PHILLIPS LAW WINS $25 MILLION CIVIL SUIT ON BEHALF OF OWI CRASH WIDOW

Posted on: February 18, 2015 by in Auto Accidents, Car Accidents
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DSC_0374On February 13, Phillips Law Offices of Chicago, Illinois received a $25 million verdict in Gary, Indiana on behalf of a widow who lost her husband of 40 years because of the selfishness of a drunk driver and the negligence of two restaurants who served that driver excessive amounts of alcohol. Our client married her husband when she was 19. She had a heartfelt and true partnership with him until a drunk driver drove onto the shoulder of a road where our client’s husband was helping a disabled trucker change a flat. The driver consumed 21 shots at a restaurant and then three glasses of wine at a second restaurant in the hours before the tragedy. The second restaurant was a mere 45-second drive from the accident site.

Despite overwhelming evidence – a 0.19 blood alcohol content level measured two hours after the collision and the odor of alcohol wafting from his Range Rover as state troopers approached – both restaurants and their insurance companies denied that the driver was intoxicated while at their establishments on the night of the tragedy. In fact, for four years, they denied any fault in causing our client’s husband’s death. (This was the driver’s fifth alcohol related traffic offense). In spite of the overwhelming evidence, the insurance company’s attorneys refused to offer our widow client a fair pre-trial settlement. In fact, the insurance companies and drunk driver put our client and her family under a microscope for four years. Those tactics were exposed during the 5-day trial. The jury spoke loudly and unequivocally about the value of our client’s enormous losses due to the gross misconduct of the defendants.

This was a record verdict. Stephen D. Phillips and Jill M. Webb of Phillips Law Offices were honored to represent and help a widowed client who was bullied for 4 years by insurance companies and a drunk driver’s lawyer. The verdict reaffirms that our jury system protects common men and women by putting them on the same level playing field as powerful insurance companies who wish it were not so and who are constantly trying to change the system and send innocent victims home with pennies despite their horrific losses.

How can acts of abuse or neglect by an assisted living center be addressed in legal proceedings?

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There are many legal options for addressing the abuse or neglect of an elderly loved one by an assisted living center. When you seek counsel from an experienced Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer, your attorney will help you consider all facets of your case, from the facts and circumstances to the attitude of the assisted living center’s insurance company, before deciding on the best legal strategy for you.

Many people fear that filing an abuse claim will require going to trial. However, our clients are often relieved to learn that the majority of cases are successfully settled outside the courtroom either before or after a lawsuit is initiated.

In a best case scenario, a nursing home and its insurance company will show a commitment to reaching a fair settlement, either through private mediation or discussions prior to the filing of a lawsuit. Often times this occurs when the assisted living facility recognizes the seriousness of the case, the competence of the attorney, and the likelihood of losing at trial.

In many cases, however, insurance companies will advise nursing homes to offer low-ball settlements in hopes of minimizing payout to a victim and his or her family. At this point, if you are comfortable with taking the case to trial, your lawyer may advise you to initiate litigation. Bear in mind that even after a lawsuit has been filed, it is still possible for either party to pursue the potential to settle. In fact, many insurance companies will become much more amenable to the idea of negotiating once litigation has begun.

When an immediate family member has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s important to understand your legal options. A qualified nursing home abuse lawyer such as the attorneys at Phillips Law Offices can help you decide on a legal strategy that maximizes your chance of recovering fair compensation – and justice – for your loved one.

How long will it take for my Illinois nursing home abuse case to go to trial?

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One of the most common questions we get from our clients is how long it will take for a case to go to trial. While every nursing home abuse case is different, an experienced attorney should be able to give you an accurate estimate based on the circumstances of your case.

Much of the answer depends on the attitude of the insurance company for the nursing home, as well as the nursing home itself. At Phillips Law Offices, we typically tell our clients to plan for a case taking 2-4 years. While the thought of waiting that long can be understandably intimidating, it’s important for your attorney and team of experts to have adequate time to thoroughly investigate and build a case before going to trial.

During that time, we may approach the nursing home or its insurance company and see if they are interested in settling the case, either through private mediation or mutual agreement. In fact, the majority of cases are settled in this manner either before or after litigation has been initiated. If the nursing home and its insurance provider are willing to make a fair offer, settling the case out of court can save considerable time and effort for both parties.

However, many insurance companies will refuse to offer a fair settlement. If you have strong witnesses and good evidence, your Illinois nursing home neglect lawyer may advise you to take the case to trial in order to recover full value for the harm suffered by your loved one.

Remember, insurance companies are in the business of making profit. Just because a nursing home and its insurance adjuster offer a settlement doesn’t mean it’s a fair one. Enlisting the assistance of a qualified Chicago personal injury attorney will help ensure you obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled, whether you settle or take your case to trial.

What do I need to bring to the initial consultation with my attorney in my Illinois nursing home abuse case?

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The most important step in your Illinois nursing home abuse consultation is simply making that first appointment. Once you’ve gotten the ball rolling, however, there are a few things you should consider bringing to your first meeting with your attorney.

Your initial consultation serves two important purposes. First, it gives your attorney an understanding of your case. Second, based on the information you provide, it allows your attorney to provide you with an idea of whether your loved one is entitled to compensation for harm suffered.

First and foremost, make a point to bring any evidence you have handy. This can include medical records, nursing home records, photographs, or anything you feel may be relevant to your claim. Your attorney will carefully go through this information to determine what will admissible or helpful to your case. In addition, you may want to bring medical bills related to injuries, a written timeline of the circumstances surrounded an incident, and a list of any questions you want to ask.

It’s not required that you bring evidence to your initial consultation. But if you have access to documentation, it can help give your lawyer a jump-start on what evidence may be available and how to go about building your case. The more information your attorney is given, the better he or she will be able to evaluate your options.

Experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers such as the attorneys at Phillips Law Offices are committed to holding nursing homes responsible for dangerous misconduct and helping victims and their families receive the maximum compensation to which they are entitled. Our free initial consultation is the first step toward obtaining the justice – and healing – your loved one deserves.

What do I need to do to file an Illinois nursing home neglect case?

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When someone you love has been seriously injured or killed as the result of nursing home abuse or neglect, filing an Illinois nursing home abuse case allows you and your loved one to hold the nursing home accountable for harm suffered. In most cases, the most important step you can take to ensure the success of your lawsuit is to contact a reputable lawyer.

While it can be tempting to file a case on your own to save money, doing so jeopardizes your chance at obtaining compensation in even the most clear-cut cases of abuse and negligence. When you file a case pro se, you will be pitted against very competent and knowledgeable defense attorneys for the nursing home. Without legal expertise, investigative skills and expert witnesses, most non-professionals don’t stand a chance.

In order to file a nursing home abuse case, you will need to provide adequate evidence of the abuse or neglect, demonstrate that the nursing home was negligent by failing to uphold a proper standard of care, and prove that the victim’s harm occurred as a result of that negligence.

If you believe you have grounds for a nursing home abuse lawsuit, contact an experienced Chicago nursing home lawyer to discuss your circumstances. Your attorney will evaluate your claim, determine whether you have a case, and go over the pros and cons of pursuing your claim.

We trust nursing homes to protect and care for our elderly family members. There is no excuse for nursing home misconduct that contributes to the injury or premature death of vulnerable senior citizens. Enlisting the guidance of a qualified Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer is the most effective way to obtain the compensation, and justice, that your loved one deserves.

Should I accept a settlement offer in my Illinois nursing home abuse case?

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Many Illinois nursing home abuse cases are settled outside of the courtroom. However, whether you should settle depends on the unique characteristics of your case. Your nursing home abuse lawyer can help you determine the most effective legal strategy for you and your elderly loved one.

When a nursing home abuse case is settled either prior to or after a lawsuit is filed, the plaintiff agrees to accept a set monetary amount in exchange for dismissal of the case. But just because a settlement is offered, doesn’t mean you should accept. Often times, the insurance provider of a nursing home will make a low-ball settlement offer in hopes of saving money. In fact, it’s the job of insurance adjusters to minimize payouts to injured parties.

We strongly suggest working with a knowledgeable nursing home neglect lawyer who can help you assign a realistic monetary value to the economic and non-economic damages suffered by your loved one. Ultimately, your settlement should take into account the facts and circumstances of the case, the amount of the offer, and the personal decision of whether you want to settle or try the case. An experienced lawyer such as the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Phillips Law Offices will work with you to weigh the pros, cons and overall fairness of the offer.

Nursing home abuse claims can be understandably overwhelming. If your loved one was injured as a result of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, they may have endured expensive medical treatment, disability, pain and suffering, and diminished quality of life. Ideally, a fair settlement should cover all bills associated with their injury, as well as give you peace of mind.

There is no amount of money that can undo your loved one’s suffering. However, fair compensation – whether achieved by negotiation or by going to trial – can go a long way toward restoring justice and dignity to your loved one.

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Can I receive damages for pain and suffering in an Illinois nursing home abuse case?

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When an elderly person becomes the victim of nursing home abuse in Illinois, they may be entitled to several types of compensatory non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. In some cases, however, family member of victims may also be able to seek compensation for harm suffered.

Juries will often place a monetary value on non-economic costs – such as serious injuries and chronic or long-lasting pain – allowing an injured nursing home resident and his or her estate to obtain additional compensation on top of cut-and-dried medical expenses. Similar damages can include mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, or disability.

Injured parties are not the only ones who suffer, however. When a nursing home abuse victim dies, his or her immediate family members understandably experience tremendous distress. While loved ones are not entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, these heirs may be eligible to recover damages for what is known as loss of society or loss of companionship.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, loss of society or companionship represents the love, companionship, and closeness that a plaintiff would have experienced had the victim lived. After examining all evidence and facts, a jury may assign a financial figure to this loss.

No amount of money can bring back your loved one, but achieving the maximum compensation to you which you are entitled can go a long way toward holding the nursing home accountable for misconduct and helping you move forward with the healing process. If someone you love has been injured or killed as the result of nursing home abuse or neglect, speak with a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney today to discuss your options for legal action and financial recovery.

Are witnesses important in Illinois nursing home abuse cases?

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Almost all personal injury cases require expert witnesses, including nursing home abuse cases. Because direct evidence is often unavailable in claims of abuse or neglect, Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys often rely on testimony from medical experts to build a strong and persuasive case.

In nursing home abuse and neglect claims, expert witnesses may include doctors, nurses or any other geriatric or medical professional with a specialty related to the case. The witness serves to establish to the judge and jury that a nursing home’s failure to uphold a reasonable standard of care resulted in the harm, injury or death of the victim.

Access to expert witnesses is one of the many reasons it’s so important to work with an attorney when litigating your nursing home abuse case. At Phillips Law Offices, our nursing home abuse lawyers routinely call on leading experts within the medical field. These experts help us assert facts, reconstruct incidents and calculate the true financial loss attributable to an injury or death.

Nursing home negligence that results in serious or fatal injuries or illness takes an enormous toll on victims and their families – financially, physically and emotionally. Elderly victims of nursing home abuse are often left with medical bills, permanent disability, and a reduced quality of life. Injured people and their families deserve to be adequately compensated for these losses.

A good attorney knows where to look to determine the facts and evidence needed to persuasively prove a case, including getting assistance from expert witnesses. When someone you love has suffered as the result of nursing home negligence, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance. With assistance from our nursing home abuse lawyers, you can be assured you have the best chance at capturing the maximum recovery to which you and your loved one are entitled.

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Are there time limits to sue for injuries in an Illinois nursing home abuse case?

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When someone you love has been injured as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, you have a right to hold the nursing home legally accountable for harm suffered. However, it’s important to take legal action in a timely manner. Your nursing home abuse attorney can advise you on your state’s statute of limitations and what it means for your case.

In Illinois, personal injury victims and their families typically have two years from the time of an incident to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit. Injured parties who fail to file within this time frame lose their right to litigation.

There may be exceptions to the statute of limitations based on the factors of an individual case, such as mental competency of the victim. However, it is always advisable to seek legal guidance as soon as possible after abuse occurs. Properly investigating claims and building persuasive cases takes time. Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect cases can be particularly complex due to nursing home laws, cognitive factors such as dementia and, in many cases, the inclusion of multiple charges. In addition, waiting to file increases the probability that crucial evidence could be lost over time.

Injured victims of elder abuse are frequently left with major medical bills, disability and/or disfigurement, and diminished quality of life. Some may never have the opportunity to recover from their injuries. For the families of injured people, the financial and emotional toll of abuse can be overwhelming. Damages recovered in a personal injury case can’t undo a loved one’s suffering, but they can help restore financial security – and dignity – to victims and their families.

If you believe that a loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact an Illinois nursing home abuse attorney such as the lawyers at Phillips Law Offices right away. Your lawyer will help you understand your legal rights – and your options for compensation.

Do assisted living center staff have to report elder abuse if they see it?

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Elder abuse in assisted living facilities is not just a problem perpetuated by abusers, but by staff members and other professionals who fail to report abuse when they see it. When assisted living center staff members, doctors, or nurses witness Illinois nursing home abuse or neglect, they are morally – and legally – required to report the incident.

Illinois requires and mandates under penalty of law that individuals report instances of nursing home or assisted living facility abuse or neglect to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Unfortunately, many cases go unreported because employees may fear for their job or convince themselves that what they saw was not really abuse.

Abused seniors often suffer in silence. Many nursing home residents are afflicted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias, limiting their awareness or memory of abuse. Others may fail to report abuse out of fear of retaliation or difficulty communicating due to stroke or other physical impairments.

Sometimes abuse isn’t identified until a family member or friend notices signs and symptoms, such as changes in behavior, health, or appearance. Sadly, many cases are never reported. When abuse is allowed to continue, elderly nursing home residents may suffer failing health, depression, injury or even premature death.

Assisted living centers have a responsibility to provide residents with compassionate and competent care. When a nursing home or other facility fails to report abuse, families can file complaints and civil lawsuits. Experienced attorneys such as the nursing home abuse lawyers of Phillips Law Offices are committed to stopping abuse and holding elder care facilities accountable for allowing harm to our society’s most vulnerable citizens.