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Ryan R. Bradley
Ryan R. Bradley
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The Basics: What You Really Need to Know About Personal Injury Lawsuits


Champaign Urbana Personal Injury LawyersWe have all heard the story.  A little old lady orders a cup of coffee from McDonalds and is badly burned and files a lawsuit against the Golden Arches.  The old lady, her name was Ms. Liebeck by the way, wins a recovery and the country was alerted to the ranks of the dreaded personal injury lawyers.  The Hot Coffee case is interesting, and will be discussed in another post, but the reality is that unless you were injured, and hired a lawyer, the very basics of personal injury in Illinois are misunderstood.

personal injury lawsuit is defined as an injury, be it physical or emotional, an individual receives from another person.  In Illinois, the Illinois Code deals with these actions.  These injuries can occur on a sports field, in a vehicle, at a place of business, or at the individual’s place of employment.  Pretty much any place that any number of us frequent each day. The lawsuit is brought to seek payment for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills.  Essentially, in a personal injury case in Illinois, all the plaintiff is asking for is to be put to the position he or she was in before the injury–there is certainly no windfall.

Some of the injuries considered a “personal injury” are:

  • vehicle accident
  • slip and fall
  • dog bite
  • exposure to toxic chemicals
  • workplace injury (including carpal tunnel)
  • defective products
  • medical malpractice

The statute of limitations on filing a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois is generally two years.  This is the amount of time that an injured party has to file a lawsuit for his or her injuries.  Two years seems like a long time, but in reality it is not, and it is wise to start planning a case immediately.  Many states have statutes of limitation of up to five years, so in reality, the system is set up not to favor the injured in Illinois, but the defendants. Usually, this time limit will start counting down from the time of the injury or incident. Sometimes, if the injury is not realized until after the incident, the countdown may start from the discovery date instead.  In any event, the computation of the time period for the statute of limitations is a very important issue that should be considered in every case.

Additionally, Illinois also has what is call a “comparative law rule” when it comes to sorting out who is at fault for the accident or incident. When an individual seeks damages from, let’s say, a business, it’s not uncommon for that business to point a finger back at the individual and say that they deserve some of the blame. When this happens, the court will look at both sides and decide either who is at fault, or how much both parties are at fault. If the court rules that you are 25% at fault for the incident, then they will deduct 25% from the damages you are awarded to make up for your fault in the incident.  In Illinois, plaintiffs that are more that 50% at fault cannot recover–again, a protection for the defendant.

Something else you may have questions about is the limit on the amount of damages you’re seeking. Some states impose a cap on certain types of damages being sought in person injury cases, but currently, Illinois does not have any caps set for these cases as this was ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.

It is evident that there is far more to personal injury than many people realize, so If you have questions about bringing a personal injury case against someone, please contact us. We offer a free consultation, and would be happy to discuss with you how we can best be of assistance.

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Illinois Plaintiffs Lawyer by Koester & Bradley