Have you suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct? If so, you may have the legal right to hold that party or parties responsible for your injuries and losses.
There is no question that suffering a serious personal injury can be one of the most traumatic and stressful situations in your life. While dealing with the pain and suffering of the injury itself, you may also be unable to work and/or unable to perform your activities of daily living. At the same time, you may be required to seek medical care from multiple doctors and other medical providers, you may have substantial medical bills accumulating, and you may also be dealing with the headaches of car repairs or replacement. The last thing that you need at this time is to take on the substantial burden of trying to handle your own legal case without the knowledge or expertise to do so.
Retaining an experienced and effective Chicago personal injury attorney is critical for the success of your case and to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses. At Drake & Collopy, P.C., our legal team is dedicated to helping you through this difficult time period and to building a strong case from day one. Our attorneys will help you navigate the many challenges that personal injury victims face while giving you the peace of mind that your legal case is in good hands.
As a client, you will have a team of experienced Chicago injury lawyers working diligently and aggressively on your behalf. Our ultimate goal is to secure the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries and your future. The first step is to get in touch with us to discuss your situation.
Personal Injury Law in Chicago
Personal injury claims and lawsuits are complex. The laws are designed to help ensure you receive full and fair compensation; however, unless your case is handled properly from start to finish, that is a very unlikely outcome. Unfortunately, some people attempt to handle their own personal injury cases by dealing directly with the responsible insurance company. Invariably, by the time a problem arises and they decide to reach out to a personal injury attorney, the case has often been irreparably damaged. Not to worry, however; our experienced legal team is here to help.
How Our Team of Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help with Your Case
When you retain our law firm to handle your personal injury case, you can count on us to do the following:
- Conduct a complete and thorough investigation of your accident to determine how your injury occurred and who should be held responsible for the injuries you suffered.
- Retain experts from various fields as necessary, including medical experts, engineers, accident reconstructionists, vocational experts, economics experts, and life care planners.
- Investigate all potential defendants, insurance policies, and avenues of recovery.
- Give you access to our network of physicians, specialists, and other medical providers who can provide medical treatment for your injuries.
- Evaluate your medical records and other relevant records to identify any issues relating to causation or the nature and extent of your injuries.
- Handle all communications and negotiations with the responsible insurance companies.
- Ensure that all documents are filed properly and on time with the appropriate entities.
- Prepare and present a persuasive case in court, at arbitration, or in mediation.
- Negotiate and resolve any health care liens and other liens related to your case.
With our personal injury lawyers working on your behalf, you can focus on your recovery while we focus on the legal case and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
How We Will Work to Prove Your Personal Injury Claim in Chicago
To establish liability in your personal injury case, we will gather evidence to prove the other party acted with negligence or recklessness and that their actions or inactions caused your injuries and losses.
Our team will work to establish the four elements of negligence that are required for any successful Chicago personal injury claim. This includes:
- The at-fault party had a duty to avoid causing you harm or to prevent it
- The at-fault party breached that duty
- The breach by the at-fault party proximately caused your injury
- You suffered damages and losses because of the breach
Evidence from the Scene of the Accident
It is best to gather as much evidence at the scene of an accident as possible. Our team will work to gather evidence if you cannot do it yourself at the scene. Some of the evidence that will help establish liability in your personal injury case includes:
- Visual evidence of the scene of the occurrence, damage to vehicles, any defects or conditions that caused or contributed to your injury, and any visible injuries you sustained. This generally consists of pictures and videos.
- Witness statements from people who witnessed the accident or were present immediately afterward.
- Information from police officers and first responders while they were investigating the accident scene.
Reports and Testimony from Expert Witnesses
In many situations, expert witnesses are necessary to support one or more elements of your case. They are especially necessary in more complicated or severe cases, including medical malpractice claims and cases involving permanent injuries. We can secure the expert witnesses needed to support your case to ensure you recover full and fair compensation.
Types of Damages You Can Recover in Your Chicago Personal Injury Claim
Hiring us means that we will aggressively pursue the maximum financial recovery for your case. Some of the damages that you may be entitled to include:
- Medical expenses: the cost of all related, reasonable, and necessary medical care, services, and treatment you receive and that you will require in the future.
- Pain and suffering: compensation for the pain you experienced because of the accident and injuries and any future pain and discomfort caused by a permanent condition.
- Lost income: compensation for all lost past and future profits or earnings. This also accounts for commissions, bonuses, fringe benefits, and other types of income you would have received if the injury did not occur.
- Loss of a normal life: if you are rendered disabled due to the accident and injury, you can recover compensation for being unable to participate in your normal life activities.
- Emotional distress: compensation for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health conditions related to the accident and injury.
- Damages for wrongful death: if you have a family member who passes away because of an accident or injury, it may be possible to recover for all related medical costs, pain and suffering by the decedent, loss of financial support, loss of companionship or consortium, and funeral and burial costs.
- Loss of consortium of spouse: compensation to a spouse who has lost the services, companionship, or intimacy of the injury victim because of the spouse’s injuries.
- Punitive damages: damages designed to punish someone for reckless or egregious misconduct.
Who Makes Chicago Personal Injury Laws?
Numerous personal injury laws originated as common law principles. In contrast to laws produced by legislators or enacted through bills and legislation, common law is law decided by judges. When a judge hears a case and renders a judgment, their ruling on the underlying legal question becomes a binding precedent for all state courts that are inferior to the determining judge’s court. The first judge’s ruling must then be applied by these other courts, and eventually, a body of common law is established as a result of all of this binding precedent.
The laws governing personal injury law might not be consistent across the nation since common law can and does vary from state to state. Many states rely on the Restatement of Torts, an explanation of the laws that were developed in Illinois, for advice on personal injury cases. This document compiles a significant amount of common law.
There are other sources of personal injury law outside the common law. Personal injury-related laws have been passed by legislatures. For instance, when legislators enacted legislation governing workers’ compensation, they effectively removed all cases of work-related injuries from the purview of personal injury claims and made workers’ compensation the only available remedy for hurt employees. This often bars claims against employers for injuries. The statute of limitations, which establishes a deadline for bringing an injury-related lawsuit in your state’s civil court system, is another state legislation that affects injury claims. Later in this tutorial, we’ll discuss the statute of limitations in general and in Illinois.
How Does a Chicago Personal Injury Case Work?
Since no two incidents are ever precisely the same, no two personal injury lawsuits ever proceed in the same way. However, from a broad perspective, there are some common stages that the majority of personal injury cases follow.
- The Defendant Does Something to Injure Plaintiff – With the exception of contractual breaches, which are dealt with by a different body of law known as “contract law,” the defendant does an act that causes the plaintiff harm. This can involve nearly any wrongdoing on the side of the defendant.
- The Plaintiff Establishes that the Defendant Breached a Legal Obligation – The particular legal duty will depend on the circumstances surrounding the damage. For instance, it is the responsibility of drivers to drive with the degree of caution that a reasonable person would use in such circumstances. Medical professionals are required by law to treat patients in conformity with the accepted medical standard of care. It is the responsibility of manufacturers and distributors to keep harmful or substandard items off the market.
- Settlement Negotiations Take Place – If it is obvious to all parties that the defendant violated a legal obligation, the defendant may desire to arrange an out-of-court settlement. This would entail offering the victim of the harm an offer of monetary compensation in exchange for the victim’s legally-binding agreement not to bring a lawsuit about the injury.
The litigation is over if the plaintiff accepts a settlement. If not, the plaintiff has the option to take the case to court and file a personal injury lawsuit. Even after the lawsuit is filed, settlement talks can carry on, and one can be reached at any point before the civil case is submitted to a jury for a verdict on the defendant’s responsibility. Your best first move, if you’re considering bringing a personal injury claim after any type of accident or event, could be to speak with a personal injury attorney about your case.
Related Article: COMMON TYPES OF SERIOUS AND FATAL INJURIES
What Kinds Of Injuries Does Personal Injury Law Include?
There are quite a few different types of injuries that would fall under the scope of personal injury law. They include the following:
- Injury caused by someone else’s negligence – It is everyone’s responsibility to respect the law and use reasonable caution in all of their activities. If they don’t and you are hurt as a result of their negligence, filing a civil lawsuit to seek damages from them may be justified.
- Injury from a slip and fall – It is the responsibility of every public venue to keep its patrons safe. If they don’t, you may be entitled to compensation from the shop for your injuries if you fall and injure yourself as a consequence of a risk they brought about or let exist.
- Injury caused by purposeful behavior – You have the right to sue someone who willfully causes you harm. Even if they didn’t want to injure you particularly, this still holds true. For instance, you might be able to sue and receive compensation for your injuries in a civil court if your neighbor throws a rock at his brother and it strikes and hurts you.
- Injury caused by a dangerous or poorly-prescribed medicine – When a new drug is released, safety regulations are occasionally forgotten. Usually, class a
- Civil action lawsuits brought against the medication manufacturers result from these situations.
- Injury caused by medical negligence – The law requires doctors to give you comprehensive care. Many things can go wrong when a doctor does not treat a patient in this way. You are able to receive compensation for errors made by your doctors by filing a medical malpractice case.
- Injury caused by a dog attack – Dog bite injuries is assessed under a strict culpability standard. Having said that, if a dog attacks you, you have the right to file a lawsuit and get financial recompense for your injuries.
- Injury from a car accident – One of the most frequent causes of injury is car accidents. Every state mandates that drivers carry liability insurance to safeguard others from such harm.
- Injury caused by an egregious misdiagnosis – Misdiagnosis is a type of medical misconduct that can result in harm. You may be entitled to compensation if the incorrect diagnosis worsens your illness.
- Injury from dangerous or negligent work conditions – Injury resulting from dangerous circumstances at a private residence or public location might be deemed negligent. Legal responsibility may result from this.
- Injury caused by a faulty product – It is a legal need for all items to be safe when used properly. A strict responsibility usually attaches if the product is not safe when used properly. In other words, a manufacturer may be held accountable even though he did not behave carelessly when creating the product.
Steps in a Chicago Personal Injury Lawsuit
To comply with the applicable statute of limitations, it is crucial to file your personal injury case as soon as possible if you do decide to do so. Most personal injury claims in Illinois must be made within two years after the incident that caused the harm. The case will be looked into, and if there is validity to it, the complaint will be submitted to the proper court. After that, the defendant will be given a chance to respond.
- Over the coming months, there will be a discovery process. Each party has the chance to make written inquiries and ask for documents to be reviewed throughout the discovery process. There will also be depositions taken from the parties, witnesses, and experts. Prior to the trial, the attorneys for the parties would interrogate a party or witness while they are sworn in during a deposition. The deposition serves a number of functions, including determining what a party or witness will say at trial, gathering material not covered by written interrogatories, determining how the party or witness may be seen by the jury, and preserving the record for evidence delivered at trial. There may be settlement talks, which might take weeks or months.
- If a settlement cannot be reached, the matter will go to trial. The plaintiff will need to convince the judge or jury of several crucial facts in order to successfully establish responsibility. If the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, whether or not the defendant broke that duty, whether or not the plaintiff sustained injuries, and whether or not the defendant’s breach of that duty was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, should all be included in this evidence.
- If the defendant is found to be liable, the judge or jury will next decide how much money damages should be given to the plaintiff. The precise legal claim, the accident’s circumstances, the victim’s injuries, their severity, and the applicable laws are only a few of the variables that will affect the number of personal injury damages. Compensation damages for personal injuries may include lost earnings, medical costs, pain and suffering, disability, and emotional anguish.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the occurrence of an injury claim, the majority of these claims will be resolved outside of court prior to any civil trial. Additionally, the parties will frequently strike a settlement in personal injury situations before even filing a lawsuit. Although each case is different, the timetable for a typical personal injury lawsuit is shown below. We’ll utilize a scenario in which a vehicle accident led to a brain injury in this example.
How to File a Chicago Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Hiring a personal injury attorney is advised as the initial step since the personal injury claims procedure in Illinois is sometimes complicated and difficult for an individual managing their case alone. In order to assist you in obtaining the most favorable conclusion possible, an expert lawyer can examine the finer points of your case and counsel you throughout the personal injury claims procedure.
One of the twenty-four Illinois circuit courts is where you can file a personal injury claim. The location of a lawsuit can have a big influence on several problems that may come up throughout your case, so you should speak with your lawyer about it in detail. Your claim must be filed in the county where the court has the right to hear it.
The insurance company or the defendant will receive a lien when you hire an attorney in a personal injury case. Your lawyer will compile your records and evidence of any additional harm, such as lost wages, after your medical treatment is complete, and submit them together with a monetary claim. The insurance provider may admit fault or dispute it. The type of your injuries will always be contested by them. The lawsuit is resolved if the parties are successful in reaching a settlement. A lawsuit must be launched if the parties are unable to come to an agreement on a settlement.
Remember, it’s always crucial to seek the guidance and help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Drake & Collopy, P.C., our personal injury lawyers are passionate about winning cases– and with millions recovered for personal injury Illinois victims, we have proven value in winning cases and getting our clients the personal injury settlement they need. If you’re in need of a personal injury attorney in Illinois, get in touch with our team at Drake & Collopy, P.C. by calling 312-262-4872, or by getting in touch with us through our website.
Related Article: WILL COUNTY PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
FAQs About Chicago Personal Injury Claims
Some of the most frequent questions we are asked are addressed below.
When should I call an attorney after suffering a personal injury?
It is best to contact our legal team as soon as you can after your accident or injury. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get started on your case and claim. The longer you wait, the greater the chance that important evidence will be lost or that things are not handled properly.
How much money do I need to hire a personal injury attorney?
None. Our fees are contingent on your recovery and are paid directly from the settlement that you receive in your case. The fee is paid at the end of the case and only if you receive compensation. It is based on a percentage of the amount recovered. We do not get paid unless and until you do, and you never have to worry about paying for our services out-of-pocket.
What if I am partially at fault for causing the accident?
Even though your negligence may have partially led to an accident, it may still be possible for you to recover damages. The amount that you can recover depends on your percentage of fault.
Based on Illinois’s modified comparative negligence law, it is possible to recover damages if you are 50% or less at fault for the accident and the injuries you suffered. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
What are the deadlines to file a case?
In Illinois (like all states), you must file your legal claim within a certain time period, called the statute of limitations, after being involved in an accident or sustaining injuries. The amount of time you have to file depends on the type of claim you have. Generally, your accident claim must be filed within two years of the accident or the injury victim’s death.
If the accident involves a local or state government agency, you have just one year to file your accident claim. If you fail to file a claim within the applicable statute of limitations period, you will lose your ability to receive compensation under the law. Therefore, it is important to contact us without delay after suffering an injury.
Who will cover my medical costs after experiencing injuries?
Even though another party caused your injuries, you are responsible to pay your own medical bills after receiving treatment. If you have health insurance, it is generally best to use it for accident-related treatment. Although you are legally responsible for your own medical bills, you can receive compensation for all reasonable, necessary, and related medical expenses as part of a settlement agreement or award.
If you do not have health insurance or if you have a high deductible, you may not have the ability to pay your medical bills until your case is settled. However, this may result in your medical bills going to a collection agency, which can damage your credit rating. Therefore, it is not an ideal situation. However, we can assist you in finding doctors and medical providers who will wait for payment until the case is concluded.
Am I required to go to court to settle a personal injury claim?
Most personal injury cases are able to be settled out of court. However, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit and go to court in some cases. It is impossible to know ahead of time whether your case will need to be filed in court, but you can feel confident that our team can handle either situation.
Will your firm will take my case?
We recommend that you schedule an initial, free consultation with us to review your potential case to determine whether we can represent you. During the review of your case, we will consider many factors; however, the three primary factors are fault, damages, and insurance.
Our team will analyze the situation to determine the likelihood of proving someone else is at fault for your accident or injuries. We will also consider the nature and extent of the injuries and potential damages in your case. Finally, we will consider what insurance coverages and avenues of recovery may be available to cover your damages. After considering these factors, we can determine whether we are able to handle your case. If we are unable to represent you, we can often refer you to other partner firms who might be a better fit for your case.
What should I do if the insurance company makes a settlement offer right away?
It is important to remember that insurance companies are not on your side. Their only goal is to protect the bottom line of their company. Keep in mind that once you accept a settlement offer, you give up your right to seek any additional compensation. Many insurance companies will try to offer an early settlement to get you to accept it without talking to an attorney. While it may be tempting, especially if you are struggling financially, it is unwise to accept any settlement offer without consulting with us first.
How long will I have to wait to receive compensation for your personal injury claim?
There are many factors that impact how long you must wait to receive compensation for your injuries if your personal injury claim is successful. Unfortunately, it takes time to build a strong case. Some claims can be settled just a few months after your medical treatment is completed. However, others may take years if the case must be litigated in court and ultimately must go to trial. There is no way to give a specific timeframe for your case. However, we can review the facts of your case and advise you what the typical timeframe is for cases like yours.
Types of Personal Injury Cases Our Firm Handles
Our team handles a wide array of personal injury claims. Some of the types of cases we take on include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Accidents Involving Premises Liability
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Dram Shop/Liquor Liability Cases
Contact our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers at Drake & Collopy, P.C.
At Drake & Collopy, P.C., we understand the enormous impact an accident and injury can have on your life. Our experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers are dedicated to aggressively pursuing those responsible for your injuries in order to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
We understand that every case is unique. Our attorneys provide personal attention to each case and client to ensure you have the highest quality legal representation. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct, we encourage you to reach out to us today. Our team is ready to get to work for you!