Personal injury law enables a victim of an accident or other occurrence to bring a civil action in court and get compensation (also known as damages) for any losses resulting from the incident. The goal of the personal injury system is to give the victim of someone else’s careless or malicious behavior the opportunity to get financial compensation and justice. Basically, the goal of personal injury law is to make sure that people who suffer injuries as a result of carelessness on private or public property are compensated fairly for their pain and suffering, expenses for medical care, and time away from work.
In this thorough and in-depth guide, we’ll break down the fundamentals of personal injury law, go over the history of personal injury law, and describe the process of a typical personal injury case.
If someone else’s carelessness caused your injury, you have a right to compensation beyond merely medical costs. You are entitled to compensation for your past and future pain and suffering, past and future financial losses incurred as a result of the accident, as well as any personally identifiable damages. You are entitled to just recompense for any injuries you sustained as a result of an accident. Without first discussing your claim with a personal injury lawyer, do not attempt to file or settle your claim.
The Basics of Personal Injury
Accidents that result in injuries occur often, but not all of these incidents meet the criteria for a claim under personal injury law. There are a few general requirements that must be completed in order for an injured individual to be eligible to file a personal injury case, regardless of the sort of event that happened.
First, it must be proven that the Defendant owed the Plaintiff a legal “duty of care.” In certain situations, like an automobile collision, the standard of care owed by one person to another is quite obvious. Drivers are required to abide by the rules of the road, and if they do so and damage someone, they have often broken their duty of care to other road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists. The duty of care is not always obvious in other situations, such as a slip-and-fall accident or a workplace accident, and determining it will probably require a thorough investigation by an expert legal team.
The Defendant’s failure to fairly sustain their duty of care to the Plaintiff must then be proven. This is a difficult topic that should be left to qualified personal injury attorneys to answer, just as in all other personal injury law-related situations. Foreseeability is a significant element in establishing whether a duty of care has been broken. In general, it must be proven that the flaw or danger that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries could have been anticipated and avoided or averted if the defendant had acted properly in order to bring a case.
The last need is that the defendant’s breach of their duty of care, which is sometimes referred to as negligence in the context of a personal injury case, directly caused the harm. Personal injury damages are what are caused by these injuries, which might be physical, emotional, or psychological in nature. If a personal injury claim is successful, the injured party can be compensated for these losses.
Naturally, those who have suffered severe injuries in an accident may ask if they have the right to bring a lawsuit to be compensated for their suffering. Here are some of the most typical personal injury case types we see at Block Drake & Collopy, P.C. to demonstrate the variety of ways a personal injury lawsuit may develop:
- Car crashes
- Construction mishaps
- Falls at a construction site
- Dropped item incidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Bus collisions
- Property liability mishaps
- Mistaken death incidents
- Occupational accidents
It can be challenging for lay people to grasp personal injury legislation, especially when coping with a serious accident. We strongly advise speaking with an accomplished lawyer who can handle legal matters if you or someone close to you has been hurt in an accident so that you can concentrate on making a full and speedy recovery.
What is Personal Injury Law?
There are three typical forms of injury that can be done to a person under American law. These include reputational harm, property damage, and physical injury. Typically, a personal injury claim is made when someone really experiences physical or psychological impairment. Injury-causing behavior by another person might be careless, negligent, or malevolent. Personal injury claims often address three main issues that may arise after an incident:
- Actual physical injury
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Actual physical hurt is a simple idea to grasp. Someone who was harmed in a car accident caused by a negligent driver might anticipate receiving compensation. Compensation would pay for any current medical expenditures as well as any projected future medical costs. This covers further operations, home care, physical therapy, and anything else that might assist the wounded individual in their efforts to lead somewhat regular lives once again.
The problem of pain and suffering is more complicated. Lawyers frequently advise their clients to cooperate with mental health specialists to record their suffering. A claimant should be able to provide evidence of the activities they once loved but are unable to continue with as well as their present state of mind.
Just as well, one of the more challenging ‘injuries’ to prove is mental anguish. Emotional discomfort might be considered to have been purposefully or carelessly caused. This encompasses a wide variety of harms, including defamation and bodily harm threats.
According to personal injury law, the individual who may be found to have a duty of care is the one who is most likely to be sued. Duty of care applies to a wide range of routine tasks. Retail establishments have a responsibility to prevent slip-and-fall incidents for customers. Every driver has a duty of care that compels them to drive safely at all times. Medical professionals have a duty of care that requires them to practice their crafts in accordance with recognized standards. Manufacturers have a responsibility to guarantee that their goods don’t expose customers to unnecessary dangers. There is a strong likelihood that someone has a legal duty of care if you can think of a situation where they would need to act carefully in order to prevent endangering the public.
Who Makes Personal Injury Laws?
Numerous personal injury laws originated as common law principles. In contrast to laws produced by legislators or enacted through bills and legislation, common law is law decided by judges. When a judge hears a case and renders a judgment, their ruling on the underlying legal question becomes a binding precedent for all state courts that are inferior to the determining judge’s court. The first judge’s ruling must then be applied by these other courts, and eventually, a body of common law is established as a result of all of this binding precedent.
The laws governing personal injury law might not be consistent across the nation since common law can and does vary from state to state. Many states rely on the Restatement of Torts, an explanation of the laws that were developed in Illinois, for advice on personal injury cases. This document compiles a significant amount of common law.
There are other sources of personal injury law outside the common law. Personal injury-related laws have been passed by legislatures. For instance, when legislators enacted legislation governing workers’ compensation, they effectively removed all cases of work-related injuries from the purview of personal injury claims and made workers’ compensation the only available remedy for hurt employees. This often bars claims against employers for injuries. The statute of limitations, which establishes a deadline for bringing an injury-related lawsuit in your state’s civil court system, is another state legislation that affects injury claims. Later in this tutorial, we’ll discuss the statute of limitations in general and in Illinois.
What Kinds Of Injuries Does Personal Injury Law Include?
There are quite a few different types of injuries that would fall under the scope of personal injury law. They include the following:
- Injury caused by someone else’s negligence – It is everyone’s responsibility to respect the law and use reasonable caution in all of their activities. If they don’t and you are hurt as a result of their negligence, filing a civil lawsuit to seek damages from them may be justified.
- Injury from a slip and fall – It is the responsibility of every public venue to keep its patrons safe. If they don’t, you may be entitled to compensation from the shop for your injuries if you fall and injure yourself as a consequence of a risk they brought about or let exist.
- Injury caused by purposeful behavior – You have the right to sue someone who willfully causes you harm. Even if they didn’t want to injure you particularly, this still holds true. For instance, you might be able to sue and receive compensation for your injuries in a civil court if your neighbor throws a rock at his brother and it strikes and hurts you.
- Injury caused by a dangerous or poorly-prescribed medicine – When a new drug is released, safety regulations are occasionally forgotten. Usually, class action lawsuits brought against the medication manufacturers result from these situations.
- Injury caused by medical negligence – The law requires doctors to give you comprehensive care. Many things can go wrong when a doctor does not treat a patient in this way. You are able to receive compensation for errors made by your doctors by filing a medical malpractice case.
- Injury caused by a dog attack – Dog bite injuries are assessed under a strict culpability standard. Having said that, if a dog attacks you, you have the right to file a lawsuit and get financial recompense for your injuries.
- Injury from a car accident – One of the most frequent causes of injury is car accidents. Every state mandates that drivers carry liability insurance to safeguard others from such harm.
- Injury caused by an egregious misdiagnosis – Misdiagnosis is a type of medical misconduct that can result in harm. You may be entitled to compensation if the incorrect diagnosis worsens your illness.
- Injury from dangerous or negligent work conditions – Injury resulting from dangerous circumstances at a private residence or public location might be deemed negligent. Legal responsibility may result from this.
- Injury caused by a faulty product – It is a legal need for all items to be safe when used properly. A strict responsibility usually attaches if the product is not safe when used properly. In other words, a manufacturer may be held accountable even though he did not behave carelessly when creating the product.
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
When someone is harmed by an accident or injury and someone else may be held legally accountable for that harm, personal injury cases are legal disputes that result. The wounded individual will receive compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier for their medical bills, agony and suffering, and any continuing medical costs. Your personal injury lawyer will collaborate with insurance companies and hospital attorneys if the case concerns medical misconduct.
A personal injury attorney who represents you in a civil court process can formalize your personal injury case. This court proceeding aims to identify those who are legally responsible through a court decision or, as is much more often, such issues may be settled amicably before any lawsuit is filed. The following are the two possible outcomes of a case, such as the requirement of medical care following a vehicle accident or an injury caused by property damage:
- A formal personal injury case – This is typically started when a private person files a civil complaint against another person, business, corporation, or government body, alleging that they acted negligently or irresponsibly in connection with an accident or injury that resulted in harm. This is in contrast to criminal cases, which are started by the government. Bringing a lawsuit is what this activity is known as. Particularly useful is our explanation of negligence and evidence.
- An informal or early settlement – In actuality, the majority of disagreements over who is at responsibility for an accident or injury are settled amicably, generally between the parties directly engaged in the dispute, their insurance providers, and the attorneys who represent each side. A settlement often takes the form of negotiations, followed by a written agreement in which both parties agree to forego further action and settle the dispute by paying a mutually acceptable sum of money.
When Is It Required To File A Personal Injury Case?
While some people might be hesitant to make a claim while still getting medical attention for their injuries after an accident, it’s still a good idea to do so. You can start either an insurance claim or a personal injury claim if you think you can show fault and get paid. The earlier you submit, the more deadlines associated with your lawsuit you can avoid. If you intend to take your matter to court, it is important to file as soon as possible.
While getting started as soon as possible is crucial, bear in mind that before you can fix your particular situation, you might still need some time to better comprehend it. Avoid accepting an insurance company’s first offer since unanticipated events can affect the overall amount of compensation you are entitled to. Of course, no two instances are the same. One may take into consideration submitting either a personal injury claim or a lawsuit, depending on the particulars of the case and your situation.
The statute of limitations generally determines how long you have to pursue a personal injury case. You have a certain amount of time to bring your claim according to the personal injury statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in your state will be applicable immediately after the accident and the commencement of your injuries, defining how long you have to file. You have a certain amount of time to bring your claim according to the personal injury statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in your state will be applicable immediately after the accident and the commencement of your injuries, defining how long you have to file. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in the state of Illinois is two years.
How Does a Personal Injury Case Work?
Since no two incidents are ever precisely the same, no two personal injury lawsuits ever proceed in the same way. However, from a broad perspective, there are some common stages that the majority of personal injury cases follow.
- The Defendant Does Something to Injure Plaintiff – With the exception of contractual breaches, which are dealt with by a different body of law known as “contract law,” the defendant does an act that causes the plaintiff harm. This can involve nearly any wrongdoing on the side of the defendant.
- The Plaintiff Establishes that the Defendant Breached a Legal Obligation – The particular legal duty will depend on the circumstances surrounding the damage. For instance, it is the responsibility of drivers to drive with the degree of caution that a reasonable person would use in such circumstances. Medical professionals are required by law to treat patients in conformity with the accepted medical standard of care. It is the responsibility of manufacturers and distributors to keep harmful or substandard items off the market.
- Settlement Negotiations Take Place – If it is obvious to all parties that the defendant violated a legal obligation, the defendant may desire to arrange an out-of-court settlement. This would entail offering the victim of the harm an offer of monetary compensation in exchange for the victim’s legally-binding agreement not to bring a lawsuit about the injury.
The litigation is over if the plaintiff accepts a settlement. If not, the plaintiff has the option to take the case to court and file a personal injury lawsuit. Even after the lawsuit is filed, settlement talks can carry on, and one can be reached at any point before the civil case is submitted to a jury for a verdict on the defendant’s responsibility. Your best first move, if you’re considering bringing a personal injury claim after any type of accident or event, could be to speak with a personal injury attorney about your case.
How Much Is a Personal Injury Case Worth?
You may be entitled to seek large compensation if you suffered injury as a result of someone else’s careless behavior. However, the extent of potential effects varies, and the solution could not be known for several months. The amount of your injury claim will rely on a number of elements, such as the seriousness of your injuries, whether you will need ongoing medical treatment and the insurance plans that may be able to reimburse you.
The specifics of your case, such as whether you were partially at fault if you suffered permanently incapacitating injuries, or whether you will need continuing medical care, may determine the precise amount you may be able to get in compensation for your injuries. It’s important to take into account both your anticipated future expenses and your current medical bills when determining the worth of your case. Some injuries are incapacitating and call for continual care as well as help with everyday activities.
If you have a hurting back after a vehicle accident, for instance, you might initially believe the discomfort would go away. However, such an injury may have serious long-term effects, such as decreased mobility and spinal problems. These expensive issues frequently take longer to manifest.
It might be impossible to predict your potential long-term expenditures after a major accident. To have a comprehensive understanding of your future medical requirements, you must wait until you have attained your maximum medical improvement or have been discharged from a doctor’s care. Before you have reached your maximum improvement, anyone who tries to estimate the value of your case is not being honest with you. If you consent to a settlement too early, you risk getting a payout that may not fully cover your future medical expenses.
Insurance companies construct a list of all the many kinds of losses you have endured, such as medical expenses and missed wages, in order to determine the worth of a claim. After compiling a list of the losses, they use their damages formula to arrive at an overall value, which helps place a price on non-economic damages like pain and suffering or loss of consortium.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
Laws known as statutes of limitations define how long a person has to launch a lawsuit against a business or person. It is no longer feasible to submit a claim or case relating to the claimed occurrence or event once this window of time or the applicable legal deadline has elapsed. If the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in one state is two years, for instance, and you bring a claim two years and one day after the alleged occurrence, you’re out of luck. With very few circumstances, a lawsuit cannot be brought against a doctor or hospital after the statutory 2-year period has elapsed.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in the state of Illinois is two years. This includes wrongful death suits. The statutes of limitations change slightly if you’re attempting to bring a personal injury claim against the state of Illinois. The Illinois Tort Immunity Act can be studied in its entirety to have a better understanding of what you’re up against. But as it relates to this legislation, the statute of limitations can be summed up as follows:
- Any civil action against a municipal entity or any of its employees for any harm, other than one listed in paragraph B, must be filed in a court within a year of the day the injury occurred or the cause of action arose.
- No action for damages for injury or death arising from patient care shall be brought more than two years after the date on which the claimant knew, or by the exercise of reasonable care should have known, or received written notice of the existence of the injury or death for which damages are sought in the action. However, such a lawsuit cannot be filed more than four years from the date of the act, omission, or another incident that is claimed to be the reason for the harm or death.
Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
To comply with the applicable statute of limitations, it is crucial to file your personal injury case as soon as possible if you do decide to do so. Most personal injury claims in Illinois must be made within two years after the incident that caused the harm. The case will be looked into, and if there is validity to it, the complaint will be submitted to the proper court. After that, the defendant will be given a chance to respond.
- Over the coming months, there will be a discovery process. Each party has the chance to make written inquiries and ask for documents to be reviewed throughout the discovery process. There will also be depositions taken from the parties, witnesses, and experts. Prior to the trial, the attorneys for the parties would interrogate a party or witness while they are sworn in during a deposition. The deposition serves a number of functions, including determining what a party or witness will say at trial, gathering material not covered by written interrogatories, determining how the party or witness may be seen by the jury, and preserving the record for evidence delivered at trial. There may be settlement talks, which might take weeks or months.
- If a settlement cannot be reached, the matter will go to trial. The plaintiff will need to convince the judge or jury of several crucial facts in order to successfully establish responsibility. If the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, whether or not the defendant broke that duty, whether or not the plaintiff sustained injuries, and whether or not the defendant’s breach of that duty was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, should all be included in this evidence.
- If the defendant is found to be liable, the judge or jury will next decide how much money damages should be given to the plaintiff. The precise legal claim, the accident’s circumstances, the victim’s injuries, their severity, and the applicable laws are only a few of the variables that will affect the amount of personal injury damages. Compensation damages for personal injuries may include lost earnings, medical costs, pain and suffering, disability, and emotional anguish.
How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Hiring a personal injury attorney is advised as the initial step since the personal injury claims procedure in Illinois is sometimes complicated and difficult for an individual managing their case alone. In order to assist you in obtaining the most favorable conclusion possible, an expert lawyer can examine the finer points of your case and counsel you throughout the personal injury claims procedure.
One of the twenty-four Illinois circuit courts is where you can file a personal injury claim. The location of a lawsuit can have a big influence on several problems that may come up throughout your case, so you should speak with your lawyer about it in detail. Your claim must be filed in the county where the court has the right to hear it.
The insurance company or the defendant will receive a lien when you hire an attorney in a personal injury case. Your lawyer will compile your records and evidence of any additional harm, such as lost wages, after your medical treatment is complete, and submit them together with a monetary claim. The insurance provider may admit fault or dispute it. The type of your injuries will always be contested by them. The lawsuit is resolved if the parties are successful in reaching a settlement. A lawsuit must be launched if the parties are unable to come to an agreement on a settlement.
Remember, it’s always crucial to seek the guidance and help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Drake & Collopy, P.C., our personal injury lawyers are passionate about winning cases– and with millions recovered for personal injury Illinois victims, we have proven value in winning cases and getting our clients the personal injury settlement they need. If you’re in need of a personal injury attorney in Illinois, get in touch with our team at Drake & Collopy, P.C. by calling 312-262-4872, or by getting in touch with us through our website.
Does A Personal Injury Lawsuit Have To Be Filed Within A Certain Amount Of Time?
Yes. In Illinois, you have two years from the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit, as per the state’s statute of limitations.
Proving Fault in Personal Injury Accidents
Without first demonstrating that the four components of carelessness were present at the time of the accident, you will not be able to demonstrate that the other person is responsible for your damages. In order to establish negligence, you must demonstrate:
- The negligent party owed it to you to stop or refrain from doing you any harm.
- This responsibility was broken by the responsible party.
- Your harm was a direct result of the at-fault party’s violation.
- You experienced quantifiable losses.
By demonstrating that the other party’s conduct was negligent, you are demonstrating that they differed from those that a reasonably cautious person would take. This suggests that a sensible, competent person would not have caused the accident because they would have acted differently from the individual who was at blame.
What Happens If I File A Lawsuit?
After your lawyer files your personal injury lawsuit, there are a few things that could happen. The claim could be denied, settlement negotiations could take place, or the case could be taken to the Illinois courts. Your lawyer will be able to outline exactly what will happen with your specific case.
What Will I Get If I Win My Case?
This depends significantly on the damages you suffered and how much money you and your attorney have requested. If you win your case, you will be awarded the entirety of your damages.
Read More: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE A SETTLEMENT IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE?
What Does It Mean To Settle A Case?
A case is “settled” when a disagreement is resolved prior to a trial’s conclusion. The court system can drag out a case for years, despite the fact that popular media frequently gives the impression that major cases are settled quickly. Each side must take the necessary time to examine the case’s facts and the relevant legal precedents. Months before the trial can start, the court receives the initial papers. The parties now have ample time to engage in settlement talks.
Mediation in a Personal Injury Case
In mediation, both parties to a dispute agree to work with an impartial third party to try to reach a settlement before a trial. Understanding how personal injury mediation functions is crucial. Although mediation is frequently required before a court would let your case go to trial, mediation can be voluntary between two parties. If your case is referred to mediation, your lawyer and the insurance defense lawyer will attempt to reach an understanding with the mediator. The impartial third party is the mediator. A mediator and a date, time, and place are chosen jointly by the parties.
Is My Personal Injury Settlement Taxable?
A personal injury settlement is often exempt from taxes in Illinois. The money given for the person’s injuries, medical expenses, or property damage is understood as a compensation for a loss, therefore personal injury settlements are typically tax-free because the settlement profits are not considered gross income. Because it is not regarded as earned income, the component of a personal injury settlement that covers compensation for bodily injuries is often not taxed. The personal injury settlement is often tax-free if it pays for medical expenses associated with hospitalization or doctor visits linked to the injury.
Read More: 9 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CHICAGO PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
How Settlement Negotiation Works in a Personal Injury Case
Personal injury settlement negotiations typically follow this timeline:
- In your written demand letter, you make your damages request.
- The insurance adjuster informs you of the issues with your claim, such as uncertainty on who was at blame or the excessive length of your physical treatment.
- You then reply to these claims.
- The adjuster makes a meager counteroffer to see whether you’re eager to accept any settlement money.
- You make another demand that is somewhat less than the one in your demand letter after making a small concession regarding the adjuster’s arguments.
- The company’s offer is raised by the insurance adjuster.
- You can either consent to that sum or submit a different counter-demand.
Typically, it is that easy. The investigation, supporting papers, demand letter, amount you are ready to settle for, and whether or not you are in a rush to settle are all important aspects that will affect how an accident settlement turns out.
What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage?
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage is a form of personal injury insurance that is usually purchased for use with a vehicle. Your medical expenses and lost income are covered by personal injury protection insurance if you or your passengers are hurt in a car accident. In most states, personal injury protection is not required. In 16 states, however, it is mandated that you have a minimum level of PIP coverage. PIP insurance coverage may overlap with your established health insurance, even if Illinois is not one of those states, yet there are situations when having several plans is advised.
When you and your passengers are hurt in a vehicle accident, personal injury protection, often known as no-fault insurance, pays your medical bills and rehabilitation expenditures. PIP also applies if you are hit by a car while a pedestrian, biker, or a passenger in another person’s vehicle. PIP insurance is distinct from bodily injury liability insurance in that, whereas liability insurance covers the costs of other people’s injuries when you are at fault for an accident, PIP coverage only covers your own.
Some of the coverage provided by your health insurance or medical payments policy may also be covered by PIP insurance. PIP insurance, on the other hand, is intended expressly for auto-related injuries, which are occasionally excluded from health insurance policies. PIP insurance also covers a variety of other costs that health insurance does not. If you reside in one of the 16 states that mandate PIP coverage, you must first submit a claim to that insurance before contacting your health insurance. Even if it isn’t mandated in your state, PIP insurance still has a number of advantages over health insurance, including coverage for missed income and burial expenses.
How to Deal With the Insurance Company in a Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury insurance companies can be somewhat difficult to deal with, which further necessitates the help of a personal injury attorney.
You may use this knowledge to your advantage to negotiate the finest personal injury settlement if you have a grasp of how insurance companies operate and the motivations of the insurance adjuster. There are a few crucial factors to think about.
You’ll want a personal injury attorney, as we previously said. This communicates to the insurance provider that you value your rights and will file a lawsuit if you don’t receive a just settlement. Your attorney can utilize their knowledge to your advantage by figuring out the best settlement for your particular situation.
Make sure you have convincing proof of both your guilt and the severity of your injuries. To maximize your rehabilitation, keep journals, photos, medical records, and itemized accounts of all expenses paid and time missed at work.
A demand letter should also be taken into consideration. In this letter, you explain the facts of the occurrence at issue and outline the terms of a settlement that you are willing to accept. If you send an insurance adjuster a personal injury demand letter, talks might start at a price you feel is reasonable, not one the insurance adjuster deems suitable.
What is Personal Injury Demand Letter?
A personal injury demand letter initiates the process of negotiating a potential settlement by informing the other party that you are seeking damages in connection with an injury. A well-written and professional-looking demand letter to an insurance company for a personal injury can pave the way for a speedy settlement procedure, but one that is ill-conceived or badly formatted may potentially work against you. Let’s examine the proper format for each section of a demand letter as well as an example of a personal injury demand letter.
When requesting compensation for a personal injury, you utilize a demand letter. The two-year statute of limitations in Illinois applies to personal injury lawsuits, so you’ll want to submit the letter while there is still enough time for a lawsuit to be filed if the other party won’t settle. The personal injury demand letter acts as notice of the terms of the settlement offer you are making for your claim.
Read More: STEPS TO PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM
Personal Injury Case Timeline
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the occurrence of an injury claim, the majority of these claims will be resolved outside of court prior to any civil trial. Additionally, the parties will frequently strike a settlement in personal injury situations before even filing a lawsuit. Although each case is different, the timetable for a typical personal injury lawsuit is shown below. We’ll utilize a scenario in which a vehicle accident led to a brain injury in this example.
The Accident Occurs
The Defendant and the Plaintiff are involved in an automobile accident. The Defendant allegedly ran a red light, according to the Plaintiff and other witnesses. Following the collision, the Plaintiff has a very severe headache.
Seeking Medical Attention
When the Plaintiff seeks medical care, she is diagnosed with a severe concussion, which is a type of traumatic brain injury. The Plaintiff’s doctor suggests five months of physical therapy, in-hospital medicine, and close monitoring, along with a reevaluation at which point any potential need for brain surgery will be determined.
Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney
The Plaintiff seeks legal advice from a personal injury attorney after concluding that the Defendant was at fault for the accident. The Plaintiff’s lawyer is of the opinion that she has a case and is entitled to financial compensation for her losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, future medical care costs, lost future earning ability, and agony resulting from her injuries. In accordance with a contingency fee structure, the Plaintiff negotiates the attorneys’ fees and signs a retainer agreement.
Bringing Forth a Lawsuit
The Plaintiff’s legal representative files a personal injury case on her behalf, claiming that the Defendant was at fault for the incident that resulted in the Plaintiff’s injuries. The filing of a lawsuit might not take place at all if a suitable settlement can be achieved reasonably soon, or it can come before or after the following stage. In order to support The Plaintiff’s case, her counsel obtains the expert testimony of doctors, occupational therapists, and other witnesses who can attest to the severity of her impairments and the potential effects they may have on her quality of life and ability to make a living.
Negotiating a Settlement
The Plaintiff’s lawyer makes contact with the Defendant’s insurance provider and starts outlining the Plaintiff’s claims regarding the Defendant’s culpability for the accident’s damages and the Plaintiff’s fault for it. These talks might range from casual phone conversations to the delivery of a formal demand letter requesting a specific sum of money as reparation for The Plaintiff’s damages. The insurance provider will probably respond with a counteroffer that is far less than the policy’s limitations.
Successful Settlement Negotiations
If a settlement is reached, a written settlement agreement will be created that specifies the amount of money the Plaintiff will receive and releases the Defendant from all further responsibility for the accident and the injuries the Plaintiff sustained. The settlement agreement will be signed by both parties, and if a personal injury lawsuit is still pending, the agreement could also need to be submitted to the court and authorized by the judge presiding over the matter.
Unsuccessful Settlement Negotiations
The Plaintiff’s lawyer will almost probably advise filing the case now if settlement negotiations fail to produce an agreement and no personal injury lawsuit has been filed yet. The matter will next continue according to the typical civil court procedure.
Continuation of Personal Injury Case in Civil Court
Both parties will submit documents and go through the discovery procedure. Negotiations for a settlement will probably carry on. Another option is an alternate conflict resolution procedure like mediation. Any personal injury case will probably be settled out of court before going to a full civil trial. If the case does proceed to trial, a jury will consider all the evidence, including expert testimony on the extent of the Plaintiff’s injuries and their financial effect, before deciding whether the Defendant was at fault for the collision and the Plaintiff’s injuries.
The jury will determine the appropriate amount of damages to award if the Defendant is found to be at fault, and the court will then enter a final judgment and award. A higher court will hear the Defendant’s appeal of the judgment. The Plaintiff will not receive any compensation if the jury determines that the Defendant was not at fault for the accident or injured her.
The majority of injury cases are settled via negotiation at some point during this period due to the possibility of this sort of all-or-nothing verdict and the inherent difficulties of forecasting how a jury will rule in any individual personal injury case.
What Should I Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Consider the following questions when meeting with a personal injury lawyer:
- How much are your legal fees?
- Will you comp costs if my case is not successful?
- Do you have experience with specific cases like mine?
- How much of your time can be dedicated to my specific case?
- What is your success rate?
Finding a Personal Injury Lawyer
There are several avenues to find recommendations for skilled personal injury attorneys. After receiving recommendations, make sure you compare each lawyer or firm thoroughly. Before choosing a lawyer, get their contact information and speak with or meet with each one to go over your case. Additionally, be ready for rejection. Many attorneys decline cases if the possible compensation amount is below a specific threshold or if the claim is not clearly defined.
Making an Injury Claim in Illinois
There are some details of Illinois’ personal injury claims procedure that you should be aware of if you were recently hurt and would like to hold the responsible party accountable for your injuries. The issue of who can be held accountable in personal injury claims depends on the nature of the case. The following are some typical personal injury cases in Illinois:
- Workers’ compensation – If an employee in Illinois sustains an injury while doing their duties, their employer is often held responsible for the severity of the injury. Although legally the employer is also responsible, workers’ compensation insurance is a requirement for almost all Illinois firms. As a result, the injured employee will get paid for their injuries from the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. Employees may get compensation through this program for any lost pay, present or future medical expenses, and future disabilities caused by their job. However, it should be noted that the employee may be able to bring a personal injury case against the company directly if their workers’ compensation claim is rejected or if they decide not to pursue the workers’ compensation procedure.
- Product liability – If a customer uses a product and is harmed as a result of the product’s flaws, this may give rise to a personal injury claim. For their separate roles in the creation, installation, promotion, and sale of flawed products, manufacturers, retailers, designers, distributors, and resellers can all be held accountable.
- Medical malpractice – You may bring a personal injury claim based on medical negligence if you are hurt while seeking medical care. Medical malpractice is the term used to describe an instance in which a doctor or other health care provider either consciously participates in behavior that is an obvious and direct breach of the standard of medical care due to a patient or omits to act in a manner that complies with that standard. Following the same standardized procedures that other healthcare professionals use when treating a patient in comparable situations is part of the standard of care for doctors and other healthcare providers. Physicians, nurses, other healthcare providers, and even hospitals themselves may be held accountable for any damage incurred under the premise of medical malpractice.
- Misconduct allegations against the Illinois police force – The state of Illinois, unfortunately, has a high rate of police misconduct. This police misbehavior frequently ends in physical harm and occasionally even death. A person must demonstrate that the police officer’s behavior was deliberate and wanton and that the officer had a valid law enforcement justification for his acts in order to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit based on police misconduct. Despite having a lot of legal protection, police personnel is not impervious to gunfire. If a valid personal injury lawsuit based on police misconduct is made, specific police personnel as well as the relevant police agency may be held accountable.
The idea of carelessness serves as the foundation for personal injury claims. In these cases, the plaintiff asserts that her injuries were caused by someone else’s carelessness. As a result, the plaintiff must first prove all of the components of negligence in order to make a successful personal injury claim. You must demonstrate duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages, as was indicated before in this guide.
Read More: ELEMENTS OF A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM
Filing a Claim Against the Government in Illinois
As long as the Defendant is a private party, anybody hurt because of someone else’s carelessness in Illinois has the opportunity to bring a personal injury case in civil court. This kind of lawsuit may be filed, for instance, if you slip and fall on a store’s cracked steps or if a careless motorist injures you in a collision. You have the option to bring a lawsuit against either the company owner or the driver in both circumstances.
You’ll need to take a different approach, though, if you want to hold the State or a State employee accountable for your injuries. The Illinois Court of Claims Act specifies the procedure for filing a claim against the State and its employees.
The Court of Claims Act is described in the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Personal injury and other basic wrongs, administrative decision reviews, contract breaches, and more are examples of the issues that can be brought against the state and handled by the Court of Claims. This Act restricts the state government’s ability to utilize the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which typically bars citizens from suing the government.
Claims against local governments, such as counties, cities, and park districts, are often tried in the normal court system. Therefore, you just need to demonstrate common negligence principles if you are hit by a county vehicle in a traffic accident or trip over a damaged piece of pavement near a municipal building. In rare cases, the worker or a regional government agency could not be responsible for your injuries. The Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Community Act, which deals with harm claims against municipalities, lists several restrictions. The statute limits the sorts of lawsuits Illinois residents may bring against local governments and specifies the kind of evidence each accident claim must include.
A person making a claim against Illinois must do one of two things within a year of the date the harm occurred: either submit a notice of the claim with the Attorney General and the Clerk of the Court of Claims or file a lawsuit with the Court of Claims. If the claim is submitted within one year, notice is not necessary. Even if notice is filed initially, any claim must be submitted within two years of the accident’s date.
Work with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney from Drake & Collopy, P.C.
At Drake & Collopy, P.C., we are aware of how crucial it is to have a personal injury attorney by your side while you navigate a personal injury Illinois case. Millions of dollars have been recovered for injury victims in Chicago with the aid of our legal team. We have dedicated our professional lives to vigorously fighting for the rights of people who have suffered harm as a result of another’s carelessness. We are dedicated to pursuing justice on behalf of our clients because we are aware of the profound effects an accident or injury can have on a person’s life. Our team of personal injury lawyers is committed to getting the best outcomes and the biggest financial recovery for each of our clients. With more than 50 years of combined experience and tens of millions of dollars recovered, our staff is experienced and knowledgeable.
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of others, you don’t have to take on your case alone. If you’re ready to launch your suit and receive the damages that you deserve for your personal injury case, get in touch with the talented and passionate lawyers at Drake & Collopy, P.C. by calling 312-262-4872 or contacting us through our website. We offer a free consultation to better understand your specific case and get to know you. Our team is ready to help!
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