How much will it cost to hire a lawyer?
Unlike some lawyers who charge an hourly fee for their time, we represent clients on a “contingency fee” arrangement. This means our attorney’s fees are an agreed percentage of whatever money we are able to recover for our clients. If there is no recovery, there are no attorney’s fees.
There is never any charge to discuss a potential case with one of our attorneys, so feel free to give us a call at 312-527-4500.
Can I hire a Chicago-based lawyer if I live outside of Illinois?
Yes. The most obvious reason to hire a Chicago-based lawyer would be if the accident or injury occurred in Illinois. We regularly represent people who suffered an injury in the Chicagoland area – whether on the roadway, in a hospital, or in some other context – but who live in other states throughout the country.
Another reason to hire a Chicago-based lawyer, even if you live outside of Illinois, would be to hire the attorney you feel most comfortable with, regardless of geographic location. For that reason, we also represent clients in catastrophic injury or death cases arising in other states.
What is a “Wrongful Death” case?
When a person dies as a result of the negligent, reckless or intentional actions of another, the surviving family members have a statutory cause of action for “wrongful death.” In Illinois, such actions are governed by the Wrongful Death Act, 740 ILCS 180/. The Wrongful Death Act allows the surviving spouse or “next of kin” (children, parents, siblings, etc.) to bring such an action against those responsible for causing the death. The surviving family members may recover damages for the harms and losses they have experienced, including their grief, sorrow, and mental suffering. Wrongful death actions typically must be filed within 2 years after the date of death.
Am I entitled to receive Worker’s Compensation?
Most people injured in workplace accidents are entitled to receive Worker’s Compensation – a no-fault compensation system of benefits paid by employers to workers who experience work-related injuries or occupational diseases. In Illinois, the system is administered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and governed by the Workers’ Compensation Act, 820 ILCS 305.
The Workers’ Compensation Act provides that workers injured in accidents that “arise out of and in the course of employment” are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Such benefits may include medical care, temporary total disability (TTD), temporary partial disability (TPD), vocational rehabilitation, permanent partial disability (PPD), permanent total disability (PTD), or death benefits for surviving family members.
How much time do I have to file a personal injury claim?
The time period in which you must file a personal injury claim or else you are forever barred from doing so is called the “statute of limitations.” In general, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is two (2) years from the date of injury, however that often depends on a number of factors. For instance, the Illinois Tort Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 10/8-101, provides that lawsuits against governmental entities or employees must be brought within one (1) year from the date of injury. In other instances, the statute of limitations is “tolled” (or extended) for injuries to minors, mental incapacity or fraud.
This is further reason to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as you suspect a serious injury or death was wrongfully caused, to answer your questions and ensure a potential claim is preserved.
What if I am partially at fault?
Even if you are partially responsible for causing an accident or injury, you may still have a viable claim worth pursuing. If the injury occurred in the workplace – even if you were completely at fault – you may still be entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation. Outside the workplace, the legal concept known as “comparative negligence” provides that if you are 50% or less at fault, your recovery is simply reduced by your percentage of fault. The percentage of fault is ultimately determined by a jury at trial if a settlement cannot be reached.
What if no one is at fault?
For injuries arising in the workplace, you may still be entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation even if no one is at fault. In other contexts, if no one is at fault for causing your injuries or your loved ones’ death, there likely is not a viable civil action.
A large part of what we do is investigate who is at fault for causing someone’s catastrophic injury or death. This often requires speaking with law enforcement, eyewitnesses and medical professionals, and reviewing voluminous records.
We are available to discuss whether or not there is a viable case worth investigating. There is never any charge for such a consultation with our attorneys.
How much is my case worth?
A number of factors impact the value of a personal injury or wrongful death claim. The first two factors are the strength of “liability” and “causation.” Liability means whether you can prove the other person or company did something wrong – either negligent, reckless or intentional. Causation means whether you can prove the wrongful conduct caused your injury.
Assuming you can prove liability and causation, the next question becomes what are your “damages.” Depending on the type of case, the available damages often include “economic” damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as “non-economic” damages, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement and emotional distress. The value of those damages will depend on the nature and extent of your injury, as well as the evidence you have to support those damages.
Sometimes the value of your case may be limited by the ability to collect a full and fair judgment. For instance, if a person is seriously injured in a car accident and there is only $100,000 available in insurance coverage, the person’s recovery may be limited to those policy limits. An experienced injury attorney will explore the nature and extent of your damages – including future damages – and investigate all potential sources for recovery before providing an opinion on the value of your case.
Why is it important to hire a lawyer who tries cases?
The Seventh Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the right to trial by jury in all cases arising in common law, such as personal injury negligence actions. This serves to level the playing field – placing ordinary citizens and their capable trial lawyer on the same level as powerful corporations and insurance companies.
That means if your case cannot be settled, it will likely be decided by a jury at trial. In Illinois, that means a 12-person jury, whose verdict must be unanimous.
If the other side believes your attorney is either an ineffective or inexperienced trial attorney, you are unlikely to receive a fair settlement offer. Conversely, lawyers with a proven track record of success trying cases often incentivize the other side to fully and fairly settle the lawsuit, rather than risk an even larger jury verdict at trial.
If your case does not settle outside of court, it is important to know you have a proven, experienced trial lawyer in your corner to present the most persuasive and powerful story at trial.
What if my employer is responsible?
Most workplace injuries caused by an employer (or co-employees) are subject to Workers’ Compensation, a no-fault system of compensation, rather than a civil lawsuit. There are many exceptions to this general rule, which is why it is important to contact an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible. Even if part of your claim is subject to Workers’ Compensation, there may be other people or companies that can be held accountable in a separate civil action to allow for full and fair compensation for your harms and losses.
How long will my case take?
It is not common for lawsuits to take several years to resolve, although that will depend on a number of factors, including the nature of the claim and severity of injuries. Sometimes a case can resolve sooner when liability, damages and available coverage are clear at the onset.
Our interest is making sure our clients receive full and fair compensation for their injuries – past, present and future. We never recommend settling a case before forming a deep understanding of our clients’ injuries and their prognosis. Ultimately, however, the final decision on when or whether to resolve a lawsuit or take it to court is the client’s decision.
Do you have any unsolicited advice?
Check your auto insurance policy and ensure your uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) limits are adequate to protect you and your family in the event of an unforeseen accident. UM/UIM coverage applies when you (or someone else considered an “insured”) are wrongfully injured or killed by someone without insurance or with minimal insurance. In such instances, you may recover up to the limits in UM/UIM coverage from your own insurance company.
For example, if Person A has $500,000 in UM/UIM coverage, and is severely injured in a car accident caused by Person B with only $25,000 in coverage, Person A may recover up to $500,000 (minus the $25,000 collected from Person B’s insurance company) from Person A’s own insurance company.
The minimum auto insurance coverage limits In Illinois is $25,000. Such a policy will include no more than $25,000 in UM/UIM coverage. In our experience, that is barely enough to cover an overnight hospital stay, let alone the substantial economic and non-economic damages associated with any serious injury.