Frequently Asked Questions about Illinois Personal Injury Law
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Personal injury lawsuits cover a wide spectrum of injuries and accidents, including car accidents, toxic exposure and poisoning, defective products and other legal issues. In this section you will find common questions and answers we are asked by our clients about personal injury law in Illinois.
What is the first thing I should do if I am injured?
The main thing to do is to write down details, including names, addresses, phone numbers and, in case of car accidents, insurance names and policy numbers from others involved, witnesses and police officers, including their report numbers.
Keep records of where and how the accident happened, including the weather and time of day. Take pictures of the injuries, property damage, and several views where the accident happened.
How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois?
Generally, you have 2 years to file a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois. This is called the statute of limitations period. You may not file after the limitations period is up, your personal injury claim is lost. However certain exceptions apply - either extending or shortening the limitations period.
For example, in claims against state or county run agencies, you have 1 year from the date you knew or should have known the malpractice might have been committed or caused injury.
On the other hand, if the victim was a minor when the injury occurred, depending on the cause of action, the limitations period is usually extended to two years after the minor turns 18 years old.
Because missing your statute of limitations period causes your case to be dismissed, if you want to even consider a personal injury case of any kind it is a good idea to speak with an Illinois lawyer as soon as possible.
What should I bring when I meet my personal injury lawyer for the first time?
The more information you are able to give your personal injury lawyer the better. Anything you have that is relevant to your case, including police reports, photographs, newspaper articles regarding the incident, eyewitness information, details about the conditions surrounding the accident or injury, and any medical reports should be brought to your first meeting. If the other party's insurance company has contacted you, their contact information and any information they provided should be given to your personal injury lawyer as well.
How much will it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Personal injury lawyers almost always accept cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you are not required to pay the attorney's fees until you recover against the party you are suing. If there is no recovery in your case, you do not have to pay any attorney's fees. If you do recover against the other party, your lawyer will charge you a certain percentage of what you recover as their fee.
The percentage of the lawyer's contingency fee varies from state-to-state and depending on the type of case and facts. Typically in Illinois, personal injury lawyers charge between 25 percent to 40 percent of the total amount they recover for you. The most common contingency fee is 1/3.
What award may I receive for my personal injury lawsuit?
This depends on the circumstances of the injury. A good personal injury attorney can assess your unique situation to provide more insight into that question. Often that question cannot be answered right away.
Damages recovered from an Illinois personal injury claim may vary and can include cost of medical bills, lost wages during treatment and the recovery period, future recovery costs, pain and suffering, and punitive damages to punish the defendant for negligent or careless actions.
What if I partially caused my injury?
Even if you might have partly caused an accident yourself, you may still have a case. In Illinois, as long as you were less than 50 percent responsible for your injuries, you can still hold the other responsible party responsible for their share. In Illinois, if the victim is more than 50 percent at fault, he or she collects nothing.
If you have any additional questions about Illinois personal injury laws or would like a referral to an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney, please contact us.