If you sustained a physical injury in an accident that resulted from another person’s or entity's negligence, you may file an insurance claim or lawsuit to recover monetary compensation for your damages. A personal injury claim can make you whole again after your accident to the greatest extent possible.
To maximize your chances of recovering favorable monetary damages, retain a personal injury lawyer in Chicago as soon as possible after your accident. Your lawyer can help during the pre-litigation and litigation phases of your case.
- Your attorney can discuss the circumstances of your accident with you and undertake an investigation. That way, they can determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit in the first place.
- Your attorney can gather essential documents in your case and assemble those documents into a settlement demand package for the insurance company to review.
- Your lawyer can assist you during settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives.
If the insurance company, for whatever reason, refuses to offer you fair monetary recovery for your injuries, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf, assist you during litigation, and take your case to the civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing, if necessary.
Throughout your entire case, your lawyer will be available to answer all your legal questions and help you make informed and intelligent decisions, including whether to accept a pending settlement offer. Your attorney will do everything they can to highlight the strength of your case and maximize your total monetary award.
What Is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury claim is a legal claim resulting from another individual or entity's negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. An individual or entity behaves negligently or carelessly when they act unreasonably under the circumstances.
For example, the person or entity might undertake some action that a hypothetical reasonable person should not have taken in the same situation. Alternatively, the negligent party might have failed to take some action that a hypothetical reasonable party should have taken in the same scenario.
When individuals and entities behave negligently or recklessly, serious accidents can happen, leaving their victims with severe injuries.
Some of the most common occurrences that result from the negligence of others include car accidents, commercial truck accidents, bicycle crashes, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip-and-fall accidents on someone else's premises, accidents that result from inadequate security on someone else's premises, construction accidents, and workplace accidents.
If you suffered injuries in one of these types of accidents as a result of another individual’s or entity's negligence, you have legal rights and options that you may consider.
By retaining legal counsel right away, your lawyer can review the accident circumstances and determine the available options you may have in your case. Your lawyer can execute the appropriate option for your case.
Proving Your Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit to Recover Monetary Damages
To recover monetary damages in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the accident victim, not the at-fault party, must satisfy their legal burden of proof. If the accident victim can establish the various legal elements of their case, they can recover financial compensation for their injuries and other accident-related losses.
First, the accident victim must establish that the at-fault individual or entity owed them a legal duty of care. For example, in the context of a slip-and-fall accident that occurred on someone else's premises, property owners have a legal obligation to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for the benefit of most property visitors.
Similarly, in a car accident scenario, other drivers have a duty to drive reasonably, safely, and carefully under the circumstances. They also have a duty to follow all traffic laws and regulations.
Next, the accident victim must show that the other party deviated from or breached their legal duty of care. In a slip-and-fall accident, for example, the property owner might have let the condition of their property deteriorate over time, failing to correct hazards on the property.
Similarly, in a car crash scenario, an accident victim might violate one or more traffic laws, drive while intoxicated, or exhibit various road rage behaviors.
In addition, the accident victim needs to establish that the incident occurred as a direct result of the other party's negligent actions or inactions.
Finally, the accident victim must show, through medical expert testimony, that they suffered at least one physical injury, or a combination of injuries, in their accident.
A skilled personal injury attorney can help you establish the validity of these legal elements to recover compensable monetary damages in your claim or lawsuit.
Some of the most common injuries that accident victims may suffer due to another party's negligence include:
- Soft tissue whiplash injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Rib fractures
- Broken bones
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Internal organ injuries
- Paralysis injuries (both complete and incomplete)
- Eye injuries
- Mouth and teeth injuries
- Internal bleeding
Your attorney can help you gather the necessary records, including medical treatment records and bills, to prove your case. Meanwhile, you can focus on completing your medical treatment regimen and fully recovering from your injuries.
By taking these proactive steps, you increase your chances of making a full recovery from your injuries and obtaining high financial compensation for the injuries you suffered in your accident.
How a Personal Injury Attorney can Help After an Accident
One of the most important steps you can take following an accident is to retain a qualified attorney for personal injury to represent you throughout your case. Do this as quickly as possible after your accident so that your attorney has ample time to gather the necessary documents to support your claim or lawsuit.
First, your attorney can retain an accident reconstructionist to investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine your eligibility for filing a claim. Your lawyer can also retain a medical expert who can causally relate your injuries to the subject accident.
Next, your attorney can assemble important documents into a complete settlement demand package for the insurance company to review. After submitting a demand package to the insurance company, your lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement offer for your injuries.
The length of settlement negotiations will depend on the complexity of your case and the insurance company involved. Often your lawyer will make an opening settlement demand, and the insurance company will respond with an offer. However, initial offers from insurance companies are usually far below the actual value of the case.
Your attorney may continue negotiating with the insurance company representative until the representative either increases their offer significantly or they reach an impasse. At that point, your attorney can help you file a lawsuit in the court system and resolve your case through litigation.
During litigation, your lawyer can prepare you for a discovery deposition and help you answer written interrogatories from the defense attorney in your case. Your lawyer can also represent you at a civil jury trial and introduce supporting evidence (including witnesses) on your behalf.
Finally, your attorney can help you explore alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options, like mediation or binding arbitration, instead of taking your case to a jury trial.
At a mediation proceeding, a neutral mediator meets with the parties, listens to their arguments, and tries to find common ground. In some instances, personal injury cases resolve through mediation, while other parties may come closer to a settlement but still cannot fully resolve their case.
However, the parties try their case before a neutral, third-party arbitrator outside of a courtroom at a binding arbitration proceeding. During a binding arbitration proceeding, the parties introduce evidence, and the arbitrator decides how much money to award the injured accident victim as compensation for their injuries, within a predetermined range.
Your personal injury attorney will be by your side at every stage of your personal injury claim, answering your questions and aggressively advocating for your legal interests.
Pursuing the Monetary Damages That You Need to Recover in Your Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
Victims of serious accidents that result from others' negligence may be eligible to recover monetary compensation and damages to make themselves whole again. The financial compensation that an accident victim may recover will depend on various circumstances.
The circumstances may include:
- The occurrence itself.
- The injuries they suffered.
- The medical treatment that they underwent.
- The cost of that medical treatment.
Specifically, accident victims can recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages in a personal injury claim or lawsuit compensate accident victims for their financial losses, including the reasonable costs of their past and anticipated medical care and treatment.
If they had to miss time from work after their accident, they may also be eligible to pursue a lost income claim. Additionally, if they had to leave their current job or occupation due to their injuries, take a new job, and accept a pay cut, they may be eligible to pursue damages for loss of earning capacity.
In addition to these economic losses, accident victims can recover non-economic damages for their intangible losses related to the accident. Their intangible losses may include compensation for lost quality of life, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of spousal consortium, mental distress, inconvenience, pain and suffering, lifetime care costs, and permanent disability or disfigurement.
Your attorney can help you determine the ultimate value of your case and will help you pursue the maximum monetary compensation you need to recover for your tangible and intangible losses.
Your lawyer can also advise you whether to accept a pending settlement offer from the insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit, litigate your case, and take your case to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.
Speak With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Your Area Right Away
People sometimes believe that their accident case is straightforward and therefore don't need the help of an attorney. This is nearly always a mistake. Insurance companies are usually large organizations with a lot of resources. They have teams of adjusters and lawyers working for the insurance company's interests.
If the insurance company can find a reason to deny you compensation, they will exploit it. The best way to prevent this is by enlisting the help of a lawyer.
Accident victims who suffer injuries because of someone else's negligence can recover various monetary damages. However, accident victims have only a limited time to file a lawsuit seeking the economic recovery they need and deserve. Specifically, according to the statute of limitations, accident victims only have two years from the date of their accident to file a lawsuit.
If an accident victim fails to file their lawsuit within the prescribed statute of limitations period, they forever waive their right to the monetary recovery they deserve.
A skilled personal injury attorney in Chicago area can immediately file a lawsuit on your behalf, especially if the statute of limitations is about to run out in your case. Your lawyer can also help you negotiate favorable settlement or litigation compensation for your injuries by aggressively fighting for your legal rights and protecting your interests.
While a top-rated Chicago personal injury law firm's lawyer can assist you in many ways, you must begin the process by setting up a free case evaluation. Then, you can decide which personal injury attorney is right for you.