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Chicago Personal Injury Overview

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If you or a loved one were involved in an accident or are the victim of medical malpractice, an experienced attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.

The personal injury attorneys at Smith LaCien LLP in Chicago have decades of experience providing trusted guidance to people like you deal with the aftermath of a catastrophic injury or the loss of a family member. We will analyze your case and explore your options for moving forward to get the justice you reserve.

Our reputation for results, now totaling more than $2.5 billion, is proof of our commitment to helping injured people throughout Illinois.

What Is the Definition Of a Personal Injury?

A Personal Injury Glossary

Personal injury is the legal term that refers to any bodily injury, or even a mental or emotional injury, caused by someone else’s negligent actions. For example, a brain injury suffered in a car accident or a broken bone suffered in a slip-and-fall accident may be a personal injury, as could PTSD caused by a dog bite or depression experienced by a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Personal injury law is the body of law that allows people to take action against negligent parties who caused a personal injury.

A personal injury claim is the legal action that people take to recover compensation from the negligent party who caused the personal injury.

Personal injury damages refers to the compensation or money you need to cover your personal injury-related losses, including medical bills and lost wages.

At Smith LaCien, we recognize that most people who come to our law office may never have dealt with a personal injury before. Our lawyers and staff are always available to answer questions, explain processes or simply talk things through at any stage of the case.

How Do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury Case?

Accidents with injuries happen all the time. It’s natural to question whether you have a valid legal claim against a person who caused you harm. An experienced personal injury lawyer can review the facts of your case and make a determination about whether there is sufficient evidence to file a lawsuit. In reviewing a case based on negligence, there must be proof to support  the claim. The proof includes the following elements.

The defendant breached their duty of care. Every person has a duty to refrain from causing harm to others. When driving, for instance, you can satisfy your duty by respecting rules of the road, maintaining your vehicle, and adhering to other road safety standards. If the person who caused the accident was speeding, driving while intoxicated or driving recklessly, they may have breached their duty to other road users, including pedestrians, and breached their duty of care.

The breach was the proximate or legal cause of the victim’s injury. In personal injury law, causation is a very important element, and it can also be the most complex element in the case. Determining the proximate cause of the victim’s injury is at the heart of every personal injury case because it identifies the legally responsible party who bears the financial burden for the victim’s injury. In a vehicle accident, for example, the victim’s injury may be caused by another driver crashing into the victim, but an investigation may reveal that the proximate cause of the victim’s injury was a defective auto part in the other driver’s vehicle. Although the vehicle accident caused the victim’s injury, the legally responsible party may be the manufacturer or seller of the defective auto part.

The victim suffered actual damages. The aim of a personal injury lawsuit is to hold the defendant financially responsible for the losses suffered by the victim. The victim must be able to prove actual damages as a result of their injury or medical mistake.

In short, a victim must prove all elements of negligence to be successful in their claim.

How are Damages Calculated in Illinois?

The goal of a personal injury claim is to get you financial restitution for everything you have lost due to another person’s negligence. Money for economic damages includes the following:

Medical bills: This goes deeper than just getting money to pay the current medical bills. This also includes bills for medical expenses you may encounter in the future. Will the injury likely require additional doctor visits? Is there a need for ongoing physical therapy? Might further surgeries be required? All of these expenses should be included in list of economic damages.

Lost wages: You are also entitled to receive money for wages you have already lost but also wages you may lose in the future. Will you miss more work because of an injury? Will you have to get a new job entirely because you will no longer be able to perform your work duties? Did you lose a loved one who provided economic support that will no longer be available to you now that they are gone? All of these expenses need to be considered when calculating damages.

Non-economic damages: You also may be entitled to compensation for non-economic damages. These are damages that you cannot simply add up like medical bills or lost wages. They include damages for the pain and suffering you experienced, which can be difficult to quantify but should be translated into a dollar value. Our experience as lawyers means we are skilled in doing this complex calculation.

A note on damages and insurance settlement offers: Do not be surprised if the negligent party’s insurer reaches out to you, possibly soon after the accident, to offer you a settlement. On the surface, the amount may seem attractive. Keep in mind that insurers are notorious for undervaluing claims and offering money well before the extent of an injury or the long-term repercussions are understood. Reviewing a proposed settlement with your attorney at Smith LaCien costs you nothing and will provide the peace of mind to know for certain whether the amount is fair before you accept it.

Our goal is nothing short of seeking the maximum financial reward for our clients.

What Type of Injury Have You Suffered?

We have helped clients who have suffered a variety of injuries, including:

  • Brain injuries, which can be catastrophic
  • Back injuries, often leading to other issues
  • Burn injuries and related scarring
  • Broken bones, including broken arms and legs, as well as skull fractures and spine fractures
  • Wrongful death, if you’ve lost a loved one.

What Caused the Injury?

We stand up for people who have been hurt in:

No matter where you are at in the process of seeking legal representation, we are here to help. Our attorneys are committed to getting you the best possible results possible.

Results Matter! And We Get Them.

Some of our verdicts and settlements include:

  • $1.65 class action settlement for victims who were harmed by defective automobile airbags
  • $19 million for the family of a tow-truck driver who was killed in an auto accident
  • $20 million for a college student who suffered a brain injury during an operation
  • $9.5 million for a bike rider who suffered a brain injury in a bike crash caused by a street defect
  • $93 million for multiple victims of a tragic plane crash

These are just a few of our long record of verdicts and settlements in personal injury claims, but they demonstrate the pride we take in making sure that the people we represent not only get justice against those who harmed them, but also get the money they need to move forward after a tragic accident.

What You Should Do If You or A Family Member Is Injured?

Always prioritize medical attention after an accident of any kind. Even if injuries seem minor or not readily apparent, go to a doctor. Many injuries, including brain injuries, are invisible at first but end up causing long-term problems. Catching them early can mean earlier treatment which can be critical. If you end up pursuing a personal injury claim, failing to seek medical attention may be a factor that the opposing party tries to use against you to minimize the injuries.

If the situation allows, any documentation can be valuable. From photos of the accident scene or any injuries to the names and contact information of witnesses to notes outlining exactly what happened, these may all be important for building a personal injury claim. With that said, your well-being and safety are a priority. There will be an investigation afterward to gather details of the accident.

Call Today To Get Started With A Free Consultation

Smith LaCien offers free, no-obligation consultations to accident victims and their families. We also handle cases on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay us anything unless we obtain results. To learn more about how we can help, contact us using our online form or call (312) 509-8900

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