Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nursing Home Negligence Legal Basics

Violations of nursing home standards of conduct are actionable under the Nursing Home Care Act 210 ILCS 45/1-101.  It follows that nursing home actions are creatures of statute.  Specifically:
"an owner, licensee, administrator, employee or agent of a facility shall not abus or neglect a resident.  It is the duty of any facility employee or agent who becomes aware of such abuse or neglect to report it as provided in "The Abused and Neglected Long Term Facility Residents Reporting Act."
There are several claims that are often brought in conjunction with Nursing Home Care Act claims including but not limited to negligence, breach of contract, and medical malpractice.
Claims under the nursing home act should be brought against the owner of the nursing home facility and the licensee of the facility.

An attorney at Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C. will be able to assist with any questions or concerns regarding a nursing home negligence issue.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Technicalities involved in Settling of a Minor's Estate in a PersonalInjury Matter

In situations where minor's have been involved in a personal injury accident, Illinois rules generally contemplate that a Judge should rule on the fairness of a proposed settlement, adjudicate the reasonableness of fees, and expenses attributable to the litigation under the attorneys' contingent fee arrangement. Florkiewicz v. Gonzalez, 38 Ill.App.3d 115, 347 N.E.2d 401 (1st Dist. 1976).

In order to have a settlement approved, a guardianship or a conservatorship must be established.  A guardian ad litem may need to be appointed as an independent representative of the minor.

Several steps will need to be taken in probate court including:

1. petition to settle claim,

2. response of the guardian ad litem, and

3. order allowing the petition to settle claims.

Representing a minor is a serious responsibility, and it is important that an experienced and expert injury attorney is consulted in order to protect the minor's interests.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Illinois Wrongful Death Statute

Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, actions are brought in the names of the personal representatives of the deceased person.  740 ILCS 180/2.

The personal representative has sole control over the litigation and serves the protect the interests of all beneficiaries.  Of course, under the Wrongful Death Act, the amounts recovered are for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse and the next of kin of the deceased person.  740 ILCS 180/2.

Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Statute, there are several ways to recover:

  • Decedent's felicity, care, attention, and guidance to family members;

  • personal services rendered by the decedent around the home;

  • decedent's care of children;

  • decedent's future earnings;

  • decedent's spousal services.

  • punitive damages; and

  • pecuniary injuries.

Beyond just theories of recovery, skilled plaintiff's attorneys also consider tax consequences, set-offs, and other types of economic considerations.  In the event of a wrongful death because of the negligence of an individual or an entity, contact an experienced attorney.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Application of Burdens of Proof in Civil Trials

According to Illinois evidence law, the burden of proof has two meanings that apply to civil trials.

(1) "Burden of proof" applies to the duty to produce evidence that shows there is a prima facie case. For our purposes, "prima facie" can be understood as  "on first sight." In other words, there is a good faith duth to produce evidence that, taken as true, supports the claim.

(2) Burden of proof is also the term used to quantify whether enough evidence has been shown to establish the truth of a statement, issue or claim.

In order to meet the burden of proof, the plaintiff must show that its claims are more likely true than not.

As far as the these issues apply to the prosecution of personal injury cases for damages, it is the personal injury attorneys job to show that there is enough evidence to make a good faith claim for damages and to avoid a directed verdit. Then the attorney must introduce enough evidence to meet its burden on each claim. In a negligence case that means the attorney must introduce evidence to support each element of the claim:

(1) duty owed to plaintiff by defendant;

(2)beach of that duty;

(3) breach of duty caused injury; and

(4) plaintiff incurred damages because of breach in duty.

If you believe that you have been injured do to the negligence of someone else, contact a Chicago attorney at The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C. in order to see if the facts of your case will allow your claim to withstand a directed verdict.

Evidence Basics: Judicial Discretion

One of the basic tenets governing admissibility of evidence at trial is it is a matter within the discretion of the trial judge. Evidence admissibility issues are governed by the abuse of discretion standard on appeal.

Rulings on admissibility will be overturned only when the decision is arbitrary, fanciful or unreasonable and when the improper ruling substantially effects the outcome of the trial.

Beyond the statement that admissibility is governed by the discretion of the trial judge, evidence should be admitted if it is relevent and apropo to the matter at hand, admissibiliity limited by the potential for prejudice or confusion.

Evidence law in Illinois personal injury cases can be extremely nuanced and detail intensive. Trial judges are important gatekeepers of evidence in cases. In the event of a serious personal injury in Illinois, contact an attorney at The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C. today in order to speak to someone who will be able to make the winning argument based on the facts of your case.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Rules of Thumb: When will an attorney take a case?

Personal injury law firms have varying views on which cases they will take.  The reason for this variability in attorney interest is because of the risk, skill, and possibility of success involved in securing compensation for people who have been injured. Accepting a case involves serious responsibility, involves the investment of tens of thousands of dollars, and also a significant amount of time.

There are some rules of thumb that attorneys follow when determining which cases to accept:

(1) What is the liability?

(2) How believable is the case?

(3) Is there an avenue for monetary recovery?

The attorney/client relationship in personal injury matters is very unique and bonds will be formed that will last long beyond the litigation of a case.  However, it is extremely important that attorneys perform their due diligence before agreeing to represent an individual in a personal injury case.  For the client's and the attorney's sake.

At The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C. our attorneys provide the highest level of legal representation in serious personal injury matters.  If you or a family member has suffered because of the negligence of another, contact one of our attorneys immediately for a free assessment of your case.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Admissability of Expert Testimony in Illinois Personal Injury Cases

The admissibility of expert testimony in Illinois is largely subject to the standard of "general acceptance" set forth in Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C.Cir.1923).  The methodology used by an expert must be sufficiently established to have general acceptance in the field to which it belongs.  General acceptance does not require unequivocal acceptance, and the existence of a dispute over a particular methodology will not preclude admissibility.  Rather, general acceptance takes into account whether there is consensus or controversy as to whether a methodology is relevant.

At The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C. we provide representation to people who have been seriously injured.  Our attorneys represent people who have been injured due to medical malpractice.  If you suspect that you or a family member have been injured because of medical malpractice, contact an attorney at The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C. in order to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Future Lost Income: Part II

Two of the most important pieces of evidence used to support a claim for future lost income are testimony of the Plaintiff and testimony of an expert--an expert might testify as to the duration of the injury or the permanence of the injury.  It is the attorney's role to fully articulate the extent of the injured person's future lost income.  A determination of future lost income is done on a person to person basis.

Recoveries for future lost income might include a calculation for advancement in the Plaintiff's job field. For this reason, it is important for personal injury attorneys to conduct a thorough investigation of the Plaintiff's employment.  Important sources of testimony in support of an award for future lost income include: the plaintiff, co-workers, people working in plaintiff's field, and experts who can calculate and project the lost income.

Generally speaking, the recovery for future lost income is the difference between what the plaintiff should've been able to earn and what that plaintiff can earn in the wake of the injury. This calculation is tempered with the concept of reasonable certainty.  A jury's finding must be supported by reasonable proof.

Retaining occupational economist expert is an important way to substantiate claims for future lost income.  This is especially true in wrongful death cases.

At The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C., our attorneys make every effort to ensure that our client's receive the compensation they deserve because of diminished ability to work.  If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, a serious car accident in the Chicago area, or a serious injury such as paralysis, contact an attorney at The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C.  We strongly recommend that you contact us via our website or call us at 630.571.0100.

Future Lost Income: Part I

Future lost income is an important part of many catastrophic and serious personal injury recoveries.  Serious injury commonly impairs an individuals ability to earn income.  The computation of future lost income includes lost income for the type of job most recently held by the injured person but for jobs  potentially beyond the scope of the last position held by the injured person.  An almost philosophical approach must be taken in order to make the best possible recovery.  A computation of future lost income takes into account a person's potential. The following factors have been held relevant in this calculation:

(a) physical and mental capabilities;

(b) preexisting physical or mental impairments;

(c) educational background or specialized training;

(d) chosen livelihood;

(e) alternative paths of employment; and

(f) possibility of lessening the detrimental effect that the injury has had on the ability earn.

At The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C., our attorneys are experts in serious personal injury law.  If you or a loved one has suffered from a catastrophic truck accident, from medical malpractice, from an animal attack, or from train negligence, you should contact an attorney at The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C.  You can contact usvia our website or you can call us at 815.726.0100 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Expert Testimony Under the New Illinois Rules of Evidence

At The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C.  we represent people who have been seriously injured due to the negligence of another.  We fight so that insurance companies stay honest and deserving individuals receive the compensation they deserve.

One of the prinicples underlying our legal system is efficiency.  It therefore comes as no surprise that the common policy is to restrict the admissibility of opinion evidence except in cases where it will be neccessary or helpful.  In the case of opinion testimony by expert witnesses, the admissibility of an opinion or conclusion must be predicated on satisfaction of the following conditions:

1) scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge would assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or deciding on an issue;

2)the opinion must be relevant to the facts of the case; and

3) the methodology underlying the expert opinion must be reliable (a number of factors go into certifying an expert opinion as reliable).

The facts or data presented to an opinion expert can be made known to an expert at or before a hearing or trial.  If the facts presented to the expert are of a type reasonably relied on by experts in the field, the facts need not be admissible in evidence.

Despite general restrictions on the admissibility of opinion experts, the Illinois Rules of Evidence still give a fair amount of latitude to opinion experts in the formulation of their opinions.  Contact a Chicago Illinois Personal Injury Attorney in order to navigate the gauntlet of Illinois evidence law.

At The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C., we represent people who have been injured in trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other serious injury cases.  Our attorneys are experts in the rules of evidence, and we will leverage our experience into securing a successful recovery for you or your loved one.  Contact us now to schedule your free, no-obligation initial consultation or call us at our Joliet office at 815.726.0100.

Categories of Witnesses in Illinois Personal Injury Cases

According to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules there are three categories of witnesses in civil cases.  Rule 213(f) designates these three categories as: lay witnesses, independent expert witnesses, and controlled expert witnesses.  The testimony and opinions of these witnesses are used to ensure that that people can substantiate their cases efficiently and fairly.  It is necessary that the attorney you choose to represent you in personal injury matters is an expert in coordinating with opinion witnesses.

The categories of expert witnesses are:

(1) Lay Witnesses. A “lay witness” is a person giving only fact or lay opinion testimony;

(2) Independent Expert Witnesses. An “independent expert witness” is a person giving expert testimony who is not the party, the party’s current employee, or the party’s retained expert. (Examples of these witnesses are a police officer making an arrest or a treating physician).

(3) Controlled Expert Witnesses. A “controlled expert witness” is a person giving expert testimony who is the party, the party’s current employee, or the party’s retained expert. (These witnesses can be hired by attorneys, and they might provide an expert opinion based on their expertise, examination of the facts of the case, or even a hypothetical situation).

In the event of a serious personal injury accident, it is critical that you retain an attorney who will be able to coordinate with experts in order to substantiate your case.  If you or a family member have been seriously injured, contact a Chicago personal injury attorneyat The Law Offices of Adam J. Zayed, P.C. today in order to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.