Illinois Lawyer Referrals and Legal Guidance
Illinois Personal Injury Lawyers
There are few things in life more upsetting than someone you love getting hurt or sick. And when someone else is negligent in causing that injury or illness, it can cause a range of emotions, from anger and fear, to helplessness and uncertainty. We hear from people in these situations who have a strong desire do something about it but don't know where to start. They come to us because we have a track record of success and a reputation for caring about the people that reach out to us as if they were a family member or friend.
The most important thing you can do after an injury is focus on the physical and emotional wellbeing of the person who was injured. There is nothing more important in life than your health. Next, find an attorney who is best for this unique case. A good attorney will explain your legal options and help you set some expectations. This knowledge can give you much needed perspective and allow you and your family to start sorting things out. It's about problem solving, coping, and focusing on the future.
People come to us to find the right attorney because we know that the right lawyer for a minor car accident isn't the same one you'd hire for a major trucking crash and further you'd get a different attorney for a slip and fall case or if you have been sexually abused. It's important to get the right type of attorney because often an immediate investigation is needed and you want someone in your corner who has handled a similar case before.
When an injury is the result of someone else's negligence, recklessness or purposeful actions, the law allows you to sue the person or entity that is at fault. The goal is to be compensated for the harm or loss that you have suffered. It's referred to as making you "whole" again. Of course, a lawsuit isn't a miracle cure, but it can minimize the devastating effect an injury can have on a person and their family.
For example, consider a back injury after being rear-ended by a semi-truck. If the victim needs a surgery and can't return to work, it will change their life forever. A lawsuit can, however, ease the burden of caring for a disabled child. A lawsuit can provide the parents with the financial means to give their child the medical care they need, especially if the child will require lifelong care and support.
Everyone can afford a personal injury attorney because there is no fee unless you win. This means that you can afford an attorney who has at least ten years of experience and who has an excellent reputation in the legal community. You can afford an established law firm with significant resources, including knowledge of all the right experts to help with your case. And you can afford an attorney with an impressive track record of success. The stakes are high and your standards should be, too.
The following links highlight some specific areas of personal injury law and explain some general concepts. Physical and emotional harm to yourself or a family member are probably the most devastating type of injury, but property damage and financial loss also are considered personal injuries and there are laws to protect you and force the at-fault party to pay you for your loss. If you have questions about how it works or if you need a lawyer recommendation, please contact us. It's always free and confidential.
Attorneys and Trial
- Brain Injury Lawyers
- Cerebral Palsy Lawyers
- If An Illinois Law Firm Solicits You
- Lawyers' Fees
- Stages of an Illinois personal injury case
- Testifying in Illinois Court Cases
- What makes a great Illinois personal injury lawyer?
- What Makes a Great Lawyer for Illinois Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
- What is Hiring an Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer Going to Cost Me?
- What Should I Ask a Personal Injury Attorney?
- Which Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer is Best For Me?
- Who is the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Illinois?
- Your First Meeting With a Work Injury Attorney
- Assigning Damages in Illinois Personal Injury Lawsuits
- Damages in Illinois Personal Injury Lawsuits
- Frequently asked questions - Illinois personal injury
- Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
- Pain & Suffering in Illinois Personal Injury Lawsuits
- Personal Injury 101 in Illinois
- Ten Things You Should Know About Illinois Injury Law
- Your First Meeting With An Illinois Personal Injury Attorney
- 10 Things to Think About After an Accident
- Bad Faith Lawsuits in Illinois
- Comparative Negligence in Illinois
- Illinois Dead Man's Act
- Illinois Dram Shop Law
- Illinois Premises Liability Law
- Illinois School & Daycare Injuries
- Illinois Sexual Abuse and Molestation Statute of Limitations
- Overview of Illinois Tort Law
- Overview of What Tort Law in Illinois Means
- Recent Court Decisions on Illinois Personal Injury Lawsuits
- Statute of Limitations for Illinois Personal Injury Lawsuits
- Suing After a Sports Injury in Illinois
Injuries/Types of Lawsuits
- Arthritis and the Wear of Cartilage
- Asbestos Litigation in Illinois
- ATV Lawsuits
- Back Injuries
- Causes of Back Injuries
- Diagnosing a Back Injury
- Treatment for Back Injuries
- Herniated Discs
- Spinal Injuries
- Bed Bugs Injuries
- Benzene Attorneys
- Bicycle Accident Attorneys
- Brain Injury Facts
- Brain Injuries from Lack of Oxygen
- Car Accidents in Illinois
- Cauda Equina Syndrome
- Compartment Syndrome
- Defective Airbag Lawsuits
- DePuy Hip Recall Lawsuits
- Examples of Illinois Product Liability Lawsuits
- Filter Law and IVC Filter Lawsuit Attorneys
- Handrail Negligence (Missing or Defective)
- Illinois Cat Bite Lawyers
- Illinois Dog Bite Law
- Illinois Toxic Mold Lawsuits
- Injuries From Minors Being Served Alcohol at Parties
- Injuries that Illinois personal injury lawyers pursue
- Knee Injuries
- Landlord Liability When You Are Hurt on Their Property
- Lawyer Fees in Product Liability Cases
- Lead Poisoning
- Medical Malpractice
- Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
- Paxil and Drug Liability Lawsuits
- Pedestrian Injury Attorneys
- Police Misconduct & Abuse
- Popcorn Lung Lawsuits
- Product Liability
- Rear-End Accidents
- Sexual abuse and molestation in Illinois
- Slip & Fall
- Suing the United States Military
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Truck Accidents
- Zone of Danger Injuries
- Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys
- Contingency Lawyers in Cook County
- Cook County Personal Injury Lawyers
- DuPage County Personal Injury Lawyers
- Kane County Personal Injury Attorneys
- Lake County Personal Injury Lawyers
- McHenry County Personal Injury Attorneys
- Sangamon County Personal Injury Lawyers
- Will County Personal Injury Lawyers
- Wrongful Death Cases in Cook County
- Wrongful Death Cases in DuPage County
- Wrongful Death Cases in Lake County
Since 2001 findgreatlawyers.com has been the leading resource for people looking for Illinois personal injury lawyers. From Chicago to Springfield down to Belleville and everywhere in between see for yourself why every month thousands of people come to us to find an attorney. It's like having a lawyer in the family.
Catastrophic injury? Choose your lawyer carefully
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious and life-altering injury or a wrongful death, you will likely have no trouble finding an attorney to represent you in a lawsuit against those responsible. Be careful. Even if your case seems clear-cut, you’ll want to ensure that you are getting the best outcome possible because these cases are usually vigorously defended. In our opinion, this means hiring a firm with significant resources and a lot of experience and past success in similar cases. Attorneys often pay upfront for the costs of pursing these cases. You want someone who can afford to hire the best experts to testify and who are willing to go all the way through trial if necessary to get you what you deserve. You don’t want someone who can only afford to settle. Settlement should only be considered if it’s in your best interest, not your attorney’s.
Injury attorney fees are typically around 1/3
Almost every personal injury firm in Illinois charges around 1/3 of what you end up recovering in your case. If you lose, there shouldn’t be a fee. This is called a contingency fee, and it’s by far the most typical type of legal fee you’ll pay in a case where you are suing someone for damages (monetary losses). Sometimes we get calls from people who are quoted a fee that is higher, such as 40%. There is no rule against charging more than 1/3, but we are confident that you can find an excellent attorney who charges a more reasonable amount.
Take photos after an accident
If you are in a car accident, and you aren’t seriously injured, take pictures of the scene and the damage to each vehicle. This is easier these days because most people have cameras built into their phones. The tip applies to other types of accidents, as well. If you fall down stairs in your apartment building that are in disrepair, a picture is a great way to preserve the evidence if you plan to sue your landlord. Evidence has a way of disappearing (stairs can get repaired before you have a chance to prove your case, for example), so it’s usually a good idea to document things quickly if you can.
Social media can hurt your case
Attorneys these days are giving out advice that wasn’t an issue a few years ago: Don’t blab about your case on Facebook or other social media sites. People are comfortable sharing more than they used to with the world. If you are facing a lawsuit or other legal issue, it’s best to keep it to yourself. You never know what will be used against you. Assume that attorneys for the other side are going to look you up and search the web to see what you’ve been up to, what you’ve been saying and who you’ve been hanging out with. Private investigators do the same. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t want something brought up in court, then don’t mention it online. And keep your profile as private as possible.
If an injury is mostly your fault, you could lose your case
In Illinois, if your injury is more than 50% your fault, then you are not going to be able to collect damages. In other words, you’ll likely lose your case. If you are less than 50% responsible, then you can collect some of your damages but not all of them. Basically, the amount you are harmed (say $100,000 in medical bills after an accident), will be reduced by the amount that you are at fault. Different states handle this different ways, and this is the rule in Illinois. The percentage of fault that is assigned to a plaintiff is something that will be argued by both sides during a lawsuit. Talk to your attorney about what it might mean in your situation.
Truck accidents should be handled differently than car accidents
Truck accidents generally are more serious, both in terms of the injuries involved and the legal case that follows. The reason for the complexity of a lawsuit against a truck driver or trucking company is the additional laws and regulations that truckers must follow. A quick and thorough investigation is key in having a good case and getting full compensation for your injuries. An attorney with experience in trucking accidents and knowledge of the trucking industry is the best person to turn to. Without the right evidence and an aggressive approach, you could lose your case.
Negligence is more than an honest mistake
If you are suing someone for injuring you, you will have to prove that they were negligent (or worse) in order to win. In other words, you have to prove that what they did was more than just a mistake. Generally speaking, negligence is when someone fails to act as carefully as they should. In order to prove this, a defendant's actions may be compared to what a reasonable person would have done in that situation. In these vague terms, it can be confusing, but how someone is supposed to act varies depending on the circumstances. In some cases, you will have to prove that the defendant was reckless, which is worse than being negligent. Recklessness is when someone acts with complete disregard for the safety of others.
You can sue a pharmacy for giving you the wrong medication
Some pharmacy mistakes, although scary, do not cause harm, either because the patient or customer notices the mistake before taking the medication or because the harm suffered is thankfully minimal. In other cases, the results can cause permanent injury and even death. One type of mistake is when someone is given a medication to which they're allergic. Pharmacies and hospital staff have safeguards against this type of error, but unfortunately human error still exists. Another example is when someone is given the wrong medication altogether, such as when a pharmacist gives you someone else's prescription instead of your own. If a doctor, hospital or pharmacist has given you medication meant for someone else, or mistakenly given you medication to which you are allergic, and you suffered a serious injury as a result, you can sue for damages.
You can still sue if you were partly at fault
When determining who is at fault in an accident, it sometimes turns out that both parties are to blame. But just because you played a role doesn't mean you can't get compensated for your injury. States handle this differently. In Illinois, if this becomes an issue in a case, the fault of each party is determined in percentages. If it's decided that you were 10% at fault, then your damages (the amount of money you recover in the lawsuit) will be reduced by 10%. The percentages of fault don't become clear until further along in a case, so talk to an experienced injury attorney about your likelihood of success.
What's your niche?
There are thousands of personal injury attorneys in Illinois. This is a good thing, because it means that attorneys can focus on a specific type of case or several types of related cases, such as medical malpractice, birth injuries, car accidents, defective products, etc. We recommend finding an attorney with a niche. If you get hurt at work, find a workers' compensation attorney. If your work injury involves asbestos exposure, you can get even more specific and find a workers' compensation attorney who has significant experience in asbestos exposure cases. Discussing an attorney's specific experience is a good topic for your first consultation. Find out right away if that attorney is the right one for you.
How soon after an injury do I need a lawyer?
If you have a serious injury or if you believe your injury is permanent, talk to an attorney as soon as possible. It should be free. Consulting with an attorney does not mean you're obligated to hire them. There's nothing to lose. In fact, getting legal advice early on can help make your case stronger if you decide to sue. If your injury is less serious, then you might not know if it's worth a lawsuit. Talking to an attorney can help you sort through this. Again, an initial consultation shouldn't cost you anything.
If you waited a long time before thinking about getting an attorney, don't assume it's too late. There are deadlines for filing lawsuits. For personal injury, it's usually two years from the date of injury. However, there are certain situations where you have more time, such as if you were injured as a minor or if your injury appeared years later. The point is, even if you think it's too late, it doesn't hurt to check.
What is a tort?
A tort is an injury that was caused by someone else. It can be negligence or an intentional act that causes the injury. As the injured person, you can sue for damages (a monetary amount that represents your financial loss, as well as pain and suffering in some cases). A tort is a lawsuit, filed in civil court. It is not a criminal case.
The area of tort law is also called personal injury. Car accidents, defective products, slip and falls and general negligence are typical examples. Your attorney should explain this and other confusing legal terms to you in a way that makes sense. For more definitions, check out our legal dictionary.
Birth injuries and suing for medical malpractice
Some birth injuries are worthy of a lawsuit; others are not. The difference is whether the injury was caused by negligence. If the doctor delivering your child makes a mistake that wouldn't have been made if they were being careful, then a lawsuit might be recommended. In other cases, unfortunately, a birth injury can occur despite the fact that the doctor and nurses did everything they were supposed to do. All of this is determined by expert testimony from other doctors. Another consideration is the severity of the injury. In a birth injury lawsuit, a parent is seeking compensation for financial harm, such as the costs associated with raising a disabled child. If an injury is not severe, then these costs will be low, which generally means that an expensive medical malpractice lawsuit isn't worth pursuing. Consult with a medical malpractice attorney if you are wondering whether you might have a case.
Your first meeting with your injury attorney is important
It's not just a chance to shake hands and meet face to face. It's your chance to explain your case and get your questions answered. If you go in with a plan, you can benefit from a more efficient and informative meeting. The meeting shouldn't cost you anything (in injury cases, attorneys take their fee at the end if you win), but you aren't going to have unlimited time. Be sure to ask about these things:
- Experience. How long have they been practicing personal injury law? How much of their practice is dedicated to this type of case? Have they handled cases similar to yours in the past?
- Communication. How often will they communicate with you about your case? Do they prefer email or phone calls?
- Strategy. How do they plan on approaching your case? What will happen first?
- Fee. Will they charge a typical contingency fee? What is the percentage they charge?
As for explaining your potential case, it helps to go into your meeting with notes on what happened, when it happened, any medical history, names witnesses, and any other important details.
You can't sue for a work injury
If you are injured at work, you won't be filing a personal injury lawsuit in most cases. The workers' compensation system was set up to take care of this category of injuries. A worker files a claim with the Workers' Compensation Commission for benefits (payment for lost wages, medical coverage, settlement for permanent injury, etc.), and in turn they cannot sue their employer, even if their employer was at fault. You might have a third-party lawsuit if your injury was caused by a defective product or if you were injured by a dangerous condition on property belonging to a third party. Other than that, a workers' comp claim is your only available remedy.
If your injury was your fault, it will probably be worth less
When an injury is partly your fault (car accidents are a good example), you can't recover 100% of your damages. The amount will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is yours. This is called comparative or contributory negligence.
Product liability lawsuits after a serious injury
If a defective product causes you injury, you may have a products liability lawsuit. The main things you will have to prove is that the product was defective and that the defect made it unreasonably dangerous. Such lawsuits can be complex and require expert testimony. The manufacturers usually put a lot of resources into their defense. As a result, product liability lawsuits usually aren't worth pursuing without a serious and permanent injury. For a minor injury, a lawsuit just isn't practical, because expenses far outweigh the damages (the compensation you ask for).
Suing, or being sued by, a dead person
When one party to a lawsuit is deceased, or dies while the lawsuit is pending, it causes an evidence problem. The deceased party can no longer tell their side of the story. The opposing party, who is still alive, could potentially have a huge advantage because their side of the story can't be directly disputed.
With this in mind, the law in Illinois prevents the living party from testifying about conversations between them and the deceased party. It's called the Dead Man's Act. There are some exceptions, such as where the deceased party's testimony is obtained before death in a deposition. If it's then admitted in court, the other side can likely testify about it.
Mistakes happen... but it's not always negligence
Having an injury, even a serious one, is only part of the equation. You also need to prove that the person responsible was at least negligent, if not reckless or acting intentionally. In other words, someone might be at fault for your injury, yet not technically liable, meaning you probably won't succeed in a lawsuit against them. If someone was acting reasonably, their mistake will probably be forgiven by the law.
For example, if you are walking past a construction site and trip over uneven ground, the construction company isn't automatically responsible for paying your doctor's bills and pain and suffering. It depends things such as whether they took reasonable precautions and put up warning signs.
Only Some Plaintiffs Can Seek Punitive Damages
Punitive damages punish a defendant for particularly egregious behavior. These are not available in every type of case. Typical damages, called compensatory damages, are based on what the person suing has lost. Common examples are medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are additional. There is no set amount and an award of punitive damages varies greatly from case to case, often depending on what a jury decides is appropriate.
Lawsuits against bars for over serving patrons
If someone becomes intoxicated at a bar and then leaves and hurts someone or damages their property, the injured party can file a lawsuit against the bar (in addition to the person who harmed them). The law that deals with this type of case is called a dram shop law. A bar or similar business will be held liable if it can be proven that the person who caused the harm was served alcohol by that establishment and that it was a cause of the resulting injury. There are limits on damages (the amount you can recover in a lawsuit), and time limits. You have to file this type of lawsuit within one year.
Class action lawsuits are for groups of people who suffer similar harm
Some lawsuits are small on their own, and not worth pursuing, meaning the cost of bringing the lawsuit would be more than the amount you're seeking to recover from the defendant. But, if there are many people with the same "small" harm, they can join together to bring a large lawsuit. It needs to first be approved by a judge. Some common examples are class actions are defective products that cause injury, consumer fraud by a company, employment issues (such as workers being denied overtime pay), and investor fraud. In a class action, there is a lead plaintiff and attorney who represent the entire class. The lead plaintiff meets with the attorney and often testifies. A class action can be a small group or potentially thousands or hundreds of thousands of people. Class action attorneys, like most injury attorneys, charge on a contingency basis and only get paid if the lawsuit is successful.
Yes, you can sue your lawyer
If your lawyer doesn't do their job and you are harmed as a result, you can sue for legal malpractice. There are attorneys who handle these types of cases despite the fact that it can be an unpopular area of law within the legal community. The difficult aspect of these cases is proving your harm. In order to do this, you need to prove that if your lawyer hadn't screwed up, you would have won your case. For example, if your attorney missed the deadline for filing your car accident lawsuit, you have to prove that your lawyer acted below the standard that is expected in the profession AND that if they had filed the case on time, you would have won. And you have to show what, exactly, you would have won, such as $40,000 in damages or whatever it might be. There's a lot going on in these cases, and not every error is worth suing over. Sometimes, an attorney simply makes a bad judgment call, and while it can lead to a terrible outcome, it's not necessarily malpractice.
In Illinois, there is no "one bite rule" for dogs
In some states, a dog owner won't be held liable the first time a dog causes an injury. In others, like Illinois, the law is different. An owner can be held liable even if their dog hasn't previously shown any signs of aggression. If you are attacked, bitten or knocked down by a dog, you can sue for damages, including medical bills, damaged property or clothing, injury to your own pet, lost earnings, future medical treatment as well as pain and suffering. Keep in mind that you may not have a good case if you were attacked by a dog while trespassing or if you provoked the dog in some way. Don't wait too long to discuss a possible case with an attorney. The deadline for filing a lawsuit is two years from the incident.
Just because you were rear-ended doesn't mean you have a slam-dunk case
A driver who rear ends another isn't automatically at fault, as some people believe. If you get hit, don't assume you have an easy case. The other driver may very well argue that you were at fault – either completely or partially. So do what you can to preserve the evidence in your case. Call the police after an accident so that you have an impartial report. Get medical attention, talk to an attorney and keep a journal. If it's determined that you were partially at fault because, for example, you stopped suddenly and unexpectedly, you may not be in the winning position you thought you were.
There are attorneys who focus on brain injury cases
A good rule of thumb is that you should try to find an attorney who focuses their practice on the exact type of case you have, even down to the specific injury, if you can. When it comes to brain injuries, this is possible. There are lawyers who are known for their success in this niche area of personal injury law. There are other considerations when choosing the right lawyer for your case (personality, location, reputation, etc.), but experience is key. You want someone with the medical knowledge and resources (experts in the medical field) to take on a complexity of such a case. If they have successfully handled similar cases in the past, they will have a head start on yours.
For police misconduct or abuse, look for a civil rights attorney
If you are a victim of police misconduct, such as excessive use of force or unlawful use of deadly force, and you want to take legal action, you will need a personal injury attorney with experience handling civil rights cases. Police misconduct cases are brought in federal court. They are unique cases, so don't settle for just any personal injury attorney.
Filing a lawsuit when airbags fail
There are some important things to keep in mind if you have a case where the airbags in your vehicle failed to deploy. First, if you weren't injured, you probably don't have a case. Personal injury cases require you to show damages, which means you have to prove harm. Minor injuries aren't usually "good" cases, either. Even though it's scary to think about what could have happened, these cases are about what actually happened. Second, these are expensive cases for attorneys to pursue because they have to hire experts to show what went wrong. Most product liability cases are against manufacturers, who fight hard to defend themselves against these lawsuits. However, these cases shouldn't cost a client anything up front. You only pay an attorney a fee if you win your case.
You should seek out an attorney, not the other way around
Attorneys are not supposed to contact potential clients who have never contacted them. But it happens. Attorneys who need clients sometimes get tips from police officers or hospital staffers about accidents, injuries and potential wrongful death cases. They then approach the victim or the family and offer to represent them. Or they have a member of their staff do it. Whatever the method, soliciting a potential client is unethical. Attorneys are not supposed to do it. If you are contacted by an attorney who wants to represent you, consider why they need to get clients this way. Instead, seek out an attorney who gets their name out there by doing a great job for their clients and getting great reviews.
If you're under 18, you have more time to file a lawsuit
You don't have forever to file a lawsuit. The time allowed is called a statute of limitations. The general rule for injury cases is that you have two years, although there are some exceptions. If you are under 18 when you are injured, your two years doesn't start until you turn 18. So if you are injured when you're 8 years old, you have until your 20th birthday to file a lawsuit for that injury.
For lawsuits against the government (cities, police departments, county hospitals, etc.), you generally only have one year. And for some you may need to give notice within six months.
If you don't discover an injury until later on, like after a car accident, it doesn't usually extend the time you have like it would in a medical malpractice lawsuit. As always, check with an attorney about these important, and strict, deadlines. If you miss your chance, it may be gone forever.
Pain and suffering is subjective
Pain and suffering, when you're talking about a personal injury lawsuit, is part of your damages. You have damages such as medical bills and lost wages, which are tangible, and then pain and suffering which is more subjective. It refers to not only the pain and suffering of your injury and recovery, but also future pain – physical, mental and even emotional. Obviously, a serious accident can affect your life forever, but the tough part is that you have to prove it. Witnesses, like doctors and psychologists, are commonly used. Ultimately, it's up to the jury and every jury is different. The results can be completely different in two very similar cases.
Illinois personal injury attorneys charge a contingency fee
What does that mean? It's a type of fee. It means that the attorney's fees are contingent on the outcome of the case. If you win, you pay your attorney a portion of what you get. If you lose, you pay nothing. A contingency fee is generally 1/3 of what you recover, whether it's in settlement or at trial. It can be more, or less, depending on the case.
Another characteristic of a contingency fee is that you pay nothing upfront. There are costs associated with bringing a lawsuit (in things like medical malpractice, the costs are huge), but your attorney should cover these.
Why can't you just pay hourly? You probably couldn't, or wouldn't want to. It would cost you a lot, and if you end up losing, you'd never get it back. Contingency fees level the playing field – anyone can afford a lawyer if they are injured because of someone else's negligence.
For the lawyer, it's a risk, but worth it because of the possible reward. The risk: If they don't win your case, they get paid nothing, even if they spent tens of thousands of dollars pursuing your case. The reward: If they win, they get a good fee.
If you're confused about what fee to expect in your situation, give us a call. We'd be happy to answer your questions and give you the name of a good attorney if you need one.
After an accident, don't talk to the other party's insurance company
If you are injured in an accident, we almost always recommend that you hire an attorney. There are many reasons for this. For example, hiring an attorney can protect your interests and ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries.
Another reason is that an attorney can shield you from the other party's insurance company. Someone from that insurance company will most likely want to talk to you, and may even ask you to give a written statement. They may be very nice; you may even get the impression they're trying to help you. Be careful. You should not give a statement. In fact, you shouldn't even talk to them. They are not on your side. It's actually their job to pay you as little money as possible, and one way they can reduce the amount you receive is to get you to say things that they can use against you later.
Bottom line: Hire an attorney, and let them deal with the insurance company.
Man allowed to sue Vatican for abuse
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a man alleging sexual assault in the 1960s by a religious order priest can pursue civil litigation against the Vatican. The man's lawyers argue that since the Catholic Church is a hierarchy, Rome hands down decisions and leaders should therefore be held responsible for sexual abuse – and for attempts to cover it up.
This is the first time in the U.S. judicial system that a court has ruled that a man alleging abuse by a Roman Catholic priest can sue the Vatican for fraud, in addition to liability.
This specific case involves the late Rev. Andrew Ronan, who died in 1969. He was accused of molesting children in Ireland, so he went to Chicago, where he allegedly abused three boys at St. Philip Catholic Church. He was then transferred to an Oregon Catholic school, where he allegedly assaulted the victim in this case.
Woman sues drunken Santa Claus
Antoinette Basso is suing a drunken man wearing a Santa Claus suit because he stumbled and fell on top of her. As she was standing outside a Chicago restaurant Daniel Aulwes allegedly knocked her face-first into the sidewalk. She claims that Aulwes' negligence and negligent battery caused her to suffer pain, disability, and disfigurement, and she is seeking over $50,000 in damages in a Cook County court as a result. As we have written before on this site, ignore the $50,000 amount as that tells you nothing about what the case is worth if in fact it's worth anything at all.
Illinois personal injury tips
We have helped people find Illinois personal injury lawyers since 2001. Below are some tips and information that we have passed on to thousands of people. We felt the readers of our site would find this information useful.
- In a personal injury case from a car accident, if it is shown that the insurance company has acted in bad faith, it is possible the policy limits will not apply and the insurance company would have to pay whatever a jury made.
- In personal injury cases, an award from a jury can be reduced by the percentage of fault placed on the plaintiff.
- In Illinois personal injury lawsuits, there is no cap on pain and suffering damages.
- There is no law governing how much a personal injury can charge you for their representation.
- In an Illinois personal injury lawsuit, the time limits to sue a City such as Chicago or a County such as Cook County can be shorter than the time limits to sue a private entity.
- The statute of limitations for minors in some personal injury actions can be longer than it is for adults.
- If you are in a car accident and injured, most personal injury attorneys will handle the property damage cases part of their representation of you.
- When multiple people are injured in a personal injury accident, it may be a good idea to have each person get their own representation.
- If a cat bites you or claws you in Illinois you do not have to show that the cat had a propensity for that type of behavior in order to have a successful lawsuit against the owner.
- Defendants are not usually liable for injuries that result from the natural accumulation of snow and ice. As an injured party you have to show that it was an un-natural accumulation such as a drip from a gutter or a shoveled parking lot.
If you slip and fall on ice or any other substance it is extremely important that an investigation take place.
It's not un-common in Chicago winters or other times of year for people to have slip and fall injuries. When you fall and get hurt, to have a successful lawsuit you have to show that it is the result of someone else's negligence. Getting hurt on someone else's property isn't enough, you have to show that they were at fault and what caused your injury.
To win a lawsuit or gain a settlement the burden of proof is on you and your attorney. While we understand that if you slip and, for example, break an ankle, your thoughts are going to be on your pain, it's important that someone look around and see what made you fall.
In addition, as soon as is possible, photos should be taken and in some cases, video. If you get hurt at a store don't assume that they will conduct an investigation because you are asking them to investigate themselves.
If you have questions about a slip and fall injury or would like an attorney referral, please call us at (312) 346-5320.
If you have access to any potential evidence, don't destroy it or you could be held liable for the damages that can no longer be proved.
In relation to Illinois personal injury lawsuits, there is a principle called spoliage. Spoliage basically means that if someone destroys evidence that otherwise could have allowed a plaintiff to prove their case, the person or company who destroyed the evidence could now be responsible for any damages.
For example, let's say that a worker is working on a machine and a blade comes loose that cuts off his hand. There is an argument as to who is at fault between the company that made the machine and the company that performs maintenance on the machine. In the meantime, the employer decided to destroy the machine because of the horrific injury it caused. Now the worker can't show who was at fault and the other parties can't defend themselves.
The plaintiff isn't out of luck. In this unique case he would be able to sue his employer in place of the defendants for "spoiling" the evidence that would have proved his case.
The lesson in all of this is never throw something away or otherwise destroy it if it could be used as evidence in an Illinois personal injury lawsuit. If you do, you may go from innocent bystander to defendant.
After being injured, whether you want to sue or not, we can't encourage you enough to get medical treatment.
Probably 20 times a week we say to someone who is looking for an Illinois personal injury lawyer that they should focus on their health. It's important for a potential lawsuit or claim for damages, but even more so important for your life. Who cares what a case might be worth, without your health it means nothing.
From a legal standpoint, when insurance companies see a gap in medical coverage, they view that as an opportunity to deny a case, usually stating that "if you were hurt you would have gone to the doctor, so your current problems must be from something else."
Bottom line is that if you aren't feeling well, get treatment. If you feel ok then don't.
Five tips for any injury claim in Illinois.
No two accident claims are the same, but these five quick tips apply to most people.
- Get medical treatment if you are hurt. Nothing is more important than your health.
- Call the police or get some other independent report completed if possible.
- Start a journal of everything that happened and any developments that occur. If you go to trial it won't be for years after the accident. Keeping a journal will allow you to credibly refresh your memory if needed.
- Don't give a recorded statement without a lawyer present. It doesn't help you and can only hurt you in most cases.
- Hire the right type of lawyer for your case. If you have a catastrophic injury, your lawyer should be experience with those types of cases. If it's a smaller case, you want to make sure your injury attorney will pursue those types of cases too.
If you would like a referral to an accident attorney in Illinois, please call us at (312) 346-5320.
No matter where you are looking for an injury lawyer this is true.
We don't care if you are looking for an Aurora personal injury lawyer, a Waukegan accident attorney or a Champaign car accident law firm. No matter where you are looking, you want to make sure that the firm has a focus on injury cases if you want to give yourself the best chance of success.
In other words, it's not that a lawyer who is doing divorces on Mondays, traffic on Tuesdays, car accidents on Wednesday s, etc. can't get you a good result. Rather, what gives you the best chance for success is someone who deals with injury cases every single day. They will likely know more and get better respect from the insurance companies, especially in complex cases.
If you are in a car accident in Illinois, don't settle your case without first making sure that under-insurance isn't an issue.
Many people who are in car accidents in Illinois try to settle their case without an attorney. While we don't recommend that, sometimes it makes sense. For example, if you have a major injury and there is limited insurance for the defendant then if you can get the entire policy as a settlement then you might not need an Illinois personal injury lawyer.
But if a policy is for $50,000.00 and the defense only wants to offer you $45,000 (or anything less than full value), you should consult with an experienced IL car accident lawyer first. If you take that settlement and your case is really worth more, you may be preventing yourself from pursuing a claim against your own insurance company. Most under-insurance policies don't kick in until the regular policy has been used up. By taking less than what the case is worth you may be preventing yourself from getting anything else.
Despite what you read and hear, most Illinois personal injury lawsuits are aggressively defended and most result in little or no money for the plaintiff.
We aren't going to pretend that personal injury lawyers in Illinois don't make a lot of money nor are we going to act like a personal injury lawsuit in Chicago isn't worth more money than one in a small town in central IL. However, we also won't ignore that insurance companies are fighting these cases "tooth and nail" and the reality is that many Chicago personal injury law firms and other accident attorneys in Illinois are choosing not to pursue many claims that they would have pursued years ago.
Every month the Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter shows that about half (and so far this year more than half) of the trial verdicts are in favor of the defendants. Attorneys who go to trial only when they believe in a case because they advance all of the costs for a trial and only get paid if they win. For every six or seven figure verdict there are many more not guilty's or results like one we just read about. In a recent case, a Chicago car accident lawyer filed suit for his client who was rear ended, had a herniated disc in his back and more than $15,000.00 in medical bills. The jury awarded $1,500.00 stating that the plaintiff couldn't prove his problems weren't pre-existing.
If you do have a legitimate personal injury case, your best bet is to find a law firm in Illinois with a track record of success and one that will tell you if your case is worth pursuing or not. If you would like our help in finding one of these firms or have any questions, please call us at (312) 346-5320.
Did you hear the one about the Chicago personal injury lawyer who sued his former partner?
It sounds like a joke, but a recent lawsuit by a Chicago personal injury attorney against his former partner (also a Chicago accident lawyer) alleges that the former partner failed to split a $14 million dollar fee. If it's true, our personal opinion is that things like this give attorneys a bad name because to cheat someone out of that much money when you are still getting an incredible windfall is ludicrous.
Ironically, the lawsuit alleges that the partner who didn't turn the fee over originally did not even want to take the case in. They first thought their young client had a concussion when it turns out she was severely brain damaged.
Plaintiff suffers quadriplegia from auto accident
A truck driver crashed into the rear end of the plaintiff's vehicle. The plaintiff suffered spinal quadriplegia. The plaintiff's daughter was a passenger in the front seat and her legs were broken as a result of the accident. The truck driver was not able to stop his box truck in time to avoid the accident, but it could have been prevented if he had been keeping a proper lookout. The jury awarded $3.5 million to be split among the plaintiffs.
Plaintiff dies in auto accident
A defendant driver drifted out of his lane and into the plaintiffs' vehicle. The plaintiffs are 4 females ages 17, 23, 24 and 29 as well as one 15 year old male. The plaintiffs' vehicle flipped and the 17 year old female was ejected onto the highway and killed. The other three plaintiffs suffered serious soft tissue injuries, which resulted in $90,000 in medical expenses. The jury awarded $2 million to the 17 year old female's estate, and $500,000 which was split among the other plaintiffs.
St. Clair County's highest death settlement for plaintiff over the age of 60
The plaintiff was a 75 year old male. The plaintiff made an illegal left turn in an intersection instead of yielding to an ambulance. The ambulance crashed into the side of the plaintiff's vehicle. The plaintiff suffered multiple trauma and died months later without ever speaking about the accident. The plaintiff's estate was awarded $1,700,000, which is the highest wrongful death settlement for an individual over age 60 in St. Clair County.
A defendant police officer rear ended the plaintiff's vehicle. The police officer was not responding to an emergency call when the accident occurred. Immediately before the accident, the plaintiff's vehicle was stopped as the plaintiff was waiting to complete a left turn. The plaintiff suffered multiple fractures and required multiple surgeries, and $350,000 in medical expenses. The plaintiff was awarded $1.45 million.
No matter what happened to you, if you file an Illinois personal lawsuit, you have the burden of proving your case.
We often get calls from people looking for Illinois personal injury lawyers. Many are frustrated because they have tried to work with the opposing party's insurance company and have been met with either no response or an un-cooperative response.
Remember, in most cases, a defendant and their insurance company has no obligation to do anything without a court order. So if you go to a restaurant, eat food and get sick, you still have to prove that your food poisoning was from that restaurant. Insurance companies are within their rights to deny a case if proof hasn't been offered. In the example above, you may not be able to prove you got food poisoning from a specific restaurant. Now if 10 people all ate the same thing and all got the same illness, that might be proof.
If you feel that you are being wrongfully denied by an insurance company for an Illinois personal injury claim, your only real option is to file a lawsuit. If you would like a referral to an Illinois personal injury attorney, please call us at (312) 346-5320.
Since 2001, Findgreatlawyers.com has been a free service, run by Illinois lawyers, to find an attorney or obtain guidance for Illinois personal injury cases. If you would like our help in finding an Illinois personal injury attorney, please call us at (312) 346-5320, or fill out our contact us form and we will contact you. All inquiries are confidential and there is never a fee to speak with us. In addition, all of the lawyers we recommend work on a contingency basis. Finally, although we are based out of Chicago, we are not just a service to find Chicago injury attorneys. We help everywhere in Illinois. To learn more about our service, please read our "How it Works" page or give us a call.