Two Basic Issues in Every Personal Injury Claim

Jeremy fell while shopping at a local grocery store, breaking his ankle. His friend, Leah, was bitten by her neighbor’s German Shepherd shortly before another friend, Max, was involved in a serious car accident. In addition to being friends, these people also have something else in common: they all may receive compensation by filing a personal injury claim. While there are many types of personal injury claims, two basic issues arise in every personal injury claim.


An individual may be held responsible for hurting another person, whether the injury happened while using a defective product or during an auto accident.

Some Illinois cases will use modified comparative negligence to decide who is at fault in a personal injury claim. This is sometimes called the 51% rule. What it basically means is that blame can be divided between the plaintiff and defendant in a lawsuit. If the plaintiff is 51% or more at fault, then the plaintiff may receive nothing. If the plaintiff is adjudged to be 51% or less to blame, then the plaintiff will be compensated. However, the plaintiff’s compensation may be reduced based on the percentage of blame assigned to them.

Liability is an important issue. It may affect the compensation you receive, but first, you have to determine the extent of your loss.


The term “damages” refers to the amount of money that compensates someone for a breach or violation of some kind. There are several kinds of damages:

  • Compensatory. This type of damage is given to someone to compensate them for a loss or injury in a personal injury claim.  Similar terms include liquidated damages, nominal damages, and actual damages.
  • Punitive. Someone may be awarded punitive damages in addition to actual damages. Punitive damages can be awarded when the defendant’s conduct has been extremely harmful. This type of damage is not as common in personal injury cases as compensatory damages.

In the situations we mentioned above, Jeremy might recover damages to compensate him for medical expenses and lost wages. Leah also may get medical expenses to recover from her dog bite. Max’s damages might include physical injury, lost wages, and automobile repairs. However, liability and damages go hand-in-hand. Any of these injured people may find their compensation reduced or eliminated because of comparative liability.

Issues in Every Personal Injury Claim Can Be Complicated

Personal injury laws are complicated. Applying them to the facts of your case requires the assistance of an experienced lawyer.

Osvaldo Rodriguez has more than 20 years’ experience helping people like you. Schedule a free initial consultation or ask a question by calling us at 708-716-3441 or by completing the Contact form on our website.

We represent clients throughout the state of Illinois, including Chicago, Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Berwyn, Chicago, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, and all of Cook County, Lake County, Kane County, Dupage County and Will County.

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