The death of a loved one is catastrophic. Wrongful death cases are extremely difficult emotionally. According to his former clients Paul Wharton is, “compassionate,” an “exceptional lawyer,” and “has a big heart.” These qualities, in addition to being an experienced litigator, will shepherd you through this difficult time.
Wrongful deaths occur when a negligent or illegal act of one party causes the death of another. A wrongful death case can be thought of as a personal injury case where the deceased person is unable to bring his or her claim to court.
Who may file a wrongful death claim?
Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act the personal representative of the deceased’s estate must bring a wrongful death claim. Generally, the deceased will have appointed a personal representative in their will. If this has not occurred, the probate court will appoint one to settle the deceased’s estate.
When must you file?
Generally, a wrongful death claim must be filed no later than a year after the deceased’s death.
What can you recover?
Damages in wrongful death actions are paid to the estate and then distributed to the deceased heirs. Among the damages the family may recover are:
Final medical bills, including emergency costs
Lost wages and income, including that which would have been earned had the deceased survived
Pain and suffering of the deceased before death
Expenses for damages to property
Loss of value of services provided by deceased to his or her household
Other intangible benefits to the family members
Note that the losses of the family members are generally payable directly to the family members rather than the deceased’s estate. Also, note that if the deceased has left a surviving spouse or children, these losses will be presumed unless the defendant can show that the deceased would not have provided such support. Punitive damages are not available in wrongful death cases.
For the deceased’s loved ones wrongful death cases are extremely difficult. There is no amount of money that will replace your loved one, it is Paul Wharton’s job to ensure you receive what your family deserves.
Suffering injuries from medical malpractice is hard to imagine—accepting that a trusted healthcare provider hurt you rather than healed you is difficult. You were already in a position where you needed to receive medical care. Now, because of the negligent actions of a medical professional, your condition is worse, not better.
Because of the intricacies of medical care, medical malpractice claims can be extremely difficult to litigate. Having the experience of a veteran litigator like Paul Wharton with over 150 trials under his belt can make the difference between being left with nothing and receiving the recovery that you deserve to pay for any care you need. If you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice in Chicagoland, like Skokie, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Hoffman Estates, or elsewhere in Northern Illinois, do not hesitate to contact Paul Wharton.
Defining Medical Malpractice
In Illinois, medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional injures a patient as a result of their breach of the standard of care. A standard of care is the accepted set of standards and practices that medical professionals would undertake when treating a similar patient with similar conditions.
If that definition seems a bit unclear, know that your observational skills are not misleading you. This is a deliberately vague standard to ensure that each patient has an opportunity to recover for his or her losses. Doctors treat the patient and their symptoms. Their conduct can only be measured fairly by considering how other doctors would have approached that patient under the circumstances.
Of course, the definition of the standard of care also demonstrates the difficulty in litigating medical malpractice cases. It is sometimes extremely difficult to establish what the standard of care should be. Attorneys experienced with litigating medical malpractice know and have worked with the types of experts that best show how a patient should have been treated. With his wealth of experience, Paul Wharton is in a position to help you put your best case forward and get you the recovery you deserve.
The Circumstances Where a Doctor or Other Health Professional Can Commit Medical Malpractice
Malpractice occurs while a patient is being treated. In Illinois “treatment” has a much wider definition than you may initially think. It can include a diagnosis or a prescription, or any other situation where medical treatment negligently causes an injury to a patient. If your diagnosis is wrong or a doctor prescribes the wrong medication and you are injured as a result, you can probably recover for his or her malpractice.
When You Need to File
You have up to two years from the date that you discover or should have discovered your injury to file against the medical professional who committed medical malpractice against you. Claims filed more than four years after the medically negligent act are completely barred. However, there are special rules for minors injured by medical malpractice. Those under the age of 18 injured by a medical professional during treatment have up to eight years to file suit, provided they file before they turn 22. The bottom line is, if you suspect you are a victim of medical malpractice contact a qualified attorney immediately.
How Much You Can Recover
Like other negligence causes of action in Illinois, plaintiffs can recover both economic and noneconomic damages for the losses suffered as the result of medical malpractice. There are no caps on your economic compensatory damages. There is a statute on the books that caps the recovery for non-economic damages, but it has been rule unconstitutional under the state constitution and will not limit your recovery. Regardless of how reckless the medical professional’s conduct may have been you will be unable to recover punitive damages.
Medical malpractice cases require significant expertise and expense. Plaintiffs cannot bring a claim without the certification of medical professional that a meritorious claim exists. Experience is a plus. If you have been injured by a healthcare professional, contact Paul Wharton. He will leave no stone unturned in seeking a just and complete recovery for your injuries.
Nursing Home or Elder Care Cases
The decision to put a loved one in a nursing home or can be difficult enough on its own. When you learn that the nursing home is not faithfully doing what it should to ensure that your loved one is spending their twilight years in comfort, you may have legal recourse. An experienced litigator like Paul Wharton can ease the burden of litigating such a claim.
What law regulates Nursing Homes?
Nursing homes are regulated under both federal and Illinois law. Federal law requires that, when a patient is admitted, nursing homes must do an assessment that aids them in preparing a plan that will protect the patient’s well being. If the assessment does not properly diagnose the needs of the patient, the plan does not properly account for them, or the plan is not properly followed, then the nursing home may be liable for any injuries suffered because of those failures. Care plans must also be reviewed quarterly and upon any change in the patient’s condition. They must be altered if they are ineffective.
Illinois law also forbids nursing homes from being abusive or neglectful towards their patients. Facility administrators must immediately report such behavior to your family and to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Claims based on Illinois law must be filed within two years of the discovery of the injury, and in any case, must be filed within four years of the date of injury.
Signs of Elder Abuse or Neglect
It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether your loved one is suffering from an abuse in a nursing home or if they simply do not want to be there. When assessing your loved one’s condition, look at physical, social, and emotional clues that may give you an idea of how they are being treated. These include:
Significant, rapid weight loss
Bruises or other injuries
New prescriptions for sedatives
Emotional changes, including agitation or depression
Inability of staff to explain what is going on with your loved one
Nursing home cases can be extremely emotional and, because of the complexity of the legal issues involved, are often drawn out. Paul Wharton understands that these can be challenging cases, but he also knows that decades of experience can help you get the recovery you and your loved one deserves. If you are worried about your loved one at a nursing home in Chicagoland, including in Waukegan, Arlington Heights, or Evanston, do not hesitate to give Paul a call.
Car and Truck Accidents
Car and Truck accident claims can be extremely difficult to litigate. There are several moving parts to consider. Do you allow your insurance company to reach a settlement with the other driver’s company? Do you immediately file suit?
Attorney Paul Wharton has decades of experience with motor vehicle accident cases. If you have been in an accident in or around Chicagoland, like Streamwood, Hanover Park, Wheeling, Northbrook, or elsewhere in Lake or northern Cook Counties, do not hesitate to give them a call. You need a seasoned litigator on your side.
Below is some information that Paul Wharton recognizes is important as you consider how best to be compensated from your accident.
Illinois is a Fault State
Most, but not all, U.S. jurisdictions use a fault system for motor vehicle accidents. This means that the driver of the automobile must compensate anyone injured as a result of an accident they caused.
You may proceed in one of three ways if you have been injured in an accident,
- File a claim with your insurance. If you are not at fault, your insurance company will be compensated by the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Pursue a claim against the other person’s insurance company
- File a personal injury lawsuit in court
These are your options. Keep them in mind before you decide how to proceed. Taking some time to evaluate each option will not preclude you from choosing any of them. Under no circumstances should you consider these options without legal counsel.
Drivers in Illinois must purchase car insurance. This means, at the very least, you will be able to recover up to $20,000 for your personal injuries and $15,000 for damage to your vehicle and other property. Car insurance in Illinois must also include Uninsured Motorist Insurance, which is insurance that you own that protects you if an uninsured motorist injures you.
Commercial truck drivers must have even higher insurance limits, with a minimum coverage of $1,000,000 for a single occurrence and $3,000,000 in aggregate.
Comparative Fault Rules
Illinois is also a comparative fault state, meaning that the proportion of your negligence involved in the accident may reduce your recovery. If you are 10% negligent, your recovery will be lessened by 10%. If you are more than 50% negligent, you will be unable to recover.
Insurance companies consider these rules when deciding how much to offer you during settlement negotiations. They have a general idea of how courts and juries tend to apportion fault. Although you probably do not have such knowledge, an experienced advocate such as Paul Wharton does.
There is a two-year statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim. This limit generally begins running at the time of your accident. If you do not discover any injuries until later, the time limit may start running upon your discovery of your injuries. There is also a five-year limitation to file to recover the value of your car or other property damage suffered as a result of the accident.
Make sure you choose the right path. Hire an experienced attorney to secure your best result.
As you can probably see, car accident cases can be quite tricky. There may be multiple parties involved, multiple insurance companies pushing for lower settlements, and several people who may be fault. Do not settle for less than you deserve because you are unsure how to proceed. Contact Paul Wharton if you have been injured in and around Chicagoland like, Gurnee, Mundelein, Niles, or elsewhere in Northern Illinois. He will get you the results you deserve.
In Illinois, most injuries suffered in the workplace are covered by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission oversees regulations regarding workers’ compensation as well as the claims process related to injuries suffered because of actions by your employer or coworkers.
Although filing a worker’s compensation claim can be easy, the process to receive your benefits can be tedious. An experienced attorney like Paul Wharton can ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve. If you have been injured at work in Chicagoland, northern Cook or Lake Counties, please contact us.
I have been injured. What do I do?
Notify your employer immediately of your work-related injury. Before doing anything else, however, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. It is likely that your employer or their insurance company will want to take quick action that may affect your rights. An experienced attorney will prevent your employer or their insurance carrier from negatively affecting your rights.
Workplace Injuries Due to the Actions of Third Parties
Injuries suffered as a result of actions by a third party generally are not covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. If a customer or an employee of another company injures you, you will need to recover for your losses through a lawsuit.
For example, assume that you are injured in a car accident while driving for your company. In this situation, you will probably be owed Workers’ Compensation benefits because you were injured on the job. If the accident was the fault of the driver, however, you will also have a claim against them. An experienced attorney like Paul Wharton knows these nuances and will ensure that you receive the maximum amount possible for your injuries.