Author: Law Office of Andrew Szocka



If you are an individual who owns real estate in Illinois, you should be aware of your property’s title history.  The title history is a list of all documents recorded against the property in the county where the property sits.

Recorded documents are submitted to the county’s Recorder’s Office and are assigned a document number.  Documents recorded against your property are usually available to view on your county Recorder’s website.

A typical title history for a residential property likely includes only deeds and mortgages.  For example, when one party sells a house, they convey it to another party with a deed.  The party buying the house may get a mortgage that secures the loan used to buy the house.  In this case, the mortgage is recorded against the property in favor of the lender that loaned the other party the money to purchase the home.  When the property is sold again, the previous mortgage is usually paid off and released.  In this way, a title history may only reflect a series of deeds, mortgages, and released mortgages.

But not all title histories are clear.  It is possible for someone to record a document against your property with bad intent.  Illinois courts may consider this a “slander” of your property’s title and award monetary damages.

Slander of title generally occurs when someone maliciously records a false document against your property’s title.  If you are damaged by this recording, you pay to have it removed, or it affects your ability to sell the property, you may be entitled to damages.

An Illinois court may even award damages that are punitive, or meant as a punishment, against the person who slandered title.  This depends on the level of maliciousness of the individual who slandered title and the damage actually done to your property’s title.

For example, many people have disputes with creditors.  If you pay what is owed and the creditor still records a lien against your property, the creditor may be slandering your title.  More common is a dispute with an acquittance or relative when they record a deed that affects your property and purports to convey it to somebody else.

As a result, it is prudent to periodically check your title history.  If you believe someone recorded an inappropriate document against your property, local attorney Andrew Szocka provides thorough and speedy real estate help in the Chicagoland area.  To schedule a free initial consultation, visit Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.


Personal Injury

You were injured in an auto accident; now what?

As quarantine is coming to an end, the world is slowly returning to its pre-covid era, and  people are beginning to travel once again; hooray! However, now that people are back on the road, auto accidents have seen a drastic increase since previous years. For example, as compared to 2019, Top Driver cited an 11% increase in auto accidents during the first quarter of 2020. Notably, according to the most recent data available, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported that 21% of 319,146 auto accidents resulted in an injured party.

Auto accidents are universally disruptive to our everyday lives. One minute you are driving home from work, and the next you find yourself in an accident due to no fault of your own. Auto accidents involve costly vehicle repairs, finding a new mode of transportation, quarreling with numerous insurance companies, and a host of other time-consuming issues. On top of all that, you may be dealing with lingering injuries sustained from the accident. With these issues coming to a head, you are likely asking yourself when is it time to consult an attorney? There are a few, solid indicators that you can follow to know if now is the right time is to ask for help.

Have you sustained a permanent injury as a result of the accident? Permanent injury issues are something that many people do not contemplate post-loss. We get focused on the, “now,” and forget that this could affect us for sometime in the future. Do not let pride or eagerness to settle with your insurance company hinder you from getting all that you deserve. The right attorney can make sure you are taken care of for your immediate needs as well as help plan for the future.

Are your medical bills starting to climb? We are all guilty of saying that phrase, “it won’t be that bad.” Do not let these famous last words deter you from seeking help. If your medical expenses reach a level that exceeds your level of comfort or understanding, it is in your best interest to ask for help. Remember, the length and intensity of your treatment is based on what is best for you and your health, not what an insurance company is telling you they will pay for.

Do you feel confident and comfortable dealing with an insurance company on your own? The most important thing to do if you are the victim of an accident is to take care of yourself. Insurance claims are something that many people never have to experience in their lives. It is easy to feel lost when it happens to you. There is no shame in asking for help. Finding someone you trust to have on your side while going through this life changing event can be a necessary exposure. The right attorney will fight for your best interest and compensation while making sure that no one takes advantage of you throughout the process.

More drivers on the roads means more opportunity for mistakes. There will never be such a thing as a convenient accident, but if you are involved in one, asking for help can eliminate a large amount of the stress that accompanies it. Your recovery and livelihood are the most important things. If you have any questions or are struggling with the aforementioned issues, local attorney Andrew Szocka provides the necessary legal help to assist you during your time of need. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.



Cannabis Law – Illinois

Illinois Cannabis Law

Within the past several years, cannabis has been a hot-topic in the legal world.  J. B Pritzker made it a cornerstone of his 2019 gubernatorial run to bring hemp and CBD production to the state of Illinois. He understood that allowing Illinoisans to grow, harvest, and sell their own CBD and hemp products would mean a potential for hundreds-of-millions of agricultural dollars for the state. Listed below are some laws to be aware of if you are thinking of purchasing or growing CBD or hemp in the state of Illinois gathered from the ILCBD website.

Hemp-derived CBD is fully legal in the state of Illinois, specifically, anyone can purchase this type of CBD, not just medical patients. Cannabis-derived CBD, however, is only legally sold at Illinois marijuana dispensaries whether or not it contains THC.

Cannabis has not, to this point, been approved by the US Federal Drug Administration for medicinal use, so doctors are not allowed to prescribe cannabis for medical treatment. Doctors can, however, recommend CBD oil to patients if they believe it might be beneficial.

There are several medical conditions that are being treated by marijuana-derived CBD in Illinois – a full list can be found on the ILCBD website – but a diagnosis is required in order to access this type of CBD for treatment.

Hemp-derived CBD can be legally purchased online and in stores throughout the state of Illinois. It is frequently sold in forms ranging from liquid drops to candy to vape cartridges and everything in between. It is always recommended to consult with your physician before starting CBD and to determine which form is best for you.

It is illegal to grow cannabis in Illinois without a license. The exception is for medical marijuana patients, who are allowed to grow up to five plants if they are a card-holder.

Anyone, however, can legally sell hemp-derived CBD as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. There are not currently any lab-testing requirements for selling hemp-derived CBD.

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about the current law surrounding cannabis and CBD in Illinois, local attorney Andrew Szocka provides thorough and speedy legal help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.


Living Will verses a Last Testament and Will

It is always important to have a will to make sure that your wishes are met in order to provide for your family and friends. There are two main types of wills that most people execute while doing their estate planning – a living will and a last testament and will. But what is the difference?

            A living will, also called an advance healthcare directive, specifies what is to be done if a person cannot make decisions for themselves due to incapacity or illness. Most living wills direct if someone wants to be kept on life support, especially if that is the only thing keeping the person alive. In a living will, there is no executor. This is a person’s final directive while they are still alive, addressing their quality of life if some accident or illness befalls them.

            In comparison, a last testament and will goes into effect after a person dies. This will directs how a person wants their assets and property to be disturbed after their death. This type of will makes sure that their wishes will be followed when they are gone. In this will, the person chooses an executor. The executor executes the will on the person’s behalf. The executor is responsible for distributing the assets and property as stipulated in the will.

Workers’ Rights in the Age of Covid-19

Workers’ Rights in the Age of Covid-19

As we progress through the unprecedented Covid-19 era, it is more important than ever that employees and employers know their rights in the workplace. Predominantly, Illinois employers are required to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for all employees. However, given that we are still navigating through the Restore Illinois plan, employers have been faced with difficult questions as they enter a new world of work.

Employers are required to follow Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Orders. Notably, the Illinois Department of Public Health has answered difficult Covid-19 issues, which are summarized below. First, all employers are required to:

  • Continue to evaluate if employees are able to work remotely;
  • Implement social distancing guidelines and wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible;
  • Ensure that all spaces where employees may gather allow for social distancing;
  • Ensure that all visitors to the workplace can practice social distancing; and
  • Inform their employees of guidance from IDPH and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 emergency.

Furthermore, while employers are not legally required to implement the following, the Illinois Department of Public Health recommends that employers:

  • Stagger the scheduling of employee shifts, lowering the number of workplace personnel present at one time; and
  • If necessary implement Covid-19 screenings when employees enter the workplace.

Additionally, employers can require employees to do the following per their discretion:

  • Require employees to receive the Covid-19 vaccine;
  • Ask employees to leave the workplace if they exhibit Covid-19 symptoms and stay home until 10 days since their symptoms first appeared and 24 hours without a fever (without use of fever-reducing medications);
  • Wear face mask coverings and take temperature screenings;
  • Ask employees to provide a doctor’s note stating that the employee is safe to return back to work; and
  • Ask employees if they have been diagnosed with Covod-19 or are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, including if they have been exposed to the same.

However, employers cannot fire or retaliate against employees for raising safety and health concerns. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about the current law surrounding employers or employees during this time, local attorney Andrew Szocka provides thorough and speedy employment law help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.