As you live your daily life, you try to stay safe and healthy in different ways: from following traffic regulations and wearing protective equipment at work sites to attending your doctor’s appointments. However, accidents can happen, and even the most careful of people can get hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence.
If you have been harmed by the negligence or recklessness of another party in Illinois, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. With the help of a Chicago personal injury lawyer, you can receive fair compensation for the expenses and losses you’ve incurred due to the injury.
The steps you’ll have to take will be unique to your case. To give you an idea of how to file a personal injury claim, here’s a quick overview of what you have to do and what you can expect through the process.
Get Checked by a Medical Professional
If you are interested in filing a personal injury claim, it’s crucial that you see a doctor as soon as possible – even if you think you may not be seriously injured. Seeking help from a medical professional not only ensures you receive the care you need but also helps you document your injuries properly. Filing a claim or lawsuit can be difficult without a professional assessment of your damages.
Moreover, make sure to follow your doctor’s orders or treatment plan. Doing anything that can worsen your condition or hinder your recovery, like discontinuing care, can be used against your case.
Gather Documents and Other Pieces of Evidence
In addition to getting the care you need, it’s time to gather evidence related to the injuries and damages you’ve suffered and how the accident affected your life and work. To help you get started, here are some essential documents to gather:
- Medical records
- Bills of medical and other damage-related expenses
- Contact information from witnesses of the accident
- A written account of the events
- Photos of the scene, if possible, and to you if you have markings of an injury
When it comes to maximizing compensation in an injury case, you have to demonstrate the degree to which you’ve been injured, how the accident may have created financial challenges, and how the resulting injuries impacted your life.
Consult Personal Injury Lawyers
The state allows personal injury claimants to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages, such as the following:
- The costs associated with treating the injuries.
- The costs associated with repairing property damage.
- Lost wages from the inability to work due to the injuries.
- Loss of earning capacity due to permanent disabilities.
- The physical pain and suffering you have experienced.
- The emotional distress that was caused by the accident.
- The disability or loss of the enjoyment of life.
- Any trauma and other psychological impacts caused by the accident or injury.
- Grief and sorrow, as well as loss of consortium like companionship, in wrongful death cases
Considering this, valuing claims goes beyond simply adding bills. This is where consulting personal injury or medical malpractice attorneys becomes invaluable.
While small personal injury claims can sometimes be settled without legal help, you’ll want to partner with the best Chicago personal injury lawyer if you have a serious injury case. With their expertise and guidance throughout the process, you increase your chances of getting the maximum recovery for your case.
The good news is that most personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations. You can leverage this to get expert advice on your case, the reimbursement you deserve, and the next steps you can take.
Investigate the Accident and Injuries
Once hired, your personal injury attorney starts looking into the accident by asking you about how it occurred, your injuries, and the treatment plan you’re undergoing. They may also work with accident reconstruction specialists and other experts to understand the factors that led up to the accident.
Around this time, a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer will also identify the individuals or organizations that may be responsible for the incident. This is especially crucial in complicated cases where two or more parties are at fault. Lawyers use their expertise and experience to find and review evidence to build a strong case against them.
Initiate Negotiations and File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Your attorney will then notify the party at fault and their insurance provider about their liability for the injuries and damages you sustained from an accident. This can open negotiations between you and the other party. If these talks are successful, you will receive compensation, and the case will end.
However, if the at-fault party fails to fully compensate you for your claim through a settlement, the claim can be filed as a personal injury lawsuit in an Illinois civil court.
In Illinois, claimants typically have two years from the accident to file a lawsuit. This is known as the statute of limitations. However, certain cases may have different deadlines depending upon the situation and/or exceptions to the general statute of limitations. Failing to pursue legal action within the statute of limitations for your case can cost you your right to use the court process to seek compensation for your injuries.
Present Evidence to the Court
During a personal injury trial, both parties can present information or evidence supporting their respective sides.
If you have been affected by a misdiagnosis or surgical error, a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer can argue on your behalf to establish the facts of the case, the applicable standards of care, and how one or more deviations from the standard of care caused harm. This may include presenting medical records and opinions of qualified medical professionals, along with presenting witness testimony.
The trial could last from weeks to months, depending on the case’s complexity, the severity of your injuries, and the availability of evidence.
Make an Appeal
If your case goes to trial and you believe the verdict was reached unfairly, you have the legal right to appeal the ruling. With that said, you can’t appeal simply because you are unhappy with the outcome. Instead, there has to be some legal mistake that was made that was prejudicial against you.
Personal injury lawyers experienced in appellate work and/or appellate lawyers can review your case to determine if you have valid grounds to appeal a verdict.
How To Know if You Have a Valid Claim
Knowing how to file a personal injury claim is only helpful if your case satisfies legal criteria. While the best way to know this is by consulting a Chicago personal injury attorney or medical malpractice lawyer for malpractice cases, here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started:
- Did the injury result from someone else’s negligence or recklessness?
- Will you need long-term care due to the injury?
- Did the injury cause pain and suffering?
- Did the accident result in disability?
- Are the medical treatments expensive?
- Will you need a long time to recover?
- Did you have to miss work due to your injuries?
- Has the accident caused financial strain?
- Has the accident caused emotional or psychological distress?
Anyone considering filing a claim should understand that they have the burden of proof. As you’re making allegations against an individual or party, you must prove that they are indeed liable for your injuries. Doing this requires evidence, but you cannot use anything you want.
It’s best to work with personal injury or medical malpractice attorneys to find solid evidence and strengthen your claim. Proving another party’s liability for your damages takes work, but they know how to investigate your accident and gather the necessary documents to build a persuasive case.
Pursue Full and Fair Compensation With the Best Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer
Despite the simplified process described above, the personal injury claims process is often complex and overwhelming. Fortunately, you won’t have to fight for the settlement or result you deserve on your own. Experienced personal injury lawyers can take care of all the legal matters concerning your case for you and secure the most favorable outcome possible.
Kroot Law, LLC is a Chicago-based law firm with a strong record of success in complex cases, including medical malpractice, product liability, and wrongful death. We treat all clients with dignity and respect and strive to deliver unmatched personal service and exceptional results.
You deserve to work with the best Chicago personal injury lawyer. Fill out this form for a free consultation, and let our client-centered team evaluate your claim; if we take your case, we can help you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.