After an accident, you might be asking yourself, “when should you hire a personal injury attorney?” Retaining legal representation immediately after an accident is the best way to ensure that evidence is preserved and your rights are protected. Thousands of accidents occur each year in Illinois, leaving victims injured and facing financial hardship. When this happens, it can leave accident victims burdened with medical bills, lost wages, and permanent disabilities. A personal injury lawyer can help victims negotiate with the liable insurance company to obtain fair compensation.
When Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Victims of accidents caused by the negligence of another party should consult a personal injury lawyer right away. These accidents can take a variety of forms and occur under diverse circumstances. However, there are several common themes among injury accidents that require the help of an attorney.
If You Have Sustained Serious Injuries Due to an Accident
Personal injury cases are commonly made up of auto accidents, slip and falls, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice claims. These type of accidents can lead to severe injuries, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones or crush injuries
Chicago victims who have suffered severe injuries might require extensive medical treatment, hospitalization, or long-term care. When injuries require higher degrees of medical treatment, the cost of medical bills increases alongside the amount of lost wages, the impact on the victim’s life, and the likelihood of disability. These factors lead to a higher settlement value, which creates the need for legal representation to secure a fair damage award.
If You Are Unable to Work
After an accident, a victim may be unable to return to work during the recovery process. In more serious cases, he or she may be unable to return to work at the same level after rehabilitation, or unable to work at all. In a personal injury claim, victims may face lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and lost potential future income, all of which can be recovered. A personal injury lawyer facilitates this financial recovery, allowing victims to receive financial support for the impact of the accident on their work capacity. Without a lawyer, victims may be unaware of the extent to which their lost earnings can be recovered.
If You Were Left With a Permanent Disability
If an accident has caused a permanent disability, that injury can profoundly impact the victims’ quality of life. Spinal cord injuries can result in lifelong mobility challenges. Traumatic brain injuries can lead to cognitive impairments and memory loss. Severe burns may restrict the victim’s physical abilities and leave permanent scarring. Loss of limbs can impact victims’ abilities to work and care for themselves. Chronic pain can cause persistent discomfort and the need for medication. Permanent disabilities can often demand ongoing medical care, therapy, and specialized accommodations. All of these factors increase the value of a case, which gives the insurance company even more reason to dispute your claim.
If the Accident Was Partially Your Fault
In Illinois, if you are found to be partially responsible for an accident, you can still pursue compensation under comparative negligence laws. The modified comparative fault rule allows victims to recover damages as long as they are less than 50% responsible for the accident. Awarded compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault. For example, if a victim is found to be 20% at fault and the awarded amount is $100,000, the compensation would be adjusted to $80,000. If responsibility is above 50%, victims may not be eligible for compensation. A personal injury attorney can help navigate these laws to build a strong case, considering the shared fault.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Illinois?
In Illinois, accident victims typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. This applies to cases involving car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and other types of personal injuries. If an injury is not immediately apparent after the accident, but the injury is later linked back to the accident as the underlying cause, the victim has two years from the date that the injury was diagnosed to initiate his or her claim. A Chicago personal injury attorney at Ankin Law can help to see if any exceptions to the statute of limitations may apply to your case to allow the claim to proceed after the normal deadline.
What Types of Accidents Lead to Personal Injury Claims?
Personal injury claims stem from a diverse array of accidents, all sharing the common thread of causing harm due to the negligence or intentional actions of others. Among these, car accidents stand as a predominant cause.
In addition to traditional car accident claims, a variety of other motor vehicle accidents yield personal injury cases. These include motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, pedestrian-car accidents, and large truck crashes. These accidents are usually caused by drunk, negligent, fatigued, or distracted drivers.
Slip and fall incidents are also prominent among personal injury cases, often transpiring in public places or on private properties with hazardous conditions. These accidents lead to injuries such as broken bones, sprains, and head injuries, prompting legal action against property owners or managers for inadequate maintenance.
Medical malpractice constitutes many other personal injury claims. When healthcare professionals deviate from established standards of care, patients can suffer harm. Misdiagnoses, surgical errors, prescription mistakes, and birth injuries frequently lead to medical malpractice claims.
Product liability is also a source of personal injury claims. Defective consumer products, ranging from faulty machinery to unsafe pharmaceuticals, can inflict substantial harm, leading to claims against manufacturers, distributors, or sellers for producing or providing dangerous items.
Dog bites, premises liability incidents, assault and battery cases, construction accidents, and public transportation mishaps further round out the landscape of personal injury claims. Given the intricacies of personal injury law, consulting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible is crucial for individuals seeking to secure compensation for their injuries and losses.