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How COVID-19 Has Affected Some Injury Patterns

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some unexpected changes in injuries, trauma volumes, and unique injury types, according to reports from hospitals around the country. Most hospitals and healthcare clinics have seen an overall reduction in injuries as a result of work closures and stay-at-home orders. However, some unique patterns have emerged. Some of the changes that have been reported include an increase in domestic violence injuries, more recreational vehicle injuries, and an increase in pediatric trauma.

If you’ve been injured due to negligence, the experienced attorneys at Abels and Annes can review your case and discuss your rights and options with you. Going through a personal injury claim during a pandemic is stressful, but we’re here to help.

Decrease in Car Accidents during COVID-19 Pandemic

Motor vehicle crashes have declined by one-third since the coronavirus pandemic began. Because of closures to schools and businesses, there are fewer people on the roads to get into accidents. During initial closures, some highways were nearly deserted. More people have been staying home and having their groceries and other necessities delivered. Those that are leaving their house tend to do so less often.

While car accidents have become less common during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not stopped entirely. Further, due to less traffic, vehicles are moving at higher speeds. This means that when an accident does occur, there can be more significant injuries.

Serious accidents are still occurring. And it is still your right to pursue compensation if you were injured due to negligence. If you suffered an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, contact an attorney to review your case.

Increase in Burns and Electrical Shock Injuries

With everyone at home, whether they’re working or not, there seems to be an endless amount of time to kill. While many people are taking up new hobbies or tackling DIY projects, some might not be doing it safely or may be inexperienced working around the house.

Burns and electrical shock injuries have quadrupled during the pandemic according to hospital reporting, as more people attempt to handle projects at home either to cut costs or out of sheer boredom.

If you’re attempting a do-it-yourself project while you’re cooped up at home, especially anything that involves heated or electrical elements, make sure you do plenty of research ahead of time or hire a professional to avoid a burn or shock injury.

Increase in Injuries to Children from Car Accidents

Because lots of kids haven’t been in school during their usual times, more kids are out-and-about running errands with their parents while they would normally be in school. This means that there are a lot more opportunities for children to be involved in motor vehicle accidents.

Since the pandemic began, hospitals have reported an increase in pediatric motor vehicle injuries because of kids riding in cars when they would have been at school.

Injuries to children during car accidents can be devastating. These accidents can occur because of distracted driving, driving under the influence, speeding, reckless driving, and aggressive driving.

If you believe the driver that caused your accident was acting negligently, it is in your best interest to have an attorney review your situation as a potential personal injury case. And if you find that your child is spending a lot more time with you in the car, make sure they’re buckled up, since more than 35% of child car accident deaths involve a child not wearing a seat belt or not in a proper safety seat.

Increase in Injuries to Children from Risky Behavior at Home

With kids at home, they’re more likely to be bored and looking for fun new ways to entertain themselves. This can lead to children participating in risky behavior, such as climbing trees, biking in the streets, and playing on the stairs, all of which have led to an increase in child injuries during the pandemic.

If a child sneaks off during the countless hours spent at home and finds themself not properly supervised, an accident is more likely to occur.

If your child was injured while under the supervision of a babysitter or other party, you may be able to file a personal injury claim because of their negligence in not protecting or supervising your child. Likewise, injuries caused by defective products can be remedied through a personal injury claim.

Increase in Recreational Vehicle Injuries

With people out of work and looking for things to fill their extra time, accidents on recreational vehicles have increased, according to hospital reporting. Emergency rooms have seen a spike in both boating and ATV accidents.

Like car accidents, recreational vehicle accidents can occur if another party is acting negligently. Boating while drinking can cause a collision with other people out on the water or other riders may be acting carelessly, so it’s important to be extra careful to avoid any unnecessary injuries. The best way to stay safe on recreational vehicles is to always be defensive and assume other parties may act negligently.

If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.

Increase in DUIs and Alcohol-related Injuries

Some reports have suggested that many people are drinking more because of the pandemic. With nothing else to do, and lots of stress on people’s mind, more alcoholic beverages are being consumed. This increase in drinking has led to more car accidents caused by drinking and driving. If someone is drunk, they might not have the common sense to not get behind the wheel.

If you sustain injuries because someone was drinking and driving, you should contact an attorney that has experience in handling motor vehicle injuries caused by DUIs to review your case.

Delayed Visits for Injuries

Hospitals have been prioritizing COVID-19 patients. And some people are afraid to get treatment for their injuries because of the risk of catching COVID at the hospital. This delay in receiving medical treatment can make injuries worse and could harm a potential personal injury case. It’s important to seek medical treatment immediately after an injury caused by a motor vehicle accident or other incident caused by negligence. It may be scary to go into a hospital at this time, but not getting treated for your injuries can be equally as dangerous. Be sure to wear a mask, socially distance, and wash your hands often while at the ER.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured because of a personal injury accident during the pandemic, the experienced attorneys at Abels & Annes are here to help. We know you’re stressed because of COVID-19, so you shouldn’t have to be stressed about your lawsuit too. We’ll help to take the stress off of your plate by dealing with the insurance companies and by making sure you’re getting the proper amount of compensation necessary to rebuild your life after your injury.

For more information or for a free consultation, please contact us online, by using our chat option below, or by calling us at (312) 924-7575.

Why Getting Medical Treatment after an Injury is So Crucial

Getting into a car accident that causes injuries is always stressful and confusing. For some people, their injuries are minor and require little to no recovery time. For others, they are not so lucky. Some car accidents cause serious injuries, like brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and crushing injuries. These injuries can leave victims with permanent disabilities and a lifetime of trauma.

Finding out that you’ve been severely injured because of a car accident can be scary. But it can be just as scary to be seriously injured and not know it. Some people question how it’s possible to be seriously injured from a car accident and not know it, but this happens all the time. Vehicle collisions are often sudden, jarring, and shocking. This leads to a massive amount of adrenaline being pumped to the brain that can easily mask all types of injuries. Of course, this shock eventually wears off and injuries are revealed. But it’s crucial to get medical treatment shortly after an accident for this very reason.

When Should I get Medical Treatment after a Car Accident?

According to Driver Knowledge, more than 90 people die in car accidents every single day. Additionally, some 3 million people are injured every year in car accidents. Of those, 2 million people experience permanent injuries because of their car accident. Serious injuries from car accidents are not rare. Millions of people experience it every year. And if it happens to you, you need to know what to do.

After you are involved in a serious car accident, getting medical attention should be your first priority. Personal injury attorneys recommend sticking around after your accident to collect evidence, but this only applies if you are able to. If you know or suspect that you are seriously injured, you should immediately go to the emergency room or to a primary care physician.

Make sure to tell the treating doctor that your injuries occurred because of a car accident so they can note this in your medical records. This is important for a multitude of reasons that involve insurance coverage and evidence for a potential car accident injury claim. Once you receive initial medical treatment, it is important to take your doctor’s advice and begin focusing on your health.

You Need to Take Care of Yourself and Your Health

bedrest - Why Getting Medical Treatment after an Injury is So Crucial - abels and annesTaking care of yourself should be your number one priority after your accident occurs. Car accidents can cause significant injuries, they may cause significant emotional damage, and they can lead to extensive medical treatment, lost income and huge medical bills.

With personal injuries, it is important that you make your health your main priority. Follow all your physician’s orders, like taking your medicines, getting bedrest, or attending physical therapy. Also, make sure that you are not rushing back into your daily routine and that you are taking the proper time to recover. This could mean following your doctor’s orders of not going back to work too soon.

Injuries from a car accident are already devastating enough. And failing to properly take care of yourself after the incident will only make things worse.

Avoid Giving Insurance Companies a Reason to Deny Your Claim

When you delay medical treatment after a personal injury incident, insurance companies may try to argue that your pain and injuries aren’t as valid since they weren’t severe enough for you to seek treatment right away. Because insurance companies want to settle your claim for the least amount of money as possible, they may use your delay in receiving treatment as an argument against your case.

For example, they might say you shouldn’t receive as much compensation because your injuries weren’t severe enough to warrant an immediate trip to the emergency room. Or they may use the argument that if you really had a severe injury, you would have known immediately. As we know, there are many reasons someone may delay their treatment or not notice an injury, but no matter how valid the reason is, the insurance companies will likely try to use it against you.

Delaying Treatment May Make It More Difficult to Link your Accident to Your Injuries

An insurance company may use your delay in treatment as an excuse to offer you a low settlement. They may attempt to push the narrative that there is a disconnect between your accident and your injuries.

Let’s consider if you were injured and then waited a week to receive medical treatment. In certain cases, this could make it more difficult to prove that the injury you are claiming occurred because of the car accident. If you delay treatment, insurance companies may try to cast doubt on your injuries by proposing that your injuries may have been caused by some other event that happened after the accident. This can be argued against by an experienced attorney using evidence like property damage photos and police reports. But if your injuries are internal or not clearly visible, it may become more challenging to argue. Seeking medical treatment as soon as practicable after an accident helps rule out any possibility of a “delay” being used against you.

Medical Treatment Establishes Critical Evidence for a Lawsuit

Thinking about how you are going to handle your potential injury claim isn’t usually at the forefront of a person’s mind immediately after an accident. But knowing what steps to take to protect your claim before the accident ever happens is important in making sure you can establish a strong case if and when an injury occurs. One of the elements that helps your claim is documentation of your injuries through medical treatment right after the accident. Medical treatment means medical records, which are an important piece of evidence later. Everything that happens to you medically–whether it be conversations with a specialist, physical therapy appointments, surgery, or a diagnosis–will all be documented in your medical records. These records will likely also include diagnostic imaging, doctor’s notes, treatments, prognosis, medications, and more.

This medical documentation will provide lots of evidence to support your injury claim. And it will make it much easier to create a timeline of your injuries.

Making Sure to Follow Up with Treatment Ensures Your Long-term Recovery

Not only is immediate medical attention incredibly important, but so is receiving necessary follow-up care. You should listen to any advice that your doctors give you and meet with any specialists they suggest. If your doctor asks you to return for follow-up treatment or a check-up, you should make it a priority not to miss these appointments. Not listening to their advice or not following up with your care might make insurance companies suspicious that your injury wasn’t as serious as you claim it to be. Of course, this follow-up care also helps to ensure that you have a smooth recovery.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Immediately After a Car Accident

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. After you receive ER or immediate care medical treatment, and before you file an insurance claim, you should contact an attorney to discuss your rights and options. The lawyers at Abels & Annes have years of experience working on personal injury cases that result in catastrophic injuries. Further, we are ready to put that experience to work for you. For more information or for a free case evaluation, please contact us online, by using the chat feature below, or by calling 312-924-7575.

What is a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case?

A deposition is often referred to as an “out-of-court testimony” because they are used to question a party to the case, such as a witness, defendant, or plaintiff. A deposition occurs after your lawsuit has been filed but before your lawsuit goes to trial so that lawyers can gather first-hand accounts from those involved about what happened during the incident in question. Both sides of a personal injury lawsuit can use a deposition to gather more information from the other party.

A personal injury case is a legal proceeding that is used by an injured person to seek compensation for damages because of another party’s negligence. Some of the most common types of personal injury claims include:

In all of these types of cases, a deposition will likely be part of the proceedings if pre-trial negotiations are not successful and the case has to be taken to trial.

Why is a Deposition Important?

Depositions are used during the discovery process of your lawsuit and offer both sides the opportunity to acquire vital information to be used in the trial process or while trying to negotiate a settlement before actually going to trial. A deposition can help to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a case and to uncover more evidence.

Depositions are also used to get an idea of how the other party sees the situation and to see what they may say at the upcoming trial. This is helpful for preparing testimony, building legal arguments, and preventing surprises during trial. A deposition transcript can also be used to cross examine a witness at trial.

Further, a deposition also serves as an opportunity to present your side of the story when questioned. Your attorney will help prepare you for your deposition so that you are comfortable and so that you don’t say something that could unintentionally damage your case.

Do You Have to Attend a Deposition?

Yes, you are required to attend a deposition when you move forward with a civil lawsuit. Your attorney will prepare you to answer a series of questions about yourself and the accident. Depositions tend to stress people out since most people have never done one, but your attorney will be there with you the entire time to help you through the process.

What Can I Expect from a Deposition?

A deposition is centered around getting more information about a person and their involvement in the personal injury incident. Because of this, everything that is said during the interview can be important. It’s likely that the deposition will be recorded by a court reporter and some are on video as well.

Depositions are usually held in a conference room or office. They do not take place in a courtroom.

You can expect the parties present to include: your attorney, the opposing attorney(s), a court reporter or stenographer, and possibly some other party involved in the case like an assistant attorney or insurance representative. The person who injured you or who is filing a case against you will not typically be present.

You can expect to be asked questions in a variety of different categories. These include:

questions asked at deposition - What is a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case - abels and annesPersonal Details: This will include questions to get personal details, including your name, address, and a history of your background if it is relevant. These are simple questions aimed at getting started and collecting some basic information.

Prior Physical Condition: Next, the interviewer will likely ask you about your life before the accident. They will ask in-depth questions about your health prior to the accident to see if anything could have been affected by pre-existing conditions or if anything to do with your prior health could have affected your injuries. You may also be asked questions regarding your activity level and lifestyle and before the accident so that a clear image of your health prior to and following your injury can be established.

About the Accident: You’ll then be asked about the accident and how it happened in your own words. If there’s something you don’t remember clearly, try not to guess or make assumptions about things you can’t recall. It is perfectly acceptable to say you can’t remember or don’t know.

Your Injury: During this time, you’ll be asked about your injuries and how they have affected your life. The investigator will ask you about how the injury occurred, what medical treatment you received, and about your recovery. Make sure you stick to the facts and only answer questions you know the answer to. Again, do not guess here. You are not a doctor or expert, so some questions may be out of your scope of knowledge. That is okay; just say you don’t know.

Post-Accident Life: And finally, you’ll be asked about what your life has been like since the accident occurred. You’ll likely be asked if you’ve been struggling with physical, mental, or financial well-being after the incident. This is a good time to give clear answers and examples that relate to the hardships you’ve faced because of your injuries.

What Kinds of Questions are Asked at a Deposition?

As we have described above, you will be asked a variety of questions in a variety of categories to create a clear picture of what happened. But to get you more familiar with the types of questions asked at a deposition, here are some example questions you may be asked during a deposition:

  • Have you had any major injuries in the past?
  • Have you ever had a major surgery or medical treatment?
  • Walk us through what happened when the accident occurred.
  • What were you doing immediately before the accident?
  • What did you do immediately after the accident?
  • Who did you talk to after the accident and what did they say?
  • What injuries did you suffer?
  • Were you treated right away?
  • Who has treated your injuries?
  • What did your follow-up care require?
  • What costs have you incurred because of the accident?

Of course, this is just a few examples of some major questions that will be asked. There are likely to be many more general and follow-up questions for clarification.

How Should I Behave at a Deposition?

Going into a deposition can be nerve-racking, but an experienced personal injury attorney will help prepare you before the day of the interview to ensure you’re comfortable and feel ready.

During your deposition, you should be both professional and polite. You’ll want to dress neatly and make sure that you’re on time. Try to avoid any small talk that could give away extra information. And avoid anything that makes it seem like you are not taking it seriously. Some people make jokes or get chatty when they are nervous, but this can give off the wrong impression. Just answer the questions they ask and move on. If you don’t understand a question, ask for further clarification.

It’s also important to take your time throughout a deposition. Rushing through questions can lead to unintentional errors, inaccurate information, or slip-ups.

Keep in mind that you’ll be under oath during your deposition, so only tell the truth regarding how you remember the events. If you don’t remember something about your incident, it’s okay to say you don’t remember. “I’m not sure” is a perfectly acceptable answer during a deposition.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me During a Deposition?

A personal injury attorney’s goal is to make sure that you are as comfortable and prepared as possible for your deposition. Your attorney will let you know everything to expect, how to answer questions, and help you to practice answering possible questions so that you feel prepared. Your attorney will also be present during the deposition so that you feel supported and so that they can object to irrelevant or misleading questions.

If you were injured because of another party’s negligence and you need help sorting it out, the attorneys at Abels & Annes are here to help. Contact us today by using our online form, by chatting with us below, or by calling us at 855-529-2442. We look forward to speaking with you.

When Do I Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, in 2018 there were 319,146 crashes involving motor vehicles in Illinois. In the United States, there are approximately 37,000 car accidents deaths that occur each year. These accidents often occur on busy streets such as highways, interstates, and other major roads. They also can occur in parking lots, side streets, and neighborhoods.

However, these accidents don’t always involve two cars. They can also involve commercial trucks, cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists. In 2014,there were 19,945 accidents involving large commercial trucks in the state of Illinois. Truck accidents are often more severe than car accidents simply because of the size of trucks in comparison to the size of vehicles.

So, after you’ve been injured in a car accident, what is your next step? What are you supposed to do and when are you supposed to hire an attorney?

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer Immediately After my Accident?

If you choose not to hire an attorney right away, you may be jeopardizing your legal rights when it comes to your case. Without the guidance of an attorney, you may sign the wrong form or accept a deal that is way worse than what a talented attorney could have gotten you.

In general, it’s the best idea to hire an attorney as soon as you can. After you’ve received immediate medical treatment you should start looking for representation. If you choose not to hire an attorney from the get go, it’s important to not sign any documents or offer a recorded statement to the insurance company of the at-fault party. The sooner your attorney can start building your case, the better. And it is highly recommended that you retain counsel before contacting any auto insurance carriers.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

Hiring a lawyer is one of the best things that you can do for your car accident case. An experienced attorney will investigate your case, determine liability, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Getting you a good settlement is often the best part of having an attorney, and if not that, then winning your case in court. But very few cases make it all the way to trial.

After a thorough review of the facts of your case and your medical records and bills, your attorney will submit a settlement demand on your behalf. The insurance company of the at-fault party will then return with a first offer. This will continue back and forth until you’ve received the adjuster’s top settlement offer. If you do not reach a settlement offer that you’re happy with, your case will go to court. In trial, your attorney will argue on your behalf, presenting your case to the judge and jury.

There are people who have tried representing themselves in court, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s not a good idea. Court without a lawyer typically doesn’t go well.

Most attorneys don’t take a payment up front and will only charge you if you obtain a settlement or you win your case at trial, so you have nothing to lose by hiring an attorney. They’ll also check up with you while you’re receiving medical treatment and generally help to keep the weight off of your shoulders while you’re recovering.

What Settlement Can a Car Accident Lawyer Get Me?

Your settlement depends on your attorney’s negotiations with the insurance company. When choosing an attorney, you’ll want to pick one with a known track record. When it comes to your settlement, there are two values, your settlement value and your case value. If your case (a combination of your economic and non-economic damages) has a value of $300,000 dollars, you can find your settlement value by looking at your chance at winning the case.

If you have a 75% chance of winning the case, your settlement value will be an estimated 75% of your trial value, $300,000 dollars. This would mean that your settlement value would be $225,000 dollars. If you had a lower chance of winning, your settlement would be lower. Your attorney can also help to advise you on whether or not you should take the settlement or allow your case to go to trial.

Case value can vary, depending on a combination of liability, insurance policy limits, and the severity of your injuries and other damages.

How Will My Lawyer Prove Liability?

Negligence is used to prove liability in personal injury cases. Most accidents occur because a party drives negligently. This means that they failed to act responsibly and reasonably to another human being, and in doing so, caused another person harm. There are four legal elements to liability that need to be proven to hold a party liable:

  • Duty of Care. Your attorney must be able to prove that there was a specific duty of care that the driver had to abide by. In the case of a car accident, this could mean following the rules of the road, not texting while driving, drinking, or driving recklessly.
  • Breach of Duty. They then have to prove that there was a breach in this duty. For example, that they were acting carelessly in some way.
  • Causation. You have to prove that the defendant’s carelessness directly caused your injuries.
  • Actual Damages. Finally, there must be actual monetary damages that occurred because of the incident.

What Compensation Can my Attorney Help me Receive?

Your attorney can help you receive both economic and non-economic compensation for your injuries. Economic compensation refers to any monetary damages you incurred because of the accident. This includes hospital bills, surgery costs, ambulance rides, therapy costs, in-home care, and lost wages.

Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of earning capacity, and any compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement. Because these aren’t based on a specific number, the insurance company (or judge/jury if your case goes to trial) will look at how much your quality of life has changed before and after the accident occurred. The greater the change, the higher the compensation.

Speak with a Chicago Car Accident Attorney

If you or your family member sustains injuries in a car accident, hiring an experienced attorney is your best bet at a settlement offer you’re happy with. Our experienced attorneys at Abels & Annes have years of experience working on car accident cases, and are ready to help you get the compensation that you deserve. For more information or a free case evaluation, please contact us online or at (312) 924-7575.

Timeline of a Personal Injury Case

What Classifies as Personal Injury

Personal injury refers to the type of a case in which a person’s body or mind has been injured. This can include injuries because of:

In 2016, there were 39.5 million physician office visits for unintentional injuries. Unintentional injuries occur every day and can be incredibly dangerous if not cared for properly. In the same year, accident injury became the number 3 cause of death for the first time ever in the United States.

Personal injury cases are filed by the person who was injured in the accident, or by a spouse, child, or parent in a wrongful death lawsuit. The case is filed against the negligent party, and their insurance company, who are both responsible for paying if they lose the case.

Accidents can cause severe injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones. The medical debt that one incurs due to an injury (whether mild or severe) can sometimes be overwhelming. Hiring a good lawyer can help you collect the most compensation possible for your injuries.

The Process of a Personal Injury Case

If you’ve never had to file a personal injury lawsuit before, you may be unsure of exactly how the process works. It can be a long process, sometimes taking years on end, especially if the treatment of your injuries takes a long time as well. So it’s good to know what you’re heading into when you decide you want to file a claim.

Medical Treatment

After your accident occurs, you want to make sure that you receive medical treatment as soon as possible. Delaying your medical treatment can raise red flags in your case, so it’s best to get checked out as soon as you possibly can. If your injuries are severe, it’s likely that you’ll be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. If you aren’t, you should see a doctor right away, or take a trip to the emergency room. Make sure to let your doctor know that your injuries occured because of an accident so they can document it in their notes. Keep a record of your doctor visits so you can keep track of medical expenses incurred due to your injury.

Hiring an Attorney

Hiring the right attorney for your case can save you a lot of headache in the long run. A good attorney will investigate your case, check in on you to make sure you’re following your treatment plan, and eventually settle your case or take it to trial. When making your selection, make sure to look at online reviews, ratings and past results. Further, talk directly with the potential attorney before signing up. Most attorneys will offer a free case evaluation and don’t require payment unless you win your case. Hiring an attorney will benefit you since insurance companies often try to low-ball you when privately settling an injury claim. Don’t settle with an insurance company before speaking to your attorney.

Investigation

Your attorney will begin their investigation of your case. This will consist of them gathering all evidence necessary, including your medical records and bills, and any statements made to the police, and the police report. They’ll also use any evidence you may have collected, like photos you may have taken at the scene of the accident or any statements or communications you received from witnesses to the accident.

Negotiation

Your lawyer eventually handle settlement negotiations with the at-fault party and their insurance company. Your attorney will make a settlement demand and the insurance company will soon return with their initial offer. A settlement may take time, reaching weeks, months, or in some cases, years. Your attorney won’t want to accept a settlement that is less than you deserve, but they’ll be honest with you about any trial risks and what they believe is the best option for your case.

Lawsuit is Filed

If the other party refuses to meet your settlement expectations, a lawsuit can be filed against them. If a settlement offer is received that meets your expectations, the claim will resolve. A lawsuit is necessary when an appropriate settlement for your damages cannot be reached.

Discovery

The discovery process allows both parties to investigate the claims they’ve made against one another. This process can last for months to years, but it gives both sides adequate time to gather all evidence needed to move forward.

Mediation

A mediation can be used to try to settle a lawsuit before it goes to trial. It’s a settlement negotiation with the assistance of a mediator. If a settlement is not achieved at this point, the case can move forward to trial. Ideally, your personal injury attorney will be able to get you the compensation you need during this phase to avoid further lengthy and costly litigation.

Trial

If your personal injury case goes to trial, a judge or jury will decide the outcome of your case and the amount of compensation that is owed to you by the opposing party if you do win. That compensation will be based on proving liability and damages an injury victim has sustained. Trial allows both sides to tell their stories and also allows both sides to further question witnesses, and each other. Trials can last anywhere from a day to weeks. If it’s a complicated case, your trial may last even longer.

Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

There’s a lot that goes into a personal injury case, and it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you along the way. If you or someone you love has been injured in a person injury accident, please contact our aggressive attorneys at Abels & Annes. We have years of experience collecting significant settlements for our clients. You can contact us online or at 312-924-7575.

How Much Does It Cost to Talk to a Lawyer?

personal injury lawyer in chicago free consultationA common reason people give for not calling a lawyer after they get hurt in an accident is cost. They worry that they simply can’t afford to talk to a lawyer, especially not when they have mounting medical bills to deal with, and have missed work and gone without a paycheck because of their injuries.

Those are understandable concerns. But we have good news: talking to a lawyer about your legal rights after suffering injuries in an accident does not cost you a dime. What’s more, hiring a lawyer to recover the compensation you deserve costs nothing up-front. You only pay the lawyer a fee at the time of settlement or verdict.

You’re probably thinking: What’s the catch?

There’s no catch. Personal injury lawyers know you face financial strain, so they make it easy to afford their services. Here’s how.

Lawyers Offer a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Case

Meeting with a personal injury lawyer for the first time should never cost you anything. All reputable personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

They do this to make it easy and risk-free for injured people to find out if they have legal rights to receive compensation for their injuries. After all, most people do not know much about how the law works when they get injured in an accident. If it cost them money to find out if they had a case, they would not bother to find out. By offering a free initial consultation, personal injury lawyers make it easy for anyone to learn about their rights.

The first meeting(s) between a personal injury lawyer and an injured person allows everyone to size each other up. The lawyer will want to know about how the individual got hurt. The injured person will want to learn about the lawyer’s experience, track record, and working style. After this session, the lawyer will typically give the individual a preliminary assessment of whether the lawyer thinks there is a viable case for damages to pursue, and whether the lawyer is interested in handling it. The individual gets to decide whether to hire the lawyer, of course.

All of this happens at no charge to the injured person. Not a penny changes hands between client and lawyer.

Personal Injury Lawyers Work on Contingency

If the injured person decides to hire the lawyer, then the lawyer and the client usually enter into an agreement that lays out the terms of the representation and how the lawyer will get paid. Lawyers refer to this agreement by various names, most commonly as a fee agreement or a representation agreement.

Virtually all personal injury lawyers (those who represent injured people in seeking compensation for an injury) work on a contingency fee basis. In this arrangement, the client pays no money to the lawyer upfront, and the lawyer does not charge for specific work or for the time the lawyer spends on the case.

Instead, in the fee agreement, the lawyer and client agree that the lawyer will keep, as a fee, a percentage of the money the lawyer recovers on the client’s behalf. The lawyer’s fee is contingent on the outcome of the case, in other words. The more money the lawyer can recover for the client, the more money the lawyer earns. Conversely, if the client gets nothing, the lawyer gets nothing.

These days, the agreed percentage can vary depending on the difficulty of the case, typically ranging from 33 1/3% – 40%. The fee agreement spells out the percentage a lawyer and client agree upon, so that the client understands the arrangement from the start.

A fee agreement also addresses the running expenses of a case; things like the fees charged by hospitals for copies of medical records and expert witness fees, for example. Lawyers typically agree to advance these expenses, or clients may agree to do it, or they may agree to split them in some manner. Our law firm always advances case costs. There are no up front legal fees or costs for our clients. The fee agreement spells out all of this, too, in clear language, so there are no surprises.

Personal injury lawyers represent clients on contingency to give all injured people access to justice, not just people who have enough money lying around to pay an expensive attorney by the hour. The arrangement allows anyone who has suffered an injury to obtain the services of a top-notch lawyer. It also lines up the lawyer’s interests with the client’s, so that they both have the same goal—securing the most money for the client as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Types of Work a Personal Injury Lawyer Does on Contingency

To be clear: Contingency fee arrangements affect only how the lawyer gets paid. In all other respects, the lawyer has the same duties to serve the client’s interests as if the client was paying a different type of lawyer by the hour. Lawyers who represent clients on contingency work just as hard, and have just as much (if not more) skill and know-how as any other attorneys.

Every personal injury case has unique facts and circumstances, of course, so the types of services the lawyer provides will vary from client-to-client.

However, generally speaking, a personal injury client can usually expect the lawyer to:

  • Investigate the case to identify the parties who have legal liability and the ability to pay money damages, and to establish the amount of harm the client has suffered;
  • Plan an effective legal strategy that serves the clients’ interests, needs, and priorities;
  • Communicate that plan to the client in language the client understands;
  • Update the client on developments and respond to the client’s questions;
  • Negotiate with defense lawyers and insurance companies to achieve a favorable settlement of the case, if possible; and
  • Litigate the case in court, including taking the case to trial in front of a judge and jury, if negotiation alone does not yield a favorable outcome.

Cost Is Not a Factor, so Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Do not delay speaking with a personal injury lawyer because you worry you cannot afford it. Talking to an experienced attorney about your injury and losses costs you nothing, and if you have a case, a lawyer will most likely agree to represent you on contingency so that you pay nothing to the lawyer unless and until the lawyer gets you paid first.

Contact an experienced, skilled personal injury lawyer today for your free case consultation.

Who Is the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Me?

After an accident, it’s natural to feel a wide range of emotions. Anger, fear, uncertainty: These are all normal. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate through these feelings and help you get the compensation you deserve. But where do you start? How do you find the attorney that’s right for you? If you are like most people, you likely have little to no experience working with an attorney. An online search for personal injury attorneys will bring up hundreds of results. So how do you weed through it all?

There is no doubt that finding the right attorney can be a daunting task. But there are a lot of resources out there to help you find the best attorney for your type of case in your geographic area. To get started, use an internet search to begin generating some ideas. Utilize online reviews as well as testimonies on the attorney’s website. There are a variety of websites that have attorney reviews. A law firm with a good reputation will typically have consistently good ratings across the board. There are also many websites that specifically rate lawyers.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

There are many essential reasons for hiring a personal injury attorney. You may be considering handling your case on your own, but insurance companies are tricky and are incentivized to prioritize company profits. In order to make sure that profits are high and spending is low, insurance companies use a slew of tactics. And, when someone doesn’t have an attorney representing them, these tactics often go unchecked.

An attorney you hire doesn’t just help your chances of getting a proper settlement, they also make sure that your compensation is thorough. This means they take into account future medical bills, unexpected expenses, and pain and suffering. A good personal injury attorney will do this by pulling medical records, examining the police report, contacting witnesses, keeping in touch with you about your medical treatment, and using their experience from the many cases they worked on before yours.

Having an experienced attorney can also take a lot of the weight off of your shoulders so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries while your attorney worries about the legal aspects.

The laws that apply to personal injury cases are also very complicated, and while your case may seem simple, there are often many underlying elements that could affect the outcome of your claim. Having experienced legal representation on your side is the only way to ensure complex legal factors are taken into account.

Even if you are confident you could properly represent yourself in a case, most often the best decision is to go with an experienced attorney. Lots of people cite expense as the reason they don’t hire a personal injury attorney. However, many studies have shown that, even after attorney fees, injury victims walk away with more money than those individuals who represented themselves. You also don’t have to worry about paying any money upfront since most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they don’t get paid unless you recover compensation.

Below, we address some of the top things you should look for in a personal injury attorney.

What are the Attorney’s Areas of Focus?

First things first. If you suffer an injury during an accident, you need to hire a personal injury attorney. You probably shouldn’t just call up the attorney that helped you through your divorce or helped you start up your small business. Personal injury attorneys work with clients who have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence. Within the field, there are several areas of focus. While many personal injury attorneys focus on a wide range of disciplines, you want someone who has worked a case like yours before so they can effectively litigate your case. Common focus areas include:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury cases. According to a recent report, accidents have increased by 11 percent in just one year.

Premises Liability

Premises liability covers accidents that happen on someone else’s property. This includes slip and fall accidents, dog bites, and swimming pool accidents. These accidents are very common. When you speak to an attorney, ask if they have direct experience working your type of case.

Wrongful Death

When a person dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, the victim’s family has the right to seek damages from the negligent party. While wrongful death suits technically fall under personal injury, they involve a completely different set of laws and only allow for certain damages.

Consider the Attorney’s Experience

Experience is one thing you should look for in an attorney. Experience shows that the attorney knows the legal system and has worked with various types of insurance companies, plaintiffs, and defendants. But it’s not just about how many years of experience an attorney has. Before you hire an attorney, you should do a little research to make sure you are comfortable with who you will work with.

Things you should look at include:

  • The attorney’s website: The first thing you should look at when you consider an attorney is their website. Is it professional? Does it share case results? Does it provide ample information about the attorneys? This information can tell you a lot about an attorney and their firm. But remember, these sites are designed to get you to contact the attorney. As such, they should not be your only source of information.
  • Disciplinary history: If you look at nothing else, look at the attorney’s disciplinary history. The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission allows the public to search for an attorney and view their license status, contact information, and whether they have any disciplinary history.
  • Attorney reviews: One of the great things about the internet is you can find a review for anything, even lawyers. Websites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook have ratings for most law firms.
  • Online ratings: Websites like Super Lawyers and AVVO look at a variety of factors and rate lawyers. These ratings websites may look at trial and settlement history, reviews, endorsements from other attorneys, etc. For example, both David Abels and Gary Annes have 10.0 ratings from AVVO and they are both on the Illinois Super Lawyer Top 100 list (out of over 90,000 lawyers). Further, Abels & Annes is on the Three Best Rated list for Chicago injury lawyers, and David Abels is a lifetime member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Set up a Free Case Evaluation

After you find a handful of attorneys that seem experienced, helpful, and knowledgeable, set up a few free case evaluations with the attorneys you’re considering. Often you can call and talk to an attorney immediately, if they are available.

Tell them about your case and listen to their opinions. Ask them questions about their experience, how the process will work, and what they think about your specific case.

Generally, feel out the attorney as a person. And ask yourself if you could see yourself working with them on your case. Below are a few ideas about the types of questions you should ask an attorney before hiring them.

Questions to Ask During Your Consultation

During your first meeting with an attorney, you should be prepared to ask them a series of questions to determine whether or not they’re the right attorney for you.

You should ask them:

  • about their experience with your specific type of case. For example, how many car accident cases have they worked on, and ask about a general overview of a case. Although you have researched their experience prior to meeting, as discussed above, now is a good time to hear it from them directly.
  • what kinds of cases they handle on a daily basis and how many cases they are currently handling. This will give you a good idea of how busy they are and whether or not they have the available time to dedicate to your case in particular.
  • if they have experience trying lawsuits in court. Many attorneys don’t have experience arguing a case in court since they have only ever settled cases pre-trial. This is important because although your case is likely to settle also, you will want an attorney with a lot of courtroom experience in the event that your case does actually go in front of a jury.
  • what their communication with clients is like. Do they have a specific protocol for getting back to clients or a certain way they communicate with them? Do they give regular updates and keep clients informed about what is going on with their case?

Some Things to Consider Before Hiring a Law Firm

When it comes to hiring an attorney, first impressions are incredibly important. You should consider your first meeting or phone call as a trial run for how well the two of you are going to work together in the future. You should consider the following when hiring an attorney:

  • The first time you called, was someone available to speak to you within a reasonable period of time? This could be the first indication that they don’t have the time to take on your case.
  • Was the person evaluating your case polite? Did they seem to care about what you had to say? This is an important first impression. If they were indifferent on the phone, this may translate over once you become a client.
  • Were you able to speak with an attorney? It’s not always possible for you to speak with an attorney the first time that you call—and that shouldn’t necessarily be a reason to walk away—but you should receive an adequate idea of when someone will follow up with you. If they don’t follow up in the time specified, it might be a good idea to work with a different personal injury lawyer.
  • When you arrived at their office, did they appear organized and ready for your visit? A law firm that seems as if they weren’t expecting you or can’t find your file is probably a good indication of their overall organization level.
  • Lots of law firms have intake specialists that handle initial meetings before the client meets with an attorney during the second half of the consultation. This is perfectly normal. However, if you are not able to speak to an attorney during your first meeting, there is a good chance that you won’t be able to speak with an attorney very often once you’re a client.
  • Did they answer all of your questions? If you left your meeting feeling confused or with unanswered questions, you should ask yourself why they couldn’t help clear things up for you.
  • And lastly, did you feel confident in the attorney that you spoke with? Did you get the impression that the attorney was competent and could be a benefit to your case?

Attorneys aren’t one size fits all. So pick the best one for your needs and for your case.

[Timeline of a Personal Injury Case]

A Few Other Factors to Consider

Experience is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters.

When you have a list of qualified candidates, you can narrow it down by looking at a few basic factors, including:

  • Availability: This one is important. Does the attorney have enough time to take on your case? How can you tell? Ask. Talk to the attorney about their availability, the size of their team, and how much time they have to devote to your case.
  • Cost: Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means they take a certain percentage of your final settlement. However, this amount can vary from attorney to attorney. Know what you will have to pay before you sign on with an attorney. For example, Abels & Annes typically charges a fee of 1/3 of the settlement or verdict and, unlike many law firms, we do not increase our fees to 40% if a case goes to court.
  • Location: It doesn’t matter how qualified an attorney is if he or she is so far away you will never get to meet them. Try to find someone who is close enough that you can meet face-to-face when necessary.
  • Comfort: When it all comes down to it, you want to work with someone you are comfortable with. Most of the time, this comes down to your gut. Does the person make you feel comfortable? Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation. If you don’t like one person, move on to the next.

Try to remember, this is your case and your future. Only you will know who is the right personal injury lawyer for you.

What to Do After Suffering an Injury in an Accident

What to Do After Suffering an Injury in an AccidentA serious accident can cause a spike in adrenaline, concealing injuries and making it difficult to determine what to do next. If you suffer serious injuries in an accident, from a car accident to a slip and fall, however, the steps you take immediately following that accident can have a huge impact on both your physical recovery and the compensation you ultimately receive for your injuries. Follow these steps following an accident to help protect yourself.

If you have been in an accident with serious injuries, contact the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes who can give you a better idea of your rights.

Step One: Seek Medical Attention Immediately

In the case of severe injuries, including injuries like hip fractures from a slip and fall, you may need emergency transport to the emergency room to seek immediate treatment. Even if you believe you suffered only minor injuries in your accident, however, seek medical attention immediately.

A doctor can properly diagnose your injuries and prepare a treatment plan that may help prevent you from worsening those injuries. Not only that, your trip to the hospital or an urgent care facility provides a record of exactly when your injuries occurred, which can prevent the liable party from trying to claim that your injuries occurred at a different time or under different circumstances.

Keep track of all medical treatment. To file your personal injury claim and show how much compensation you need for your medical bills, your attorney may need to collect those bills. Further, your medical records can show vital evidence concerning the extent of your injuries and the limitations they cause.

Step Two: Report the Accident

If you suffer serious injuries in an auto accident, call the police and an ambulance. If you suffer injuries in a slip and fall or construction accident, notify the owner of the premises as soon as possible. Reporting the accident will result in an incident report. This incident report can serve as a vital piece of evidence when you later file a personal injury claim. Likewise, any time you suffer an injury at work, you should follow the proper protocol for reporting an accident.

If you suffer serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, that cause you to lose consciousness or prevent you from moving safely around the scene of the accident, do not do anything that could worsen your injuries.

In addition to reporting the accident to the police or to the business where your accident occurred, you may need to become familiar with your health insurance plan, if you’re insured. This will help you get a better idea of what you can expect in terms of coverage for your medical expenses.

You may need, for example, to know many physical therapy sessions your plan will cover, or how much you can expect to pay for deductibles and copays. You should also look into your out of pocket maximum for your medical expenses each year.

Step Three: Collect Evidence, if You Can

At the scene of the accident, if possible, you should collect evidence. You may want to take photos of the accident scene or collect contact information from any witnesses. You may also want to immediately note any details about the accident that you can remember, since trauma can cause your memory to fade quickly after an accident. Further, look for traffic cameras.

In many cases, however, your injuries may prevent you from taking this step. An attorney can help collect evidence even after the initial accident. Do not collect evidence if it places you at risk in any way, including worsening your injuries.

Step Four: Contact an Attorney

As soon after your accident as possible, get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help collect evidence about your accident, including consulting witnesses, looking for any video footage of the accident, and reviewing the accident scene.

Not only that, a personal injury attorney can provide you with more information about the compensation you deserve for your injuries and prevent you from accepting a settlement offer that does not reflect the full amount you deserve. Finally, an attorney can advocate for you if you must take your claim to court to recover the compensation you deserve.

After an auto accident, your attorney will contact both the defendant’s and your auto insurance company and notify them about the accident. You want your lawyers to handle all important communication with insurance adjusters to prevent you from possibly saying the wrong thing and damaging your own case.

Your own auto insurance may provide medical payment coverage. Further, there may be uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage that can offer assistance after an accident with an individual who does not carry adequate insurance.

Finally, contact a personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company that covers the liable party. This settlement offer usually will not fully reflect your needs, and an attorney can help you decide whether to take the offer or retain counsel.

Step Five: Follow Your Doctors’ Recommendations

In the case of serious injuries, you may need to work with several doctors to find a treatment protocol that will allow you to regain as much functionality as possible. Follow all recommendations given by your doctors.

In the case of injuries like spinal cord injuries, for example, you may need extensive physical therapy or occupational therapy to help restore as much mobility as possible. In the case of broken bones, you may need to decrease your activities while recovering so you can avoid doing further damage to your body.

Following your doctors’ recommendations can help you heal as much as possible. It also helps show that you have done your part in your recovery, which can prevent the liable party from showing that you contributed to your own injuries or stood in the way of your own recovery, which can ultimately decrease the compensation you receive for your accident.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

Following an accident with serious injuries, an attorney from Abels & Annes can give you a better idea of your rights, including how much compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon after your accident as possible.

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?

How Much Does a Lawyer CostYou suffered serious injuries in an accident. You know you deserve compensation for your injuries, but the insurance company that covers the liable party has made it difficult to get the compensation you really deserve. Unfortunately, a personal injury lawyer sounds like an expensive proposition.

If worries about the cost of an attorney have you down, however, Abels & Annes, P.C., can help. Many Chicago personal injury attorneys, including our firm, don’t charge our clients money up front. There’s no retainer fee. Instead, we work on a contingency fee basis.

How Do Contingency Fees Work?

In a personal injury claim, an attorney may accept your case on a contingency fee basis. Instead of needing to pay for your attorney upfront, the attorney will accept a percentage of the settlement or award you receive at the end of your claim. This can substantially decrease your financial worries during a time when you may find yourself struggling to pay the bills due to high medical bills and an inability to work in your usual capacity.

What if I Do Not Win My Case?

If an attorney accepted your claim on a contingency fee basis and you did not win a settlement or award as a result of your case, you do not need to pay your attorney. Typically, however, an attorney who accepts a claim on a contingent fee basis will not accept a claim if he feels it lacks adequate evidence or support for you to win an award or settlement. In general, your personal injury attorney only gets paid if you do.

Can You Afford Not to Hire an Attorney?

In all those worries about money after an accident, many people forget one key consideration: whether they can afford not to hire an attorney.

Having an attorney on your side in a personal injury claim can offer these critical benefits.

The attorney can help collect evidence regarding your claim. Your attorney will investigate your claim, seeking evidence about how your injuries occurred and who bears liability for your accident. The attorney may investigate the scene of the accident, talk with witnesses, examine video footage, and even bring in an expert witness to look over the scene of the accident, if warranted. This evidence can help prove who caused your accident and provide you with the evidence you need to present to the insurance company or to help support your claim if the case must go to court.

The attorney can help you better understand how much compensation you deserve for your injuries. Often, private individuals have little understanding of how much compensation they deserve following a serious accident. The compensation you receive will depend on a variety of factors. An attorney will help evaluate those factors and give you a strong understanding of how much compensation you should expect for your injuries.

This may include:

  1. Taking a look at the insurance policy limits that covers the liable party. In the case of a personal injury claim, this may mean following the law to demand a disclosure from an auto insurance policy. For property insurance limits, a business insurance policy, or a medical malpractice policy, it can be more difficult to obtain the needed information, but it can be accomplished. The limits of the insurance policy may determine how much compensation you can ultimately receive for your injuries.
  2. Evaluating your injuries and medical bills. Injuries like traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, for example, may bring with them ongoing, substantial medical expenses. Even injuries like broken bones can lead to significant medical expenses. Your medical expenses often form the foundation for your claim, so an attorney will work closely with you to look at your medical expenses from the accident.
  3. Including the time you spent off work and how it impacts your income after substantial injuries. Many people must miss substantial time at work as a result of severe injuries. Even employers willing to work with an accident victim may struggle to allow that employee to continue working when the employee’s injuries cause substantial limitations. Including those lost wages as part of the personal injury claim can help the victim continue to provide for his family.

Many accident victims find that an attorney substantially increases the compensation received after an accident. The insurance company may, for example, attempt to offer a low settlement immediately after the accident, or continue to provide low offers to a private individual dealing with the claim alone. Hiring an attorney often increases the insurance company’s willingness to offer the funds the victim deserves as well as clearly defining the full compensation the victim deserves.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can identify all parties who bear liability in an accident. Sometimes, more than one party may share liability for the injuries you suffered in your accident. A personal injury attorney can help identify all parties who share liability, which can ultimately increase the compensation you can receive.

Abels & Annes, P.C.An attorney can provide guidance and support throughout your claim. An attorney can give you a better idea of what to expect, whether you need to know more about the discovery process or how to deal with questions from the insurance company that covers the party liable for your accident. Not only that, the attorney will handle negotiations with the insurance company or liable party on your behalf, which can lead to a significant decrease in the stress you face as a result of the accident. Many victims find that working with an attorney alleviates a great deal of the stress and worry associated with the personal injury claim itself.

Hiring a Chicago personal injury attorney after a serious accident does not have to be a daunting prospect. Most people find that working with a personal injury attorney ultimately increases the compensation they ultimately receive for the accident and their injuries.

Contact an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney as soon after your accident as possible to learn more about the compensation you deserve.

What Is Premises Liability?

When you enter another person’s property, whether their home or business, you expect a certain level of safety. If you were injured on someone else’s property, you might look to the property owner to compensate you for your damages. To learn more about what is premises liability law and how your can recover compensation through a legal professional read on.

Whether the property owner is responsible for your injuries will depend on whether you visited lawfully and how the injury occurred. If the property owner is found responsible, you may be entitled to compensation.

If you were injured on someone else’s property, you will first need to understand their obligations to visitors and what damages you can possibly recover. For that, you will want to hire a Chicago premises liability lawyer.

Is the Property Owner Responsible?

Illinois has codified premises liability responsibilities in the Illinois Premises Liability Act. It spells out the duties of property owners to different types of guests.

Invitees and Licensees

Gary Annes Lawyer
Premises Liability Attorney, Gary Annes

Invitees visit a property for the benefit of the property owner, such as patrons of a business, while licensees enter a property for their own amusement, such as social guests. Illinois requires that property owners show the same level of care for both invitees and licensees.

For any invitee or licensee, the property owner must properly maintain the property free of hazards and must make defects or hazards known. A dangerous condition could include a broken step, unmarked wet floors from mopping, or poorly maintained walkways.

To recover for their injuries, an injured entrant must demonstrate that a dangerous condition existed on the property, the property owner was aware or should have known of the dangerous condition and failed to properly fix or warn of the danger, and the entrant suffered an injury due to the dangerous condition.

Trespassers

A trespasser enters another’s property without permission. Under Illinois law, property owners owe no duty of care to adult trespassers aside from refraining from willful and wanton conduct that would endanger the safety of a trespasser.

The law intentionally excludes recovery for trespassers to adults. The property owner has some responsibility for injuries caused to a child trespasser on their property. A property owner generally has some duty to protect children from enticing conditions that present dangers—traditionally referred to as “attractive nuisances”—such as swimming pools, fire pits, play equipment, abandoned cars, or construction equipment.

To recover damages for a child’s injury, plaintiffs must show that:

  • The owner knew that young children were accessing the property;
  • A defective or dangerous condition existed on the property;
  • The danger was of a type a child could not understand or appreciate; and
  • The cost to remedy the defective was low

If plaintiffs meet the above conditions, the property owner is likely responsible for the injuries of the trespassing child. Keep in mind that the above is only required for trespassing children. The standard duty of care discussed above will apply if a child is an invitee or licensee.

Determining Damages

If a property owner violated a duty of care and caused you injury, your damages will depend on the type of injuries you suffered.

Common damages in a premise liability action include:

  • Medical costs: These include doctor’s bills, hospital stays, and long-term care such as rehabilitation or physical therapy.
  • Loss of income: If your injuries cause you to miss work, you can recover lost income. If your injury affects your ability to advance or continue in your career, you can recover future earning potential.
  • Emotional distress: The event or dealing with injuries often causes emotional distress like depression or anxiety.
  • Loss of enjoyment: Injuries commonly limit an individual’s ability to participate in activities they previously enjoyed. Juries often award damages to compensate for these losses.
  • Punitive damages: These damages are not meant to compensate the plaintiff but instead to punish the defendant for egregious behavior. In Illinois, punitive damages are only available when the defendant acted with evil intent or with reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm.

Calculating damages in premises liability cases is a complicated and fact-intensive process that requires a review of your medical and other expenses.

An experienced attorney can help assess the strength of your case and your ability to recover damages. Your lawyer may hire medical and economic experts to validate your damages claims. An experienced attorney can help coordinate any experts required to analyze or substantiate your damages and help you understand what damages you can recover. If you receive a settlement offer from the defendant or their insurance company, an attorney can assist in evaluating the offer’s fairness.

Speak With a Premises Injury Attorney for More Information

A premises accident attorney is a powerful ally and advocate. If you were injured due to the negligence of a property owner or manager, call a Chicago slip and fall attorney as soon as possible.


Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575