much does it cost?

Answer: Our firm is willing to work with each creditor to determine the appropriate amount of fees that should be charged. Our firm would consider a contingency fee basis if the case is fairly straight-forward and a likelihood of recovery on the debt.

What is the Illinois Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”)?

Answer: This act was created as a matter of public policy to protect consumers from debt collection abuse. The Illinois Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (225 ILCS 425/1) applies to any “consumer credit transaction.” The FDCPA defines any consumer credit transaction as: “a transaction between a person and another person in which property, service or money is acquired on credit by that natural person from such other person primarily for personal, family or household purposes.” 225 ILCS 425/1 § 2. This act applies to third-parties who are attempting to collect on a consumer debt on behalf of someone else, namely collection agencies. There are some entities that are excluded from the Act; it does not apply to persons whose collection activities are confined to and are directly related to the operation of a business, such as a bank, an abstract company, licensed attorneys, credit unions, etc. The FDCPA requires collection agencies to register as such and also has a list of requirements that they must follow to legally attempt to collect a debt on behalf of someone else. The FDCPA limits those who are attempting to collect a debt on behalf of someone else from engaging in conduct considered harassing to the debtor, from calling at certain times that are considered unreasonable, and from communication with various third-parties, i.e. at the debtor’s place of employment, if the collection agency has reason to know that the employer prohibits the debtor from receiving such communication. This is a short summary of the Illinois Fair Debt Collection Act and there are many more facets to the act that should be discussed in detail with a creditors rights attorney before attempting to collect a debt on behalf of a third-party

Statutes of Limitation?

Answer: In Illinois, the statute of limitations for collection of a debt depends on the type of debt that is being collected. For example, the statute of limitations on debt collection based on a written contract (i.e. a promissory note, bills of exchange, written leases, etc.) is ten years from the date the cause of action accrued. However, if the debt collection is based upon an oral agreement, the statute of limitations is five years. If the debt is based upon a promissory note, or another negotiable instrument, the action must be commenced within ten years after the demand letter is sent to the debtor. Creditors can also sue consumers to collect on credit-card debt for five years.

Do I need a written contract to collect on a debt?

Answer: The answer is maybe. Oral contracts are legally enforceable in Illinois, so long as they do not violate the statute of frauds. Per Illinois law, there are certain types of contracts that must be in writing in order to be enforceable, such as contracts for the sale of land or those not capable of being performed within a year.

How is post-judgment interest calculated?

Answer: Per Illinois statute, if the judgment is based on a written contract, post-judgment interest is accrued at 9% per year, or the maximum amount that may be contracted under the law applicable thereto at the time the contract was made. The statutory post-judgment interest on money judgments is 5% per year.

How does a creditor enforce a judgment?

Answer: Once a creditor obtains a valid, enforceable judgment, they may enforce the judgments in a number of ways. Under Illinois law, post-judgment collection efforts are referred to as supplemental proceedings.

What is a wage garnishment?

Answer: If the debtor does not volunteer to pay off the debt or engage in any meaningful settlement discussions, the creditor can file a wage deduction action against the debtor. Under Illinois law, the amount of wages that are collectable is 15% of gross wages or the amount by which disposable earnings for a week exceed 45 times the greater of the federal and Illinois minimum wage. It is important to note that spousal and child support deduction orders have priority over all other wage deduction orders.

What is replevin?

Answer: Replevin is a means of collection that occurs prior to judgment. Similar to repossession, replevin occurs where the court orders that some property of a debtor be given to the creditor in partial or complete satisfaction of a debt. It differs from repossession in that the debtor has no pre-existing right to take control of the property. The court order gives him the power to do so. In some cases, a writ of replevin is chosen as the most efficient way to allow the creditor to extinguish the debt.

What is a citation/third-party citation to discover assets?

Answer: In many cases, a debtor will not respond to a court case pending against them on a debt all the way through the judgment phase of the process. Once judgment has been entered, a citation to discover assets may be issued against the defendant or against a third party, such as a bank at which they have an account. This citation freezes their non-exempt assets and requires a reporting as to which assets the party has and how they are kept. It allows the creditor a financial picture of the debtor so that post-judgment collection procedures may begin

What is a Turn Over Order?

Answer: A Turn Over Order is an order by a court that a debtor turn over certain property to a creditor after judgment. Generally, it is used to enforce a judgment already entered, but for which the debtor has not made any payment plan with the creditor. To obtain a Turn Over Order, a company may need to employ an attorney who specializes in post-judgment collections.

What is the difference between a debt collection agency and a law firm?

Answer: A debt collection agency merely sends communications asking a debtor to pay. If these efforts to persuade the debtor fail, the collection agency is basically worthless. In contrast, a law firm can initiate litigation itself. Only through litigation i.e. a court case can a creditor obtain a judgment which a is a enforceable legal obligation. A judgment allows creditors to pursue other remedies to get paid. At IllinoisAttorney.com, depending on our client’s desires we may send a demand for payment or simply file suit.

What do I do if I have delinquent accounts receivables?

Answer: First, it’s necessary to determine if the costs of collection are recoverable under the agreement that created the debt, and, if not, whether collection is worth the expense. Delinquent accounts receivable can be referred to either a collection agency or a law firm if your own in-house efforts have failed. An IllinoisAttorney.com we can help you determine if your account collection costs can be collected as well and give you the information you need to determine if collection is your best option.

What if the person who owes me money died?

Answer: Debts of a deceased debtor are paid out of the estate. Sometimes, however, those debts may be assigned to another person after the death of the debtor, such as the wife of the debtor or another joint owner of any property used to secure the debt. Debts of the estate are settled during the probate process. IllinoisAttorney.com can connect you with an attorney with the probate experience necessary to collect your debt from a deceased debtor if possible.

Commercial Litigation/Business Litigation

What is it?

Answer: Commercial litigation is a dispute between businesses or businesses and individuals with regard to commercial activity. The most common kinds of business litigation include contract disputes, employment disputes, and internal disputes, such as partnership or shareholder disputes.

Do I need a lawyer?

Answer: While many disputes can be resolved without the advice of an attorney, business disputes frequently involve complex legal issues, including piles of complex regulations and statutes. Tax issues and complex contractual duties may also muddy the waters. An attorney can help you determine, among other things, whether or not you need an attorney for the particular situation you are in. The responsive and experienced Illinois attorneys at IllinoisAttorney.com can help you figure out whether or not you need an attorney for your particular situation. Free initial consultations are available for most areas of law, so even if you find the landscape of your business dispute intimidating, we’ll be happy to show you the way forward.

Should I file a lawsuit?

Answer: A lawsuit should be a last resort during a business dispute. When you get a court involved, things become more formal and much more expensive than other methods of dispute resolution. Sometimes, a lawsuit is a necessary step for a business dispute, but your best bet is to hire a lawyer trained in alternative dispute resolution rather than simply jumping into a lawsuit right away. A business attorney recommended by IllinoisAttorney.com can help you determine alternatives to a lawsuit. In addition, they can navigate the court system for you if a dispute must be brought to a lawsuit.

What do I do when I get served?

Answer: “Getting served” is a broad terminology that includes many types of legal documents which the court requires that you get. If you’ve been sued, it’s important to talk to a local attorney as soon as possible to determine your best defense and to identify any counterclaims you may have against the party. Certain other legal documents can be answered without an attorney. For example, some kinds of citations or summonses only require information from you. An attorney from IllinoisAttorney.com can help you determine how much legal help you need. Contact an Illinois-licensed attorney with experience in business disputes to determine to do after you get served.

What Alternatives Dispute Resolution method should I use if I don’t want to sue?

Answer: If you don’t want to sue over a business dispute, alternative dispute resolution is your best route. Even if you want to leave the option to sue open, alternative dispute resolution may be a better place to start. The two most common kinds of dispute resolution are mediation and arbitration. Mediation is essentially a guided negotiation. A trained mediator will help you and the other parties to the dispute come to a mutually beneficial agreement by offering a neutral perspective. IllinoisAttorney.com can help you find a trained mediator and help you find a lawyer to decide how to prepare for the mediation. Arbitration is more formal than mediation. In Illinois, arbitration involves simplified rules of evidence and a trial-like process. An attorney can help guide you through the arbitration and represent your interests in the dispute, similarly to how they would at trial. Arbitrations are often binding on the parties, much like a trial, and it’s important to understand your rights and your legal duties during an arbitration. An experienced attorney can help you through an arbitration. IllinoisAttorney.com can also help you find an experienced arbitrator to arbitrate your dispute.

What is discovery? – subpoenas, depositions, interrogatories,

Answer: Discovery is the formal process of trading information prior to a trial or other formal legal dispute. Discovery is governed by its own set of rules and laws. When you are served with a discovery citation or other discovery papers, you sometimes have very little time to respond. IllinoisAttorney.com can help you quickly find the right lawyer for the situation and help you determine which information you need to turn over. Sometimes, information is sensitive or secret. There may be protections available to prevent other parties from requiring you to turn over certain information. If you are required to turn over information during discovery, you may still be able to protect trade secrets from public disclosure through a court order.

What do I do if someone breaches a contract with me? - ie mitigation of damages?

Answer: The first thing to do when someone breaches a contract with you is determine the seriousness of the breach. It’s possible that the right course of action for you or your business is to simply resume performance under the contract as soon as possible and waive your rights under the breach. If it’s impossible or unreasonable to try to move forward with the contract after the breach, it’s the responsibility of each party to mitigation or reduce and avoid as much expense as possible. For example, if someone breaks a lease with you, it’s your responsibility to try to find a replacement tenant instead of leaving the leased property empty and collecting from your former tenant. The next step is to determine your remedies under the lease. In order to figure out how to remedy a breach of contract, the experienced business lawyers at IllinoisAttorney.com will be happy to help you navigate your options.

What do I do if a corporation is dissolved and breached a contract with me?

Answer: If the corporation was properly created and dissolved, it may be very difficult to get a judgment against it or against the people who were shareholders before dissolution. However, there are circumstances in which you may have a right to collect some of the asserts of the corporation or sue the officers and shareholders of the corporation directly. This can be a very complex process, and an experienced business litigation attorney will be necessary to help you determine how to sue a dissolved corporation for breach of contract.

What do I do if my business is owed money?

Answer: There are several steps to the collections process in Illinois. It may be as simple as making a phone call or sending a reminder invoice to the party who owes you money. Descriptions of other steps can be found in our FAQ section on Creditor’s Rights.

What is a contingency fee?

Answer: A contingency fee is a fee you pay only if a certain thing happens, usually winning a court case. It is often measured as a percentage of the winnings. Contingency fees are one of the methods of payment a lawyer may accept. Contingency fees are commonly used in situations where a party might not have the means to pay a lawyer ahead of the judgment.

What is an alternative fee arrangement?

Answer: Any payment method for an attorney which is not an hourly billable rate is an alternative fee arrangements. Some common kinds of alternative fee arrangements include contingency fees and various forms of flat fees. For example, an attorney may charge a set amount for a certain kind of common case. Many of the attorneys at IllinoisAttorney.com offer alternative fee arrangements. If you can’t pay for an attorney who bills strictly by the hour or need flexibility in payment structure to meet your business needs, let us help you find an attorney who fits your budget and payment method today.

Where will my lawsuit take place if I decide to sue?

Answer: The location of your suits can be determined by the location of the defendants, where the thing you are suing over took place, where the businesses involved are incorporated or do business, or where relevant property is located. Determining the proper place to sue can be a complex question – both legally and strategically. Whether you file in state court or federal court can be determined by the subject matter involved as well. An experienced trial attorney can help you determine the best place to file your suit. IllinoisAttorney.com would be happy to help you find an attorney to determine where to file suit.

How long does an average law suit last?

Answer: Depending on the type of suit, the complexity of the issues, and the attitudes of the parties and lawyers involved, a lawsuit can take anywhere from months to years. It’s difficult to predict ahead of time how long a lawsuit will take. It’s important to note, however, that the court can often grant some temporary relief up front before the suit has been completed. An experienced litigator familiar with Illinois courts can help you get the relief you need while your case is pending. IllinoisAttorney.com would be happy to help you determine if you have the time for a full lawsuit and help resolve your case as quickly and professionally as possible.

What happens if someone who owes me money goes BK?

Answer: Oftentimes, it is still possible to receive some or all of the money you are owed when a debtor goes bankrupt. If you have properly secured your debt or filed a proper judgment lien, you may be able to claim the first right to the sale proceeds of certain assets. Most of the work necessary to protect yourself from bankruptcy must be done ahead of time. Thus, it’s important to consult a competent collections attorney before a debtor goes bankrupt. Whether you are looking to protect yourself from a future bankruptcy or an deal with an ongoing bankruptcy, the experienced collections and bankruptcy attorneys at IllinoisAttorney.com can help you find the right way to get as much of your credit repaid as possible.

Death Issues:

Do I need a will?

Answer: If you die intestate (the technical term for “without a will”), the court determines who gets your property when you die. In Illinois, this means that your relatives will receive distributions from your estate, beginning with your spouse and your children and moving up and down the family tree from there according to a complex and sometimes difficult to understand set of rules called “per stirpes” distribution. A will can help you control not only where your property goes, but in what proportions it goes there. Writing a will for a small estate can be a relatively simple and painless process that gives you the security to know where your assets will go when you die. If you have more complex issues with your estate, IllinoisAttorney.com can help you identify an estate lawyer you can trust with arranging your affairs.

What is a trust?

Answer: A trust is a legal instrument that gives someone else power to control your property for another person. The key players to the trust are you, the trustee, and the beneficiary. The only two people here who absolutely must be separate people are the trustee and the beneficiary. The trustee manages the property for the benefit of the beneficiary. There are several types of trust, including living trusts, which are created while you are alive; testamentary trusts, which are created by your will upon your death; revocable trusts, which can be rescinded; and irrevocable trusts, which cannot be.

What is a guardian?

Answer: A guardian is someone who has legal control over another for their benefit. The most common form of guardianship is over a child, where a person takes the legal position of a parent over another. A guardian may be appointed through a will to ensure that a child is cared for after the passing of the child’s parents. If you want control over who takes care of your child after your death, it may be important to appoint a guardian through your will.

What is a power of attorney, do I need one? (healthcare and property)

Answer: A power of attorney gives a person the power to make legally binding decisions on behalf of another. There are two basic areas in which powers of attorney are commonly granted – with regard to the disposition of property (such as houses and other very valuable assets) and with regard to healthcare choices. By granting a power of attorney, you can decide who you trust with making important decisions on your behalf if you are unable to for any reason. An Illinois estate planning attorney found through IllinoisAttorney.com can help you determine if you need to grant a power of attorney to another person and how best to go about that.

How do I modify my will?

Answer: You can modify your will in one of two basic ways – either by writing a codicil or by writing an entirely new will. A codicil must be created with similar formality to creating a will. If a change is extensive enough, it may be wise to simply write a new will entirely, which will replace your former will.

Do I need an estate plan?

Answer: An estate plan is the whole system for dealing with your property after your death. It may include your will, the types of joint property you own, the types of gifts you’ve made and taxes you’ve paid, and a number of other concerns that vary based on your situation. The more complex your family and financial situation, the more likely you are to need an estate plan. Everyone should be conscious of where there assets are going when they die, even if they don’t have many. An experienced estate attorney can help you determine what kind of estate planning you need to take care of your family after you die.

Do I need a lawyer to draft my will?

Answer: There are many websites and software programs available for writing a will on your own. IllinoisAttorney.com does not recommend any of them in particular, but for some people they may be a valid option. Given the reasonable rates and alternative fee arrangements available with the attorneys at IllinoisAttorney.com, a consultation with a lawyer can help you better understand your options. If your estate is large, your family is complex, or you have complex wishes for what happens to your property after you die, hiring an estate attorney to write a will for you maybe your best course of action. With our free consultation, we’d be happy to help you determine your best course of action.

What are the requirements of a valid will?

Answer: The will must be made by someone of sound mind and memory who is over 18. A valid will must also be signed by the will maker and two witnesses who are not beneficiaries to the will. The will must also be declared valid after the death of the testator by a court.

Personal Injury

What is a slip and fall?

Answer: “Slip and fall” is the term used for an injury that occurs as a result of (you guessed it) slipping and falling. The slip and fall may be the result of a temporary unsafe condition, such as wet floors or improperly cleaned sidewalks, or a longer-term condition, such as improperly maintained stairs. When you fall and are injured in one of these situations, you are often entitled to compensation for your injury, including hospital bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A settlement or judgment can go a long way to reducing the expenses you have to pay as the result of an injury. Most slip and fall lawsuits are resolved outside of court after negotiations between the parties. It’s important to know the law and what kinds of settlements are usual in these cases to get the settlement you deserve. An experienced attorney has access to all of this information and can tell you whether you should file a lawsuit a case, and, if so, how much you can expect to recover in a suit. The attorneys at IllinoisAttorney.com would be happy to answer your questions about these issues.

What do I do if I in a car accident?

Answer: Car accidents are one of the most common causes of death in the US, and the consequences of a car crash can last a lifetime. Often, victims of traffic collisions spend significant amounts of money in hospital bills and car repair or replacement. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not always ready to pay what they owe the victims of crashes with their insured drivers. We can help you negotiate a proper settlement with insurance companies or see you through the litigation process if necessary. Taking the correct steps up front will make the process smoother later on. First, gather as much information about the accident as you can as soon as you can. Try to determine the name of the other driver or drivers involved, who was coming from where in what car. This may take the form of getting a report from witnesses or taking down the contact information of those involved. Oftentimes, you will be too upset or hurt to do this effectively. This is why it is essential that this information by gathered by a professional, preferably a police officer. Reporting to the police as early as possible offers a disinterested account of what happened and create an official record of the occurrence. It is also required by the law in most states, including Illinois. Second, seek medical attention for any injuries. Your health comes first in these circumstances. It’s essential that you take whatever steps are reasonable to prevent your injuries from getting worse or causing more long-term harm than they already will. In addition, seeking medical attention right away gives you a clearer picture of what to ask for from the insurance company or from the other driver, depending on what course you end up taking for compensation. Third, contact your insurance company and follow their processes for filing a claim. This may be your final step, depending on the circumstances of the accident and your insurance company’s reaction. Fourth, if the insurance company doesn’t fully compensate you for your injuries and the pain and suffering which follows your accident, contact an attorney. The attorneys at IllinoisAttorney.com will be happy to represent you or connect you to a lawyer who can help you. Whether you have a claim against an insurance company or a lawsuit against a reckless driver, the personal injury attorneys available to you through IllinoisAttorney.com will be happy to discuss your case with you.

What do I do if I was in an accident with a semi-truck?

Answer: The procedure here is nearly identical to the procedure when in an accident with a passenger car. The only difference is that it’s important to find out which company the trucker works for. If you have a claim against a trucking company, the personal injury attorneys at IllinoisAttorney.com will help you get what you deserve, regardless of what the trucking company’s lawyers try to prevent you from getting what you deserve.

What do I do if I was bit by a dog?

Answer: Dog owners have a duty to protect people from their animals. IF you’ve been bitten by a dog, the owner may be liable to you to compensate you for the injury. In some states, a dog gets “one free bite”, meaning the owner is sometimes not liable for the first time their dog bites someone. Luckily, Illinois is a “first bite” state, which means that the first time a dog attacks someone, their owner may be held liable for the injury. To determine if you can recover damages for being injured by a dog to help pay hospital bills or make up for lost time from work, contact a local personal injury attorney. IllinoisAttorney.com can connect you with a local attorney familiar with dog bite cases.

Can I recover damages for my injury?

Answer: Generally, you can recover damages from someone if you were injured by them and they owed you a duty to either protect you from the harm that occurred or to avoid doing it to you. For example, if a driver negligently hits you with their car, you may be entitled to damages from them. For more information, please see the question on types of damages below.

What if I was injured at work?

Answer: First, you must report your injury to your employer within 45 days of its occurrence or, in the case of a stress injury, within 45 of its manifestation. Be sure that this report is in writing and that you received a copy. It’s important to note that your employer or their insurance carrier have the right to monitor your activity after reporting to ensure that the injuries represented in the report are accurate, so be honest. Second, If you plan on filing a claim, it’s also important to contact an Illinois worker’s compensation lawyer as soon as possible. IllinoisAttorney.com would be happy to connect you with a worker compensation lawyer licensed in Illinois who works in your city.

What if medication or environmental factors caused illness? (ground water, prescription)

Answer: When contaminated water, air, food, or medication or a product that was inherently unsafe even without contamination has injured you or a loved one, you may entitled to compensation. An Illinois attorney familiar with class action lawsuits in environmental or defective product cases can help you and others affected by irresponsible businesses and cities get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Often drugs or food products go onto the market without being sufficiently tested or controlled for quality. An attorney familiar with lawsuits brought on these issues in the past may help make getting a settlement to pay your medical costs and compensate you for the loss or injury of loved ones easier. In addition, lawsuits against companies that injure large groups of people through their carelessness or indifference can be prevented from continuing to harm others if you take action against them. Injuries from mass-produced items such as medicine, food, or dangerous products normally affect large groups of people at once, sometimes individuals who don’t yet know the costs they’ve suffered. It often takes an individual speaking out to prevent further damage to others and make sure that everyone gets the compensation they deserve.

What damages are recoverable?

Answer: There are three basic types of damages in personal injury cases that can be recovered by two types of plaintiffs. The types of claimants are the victim of the injury and those closely associated with them. If someone is made incompetent to sue, you may be allowed to sue on their behalf as a guardian appointed by the court. For more information on acting as a guardian, see guardianship below. For more information on recovering for injuries to a family member, see wrongful death below. The damages collectable by the victim of an injury include economic and noneconomic. Economic damages are usually what people think of first when deciding to pursue a personal injury claim for a car accident or slip and fall case in Illinois. These damages, also called actual damages, are meant to put you back into the same position you were before the injury. They include personal injury costs such as doctor’s bills for medical care, property damage (for example, damage to a car from an auto accident), costs of ongoing care, and lost earnings. Lost earnings may include a loss of income potential from the injury. For example, even if you have been able to work since the injury, you may be entitled to damages if that work pays less because you’re unable to do your previous job after the injury. Noneconomic damages cover harms that are not directly measurable in bills or wages. For example, pain and suffering caused by the injury, including pain and suffering because of disfigurement or emotional trauma, may be included in damages for a personal injury. You may also be entitled to recover for loss of consortium as a result of your injury. In some cases, a personal injury attorney may be able to prove that the person who injured you has behaved intentionally or in a particularly nasty way. If that happens, an Illinois attorney may be able to help you get compensation beyond the immediate costs of your losses called punitive damages. Punitive damages punish defendants who hurt you through particularly wicked acts

What are statutes of limitations?

Answer: The law requires that most kinds of cases, including personal injury cases, be filed within a certain amount of time. If you fail to file your case before the statute of limitations runs out, you may be barred from ever filing it at all! Personal injury statutes of limitations vary based on the injury and other surrounding circumstances, including the age and mental condition of the plaintiff. The shortest statute of limitations in personal injury cases is the one year limitation on cases against certain municipal agencies, such as the Chicago Transit Authority or a public school. In these cases, the defendant must be notified within 6 months of the injury in order for a case to move forward. In other cases, the statute of limitations may be extended. For example, if you are injured before you turn 18, the statute of limitations may begin to run only after you’ve turned 18. The specific facts of your case may alter the statute of limitations that applies to you. An Illinois personal injury attorney can help you determine how much time you have remaining to file your case. It’s best to contact one as soon as you think you have a case. IllinoisAttorney.com would be happy to connect you with the right attorney for your case to discuss when you should file. A local personal injury attorney will know the correct timing for your personal injury case.

What is wrongful death?

Answer: Wrongful death occurs when someone illegally causes the death of your family member. Family members can stand in for the victim of an injury when the victim is injured if the injury kills the victim. If your loved one, such as a parent or spouse, has been wrongfully killed by someone else in a car accident or an act of medical malpractice, you may be able to collect damages on their behalf. Because your mother, father, husband, wife, or child is no longer able to stand up for themselves after someone else hurt them, the court may allow you to hold a wrongdoer responsible for harming your family member. Especially when you lose someone upon whom you’ve depended for financial support, an attorney may be able to hold a defendant responsible for killing your loved one. In these cases, you may be entitled to compensation not only for the deceased’s lost wages, but also for the loss of their companionship and the pain you’ve suffered as a result of the death of your loved-one. Wrongful death cases often involve emotionally difficult situations. Having an attorney with the expertise and knowledge needed to handle such a case properly can be invaluable when litigating over the death of someone dear to you. The experienced attorneys at IllinoisAttorney.com have the expertise to find you the right attorney in your area and would be grateful for the opportunity to help you through the trying situation that surrounds the death of a loved-one.

What is loss of consortium?

Answer: Loss of consortium originated in early common law (the system of law we use in most of the US, including Illinois) as compensation for the loss of “wifely services” when someone injured your wife. It has been extended to more relationships than wives, but still focuses on the marital relationship. When someone injures your spouse, you may be entitled to compensation from them. This compensation covers the time the injury prevents your spouse from engaging in your relationship the way they did while they were healthy. We all know that injuries affect all areas of our lives, not just those that take place at work or in a hospital. Loss of consortium allows you recover damages for the effect an injury has on your private conduct as well. In addition to the traditional recovery basis, loss of consortium damages now include more general injuries to companionship. The damages for loss of consortium may include loss of companionship in general or lack of access to specific acts customarily carried out by the injured spouse, such as childcare or other household support.

What is loss of consortium?

Answer: Loss of consortium originated in early common law (the system of law we use in most of the US, including Illinois) as compensation for the loss of “wifely services” when someone injured your wife. It has been extended to more relationships than wives, but still focuses on the marital relationship. When someone injures your spouse, you may be entitled to compensation from them. This compensation covers the time the injury prevents your spouse from engaging in your relationship the way they did while they were healthy. We all know that injuries affect all areas of our lives, not just those that take place at work or in a hospital. Loss of consortium allows you recover damages for the effect an injury has on your private conduct as well. In addition to the traditional recovery basis, loss of consortium damages now include more general injuries to companionship. The damages for loss of consortium may include loss of companionship in general or lack of access to specific acts customarily carried out by the injured spouse, such as childcare or other household support.

Arrested

What is a DUI/DWI?

Answer: DUI (sometimes known as DWI, “driving while intoxicated”, in other states) stands for “driving under the influence”, and in Illinois, the blood alcohol content (“BAC”) necessary to be charged with a DUI varies based on circumstances. In general, if you have a BAC over .08, you are guilty of driving under the influence. However, if you have a BAC between .05 and .08 and you’re driving erratically, you may also be prosecuted for DUI. Illinois also has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. Any driver under 21 with a BAC over 0.00 can be prosecuted for driving under the influence. Commercial drivers are held to an even stricter standard; a BAC of 0.04 or above is considered DUI while driving on a commercial driver’s license.

What are the consequences of getting a DUI?

Answer: If you have a BAC of 0.08, your license is automatically suspended. You may also face steep fines and penalties. It’s imperative to find a good DUI lawyer as soon as you know you may be charged with a DUI to avoid or limit these consequences as much as possible. The first license suspension for a DUI is at least 6 months to a year, and subsequent license suspensions can last much longer. You may also be required to install an expensive ignition interlock device and pay monthly rental fees once you regain your license to drive.

Does it matter where I get my DUI?

Answer: Nope! Illinois has reciprocal agreements with other states allowing prosecution in Illinois and suspension of your license within Illinois. Drinking and driving across the border can have consequences here in Illinois, even if you’re prosecuted in the other state. Where in Illinois you reside or where the DUI allegedly occurred can change where you need to appear in court. Having a local Illinois DUI lawyer, whether in Cook County or St. Clair County, can make the process easier on you.

What is a felony?

Answer: A felony is actually a set of offenses under Illinois law. They are divided into four classes, which, in order of severity are class X felonies, class 1 felonies, class 2 felonies, class 3 felonies, and class 4 felonies. The penalties for a felony include fines and jail time. Jail time for a felony can range from 1 year to life depending on the class of felony committed. Fines can be as high as $25,000 for each felony and prosecutors tend to charge each defendant with several crimes during one trial. Because of the seriousness of these crimes and their consequences, you need an Illinois lawyer you can trust when these kinds of charges are brought against you.

What is a misdemeanor?

Answer: Non-felony crimes in Illinois are often misdemeanors, including DUIs, marijuana possession and other common criminal matters. Penalties for these crimes include up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. Having an experienced criminal lawyer may help you reduce these penalties or avoid them altogether if you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor.

What happens when I lose my driver’s license/commercial drivers license?

Answer: It is often possible to obtain a Restricted Driving Permit (“RDP”) after having your license suspended. These permits are issued to those for whom being without a license impairs their ability to drive to work, school, or important medical appointments for themselves or family members. It may also be possible to have your license suspension lifted after a short hearing and drug or alcohol rehabilitation activities, depending on your assessment by a hearing officer. The process can involve quite a bit of paperwork and several hearings. Having an Illinois DUI attorney on your side can help streamline the process and get you back on the road. If your license suspension remains in effect, it is effective across state borders. States have access to a shared database to prevent one state from issuing licenses to someone whose license was suspended in a different state. The best way to deal with a suspended license is directly, rather than trying to sidestep the issue by obtaining a license from another state.

What is an arraignment?

Answer: During an arraignment, the court informs a criminal defendant of the charges against them, sets bail, and offers the defendant an opportunity to plead. An arraignment is sometimes the first court proceeding at which your presence is required. You may be informed of your rights at this time and have the charges you’re facing explained to you by the court. It’s important to have an attorney in these situations because this can be a critical stage in any case, particularly with regard to how to plead and the consequences of the plea entered. IllinoisAttorney.com will find you an attorney before your arraignment to prepare you for the experience and stand with you in court or after your arraignment to help you deal with the continuing case. An important element of your arraignment is bail. The process of setting bail takes into account several factors, including your ties to the community and your resources, which an experienced attorney can use to persuade the court to lower your bail.

What if there is a warrant out for my arrest?

Answer: The amount of time police put into executing an arrest warrant depends on how the warrant originated. Warrants are issued for everything from past due traffic citations to missing child support payments to serious crimes like assault or murder. The more serious the matter, the more likely it is that the police will actively look for you. No matter what the basis for the warrant, certain daily situations may lead to your arrest. For example, renewing your license at the DMV or being pulled over for a minor traffic violation may lead to your arrest on the spot. The best thing to do when you become aware of a warrant issued against you varies by situation. An experienced attorney can help you decide how best to react to a warrant and walk you through the process of appearing in court to pay fines or through criminal trial, as appropriate. The experienced attorneys at IllinoisAttorney.com would be happy to discuss your warrant with you and connect you with an attorney best suited to your needs.

What if I missed my court date?

Answer: When you miss a court date, the court may issue a bench warrant, which is an arrest warrant for the misdemeanor of failure to appear in court. Missing a court date may also be a violation of your parole if you are on parole. It is often possible to avoid serious consequences by dealing with the matter up front. It’s obviously best to appear on time when summoned to a court hearing, but if you’ve missed one, you should address the situation as soon as possible. An experienced criminal attorney can help you determine the best way to do that. Depending on the nature of the court date, a number of things may be necessary. Missed court dates for traffic citations sometimes simply require that you show up to the court and pay any applicable fines. Other situations may be more complicated. No matter what the situation, it will be easier to resolve on your own initiative. Police officers and the court are less likely to be lenient if they find you before you present yourself to them. If you were out on bail, you may forfeit your bail money by failing to appear.

What is probation? Did I violate probation/what if I violated probation?

Answer: Probation is a conditional release from detention. When on probation, you face certain restrictions on your behavior, such as being required to stay in a certain area or being forbidden from associating with certain people. Most probation requires regular contact with a probation officer and drug screenings. The conditions of probation vary from case to case. A lawyer can help you determine what you are and are not allowed to do in a particular case. When you violate probation, it’s often by committing a separate or new criminal act. If this happens, you’ll be expected to answer for violating your probation and may be put on trial for a new criminal conviction. It is essential to have the advice of an attorney in this case, as the total penalty for committing a crime while on probation may be significantly greater than the penalty for committing a crime alone. Probation is often available only to first time offenders, so it’s unlikely that you’ll get another shot at it if you’re convicted of committing a new crime while on probation.

Do I blow in the breathalyzer?

Answer: Illinois is an “implied consent” state, which means that operating a motor vehicle in Illinois is considered consent to be searched for signs of intoxication, including breathalyzer tests. This means that refusal to take a breathalyzer test can net you a 6 month suspension of your license automatically. Refusing the breathalyzer may guarantee you the same penalty as a DUI conviction. However, if you’re sure you haven’t had enough to drink to justify a DUI conviction (See Above: What are the consequences of getting a DUI? And What is a DUI/DWI?), it may be best to take the breathalyzer test and move on with your evening. The test can clear up a police mistake very quickly, since it can verify that you are not, in fact, over the legal limit. Be aware, however, that the legal limit can be significantly lower than the standard .08 BAC if your driving has been erratic or unsafe. The lawyers who work with IllinoisAttorney.com would love to be with you to give advice about taking the breathalyzer on the spot, but, alas, you are not entitled to have an attorney with you in those situations. Whether you take the breathalyzer test or not, an attorney from IllinoisAttorney.com would be happy to discuss your current situation.

What is an unreasonable search and seizure?

Answer: The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits unwarranted searches of people and places or seizures of any item or person unless it is “reasonable”. Generally, police may only search a person when they have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and an immediate search is needed to uncover evidence of that crime or when they have reason to believe that a person may be concealing dangerous weapons from them during an otherwise lawful stop. The Fourth Amendment also protects your interest in privacy by preventing police from monitoring your private conduct in certain places and circumstances. Unfortunately for many defendants, your car is often not one of those places. If you have been subjected to a search or seizure that violated your Fourth Amendment protections, you may be entitled to exclude evidence seizure from your trial. It’s important to realize that this area of the law can be quite nuanced. An experienced attorney can help advise you on your rights with regard to searches and seizures, perhaps excluding certain evidence from your criminal case.

Do I need a lawyer?

Answer: When you are arrested, a number of complex constitutional and other legal rights and responsibilities are triggered for both you and for the police involved in your arrest. It is often intimidating and confusing to try to navigate these rights on your own. An experienced Illinois criminal attorney can help you protect your rights when you are arrested. If you’ve been arrested, it’s important to contact an attorney right away to preserve any possible defenses you might have to criminal charges filed against you. IllinoisAttorney.com would be happy to put you in touch with a criminal attorney who has experience in the criminal charges pending against you.

What is “possession with intent to distribute”?

Answer: “Possession with intent to distribute” means having drugs that you plan to sell to someone else. The state will sometimes infer intent to distribute simply from the amount of the drug confiscated from you. It is vital in these cases to retain an attorney as soon as possible, one who knows the law in Illinois and is familiar with the constitutional limits on police searches and seizures. (See above: What is an unreasonable search and seizure.) A lawyer may be able to get your case thrown out after having illegally seized evidence excluded from the trial. Possession with intent to distribute may be either a state or federal criminal matter, depending on whether or not you crossed state lines during the alleged crime. Depending on the drug you’re charged with attempting to distribute, Illinois law may consider this crime as serious as a class X felony, which is most serious type of felony in Illinois. Drugs included in class X include cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.