Ridge & Downes - Law Firm

  • How the AMA Guides can affect your case

    Section 8.1b of the newly amended Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act states that Arbitrators must now consider the American Medical Association’s “Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment” as a factor in deciding permanency awards.  This means that employers and insurance companies will hire doctors to rate an injured worker’s impairment based on the guidelines in this book. 

    An arbitrator recently approved a settlement contract for an injured worker who suffered a torn meniscus.  The injured worker did not hire an attorney and negotiated his settlement with an attorney for his employer’s insurance company. The lawyer showed the injured worker a report which stated his impairment was 1% of the lower extremity. The injured worker then agreed to settle his case for 1.5% loss of use of the leg. This is compared to the 15% to 20% loss of use generally awarded in this type of case.

    What the injured worker did not know is that the Arbitrator could have considered more than the impairment report. The Act requires the Arbitrator to take into account the injured employee’s occupation, age, future earning capacity and evidence of disability corroborated by medical records.  By not having an advocate on his side this injured worker agreed to accept about twenty times less than his case was worth.

  • Trucking Accidents in Illinois

    Each year, thousands of motorists are critically injured when passenger vehicles and commercial trucks collide.  As the number of commercial trucks on the road steadily increases every year, inevitably so will the number of serious accidents. A collision with a large truck can be devastating for the driver and any passengers in the car. The truck's sheer size and power leave the car’s passengers at risk for serious personal injuries or even death. 

    In 2008, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 144 fatal crashes with large trucks in Illinois. Federal and state codes, designed specifically to protect motorists from the negligence of untrained commercial truck drivers and trucking companies, regulate the safe operation of large trucks. At Ridge & Associates, we are familiar with those laws and regulations and can provide well informed advice to you or any of your loved ones who have been involved in a trucking accident in Illinois. 

    Trucking accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, which vary from relatively simple errors, such as excessive speed, driver fatigue or inexperienced driving, to more complicated and serious reasons, which include, ignoring regulations that require companies to limit the number of hours their drivers are on the road, carrying excessive or unsafe loads and drug or alcohol use on the part of the driver. 

    In addition, the list of possible defendants in a trucking accident goes beyond just the driver of the truck. The company that owns the truck can also be held liable, as can the owner of the load, the owner of the trailer carrying the load, the truck manufacturer, the tire distributor, or others, depending on the cause and circumstances of the accident. 

    The law limits the time you have to pursue a legal action against a negligent party so it is important to obtain sound legal advice as soon as possible. More importantly, it is imperative to obtain quick access to the evidence and witnesses surrounding a trucking accident, as this will often be a crucial factor in winning a case. In addition, trucking companies and their insurance carriers will have investigators in place within hours of an accident occurring.

    At Ridge & Associates, we have the knowledge, resources and expertise to handle any question you may have surrounding this important area of personal injury law so please do not hesitate to call us if you have further questions about this area of the law.

  • Presentation on the 2011 Amendments to the Act

    Click here to view our presentation.

    Contact us to give a presentation at your next meeting on how the change affect your members and their families.

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