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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 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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Waukegan personal injury attorneysIn Illinois, individuals who are hurt in auto accidents caused by recklessness or intentional wrongdoing may choose to bring a personal injury claim against the party responsible for the accident. Often, people assume that car accident injury claims are brought by an injured driver against another driver. However, the claimant in a personal injury case may be an injured driver, passenger, or a pedestrian. A passenger hurt in an accident may bring a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver even if the at-fault driver was operating the vehicle the passenger was riding in. If you or a loved one were hurt in an auto accident caused by negligence, read on to learn about your right to pursue compensation.

Who is Liable for an Injury-Causing Accident?

Traffic accidents are rarely black and white. There may be a number of factors that led to the accident. Driver inattention, speeding or violation of traffic laws, driving under the influence of alcohol, hazardous weather conditions, and many other elements could all contribute to a serious wreck. It is also possible that more than one person’s actions may have contributed to the accident. 

If you were hurt while riding in a vehicle and the driver of the vehicle you were in is considered to be the at-fault party, you may be hesitant to file a personal injury lawsuit. The at-fault driver may be a good friend, colleague, or even a family member. However, it is essential to understand that an injury claim is not a personal attack on the at-fault driver. In the majority of personal injury claims, the injured party is bringing the claim not against the actual person but against his or her insurance company.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysAs you enjoy your holiday parties this season, it is important to note how seriously Illinois law takes underage drinking. You probably already know that it is against the law for anyone under age 21 to consume alcohol, but you may not know about the laws regarding adults who supply alcohol or drugs to minors. In 2004, Illinois passed the Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act. The Act established a law that holds adults liable for injuries or deaths resulting from underage drinking when the underaged drinking was allowed or encouraged by the adults. It is important for all Illinois residents to be aware of the “social host liability law” and the consequences of allowing a minor to drink alcohol or use drugs.

Wakulich v. Mraz Provoked a Change in Illinois Law

The Illinois law regarding the duty of adults to prevent children from drinking alcoholic beverages was passed in response to a case involving the death of a 16-year-old girl. The young girl was at the home of two brothers, aged 18 and 21, and their father. At the home, the brothers offered the 16-year-old money if she could drink an entire bottle of Goldshlager without vomiting or losing consciousness. The girl consumed the bottle but quickly became unresponsive. Although the young girl was showing obvious signs of alcohol poisoning, the brothers did not seek medical help. The girl was eventually taken to the hospital but the damage to her body was too extensive, and she died due to the extreme binge drinking. 

The girl’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the family who allowed her daughter to drink so excessively, but the case was dismissed by the circuit court of Cook County. The dismissal was upheld both by an appellate court and the Illinois Supreme Court because the law in Illinois at the did not support a finding in the mother’s favor. In response to this case, the Illinois legislature created a cause of action that holds adults liable for supplying minors with alcohol or drugs if the minors are injured or killed as a result.

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Waukegan personal injury attorneysAt grocery stores, shopping centers, and business parks throughout the region, it is not uncommon to see drivers scrambling to find convenient parking spaces. In most parking lots, you can expect the constant movement of cars and pedestrians—the combination of which can easily lead to an injury-causing accident.

Accidents in a parking lot are often caused by drivers not paying attention for various reasons. For example, drivers may distracted by their phones or by small children in the car. Regardless of the cause of distraction or inattentiveness, the outcome is too often an accident involving another car or a pedestrian.

Determining Who Is at Fault for a Parking Lot Accident

The popular belief is that fault in a parking lot crash is equally shared by the drivers involved. However, this is not always the case. A parking lot accident is handled the same way as any other accident on the road would be. This is because parking lots have right-of-way rules that must also be followed and obeyed. A driver who did not yield to another driver or pedestrian with the right of way is likely to be found liable if an accident were to occur.

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