At the law firm of Ferris, Thompson & Zweig, our experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers have represented accident victims and recovered millions of dollars for their injuries since 1989. We can help people who need a car accident attorney or assistance with a claim arising from medical malpractice, a workplace or construction site accident, a defective product, a slip and fall, or a wrongful death. Our firm also provides diligent representation to Illinois residents in the areas of criminal defense, DUI defense, estate planning and probate, and bankruptcy.Personal Injury
A personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate when negligent, reckless, or intentional actions cause harm to a victim. In most of these situations, you have two years from the date of the accident to take legal action, and you will need to prove the defendant's negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. The procedural rules are more complicated in certain types of cases, such as medical malpractice lawsuits.
To establish negligence, you will need to show the defendant's duty of care, a breach of duty, actual and proximate causation, and damages. For example, in a car accident case, the defendant may have breached his or her duty to use reasonable care on the road by texting while driving, failing to use a turn signal, failing to obey a traffic signal, driving while intoxicated, or driving while fatigued. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, by contrast, you will need to use expert evidence to establish the health care provider's duty of care, as determined by the accepted medical standards for other practitioners within the same specialty.
In many personal injury cases, both the defendant and the plaintiff bear some responsibility for what happened. Illinois follows the rule of comparative fault, in which a plaintiff's recovery is reduced by his or her degree of fault for the accident as long as he or she is found to be less than 50% responsible for the injuries. For example, if the jury determines your damages are $100,000, but you are 20% at fault, you can potentially recover $80,000 from the defendant.
Some cases do not require a plaintiff to show negligence, recklessness, or intent. In Illinois, the owner, keeper, or harborer of an animal may be held strictly liable for injuries to people. This means that even if a pet owner was not negligent, he or she may be held responsible for harm inflicted by a pet.Workers' Compensation
Workers’ compensation in Illinois provides benefits to employees who suffer occupational diseases or work-related injuries, irrespective of fault. Most people who are hired or injured in the state are covered by the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act from the time they start work. Types of benefits include medical care, temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, vocational rehabilitation, permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, and death benefits.Criminal Defense
In Illinois, crimes are divided into different categories based on how serious they are and how severe the consequences are for a conviction. Felonies are the most serious offenses. They can be punished by one or more years in prison. Misdemeanors, which are less serious, may be punished by one year or less of imprisonment, and often a misdemeanor results in fines of less than $1,500 and probation. Even if you are charged with only a relatively minor offense, however, a criminal record can have a substantial impact on your professional, educational, and housing prospects. This makes it important to seek representation from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can ensure that all of your rights are fully protected against the prosecution. DUI Defense
You may be charged with DUI ("Driving Under the Influence") in Illinois if you operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, prescription drugs, intoxicating compounds, or methamphetamine. In Illinois, you are considered under the influence if your blood alcohol content is .08 or more, if you have used an illegal substance like marijuana, or if you are impaired by your medications. In addition to potentially resulting in criminal penalties like fines and jail time, a DUI conviction likely will interfere with your ability to drive. Since using your car may be important for your school or job, you should not hesitate to consult a lawyer who can try to minimize the consequences on your behalf.Estate Planning and Probate
If you have a carefully drafted estate plan, you can rest assured that your wishes regarding the disposition of your property and assets will be followed after your death. In many cases, a sound estate plan also means that your loved ones will not be saddled with difficult decisions. If you hold your assets in a revocable living trust or in a joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety, or the assets are subject to a beneficiary designation, your loved ones may not need to deal with formal probate court proceedings.
Generally, probate proceedings are necessary if the decedent is the sole owner of certain assets that are together worth more than $100,000. However, if the value of an estate is under $100,000, people who inherit the assets can use an affidavit to claim their inheritance.Bankruptcy
We represent Illinois residents who are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is also known as liquidation bankruptcy. In this type of bankruptcy, any of your property that is not protected by exemptions is sold, and the funds are used to pay back your creditors to the extent possible. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also known as reorganization bankruptcy. With this type of bankruptcy, you will need to pay back a substantial portion of your debts on a monthly basis over three to five years and get current on any arrearages. If you do, you will likely be able to keep most of your property.
Consult a Chicago Lawyer for a Personal Injury Claim or Representation in a Criminal, Estate Planning, Bankruptcy, or Workers’ Compensation Matter
It is important to contact the experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys at Ferris, Thompson & Zweig as soon as possible after an accident so that we can start to investigate your case and protect your rights. We represent people throughout Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will Counties, including in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Barrington, Elgin, Joliet, Naperville, and Schaumburg. Contact us at 866-602-3000 or via our online form to set up a free consultation. We also can help people who need a DUI attorney or guidance in an estate planning, bankruptcy, criminal, or workers’ compensation matter.