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Waukegan personal injury attorneysIf you or a loved one have been injured, you may wonder whether or not you will be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim. The vast majority of personal injury cases hinge upon the concept of negligence. The word “negligence” is typically understood to mean carelessness or recklessness, but the legal definition is much more specific. In order to prove that a party’s negligence led to your injuries, you will need to demonstrate several things..

Duty and Breach of Duty

When a party has a legal “duty of care” to another party, it means that there is a certain relationship between the parties. For example, doctors and nurses have a duty to provide reasonably competent medical treatment to patients in their care. Similarly, commercial property owners have a duty to keep premises safe for customers. When this duty is breached, it means that the party that owed a duty failed to uphold their responsibility, and such a failure could constitute negligence.

Cause in Fact and Proximate Cause

In order to bring a successful personal injury lawsuit based on negligence, you will also need to prove that the defendant’s action or inaction resulted in your injuries. This is sometimes referred to as “but-for” causation, meaning if it were not for the defendant’s actions, the injury would not have occurred. Medical records are often a crucial element in proving cause in fact. You will need to show that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s actions and were not preexisting. 

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Lake County premises liability lawyersA serious fall accident can happen to anyone. Something as simple as an unsecured rug, spilled liquid, broken step, unstable handrail, or loose floorboard can cause an individual to fall and be seriously hurt. Fall accidents can cause injuries that require extensive hospitalization, surgery, and long-term physical therapy. A person who suffers a fall can also be left unable to work or enjoy life as he or she could before the accident. When a party’s negligence causes an individual to experience a fall accident, the party may be liable for the injured person’s damages. If you ever suffer a serious fall, there are three steps you should take.

Step 1: Go to the Emergency Room or Visit Your Doctor As Soon As Possible

Elderly individuals and those with disabilities are at an increased risk of being hurt in a serious fall.  However, even if you are a relatively healthy person, a slip and fall accident can cause you significant physical harm that results in long-lasting consequences. Traumatic brain injuries and spine injuries caused by a fall are especially concerning. The symptoms of traumatic brain injury are often subtle and the injured person may not immediately realize how hurt he or she actually is.

If you fall and hit your head or suffer any other bodily injury, get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. Not only will getting medical treatment help prevent your injuries from worsening, it may also protect your ability to collect compensation in the future. Medical records detailing your injuries are almost always needed for a successful personal injury lawsuit.

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Waukegan personal injury attorneysWhen most people think of personal injury claims involving car accidents, they typically assume that the driver of one vehicle is bringing a claim against the driver of another vehicle. However, this is not the only type of situation in which a person may be seriously injured in an auto accident. Passenger injuries can be just as catastrophic, if not worse, than driver injuries. If you have been hurt in a car accident and someone else was driving, read on to learn about how you may be able to recover compensation.

Determining Fault in a Passenger Injury Claim

The person at-fault for a car accident involving passenger injuries may be another motorist or it may be the driver of the vehicle that the passenger was riding in. In many car accident cases, the fault lies with more than one party. Often, passengers injured in a car accident feel uncomfortable bringing an injury claim against the driver of the vehicle that they were in because they have a personal relationship with that person. If this is your situation, it is crucial to remember that a personal injury claim is not an attack against the at-fault driver. If you choose to file a claim, you will most likely be bringing the claim against the insurance company, not the individual. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries even if the liable party is your friend, relative, or colleague.

Recovering Compensation for Damages

In order to bring a successful injury lawsuit, you and your attorney will need to prove two main elements: liability and damages. A driver who was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving recklessly, using a cell phone while driving, or otherwise acted negligently will most likely be considered liable for the accident. Damages refer to the economic and noneconomic losses you suffered from the accident. Emergency room bills, expenses related to ongoing medical treatment such as physical therapy, prescription medication costs, and other medical expenses are some of the most common damages awarded in car accident injury lawsuits. Many claimants also pursue compensation for lost income due to missed work. If you had personal property in the vehicle that was damaged or ruined in the accident, you may be eligible for compensation for these items as well. In many cases, a claimant is also awarded compensation for his or her physical pain and mental suffering.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysThe unexpected loss of a loved one is tragic regardless of the circumstances but losing a loved one in a fatal pedestrian accident is often especially heart-wrenching. Knowing that your loved one’s last moments involved a violent vehicle collision can cause you agonizing grief that lasts for years. If you have lost a loved one in this manner, you know that personal grief is not the only consequence of such a tragedy. You must also find a way to survive the burdensome financial consequences of the loss. One way that you may be able to receive financial relief is through a wrongful death claim.

Determining When a Successful Wrongful Death Claim Is Possible

In January of this year, a 46-year-old woman died after being struck and killed in a Waukegan hit-and-run accident. Drivers who leave the scene of an accident after striking a pedestrian are likely to face serious criminal consequences for their actions. Drivers involved in pedestrian accidents while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) will also face criminal charges. Although criminal charges are not a requirement for a successful personal injury claim, criminal charges are likely to make the process of recovering damages easier.

If the pedestrian accident was not the result of DUI, hit and run, reckless driving, or another violation of the law, the driver’s fault for the accident will need to be established. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you gather evidence and examine information that may prove the driver’s negligence.

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Waukegan personal injury attorneysAlthough most people rarely consider it, driving a motor vehicle is a tremendous responsibility. A several-thousand-pound vehicle traveling at a high speed is capable of causing catastrophic damage to both property and human life. When a motorist drives in a way that puts other people’s lives in danger, he or she may be charged with the criminal offense of reckless driving. Reckless driving can cause other motorists, passengers, and pedestrians to be severely injured or even killed. If you or a loved one were hurt in a car accident involving reckless driving, you may bring a civil claim against the reckless driver in addition to any criminal charges he or she faces.

Illinois Reckless Driving Laws

In Illinois, there are two main ways that a person can be charged with reckless driving. Per the Illinois Vehicle Code, a person commits the offense of reckless driving if he or she:

  • Drives with an intentional or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property; or
  • Intentionally uses an incline, such as a railroad crossing or hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne.

In practice, a person may be charged with reckless driving if he or she drives at extremely high speeds, follows too closely, erratically changes lanes or weaves in and out of traffic, drives over the center line, fails to stop at stop signs and red lights, or otherwise drives in a way that endangers other people’s lives.

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