Why Everyone Over Age 18 Should Have a Power of Attorney

Web Admin - Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Barrington power of attorney lawyerA power of attorney is one of the most basic, and yet most important, legal protections that every adult should have. A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives another person the authority to act in your place when you cannot be physically present yourself or if you become incapacitated. There are two types of POA, for property and for healthcare. A power of attorney for property authorizes a designated person to handle your financial affairs, while a power of attorney for healthcare empowers your named representative to make medical decisions on your behalf. 

When Is the Right Time to Create a Power of Attorney?

Imagine that you are struck tomorrow by a catastrophic accident or sudden incapacitating illness. If you are married, your spouse should have access to your financial resources to pay for your medical care and the right to make medical decisions on your behalf. But consider what would happen if you are not married or if your spouse is incapacitated at the same time you are. Do you think your immediate family members would agree on who should take charge of your financial affairs and make medical decisions for you? Having a POA in place will head off disputes that could cause long-term rifts in a family.

Young adults often assume that their parents will be able to step in and handle everything in such an event. However, once you turn 18, your parents do not necessarily have the legal authority to access your medical records and bank accounts and to make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf. 

Similarly, adults with aging parents may assume they can step in at any time and take over their parents’ affairs. However, why leave it to chance? Do you really want siblings fighting over who is going to take charge? Instead, encourage your aging relatives to sign powers of attorney while they are still competent to make that choice. The POA can be a first step toward creating a comprehensive will and estate plan.

What Does a Power of Attorney for Property Do?

You can create a very limited power of attorney document for a specific situation, such as authorizing your lawyer to handle a real estate closing for you when you cannot be present in person. More commonly, the purpose is much broader. A power of attorney document will specify a list of decisions that your designated representative can make on your behalf, such as selling your home; trading stocks, bonds, and other investments; collecting Social Security and other retirement benefits on your behalf; paying bills from your checking account; managing a trust account; and filing your tax returns.

What Does a Power of Attorney for Healthcare Do?

When you prepare a POA for healthcare, you can specify the powers that your designated representative will have and when those powers will take effect. The medical topics covered in a healthcare POA may include:

- Whether your POA will have full access to your medical records.

- Whether you want extraordinary measures taken to keep you alive as long as possible or instead wish to prioritize quality of life over length of life.

- In what type of circumstances you want life-sustaining treatment to be administered or withheld, or whether you would only like pain-relieving medication to be administered.

- Whether you want to be an organ donor upon your death.

- How you want your mortal remains handled upon your death, e.g., burial or cremation.

Consult a Schaumburg Power of Attorney Lawyer

An attorney can serve as a neutral third party when you need to convince an elderly relative to sign powers of attorney while they are still competent, particularly if you are assisting them with moving out of their home and into some type of assisted living facility. If you need a POA for yourself but are not sure what powers you want to grant your designated representative and when you want those powers to take effect, an experienced Palatine estate planning attorney can explain your options. Call Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC at 847-934-6000 to set up a free initial consultation.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


Can I Sue a Bar or Restaurant for Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Web Admin - Thursday, April 18, 2019
Des Plaines drunk driving accident attorneyWhen a drunk driver seriously injures another person, the injured person can sue the drunk driver for compensation under Illinois’ personal injury laws. If the at-fault driver became intoxicated in a bar, the injured person may also sue the owner of that bar under state liquor liability laws, also known as dram shop laws. 

What Are Dram Shop Laws?

When a bar serves enough liquor to a patron to cause their intoxication, dram shop laws make the bar owner strictly liable to any person injured by the intoxicated patron. 

What Is the Illinois Liquor Liability Law?

Illinois is one of 38 U.S. states with dram shop laws. The Illinois Liquor Control Act (235 ILCS 5/6-21) states that anyone who is injured in Illinois by an intoxicated person can sue the establishment responsible for that person’s intoxication. That is, the injured person can sue the bar that sold or gave alcoholic beverages to the intoxicated person. 
The intoxicated person himself, however, cannot sue the liquor-serving establishment for injuries to himself or his own property, nor can their family make a claim for the loss of the intoxicated person’s support or society.

The Liquor Control Act also specifies limits on the amount of damages that an injured person can claim. These limits are updated annually based on inflation. For incidents occurring on or after January 20, 2019, the maximum compensation is $70,091.09 per person injured. The injured person’s immediate family can also claim loss of support or loss of society up to a maximum of $85,666.89. Each establishment holding a liquor sales license is required to have liquor liability insurance of at least $225,849.07.

What Do You Have to Prove to Win a Liquor Liability Case?

If you have been injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, you will need to prove three key points in order to obtain compensation under Illinois’ liquor liability laws:

- The person who injured you was served liquor at a specific bar.
- That person was served enough liquor at that bar to become intoxicated.
- That person, while still intoxicated, caused the car accident in which you were injured.

An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to investigate your case and gather the necessary evidence. 

For example, when police suspect that intoxication contributed to a car crash, they will typically order immediate blood-alcohol testing of the at-fault driver. That will establish the level of that driver’s intoxication. The police may also obtain verbal testimony from the at-fault driver and any passengers they were transporting, which could reveal where they had been drinking and how much alcohol was consumed.

If the police investigation does not reveal where the at-fault driver became intoxicated, a private investigation led by an experienced lawyer may turn up this information. For example, a drunk driver’s alcohol consumption in the hours just prior to a car crash could be documented through credit card transactions, cell phone tracking, security camera video, or eyewitness testimony from other patrons of the bar.

Consult an Aggressive Palatine Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a member of your family have been injured or killed in a car crash involving a drunk driver, you may be able to claim compensation from more than one source. For a free initial consultation on your case, call an experienced Schaumburg personal injury attorney. Contact the law offices of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC at 847-934-6000.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


How to Get Fair Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries

Web Admin - Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Barrington truck crash attorneyHow many people do you think are injured or killed in car and truck crashes in the U.S. every year? In 2017, motor vehicle collisions injured over 2.7 million people and killed more than 37,000. 

The number of people killed in collisions involving large commercial trucks or semi-trailers rose 16% from 2016 to 2017, and the number of people injured rose 9%. In addition, the total number of large trucks involved in crashes rose 4% in 2017, while the total number of every other type of vehicle, from cars to motorcycles, declined.

Why Are Large Truck Crashes on the Rise?

Some experts blame the same government department that collects these statistics, the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency, for not taking tougher regulatory actions that could prevent more of these semi-truck crashes. In particular, the agency has been faulted for not requiring commercial trucks to have forward collision avoidance systems, which can help prevent trucks from rear-ending other vehicles on crowded highways.

Increasing highway congestion contributes to traffic slow-downs that make rear-end collisions and other accidents involving large trucks more likely. Some causes cited for this increased congestion include insufficient investment in the nation’s highway infrastructure over the past few decades and increased truck traffic related to online shopping. 

Chicago area highways are among some of the most overcrowded in the nation. The intersection of I-290 at I-90/I-94 near downtown Chicago is rated third among the 100 most congested truck bottlenecks in America. Other Chicago area locations making the Top 100 list are the spots where I-90 and I-94 split on both the north and south sides of Chicago.

What to Do if You Are Severely Injured in Crash With a Semi-Truck

It is entirely possible to be in a crash involving a tractor-trailer truck and not be injured, if the truck was braking and almost a stop when you are hit. If a driver of a fully loaded truck gets distracted, however, the consequences can be catastrophic. 

If you or a loved one has been badly injured or killed in a semi-truck crash, here are a few things you need to know. First, remember that many of these trucks are owned by huge companies that can afford the best lawyers, in addition to having the backing of a huge insurance company. Second, you may be pressured by a representative of the company to make a quick settlement when you are at your most vulnerable. 

Before you make any decisions, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you about what your case may be worth. Do not make any decisions for at least a few weeks, until you know the full extent of your damages. Vehicle crash injuries can take years to recover from, and many people never fully recover. While a check for tens of thousands of dollars may sound great in the moment, your medical and lost-income expenses could far exceed that. 

However, do not wait too long; you have just two years from the date of the accident to file a legal claim for compensation.

Consult a Successful Arlington Heights Truck Crash Lawyer

To speak to a knowledgeable Palatine truck crash attorney, call the law offices of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC at 847-934-6000. There is no charge for your initial case review.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


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