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Personal injuries can manifest from a wide range of situations. Automobile accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and medical malpractice injuries are just a few of the cases that a personal injury attorney handles on a regular basis. If you or a loved one were harmed due to another individual’s actions, then you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
You may be wondering, what is personal injury law? Personal injury refers to any mental or physical pain that is caused by negligence from an individual or a company. Personal injury attorneys address the laws and fight for the long term well-being of the injured victim. They thoroughly investigate the situation and fight aggressively for proper compensation to help you recover both financially and physically.
Personal injury can occur as a result of many different types of accidents. These include accidents and injuries by car, motorcycle, truck, boat, dogs, bicycle, product, property or through work. No matter what the size of the accident is, it’s often a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer.
Types Of Personal Injury
Each year millions of people are injured in traffic accidents. These incidents are usually caused by the negligent actions of another driver, but accidents can also occur for a number of other reasons including:
- Poorly maintained roads
- Malfunctioning traffic control signals
- Improper road design
- Roadway obstructions
- Defective vehicles
If you sustain injuries from a car accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. You will have a better chance of winning your case if the evidence of the accident is still fresh. If necessary, a law firm can hire an investigator to thoroughly analyze the scene of the accident.
Medical malpractice occurs when you receive injuries due to the actions of medical professionals or facilities. The grounds for malpractice range from negligence to the failure to maintain a medical facility. If a personal injury lawyer can discover the causes of your injuries, then you may be able to receive compensation.
In malpractice cases, compensatory and punitive damages can be awarded. The former will reimburse you for any of your financial losses. For example, if you lost wage money due to missing work, compensatory damages can cover you. Punitive damages, on the other hand, punish the defendants in a malpractice case.
One of the leading injuries that can cause significant long-term damage is a traumatic brain injury. This type of injury most often results from auto accidents, large truck crashes, sports injuries, and intentional assaults. In many cases, these types of injuries are permanent.
Victims often need assistance to perform daily tasks and they usually suffer emotionally as well. Since most traumatic brain injuries result from negligence or intentional behavior, victims are often entitled to compensation for the damages they have incurred. A good lawyer can ensure that this happens.
Spinal Cord Injury
In addition to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries commonly result from car crashes or falls. They often cause paralysis or loss of motor function in certain areas of the body. For example, some victims experience weakness in their limbs. Many of these problems can be permanent, requiring lifelong care. Therefore, legal help is necessary for victims to be able to afford the medical care required after a spinal cord injury.
While airplanes may be statistically the safest way to travel, accidents are still possible during the flight. Unfortunately, when these accidents do occur, they are usually extremely severe. Sadly, many times the injury suffered is not only physical but emotional. People usually have extreme anxiety that needs long-term treatment. Thus, a good attorney is essential to ensure that all medical costs –both emotional and physical – are paid for.
When To Contact A Personal Injury Attorney
Oftentimes, when an accident occurs, the injured party thinks that the pain will disappear on its own, especially if it’s minor. However, the pain may continue to get worse and turn into more serious issues down the road. By then, it’s often too late to make a claim and get proper compensation. Many personal injury lawyers will offer a FREE consultation to determine if you have a valid claim, so it’s always a good idea to contact one right away after an accident.
When searching for a lawyer to consult with, find one that deals primarily, if not exclusively, with personal injury claims. These firms have the experience necessary to make sure you are compensated fully for injuries that have resulted due to negligence by someone else but are also small enough to give you the attention you deserve.
Illinois Personal Injury FAQ
How long do you have to make a Personal Injury claim in Illinois?
In order to make a Personal Injury claim in the State of Illinois, you have a period of two years from the time of your accident to settle your claim or file a lawsuit. However, if the case involves a municipality such a city, county or the state, the statute of limitations is one year. This means that you will generally want to begin preparing your case, and getting in touch with a Personal Injury lawyer, as soon as possible.
The research and investigation required to gather evidence for your case can sometimes be time consuming. Therefore, it is better to have started early with time to spare than for your case to be dismissed because you decided to wait for too long and did not have time to prepare.
How long do I have to wait for my insurance to respond to a Personal Injury claim?
According to Illinois law, insurance companies have 15 working days to provide you with the forms that you will need to file a claim after you have requested them. After you have submitted the completed forms and they have received them, they then have 60 days to investigate your case and provide you with an explanation of why they have either approved or denied your claim.
By working with an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer from early on after discovering your injury, we can help you build a case that will be harder for insurance companies to deny, and take the issue to court to fight for your rightful compensation if needed.
What kind of situations are covered by Personal Injury Law?
Personal Injury cases can usually be broken down into one of these categories: Accidents, Intentional acts of harm, and Defective products.
The most common of these are Accidents, which are defined in this case as a situation where someone has caused harm to another person through negligence. Negligence occurs when someone has a duty to act in a certain way, but breaches their duty. For example, a person has the duty to drive safely, or to maintain the grounds of their property in a way that visitors are not exposed to unnecessary risk. This covers a variety of situations, from automobile accidents, or medical malpractice, to slip and fall injuries.
What can I do to stop the Insurance company from giving me the runaround?
Sometimes it can be challenging to deal with an Insurance company in a difficult time. In order to avoid complications and keep your case running as smoothly as possible, it’s important to approach your claim in a methodical manner.
Getting in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injury can be helpful in helping you to understand your rights and what is important to focus on for your case. In general, knowing your insurance policy is the first step. Make sure to document every stage of your claim carefully, saving any records you might have such as a copy of the police accident report, your time lost from work, or your medical expenses.
How is fault determined in Illinois?
In the State of Illinois, we follow a system called modified comparative fault. Depending on the percentage of fault for an accident, the amount of compensation for that accident is adjusted based on the percentage of fault, as long as you are no more than 50% fault for an accident. What this means is that if you are at 20% fault for an accident, you can receive up to 80% of the full compensation for an accident.
Fault is established through a process of four steps. As the details can sometimes be quite complex, it is generally a good idea to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer early on, even if you do not believe that it will be necessary to take your case to court.
First, you must prove that the other party owed you a duty of reasonable care. For example, drivers have a responsibility to drive in a safe manner, without speeding or distractions. Secondly, you must prove that the other party did not fulfill their duty, leading to the accident. Third, you must prove that you have suffered injuries as a result of the other party’s actions. Finally, you must prove that the other party’s failure to fulfil their duty of reasonable care was the cause of your injuries.
What should I do first after I have been in an accident where I might have been hurt?
When you have been in an accident where you have been injured, you have two immediate priorities.
The first is to get a proper medical examination and treatment as soon as possible. This is obviously important in order to treat your injuries and discover any other injuries that you might not have known of. In addition, you should inform your doctor about the origin of your injuries and ask if they are severe enough to prevent you from working or engaging in other activities. Loss of income from being unable to work is an important part of your case when you are filing a claim for compensation from insurance or if you are forced to take the issue to court.
Secondly, depending on the nature of your accident, you should document the circumstances of your accident to preserve evidence. This could include photographs of your vehicle, as well as the scene if you were in a car accident; any visible injuries you may have suffered; as well as the prescription and medication involved if your medicine was mislabeled or inappropriately prescribed.
What kind of damages are covered in compensation for a personal injury claim?
Though individual damages will vary on a case by case basis, there are generally some specific categories that are applicable to Personal Injury claims as a whole. Some of the common damages that may be included in a personal injury cases are:
- Medical expenses, including your future medical bills and care.
- Lost income, both from time away from work, loss of employment, or loss of future earning potential due to permanent injury.
- Your past and future pain and suffering and disability.
- Disfigurement, and the physical suffering and loss of quality of life that can often accompany it.
What percentage do lawyers usually charge for contingency fees for Personal Injuries?
Though the percentages may differ depending on the individual lawyer, so you should always discuss these details with your lawyer directly. The usual contingency fee for Personal Injuries is one-third of the final judgement or settlement for the case. This can sometimes range as high as 40% if a lawsuit is necessary due to the tremendous additional time required to prosecute a claim.
Because the fees for personal injury cases are dependent on winning your case, at Marc J. Shuman & Associates, you don’t have to pay anything unless you win. This means that if we takes your case, we will want to fight to make sure that you get the full compensation you deserve.