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IL accident lawyerWhen an injury from a car accident disrupts your life, the costs can add up quickly. It is not just the obvious out-of-pocket expenses like the medical bills from the day of the accident and the cost of your vehicle. Often, the true cost of a car crash cannot be accurately calculated until weeks or even months later. Some car accident victims ultimately have to change career paths, require ongoing medical treatment, or otherwise suffer hidden economic losses. This is one of the reasons that accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company too quickly and without consulting an attorney can lead to you losing out on funds you were entitled to. Before you consider accepting any type of settlement, always speak with an experienced attorney who can give you a better understanding of the costs you could be compensated for.

What Financial Losses Could I Receive Compensation for if I Was Hurt in a Car Crash?

Adding up the true cost of a car accident can be difficult. There are quite a few things to consider during this process, including any future losses. After a car accident, you could be compensated for:

  • Current medical costs - Any medical care you already received related to the accident should be paid for by the other driver’s insurance company.
  • Future medical costs - In many cases, car accident injuries take more than one or two visits to the doctor’s office to treat. You may need physical therapy for months afterward. You may require visits from a home health aid while you are recovering. It could turn out that conservative treatments like physical therapy do not work at all and you will ultimately require surgery. It is important that your settlement or award at trial reflects the likelihood of any needs for ongoing care.
  • Lost wages - Whether you stayed home from work for three days or three months, you likely lost income as a direct result of your accident. You can likely be compensated for any potential earnings you have missed out on because of your injuries.
  • Lost future wages - In extreme cases, you may never be able to return to the job you had. You could be forced to change career paths if you can no longer physically perform your old job duties. Or, you could have become unable to work period. This loss in future income can be calculated and included in your settlement. This amount can be quite substantial.

This is far from a complete list of all the expenses, both financial and non-economic, that you could be compensated for after a car accident. An attorney can help you determine what you may be entitled to.

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IL estate attorneyThe fact is that most people who live to a certain age are likely to experience age-related mental incapacity. Alzheimer's, dementia, and the natural effects of aging can lead you to become confused, disoriented, and unable to make important decisions or manage your own affairs. Someone else will have to step in and start making medical and personal decisions, as well as managing your finances. If no incapacity planning has been done, the most likely solution is court-ordered guardianship. Guardianship proceedings are public and can be very upsetting to the ward, who has little or no say over who the guardian will be. Incapacity planning allows you to make certain decisions ahead of time or appoint others to do so for you without any court involvement, so do not neglect this important part of estate planning.

What Legal Documents Are Part of Incapacity Planning?

When you start working on your incapacity plan, there are several documents your lawyer may use. These documents and their purposes include:

  • Living will - A living will allows you to directly make a few decisions about your end-of-life care. It does not take effect until you are incapacitated and terminally ill. You can make choices like whether you would want life-prolonging care in this situation or simply comfort care.
  • Health care power of attorney - If you are incapacitated, someone else will have to make medical decisions for you and access your medical records to inform those decisions. With a health care power of attorney, you can choose who that person will be. This gives you an opportunity to talk with that person and make sure they understand your wishes and are prepared to carry them out. It takes effect when you are deemed incapacitated.
  • Financial powers of attorney - These documents allow you to choose someone you would want to manage your financial affairs when you are no longer able to. This person will need to do things like making sure your bills are getting paid and managing your Social Security benefits. It takes effect either when you become incapacitated, or at any other time you choose.

You can be specific about what your agent can and cannot do on your behalf. You can add clauses saying that your agent must consent to pain control measures, but may not consent to treatment for incurable cancer. Or, you could use a clause in your financial power of attorney that prohibits your agent from selling the family home.

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IL injury lawyerBeing injured at all due to someone else’s negligence can be very upsetting even if you make a full recovery. Even injuries that are not catastrophic in nature can still force you to take time off from work while you heal or require follow-up visits with specialists or even some physical therapy. These are all losses or expenses that you could be compensated for. When an injury is life-altering or permanent, it may be referred to as a catastrophic injury. For those who have suffered this type of injury, life may never be the same.

If you have suffered this type of injury, you will need a skilled personal injury attorney to fight for you to receive full compensation for everything this injury will cost you.

What Types of Injuries Are Considered Catastrophic?

A catastrophic injury is one that will affect your life permanently. These very serious injuries often result in disabilities that can take you out of the workforce or leave you unable to fully care for yourself, your home, and anyone who depends on you. Injuries that are generally considered catastrophic include:

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IL estate lawyerEven under the best of circumstances, probate can be a complicated legal procedure. Months or even years could pass between the day your family member’s will (if there is one) is submitted to the probate court to the day you are able to collect your inheritance. There are a lot of steps involved with probate, all of which need to be carefully followed to avoid delays or unnecessary expenses. The sheer complexity of probate means this process is generally best supervised by a qualified attorney who is familiar with the procedures and can handle any potential pitfalls. If you anticipate any problems popping up, it may be wise to speak with a lawyer before initiating Illinois probate.

What Issues Might Make Probate Harder for My Family?

Whether you are getting ready to begin the probate process or debating whether you should try to avoid it in your estate plan, it is a good idea to be informed of some potential issues that can slow down or complicate probate. Any of the following concerns could lead to challenges in probate court:

  • Intestacy - Probate can go more smoothly when the decedent has offered guidance on how his estate property should be distributed in the form of a will. When there is no will, there is the additional step of determining who is entitled to inherit under the laws of intestacy.
  • Large estate - Trying to move a large estate through probate, especially one that is subject to the federal estate tax, can be quite a long and complicated process. All assets belonging to the estate must be accounted for and appropriately distributed, which can become time-consuming and tedious when the estate holds significant assets. However, in the absence of a trust, surviving loved ones may have no other choice.
  • Contests - There is always the possibility that a relative or other legitimately interested party will contest the will. Whether the challenger has a valid reason for bringing litigation or not, a will contest brings the probate process to a grinding halt. Significant expenses can be incurred in the course of addressing a will contest.
  • Executor - The personal representative named in the will may not be willing to carry out his duties. Perhaps he was unaware that he had been appointed, or the situation has changed and he is no longer willing or able to serve as personal representative. This can slow down the process, as the court may have to step in and replace an unwilling or uncooperative executor.

If you anticipate facing any of these challenges during probate, it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney well in advance to prepare. Or, if you are interested in learning how you can avoid these probate pitfalls through estate planning, a qualified attorney can tell you more.

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IL injury lawyerIllinois winters can bring mountains of snow, often accompanied by ice and strong winds. Anyone who has driven through a Chicago blizzard can tell you how cautious a driver must be to avoid an accident. Unfortunately, not everyone exercises this standard of care in driving through our often beautiful but dangerous winter weather. More motor vehicle accidents happen in the wintertime when drivers fail to respect the hazards associated with winter driving in Illinois.

If you were injured in a winter car crash, it is important that you contact an attorney promptly. The same weather conditions that contribute to crashes can quickly cover up needed evidence at the accident scene, so time is of the essence.

What Negligent Winter Driving Behaviors Cause Crashes?

To safely drive around in Illinois winters, there are a few precautions that should be taken. Failing to follow these safety recommendations can lead to serious accidents. In the winter, careless motorists may fail to:

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