Wednesday, November 9, 2016


A beer truck delivery driver injured his low back on July 15, 1999 while moving cases of beer with a hand truck.  He had surgery a few months later.  Unfortunately, because of the severity of his injury, he could not return to his beer truck driver delivery job.  His doctor had placed him on permanent restrictions.  However, his employer did find him a job in its warehouse.  The warehouse job paid much less.  As his employer is required to do under Illinois law, it began paying wage differential benefits to compensate him for his permanent loss of income.
Unfortunately for this worker, he suffered a new injury on October 23, 2002.  This time, he injured his neck while working in the warehouse.  His doctor performed surgery a few months later.  Following this surgery, his doctor placed him on even greater permanent restrictions.  His employer could not accommodate these restrictions.  The injured worker searched for a new job within these restrictions but could not find one.  He took both of his cases to hearing.  He argued that he was entitled to both the wage differential from his first injury and permanent total disability from his second injury.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission agreed that the injured worker was permanently disabled as a result of the second injury.  However, the Workers’ Compensation Commission said that his right to wage loss benefits ended when he was unable to work following his second injury.  The Circuit Court agreed.
The Illinois Appellate Court agreed with the injured worker and reversed the decision of the Circuit Court and the Workers’ Compensation Commission!  The Appellate Court stated that the injured worker is entitled to both benefits — at the same time.  The Appellate Court said that since the injured worker suffered two separate accidents, he is entitled to full compensation for both.  His decreased earning capacity following the first injury did not end with his second, more severe injury.  The first injury had resulted in permanent economic loss — one that prevented him from earning wages as a beer truck delivery driver.  The second injury did not change the economic loss that the first injury had caused.
The Appellate Court said that Petitioner is not getting a double recovery.  He suffered two distinct injuries with two distinct economic losses.  He is entitled to recovery for both losses.
If you have questions about filing a workers’ compensation claim, an experienced Champaign / Urbana workers’ compensation attorney can assist you. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Palermo to discuss your case.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wrongful Death Damages - Aurora, IL

Wrongful Death Damages - Aurora, IL

Wrongful death cases are cases where a person's carelessness has resulted in the death of another. In these cases, the surviving family members can bring a pair of closely-related legal claims against the person or entity that caused the death.

First, family members can recover for their loss of companionship and support under the Wrongful Death Act. Second, the victim's estate can bring a survival action, which allows the estate to sue for the harm suffered by the decedent before his death. An example of a survival action is when a man is hit by a car and endures conscious pain and suffering before his death at a hospital six hours later. While no amount of monetary damages can fully compensate a family for a lost loved one, these statutory causes of action can bring some measure of justice to a family who has lost a loved one. The available damages can be divided into two categories, economic damages and “loss of society”.

Economic Damages

The most easily understood type of damages available in lawsuits related to a wrongful death are the economic ones. Courts allow the families of victims to recover for a wide array of the different economic harms they suffered as a result of the death. Some of these harms are very closely tied to the death.  Common examples of economic damages are the victim's pre-decease medical bills or the cost of funeral and burial expenses.  Furthermore, if the decedent worked outside of the home, then the family can recover for the lost wages that the decedent would have earned but for his death. Similarly, if the person worked in the home, the cost of those services is also available as part of the recoverable damages. However, not all damages are based on economic losses.

Loss of Society

Other damages are based on the loss of companionship and guidance. For example, a child who loses a mother will not have someone to lean on or talk to. A widow who loses her husband no longer has someone to take walks with. A father who loses a son no longer has a fishing partner.

In rare cases, punitive damages may also be available. These damages differ from the other types of damages because they are not designed to compensate the victims for a loss. Instead, they are designed to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are recoverable when defendants act with a conscious disregard for the safety of others.

If you have recently lost a loved one as a result of another person's careless actions, contact a DuPage County wrongful death attorney at Woodruff Johnson & Palermo today to ensure that the person responsible is held accountable for their behavior.

Friday, February 20, 2015

How to File a Personal Injury Claim

How to File a Personal Injury Claim

 Personal injury claims are some of the most common civil lawsuits filed in the United States, but the category covers a wide variety of different claims. According to a report by the Legal Finance Journal, just over half of all personal injury claims are the result of automobile accidents. Other large causes include medical malpractice and products liability claims. The set is rounded out by a variety of miscellaneous types of personal injury litigation, such as premises liability, lawsuits based on injuries that people suffered because another person did not properly maintain their property. Despite the many different ways that a personal injury claim can arise, there are some basic first steps and legal principles that people should understand when they are considering filing a claim.

First Steps

Although personal injury claims can arise in many contexts, the first thing a person should do is seek emergency medical attention for any injuries that they suffered. As a part of this, the injured person should make sure that they keep all bills and any other documents that they receive, as those sorts of things may become important later on in a personal injury case. They should also take notes about conversations that happen with their doctor during the appointment to preserve their recollection.

Another important early step is the preservation of evidence. To the extent possible, people should take pictures of where they were injured. This may mean photographing the scene of a car accident or taking pictures of the hazardous area where the victim slipped and fell. Another important step in the preservation of evidence is obtaining contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the event. It is also a good idea to take notes about any conversations with witnesses or with the person or people who were at fault for the accident. Once a person has received medical attention and taken these important steps to preserve the evidence, they can consider whether they want to face dealing with the legal system alone, or hire an experienced attorney to help them with their personal injury claim.

The Legal Basics

Regardless of whether the person chooses to try to handle the complexities of the legal system alone or to enlist the aid of a lawyer, it can be helpful to understand the basic law surrounding a personal injury claim. Naturally, there are a variety of legal claims that can give rise to a personal injury case and each situation will have its own unique nuances, but the core idea to understand is the legal doctrine of negligence. When a victim sues someone for negligence, they are asking the court to force the defendant to compensate them for injuries that they suffered as a result of the defendant's carelessness. Proving negligence requires the victim to show four things:

  • The victim must show that the defendant had an obligation to use ordinary care not to injure the victim;
  • The victim must show that the defendant was in some way careless, and thus breached that obligation;
  • The victim must show that the carelessness caused some sort of accident; and
  • The victim must show that they were injured in the accident.
If the victim can do these four things, then they may be able to recover for their injuries. Filing a personal injury claim may seem like a daunting task, but people do not have to do it alone. If you were recently injured in an accident, contact an Aurora personal injury attorney at Woodruff Johnson & Palermo today for a consultation and to learn how we can be of assistance.