A serious injury can cause chaos in your life. Apart from the emotional trauma and pain, it can prevent you from working or living your life the way you did before. Your medical bills and lost wages can have a tremendous impact on your family’s finances. In this critical time, your insurance company is likely not to give you all the information you need.
Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have handled many personal injury cases in Illinois. We have extensive experience to file your lawsuit and get you through this difficult process as quickly as possible. We are here to help you. Call us today at (312) 300-2515 for a free consultation, our Chicago personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping Illinois residents get fair compensation.
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What Should I Do After an Accident?
After an injury, there are several steps you can take to protect your claim, and collect crucial evidence:
- Remain calm and check for injuries. An accident can leave you in shock, however, you must remain calm and check if you have any injuries. If you were in a car accident, the trauma can put you in an emotional state, which can mask symptoms of injury. If you slipped and fell in a public place, the embarrassment might make you want to jump and act as if nothing happened. But your injuries may be more severe than you realize, so it’s crucial to stay calm, stay where you’re, and check for any injuries.
- Seek help immediately. Call emergency services to assist you and anyone else injured. They will administer first aid and advise you on the next step.
- Contact the police and report the accident. When answering police questions be as detailed as possible and only report facts. It’s okay if there are gaps in your memory because accidents happen unexpectedly and within seconds.
- Gather evidence. Collecting any evidence you can from the scene might benefit your claim. Take photos, ask for contact information of others on the scene, the at-fault party, and eyewitnesses. Photos can help you show how the accident occurred and the condition it occurred in. This includes capturing the weather and road conditions for a motor vehicle accident. Gathering evidence means you won’t lose crucial clues over time.
- Seek medical evaluation from a professional. After gathering evidence, seek a medical review from a doctor. They’ll go over your injuries and start treatment. While you may know how much the accident affected you; however, it’s crucial to see a physician as soon as possible so your injuries don’t worsen. Waiting can cause your symptoms to be more severe and you might not recover compensation if you wait too long to see a doctor.
Common Personal Injury Claims
Mostly, personal injury lawsuits are pursued under the theory of negligence. You will have to prove that the defendant failed to act safely in the situation, causing bodily injuries. This duty of care depends on the circumstances of the injury. If you prove liability, you can get damages on the situation.
Although most personal injuries are caused by negligence, it’s possible to recover damages on grounds of intentional misconduct or recklessness under certain circumstances. Our experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers have successfully handled thousands of injury cases, including the following personal injury claims:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
If you have injuries in a car accident, you may recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Sometimes, drivers may breach the duty of care to be careful while driving their cars in many ways, including texting, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, fatigued driving, and/or tailgating.
In Illinois, drivers carry $25,000 in liability insurance for injury or death of an individual, and often medical bills are higher. Sometimes, drivers drive without the required insurance. If an uninsured or underinsured driver causes an accident, you can turn to your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Our experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers can guide you through either type of claim.
The weight and size of commercial trucks can cause devastating truck accidents. These accidents can result in serious injuries to multiple drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles. It’s common for truck accidents to happen because an interstate truck driver violated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. However, it’s crucial to assess all the contributing factors of an accident to determine whom to pursue for compensation. A trucking company may bear either direct or vicarious liability, or both, and can be sued for negligent hiring, training, or supervision.
If a motorcycle collides with a larger car, there’s no buffer between it and a larger vehicle. Tragically, motorcyclists may suffer fatal injuries. Although the liability for a motorcycle accident seems clear, the driver of a larger vehicle may partially or fully blame the motorcyclist.
Illinois follows an updated version of comparative negligence, which means your damages are reduced by your percentage of fault for the injuries. Our dedicated team of Chicago personal injury lawyers can help you fight back against these arguments in your motorcycle accident case.
In Illinois, bicyclists have the same rights as cars and trucks to be on the road. Often, bicyclists are involved in crashes because of distracted or careless driving.
Also, it’s common for people in a car to open their car door into a bicyclist’s path. The Illinois Vehicle code, 625 ILCS 5/11-1407 states that nobody should open a vehicle door on a side available to moving traffic unless it’s safe to do so and can be done without interfering with other traffic. Failure to adhere to the Vehicle Code is strong proof of negligence. If you have sustained injuries in a bicycle accident, you might recover damages from the at-fault party.
When you go to the mall or the grocery shop, you trust that it’s in a safe condition. In Illinois, property owners have the responsibility to keep their property reasonably safe for lawful visitors.
You can hold a property owner or occupier who fails to keep their property safe liable through a premise liability lawsuit.
Medical malpractice happens when a health care provider neglects their professional duty of care when diagnosing, treating, or handling a patient. This can happen in many ways, including diagnostic errors, operating on the wrong body part, failing to provide the appropriate post-operative care, and performing the wrong procedure that could lead to a wrongful death case. Your Chicago personal injury lawyer will retain a medical professional to testify about what the professional duty of care was and how it was breached.
Nursing Home Abuse
When you place your loved one in a nursing home, you trust they’ll receive the best care. In Illinois, both federal and state laws protect nursing home residents. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act gives residents the right to complain, choose their doctor, be informed of possible consequences of medical treatment, and the right to be free of physical restraints.
If a nursing home doesn’t adhere to the residents’ rights, it can be liable criminally or civilly. Warning signs of nursing home abuse include withdrawal, bedsores, personality changes, unexplained fractures, and bruises.
In Illinois, if you suffer workplace-related injuries, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. This pays for medical expenses and replacement wages in the form of disability pay.
Personal Injury Statistics
Chicago isn’t immune to personal injury incidents.
- In 2017, 73 school buses and 13 intercity buses were involved in fatal accidents.
- There were 914 fatal accidents on public roadways in Illinois in 2015. These led to 998 deaths.
- In 2015, the number of total crashes in Illinois increased by 5.5%, and total injuries increased by 7.6%
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017 there were 163 fatal work-related injuries in Illinois.
- Medical malpractice accounts for 98,000 deaths every year.
- 9.2 million people were treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries in 2016.
- According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a department within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 31 million people are injured across the country each year and they require medical treatment. Of these, 2 million people suffer severe injuries that require hospitalization, and 162, 000 of these injuries are fatal.
- Construction accidents account for 300, 000 personal injuries per year, and 1,000 deaths.
What Are The Potential Personal Injury Damages?
Damages in a personal injury case include your past, current, and future:
- Medical costs. Medical costs may include hospital stays, surgeries, doctors’ consultations, medical equipment, rehabilitation therapies, and more.
- Lost Wages. Any income you’re unable to earn including, but not limited to bonuses, wages, benefits, and income from self-employment ventures might be compensable.
- Pain and suffering. Your emotional distress and physical pain may be among your most significant damages. Although it’s more difficult to prove than economic damages, such as medical expenses, which you have a bill for, our Chicago personal injury lawyers can help you prove and get compensated.
- Punitive damages. In Illinois, punitive damages are not available for injury claims. However, if the at-fault party acted egregiously, then the Illinois law permits you to recover this type of damages to hold the defendant accountable and discourage similar behavior in the future.
- Out-of-pocket expense. If you incurred other expenses, such as childcare help or household help because of the accident, you may recover your damages.
How Does the Litigation Process Work?
Litigation starts when you file a lawsuit, and defendants are served with summons and complaint. A complaint is a document that summarizes the plaintiff’s claims against the defendants. Then, each defendant is required to file an answer to the complaint.
‘Discovery’ is the next step in the litigation process. During discovery, parties use formal procedures to get information from each other. The formal procedures include written questions or requests to produce relevant information or documents. Further, witnesses may be placed under oath and asked questions in front of a court reporter who documents the interview in a deposition.
After the discovery phase, both parties are now ready to try the case in a court of law. Before the actual trial of the case, the parties may try to settle through mediation. The parties may settle at this stage without having to go to trial.
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What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal injury Claim in Illinois?
The Illinois personal injury statute of limitations spelled out at 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes section states that if another person’s reckless or intentional actions cause you to sustain bodily injuries, and you want to take legal action to recover damages, you have two years to file your claim. The two years start on the date of the accident that caused the injuries.
The two-year deadline applies to almost all types of personal injury lawsuits, whether caused by negligence or intentional action.
What Are Exceptions to the Illinois Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
Illinois identifies several factual scenarios that might cause you to miss the deadline for filing your personal injury claim and extends the two-year filing deadline set by section 5/13-202.
Here are examples of factual circumstances that might modify the standard timeline:
- If the injured individual had been under a legal disability, for example, if the person was subject to a temporary or permanent mental illness, at the time of the accident in question, he or she will have two years to file their claim once the disability is removed (735 ILCS 5/13-211).
- If the injured individual experiences legal disability after the accident, and before they could file a personal injury claim. In this case, the two-year deadline is extended.
- If the injured person was underage at the time of the accident in question. In this case, the two-year deadline starts once they turn 18 (735 ILCS 5/13-211)
- If the at-fault party left the state of Illinois after the underlying accident, and before you could file the personal injury claim. In this case, the period of absence isn’t part of the two years timeline (735 ILCS 5/13-208).
The statute of limitations is something that should be discussed with a professional. Contact us today and schedule your FREE consultation with one of our Chicago personal injury lawyers.
The Odds of Winning A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
According to the US Government statistics, only 5% of personal injury cases go to trial. The other 95% are settled outside court. Further, most experts say that 90% of cases that go to trial end up losing. For cases that go to trial and win, a trial judge is more likely to grant more compensation than a jury. These complex legal matters should be handled by an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer.
Those numbers are shocking, and might even cause you to question if a personal injury case is worth it. The top reason for pre-trial settlements is that a trial can drag on for several years, causing personal injury victims financial constraints because of all the bills they have to pay.
Sometimes, multiple detectives may be assigned to investigate a case, which is another cause for delays. However, for a personal injury claim, one detective is usually assigned the case. They have to investigate the injuries, the underlying accident, witness statements, and the circumstances that led to the accident, which can take six months or more to get done.
If you need a settlement quickly because of mounting debts, you must work with a Chicago personal injury lawyer you can trust to advise you properly. A Chicago personal injury lawyer may suggest arbitration with an appointed arbitrator to move the process along. Negotiations are time-consuming because of the back and forth from both sides. And if you don’t like the final offer, your case will go to trial.
Why Do I Need A Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer?
A report by the Insurance Research Council shows that people who sustained bodily injuries in a motor vehicle accident because of the driver, manufacturer, or government negligence win 3.5 times more in settlement compensation while represented by an attorney than victims who don’t hire an attorney. Also, the report shows that in 85% of cases where an insurance company settled an injury claim, the plaintiff had hired an attorney. It’s pretty clear that to ensure your best interests, you should hire a Chicago personal injury lawyer.
Auto accident injury victims who hire attorneys get a fair settlement because:
- Personal injury attorneys know the tactics insurance companies use to intimidate injury victims. Having a reputable law firm on your side gives you a better chance of receiving the compensation you deserve. That’s because the insurance company will know that picking a fight with an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer will eventually cost them more legal fees than the claim is worth to them.
- Personal injury attorneys have the experience to assess the long-term effects of injuries. Many people trying to handle their injury cases with insurance companies don’t consider the costs associated with the future ramifications of the injury.
- Personal injury lawyers are familiar with local laws governing injury claims and can fight for you in court. Our experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers know the ins and outs of Illinois personal injury law. They know the relevant statutes and legal precedents on auto accidents, slip and fall, workers’ compensation, and other types of personal injury cases.
Contact us today at (312) 300-2515 for a free consultation, our Chicago personal injury lawyers will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Personal Injury Claims FAQs
Will the insurance company’s first offer be reasonable?
Don’t automatically accept the first settlement offer because it’s rarely a fair one. After a motor vehicle accident, many people need money to pay medical bills and other expenses. Insurance companies know that car accident victims are vulnerable and offer a lowball settlement immediately. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you, contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer today.
What Is Fair Compensation for Pain and Suffering?
Most lawyers use two methods to calculate compensation for pain and suffering. The first method multiplies the plaintiff’s actual damages (lost income and medical expenses) by a number between 1 and 5, which depends on the severity of the injury. The second method uses a per diem approach. In this method, the plaintiff is entitled to a certain amount, such as $200, which is assigned every day from the day of the accident until they make a full recovery.
A reasonable offer is based on either the multiplier method or the per diem method. Also, it should take into consideration whether there are additional circumstances that might increase or decrease the amount. For example, if the injury left you with a scar on your face, this might lead to an increase in the amount of compensation. However, if you only sustained a minor bump in the head that healed quickly, probably that is not worth a lot. A Chicago personal injury lawyer can help you determine what you deserve in compensation.
What Is a Release in a Settlement?
A Release is a document the defense attorney prepares that sets the settlement terms. Once the defense attorney prepares the Release, they send it over to your Chicago personal injury lawyer for approval.
How Long will it take to Get My Check?
It takes approximately five to six weeks to receive a settlement check once both parties sign the Release. However, several factors, including the specific process at your insurance company, debts, and payment can delay this process, delaying your check.
What If I Had A Pre-Existing Condition?
You’re not entitled to receive compensation for conditions and injuries that are not caused by the underlying accident. You are, however, entitled to receive compensation if the accident made a pre-existing condition worse.
What Do I Do If An Insurance Adjuster Calls Me?
Thank the adjuster for calling, and tell them you don’t want to make any statement. Ask them their name and your case claim number. Then tell them you’ll call back later. Further, contact your Chicago personal injury lawyer and inform them about the call.
What Is a Catastrophic Personal Injury?
A catastrophic personal injury is one that’s very severe that it results in long-term disability or debilitation. The injury permanently prevents an individual from performing any gainful work in the future. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers are well equipped to handle catastrophic injury cases.
Contact A Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in an accident because of the negligence of another person or entity, our experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers can help you receive the maximum compensation for the damages suffered. Contact us at (312) 300-2515 or chat with us online for a free case evaluation. Don’t wait! Call us Today!