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Accidental Shootings

Accidental Shootings

With all the recent attention to gun violence in our country, we thought it might be helpful to point out that many Homeowners’ Insurance Policies cover injuries caused by accidental shootings on your property. The shooting must be attributed to negligence of the home owner.
This negligence can take many forms, and really is only limited by the imagination of your attorney. Was the gun left loaded and where children could easily find it? Were there no trigger guards or were the guns not kept in a safe? Was a member of the family showing it to a friend when it discharged?
We prosecuted a case like that about 25 years ago, and the case went to trial. The defense wanted to hint to the jury that it was some kind of dope deal gone bad, resulting in the home owner’s son shooting my client. There was no evidence of drugs being present, and we were able to prove that it was just two teenagers playing with a loaded gun. The defendant home owner’s son was showing the gun to our client and didn’t know how to handle the gun and didn’t realize it was loaded until it went off. We were able to our client a very nice jury verdict based on that negligence.

Firm Outing to the Cubs Game!

Firm Outing to the Cubs Game!

watching-chicago-cubs-gameOn Friday, May 19, 2017, we closed the office to play hooky and go to a Chicago Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field. They were playing Division Rivals the Milwaukee Brewers.  The weather the week running up to that Friday was beautiful; temperatures were in the 70’s with no rain in sight.
Naturally, the forecast for the 19th was for temperatures in the 50’s with a 70% chance of rain.  Luckily for us, we had tickets at one of the rooftop clubs, so even if it was cold we’d still be warm and dry, with plenty of food and beverages.
We boarded a bus in downtown Rockford at 10am to make the trip in for the 1:20 start time. Everyone from the office went, and most brought along their spouses or significant others.  We had a whole tour bus to ourselves.
We got into Chicago about 12:30, and because of the traffic around Wrigley, the bus had to park a few blocks away.   By this time it was starting to spit a little rain, but we decided to lean into the wind and rain and make the trek.  Once we got to the building, we ascended several flights of stairs to the enclosed rooftop restaurant/lounge area.
If you’ve never experienced seeing a game on one of the rooftops around Wrigley, I highly recommend it. There’s comfortable seating, open bar and all the dogs and burgers you want.  If you climb up one more flight of stairs you’re on the actual rooftop, and you can see the field spread out in front of you.  We were behind right/center field.  It was just beautiful.  By climbing up the last flight you can sit on bleachers and have an unobstructed view of the field.  As cold and nasty as it was, most of us chose to stay inside and watch the game on the many big screen TV’s in the restaurant/lounge area.
The game started badly for the Cubs. The starting pitcher walked the first three batters in both the first and second innings, and had about 70 pitches thrown through the first three.  They quickly got into a hole.  They clawed their way back and went up by one in the top of the fifth, but by then it was raining pretty hard.  In the bottom of the fifth pitching failed the Cubs again and there were a couple more walks and a couple singles, and it was all but over.  At the end of the fifth they brought out the tarp for the infield, and we knew it was going to be, at a minimum, a long rain delay.  All things considered, we decided to call it a day.  Listening to the game on the way home, after a couple hour delay, we found out Milwaukee held on for the victory.
It wasn’t a good day for the Cubs, but it sure was nice to take the whole MacCloskey Kesler office out to the ball game for an extra day off. It’s nice to be able to do stuff like that from time to time to reward our wonderful staff for all their hard work and to just blow off some steam.  I’m hoping we make it a yearly outing, but next year we’ll probably go in June!

A Client’s Story

A Client’s Story

insurance-formsTwenty five year old “Frank” (not his real name) was a client of ours whose case just settled. In October of 2015, Frank was riding his motorcycle when a car pulled from a stop sign on a side street directly in front of him.  Frank had no choice but to hit the car.  The driver of the car said she couldn’t see Frank because the sun was in her eyes.
As a result of the impact, Frank sustained a fractured pelvis, fractured left arm, fractured jaw, fractured eye sockets, fractured teeth and two brain bleeds. Frank was transported to the hospital by ambulance where he spent time in the Intensive Care Ward and then time as an inpatient.
He then required six months of medical treatment to get back on his feet, and lost several months of work. He will have permanent pain and suffering as a result of his severe injuries.  He sometimes walks with a limp and still gets headaches.
Frank’s bills were over $300,000.   He had no health insurance to pay the bills, having just started his job.  Additionally, the “at fault driver” only had a $100,000 policy of insurance, and no assets that could be reached to satisfy any judgment that we could get on Frank’s behalf.   If there would have been a $1,000,000 policy involved we could have justified forcing the insurance company to pay us that on Frank’s behalf for his severe and permanent injuries.   Frank only had a $25,000 policy so we couldn’t look to his policy under the terms of his Underinsured Motorist Protection.
A word about Underinsured Motorist Coverage. If you are injured by someone whose insurance policy is too small to fully compensate you for the injuries sustained by their negligence, you can look to your own car insurance policy to make up the difference.  But, you must have policy limits bigger than the underinsured driver.  So looking ahead, always get the highest car insurance policy limits you can afford to cover yourself in case this happens to you.  In Frank’s case, he didn’t.   That creates a dilemma.
At MacCloskey Kesler & Associates, we have seen this sad scenario many times, and we are well aware of ways to negotiate bills and liens in some cases and force medical providers to take lower amounts than the face value of the bill in others. This can save tens of thousands of dollars or more.
In Frank’s case, we were able to get him set up with Medicaid, and force the medical providers who would not accept Medicaid to take pennies on the dollar. The net result?   Even after paying us a one third contingent fee and repaying Medicaid and the medical providers, Frank walked away with over $44,000.
Consider that. He had over $300,000 in medical bills, and we were able to pay ALL THOSE BILLS IN FULL, pay our fee, and Frank walked away with over $44,000 in net compensation (which is not income to him, by the way), when there was only $100,000 that we were able to recover.
That’s what experienced lawyers like MacCloskey Kesler & Associates can do for you.   So if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle, car or truck accident, call us at 815-965-2000 today for a free consultation.   Put our passion, knowledge and experience to work for you.

Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

multimillion-dollar-advocate-fullPersonal injury attorneys Kim MacCloskey and Phil Kesler have been members of the prestigious Multi -Million Dollar Advocates Forum since 2012.   In order to be named to this forum, Kim and Phil were required to show that they acted as Principle Counsel in one or more cases that resulted in a final Judgment, award or settlement in favor of their client in the amount of two million dollars or more.
The initial case that brought such recommendation was tried in December, 2006.  Kim and Phil tried this case in DeKalb County, Illinois, which involved a 48 year old man who was hit by a pickup truck on a rural highway in northern Illinois several years earlier. He sustained a traumatic amputation of his left leg at the scene, multiple fractures to his left (dominant) arm, rib fractures, and a fractured neck.  He would have bled to death at the scene had a nurse not been there to apply a tourniquet literally within minutes.  He later developed compartment syndrome requiring surgeries on both arms, and underwent over 20 surgeries in all and had over one million dollars in medical bills.   He injured his vocal cords and could barely talk, which made it very difficult to teach his classes at the High School where he was employed, but through hard work he was able to resume teaching.  The $6.2 million verdict included $750,000 for his wife’s loss of consortium, which was just short of a DeKalb County record.
It is an honor to be members of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and to be recognized for our hard work in bringing this case to a successful verdict.
 

MacCloskeyKesler and Associates Voted Best Law Firm and Kim MacCloskey voted Best Personal Injury Attorney in the Rock River Valley

MacCloskeyKesler and Associates Voted Best Law Firm and Kim MacCloskey voted Best Personal Injury Attorney in the Rock River Valley

what-rocks-winners-logoMacCloskeyKesler and Associates was just voted Best Law Firm in the Rock River Valley in the “What Rocks Rockford” poll conducted by the Rockford Register Star newspaper.   Attorney Kim MacCloskey was voted Best Personal Injury Attorney in the same poll.
Every year, the Register Star conducts an online poll in Northern Illinois to determine the area’s favorites in everything from Bakeries to Women’s boutiques.  There were 143 categories, and the top three vote recipients in each category were invited to a formal, gala event at Giovanni’s Restaurant in Rockford, Illinois on November 2.
The competition was stiff as everyone wanted to win these prestigious awards. When the evening was over, MacCloskeyKesler was voted Best Law Firm and Kim MacCloskey was voted best personal injury attorney.  These awards are added to Phil Kesler being previously rated best (Preeminent, the highest level of professional excellence) by the Martindale Hubble organization following a poll of lawyers and judges familiar with the many cases he has tried and successfully prosecuted over the last dozen years.
We are very proud of these accomplishments and wish to thank all the residents of the Rock River Valley in Northern Illinois for recognizing our hard work and dedication to fighting for the rights of injury victims.

The Value of Real Experience

The Value of Real Experience

Illinois Law Book & GavelAll lawyers say they are experienced, but what does that really mean?    In a personal injury setting, it should mean that your lawyer has encountered cases just like yours many times before.
The practice of law is just that, practice.   When someone graduates from law school and passes the bar exam, they can call themselves a lawyer.    But that is a far cry from being an experienced personal injury lawyer.    Experience is a hard fought for commodity.  Experience only comes after many years of frustratingly hard work and after many cases are successfully tried and settled.   There is simply no substitute for having actual experience handling similar cases.   Every case that is handled makes a good lawyer smarter and better able to handle a similar case in the future.
At MacCloskeyKesler & Associates, we concentrate our practices in personal injury law and have done so for decades.    We have handled cases for virtually every imaginable type of personal injury.    We have extensive experience in car accidents, having handled thousands of cases for all manner of collisions, and tried dozens of such cases to verdict.   It is doubtful that there is a type of collision scenario which we have not tried to verdict.
But our experience doesn’t end there.   In addition to representing people injured in automobiles and other motor vehicles, we have represented people hurt on bicycles, motorcycles, or simply crossing the street.  We have prosecuted hundreds of fall down/premises liability cases, dog bites and cases involving other types of injuries.  We have prosecuted cases against trucking companies, bus companies, landlords, stores, major corporations, cities, municipal entities, park districts, counties, police departments and any other legal entity imaginable.
This particular experience is extremely helpful because we know what can happen in a lawsuit against these kinds of entities, and we know what to look for in the way of evidence and know the defenses that will be raised.   More importantly, we know Illinois law, because we are from Illinois, we live here, have studied here and practiced here, and handled thousands of cases here.   All state laws are different, and we concentrate our practice in Illinois personal injury law.
Don’t buy into claimed experience.  Expect real experience.  Demand it.  Don’t be afraid to ask a prospective attorney about his or her experience.   There is no substitute for that experience.   Simply because people can call themselves lawyers doesn’t mean they have experience.   MacCloskeyKesler & Associates has personal injury experience like no other firm in Northern Illinois.   Put our experience to work for you.

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