When people are hurt because someone else acted carelessly, serious injuries may result that can change a victim’s life forever. These accidents can happen in a wide range of settings, ranging from an operating room to an interstate highway. Injured individuals often can pursue compensation from any parties responsible for causing their harm, and an experienced attorney can help assert their rights. At Leopold & Associates, our Chicago lawyers have represented victims of medical malpractice and automobile accidents for over 30 years. We can explain your legal options and guide you through this process.Protect Your Rights by Bringing a Negligence Claim
A negligence claim often arises when an individual suffers harm that is caused by the reckless or careless actions of another person or entity. While the factual circumstances vary considerably, the main legal elements are somewhat similar in each of these lawsuits. First, it must be shown that the defendant owed the victim a duty, or legal obligation, to meet a certain standard of care. In many situations, such as operating a vehicle, this simply means using reasonable care to avoid posing a foreseeable risk of harm to others. To meet this standard, a driver would need to act as carefully as the ordinary person in a similar situation. However, other contexts may impose different duties of care. A medical malpractice case, for example, requires an injured patient to show that the health care provider being sued failed to act with the same level of precaution as a comparably trained professional from the same geographic region in similar circumstances.
Second, it must be proven that the defendant breached that duty with some careless conduct that fell short of the appropriate standard of care. A driver may fail to yield at an intersection, a doctor may leave a sponge in a patient’s body during surgery, or a city may fail to properly maintain a road, among countless other examples. The next element of a negligence claim consists of proving causation, which means that the victim’s injuries directly resulted from the defendant’s carelessness. Finally, those injuries must have given rise to damages that can be quantified and compensated. Once these elements have been proven, a basic claim of negligence generally can be established.
The compensation received as the result of a successful personal injury claim can be both economic, or objective, and non-economic, or relatively subjective. Economic damages often include past and future medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity, and property damage. Non-economic forms of compensation may include pain and suffering and emotional distress. Recent changes to Illinois law have eliminated caps on non-economic damages, allowing accident victims to pursue the full extent of compensation that they deserve. In some unusual circumstances, punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant that has been proven to have acted intentionally or especially egregiously.
It is crucial to begin the legal process to pursue your personal injury claim as soon as possible. Illinois law contains strict deadlines, known as statutes of limitations, for filing lawsuits. These rules generally require you to bring a case within two years from the date of the accident or injury. Although there are some exceptions, particularly in cases when the harm was unknown for a period of time, it may still be possible for an Illinois court to dismiss your claim if you have not filed within the proper deadline.Explore Your Legal Options after an Injury in Chicago
The injury attorneys at Leopold & Associates represent Chicago residents harmed in motor vehicle accidents or by the carelessness of health care providers. We have helped many individuals in Evanston, Skokie, Des Plaines, and throughout Cook County. We understand that one of our most important roles is to listen to your concerns and support you throughout the entire legal process. To speak with one of our attorneys about your case, call 312-781-6212 or contact us online.