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Salvi & Maher, L.L.C.

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IL injury lawyerIf you or a loved one have been hurt due to the carelessness or misconduct of another party, you may have questions about what it takes to win a personal injury claim and collect compensation. A personal injury claim may allow an injured individual to recover compensation for medical bills related to the incident, ongoing medical costs, pain and suffering, property damage, lost wages, and more. Most personal injury lawsuits hinge upon whether or not a party acted negligently.

Understanding the Legal Definition of Negligence

Although the word “negligence” is often used as a synonym for inattention or recklessness, the legal concept of negligence is much more precise. In order to prove that a party acted negligently, you and your attorney will need to show that four main elements are present in your case:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant owed the plaintiff, or individual bringing the lawsuit, a “duty of care.” This means that the defendant had a legal obligation to act in a certain way toward the defendant. For example, a doctor owes his or her patients a duty to provide reasonably skillful medical care. A landlord has a legal obligation to keep his or her property free of preventable hazards. A store owner has an obligation to maintain a reasonably safe premise for customers. Drivers have an obligation to drive in such a way that does not present a risk of death or injury to other motorists or pedestrians.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant failed to uphold his or her duty of care.
  • Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries. There are two types of causation: cause-in-fact and proximate cause. Cause-in-fact is sometimes called “but-for” causation, meaning but for the defendant’s actions, the injury would not have occurred. Proximate cause means that an event was related to an injury in such a way that the court considers the event to be the cause of the injury
  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered some type of injury or loss. If a person breached a duty of care but this did not result in any harm, the person may not be considered negligent. For example, if a pharmacist gave a patient the wrong medication but the patient realized the mistake before taking the medication, the patient would not have a valid personal injury claim. However, if the patient took the wrong medication and suffered serious medical complications requiring hospital treatment, the patient may have a valid injury claim.

Contact a Lake County Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one were hurt due to another party’s carelessness or recklessness, contact Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. to learn about your legal options. A personal injury claim may enable you to hold the at-fault party responsible for the wrongdoing as well as recover compensation. Call our office at 847-662-3303 and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our passionate Waukegan injury attorneys.

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IL injury lawyerDogs can be loving, loyal companions. However, dogs who become aggressive toward humans can cause horrific injuries. A dog attack can result in puncture wounds, deep lacerations, nerve damage, broken bones, infection, and other major injuries. These injuries may leave the victim disfigured or disabled for the rest of his or her life. If you were the victim of a dog bite or dog attack, you may be entitled to compensation for your physical and mental injuries.

Dog Attack Laws in Illinois

Animal-related laws vary significantly from state to state. Illinois is a strict liability state when it comes to injuries caused by animals such as dogs. This means that a dog owner may be liable for injuries caused in a dog attack even if he or she did not know that the animal was aggressive or capable of injuring someone. According to Illinois statute, an owner is liable for injuries caused by his or her dog if:

  • The dog attacked, attempted to attack, or otherwise injured the victim
  • The victim was on public property or lawfully on private property when the injury occurred
  • The dog was not provoked to attack

Although the state of Illinois has laws describing an owner’s liability for injuries caused by his or her dog, local laws may differ. According to some local regulations, a dog owner is only liable for injuries caused by a bite if he or she knew that the dog was aggressive or had previously bitten someone before.

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IL injury lawyerBeing involved in a car accident can leave major physical and psychological damage. Car accidents caused by distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), speeding, reckless driving, and other forms of negligence can lead to brain injuries, spine and neck injuries, broken bones, post-traumatic stress disorder, and much more. Injured parties may need expensive medical treatment and be left unable to work, enjoy hobbies, or care for their children. If you or a loved one suffered “whiplash” or other injuries during a car accident caused by the careless or criminal acts of another, a personal injury claim may enable you to recover compensation.

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

Whiplash is a term used to describe a neck injury caused by sudden force. During an auto accident, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the neck may be stretched out in an unnatural way. This hyperextension can cause pain and stiffness in the upper back, neck, and shoulders, headaches, dizziness, and tingling and numbness of the arms. Difficulty concentrating, problems with sleep, memory loss, tinnitus, and fatigue may also be caused by a severe whiplash injury. However, these symptoms are often not immediately noticeable. Pain and other symptoms may develop hours or even days after the accident. Symptoms caused by a neck injury like whiplash typically last for a few weeks but may persist for several months or several years. Many people underestimate the damage caused to their body after being in an auto accident. Even a seemingly minor accident can cause damage to tissues, muscles, and connective tissues. This is one reason why it is so important to get medical treatment after being involved in a car accident.

Proving Soft Tissue Injuries Such as Whiplash is Often Challenging

Unlike a broken bone, a soft tissue injury such as whiplash will not show up on an x-ray. Therefore, proving that the injury has occurred is often quite difficult. Insurance companies may use this as an excuse to offer a settlement that does not even come close to compensating the injured person for his or her damages. If you have suffered a neck injury that has caused you financial hardship, the best way to recover compensation may be to file a personal injury claim. An experienced injury attorney will help you gather evidence that supports your claim. Expert witnesses such as doctors or medical specialists may also be called upon to confirm the extent of your injuries.

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IL injury lawyerFor many Illinois residents, riding a motorcycle is one of the highlights of summer. Although a motorcycle can be an enjoyable mode of transportation, it is also one of the riskiest ways to travel. Statistics show that just under half of all motorcycle accidents result in serious injury. Motorcyclists are also 29 times more likely to die in an auto accident than drivers in passenger cars. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other life-changing injuries are commonly caused by motorcycle accidents. In many cases, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of serious injury. If you or a loved one were hurt in a motorcycle crash in Illinois, you may have questions about how helmets influence personal injury claims involving motorcyclists.

Illinois Law Regarding Motorcycle Helmets

Illinois is one of a handful of U.S. states that do not have a mandatory motorcycle helmet law. Helmets are strongly encouraged, but a motorcyclist cannot receive a citation for not wearing a helmet. However, the law does require motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear eye protection. Glasses or sunglasses made of shatter-resistant material, goggles, or a transparent shield are all acceptable forms of eye protection. Although not required by law, research shows that helmet use significantly reduces the likelihood of serious injury to the face, head, and neck during a motorcycle accident. If an injured motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet or eye protection at the time of his or her accident, it is very possible that this fact will influence his or her personal injury claim.

Pursuing Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle collisions can cause horrific injuries that result in massive medical expenses. An injured motorcyclist may also be unable to work for months or even years after his or her accident. Fortunately, it may still be possible for an injured motorcyclist to receive compensation for these and other expenses even if he or she was not wearing a helmet or other protective gear at the time of his or her accident. Personal injury claims in Illinois are subject to a legal doctrine called “modified comparative negligence.” If an injured party is found to be less than 51 percent responsible for an injury-causing accident, he or she may still pursue compensation through an injury claim. However, the amount of compensation that he or she is entitled to is reduced by his or her percentage of fault.

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IL injury lawyerMost people take prescription or over-the-counter medications from time to time. Whether the medication is for a heart defect, blood pressure problem, skin condition, or another medical concern, you probably trust that the medications you take are safe and effective. Unfortunately, medications with dangerous defects sometimes make their way into consumers’ hands. If you were harmed by a defective drug, you may be left with terrible side effects and insurmountable medical expenses. In some cases, a person who was injured by a defective medication may be entitled to financial compensation.

Drug Defects That May Lead to Product Liability Claims

The United States pharmaceutical industry is worth approximately $482 billion. Although pharmaceutical companies are responsible for countless beneficial and often life-saving medications, there are also times when a medication causes more harm than good. Pharmaceutical companies have a legal duty to ensure that the drugs they manufacture and sell are safe, effective, and meet quality standards. They must also disclose the potential side effects associated with the medication. A medication may be considered defective if it:

  • Was manufactured using the wrong ingredients
  • Contains ingredients of the wrong amounts
  • Poses severe side effects
  • Contains only inactive ingredients

Pharmaceutical companies also have a legal duty to warn consumers of the risks associated with the drug. If a pharmaceutical company knew that the drug carried certain risks and failed to make this information available, it may be liable for any harm caused to consumers of the drug.

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