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FAQ’s


Frequently Asked Questions

Many questions people have about their injury case are general in nature. I answer the most frequent questions below. If you have any you would like to add please feel to

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Is there a time limit on my case?
Most cases have a Statute of Limitations. For most injury cases, the deadline is 2 years after you were hurt. For Workers’ Compensation work injury cases, it is 3 years, but you must notify your job that you had an accident or injury within 45 days of the injury. There are many exceptions to this, and I encourage you to at least consult with a lawyer about this because if you blow this deadline, chances are, your case is over for good.
How much does it cost to hire an injury lawyer?

I work on a contingency fee on injury cases–no fee unless I get you a settlement or verdict/award. It is industry standard (and set by law) 20% for Workers’ Compensation cases and one third (33 1/3%) up to 40% for regular injury cases, depending on the circumstances and case.

Can I hire a different lawyer if I am unhappy with the one I hired?

Of course you can! A word of warning, however. Lawyers are not supposed to chase after other lawyers clients. The only way I will represent you is if you have already decided to fire your lawyer and are going to hire a different one anyway. Beware of cheesy lawyers who bad-mouth one another. It is unethical, and it tells you a lot about a lawyer if the only way they can get clients is to spread rumors about others.

How much is my case worth?

Very common question, but there is no way for me to tell you that without ALOT of information about your case. Even then, there is a range of value depending on the client, the case, the facts of the injury, your doctor, and your medical outcome once you have recovered as much as you can from your injuries. This may be a disappointing answer, but its the truth, and you’d better think twice before hiring someone who tells you that you have a million dollar case before knowing any of the details.

If I was injured at work, what am I entitled to?

2/3 of your salary while off work. Your doctor bills paid. Your choice of treating doctors (up to 2). A lump sum payment at the end of the case reflecting the change in your body as a result of the injury. If you have serious ongoing problems, you can get a total permanent award or a permanent wage differential award between what you once earned and what you now earn. These are the basics, but as you can see, it’s complicated. There is other relief available depending on the case.

Can my company fire me or retaliate against me if I file a Workers’ Comp case?

Nope. It is a violation of Federal law for your employer to fire you or retaliate against you for filing a Workers’ Comp case, which is your right under the law. They are hard cases to prove, and my office handles these “Retaliatory Discharge” cases. But you have to be able to prove you were fired for filing a Workers’ Comp case and not some other reason.

How long does a case take?

I once settled a case in 30 minutes. I have settled several in several months. Most cases that settle can take a year. If a case goes into suit, it can be 2 years until we get a trial. I always push my cases, because you do not get paid waiting, and neither do I. I do not get paid anything out of your pocket on contingency fee cases, just when I win your case by settlement or verdict. In work injury cases (Workers’ Compensation), my office can file a 19b or 19b1 Petition to make sure you are getting paid and getting appropriate medical care from a doctor of your choice. Once I know some more details of your case, I will be in a better situation to give you an estimate.

If I had an injury before, will that ruin my case?

Not at all. But we must be 100% up front and honest about your medical condition before your accident or injury. Even if you had the same or similar problem before, the law allows us to make a claim for the exacerbation of a pre-existing injury–for a problem becoming worse. The insurance company is going to find out about your prior injury anyway, and honesty is the best policy.

What doctor should I go to?

Going to a company doctor in a work injury case is usually a mistake, because company doctors are out to protect the company. The law requires you to go to an exam by the company doctor but you get to pick who is actually treating you for your injuries. In most types of injury cases, if you have health insurance, have your family doctor refer you to the appropriate specialist. If you have neither money nor health insurance, find a neighborhood doctor who will work on a “lien.” That means that the doctor understands that you are down on your luck, and the law allows the doctor, via a lien, you get part of his bill paid if you win your case. If you have been injured and want to get compensation for your injuries, you have to get treatment or there is no way to prove your case.

What should I do if my doctor is being a jerk?

Find a new one. I’m not kidding. I have had my client’s treating doctors ruin their case for no reason. I have had treating doctors deny my clients needed medication and medical treatment because they do not like lawsuits, even when insurance company doctors have approved the treatment! If your doctor treats you like a jerk when he finds out you were injured in an accident, find another one. You do not deserve to be treated like a jerk by a doctor who has no idea about what you are going through and no sympathy. We prove half of your case through a doctor’s testimony–do you really want to try to prove your case with a hostile doctor?

What do I have to do if I hire you to handle my case?

I do all the heavy lifting. You provide me the basics of how your injury occurred, who the witnesses are, what doctors you are seeing. You sign my initial paperwork, like information releases so I can get your medical records. I always have clients sign a written agreement outlining our agreement. Your job is to tell me if you change jobs or addresses or phone numbers, keep me updated as to your medical treatment, send me anything you get in the mail related to your injuries, medical treatment, etc., and cooperate with my office as we collect your medical records, bills, and other information necessary to push your case forward. If we file a case, you might have to come downtown a few times for the case, but the day to day heavy lifting is all done by my office.

Do I have to tell anyone about my case?

No. And I will not tell anyone or dicuss your case with anyone if you tell me not to.

What is a lien?

When you have no insurance, a doctor can file a lien (pronounced “lean’”) which is a legal peice of paper saying that if you get money out of your lawsuit, the doctor has to be paid a portion of it for his bill. The doctor does not have a “stake” in your case, because you stilll owe the doctor for the bills whether you win your case or not. The law limits how much they can get out of your settlement, and there are no liens on Workers Compensation cases (work injuries). From here, it gets awfully complicated. I have alot of experience working these things out, and it can get very complicated, beyond what I can answer in a brief FAQ.

If my health insurance company pays my doctors bills, do I have to pay them out of my settlement?

It depends. It is likely that you health insurance paperwork (contract) says that you have to, but many times, my client’s health insurers never contact them about being paid back for the medical care covered by the health insurance. When they DO contact my office or you, then yes, we do have to work out a deal with them. I handle that, and I can usually get you a pretty good deal.

Can you lend me money because I am not working because of my injuries?

NO. A lawyer is not allowed to lend or advance money to their client. There are lawsuit loan places out there, but I do not suggest you go to them. They charge 40% or 50% interest, or more. I never suggest them and always advise against them. That said, if you must, you must, and I will cooperate if you direct me to do so.

What if I already gave the insurance company a recorded statement and signed some papers?

I represent people all the time who hire me AFTER they sign insurance papers and give a recorded statement on the telephone. Usually I can fix it. When I cannot fix it, we have to live with it and do the best we can. It may not be a big deal at all–but it can be a case-killer. It is one of the first things I investigate once I take over a case.

If I fire my old lawyer and hire you, do I pay two lawyer fees out of my case?

No. I cut a deal with the old lawyer, and if we cannot work out a deal, then the Court cuts my attorney fee and gives some of it to your old lawyer. Nothing for you to worry about–you pay the same as if you only ever hired me. I take the hit, but thems the breaks.

Should I lie about my old injury or about how the accident happened to make my case seem better?

You should never, NEVER lie about any part of your case, ever. People who lie always get caught in some way in injury cases, and then, their case is worth nothing. You may also be subject to contempt of Court if you lie–which can include jail and a fine. Do us both a favor–if you are even considering telling anything less than the 100% truth, then find yourself a different lawyer. I pride myself on my honesty and integrity, and demand the same honesty, respect, and cooperation I give to each and every one of my clients.

I am thinking about hiring the lawyer who did my real estate closing–he said he does injury cases, what do you think?

I think that it is probably a bad idea. You do not go to a foot doctor for an eye exam, or a hand surgeon for a headache. There are so many minefields in injury law that even alot of injury lawyers do not know them. Think about it carefully.

My case already settled–can I hire you to get me more for my injuries?

Usually not, but there are exceptions. Usually, once you sign the settlement papers, that’s it. Keep me in mind for the next time a friend or family member needs a Chicago Personal Injury lawyer.

Are your client testimonials real or are they just names and things you just made up?

100% real and written in my client’s own handwriting. They are on file at my office, for anyone to look at who cares to. Just CONTACT ME to set up an appointment to see them if you want. I like to have a good relationship with my clients. I want a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation. So, my clients always agree to write a review for me, and I am also lucky–all of my clients send me referrals of their family and friends. That, in my book, is the true test of the job I am doing for people.

How long have you been in practice?

I have been licensed since 1998. I had my first jury trial in a personal injury case after one month of practice. After about 1 1/2 years, I went to a big Defense firm and worked for insurance companies and saw how they operate (ugh!). My sympathies were always with the middle class, working class, regular people over big companies, so I returned to doing injury work for injured people at a firm, and quickly realized that there are alot of injury firms out there that treat their clients terrible, but their Associates worse. I started building a practice mainly on word of mouth and great, respectful service. That is the foundation of my firm, and it is my promise to my all of my clients.

Do you really take cases to trial in front of live juries?

Sure, I have had more than 30 jury trials, and probably 100 arbitrations, hundreds of depositions. I have more trial experience than lawyers twice my age, because I am not afraid to go to trial when my client’s case merits it. In fact, MOST lawyers retire without ever even having HALF the trials I have had.

You’re a lawyer–how do I know if I can trust you?

The best thing to do is talk to me and see what you think. Read what my clients have to say about me, my practice, and how they were treated. I’m a straight shooter and pride myself on telling the whole truth from beginning, through the middle, through the end. No surprises, just the truth. That’s why I get so many referrals from my current and former clients.

What happens to me if I got hurt at work (Workers Comp case) and I cannot go back to my old job?

We might be able to get you a new job that matches your new physical abilities, and it probably pays less than what you were making. But we might be able to get you what’s called a “wage differential”–which means that if you used to make $20/hour and now you can only earn $10/ hour, we might be able to get you that extra $10 per hour for the remainder of your working life. That can be alot of money, and it can really ease the financial strain of suffering such a serious injury. Obviously, this is complicated stuff, so this is not a promise that I can get you a wage differential in your case without knowing more.

How much do you charge?

All of my injury cases are taken on contingency, which means I only get paid if I win you money or get you a settlement. 20% statutory fee of Workers’ Comp and 33 1/3% or 40% for other injury cases, the industry standard that everyone charges. That means you pay nothing up front–I only get paid out of what I win for you. Very occasionally, in a complicated, tough, or costly case, I might take a case on an hourly rate or ask a client to help with costs, but that is very rare.

If I fire my old lawyer and hire you, do I pay two lawyer fees out of my case?

No. I cut a deal with the old lawyer, and if we cannot work out a deal, then the Court cuts my attorney fee and gives some of it to your old lawyer. Nothing for you to worry about–you pay the same as if you only ever hired me. I take the hit, but thems the breaks.

Who pays the case costs?

Case costs are things like a Court filing fee, a fee for getting copies of medical records, address verification of the person who hurt you, ordering a copy of the police report, etc. I typically advance case costs. If we lose, I typically eat the costs I have advanced on your case–you do not pay me back. If we win, the case costs come out of your end after I take my fee. This is standard practice in the injury business. I am very careful not to waste money on Court costs. There are some occasional cases that I ask for a retainer or costs-only retainer, but that is in less than 1% of my cases, and it is a rare and special situation.

How many times do I have to come downtown if my case goes to Court?

Hard to say, but maybe 2-3 times before the trial, and then you have to be present for the entire trial, start to finish. This is not the gospel, but it is a pretty good estimate.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to

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Testimonials

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"I like Mr. DeSalvo. He is very good with his work and very professional. I knew I had a tough case. I wouldn’t entrus...

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Carmen Cummings
Import/Export and Building Management
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COURTEOUS AND HELPFUL!
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MR. DESALVO IS DIFFERENT!
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Denise Anderson-Harris
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THANK YOU FOR ALL THE WORK YOU DID!
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Editor
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I FEEL GREAT!
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Drugstore Clerk
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TREATED ME WITH RESPECT…VERY CARING!
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William Miller
Security Officer
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GOOD EFFICIENT LAWYER!
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Home Health Care
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I WOULD HIRE YOU AGAIN!
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Maria Forowycz
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Hunter, NY (Chicago, IL)
ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS!
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Wendell Murray
FactoryWorker
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NEVER TOO BUSY TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!
“To Mr. DeSalvo: Thank you very much for being the attorney that you are. You are never too busy to answer any questio...

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Sue Nika
School teacher
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Nicole Palmer
Self-Employed
Car Versus Pedestrian
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TREATED ME LIKE FAMILY!
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Seth Ketchum
Industrial Mixer
Work Injury –Workers’ Comp
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APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE!
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VERY PROFESSIONAL!
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Bank Teller
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Journalist
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Construction Worker
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Medical Administrative Assistant
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School Teacher
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CTA Bus Accident
Construction Worker
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Forklift Operator
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I COULD FEEL HIS CONCERN FROM THE VERY BEGINNING!
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Sales Associate
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HE HAD FAITH IN ME!
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OPEN HONEST AND TRUTHFUL!
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Store Manager
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Medical Office Supervisor
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MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE A FRIEND
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Car Accident/Medical Malpractice
Medical Office Supervisor
Naperville, Illinois

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