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From helping you after a dog attack or truck accident in Wisconsin to defending your rights as a rider, the personal injury trial attorneys at Hupy & Abraham will be fierce advocates in your time of need.
With offices across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa, and representing clients hurt by slip and fall incidents, car accidents, wrongful deaths, drug and medical device injuries, dog bites, nursing home abuse and motorcycle crashes, we are available where you need us and when you need us.
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How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois?
Every state, including Illinois, limits the amount of time that you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. These laws, known as the statute of limitations, benefit both the person who was hurt and the person who is being sued. The person who was hurt (the plaintiff) benefits from the statute of limitations by having to take action when evidence is still attainable and by getting a fair recovery sooner. The person who is being sued (the defendant) benefits from having a time certain by which the plaintiff must take action so that the threat of litigation is not present indefinitely.
In Illinois You Usually Have Two Years to File a Personal Injury Case
In most cases, the Illinois statute of limitations provides you with two years to file your lawsuit in court. The two-year clock begins running on the date that you were injured or the date that you should have known that you were injured.
There are some exceptions to this general rule. The statute of limitations may be extended, for example, if the person who was injured was a minor or was mentally incompetent at the time of the injury.
Don’t Miss the Deadline
If you miss the statute of limitations deadline then you will likely lose your right to make a recovery. The defendant will bring a motion to dismiss any lawsuit that you file in court after the statute of limitations has expired, and you should expect the court to grant that motion to dismiss. This will leave you without a recovery.
Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injury to make sure that you don’t miss the statute of limitations, to make sure that all of your rights are protected and to learn more about how an Illinois personal injury case works. Contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678.
I was hurt by someone else’s negligence. How do I file a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois?
Your lawsuit will begin when you file the necessary paperwork with the court. This must be done before the statute of limitations expires. Any negotiations that you have with a potential defendant, a defendant’s attorney, or an insurance company prior to filing the correct paperwork with the court will not begin your claim.
Accordingly, it is important to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible who can make sure that your case is filed correctly and on time so that you can protect your recovery.
How to Start Your Case
If you are seeking $10,000 or more in damages then your case should be filed with one of the 24 circuit courts in the state of Illinois. You will need to file the following forms and pleadings:
- A complaint. The complaint should explain why you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, what happened that caused your injury, the injury that you suffered, and the remedy that you seek from the court. You will need to file at least two copies of your complaint with the court. One copy will be kept by the court and one copy will be served on the defendant.
- A civil lawsuit cover sheet. This sheet provides basic information that helps the court staff. Names, addresses, and contact information, for example, should be included on this sheet.
- An appearance form. Your appearance form should name your personal injury attorney.
- A summons. The summons informs the defendant of the lawsuit.
These forms are available from the court. In order to be accepted for filing by the court, they must meet the specific requirements set forth by the court and be accompanied by the required filing fee.
Get Help Before You File a Case
The complaint that you file with the court is important. It is the basis of your personal injury lawsuit. You can protect your rights and learn more about how a personal injury lawsuit works in Illinois before you file anything with the court that could impact your recovery. Simply contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Do I have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois?
You do not have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois every time you get hurt. Instead, you must have legal standing to file a case. An experienced lawyer will talk to you about your claim and make sure that you have standing before you begin pursuing a personal injury claim.
Four Ways You May Have Standing
You could have the legal right to bring a lawsuit in Illinois if:
- You are an adult who was hurt by someone else’s negligent or intentional actions. If you were suffered a direct and actual injury, then you may have standing to file a lawsuit and recover damages.
- You are the parent of a child under the age of 18 who was hurt by someone else’s negligent or intentional actions. If your minor child suffered a direct and actual injury, then you may have the right to file a lawsuit on your child’s behalf. Any recovery would be for your child’s benefit.
- You are the legal guardian of someone who was hurt by someone else’s negligent or intentional actions. As with a minor child, if you are the guardian for a child or an adult who was suffered an actual and direct injury, then you have the right to file a lawsuit for the benefit of that person.
- You are the administrator of an estate of someone who died because of someone else’s negligent or intentional actions. You may have the right to file a wrongful death case on behalf of the estate. Any damages that are recovered would go to the estate and its beneficiaries.
According to these requirements, you must have been the one who was directly hurt or you must have the legal authority to act on behalf of someone who was directly hurt. This prevents witnesses from accidents, people who are worried about a potential injury, and others from filing unnecessary litigation and it protects the rights of those who have been truly injured by someone else’s actions.
Knowing whether you have standing is an important first step in pursuing an Illinois personal injury recovery, but it is only one piece of how a personal injury case works. For more information about protecting your rights, please contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678 to schedule your free consultation.
I was partly at fault for my personal injury in Illinois. Can I still recover damages if someone else was also at fault?
As long as you were not primarily responsible for the incident that resulted in your injury then you may be able to recover damages even if you were partly to blame. According to the Illinois contributory negligence law (735 ILCS 5/2-116), you may recover damages as long as your percentage of fault was not more than 50% of the proximate cause of your injury.
Who Determines Percentage of Fault?
You should expect that the percentage of fault will be hotly contested during any settlement discussions or during litigation. Part of the defense lawyer’s strategy may be to claim that you were primarily responsible for the accident or to minimize the percentage of fault attributable to the defendant.
If percentage of fault cannot be agreed upon during settlement negotiations, then it will be up to the court to decide during litigation. In a jury trial this critical determination will be decided by the jury, and in a bench trial the decision will be made by the judge.
Here’s What Happens to Your Recovery If You Were Partly at Fault
Damages will be determined based on who was at fault for the accident. You will not have the legal right to recover damages for your injuries if you were the primary cause of the accident. However, if the defendant was at least 50% responsible for the accident, then you can recover damages. If the defendant caused the entire accident then you may be able to recover for all of your damages.
If you also contributed to the accident, but your found to be less than 50% at fault, then you can recover partial damages. Your damage award will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you. For example, if you were 25% responsible for the accident that resulted in your injuries, then your damages will be reduced by 25% according to Illinois law. The defendant should not have to pay for your negligence.
Contributory negligence can be complicated and it is critical that the correct percentage of fault be attributed to all parties so that you can get the fair recovery that you deserve. An experienced personal injury lawyer can collect all of the evidence and advocate for your full recovery based on that evidence. To schedule your free consultation with an experienced attorney, please contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678. We would be pleased to explain how an Illinois personal injury case works, to answer your individual questions about your own claim, and to help you get the recovery that you deserve.
How can I recover for all of my medical expenses after a personal injury?
If someone else caused your injuries, then that person or his insurance company should pay for all of your personal injury damages, including your medical expenses.
Medical expenses include anything that is related to managing your pain or improving your health from your injury, such as:
- Hospital stays.
- Doctors’ appointments.
- Rehabilitation costs, such as physical therapy or occupational therapy.
- Assistive devices, such as crutches or prosthetic limbs.
As with all of your damages, you will need to prove the specific value of your medical expenses in order to make a fair recovery.
What About Your Own Health Insurance?
It takes time to get a personal injury recovery. You could not—and should not—wait to get medical care until your personal injury damages are recovered. Instead, you should get the medical care that you need as soon as possible after your injury.
This may include using your own health insurance policy to pay your hospital bills, your doctor bills, and your medication costs. If this is what you did, then your health insurance may have a claim against your recovery. In other words, the health insurance company may be reimbursed for the medical expenses it paid on your behalf that were directly related to the injury. However, anything that you paid for directly—including deductibles and co-pays—should be included in the damages that you receive from a personal settlement or lawsuit.
Protect the Recovery That You Deserve
Recovering for the medical costs and other damages that resulted from your personal injury can be complicated. The defendant, or the defendant’s insurance adjuster, is going to try to pay you as little as possible by denying liability or by contesting the value of your damages.
However, you deserve to recover fair damages and our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you do just that. Please contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678 for more information. We would be pleased to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with you to discuss your recovery of medical expenses and other damages after a personal injury accident.
I was hurt in a personal injury accident. Can I recover for the out-of-pocket expenses I’ve had to pay because of the accident?
Yes, if the accident was someone else’s fault—or primarily someone else’s fault—then you should be compensated for all of your damages. This includes your property damage and any expenses that occurred because of the accident that you had to pay out of your own pocket.
Generally, any expense that you can prove was caused by the accident should be included in your recovery. While each case is unique, some common types of out-of-pocket damages that occur include:
- Transportation costs that you incurred because of the accident. This may include public transportation costs, parking costs for medical appointments, or a rental car if one is not covered by an applicable insurance policy, for example.
- Household help that you incurred because of the accident. If your injuries prevent you from doing housework or taking care of your children or pets and you had to hire others to do it for you because of your injuries then these expenses may be included in your recovery.
Any other miscellaneous expenses that you have to pay as a result of your injuries can also be included in your recovery of out-of-pocket damages.
Be Prepared to Prove the Value of Your Out-of-Pocket Damages
As with every type of damage that you claim in a personal injury case, you will need to prove the value of your loss to the insurance company or to the court in order to make a fair recovery. You may pay for your out-of-pocket damages in different ways depending on the particular expense. However, it is important to keep copies of:
- Cancelled checks.
This type of documentation can prove the value of the damages that you incurred. For more information about how to recover your out-of-pocket costs and all of the personal injury accident damages that you deserve, please contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678 for a free consultation about your rights.
What’s included in lost income damages in a Wisconsin personal injury case?
It isn’t your fault that you can’t work. Instead, you are out of work because someone else was negligent and caused you to get hurt. As you struggle to get back to the way that you were before your personal injury accident, it is important to know that the person who caused your accident may be responsible for compensating you for any income that you lose because of your injuries.
As with any type of recovery, however, you will have to prove your damages to the insurance company or to the court and fight for your fair and just recovery.
Make Sure You Are Compensated for All Your Lost Income
Your lost income may include compensation for any kind of income that you are unable to earn because of your injuries from the time of your accident until your reasonably anticipated retirement date. This includes:
- Bonuses, stock options, and any compensation incentives.
- Income from being self-employed.
Whether you are claiming partial lost income because you are unable to work or a complete loss of income for the rest of your life, you are going to have to present evidence as the value of your lost income. That evidence may include:
- Your personal tax returns.
- Your business tax returns if you own a business and file a business return.
- Your pay stubs.
- Testimony from an expert witness about what you would likely earn in the future based on your education, past employment, and age.
Additionally, you will need to prove that the defendant was negligent and, therefore, that the defendant owes you damages pursuant to state law.
Protect Your Lost Income Recovery With the Help of an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Your lost income may be among the most significant damages that you suffer in a personal injury accident. If you don’t recover your lost income, then your standard of living may change and your family’s financial future may be in jeopardy. Accordingly, we encourage you to protect your recovery today by contacting our experienced personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation about protecting your lost income and other damages after a personal injury accident.
How will I be compensated for my physical pain and emotional suffering if I’m hurt in an accident?
The answer to your question depends on the actions that you take and the pain and suffering that you’ve endured. Even if you’ve suffered intense physical pain and significant emotional suffering, you will only be able to recover damages for these injuries if you pursue a legal recovery.
This means negotiating with the defendant’s insurance company and going to court, but you don’t have to do it alone. Instead, you have the right to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can make sure that your right to all potential damages is protected and who can save you the stress of having to handle the case on your own.
What’s Included in Pain and Suffering Damages?
You can’t submit a bill or a pay stub to prove the value of your physical pain or emotional damages. For this reason, pain and suffering damages are sometimes referred to as non-economic damages. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, can be valued by looking at:
- The extent of the injury.
- How the injury impacts the person’s ability to go about his daily activities. This includes everything from getting out of bed in the morning, to spending quality time with family, to working, to enjoying hobbies, and more.
- Any disfigurement or disabling condition caused by the injury.
It may be difficult to attach a dollar figure to these things, but an experienced personal injury lawyer can provide the right evidence to prove the full value of your pain and suffering damages.
Pain and Suffering Damages Are an Important Part of Your Recovery
Without compensation for your physical pain and emotional suffering, your recovery will be incomplete. If someone else’s negligence has caused your injury then you deserve a full and fair recovery. Protect your rights today by contacting our experienced lawyers to discuss your personal injury damages. We welcome your call or online chat any time, day or night, every day of the year.
Can I recover punitive damages after a Wisconsin accident?
Punitive damages are possible in some Wisconsin personal injury cases. However, not everyone who is able to recover compensatory damages for things such as medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering is able to recover punitive damages after a Wisconsin accident. Instead, Wisconsin law limits when a plaintiff may recover punitive damages.
If you’ve been injured in a Wisconsin accident, then it is important to understand what the law says about punitive damages and protect all of your rights by talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
What Wisconsin Law Says About Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and to discourage others from behaving in a similar way in the future. They are not meant to compensate the injury victim even though that will happen if punitive damages are awarded by the court. According to Wisconsin Statutes, Section 895.043:
- A plaintiff may receive punitive damages if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant acted “maliciously toward the plaintiff” or with “intentional disregard of the rights of the plaintiff.”
- The plaintiff must prove the case for punitive damages to the court with evidence. The plaintiff may also provide evidence about the defendant’s wealth or ability to pay an award of punitive damages.
- The decision about punitive damages will be made by the jury or the judge independently of the case for liability and compensatory damages.
- If punitive damages are awarded by the court, the amount of the punitive damages may not exceed twice the amount of compensatory damages awarded by the court or $200,000—whichever is greater. However, this limit on punitive damages may not apply in some drunk driving cases.
If you’ve been hurt and you believe that you may have a case for punitive damages, then it is important to talk to an experienced lawyer who has brought punitive damages cases before Wisconsin courts in previous cases and who knows how to protect all of your rights. Please contact us any time—24/7/365—to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today and to learn more about all of the damages that you can recover in a Wisconsin personal injury accident.
Was my injury caused by a random accident, or could I have a personal injury lawsuit?
This may be your most pressing question after your immediate medical needs have been addressed. Is someone else to blame for the injury that you are suffering? Could that person or business be made to compensate you for your injuries?
Here’s How to Tell for Sure
You may have the right to bring a legal case and to pursue compensation if the person or business that hurt you violated a statute or was negligent. Commonly, personal injury cases arise when someone was negligent as that term is defined by law. Therefore, you may have a lawsuit that is worth pursuing if you can prove that:
- The person who hurt you owed you a duty of care. A duty of care may be created because of the specific relationship between you and the defendant. For example, a doctor owes you a duty of care if you are a patient. Likewise, a duty of care may be created because of what you and the defendant were doing at the time that you were hurt. For example, all drivers have a duty of care to other motorists.
- The person who hurt you breached that duty of care by failing to act like a reasonably prudent person would given the circumstances. Determining what a “reasonably prudent person” might do is often contested in personal injury cases.
- The breach of the duty of care caused your injuries. Those injuries would not have happened but for the breach of the duty of care. You can only recover damages if the defendant’s actions or inactions caused your injuries.
You have a legal right to recover damages pursuant to the law because you were hurt. You will be required to explain what those damages are and how you should be compensated.
While this definition of negligence applies to many personal injury cases, it can be difficult to know how it applies to the situation that caused your injury.
Still Have Questions? Get a Free Personal Consultation
Our experienced personal injury lawyers will be pleased to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation. We can talk about how a personal injury case works and about whether you may have a claim worth pursuing. Contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678.