Here at Mike Agruss Law, we are proud to serve the citizens of Elgin in personal injury cases, including when you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, and our personal injury lawyers are fully committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that the other party is held legally accountable when negligence occurs. We will fight until the very end to ensure that you receive full financial compensation for all injuries and losses, such as medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and you won’t owe us a dime for our services. Contact our Elgin personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation.
Personal injury lawsuits come in many forms and result from a variety of accidents, such as slip-and-falls, car and motorcycle accidents, and medical malpractice. However, almost all share one common factor, which is an injury caused by the negligence of another person or entity. Here are some of the most common types of personal injury cases:
Motor vehicle accidents make up a significant portion of personal injury claims and can be traumatic experiences, as they often result in serious injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries (SCI), and even death. Most of these injury claims are also resolved in settlement negotiations before a trial is necessary, and compensation for car accident victims can depend on a range of factors, such as the seriousness of the injuries suffered. Illinois also has certain highway laws which may apply to some personal injury cases for auto accidents.
These claims involve a wide range of defective consumer products and are often divided into “design defects,” which involve unreasonable danger in a product’s design; “manufacturing defects,” which refer to the unreasonable danger of a particular product rather than the entire line of products; and “warning defects,” which involve inadequate labeling to warn consumers of an inherent risk of a product.
Despite the extensive testing undergone by prescription drugs before they are released to the public, some dangerous drugs do make it into the market and cause serious injuries and even death, such as the blood-thinners Xarelto and Pradaxa. Another example is Zofran, which has been linked to birth defects and heart defects in newborn babies.
When someone slips and falls due to negligence, such as in a commercial building which had slippery conditions but no warning sign, they may have a viable claim against the business or property owner.
Property owners can also be held liable for other risks and dangers on the premises which result in injuries, such as improper handrails, faulty electrical wiring, or lack of security measures.
Injury (intentional tort)
An intentional tort injury, rather than resulting from negligence or carelessness, involves intentional infliction upon one’s body, such as battery.
A dog’s owner may be held liable for an attack on another person if the dog was not provoked and the victim had a legal right to be where he/she was at the time; other factors may also need to be proven.
Chain of Causation
Some personal injury victims may be tricked by insurers into thinking that immediate compensation can be received with minimal effort, but there are multiple burdens for attorneys to meet to ensure a successful personal injury settlement. This is commonly known as a “chain of causation,” made of four steps which demonstrate that the defendant was indeed responsible for the plaintiff’s accident. If you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence, speak with an experienced accident lawyer as soon as possible, and we will establish these links and fight for full and fair compensation.
Here are the four links which should be established for a successful personal injury lawsuit:
1) Breach & Hazard
This refers to a duty of care that the plaintiff had toward the defendant, meaning a responsibility to act in a safe and cautious manner so as not to create a safety hazard. For example, a driver who is driving recklessly or intoxicated has “breached” his/her duty of care to drive safely on public roads.
2) Hazard & Accident
This stage connects the accident directly to the safety hazard caused by the plaintiff’s breached duty of care, such as when a reckless driver is at fault for an auto accident or someone slips on a wet floor where no warning sign was present.
3) Accident & Injury
For this link, personal testimony and medical documentation are necessary to demonstrate that the plaintiff’s current injuries resulted directly from the accident in question rather than a previous accident, illness, or medical condition. When fall injuries occur but the connection is not clear beyond a reasonable doubt, personal injury law firms may use expert medical testimony to properly correlate the injuries.
4) Injury & Damages
To connect injury and damages, “special damages” such as medical expenses and lost wages may be proven with documentation such as pay stubs and bills, while “general damages” are sometimes more difficult to prove. General damages are often subjective but can be demonstrated with photographs, videos, and personal journals which document the plaintiff’s injuries and lost quality of life during their recovery. Witness testimony – especially from close relatives and friends – is also beneficial for establishing this link in your personal injury claim.
The most common forms of compensation in personal injury claims include:
This refers to the professional wages you could not earn while recovering from your injuries.
Immediate medical attention is usually necessary to diagnose and treat injuries, and ongoing treatment may also be necessary in serious cases. It’s important to keep all paperwork and documentation of your medical expenses, including bills, receipts, and invoices, for use in your injury claim.
Some serious injuries require ongoing physical therapy or rehabilitation, and these costs will also be tracked for your case. Projections for future costs may also be necessary if your claim is underway while you are still recovering.
Costs of the lawsuit
Your compensation can cover money spent on expert witnesses, attorneys’ fees, and other costs associated with the lawsuit. Remember, your attorney doesn’t earn a dime unless you do.
These are relatively rare and only awarded in cases in which the plaintiff acted with extreme negligence or harmful intent. These damages are generally considered direct punishment to the plaintiff in an aim to defer him/her from engaging in similar reckless or violent criminal conduct in the future.
Pain and Suffering
While pain and suffering is a unique form of compensation, “pain” and “suffering” can also be considered separate depending on the case. “Pain” refers to the physical discomfort for which pain medication may be prescribed, while “suffering” can be a much broader concept and include emotional suffering, particularly anxiety and depression but also anger, frustration, or despair. The length of your treatment and recovery will also factor into how you are compensated for this type of damage, and our law offices may be able to help you understand what to expect based on similar cases in the past.
While money may seem like poor compensation for severe psychological/emotional suffering, it is the only way to be compensated by the at-fault party for your injuries and losses. This money can ensure that you receive the best-possible health care as you recover from your injuries, compensate you for lost wages if you miss work, and help you to rebuild your daily life and return to routines and regular functions.
Compensation for pain and suffering has somewhat of a negative reputation, largely because of insurance companies and their efforts to minimize payouts in every way possible, but these payouts are not unreasonable. If you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligence, you should not feel reluctant to pursue the maximum compensation that you’re eligible to earn, and you need an experienced personal injury lawyer who will fight for it and be with you every step of the way.
Personal Injury FAQ
What should I do if the at-fault party who caused my injury is claiming that I was at fault?
Many negligence cases may appear to rely on arguments of the “he-said, she-said” sort, but in reality there is little reason to worry, as experienced attorneys always have very clear plans of action to prove who was at fault in personal injury matters. Although the outcome of a case will depend on which party (or both) was at fault, those who truly were not can rest assured that no false blame will prevail.
What is my personal injury claim worth?
Even two very similar accidents can lead to different outcomes and compensation, depending on: the insurance company representing the defendant; lost wages, both past and future; the injuries’ effects on the victim’s life in a number of ways; characteristics of the parties involved; total medical bills/possible future expenses; and how the percentage of fault is divided among the parties.
Is it necessary to speak to an attorney?
Due to insurance companies’ tireless efforts to protect their interests in potential lawsuits and the complex nature of personal injury claims, it is highly recommended to speak to an attorney. In an accident caused by another person’s negligence, their insurance company will hire an adjuster and possibly a lawyer to defend him/her against the claim, so the victim must be prepared and well-represented.
What if I cannot afford legal representation?
Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.
After an auto accident, should I take pictures of my damaged vehicle?
Yes, if you have the opportunity to do so. Pictures will prove highly valuable in the event that the insurance company refuses to acknowledge the damage/injuries sustained in an accident. It’s recommended to take a few pictures of all four sides of the vehicle, if possible.
Will I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. Most personal injury suits are resolved without resulting in a lawsuit. However, even cases which move on to court are generally resolved at or before mediation, and only a small percentage ever reach the courtroom.
How long will it take for my personal injury case to be resolved?
This is a tough question to answer, as personal injury cases may go through a number of separate phases before they are resolved. First, there is the process of having your injuries diagnosed and treated by health care professionals; then, your attorney will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier to determine a settlement on your behalf. If an agreement cannot be reached within a set period of time, a lawsuit on your behalf may be the next step. Each case is unique, and some will consist of many steps while others will have less and may be resolved faster.
At my deposition, what questions will I be asked?
Generally, insurance defense lawyers ask questions regarding: the severity of your injury; how the injury has debilitated you and/or impeded your ability to work; medical records and history; employment history; and both specific and general information about the accident and how your injury/injuries occurred.
Statute of Limitations
If you’ve been injured in an accident, remember that there is a statute of limitations – a time-limit to file your personal injury lawsuit – and in Illinois the statute is two (2) years from the date of the accident. Our personal injury attorneys will fight to ensure that your rights are protected and you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses, and this includes working with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure fair compensation.
The more severe the accident or injuries, the more time your injury claim may take, often due to ongoing medical treatment for a severe injury or the need for depositions from eyewitnesses or expert witnesses. Some cases are settled in a matter of months, while others – typically those involving serious injuries and/or wrongful death – may take one year or longer to resolve.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today!
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Mike Agruss Law for a free case evaluation. We are a Chicago-based personal injury law firm representing personal injury victims nationwide, and helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will file your car accident claim and take care of the insurance adjusters, future medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, our car accident attorneys are not paid attorney fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.