If you live in Chicago, regardless of whether you sustained an injury in a car accident or personal injury due to negligence of another person, contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer if you need a competent injury attorney to assist you. If the injury was caused by a car accident, you can still contact a personal injury lawyer, just be sure to locate an attorney that has experience as a car accident lawyer. And if you find a personal injury solicitor, you will not pay anything unless you win the case. Personal Injury Solicitors work on a No-Win-No-Fee policy.
If you want to find the best personal injury lawyer in Chicago, look for the personal injury attorneys that practice personal injury law, which falls under the purview of tort law. Tort law provides a means of recovering compensation for people harmed by an accident or injury if another person/party was legally responsible for causing the harm.
An injured person may take their personal injury case to court by filing a civil lawsuit. However, most personal injury cases are not resolved through formal lawsuits, but rather through informal settlements where the personal injury solicitors, of the victim’s chosen personal injury law firm, will negotiate an amount of money that is acceptable to both parties. Any Personal Injury Lawyer in Chicago law firms handle these negotiations on daily basis.
Out of the millions of injuries that occur every year, roughly 700,000 result in personal injury claims being filed through some kind of personal injury lawyer. A claim may be filed when the injured party believes the accident that caused their injuries was the result of the negligence of a third party.
Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Regarding Negligence and Liability In Illinois
To receive compensation for damages in a personal injury case in Illinois, a claimant must first prove the negligence of the liable party. Negligence is defined as the failure to take reasonable care and, as a consequence, causing harm to another party.
For the purposes of personal injury cases handled by Chicago law firms, negligence can be used as a way to determine fault in an accident so long as the following items are proven. It is the duty of the law firms in Chicago, specifically, the personal injury lawyer handling the case, to prove these items in favor of the client:
- Duty existed – In order for a person to be held liable for someone else’s injuries, there must be a legal duty established of the defendant to the plaintiff. All drivers in Illinois, for instance, have a duty to other motorists using the road to drive safely.
- There was a breach in duty – After the establishment of duty, the plaintiff must also prove that the defendant breached the duty either through an action or inaction. For example, if a Chicago accident happens because a distracted driver is texting on their cell phone, the driver is breaching their duty to other motorists. just about every experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer is faced with these types of cases every day.
- The breach in duty caused the injury – For a claim to be valid, the plaintiff should demonstrate that the breach in duty was the cause of the injuries sustained. Sometimes an accident injury attorney may have difficulty in proving the injury was caused by the accident.
- Damages were incurred – Finally, the plaintiff must prove that they incurred some kind of damage, typically financial, due to the incident. Personal injury damages cover everything from medical expenses and lost wages to pain and suffering. Sometimes a Chicago personal injury attorney will have a difficult time proving damages and so more convincing evidence will be required.
Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Helps Determine Who Was At Fault
Often it takes collaboration with the personal injury lawyer and other lawyers and paralegals in personal injury law firms to win the difficult cases. Determining liability depends on the specifics of the case. In the example of the distracted driver, the question of liability and negligence is fairly clear cut. For many cases, however, there are disputes regarding these issues. A medical malpractice lawsuit, for instance, would likely be disputed intensely and require several testimonies from expert witnesses and extensive documentation. In any personal injury case, there will usually be some sort of investigation, whether by the insurance company or attorney, to determine fault and assess damages.
Types of Personal Injury Cases – A Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer May or May Not Specialize
Accidents in Chicago, like any other big city, happen all the time. For the easy cases any of the Chicago attorneys will do, however for the tough cases only the top personal injury lawyers should be accepted. For the tough cases, a Chicago personal injury lawyer should be chosen for the specific type of accident. If the accident happens in Chicago, for example, and it is related to a birth injury, a Chicago birth injury attorney shoulb be sought. On the other hand, if the person suffers a brain injury due to a doctor’s negligence during an operation, a Chicago brain injury lawyer should be used.
There are several different types of personal injuries, each with their own specific regulations and guidelines. Regardless of the type of personal injury case, however, the claimant must still prove that negligence occurred and injuries were caused by the negligence.
- Car Accidents in Chicago – Motor vehicle accidents are the most frequent type of personal injury case in the U.S., accounting for over 50 percent of claims filed. Injuries may range from relatively minor bumps and bruises to severe head and back injuries or even death. In Illinois, car accidents work on a modified comparative negligence/fault system, meaning persons injured in car accidents can seek compensation from the at-fault party so long as they are 50 percent of less responsible for the accident. Accidents in this category include car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian collisions.
- Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney – As many as 440,000 people in the U.S. die each year from medical errors by doctors and other health professionals. Although it is possible to collect damages, medical malpractice cases are amongst the most complicated personal injury cases. They typically require more time and money, often going to trial and requiring medical expertise to prove. Speaking to a lawyer about the specifics of your circumstances is the best way to decide if you actually have a case.
- Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyers and Wrongful Death Accidents – When an accident results in a death, representatives of the deceased, usually members of the immediate family, are allowed to seek compensation according to the the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. Compensation may include items ranging from funeral expenses to loss of companionship. One of the caveats of wrongful death cases is that losses due to “pain, grief, and suffering” can only be collected by family members. Compensation for funeral expenses, on the other hand, may be paid to the estate.
- Dog Bite Cases – Animal bite laws in Illinois follow a “strict liability” model, meaning any “owner, keeper, or harborer” of a dog (or any animal) can be held liable for injuries inflicted by the animal so long as the guidelines of Illinois statute 510 ILCS 5 are met. Under this personal injury statute of limitations an injured person may seek compensation from the liable party if the person was attacked in a public space and the dog was not provoked.
- Premises Liability – In Illinois, the owner of a property can be held liable if a person is injured on the premises due to unsafe or defective conditions on the property. Common types of premises liability claims include slip and fall accidents, snow and ice on sidewalks, poor maintenance, and inadequate security. Feel free to contact any of our personal injury firms to learn more about Premises Liability.
- Product Liability – When a defective product injures a consumer, any party that is part of the product’s distribution chain could be held responsible. This includes design, manufacturing, and marketing problems and everyone from the manufacturer to the retailer may be liable. Product liability cases have the highest median settlement awards and can frequently become class-action lawsuits. Not just any Chicago law firm should be chosen, you will want to check with the top Chicago law firm and get the best lawyers in Chicago from the best accident law firm because these kind of cases require the best personal injury attorneys with lots of experience.
- Intentional Torts – These type of personal injury cases can be confusing for people to understand. Although, they are considered civil cases, they are often accompanied by criminal cases. Instead of dealing with negligence as most personal injury cases do, intentional torts deal with harms that were committed by a person against someone else with the specific purpose of injuring them in some way. A few examples of intentional torts include defamation, assault and battery, fraud, and trespassing.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in the U.S. roughly 52 percent of personal injury cases are related to auto accidents, 15 percent are medical malpractice claims, 5 percent product liability, and 28 percent other.
Compensation Available for Personal Injuries
When a person is injured and files a personal injury lawsuit they may receive a variety of different forms of compensation, depending on the nature of their injury. Generally speaking there are two different types of damages that victims of personal injuries can receive an award for: special compensatory damages and general compensatory damages.
- Special Compensatory Damages – These type of damages cover monetary expenses related to the personal injury and vary greatly from case to case. With special damage claims, there is no limit to the amount an injured party can claim. The most commonly sought after damages include items such as loss of income/wages, loss of future earnings, medical expenses related to the injury, future medical care, household expenses, and costs of cancelled trips or changed plans.
- General Compensatory Damages – This category of damages is more abstract and involves non-monetary damages related to the injury. Typically most personal injury claims will involve some general compensatory damages, the most commonly sought after damages being for mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship.
Certain personal injury cases and circumstances allow for even more specific types of compensation. This includes wrongful death cases where survivors can recover costs for funeral expenses, pre-death medical care, any emotional distress related to the loss, and other damages.
Determining the Value of a Claim
One of the most important questions regarding personal injury cases is always how much an individual claim is worth. In Illinois there are no restrictions on the amount of money an injured person could potentially collect in compensation. The value of a claim, of course, depends on the specifics of the case, including the type of damages that were incurred and the severity.
Calculating special compensatory damages is relatively straightforward. By adding up past and future medical expenses with past and future lost wages as well as any other monetary damages through appropriate documentation, a total sum can be determined.
General compensatory damages for things like pain and suffering, however, are somewhat more abstract. Attorneys usually calculate these less concrete damages by multiplying the total monetary expenses by a multiplier, which depends on the severity of the injuries.
The amount available for personal injury lawsuits can vary greatly depending on what type of claim is filed. Regardless of what type of case it is, the best way of assuring the maximum settlement amount is by presenting meticulous documentation of both monetary and emotional damages. Speaking to an attorney regarding the specifics of your case can be a good way to get a better idea of whether or not you have a claim and how much it is potentially worth.
Time Limits for Personal Injury Claims
The amount of time an injured person in Chicago has to file a personal injury lawsuit is dictated by the Illinois statute of limitations. For a vast majority of cases this time limit is two years from the date on which the injury occurred.
Some exceptions exist to this rule. This includes personal injury cases where:
- The accident/injuries resulted in death – A claim may be filed up to a year after the date the deceased passed away. If the next of kin is a minor, they may file a claim up to two years after their 18th birthday.
- Medical malpractice cases – Special allowance is given to medical malpractice cases since injuries may not manifest immediately. Lawsuits may be filed up to two years after the date of discovery of the injury.
- Product liability cases – For injuries sustained through the use of defective products, an injured person has 2 to a maximum of 8 years from the time the injury first manifested to file a lawsuit.
Anyone attempting to bring up a claim after the statute of limitations has run out will have their case thrown out by a court.
When A Lawyer Is Necessary
One of the most frequent questions that arises for those who have suffered an injury is whether or not they need an attorney to handle the case. An overwhelming majority of personal injury cases, nearly 95 percent, are settled without going to trial and a large number of them can, in fact, be managed without legal representation. Whether or not you need an attorney, of course, depends on the specifics of your case.
Generally, cases that involve only very minor injuries, where there is no question about liability and causation, can be settled between the claimant and the insurance company or other party. Before deciding to negotiate a settlement yourself, however, you should make sure that you have the time and energy to dedicate to build a strong case and negotiate an appropriate settlement. If negotiations come to a stalemate or any other troubles arise while you are trying to handle your own case, it is still possible to bring in an attorney to help.
With more serious cases, involving significant injuries and damages, consulting with an attorney is the right choice. More complicated cases that likely call for the experience of a personal injury attorney include:
- When your accident resulted in moderate to severe injuries or death;
- The effects of the injury are long-lasting or permanent;
- Complicated legal issues or litigation are involved;
- Liability is not clear cut; and/or
- If the insurance company is refusing to pay.
If you are searching through a list of attorneys in Chicago, we want you to know about personal injury firm. Contact us, we have some of the top Chicago personal injury lawyers. We offer a FREE consultation. You can speak to a Chicago injury attorney about the specifics of your case. This way you can decide whether or not a lawyer is a good idea for you. Call us today for your FREE consultation.