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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 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 accident lawyerMost drivers know that stopping and exchanging contact information after a car accident is the right thing to do. Leaving the scene of an accident is not only unethical, it is also against the law. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a hit and run accident, you may feel confused and frustrated. You may also be completely unsure of what to do next. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take after a hit and run that will improve your chances of recovering compensation for your damages.

Get Medical Help Immediately

Many people do not realize the extent of their injures after being in a car accident because they are in a state of shock. Your injuries may be much worse than you realize. Injuries to the brain and spinal cord are often especially insidious. Your injuries may result in only subtle symptoms at first but then get much worse over time. Without documentation of the injuries after the accident, it may be hard to prove that your symptoms are in fact the result of the accident. Getting evaluated by a medical professional is the best way to ensure that your injuries are properly treated and that you have records of your injuries immediately after the accident.

Call the Police and Collect Evidence

Even if you think that the driver who hit you is long gone, it is imperative that you call the police. A police report is almost always needed for a personal injury claim. Furthermore, the information you provide to police may enable them to catch the person who committed the hit and run. If you are able to, write down every detail you can remember about the accident. Note the make, model, and color of the vehicle that hit you as well as any license plate information you can remember. Even a partial license plate number can help police catch the responsible party. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the location of the accident. If your injuries enable you to do so, collect contact information from any witnesses to the accident. These individuals may be able to provide valuable information to police.

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IL accident lawyerRiding a bicycle is a fun, healthy way to get from place to place. However, bicyclists must share the road with motorists. Distracted driving, drunk driving, and violation of traffic laws often put bicyclists' lives in danger. Many bicycle accidents result in serious injuries and death. In order to help prevent car-on-bicycle collisions, bicyclists are required to follow most of the same traffic rules that motorists must follow. If you were hurt in a bicycle accident and you were violating a traffic law, you may be considered to be partially at fault for the accident. Fortunately, you may still be able to bring a successful personal injury claim.

Bicycle Laws in Illinois

Bicyclists are expected to obey traffic laws and signage. They should travel in the same direction as the motor vehicles on the road. Traveling in the opposite direction of traffic is not only dangerous, it is also unlawful. Bicycles do not typically have electronic turn signals, but cyclists are still expected to indicate when they are turning. A left turn is indicated by placing your left arm straight out to the side. A right turn is indicated by placing your left arm at a 45-degree angle or placing your right arm straight out to the side. Bicyclists are also expected to stop at red lights and stop signs, travel the correct direction on one-way streets, and follow right of way laws at intersections.

Bicycle Accidents Involving Bicycle Law Violations

If you were struck by a vehicle while riding your bicycle, you have probably suffered personal injury as well as damage to your bicycle. A personal injury claim may allow you to collect compensation for the costs associated with the accident. However, if you were violating a traffic law at the time of the accident, you may be considered partially at fault. Illinois is a “modified comparative negligence” state when it comes to shared liability in an accident. This means that you may still be able to recover compensation for your damages as long as you were not more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. If the court determines that you were partially responsible for the accident, the damages you receive will be reduced according to your percentage of responsibility. For example, if you were struck by a car but you disobeyed a traffic signal, the court may determine that you were 20 percent responsible for the accident. If your damages were $10,000 in total, you would receive $8,000.

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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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