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Kane County family law and personal injury lawyerThe new year typically brings alterations to existing federal and state laws, and 2019 is no exception. This year’s updates include a change to federal tax laws that will significantly impact both parties involved in divorce, while one change to state laws adds a provision designed to reduce injuries in car accidents.

Spousal Support Tax Changes 

A substantial change in U.S. tax law that went into effect on January 1, 2019 spawned an increased push to finalize divorces before the new year. To help defray the cost of the 2017 tax reform bill, spousal maintenance (formerly called alimony in Illinois) is no longer tax-deductible for former spouses who make payments. Also, maintenance recipients will no longer claim those payments as taxable income. This change applies to couples who finalize their divorce after December 31, 2018.

The previous tax deduction law dated back to the 1940s. This change is expected to save the U.S. Treasury $6.7 billion, but it comes at a price. Many divorce attorneys say it will reduce the amount of money that can be split between former spouses, which is what sparked the run on divorces in the final weeks of 2018.

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Kane County wrongful death lawyerIt is hard to lose a loved one, even if they die from natural causes after having lived a long and meaningful life. When someone’s time is cut short, however, the pain, loss, and grieving is magnified – especially when death has been caused by another’s negligence or intentionally bad conduct. Besides the immense grief and realization that nothing can bring a loved one back, many individuals and families must deal with the stark reality of the loss of support, both financial and emotional, provided by the work, income, and participation in family responsibilities of the lost loved one. When grief is coupled with tenuous financial straits, survivors of the wrongful death of a family member can seek compensation from the person or entity responsible. 

Defining Wrongful Death in Illinois

In general, a wrongful death occurs whenever an individual is killed because of someone’s intentionally wrongful or negligent conduct. More specifically, in the precise legal language of Illinois state law, “whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages,” the individual or entity (e.g. business or other institution) that caused the death may be held liable in a wrongful death suit in civil court.

Eligible Survivors of a Wrongful Death Victim

Only certain close relatives are eligible to seek compensation under the state’s wrongful death statute. These relatives include:

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Elgin severe personal injury attorneyIllinois law allows personal injury victims to seek compensation from the individuals or institutions responsible for harms and losses suffered. Sometimes, the computation of this compensation, termed “damages” by the law, is relatively straightforward. When an arm is broken in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, there are the costs of having the car repaired and the bone re-aligned and set in a cast, as well as pain and suffering, and any lost income due to missed work during any necessary rehabilitation. 

Such consequential damages are designed to make things right – to allow an injury victim to be in (theoretically) as good of a position as they would have been had the negligence and subsequent accident never occurred. However, other personal injury scenarios – especially more severe injuries with long-term consequences – are not so easily translated into a clear and fair award of legal damages.  

When Money Alone Cannot Restore a Victim to a Pre-Accident Position

Sometimes, tragically, the consequences of an accident are so dire that no award of financial damages can truly restore a personal injury accident victim to the position in life he or she occupied prior to the harm they suffered due to someone else’s negligence. Severe injuries, such as those involving permanent paralysis or brain damage, must be viewed with a long lens to truly grasp the long-term consequences. 

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Kane County slip and fall injury lawyerWith snow falling in the Chicago area and temperatures fluctuating in the precarious area just above and below freezing, ice will be forming on streets and sidewalks throughout the region. This slick, slippery substance poses a real danger to pedestrians, whether they are enjoying holiday shopping and activities or are simply trying to get to and from work. 

A slip-and-fall on ice can occur when you least expect it, sending you off balance and unprotected to the cold, hard ground below – sometimes while holding groceries or shopping bags and thus unable to stabilize yourself. First, there is the shock and surprise. Then, pain begins to set in. And in the worst cases, there is the realization that you have broken a bone, suffered nerve damage, or injured your spine. 

It is one thing if ice has been allowed to form on your own front walk, but when ice is allowed to form on a business’s entryway area, that is a different matter altogether. If you have suffered a slip-and-fall injury on an ill-maintained business entry, exit, or sidewalk area, the property owner or manager may be held liable for the damages you have suffered.

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Elgin personal injury attorney interpersonal conflictsThe 2017 holiday season may feature some contentious arguments, whether they occur over a family dinner table or during gatherings at neighborhood bars and restaurants. The reason: the nation’s intense political polarization. While most family and friends will be striving to avoid the subject of politics while enjoying the holidays, or even explicitly agreeing to refrain from discussing the subject, it may nonetheless creep into conversation – especially as wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages flow. 

The same is true at bars and pubs when old friends who are in town to visit their respective families meet to reconnect. When a good time devolves into hostile grievance-making – so much so that words beget actions and a personal injury is suffered – legal recourse may be required to obtain compensation for damages. If you have suffered personal injuries in a dispute that turned from verbal to physical, or if you were caught in the fray as a bystander, it is essential to secure the services of an experienced attorney who can advocate for your legal rights.

Battery Is an Intentional Harmful or Offensive Contact 

If you have been struck with a punch in or around a bar or, heaven forbid, in the home of a family member or friend, you have been the victim of battery. Battery is both a crime and what the civil side of the law terms a “tort.” As such, battery is both prosecutable in a criminal court and subject to litigation for compensatory damages in civil court. 

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St. Charles car accident lawyerWe are in the midst of autumn, and the holiday season is fast approaching. To many people, these holidays are a great time to celebrate the true meaning of family and friends. To others, there is great worry that something tragic, such as an automobile collision, could happen to them or their loved ones. Car accidents can happen at any time, but they occur more often during the holidays. Here are some other statistics about car accidents that you should be aware of: 

When Do Car Accidents Typically Occur?

It makes sense to think that most car accidents would occur during the late night on weekends, since that is the time that many people go out drinking, and some may drive while under the influence of alcohol. However, data from the Illinois Department of Transportation shows that the majority of accidents occur on Friday between noon and 7:59 pm. Other key statistics include:

  • In 2015, the most recent year for which data was available, there were 11,330 car accidents in Illinois that occurred on rural roadways between noon and 3:59 pm, and 14,597 car accidents between 4:00 pm and 7:59 pm.
  • In the same year, there were 65,418 car accidents reported in Illinois that happened on urban roadways between noon and 3:59 pm, and 68,344 car accidents between 4:00 pm and 7:59 pm.

How Many Crashes Take Place in Illinois?

In 2015, there were 313,316 car accidents that occurred in the State of Illinois. 21 percent (65,744) of these crashes resulted in injuries, whether minor, serious, or critical, and less than one percent (914) of crashes were fatal. On average, there were 858 accidents each day, and nearly three of these accidents resulted in fatalities. More than 10 people were injured every hour in car accidents.

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Elgin car accident attorney bad weatherAutumn, some Chicagoans contend, is either a remarkably brief season or one that actually starts weeks prior to the first day of fall in September. Splendorous yellow and red leaves appear on tree-lined streets, Lake Michigan changes from a hub of activity to a mere inlet of water in the blink of an eye, and Chicago area children from Elgin to Edgewater enjoy final strolls along the outdoor areas of the city’s zoos and gardens.

Weather in the Chicago area is mighty, and it takes a toll on the city’s streets and highways. As the old joke says, there are only two seasons in Chicago: winter and construction. However, rush hour traffic on streets slick with rain or snow and ever undergoing repairs is no laughing matter. Car accidents happen and, sadly, injuries result.  

Negligence is a Common Cause of Car Accidents No Matter the Season

When a car accident, especially one that results in property damage and personal injuries, happens on a Chicago area road or highway, it’s not nearly enough to chalk it up to inclement weather and somehow just “move on.” No, responsibility must be taken for the damage done. Insurance claims must be filed, vehicles must be repaired or replaced, injuries must be attended to, and police reports must often be made. 

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South Elgin Workers' Comp LawyerThe Chicago area is a complex and ever-growing network of transportation, industry, commerce, education, and daily life. Whether driving up Lake Shore Drive, down 90/94, or west on 290, one can only marvel at size and scope of the area. While the city’s skyline might appear to magically expand, building by building and floor by floor, such development is, of course, the product of the labor of the city’s workers. 

The same is true of Chicago area roads and bridges. In a city that is pummeled by winter weather for much longer than the season’s official three months, near constant upkeep of this infrastructure is required. This responsibility again falls to Illinois workers. 

Because the construction and maintenance of Chicagoland’s buildings, transportation grid, and utilities occurs amidst the near infinite moving parts and people of daily life, work-related accidents and injuries are bound to happen. Fortunately for Illinois workers, the state has a “no-fault” statute with regard to work-related injuries. This law that can make all the difference in obtaining the compensation you need and deserve after suffering a work-related injury.  

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