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IL injury lawyerPersonal injury claims are used to pursue compensation for a person who has been injured due to the wrongful or negligent actions of another party. The other party may be an individual or it may be an organization such as a manufacturing company or business. The term “damages” is used to describe the harm for which a personal injury plaintiff receives compensation. In some cases, additional compensation called “punitive damages” is awarded.

Reckless Indifference to a Risk of Harm

Typical damages in a personal injury claim include medical expenses, lost income, reduced future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are above and beyond compensatory damages and are intended to punish the at-fault party for behavior that is especially reprehensible. Illinois law states that a plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages if he or she can prove that the defendant’s actions were with “evil motive” or reckless disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are referred to as “exemplary” damages because they are designed to “make an example” out of the defendant and discourage other parties from acting similarly.

Obtaining Punitive Damages in an Injury Claim

Punitive damages are not recoverable under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act or in medical malpractice cases. However, punitive damages may be available in cases involving product liability, car accidents, premises liability such as “slip and fall” injuries, and other types of injuries. In order to obtain punitive damages, your attorney will need to show “clear and convincing” evidence that proves the egregiousness of the defendant’s actions. The court will consider factors including the duration and frequency of the plaintiff’s misconduct, the type of harm suffered by the plaintiff, whether the defendant attempted to conceal the reckless or dangerous behavior, and the overall facts of the case. In Illinois, the amount of money that may be awarded in the form of punitive damages cannot exceed three times the amount of compensation awarded for economic damages.

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IL accident lawyerIf you were hurt by the actions or negligent inaction of another party, you may be left with significant financial losses and painful, long-lasting injuries. Ideally, the responsible party and/or insurance company would reimburse you for these expenses, however, getting full compensation through these means is often next to impossible. Insurance companies typically try to settle for less than the injured person’s damages are actually worth and may disregard non-financial damages like pain and suffering. In many cases, bringing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party is the best way to recover compensation after a slip and fall accident, car accident, or other injury-causing incident. If you are interested in pursuing a personal injury claim, you may wonder exactly how a personal injury lawyer will benefit your case.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney Increases Your Chances of Success

There are many different reasons that retaining a skilled personal injury attorney will improve your chances of successfully recovering compensation. Your personal injury attorney will help you:

  • Determine the Liable Parties: In many cases, determining which party is liable for an accident is not as straightforward as you may assume. For example, the party legally responsible for a truck accident may be the truck driver, the trucking company, the company that manufactured a faulty truck part, or several other parties. The party liable for a medical mistake could be the doctor himself or herself, the hospital or medical facility, or the manufacturer of a defective medical device.
  • Gather Evidence to Support Your Claim: To win a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the other party’s negligence or wrongdoing caused your injuries and that you suffered damages as a result. Your attorney will help you gather evidence such as photographs, surveillance camera footage, maintenance records, event data recorder files, and medical records and use this evidence to create a strong argument against the defendant. He or she will also gather testimony from those who were witnesses to the accident as well as expert testimony from medical experts, accident reconstructionists, and other professionals.
  • Reach a Settlement That Covers Your Full Damages: Without an attorney advocating on your behalf, you may settle for significantly less compensation than you are entitled to. For example, you may recover compensation for your past medical bills but not the expensive physical therapy and prescription medication you will continue to need long after the case is over. Your attorney will help you negotiate a settlement that gets you the full financial recovery you need and deserve.
  • Present Your Case During Litigation: If a settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your case may go to trial. Your attorney will represent you and your best interests thought these legal proceedings. He or she will stand by your side so that you do not have to face this intimidating and confusing process on your own.

Contact a Waukegan Personal Injury Lawyer

The accomplished Lake County personal injury attorneys at Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. have more than 85 years of collective legal experience. We have helped countless clients successfully recover compensation for a wide range of injuries. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about how we can help you, call our office today at 847-662-3303.

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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 lawyerWhether it is from staying out in the sun too long, accidentally touching a hot pan, or picking up a smoldering sparkler, most people have experienced at least one minor burn injury. Mild to moderate burn injuries can still be painful, but they do not compare to the extreme pain and dangerous medical complications caused by a severe burn injury. If you or a loved one have suffered a severe burn, you may be wondering what your legal options are. In many cases, a personal injury claim can help a burn injury victim recover compensation while simultaneously holding the party responsible for the burn injury accountable for its negligence.

Consequences of a Severe Burn Injury

Perhaps the most famous personal injury case involving burns is the case involving a spilled cup of McDonald’s coffee. Although the media portrayed the case as an example of a “frivolous lawsuit,” the reality of the situation was quite the opposite. The coffee was outrageously hot – hot enough to cause full-thickness burns to a person’s skin in two to seven seconds. The elderly woman who accidentally spilled the scalding coffee on herself received third-degree burns that required skin grafting and caused extensive disfiguration and horrific pain. Even worse, McDonald’s had received more than 700 other complaints of burn injuries caused by their overly hot coffee before this particular claim. Because the court found McDonald’s actions to be especially egregious, the woman was awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are extra compensation designed to punish the wrongdoer.

Damages in a Burn Injury Case

If another party’s negligent or wrongful actions led to your burn injury, you may be entitled to compensation as well. Damages in a burn injury case typically include compensation for medical bills resulting from emergency room treatment, prescription medication, hospital stays, surgery, and ongoing medical care. Compensation for your physical pain and suffering and mental anguish may also be available. If your burn injury caused you to miss work, you could receive compensation for your lost income. If the injury was so severe that it reduced your ability to work in the future, you could also be compensated for your reduced future earning capacity.

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