Q?What does it mean to “file suit,” and why do we do it?

The act of filing a lawsuit at the courthouse is called filing suit. The client gives the authorization to file suit after all other options have been exhausted during pre-suit. Many times insurance companies will outright deny a claim or offer low settlement amounts prior to a lawsuit being filed. Over the last decade, the insurance industry has settled fewer and fewer claims. When a case is filed with the court, it does not necessarily mean you will be going to trial, but it usually means your case will take more time to either settle or it will eventually end up in a court room with a trial.

Q?Why am I not being compensated when I have full insurance coverage?

Many drivers believe they have insurance coverage, to cover them if they are hurt or in an accident, but are not insured under certain circumstances. There are several different types of insurance coverage, and failing to have a particular one may limit your potential recovery. In many cases, clients often find that even though they believe they have enough coverage they do not have underinsured or uninsured coverage, which will cover you in the event of an accident where the other party cannot pay at all or has low policy limits. You should contact your insurance company and discuss what coverage you have, when the coverage is applicable, and, if necessary, hire an attorney if you believe your insurance company is trying to avoid paying a valid claim.

Q?Should I sign a release?

Before signing any documents you should always contact an attorney. In an injury case a personal injury lawyer job is to ensure your rights are protected. If you sign a release, you may be unable to recover future damages. Sometimes an insurer offers an early settlement, which may not fully compensate the victim, as he or she may still be unaware of the extent and future costs of their injuries.

Q?How much is my case worth?

This is one of the hardest questions that all plaintiffs’ attorneys are asked to answer at some point regarding a potential case. Every personal injury case is worth a different amount even when people are involved in the same accident. To determine the worth of a personal injury case depends on the severity of your injuries, the facts of your case, what are the insurance limits and who is the insurance carrier for the defendant are all factors when trying to put a value on a case. To determine the value of a case a plaintiff’s attorney will generally look at the following factors:

  1. Past Medical Bills
  2. Future Medical Bills
  3. Lost Wages
  4. Lost Earning Capacity
  5. Pain and Suffering
  6. Loss of a Normal Life/Disability
  7. Permanency

Depending on the case there can be other items of damage to consider as well. It is important that you speak to a lawyer about any damages you believe you may have suffered as a result of your accident and they will be able to determine whether or not you can make a claim for those damages.

Q?How much does a lawyer cost?

Personal injury lawyer’s work on a contingency fee basis, meaning the lawyer only collects a fee once he settles your case or obtains a judgment in your favor. Further any costs spent by your attorney can only be recovered if there is a settlement or verdict in your favor. You will never have to reach into your own pocket to pay for your case. If there is no settlement then you owe your lawyer nothing.

Q?How soon should I file a lawsuit?

Every personal injury case has a statute of limitations, which a lawsuit must be filed. However, the sooner you speak to a personal injury attorney following your accident the better. Failure to file within this time period, known as the statute of limitations, can bar the victim from ever recovering compensation for their injuries no matter how good the case is.

Q?What is negligence?

To have a viable personal injury claim, the victim must have been injured from the negligence of another individual or entity. Negligence occurs when an individual fails to exercise a reasonable standard of care for the safety of others. If a person fails to act as a reasonable person would, he or she may be liable for any resulting damages.

Q?Can I still pursue compensation if I was partially at fault for my injuries?

Yes, in Illinois there is contributory negligence, which means that even if you are partially responsible for your injuries you can still be compensated for your injuries. Your compensation may be reduced or you may not be able to recover depending on how much fault you have for your injuries.

Q?Who can be held liable for a catastrophic injury?

In any injury case there can be one defendant or multiple defendants, it all depends on the facts and circumstances of your individual case. The severity of the injury does not determine the number of defendants.