Ten Things You Should Know About Illinois Injury Law
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If you are injured because of something someone else did, or something they should have done but didn't, then you might have a good case for a personal injury lawsuit. As you start looking into your options, here are ten things we think you should know:
- Documentation is key. As soon as you can, write down everything that happened when you were injured, and add to it as you recover. Keeping a diary will help if you happen to forget the details as time goes by. It's also a good way to introduce an attorney to the history of your case.
- You will often be up against an insurance company. If you fall on a neighbor's property, get hit by a car, or slip in a grocery store, the other party probably has an insurance policy that covers the situation. This means that when you seek compensation, it will be from the insurance company.
- Hiring a lawyer pays for itself. Lawyer fees tend to deter people from running out and hiring an attorney. First of all, anyone can afford an injury attorney because you only pay if you win. Second, you are more likely to come away with a larger amount if you are represented by an experienced attorney.
- The vast majority of cases settle. Most injury cases end in settlement. For some, it happens early on; others settle the night before trial. Settlement is a compromise, and it saves both sides from further legal costs and the possibility that they could end up worse off after a trial.
- Be prepared for a long haul. An injury lawsuit can take a year, often longer. Talk to your attorney up front about what they expect to happen and when. It can be frustrating if the legal process isn't explained to you.
- There's an attorney out there who has handled a similar case. We always recommend hiring an attorney who has personal injury experience, but usually you can do even better than that. You can find someone who has handled a case with your exact type of injury or against the same kind of defendant.
- You will pay a contingency fee. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. They earn a fee if you win your case. You pay your attorney a percentage of what you recover at trial or agree to in settlement. Generally, the fee is around 1/3.
- You will have to prove negligence. The fact that you suffered an injury is not enough to make a good case. You have to show that it was someone else's fault and that they were not being as careful as they should have been when they caused your injury.
- It's nearly impossible to say how much your case is worth. This is one of the most frequent questions people ask their injury attorneys. At the beginning, most will hesitate to put a dollar amount on it. It's just too unknown. As your case progresses, it might become clearer, but even then it's just a guess.
- You have a limited time to sue. The deadline for filing a lawsuit is called a statute of limitations. For most injury cases, that deadline is two years from the date of the injury. There are some exceptions.
If there's more that you want to know about Illinois personal injury law, ask us. Our service is free, and you can reach us at (800) 517-1614 or (312) 346-5320, or you can contact us online.