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What Is Considered a Personal Injury?

According to Illinois civil law, a personal injury is harm caused by another person’s or party’s negligence. Personal injury cases arise out of the concept of tort law, which is a branch of civil law that deals with wrongs or injuries caused by one party to another. It allows individuals to seek compensation for harm or loss resulting from actions like negligence, intentional misconduct, or strict liability. When a personal injury claim is filed, it indicates that the person or entity being sued has acted negligently or failed to act properly.

If you were injured by another person in Illinois, call the law office of Bogdan Martinovich in Lake County at 847-996-1350 for help with a personal injury claim.

Types of Personal Injury Cases in Illinois

In Illinois, if a person is injured by another person, the victim has the legal right to be compensated for his or her physical injuries and property damage. If the injury is caused by negligent, reckless, or wrongful behaviors of another person, a personal injury attorney can file a claim in civil court to pursue damages against the person or persons who caused the injury.

Claims for personal injuries can include a variety of circumstances, but some of the most common personal injury cases seen in Illinois include:

  • Boating accidents
  • Car and motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Slip and Falls
  •  Dog bites

What Causes the Most Personal Injury Claims?

In Illinois and many other states, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of personal injuries. The Illinois Department of Transportation (DOT) collects and analyzes data on motor vehicle crashes throughout the state. The collected data is uploaded in real-time so it provides historical data as well as up-to-date data on the location, number, and type of motor vehicle crashes that occur on Illinois roads.

As of October 1, 2023, 833 fatal motor vehicle crashes in Illinois were responsible for 905 deaths. Of the 833 fatal crashes, data shows that 193 involved passengers not wearing a seat belt, 138 involved pedestrians, 127 involved motorcyclists, 97 involved a car crash with a semi-truck, 24 involved bicyclists, and 17 occurred in construction work zones.

In addition to statewide data, the DOT provides information on motor vehicle crashes at the county level. In 2022, 399 motor vehicle deaths (31.5%, almost one-third) occurred in Cook County. In 2023, Cook County deaths dropped to 296. In 2022, Lake County motor vehicle crashes caused 60 deaths. In Lake County, 2023 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that traffic crashes remain a primary public safety issue. Car, truck, bicycle, pedestrian, and motorcycle accidents are common occurrences, despite improvements in vehicle safety features, road design, bicycle and pedestrian corridors, and traffic signs.

Other types of personal injuries, like slip and fall accidents and dog bites, are handled under Illinois premises liability laws. These laws state that Illinois property owners owe a duty of care to maintain safe conditions for people who have a lawful right to be on their premises. If personal injuries occur on the premises, negligent parties can be held liable for the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Steps to Take After an Accident in Illinois

Proving fault in a personal injury case requires a thorough investigation by law enforcement, police reports, evidence from the crime scene such as photographs and videos, and statements from witnesses who saw the accident. To win a personal injury case, you should know what steps to take after your accident and when to get a personal injury lawyer.

If you are injured in a personal injury accident, you can protect your legal rights by gathering evidence at the scene. In some personal injury cases, guilty parties make false claims about the accident to protect themselves from legal consequences. If you’re injured in an accident, documenting and preserving evidence of your injuries can help you prove who is at fault.

Gather the following evidence to prove your personal injury case:

  • Take photos of the accident scene, like visible hazards, tire marks, or vehicular damage
  • Take photos of any physical injuries that you sustain
  • Request a police report from officers who investigated the scene
  • Keep records of doctors who treat your injuries
  • Keep all medical records and bills in a safe folder
  • Keep the contact information for all witnesses at the accident scene

When any type of personal injury occurs, it’s essential to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the injury. While some injuries like cuts, bruises, and broken bones may be visible, more serious injuries like internal bleeding and head trauma may not be obvious. Even if you feel like you have minor injuries, see a doctor who can provide medical treatment, document the severity of your injuries, and put together a treatment plan. If you file a personal injury civil lawsuit, the court will look closely at what is considered a personal injury. This includes all medical evidence provided by a licensed medical professional, as well as your follow-up with medical appointments and treatment plans.

Compensation for Personal Injuries

Typically, Illinois personal injury cases get resolved by filing a civil lawsuit in court or reaching a settlement out of court, usually handled between lawyers and insurance companies. No two personal injury cases are the same, but the facts of each case play a role in how the case is resolved, and the compensation awarded to the victim. Important facts in a personal injury case include where the injury occurred, how the injury occurred, the significance of injuries, and who is responsible for the injuries.

Several factors influence whether a personal injury case will go to trial or settle out of court. These factors include:

  • The severity of the victim’s injuries
  • The victim’s amount of pain and suffering
  • The victim’s current and future lost wages
  • The victim’s current and future medical expenses
  • Long-term or permanent injuries to the victim
  • Wrongful death to the victim

When a personal injury victim dies from injuries caused by negligent or reckless actions or intentional conduct of another person, an attorney can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover wrongful death damages for the victim’s family.

Compensatory Damages

In personal injury cases, the types of compensation awarded are classified as “compensatory damages,” and they are broken down into economic damages (special damages) and non-economic damages (general damages).

  • Economic Damages – Economic damages include the type of expenses that are fairly easy to calculate for financial expenses in a personal injury case. Typically, these damages cover the victim’s present and future medical expenses, present and future lost wages, property damage losses, and out-of-pocket expenses. Compensation for economic damages is calculated by adding up all calculable expenses.
  •  Non-Economic Damages – Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate because they are meant to compensate the victim for things that can’t be attached to bills and receipts. These damages are usually awarded for physical injuries that cause pain and suffering, emotional and psychological trauma, loss of quality of life, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium for a spouse, and disfigurement and scarring. Compensation for non-economic damages is often calculated by using a “multiplier method.” This is done by multiplying the total economic damages by a set number, often ranging from 1.5 to 5.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not awarded in every personal injury case. Illinois law only allows a plaintiff to seek these damages if they sustain a bodily injury, physical damage to their property, or are injured due to a defective product. Punitive damages are reserved for instances where the conduct of the defendant was grossly negligent or particularly reprehensible. These damages are meant to punish the defendant while also sending a message to other individuals or companies that such behavior is not acceptable.

The Statute of Limitations

If you file a personal injury claim in Illinois, you must file it within the statute of limitations according to Illinois laws. These laws set a maximum time limit for when legal proceedings must begin after an injury occurs. In Illinois, the statute of limitations applies to all civil cases that proceed to court. If you file a personal injury lawsuit and go to court, you must file your claim within two years of the date of your injury.

In some personal injury cases, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations. One exception addresses legal disabilities and catastrophic injuries. If you suffer a legal disability or catastrophic physical or mental injury that prevents you from filing your lawsuit, the statute of limitations will generally apply from when the disability was removed (from when the victim regained control of his or her mental capacity). Once the victim recovers, he or she will have two years to file a claim.

For help with personal injury claims and damages, contact us for a free case review. Our Lake County Law Office can help you get the compensation you need. 

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association – 1974-Present
Lake County Bar Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Lake County Bar Association Civil Trial and Appeals Committee
Federal Bar Association – Northern District of Illinois
Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States – May 28, 1991
Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association – 1974-Present
Lake County Bar Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Lake County Bar Association Civil Trial and Appeals Committee
Federal Bar Association – Northern District of Illinois
Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States – May 28, 1991

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