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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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Lake County personal injury attorneysBeing involved in a serious car accident or other injury-causing incident can leave both physical and mental scars. Experiencing the chaos and destruction caused by a major auto accident firsthand can be extremely shocking. Some car accident victims are even witness to the death or catastrophic injury of other individuals involved in the accident such as passengers or pedestrians. Needless to say, these mental images can haunt a person for years. Mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, phobias, and depression can be caused or worsened by a major accident. These injuries may not be observable in the way that a broken arm is evident, but they are just as real.

Signs of Psychological Distress After an Accident

While we often think about physical injuries when we think of the damage caused by major auto accidents, the psychological damage caused can often be just as distressing or even worse than the physical injuries. One mental condition that is especially common in accident victims is PTSD. The symptoms of PTSD may only become apparent weeks or months after the traumatizing event. They include but are not limited to:

  • Nightmares
  • Distressing flashbacks
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Shaking
  • Heart palpitations
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings and
  • Difficulties completing daily living tasks or work-related tasks

If you have experienced these issues after a traumatizing event, speak with a mental health professional immediately.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysCar accidents injure approximately 3 million individuals in the United States every year. While many of these injuries are minor cuts and bruises, traffic accidents can also result in severe injuries that affect the injured person for many months or even years. Sadly, many of these serious car accidents are avoidable. They may be caused by a driver who is not paying attention to the road, is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or worse, intentionally chooses to disobey traffic laws.

When a person knowingly drives in a way that puts the motorists, passengers, and pedestrians around him or her in danger, he or she may be charged with reckless driving. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident caused by reckless driving, a personal injury lawsuit may help you hold the reckless driver accountable for their wrongdoing.  

Illinois Law Regarding Reckless Driving

The Illinois Vehicle Code describes the crime of reckless driving. A person can be arrested and charged with reckless driving if he or she:

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Lake County personal injury attorneySuffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can absolutely devastate a person’s life. When someone’s brain is damaged in an accident, he or she may never be the same again. Traumatic brain injuries can occur when a violent impact to the head causes the brain to strike the skull or when an object such as a shard of glass penetrates the skull and damages the brain. Someone who suffers a TBI may require ongoing, expensive medical treatment and be left unable to work for months or even years. Fortunately, a personal injury lawsuit may be able to help TBI victims recover compensation for their damages.

How Does a Traumatic Brain Injury Occur?

In 2014 alone, nearly 3 million people visited an emergency room for traumatic brain injury treatment. Over 800,000 of these victims were children. Some traumatic brain injuries are relatively minor, while others can cause permanent disability or even death. There are almost countless ways that an individual can suffer a traumatic brain injury. Two of the most common causes of TBI include car accidents and slip and fall accidents. TBIs can also occur during sports, workplace accidents, and gun-related incidents. A child who falls from playground equipment can sustain a TBI if the child’s head strikes a hard object or the ground.

Pursuing Financial Relief After a TBI

If you suffered a traumatic brain injury due to another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries through an injury lawsuit. Negligence often occurs when a person or entity fails to uphold a duty of care and a serious accident results. For example, a shop owner has a duty to keep the store safe for the patrons shopping there. If the owner ignores an unsafe condition or hazard and that negligence leads to a customer’s injury, that customer may have a valid personal injury claim. Similarly, daycare workers have a duty to ensure the safety of the children in their care. If daycare staff do not properly supervise children and a serious accident results, the daycare company could be held liable.  

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