Social Security Disability Requirements

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides financial protection for people when they need it the most. If you or your loved one cannot work due to a medical condition, an injury, or a disability, benefits may be available. Unfortunately, some disability applicants struggle to get their claim approved.

Here, our Rockford Social Security disability lawyers explain the basic requirements for qualifying for SSDI benefits.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security formIt is not always easy to know whether or not you meet all of the Illinois Social Security disability requirements. Do not assume that you do not qualify — even if your initial application for SSDI benefits has already been rejected by the agency. Your case deserves to be reviewed by an experienced Social Security disability lawyer. As a general rule, eligibility depends on the following three important factors:

  • Income/Employment: You must meet income requirements and employment history requirements. To start, applicants must have worked in a job that resulted in them paying a sufficient amount into the Social Security disability insurance system. In addition, you must not currently be working on a full-time basis. If you have too much income, your disability claim can be denied.
  • Disability Status: Next, applicants must have a qualifying disability or medical condition. Notably, the Social Security Administration provides an official list of impairments. These are conditions that are generally assumed to qualify. Though, each case will always be reviewed on an individual basis. To be clear, if your disability or medical condition is not listed, you still might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
  • Severity of Condition: Finally, supporting medical evidence must be produced that establishes the severity of the applicant’s disability. To meet the SSDI requirements, your disability or your medical condition must be severe enough to adversely impact your ability to work.

How Our Social Security Disability Attorneys Can Help

Ideally, you will be able to get relatively quick access to the full SSDI benefits that you rightfully deserve. Though, in reality, the system does not always work that way.

Many valid disability claims are initially denied. In fact, based on data published by the Social Security Administration (SSA), approximately 70 percent of initial Social Security disability applications are rejected by the agency. That being said, a significant number of those claims are eventually accepted on appeal.

If your claim was denied, you need a lawyer. Our Rockford Social Security disability attorneys know how to help our clients get the maximum benefits. Our law firm has a deep understanding of the claims process and all relevant rules and procedures. We are prepared to help you put together the strongest Social Security disability appeal.

Contact Our Rockford Social Security Disability Lawyers Today

At Tuite Law, our Illinois Social Security disability attorneys are strong, aggressive advocates for our clients. If your SSDI claim was denied, it is essential that you take immediate action. For a free, fully private review of your claim, please contact our legal team today at 877-965-5777.

From our law office in Rockford, we handle Social Security disability cases throughout the region, including in Winnebago County, Boone County, Stephenson County, and Ogle County.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit

There is nothing more emotionally painful or heartbreaking than losing a loved one in a preventable accident. While no legal action could ever make up for such a devastating loss, family members of the victim deserve justice and the maximum available financial support.

Through a wrongful death claim, close family members and/or the estate of the deceased can hold the negligent defendants legally liable for a fatal accident. Here, our Rockford wrongful death lawyers explain who has the statutory right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois.

Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuits: Who are the Eligible Parties?

Wrongful death suits are brought under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/1). Under this statute, only certain parties have the legal right to file a wrongful death suit. Specifically, the surviving spouse and surviving children of the victim have the primary right to bring a claim. These parties are eligible to recover wrongful death damages under the state’s wrongful death law.

In the absence of a surviving spouse or surviving children who are willing or able to bring the claim, legal rights can be advanced to other family members. Specifically, in this situation, parents and siblings of the deceased will then have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

In either case, Illinois requires wrongful death lawsuits to be filed by a personal representative of the deceased. In other words, the claim will be brought by the estate, instead of by the eligible family members. Still, it is the eligible parties who will be able to seek compensation for their damages.

You Must File a Wrongful Death Suit Before the Statute of Limitations Expires

Eligible parties only have a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death claim. Under Illinois law (735 ILCS 5/13-209), plaintiffs generally have two years to file a wrongful death suit.

There are few exceptions to this rule. If you fail to bring a case before the statute of limitations runs out, then your claim will be dismissed by the Illinois court.

If your loved one was killed because of the reckless or careless conduct of another party, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Rockford wrongful death attorney right away. Your attorney will ensure that your claim is filed in time and that all relevant evidence is obtained. You may be entitled to financial compensation for out-of-pocket:Monetary damages

  • medical costs
  • funeral and burial costs
  • loss of income or benefits
  • loss of love, companionship, and consortium

Contact Our Rockford Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

At Tuite Law, our Illinois wrongful death attorneys are compassionate and effective advocates for people who lost family members due to the negligence of other parties. If you lost a loved one in a tragic accident, our legal team is here to protect your rights.

To set up a free, strictly confidential, consultation please contact us today at 877-965-5777. With an office in Rockford, we handle wrongful death cases in Winnebago County and throughout Northern Illinois.

Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

According to data from Brainline, approximately 2.8 million people suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in the United States every year. Unfortunately, as these injuries are notoriously difficult to diagnose, many of these victims do not receive the proper medical attention that they need and deserve. In this article, our Rockford traumatic brain injury lawyers provide an overview of the most common symptoms associated with concussions and TBIs.

Traumatic Brain Injury: The Symptoms

One of the many reasons why traumatic brain injuries are so challenging to diagnose is that the symptoms can vary dramatically from patient to patient. Depending on the specific person and the nature of their injuries, a concussion or TBI could potentially manifest itself in a wide range of different ways. Some of the most common signs of a traumatic brain injury are as follows:

  • Lethargy or fatigue;
  • Painful headaches;
  • Dizziness or nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Pupil dilation;
  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities;
  • Brief short-term memory loss;
  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Slurring of words;
  • Significant memory loss; and
  • Convulsions or seizures.

All brain injuries require immediate medical attention. Even relatively minor displays of concussion-like symptoms after a blow to the head can be signs of a very serious problem. As explained by the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury are known to come with a delayed onset. It can take 48 hours — or longer — for an injured victim to feel the full effects of a concussion. All head injuries should be evaluated by a professional physician. Early intervention is one of the keys to a successful recovery.  

Why You Should Talk to a Brain Injury Lawyer Right Away

If you or your family member suffered a concussion or TBI, you need strong legal support. Brain injury claims are especially complex. In many cases, victims require extensive — and expensive — rehabilitative support services and ongoing medical care. Our law firm helps victims and their families explore and pursue every available avenue for financial support. Our Rockford, IL catastrophic injury attorneys are prepared to:

  • Conduct a free, in-depth assessment of your brain injury case;
  • Explain your rights and options in an understandable manner;
  • Put in resources to investigate your case and gather evidence;
  • Handle correspondence and settlement negotiations with defendants and insurers; and
  • File a personal injury lawsuit in the appropriate Illinois court.   

As a starting point, we will help you understand if you have a viable personal injury case. In addition, our law firm will take proper steps to ensure that you and your family are able to obtain the maximum amount of financial compensation.

Contact Our Rockford Brain Injury Attorneys Today

At Tuite Law, our Illinois personal injury lawyers have the skills and legal knowledge needed to handle the full range of catastrophic injury claims, including brain injury cases. If you or your loved one suffered a TBI, we are here to help. To arrange a free, no obligation review of your case, please contact our law firm today. We have an office in Rockford and we serve communities throughout the region.

How Long Does it Take to Settle a Personal Injury Claim?

If you have been injured due to someone else’s fault, you may be thinking about filing a personal injury claim. However, you may also have concerns about the amount of time that a claim will take to settle, and be worried about dedicating months of your life to the claims process as such.

While it is very true that a claim can take months–or even up to a year or more–to settle, there are a variety of elements that can affect the settlement timeline. What’s more, when you hire a qualified personal injury lawyer, your lawyer can work on your claim on your behalf while you focus on your recovery and other facets of your life and wellbeing.

The Basic Timeline of a Personal Injury Claim

First, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the basic timeline and steps of a personal injury claim so that you know what to expect throughout the process.

  • Get medical care and reach Maximum Medical Improvement;
  • Find and hire a lawyer;
  • Investigate your case and gather evidence;
  • Issue a demand letter;
  • Negotiate a settlement;
  • Either accept a settlement or file a lawsuit;
  • Discovery process;
  • Mediation;
  • Negotiation;
  • Trial.

In the majority of claims, the case will be resolved after step five – negotiating a settlement. If a claim cannot be settled out of court, the amount of time that is committed to its resolution will be extended, as the only options that the plaintiff will have left will be to either drop their case entirely or file a lawsuit.

Factors that Affect the Timeline of a Personal Injury Claim

There are numerous factors that can affect the timeline of your personal injury claim. Relative to the 10 steps listed above, factors that change a settlement date to a few months to more than a year after an accident include:

  • The extent of injury – more serious injuries will require more time to heal, which can delay the process;
  • Finding a lawyer – some people know exactly who they want to hire after an accident, others may take weeks or months to find one they trust;
  • How complicated your case is, whether or not fault is disputed, how many parties were involved in the accident, and types of evidence available;
  • The extent of your damages – a demand letter will take longer to construct if your damages are especially severe;
  • The amount of money you’re asking for, the degree of each party’s fault, and the willingness of the insurance adjuster to negotiate.

More straightforward claims where damages are less severe and the at-fault party is clear are typically easier to resolve than are complex injury claims where a victim has sustained substantial harm and long-term disabilities.

Don’t Let Time Be a Bar to Recovery

While there is no doubt that it can be emotionally taxing and stressful to file a personal injury claim and wait for it to be settled, don’t let the amount of time that it takes to reach a settlement serve as a bar to recovery. You deserve to be compensated for your harm, no matter how long it takes.

When you choose our Rockford personal injury lawyers at Tuite Law, you can count on qualified representation and lawyers who will manage all elements of your case on your behalf. Reach us today for your free consultation to get started.

How Many People Die in Car Accidents Each Year?

Driving is one of the most common activities that Americans engage in every day; in fact, there is probably not an American out there who could say that they haven’t been in a motor vehicle. But while driving may be ubiquitous–and necessary for many–it is also very dangerous. To be sure, auto accidents are a top killer every year in our country.

Consider the following statistics about fatal car crashes in America and in Illinois, and what to do if you’ve lost a loved one in a car accident in our state. For answers to questions that are specific to you, please reach out to our Rockford personal injury lawyers at Tuite Law directly.

Fatal Car Accident Statistics

The most recent years for which data is available, as published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),  are 2017 and 2016.  Facts about fatal car accident statistics are as follows:

  • In 2017, there was nearly a two percent decrease in car accident fatalities from the previous year; however, there were 37,133 people who lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents that year.
  • In 2016, 37,461 people were killed in traffic collisions.
  • A large percentage of fatal accidents were caused by distracted drivers – 3,450.
  • A large percentage of fatal collisions involved drunk drivers – over 10,000 people lost their lives in alcohol-impaired crashes.
  • 10,111 fatalities were the result of speeding-related accidents.
  • Had more people wear their seatbelts, it’s likely that more people would still be alive today. The data shows that 10,428 people who died were unbelted at the time of the collision.

Headaches after car accidentIn Illinois, the statistics are equally as grim. Data collected by the Illinois Department of Transportation reveals that in 2017, there were 998 fatal crashes resulting in 1,090 fatalities, a slight increase from 2016. While the DOT is certain that 311 people who were killed in crashes were using a seatbelt at the time of the accident, data suggests that 245 people who died were not using a restraint, or were not using a safety restraint properly, at the time of the accident.

While 2019 is not yet over, the state has published current information about the number of fatal accidents that have taken place this year (up to April 3, 2019). So far, there have been 151 fatal crashes and 160 fatalities, a decrease of 81 fatalities from January 2018 through April 3, 2018.  The data suggest that wearing a seatbelt, slowing one’s speed, driving sober, and putting away distractions could all be critical steps in reducing the number of serious car crashes in our state and nationwide.

What Can You Do if a Loved One Dies in a Car Accident?

If you are a person who has lost a family member in a car accident in Illinois, you may be able to seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and the value of your emotional harm. By calling our Illinois car accident lawyers, you can learn more about wrongful death claims in our state and the steps to take to initiate a claim.

To schedule your free consultation with our empathetic law firm, please call us today at 877-965-5777 or send us a message. We are here to help you when you’ve suffered a great loss.

What Color Car Gets in the Most Accidents?

While it may seem silly to say, the color of the car that you drive may put you at a statistically higher risk of being involved in a car accident, and it’s not just because of chance or poor luck. Here’s a look into car colors and how they may affect the risk of being involved in a collision, as well as what to do if you’ve been in a crash in Illinois–

Association Between Car Color and Accident Risk

When you buy a car, the color that you choose probably isn’t based on much more than preference. In fact, color may not be something that you consider at all if the vehicle has other features that you like and if the price is right.

But car color can have an effect on accident risk, according to some data sources. For example, according to MoneySuperMarket, a review of the research shows that at dawn and dusk when lighting is poor, black vehicles are 47 percent more likely to be involved in collisions than are white vehicles. also holds that black vehicles are more likely to be involved in collisions, holding that black vehicles are 50 percent more likely to be involved in a crash.

The reason is simply that black vehicles are more difficult to see than are white ones. The lighter or the flashier the color, the safer that a driver may be, simply because the vehicle will be easier for other motorists to spot, especially when visibility is poor.

It’s Not Just Car Color – It’s Negligence

However, it would be foolish to claim that a white vehicle won’t ever be involved in a crash, or that the safest driver of a black vehicle is doomed no matter what; instead, it’s important to remember that while vehicle color may have some effect on crash likelihood, the real factor is negligence. When drivers speed, drive drunk, use a cellphone behind the wheel, or otherwise breach safety rules and traffic laws, a crash is much more likely.

How to Hold a Negligent Driver Liable for Your Harm and What to Do After a Crash

If you’ve been involved in a crash, don’t blame the color of your car – blame the other driver. You can hold another driver liable for damages by filing a claim directly against the driver or their insurance carrier.

In order to improve your chances of recovering the compensation award that you deserve, you should:

  • file a police report
  • inform your insurance company of the accident promptly
  • seek medical care
  • collect as much evidence as possible
  • call a lawyer who can start investigating your claim and building your case

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Car Accident Lawyers Today

Injury law

If you’ve been in a car accident in our state, our Rockford auto accident lawyers can help you. Please reach out to us directly today at 877-965-5777 to schedule your free case consultation and learn more about your options and how we can help. We are here to represent you!

How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Suffering an injury at the hands of another is an unsettling experience, to put it mildly. When you have been seriously injured and are facing both economic and noneconomic losses, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to pursue a personal injury claim. Filing a personal injury claim can yield monetary damages, and may help you to get a sense of closure and justice.

Personal injury claims are best navigated with the counsel of a legal professional, but not all personal injury lawyers are the same. Here are some tips on how to choose the right personal injury lawyer for you–

Questions to Ask Yourself When Thinking About the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

You should consider the following when thinking about whom to hire for legal representation:

  • What area of the law does the lawyer primarily focus on? It’s important that you seek legal counsel from a lawyer who has experience handling cases that are relevant to yours. For example, if you’ve been in a car crash, the help of a divorce lawyer probably wouldn’t be very valuable.
  • Where is the lawyer located? During a personal injury claim, you will likely meet with your lawyer numerous times. For this reason, choosing someone who is located near you can be extremely convenient.
  • Does the lawyer have any customer reviews you can read? Some lawyers openly publish client testimonials, and there are also numerous lawyer review sites online that you can peruse. Check and see what others are saying about working with any lawyer whom you’re considering.
  • Is the lawyer in good standing with the Illinois State Bar Association? In order to check whether or not a lawyer is in good standing, you can use the Illinois State Bar Association’s online lawyer lookup tool.

Questions to Ask Your Prospective Lawyer

In addition to asking the above, you should also schedule a free case consultation with any lawyers you’re considering and ask the following–

  • Who will be working on my case? Some lawyers will hand cases off to others in their firm who aren’t as experienced, or may not even have a law degree. Make sure the lawyer you hire is who will be working on your case.
  • What cases like mine have you handled? It’s not just enough to find a lawyer who focuses on the same area of practice that is relevant to you – you also want to hire someone who has experience representing clients who have been involved in accidents or suffered injuries similar to yours. Also, ask about the lawyer’s success rate in these cases.
  • How do you charge? Finally, personal injury lawyers should always work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they don’t get paid if your claim isn’t successful. If a lawyer tries to charge you any other way, run the other direction.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with the Office of Tuite Law Today

To schedule your free, no-obligation case consultation with the Rockford personal injury lawyers at the firm of Tuite Law, please call us or send us a message at 877-965-5777. We are happy to sit down with you and talk about your recovery options at your convenience.

What to Do After a Car Accident

Being in a car accident can really rock your foundations, leaving you shocked, traumatized, and perhaps unsure of how to proceed or what your rights are. While we understand that the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, failing to take certain actions as soon as possible could result in a diminished claim value, or perhaps the revocation of your right to seek damages at all. Consider these stages of what to do after a car accident to improve your chances of recovering the settlement that you deserve–

Get the Other Driver’s Information

At the scene of the accident, it’s important that you get the other driver’s information, including:

  • Vehicle make and model;
  • Driver’s license number;
  • License plate number;
  • Insurance and registration information; and
  • Contact information.

Remember, you’ll likely be filing a claim against the other driver’s insurance, not your own, if you weren’t at fault for the crash. Don’t overlook the value of getting as much information from the other driver as possible.

While you’re at it, it can also be beneficial to collect information from any eyewitnesses to the accident, too. Eyewitness statements can have a significant effect on proving fault.

Always File a Police Report

Even if you don’t think that your accident is very serious or you and the other driver agree to handle costs privately, you should always file a police report. Not only is filing a police report the law when anyone is injured or there is property damage, but a police report also serves as an important form of evidence and proof that the car accident occurred.

Don’t Think Twice About Getting Medical Care

Just like filing a police report, many people will hesitate to seek medical care if they aren’t severely injured. But this can be a mistake – some injuries will take hours or days to develop, and failing to seek medical care can be used against you to question the severity of your injuries, or whether or not your injuries are even related to the car accident.

Start Documenting Everything

It can be hard to think about your accident, especially if you were in a particularly traumatic crash. But the hours, days, and weeks after the accident–while your memory is still fresh–are a critical time to write down as many details about the accident that you can remember.

In addition to recording accident-specific details, you should also keep track of your injuries and your health progress. Keeping a personal journal that explains how the injury has affected your life may be useful when you are seeking damages and trying to establish the extent of your harm.

Call a Lawyer

While you maintain the right to file a claim on your own without legal counsel, working with an experienced car accident attorney almost always yields a more positive case result for a claimant.

At the law offices of Tuite Law, our Rockford car accident attorneys are available to represent you in your claim, and will treat you with the care and dedication that you deserve. Please contact us today  at 877-965-5777 to schedule your free case consultation.

New Medicare Cards Help Protect Your Identity

Protecting your identity is about to get easier. Starting April 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be mailing new Medicare Cards to everyone with Medicare. This new card will have a Medicare Number unique to each person. Your Medicare Number will appear on the card in place of your Social Security Number, helping you to protect your identity and keep your personal information more secure.

Your Medicare coverage and benefits will remain the same. Medicare will automatically mail you a new card to the address on file at Social Security at no cost to you. Be sure your address is up to date by signing in to or creating a My Social Security Account. Once you receive your new Medicare Card be sure to follow these tips:

  • Destroy your old Medicare Card right away. Dispose of your old Medicare Card like you would a credit card or other private information by shredding it into many pieces.


  • Use your new Card. Your doctors, health providers, and health care plans approved by Medicare know that Medicare is replacing your card. They are ready to accept your new card when you need care.


  • Beware of anyone contacting you about your new Medicare Card. Medicare will never contact you uninvited to ask for your personal information. Beware of anyone asking you to pay a fee for your new card. This is a scam. Medicare is providing all new cards free of charge directly to your address.


  • Treat your new Medicare card like your Social Security Number or credit card number. If someone asks you for your Medicare Number or any other personal information who is not one of your doctors, health providers, or health plan provider: Do not give it to them. Always verify whether someone asking for your information should have it before giving it to them.

Injury lawTuite Law has successfully helped many of its disability clients qualify for Medicare benefits. If you have questions regarding Social Security disability and possible entitlement to Medicare, contact our office at (815) 965 – 5777 or via email at

Three Driving Tips to Remember this Winter in Rockford

There are already reports this year of car accidents due to winter road conditions that people around the state have not been taking into consideration. When there are snow and ice on the road, everyone inherently knows they need to travel more cautiously, but that doesn’t always mean they do, whether they think they are immune to the potential dangers of winter road driving or because they are simply on autopilot.

The dangers associated with a lack of attention when driving in snow or ice cannot be overstated, and the impact of collisions and winter accidents due to negligence can be devastating for you and others around you. As your auto accident victim attorneys in Rockford, we have gathered delineated a list below of driving conditions you should be aware of this winter to ensure you avoid an accident that could leave you or others severely injured or worse.

Increased Braking Distance

This is nothing new, and these principles are any driver’s education booklet throughout the United States. However, this is one of the most common types of accidents during the winter and one that often causes some of the most damage. The potential for whiplash, spinal cord injuries, or other traumatic injuries because of inattention to braking distance increases in bad weather.

If you are driving in snow or potentially icy conditions, whether in town or on the highway, be sure to give yourself plenty of distance between cars and slow down at stop signs and stop lights well before you approach the stop.

Remove Snow Off Car

It is a hassle to deal with at times, but if you leave your car in the snow, make sure you remove all the snow and ice from it before you begin driving. It is important to do this more than just for visibility.

When you are driving, that snow can blow off your vehicle and could obstruct other drivers’ views or cause bad road accidents. If you are the victim of such an occurrence, slow down, turn off the road, or try to distance yourself as much as you can so the vehicle doesn’t cause you to have an accident.

False Sense of Security

Drivers often feel a false sense of security when they are driving in the snow, which causes them to be less careful than they normally should be when driving in these types of conditions. Where does this false sense of security come from? It can come from the years of driving without getting in an accident or because drivers are confident that they know how to drive in the snow and ice. Regardless the sense of security, snowy and icy winter road conditions are unpredictable, and everyone has to be on the lookout.

Collisions and pileups happen every year in Illinois and our great city of Rockford simply because people are not paying enough attention or think they are above simple precautions. Be patient. Plan more time to commute if conditions are bad. You can save your life and potentially someone else’s.

Rockford Car Accident Victim Attorneys

No matter what you do to prevent an accident yourself, there is always the possibility that others around you don’t take those same precautions. If you do find that you are the victim of an accident and sustain injuries because of it, you have rights to compensate your:

  • medical bills
  • car repairs
  • pain and suffering

Call us today at 877-965-5777 to evaluate your case and help you get through this trying time.