Understanding Personal Injury Law in Chicago, Illinois: A Quick Guide to This Specialized Form of Justice

Personal Injury Law

If you’ve been injured in an accident, whether that is a car accident, dog bite, or slip and fall injury, you’re probably wondering what exactly is unique about personal injury law as opposed to other forms of law – as well as how to receive justice for the injuries you’ve suffered. Today, we’ll explore what makes personal injury a specialized form of law, some specific elements of Illinois personal injury law, and how to prepare yourself for consultation with a personal injury law firm.

Personal injury law focuses entirely on getting justice for those who have been injured by the negligence or malice of another

The American justice system is vast and complicated, and there are innumerable facets of law to explore. Some focus on business contracts, others on the fair application of tax codes, and still others on the equitable division of assets during a divorce. While these are all worthy areas of law, these don’t assist those who have been injured due to the actions of someone else – those who have undergone a personal injury. 

A personal injury can be any manner of circumstances which cause an individual to be injured; some of the most common injuries pursued in court are slip and fall accidents, car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace injuries, and injuries caused by faulty products. Some of these can also encompass more specific types of accidents; for example, birth injuries are a form of medical malpractice, but they are often incredibly complex cases. 

The main focus for a personal injury lawsuit is to compensate an injured person for their injuries; this can include reimbursement for medical bills, paying wages for lost work, and providing a monetary sum meant to offset the pain and suffering that they have endured. 

While the concepts of personal injury are the same across the United States, the application is slightly different in every state, including Illinois

Once you understand what personal injury is in general, we’ll now explore the specifics of Illinois personal injury law.

Firstly, every state has a statute of limitations for how long after an injury you can file; in Illinois, that statute of limitations is two years. This may seem like a long time, but you must consider that most people who work with a Chicago personal injury law firm will attempt to settle with the responsible party’s insurance company first before filing a lawsuit. These negotiations can take months, and only if your lawyer is incapable of making a deal with the insurance agency will they pursue legal action. That’s why it’s essential that you begin working with a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident, so that they have as much time as possible to negotiate a settlement before filing a lawsuit. 

There is one exception, however, and that is if an injury or illness took a long time to manifest after the initial injury or exposure. This is usually reserved for workers who were exposed to carcinogenic substances like asbestos, because cancers can take decades to develop. In most circumstances, though, you need to file within two years of the accident if you want to receive compensation through the legal system.

Another specialized component of Illinois personal injury law is the concept of modified comparative negligence. This means that if you were partly responsible for an accident, you can still receive a settlement, but your compensation will be reduced by how responsible you were. For example, if the court finds that you were 30% negligent, your settlement will accordingly be reduced by 30% of what you might have received if you were entirely blameless in the accident. The ‘comparative’ component is that Illinois law stipulates that if you were more than 50% responsible for an accident, then you cannot receive any compensation whatsoever; essentially, it states that it was your fault you were injured.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, reach out to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible

As mentioned previously, it’s imperative that you get in touch with a qualified Chicago personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after an accident, because you need to get the negotiation process started with the insurance agency. 

Additionally, your lawyer will help ensure that you do not state that you were somehow at fault for the accident; insurance agencies are very good at trying to reduce their monetary compensation for accident victims, and they can take any statement from you as proof that you were to blame for what happened to you. Allowing a lawyer to communicate with third parties on your behalf ensures that you will be represented as fairly and accurately as possible to the insurance agency, and that your claim will be taken seriously. Lawyers also are familiar with what is a good settlement for injuries of your type, and they will fight to get you reasonable compensation.

Personal injury law is much more complex than represented here, so it’s essential that you work with a lawyer should you ever find yourself in an accident. Reach out to a responsible Chicago personal injury law firm as soon as possible, so that you can ensure you receive justice for what happened to you.