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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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Waukegan Personal Injury Law Firm

Being in a car wreck can be extremely traumatic, even if you did not sustain severe physical injuries yourself. If you witnessed a death or saw severely injured people being pulled from crushed vehicles, you could be at risk of developing emotional disorders such as anxiety or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You could also suffer psychological aftereffects from the nature of the collision itself, such as one involving multiple vehicles, fires, or rollovers. 

Many People Suffer from PTSD After a Car Accident

A study released in 2018 found that roughly one in five survivors of roadway traffic accidents suffered from PTSD. Females and people whose education stopped short of a college degree were more likely than others to develop PTSD. 

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Lake County Boating Accident Attorney

Thanks to their proximity to Lake Michigan and the Chain O’Lakes, Lake County residents have many opportunities to get out on the water and enjoy activities such as waterskiing, jet skiing, fishing, and just floating leisurely, Unfortunately, the more crowded a lake becomes, the higher the chance of a collision and injuries. If you are injured in a boat accident, the first thing you need to determine is whether the boat operator acted negligently or carelessly. If so, you can file a claim for compensation for your injuries, known as a personal injury lawsuit

Negligence in Private Boat Accidents

Some ways a private boat operator might be deemed negligent for an accident on the water include:

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Waukegan Motor Vehicle Lawyer Head-on collisions between two cars are relatively rare compared to other types of car accidents, but they are much more likely to be fatal or cause serious injuries. In Lake County alone, there were 130 head-on collisions—more than two per week—in 2016, the latest year for which complete data is available. 10 of these crashes, 7.7 percent, resulted in a fatality. 33 of these crashes, 25 percent, resulted in serious injuries requiring immediate medical attention at a hospital emergency room. For perspective, there were 2.744 accidents where one vehicle was turning at the time of the crash. Just 0.5 percent of those crashes resulted in a fatality and 3.3 percent resulted in serious injuries.

Head-on collisions do not always involve another vehicle. They can also involve a car running into a tree or embankment. Out of 1,542 crashes involving a fixed object in Lake County in 2016, nine of them, 0.6 percent, resulted in a fatality and 64 of those crashes, 4.2%, resulted in serious injury.

Criminal Charges Help Support Claims for Damages

Excessive speed, improper lane usage, distracted driving, driver fatigue, and alcohol or drug impairment can all contribute to these types of crashes. When a driver is charged with a traffic violation in conjunction with an accident, that helps make the case that the driver was negligent and should be held responsible for financial damages to injured victims. A driver who was particularly reckless and caused a fatality can even be charged with the crime of reckless homicide. If the police do file criminal charges against the driver, that adds substantial weight to the passengers’ claims of negligence and their right for compensation.

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Illinios accident lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illnois personal injury attorney,Truck drivers must have the proper training and education to operate tractor trailers. Trucks can weigh 20 times more than passenger vehicles and pose a great risk to other drivers and pedestrians. Because truck drivers are allowed to operate on the same roads as cars, it is critical that drivers are trained and properly credentialed. However, this does not always occur, and if it does occur, it may not be enough to keep everyone safe. In fact, a large percentage of accidents are caused by truck driver error.

Types of Driver Error

If the driver is at fault -- which is usually the case where the truck is found to have caused the accident -- there are several types of errors that usually can be blamed. (It may be the case that the truck is at fault, but for reasons outside of the fault of the driver, such as a faulty truck part or poorly loaded trailer.) Such errors include:
  • Non-Performance. Operator fell asleep or could not drive due to a sudden health issue like a heart attack or a seizure.
  • Recognition. Operator was distracted and failed to respond to a condition on the roadway. A distraction can be something inside or outside the vehicle.
  • Decision. Operator was speeding, misread the speed of other cars, drove too fast for conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles or made false assumptions about other car’s actions.
  • Performance. Operator overcompensated or froze.

Huge Shortage of Drivers

The trucking industry also has a major shortage of drivers. In 2015, the estimated shortage of drivers was estimated to be 48,000. If the situation does not improve, the shortage may increase in 175,000 drivers needed by 2024. Some safety experts believe that the shortage of drivers forces trucking companies to do minimal training and schedule drivers on routes above their experience levels. This can also cause drivers to be behind the wheel for more hours than allowed. Such situations can cause accidents that leave motorists with severe medical injuries and property damage.

Contact a Lake County 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer

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