When Accidents Happen, You Need A Chicago Personal Injury Attorney You Can Trust
Personal injury law involves seeking justice for an injured person when the fault of another causes them injury or death. The law attempts to put the injured party in the financial position that they would have been in if the accident had not happened by paying the wronged person money damages. Justice and fairness require the wrongdoer – rather than the person who is injured – to pay for the damages. Our lawyers at Berg & Berg Attorneys at Law have a combined 75 years of experience helping clients throughout Illinois.
Skilled In Assisting Victims After Many Different Types Of Accidents
Our attorneys have significant trial and litigation experience and possess the skills and resources to handle even the most complex personal injury and wrongful death cases in Chicago. They have successfully represented clients in claims alleging many types of negligence, including:
- Auto accidents, which are, unfortunately, very common
- Truck wrecks, including those involving 18-wheelers
- Pedestrian injuries, which include those from slip-and-falls and accidents involving buses or other vehicles
- Professional negligence, including medical malpractice
- Construction accidents resulting in the need for workers’ compensation benefits
- Motorcycle crashes, which can cause catastrophic injuries
- Boating accidents, which can include dealing with various necessary parties
- Product liability cases, which involve products that cause injuries
Personal injury law not only compensates the injured person, but it also makes society a safer place for everyone by holding the wrongdoer responsible for their actions. While insurance companies typically insure businesses and people for negligence, the costs of lawsuits and damages encourage insurance companies, businesses, lawmakers, manufacturers and even individuals to be more careful and think of new innovations and ways to make their products and premises safer. Ultimately, avoiding accidents saves the economy billions of dollars in lost wages and medical bills.
What Is Needed To Prove Negligence In A Personal Injury Claim?
In Illinois, there are five necessary elements needed to prove negligence in a personal injury claim. The way this is done will vary depending on the type of injury. For this explanation, we’ll use a car accident claim as an example:
- Element one: The defendant owed you a duty of care. Someone had a responsibility to reasonably ensure your safety. All drivers in Illinois owe a duty of care to all others on the road to drive in a manner that minimizes the risk of auto accidents.
- Element two: The defendant breached their duty of care. You must show that the at-fault party breached their duty of care to you by driving in a dangerous and/or illegal manner (speeding, texting, driving drunk, etc.).
- Element three: You can show cause-in-fact. This means showing that you would not have been injured had the defendant not breached their duty of care.
- Element four: You can prove proximate cause. This is closely related to element number three. You need to show that the defendant’s actions were the reason for your injuries and that they can’t be easily explained by other factors.
- Element five: You suffered damages due to the accident/injuries. If someone behaved negligently but you didn’t experience any losses or damages because of it, then there would be no reason for the legal claim. Therefore, you must show that, because of the car accident, you experienced injuries, medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Some of these elements are easy to prove, while others are best achieved with the help of a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer.
Common Questions About Personal Injury Law
Below are answers to questions that our team frequently receives. If you would like to discuss details of your case in particular, contact us.
When should you hire a Chicago personal injury attorney?
Where a personal injury lawsuit is concerned, time is of the essence. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to do their best work when they become involved in your case as soon as possible after the injury was sustained. That way, they can assist with evidence preservation, conduct a timely investigation of the causes of the accident, speak to the insurance companies on your behalf and better protect your rights.
What damages can you recover in an Illinois personal injury lawsuit?
Fair compensation can include economic, noneconomic and punitive damages, as follows:
- Economic damages include easily quantifiable losses, such as the costs associated with your medical care, lost wages and reimbursement for damaged or destroyed property.
- Noneconomic damages include compensation for the physical and emotional distress caused by the injury, including compensation for your trauma and reduced quality of life. This is commonly called “pain and suffering.”
- Punitive damages are solely designed to punish bad conduct and deter others from similar behavior when the other party’s actions were deliberate or especially outrageous.
Does Illinois limit how much you can receive in damages?
The Supreme Court of Illinois has declared all attempts to impose caps on personal injury damages, including compensation for pain and suffering, to be unconstitutional. That means that the damages you receive can truly reflect of your losses.
Will your personal injury case go to trial?
Experienced attorneys always try to settle a personal injury claim through negotiation with the insurance company and individuals involved. However, when the other party is being unreasonable, our lawyers will be unafraid to fight for the compensation you deserve in court.
How long do you have to file a personal injury claim in Illinois?
For most personal injury matters, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury. If you try to file a claim after that time, you will likely be out of options. Additionally, it is wise to consult a lawyer as soon as is reasonably possible to preserve as many legal options as you can.
How does a contingency fee structure work?
You may have heard that nearly all personal injury firms (including us) take cases on a contingency-fee basis, but you might not be sure what that means. Simply put, it means that we won’t get paid unless you do. Before taking any case, our attorneys will discuss the details with you to assess whether there is a reasonable chance of a successful outcome (based on things like available evidence). If they take your case, they will assume the financial risk and front all the costs. We will only get paid if and when our lawyers help you recover money through a settlement or a judgment.
When they are successful, then their fees are taken as a portion of how much money they helped you obtain. In Illinois, standard contingency fees range from about 33% to 40% of the award. This means that your legal fees will be considerably less than the amount that you recover. Even after adjusting for attorney fees, the amount of your compensation will likely be much higher than what you could have obtained by negotiating directly with insurers. In short, the contingency-fee model will be a win-win for both you and your lawyer.