June 27

Why do I need an Attorney? Can’t I just represent myself?

From time to time, I will have potential clients ask me why they need me, an attorney, to represent them in their personal injury or car accident case. “Can’t I just handle it myself?” is a popular question. And “What can you do that I can’t do for myself?” is another one. Here is the response that I give to these individuals:

Most of these skeptical clients are in the “pre-suit” stage of litigation. This means that they have been negotiating with the insurance adjuster for the negligent driver and they haven’t had to file a complaint in court yet. More times than not, I get inquiries from new clients who have been trying to negotiate directly with the adjuster, and have grown frustrated with the amount of money (or lack of money) that the adjuster is willing to pay toward their claim. Other clients think they have received a fair offer, but feel unsure about accepting it. The question I get at this stage is “How are you going to make a difference? What can you do that I am not already doing?” For me, the answer is simple: I can try your case before a jury of your peers.

The threat of a jury trial by a competent personal injury attorney is an incredible motivator for the insurance companies to settle. I have developed my trial skills by attending three years of law school, attending hours of continuing legal education on the Illinois Supreme Court Rules, Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, Illinois Rules of Evidence and Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions. I also have nearly a decade of actual experience trying cases in Illinois and federal courts. In other words, if the insurance adjuster won’t make an offer on my client’s claim that is fair and reasonable, I can take the case to trial and try to get my client the result they deserve. So to my skeptical clients, I ask, “Can you do that?”

Most of the skeptics will admittedly answer “No.” I then proceed to ask these potential clients if they know how to resolve a lien. I ask them if they know how to deal with the subrogation claims against their personal injury lawsuit. I ask them if they know what the fair value of pain and suffering is in the jurisdiction in which they will need to file suit. Do they know how long they have to file a claim? I ask them if they know what the limits are on the opposing party’s insurance policy, etc. etc. Typically, the answers are always “No,” “No,” and of course, “No.”

I equate people who represent themselves in their personal injury claims on the same level as people who try to self-diagnose themselves using the internet. Not a good choice. Mainly because these clients lack (1) the ability to push the file successfully to a trial (if needed) and (2) they are not familiar with all of the hidden landmines that accompany an injury lawsuit.

If you have been representing yourself in your injury claim, now might be a good time to contact the Illinois personal injury attorneys of Argento Law Group, P.C. to discuss your case. The consultation on your claim is always free. We can be reached at (847) 628-8305 or at solutions@argentolaw.com.

June 27

What am I supposed to do with the Illinois Motorist Report?

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision or car accident and the police showed up, more likely than not you were provided with a document called “an Illinois Motorist Report.” Drivers that are involved in a motor vehicle crash in the state of Illinois must report the crash to the Illinois Dept of Transportation (IDOT) within 10 days of the crash using the Illinois Motorist Report. See 625 ILCS 5/11-406 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes.

In the case where the driver cannot make the report, either because they are injured or unavailable, the vehicle owner or other related person is required to comply. This reporting is typically done via a paper report that is distributed by law
enforcement when they respond to the crash.

You are also able to use the online Illinois Motorist Report wizard by visiting https://motoristreport.illinois.gov. If you have been involved in a car accident, it never hurts to contact an Illinois personal injury attorney like the professionals of Argento Law Group, P.C. A competent Illinois car accident attorney can assist you with completing the Illinois Motorist Report and other important paperwork.

Have questions? Contact Argento Law Group, P.C. at (847) 628-8305 or via email at solutions@argentolaw.com.

May 8

“How to get an Attorney to Accept your Small Personal Injury Case” in Kane County, Illinois

Recently, I read an article in the Kane County Chronicle written by an attorney on “How to get an Attorney to Accept your Small Personal Injury Case.” In the article, the attorney stated that soft tissue injury cases (i.e. whiplash cases) were frequently “rejected” by Kane County personal injury attorneys because they were “too small” and “not worth it.” He went onto say that he will accept small personal injury cases if the client does most of the work first, i.e. by bringing the medical records and bills to him to review.

I respectfully disagree with this approach.

The Kane County personal injury attorneys of Argento Law Group, P.C. represent clients in all levels of injury – from small “whiplash” cases – to massive injury cases that end in death. Each client is afforded the same professional care and service – regardless of the “size” of their case.

At our firm, all new personal injury clients receive a free consultation. We review the paperwork they have (i.e. crash report, ER report) and determine what paperwork we need to obtain (i.e. medical records and bills). Our office pays for the cost of the medical records, the bills, and any other documentation needed to prove up the client’s case. Our philosophy is that the client has already been through enough (i.e. an injury!) and that they are hiring our firm to provide them with a professional service. Asking a client to gather their own medical records and bills for us to perform a service for them (that we get PAID for) is like asking a customer at a Jiffy Lube to bring their own oil in order for their car to be serviced.

As attorneys, we are in the business of making money – but we are also in the business of helping people. Our professional and competent staff at Argento Law Group, P.C. makes sure that all of our Kane County personal injury clients receive the creme de la creme of legal representation – and that doesn’t mean making them do our work for us!

I also respectfully disagree with the Kane County Chronicle’s editorial in saying that smaller personal injury cases have no financial benefit to the practitioners handling them. Dollar for dollar, our firm receives a strong financial return on all of our personal injury cases – including the smaller ones.

If you have been injured in a “small” personal injury case in Kane County, and want top notch legal representation right in your own backyard, please call our office at (847) 628-8305 or email us at solutions@argentolaw.com. No upfront work on your part will be required; your consultation will be free; and you’ll pay nothing unless we recover on your behalf.

May 5

I was involved in an auto accident. Do I need to release my entire medical history to the other driver’s insurance company?

QUESTION: I was involved in an auto accident. Do I need to release my entire medical history to the other driver’s insurance company? The other driver was determined to be at fault, and received a citation. Her insurance company and I were able to settle on an amount on my vehicle because it was considered a total loss. However, they are saying they will not pay for my medical bill unless I agree to release my entire medical history to them.

ANSWER: The quick answer to your question is “yes.” A more detailed response is below:

A seasoned Illinois personal injury attorney knows that disclosing a client’s medical record is a necessary part of settling a car crash case. After the accident, you may have been diagnosed with an injury directly related to the collision (cervical strain or “whiplash” for example). You, of course, need treatment for the injury. You, of course, are also entitled to recover from the negligent driver for the cost of your medical treatment as well as for the pain and suffering you experienced related to that injury (after all, without that knucklehead rear-ending you, you wouldn’t be in pain to start with!).

In order to recover for your personal injuries (i.e. the cervical strain), you need to prove that you were injured. The best way to prove that you were injured is to provide the insurance company for the negligent driver with copies of your medical records and billing statements. For this reason, the insurance company will typically request copies of your medical records in order to evaluate your claim. They probably sent you a form to fill out to get copies of your records.

Here’s the sneaky part that a well seasoned Illinois personal injury attorney will help you to navigate. Insurance companies sometimes want your ENTIRE medical record to determine if you had any pre-existing injuries or illnesses that may have contributed to the pain you are experiencing now (for example, did you have a prior back surgery that may be contributing to the pain that you are experiencing now?). The insurance company will then try to pay you less than you deserve based upon your prior medical history.

You need an Illinois injury lawyer who can help you to navigate this case. Contact the Illinois personal injury attorneys of Argento Law Group, P.C. at (847) 628-8305.