One of the great tools in a plaintiff lawyer’s arsenal in Illinois is the Health Care Services Lien Act, which reduces the amount of certain medical liens in some cases. It can really help increase the total amount your client ends up with in a settlement.
A new case from the 5th District, Stanton v. Rea, notes that the 40% of the settlement that goes to the medical lienholders should not be calculated until after costs have been subtracted from the settlement. In other words, the Act doesn’t mean 40% of the pie, it means 40% of the pie after costs. In some cases, that can make a big difference.
My partner, Mike Warner, just spoke on some new aspects of the Lien Act at the recent Rock Island County Bar Association Seminar. I think a thorough “how to” post is forthcoming.
(Howard Zimmerle is a personal injury lawyer in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois, helping people who have been injured due to someone else’s fault. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com).
The Internal Revenue Service has shed some light on the taxability of tort damages. Attorneys typically have the kneejerk response that personal injury damages are not taxable. That is only true to a point.
The new regulation clarifies a few things, namely:
- Damages for personal injury or sickness are not taxable
- Damages for “emotional distress” are taxable unless they are attributable to a physical injury or sickness
- Punitive damages are taxable
The emotional distress language is important for people who handle employment law cases, false arrest, or other torts where emotional distress is recoverable but don’t typically involve physical injury or sickness.
(Howard Zimmerle is a trial lawyer from Illinois. He practices throughout western Illinois and Eastern Iowa. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or at hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com.)
I assume the law on vehicle damage is pretty much the same in every state, right? The general rule is that the plaintiff gets the reasonable cost to repair the vehicle or the value of the vehicle, whichever one is lower.
In trial, the proof should go as follows: Plaintiff proves the value of the repair. Defendant either accepts the value, presents evidence that the real value of the repair is lower or that the value of the repair exceeds the value of the vehicle. If the defendant doesn’t do that, and liability is clear, the plaintiff should win.
Emphasis on “should.” In Iowa, this apparently isn’t the case. The case of Phipps v. Boone County requires the plaintiff to prove both:
A. The reasonable value of repairs, and
B. The value of the vehicle immediately prior to the collision.
Even if there is no objection.
I disagree with this… but Iowa lawyers need to be aware of this when handling property damage in car accident cases.
(Howard Zimmerle is a personal injury lawyer who handles auto accident cases in Iowa and Illinois. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com)