Three years ago, Jackie suffered serious injuries in an automobile accident. She never filed a claim against the driver who caused the accident. Recently, her friends told her she might be able to get money from a personal injury lawsuit. Her neighbor, Lionel, owes thousands of dollars to doctors after another neighbor’s dog attacked him. Will understanding Illinois personal injury help Jackie and Lionel get the compensation they deserve?
Personal Injury and the Law
A ‘personal injury’ is damage done to a person, not to property. For example, you might fall down in a store, breaking your ankle and your cell phone. You might have a personal injury claim for the medical treatment of your ankle. However, compensation for the cell phone may come through a property damage claim.
Statute of Limitations
Federal and state laws give deadlines for how soon plaintiffs must file a lawsuit after an incident. However, statutes of limitations laws vary from state to state. It’s important to understand Illinois personal injury laws relating to deadlines. For example, most personal injury cases must be filed within two years of the date of injury.
Let’s look back at Jackie, who was in a car accident three years ago. She did not consult an attorney about the accident. If she had, her lawyer might have negotiated a settlement with the insurance company or filed a lawsuit. As it stands now, she has waited three years to explore filing a lawsuit. Unless her attorney can find an exception to the statute of limitations, she may have lost her chance to be compensated for her injuries.
When someone is injured, who caused the injury matters. In some cases, one person will be liable for 100% of the damage. However, fault sometimes is assigned to each party. If the jury says the person who filed a lawsuit is 51% or more to blame, that person probably will not receive any money.
For example, Jackie’s car accident was not entirely the other person’s fault. A jury found that some of Jackie’s actions contributed to the damage. If Jackie had filed a lawsuit, the percentage of blame assigned to her would have affected the amount of money she recovered.
Strict Liability in Some Cases
Instead of comparative fault, sometimes strict liability is used to resolve a lawsuit. A defendant might be held liable for injuries, even if the defendant did not intend or directly cause. For example, the owner of a dog may be responsible for his dog’s actions even if the owner had no idea the dog might bite someone. This legal theory also applies to attacks by other animals and to certain product liability cases.
Use Illinois Personal Injury Law to Get the Compensation You Deserve
Before assuming you don’t have a case, talk to an experienced Illinois personal injury lawyer.
At Osvaldo Rodriguez, PC, we have over 20 years’ experience helping clients with personal injury claims. Schedule a free initial consultation with Osvaldo Rodriguez, a lawyer who has dedicated his career to assisting people like you. Just call us at 708-716-3441 or fill out 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.
Mr. Rodriguez is fluent in both Spanish and English.