Cicero, IL Personal Injury Lawyer

After an accident, you might have painful injuries with no way to afford medical care. You might also be out of work and losing valuable income. An attorney can help you file a personal injury lawsuit.

The term “personal injury” may refer to any physical or bodily injuries. Car crashes, slip and falls, and faulty products are common reasons people file personal injury claims. Talk to an attorney soon, as the deadline for your case might be coming up fast. To succeed, you must meet the civil burden of proof, a preponderance of the evidence, and establish all elements of the defendant’s negligence. This is far from easy, and a lawyer can assist. In some cases, defendants argue that plaintiffs contributed to the accident, and you need to be prepared to defend against these claims. Significant damages might be on the line, including those for your expenses and painful personal experiences. Our team can help you gather the evidence necessary to back up your claims and prove the defendant’s negligence.

Call our personal injury lawyers at the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 for a confidential, free review of your case.

Possible Personal Injuries in Cicero, IL

Personal injury cases tend to encompass claims involving some kind of bodily injury. Because bodily harm might come from all sorts of accidents or incidents, the field of personal injury law tends to be broad and varied. If you are unsure what kind of case you might have, talk to a lawyer. Our personal injury attorneys have experience with various claims and cases, including, but not limited to, those mentioned below.

Auto accidents are possibly the most common kind of personal injury claim. This is likely because people are behind the wheel all day every day, and accidents happen all the time. Injuries may vary from minor to extremely severe, and you deserve fair compensation from the other driver.

Slip and fall accidents are also common, and they are far more dangerous than many people give them credit for. Slip and falls can be embarrassing, and people often try to brush them off to avoid further humiliation. You might slip in someone’s spilled drink or even slip on an unsteady step and fall down the stairs. Injuries might be bad, and a lawyer can help you.

Product liability cases are a subset of personal injuries where defective or damaged goods and products cause accidents. Perhaps you bought a new space heater that was unsafely made and caused a fire, severely injuring you. A lawyer can help you sue the negligent manufacturer and others.

Accidents on transportation are sometimes tricky because transportation companies often try to cover them up. For example, you might be injured in an aviation accident. A crash is certainly possible, but injuries from faulty equipment on board the plane or even in the airport are also possible. Airlines will not hesitate to pressure you into accepting some paltry compensation when you deserve much more. Call a lawyer before accepting anything.

The Right Time to File a Personal Injury Case in Cicero, IL

When it comes to legal action, the sooner you get started with a qualified lawyer, the better. Unfortunately, a common mistake among personal injury plaintiffs is waiting too long. You only have so much time to file your case with the courts before your right to sue disappears.

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Illinois is under 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/13-202. Under this law, plaintiffs have only 2 years from the day they are first injured to file their cases. At first, this might sound like plenty of time, which is why so many injured people wait to speak to an attorney. However, it might take months to prepare your case, and the sooner your lawyer can get started, the better.

Under 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/13-211(a), you might have the statute of limitations tolled and more time to file your claims. Under this law, you can have the deadline tolled if you were a minor when you were injured or if you were under a legal disability.

The statute of limitations for injured minors would be tolled until they turn 18, meaning they have 2 years from their 18th birthday to file the case. A legal disability is a somewhat vague term that might include any mental or physical condition that prevents you from understanding your legal rights or taking legal action on your own. In that case, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the disability ceases, which could be a long time.

What You Need to Prove Your Personal Injury Claims in Cicero, IL

Proving your claims in a court of law is not going to be easy, but our personal injury attorneys can guide you through the process and hopefully get you the compensation you deserve. First, you should determine whether you have the evidence to meet the burden of proof. Next, we need to work on proving how the defendant’s negligent behavior caused your injuries.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof refers to the evidence a plaintiff must present to effectively prove their claims in court. Only the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit has the burden of proof, and defendants are not actually required to present anything at all.

You have likely heard of the criminal burden of proof before. It is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” and an extremely high burden. In civil cases, the burden of proof is usually a “preponderance of the evidence,” and it is not quite as high as the criminal burden.

A preponderance of the evidence might be explained as proof that it is more likely than not that the defendant is responsible for your injuries. Whether you have met your burden in court is up for the jury to decide. As such, we need as much evidence as possible to make sure we meet the burden.

Elements of Negligence

The defendant’s negligence is a major aspect of our burden of proof in your personal injury case. Many injuries from unintentional accidents are based on a legal theory of negligence. Even though the defendant might not have intended to hurt you, they did so negligently, and therefore must be held responsible.

Negligence is comprised of four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. To meet the burden as mentioned earlier of proof, we must sufficiently establish the existence of all four elements. If even one is lacking, we cannot meet our burden.

The first element, duty, refers to the legal obligation owed to you from the defendant at the time of the accident. Exactly what this duty was depends on how, when, and where the accident happened. For example, in vehicle accident cases, the defendant owed a duty to drive with reasonable safety under the circumstances while following the traffic code.

The second element, breach, refers to something the defendant did or failed to do that constituted a violation of their duty. In short, this is the negligent act or omission. In a car accident, the breach might be when the defendant ran a red light. In a slip and fall accident, the breach might be the defendant’s failure to clean up a spill on the floor.

It is not enough to show that there was a breach of duty. We must also show causation, meaning the breach must be the direct and proximate cause of the accident and your injuries. Finally, we must show that your injuries and damages are real, not just possibilities or close calls.

What to Do if the Defendant Claims You Caused Your Own Injuries in a Cicero, IL Personal Injury Case

While presenting evidence to meet the burden of proof and establishing the defendant’s negligence is a major part of your case, it is not the only thing we need to think about. We must also contend with claims and arguments from the defendant that might undermine your own claims. One roadblock many plaintiffs face in personal injury cases is claims regarding contributory negligence.

The defendant might argue that you did something or failed to do something in a way that contributed to the accident. In short, the defendant might argue that you are somehow responsible for your own injuries, in full or partially. This is often an attempt to completely deflect blame or, at the very least, minimize their own negligence so they do not have to pay as much compensation.

Courts are prepared to make decisions regarding contributory negligence. According to 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/2-1116(c), courts may hear evidence from the defendant and determine what percentage of the blame falls on the shoulders of the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s damages might then be reduced in proportion to their share of the blame. For example, if you are found to be 20% to blame, your overall damages may be reduced by 20%.

If you are found to be more than 50% responsible, you may be completely barred from recovering any damages.

Damages Your Attorney Can Help You Claim in a Cicero, IL Personal Injury Case

Your damages should reflect your losses and injuries from your accident, and they form the basis of your compensation. As such, we must present evidence that establishes that your damages are real and how much they are worth.

Your compensatory damages are based on your numerous financial losses related to your injuries in addition to personal and subjective pain or distress.

Economic losses might include hospital bills after an accident, the cost of damaged or lost personal belongings, and even lost income if you cannot work due to your injuries. Tallying up all these costs can be difficult, and keeping thorough financial records after your accident would be wise.

Non-economic damages are far more subjective and usually unrelated to actual sums of money. In many cases, non-economic damages are not based on money at all. Instead, they might be based on your subjective distress, suffering, or pain from the accident and your injuries.

For example, if you survived a particularly traumatic car wreck, you might be left with residual feelings of fear or panic, even when you are not behind the wheel. Another possibility is that your injuries leave you with permanent disabilities, scarring, or disfigurements. In that case, you might have to come to terms with how your body has changed and how you must live your life differently.

Using Evidence to Support Your Cicero, IL Personal Injury Case

We must have some evidence of your injuries and how the defendant caused them if we are to argue your claims successfully. Evidence is a tricky subject, as it tends to vary from one case to another. In some cases, evidence is quickly and easily scooped up by attorneys. In others, it is incredibly difficult to find.

One great source of evidence is photos and videos from when you were injured. If you were in a car accident, take pictures of the crash scene while you wait for help to arrive. If you slipped and fell in a grocery store, take photos of whatever caused you to fall, as it will likely be cleaned up quickly. These photos and videos might preserve details about your accident that we need to support your case.

We should also contact people who were present when you were hurt or otherwise have some personal knowledge about the case. Witness testimony has been known to make or break some cases, especially when witnesses have important information.

Speaking of testimony, yours is extremely important. Even if we do not need you to testify about how the accident happened – perhaps we already have evidence for that – we still need your testimony regarding things like your pain, suffering, and other damages. These are details only you can provide.

Records might also be important. For example, hospital records might shed light on your injuries, how they were caused, and how much they cost to treat. Business records might be important if the defendant is a business organization or an employee is the one who caused your injuries.

Our Cicero, IL Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You with Your Claims

Call our personal injury lawyers at the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 for a confidential, free review of your case.