Personal Injury Questions Answered By Schaumburg Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal Injury Questions

Will a personal injury lawyer talk directly to a client’s physician while their case is pending?

Generally, the attorney will not talk directly to the client’s physicians while the client is undergoing treatment.  I would not want there to be a note in the client’s medical records that an attorney was trying to guide the doctor towards a specific treatment for our client.  However, an attorney can reach out to the physician for clarification in the medical records or to discuss the need for future medical treatment.  

There are conversations sometimes between my law office and the doctor – when preparing the doctor for deposition or a trial.

In regard to treatment, what happens in instances where a doctor is not communicating well with a client?

If we hear this from our clients, we encourage two things. First, we encourage the client to continue discussions with their doctor about their symptoms, how they are feeling and what their complaints are. In an extreme instance – we would suggest the client write a letter/note to the doctor, letting them know specifics. 

For example, their arm, shoulder, or back continues to hurt after surgery or therapy. This way, the letter/note is recorded into the medical record, which may vital to our case.

When it comes to expressing to your doctor how you feel, we stress to be honest about your aches and pains and don’t be brave or worry that you’re complaining to your doctor. Your aches and pains are important and need to be included in the doctor’s medical record.

Should you gather your own evidence after an accident?

If you can, you should start taking photos of the accident scene. However, if vehicles are moved from the road to a parking lot or to the shoulder of the road, you’re going to lose the juxtaposition of the cars. We certainly don’t want the other driver, who may have caused the accident, to now say they weren’t driving in a particular lane; which photos wouldn’t show if vehicles were moved.  Pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the at-fault driver’s vehicle are important to have. 

In slip and fall cases, it’s critical to photograph the area where you fell, so you can show the condition of the exact area where you fell. If you have to be transported to the hospital by an ambulance, encourage a friend or relative you may have been with to take pictures of exactly where the injury happened.  If you cannot take a picture at the time of the slip and fall, make sure to return to the scene as soon as possible to take the pictures.  

I had a call recently from a woman who is a home health care phlebotomist. She went to a client’s house to take a blood test, left the client’s house, and fell. It was later determined her foot was broken. These slip and fall cases are tough to begin with, but I asked her for a picture of where it happened – and she got a picture. There is an old saying that “A picture is worth a thousand words”  I say “pictures say a could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.”

What are a client’s rights when it comes to repairing their vehicle? Can they take it to their preferred repair facility? 

The client has the right to take the car to wherever they want the repairs to be completed. However, different insurance companies have different approved labor rates. If the body shop the client takes their car to has labor rates that are different, which normally would be the case – because the insurance labor rates are negotiated reduced rates, then the client will be exposed to paying the amount of the additional labor rates and sometimes there could be 60 to 70 hours of labor and a client could be on the hook for more than $1,000 out of their own pocket.

When a person is self-employed, how is loss income calculated for them?

It first starts with the doctor’s authorization to not work. In a client’s medical records, there will be notification that advises a client to not work for a set period of time – let’s say two weeks. To compute lost wages, our client would tell us how much they make on an hourly basis or a daily basis and our law firm will have them sign a wage loss authorization. If the insurance company asks for verification – which they frequently do, we can give a copy of our client’s tax returns for the previous business year.

In some cases, an individual may try to “goose up” their actual earnings and say they make $1,000 a day, yet their tax returns show they lost $20,000 in the business last year, obviously we’re not going to be able to verify that component of the accident. However, it doesn’t kill the case, because a client will still have medical bills, injuries, and pain and suffering.

We frequently see this situation with cab drivers or Uber or Lyft drivers. Due to COVID, a self-employed driver is not going to be able to prove their lost wages in 2020, when people weren’t taking Ubers and getting out as much because of COVID, but we can review their 2019 tax returns, or we can compare it to other Uber drivers for reference.

Can a landlord be held responsible for a dog bite on the property of their apartment complex?

It’s rare for a landlord to be held liable. Generally, a landlord is not in charge of maintaining other people’s property, and a dog is someone else’s property. An example of an instance where a landlord might be liable is if the landlord has a no dog policy and has given warnings to the tenant who owns the dog and the dog bites somebody – maybe you could connect and hook in the landlord to the case.

Another instance where the landlord may be held liable is if they ask the tenant with a dog to have the dog work as security on the property. In this instance, the landlord uses the dog for their own purposes, and we may be able to connect the landlord to the injury.

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys Now

If you have more personal injury questions or wonder whether or not you have a case, call our Schaumburg personal injury attorneys today at 847-434-3555.

What Kind Of Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?

Personal Injury Attorney

What Kind Of Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?

Suffering an injury can be a traumatic experience, especially if the injury is serious and leaves you temporarily or permanently disabled. Something that can be even more disheartening is knowing your injuries would not have been suffered but for the negligence of another party. If this feels familiar to you, you probably have a personal injury claim. The following information will review the basics of personal injury cases, what constitutes a personal injury claim, what types of cases personal injury lawyers handle, and offer the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that we hear from our clients about personal injury claims. If you have any additional questions, want more information, or are ready to schedule your free consultation with our personal injury law firm, please call us today or send us a message directly.

Types of Personal Injury Claims

At the firm of Claim Your Justice, our personal injury attorneys are prepared to work on even the most complex personal injury case types. Our practice areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Motor vehicle accidents.If you’ve been in a car crash, you can make a claim for personal injuries. We work on motor vehicle crashes, multi-vehicle collisions, bus accidents, large truck accidents, and more.
  • Bicycle, pedestrian, and motorcycle accidents. In addition to working on accidents that involve two or more motor vehicles, we also work on accident claims where a bicyclist, pedestrian, or motorcyclist is a victim. These cases often involve very serious injuries and significant damages.
  • Premises liability accidents. When someone is injured on the property of another because of a property owner’s failure to properly maintain the property or remedy a hazard on the property, the property owner can be held liable for damages. Slip and falls, construction accidents, swimming pool accidents, and more are common types of premises liability claim types.
  • Negligent security accidents Another type of premises liability case is a negligent security case. In a negligent security claim, the owner of a property can be held liable if their failure to provide an appropriate amount of security led to a crime that resulted in injuries.
  • Product liability claims. When a consumer buys a product, they expect that product to be safe for use. If the product has a manufacturing, design, or labeling defect, though, it could cause the consumer harm. When this happens, the manufacturer–or another responsible party along the distribution chain–could be held liable.
  • Defective pharmaceuticals. Like using various consumer products, taking an over-the-counter or prescription drug is a choice a person makes because they believe it will serve them well; we never expect legal drugs to cause a significant amount of harm. If a drug is defective and a person suffers adverse effects as a result, the drug manufacturer could be held liable.
  • Nursing home abuse and medical malpractice. Doctors and nursing home professionals have a duty to treat their patients with a high level of care; when this level of care is breached, the harm to patients can be tragic. When a breach of the duty of care occurs, doctors, hospitals, or nursing homes can be held liable.
  • Wrongful death claims. Finally, another type of personal injury claim is a wrongful death claim. When the wrongful act or neglect of one party leads to the death of another, a wrongful death claim for damages can be pursued by the surviving family members.

Elements of a Personal Injury Case

In order for a personal injury claim to be successful, the injured person must be able to prove four elements. Note that the burden of proof is on the injured person; the defendant isn’t responsible for disproving things. The elements of a personal injury claim are:

  • Duty of care. The first element to establish is that a duty of care existed between the defendant and the injured person. In most cases, this is implied, although in some cases, such as premises liability claims, it must be established.
  • Breach of duty of care. The second thing to prove is that the duty of care owed to the injured person was breached by the defendant. Usually, the breach is a result of negligence – the failure to exercise a reasonable degree of care for the situation. However, some personal injury claims, such as defective product claims, are based on strict liability.
  • Causation. Third, an injured person must prove that their injuries would not have occurred but for the defendant’s breach of the duty of care.
  • Damages. Finally, the injured person will need to prove that they suffered actual damages as a result of the accident. In a personal injury claim, both economic and non-economic damages are recoverable. Types of recoverable damages include compensation for medical bills and future medical expenses related to the injury, lost wages, and lost earning capacity, property damage costs, pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Claims

As personal injury lawyers in Schaumburg, IL, we get a lot of questions about the personal injury claims process, what constitutes a personal injury claim, how our lawyers charge, and more. Here are a few answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.

What Qualifies as a Personal Injury Case?  

Unfortunately, you can’t bring forth a personal injury claim just because you got injured; instead, you’ll need to prove that another party was responsible for your injuries, and you’ll need to satisfy the four elements of a personal injury claim listed above. If you’re not sure whether or not you have a personal injury claim, it’s smart to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your options.

What Are the Three Types of Injury?

There are myriad types of injuries that a person may suffer that may result from an accident caused by the negligence of another. Rather than thinking about the three types of injury, it makes more sense to think about the three categories of damages, which are:

  • Economic damages. Economic damages are damages for the actual monetary losses associated with an accident or injury, such as the costs of repairing a vehicle after a crash, or the costs of healthcare and medical bills, or the costs of lost wages if injuries render a person disabled and unable to return to work.
  • Noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages are damages for intangible losses, such as the value of a person’s diminished quality of life, physical pain, and suffering, emotional distress, psychological injury, damage to relationships, etc.
  • Punitive damages. Punitive damages are less common in personal injury claims, but they are awarded in some instances. Punitive damages are used to punish a wrongdoer for the egregious action they took that led to the victim’s harm; they are not intended to compensate the victim. Punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of economic damages awarded to a plaintiff, and are only available if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant’s actions were “with evil motive or with a reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm…”

What Is Included in a Bodily Injury Claim?

A bodily injury claim is exactly what it sounds like: a claim for damages to a person’s body. This terminology is most commonly used in car accident claims and refers to damages for injuries sustained to the victim.

Does Personal Injury Include Emotional Distress?

Yes! As stated above, a person can seek both economic and non-economic damages, including damages for emotional distress, in a personal injury claim.

How Can I Prove My Pain and Suffering?

Proving pain, suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic losses can be more difficult than proving economic losses but this how Claim Your Justice attorneys help. The best way to prove that you have suffered these types of losses is to gather evidence to support your claim, such as testimony from your friends and family, a personal journal, medical evidence, and expert testimony from doctors and mental health professionals. When you choose Claim Your Justice, we can help you to find experts, and also advance the costs of hiring those experts to work on your claim.

What Percentage Do Personal Injury Attorneys Get? 

One common question we hear is about to how much our lawyers get paid. First, it’s important to know we work on a 100 percent contingency fee basis, which means that there will never be any upfront or hourly costs associated with our law firm. A contingent fee means that our fee is contingent on us winning for you; if you do not win, we don’t get paid. If your case is successful, our fee is based on a percentage of your winnings. How much of a percentage varies. For example, if your case goes to litigation, then the percentage could increase. In any case, the most important thing to know about hiring our law firm is that you won’t have to pay if you don’t win, and you won’t have to pay out of pocket.

Call Our Schaumberg, IL Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you’ve been involved in an accident and have suffered a personal injury, our Schaumberg, IL personal injury lawyers want to help you. For a free consultation with our law firm, please call us directly today. We are here to serve you.

Personal Injury In Illinois – 13 Best Questions People Ask

Personal Injury In Illinois

What are the different ways an individual can suffer a personal injury in Illinois?

When talking about personal injury in Ilinois usually there are a variety of circumstances where a person would be injured – such as a car accident. Most people understand they can make a claim from a car accident. However, even car accidents vary significantly.

With the decades of experience we have in our firm, we’re able to help identify whether clients have a claim that is protected and if the law will allow them compensation for their injuries. That’s what we do. Those are the cases where we have the bulk of our client base. 

However, injuries on the unusual side are when people are not sure if they have rights, which can be protected by our firm. For instance, we have a case where a woman was visiting an amusement park, she stepped out of a bumper car and the floor surface of the bumper car ride was wet, causing her to fall. She was seriously injured and required surgery on her leg.

Most people may think things like this just happen, and there’s nothing they can do about it. However, it’s an attorney’s job to determine if someone has a protectable claim and if they can recover compensation for their serious injuries. In cases where someone may not be sure whether they’re entitled to compensation, we encourage those people to reach out to an attorney.

Do you have to suffer only a physical injury to make a claim, or can it also be an emotional injury?

Psychological injuries are certainly compensable as a personal injury in Illinois. We currently have a case where our client, due to the seriousness of the impact from their accident, suffered symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD.

Within a week of the accident, our client went for psychological treatment and was in treatment for more than 1 ½ years. Our client was diagnosed by a psychiatrist and confirmed by a neuropsychological evaluation that they suffered from PTSD. Our client was entitled to a large settlement at the conclusion of their case.

Many times, a client will say they’re emotionally or psychologically injured from their personal injury, but they don’t seek treatment for those psychological injuries or emotional injuries. If there is treatment and diagnosis of psychological traumas after an injury, they are certainly compensable.

I recommend physically or psychologically injured clients go for treatment for their personal injury in Illinois. Even if there’s not a responsible party for your injuries – I think all of us are entitled to medical care for our injuries. 

For example, let’s say we receive a call from a prospective client who was rear-ended at a stoplight, which is a very normal car accident case. However, the accident happened a year ago and the client never went for treatment because they were too busy with work or thought they were not severely injured.

Now a year has gone by and they are finally seeking treatment. Those types of cases are difficult to recover compensation for personal injury clients.

I always put a case in the perspective of a jury. If I take a case to a jury trial, you must remember jurors are regular people just like the client and myself. Most jurors would think that if someone was injured, they would not delay treatment for a year from the date of an accident.

For these reasons, we recommend clients seek medical advice to determine if medical treatment will be necessary and for self-care.

Is emotional distress considered as pain and suffering for a personal injury in Illinois?

It’s two separate categories. Treatment a person receives for their psychological injuries is recoverable as compensatory damages for their medical expenses. However, pain and suffering is evaluated separately from that as to how long a person suffered from a psychological injury – and it’s no different with a physical injury.

You’re going to receive compensable injury, compensatory damages for your medical bills, and then pain and suffering – depending on the nature of the injury. One would be bills incurred in treating an injury, and the second would be pain and suffering and the loss of normal life, which occurred because of the injury – whether it’s physical or psychological.

In cases where insurance companies may be involved, why would someone want to use a personal injury attorney, as opposed to having insurance companies work for you?

We recommend that using an attorney is the best course of action because the attorney has experience in handling similar types of cases and can understand what the true value of a particular injury is.

On the other hand, when an individual is trying to negotiate a case against an insurance company, we don’t feel an individual is equipped with the experience, knowledge, and training to know the true value of a personal injury in Illinois.

The type of negotiation between an insurance company and an unrepresented injured party would not match the level of compensation that could be achieved with an attorney who has the experience that our personal injury firm is able to achieve for the client.

After suffering a personal injury in Illinois, when should someone contact an attorney?

After any type of personal injury in Illinois, contact our office at 847-434-3555 and ask to speak to an attorney. Explain the facts of the case and let the attorney make the determination of how they can help. It’s best to get an attorney’s evaluation of your case.

As a personal injury attorney, what’s your role in representing your clients?

My role is to make sure the client gets the representation they need – from the beginning of their case to the end of their case. A lot of times we’re able to answer questions for clients and help guide them through the course of their claim. Whether it’s through settlement or trial, we’re able to discuss whether the client is entitled to any type of lost wage claim and reimbursement for lost wages.

There are also questions about which type of insurances are available to review. Some cases may have three or four different insurance policies applicable to review. You could have a case where the responsible party has low limits of liability coverage and we must explore whether there are other limits to attack to maximize recovery for our client.

What happens in situations where the other party doesn’t have insurance, or there’s just no way the other party is going to have enough money to pay compensation?

Many years ago, I had a case where a client’s leg was amputated because of a car accident. the responsible party who caused this woman’s leg to be amputated had only $50,000 of coverage available. From an uninsured motorist perspective, our client did not have any additional insurance to cover this case.

It’s essential that those types of evaluations are made. Unfortunately, sometimes there’s not enough insurance available and there is always a maximum.

Many motorists only want to drive their vehicles for the least amount of insurance coverage as possible, which I certainly understand because most motorists will not have to come to the sad conclusion that they don’t have enough extra insurance to cover injuries.

However, in rare instances where that happens, that leaves a very sour taste in everyone’s mouth. As well as their bodies because they’re injured, and they won’t receive the compensation they deserve and need.

What is considered a fair settlement for a personal injury in Illinois?

A fair settlement or a fair recovery is one that fully compensates the client for their injuries, however, there may be insurance limitations preventing that.

I had a young lady as a client who was hit by a drunk driver. She had an excess of $70,000 in medical bills. However, the maximum available coverage was $100,000, meaning that woman will not be appropriately compensated for her injuries. As an attorney, I make sure to do the proper evaluation I need to do to find all necessary insurance. I investigated other potential insurances.

Sometimes I don’t think a fair settlement has been ordered, but I do think it’s a maximum settlement that can be ordered. Getting the maximum settlement is based on the experience of your attorney, and it’s based on how hard an attorney’s going to fight for you.

If you have a firm that has a high volume of cases, there might be motivation to resolve the case quickly and move on to another case and client. In the end, it’s the client that suffers – first from their personal injuries, and second from not getting the maximum recovery for their injuries.

Is it worth it to sue someone for personal injury in Illinois if it appears they don’t have any money?

It’s worth it after you do the proper investigation. Attorneys generally have access to tools, which let us determine if a person has assets that may be attachable, in the event of a Jury Award – which exceeds the amount of insurance available.

After an investigation, nine times out of 10, we can learn whether the responsible person has a business they may have an interest in, or if they have real estate they own.

Do you need a retainer fee for a personal injury attorney?

The basis of the relationship in these types of cases between an attorney and client is a contingency fee, meaning the attorney’s fee is contingent upon a successful recovery. You can say there’s no fee unless we win your case – and it’s a team effort.

The more successful a recovery is for my clients – the more contingency I can make for myself. That’s why we give it the extra fight for our personal injury clients.

Not only do we want to make sure the client receives a maximum recovery, but we also want to make sure our firm is getting the highest value available for the recovery that’s made. That’s how we explain it to clients. I think that puts people at ease a little bit – knowing they don’t have to pay a retainer fee.

I feel it makes people think they are not going to be paying for wasteful efforts. We want to make sure we use the maximum effort with the maximum amount of production when recovering compensation for our client.

How are personal injury settlements paid out?

Typically, a client will have three standard issues for a personal injury in Illinois: medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering don’t have a specific dollar amount like medical bills and lost wages do.

As a component of the case, I want to make sure I have secured all medical bills and records, which I will submit to whoever’s responsible, such as the insurance company or the attorney representing the responsible party.

I want to make sure I present them with an accurate amount of lost wages. The goal is to get all medical bills paid, get all lost wages paid, and get a substantial amount of money for pain and suffering. These are the three main components that go into a general personal injury case.

When you have issues where a client has a scar or substantial scarring – which is called permanent disfigurement, such as with dog bite cases, that will add to the value of the case. Our firm currently has a client who is going to need surgery in about a year to attempt to make their scar less notable.

So, you have medical bills incurred at the time of the accident. You have lost wages. You have pain and suffering. You have permanent disfigurement, and then you frequently will have future medical.

The value of cases is considered at the conclusion of a case. But the payout from the case is generally made at the time the case settles, or shortly thereafter.

However, there are situations where if you have a younger client, such as a minor, and you’re going to get a recovery on a substantial injury, you can do something called a structured settlement to determine what the value is today. The person can be paid out over the next 10 years for their injuries.

It also prevents two things: It prevents the person from receiving money right now and making poor investments, and to have a continuous stream of payments for the next 10 years or so. So, if my client is awarded $100,000 today – it’s $100,000. But if you put that $100,000 into a structured settlement, after the 10 years the client could have gotten paid out $210,000.

Do most personal injury claims go to trial, or do they settle out-of-court?

Most personal injury cases settle either out-of-court or prior to trial. You can have a situation where you have a case that’s in court for an extended period, eventually gets set for trial, and then it settles – either at the beginning of a trial or close to the start of a trial – but those are the extreme situations. In a normal situation,  personal injury cases will settle out-of-court.

What are examples of personal injury cases that go to trial?

Cases where you have a serious personal injury, or if you have a case that’s worth several million dollars or more. Obviously, no company is eager to pay that out. Litigation generally extends the payout because the court system takes a long time.

With the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, it’s affecting the court system, meaning trials are going to take even longer. Currently, cases have been suspended for 10 or 11 months.

Some trial cases can end sooner – if defendants can receive a substantial discount. However, in my experience, I don’t want to give a substantial discount. Therefore, those cases can spend a lot of time in court trying to receive a reasonable settlement for their personal injury case in Illinois with the court.

Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers In Schaumburg

We have over five decades of combined experience and collected millions of dollars for our clients. We know the Illinois and Wisconsin legal systems backwards and forwards. We stick with you and help you Claim Your Justice™.

Call us now at 847-434-3555. The sooner you start, the better chance you have at getting the money you deserve.