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Punitive Damages for Injuries Chicago LawyerIf you have been injured due to the actions of another person or party, it is understandable that you would want to hold that party accountable, not only for the purposes of recovering financial compensation, but also for achieving a sense of justice. You may even feel that the other party should be punished for their actions. In Illinois, it is sometimes possible to pursue such a punishment in the form of punitive damages. However, the situations in which punitive damages may be included in a personal injury claim are limited, and it is important to understand whether and how they may apply to your case.

When Are Punitive Damages Available?

In most Illinois personal injury cases, the damages recovered by the injury victim fall entirely within the category of compensatory damages. These are damages that are intended to compensate the victim directly for some sort of loss—whether a financial loss like medical expenses or lost wages, or a personal loss like pain and suffering, disfigurement, or loss of companionship.

Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not connected to any specific loss on the part of the victim. Instead, they are meant as punishment for the liable party. As such, they are not available when a person was injured due to an act of simple negligence; they are only available when the liable party acted with “evil motive” or “reckless and outrageous” and “conscious indifference.” When deciding whether to award punitive damages, the court will look for clear and convincing evidence of these factors.

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Public Transit Accident Injury ChicagoEarlier this month, there was a scare in Park Ridge, Illinois, when a Metra train struck a car that was stuck on the tracks. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported in this instance, but it is certainly possible for people to suffer serious injuries when a commuter train collides with a passenger vehicle. If you are injured in such an accident, or any accident involving public transportation, you can benefit from a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can work through the complications of the case and help you get the compensation you need.

Liability in Public Transportation Accidents

Perhaps the most complicated aspect of an accident involving public transportation is determining which parties are at fault. For example, in a railroad crossing accident between a passenger car and a Metra train, the driver of the car could be partially at fault if they disregarded a railroad crossing sign or signal. However, if there was no clear signage or the crossing signal was not working properly, some fault could lie with a local government entity.

Operators of public transportation vehicles like trains and buses may also be liable for injuries suffered by passengers and drivers of other vehicles. Illinois legal doctrine considers these public transportation vehicles to be “common carriers,” which means operators have the highest duty of care to ensure the safety of their passengers, and they can be held responsible for many different types of injuries a passenger may suffer. If the operation of a vehicle causes injuries to non-passengers, the standard of negligence is similar to that of any other accident between motor vehicles.

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Personal injury - settlement or trial lawyer ChicagoIf you have been seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence, the thought of spending the next several months or more in a legal battle can be overwhelming. It may come as welcome news that most personal injury claims are settled out of court with the at-fault party and their insurance provider, and when a settlement is possible, it can save you significant time and stress. However, it is sometimes necessary to elevate a claim to a lawsuit and pursue compensation through litigation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand whether this is likely in your case, as well as represent you throughout the legal process in pursuit of a fair outcome.

Personal Injury Settlements

It is almost always beneficial to attempt a personal injury settlement before taking your case to trial. Your attorney can help you determine the appropriate amount of damages to pursue, and draft a demand letter to deliver to the other party. Your lawyer can then represent you throughout settlement negotiations, leveraging testimony and evidence of negligence to encourage the other party to come to a fair agreement.

Compared to a trial, a personal injury settlement is more predictable in that you and your attorney will always know where negotiations stand, and before signing an agreement you will know exactly how much compensation that agreement entails. Settlements also tend to take less time than trials, allowing you to obtain financial relief sooner and saving you from the stress of extensive litigation.

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Defective Procuct injury lawyer ChicagoThis month, Amazon surpassed Walmart to become the world’s largest retailer of consumer products. Chances are, you have ordered a product through Amazon at least once, if not on a regular basis. However, not all products offered on Amazon’s marketplace are safe for consumers, and defective products have the potential to cause serious injuries to their users. If you or a loved one suffers an injury because of a product you purchased on Amazon, you may wonder what your options are for recovering compensation.

Amazon’s New “A-to-Z Guarantee”  

Many of the products sold on Amazon are offered by third-party sellers. In the past, when a third-party product turned out to be defective, Amazon typically took the stance of denying liability, claiming that the seller was the responsible party. However, after a mounting number of product liability lawsuits naming Amazon as a defendant in recent years, the company has made a change to its policy.

 

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Car crash injury lawyer ChicagoCar crashes have many variables, and there are a number of reasons why one accident victim could suffer more severe injuries than another. However, certain types of car accidents tend to result in more serious injuries, and these are the cases in which it is especially important for victims to understand their options for recovering compensation. An attorney who has experience with many different kinds of car accidents is a valuable asset when pursuing a personal injury claim.

Single-Vehicle Accidents

According to data from the National Safety Council (NSC), single-vehicle accidents account for more than half of all motor vehicle fatalities nationwide. This includes cases in which a car strikes a fixed object, such as a tree, utility pole, or barricade; cases in which a car strikes a pedestrian; and rollover cases. In Illinois in 2019, out of a total of 938 fatal crashes, 268 involved a fixed object, 166 involved a pedestrian, and 59 involved a rollover. 

Though it may seem unlikely that an injury victim could recover compensation after a single-car accident, there are many cases in which it is possible. For example, injured passengers and pedestrians may be able to recover compensation from a negligent driver. Injured drivers may even be able to recover compensation if there is evidence that the crash was caused by a defective car part, unaddressed hazards on the roadway, or the actions of another driver.

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Burn Injury lawyer ChicagoEach year in the U.S., tens of thousands of people are hospitalized for serious burn injuries, and many injury victims are left with long-term complications. If you have suffered burn injuries, you could be facing high medical expenses, permanent scarring or disability, and ongoing physical and mental strain. Determining the root cause of a burn injury can be complicated, and it may not be readily apparent who is at fault. However, with the help of a personal injury attorney, you can determine the factors that contributed to your injuries and pursue the compensation you need.

Causes of Burn Injuries

Burn injuries often appear to be tragic accidents, but in many cases, they are caused by the negligence of one or more parties. Some common causes of burn injuries include:

  • Construction site and workplace accidents - Many industries, including construction, oil and gas, and manufacturing, regularly expose employees to potential burn hazards in the course of their work. Burns may be caused by explosions, electrocutions, scalding water, chemical spills, and more.

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Dog Bite Injury lawyer

We live in a society in which dogs are extremely popular pets and companions, and as such, the idea of a dog biting a person, let alone causing serious injury, may seem unlikely to many people. However, this makes it all the more shocking and devastating when a dog does become violent. Some dog bite victims suffer life-altering, and even life-threatening, injuries, and it is important to be aware of the options for recovering compensation to account for the financial and personal costs of these injuries.

Catastrophic Dog Bite Injuries

Many dog bite victims are fortunate to escape with minor bruises, cuts, or puncture wounds that fully heal with time. However, dogs are also capable of causing much more severe injuries, particularly if an attack is prolonged. Some catastrophic injuries that dog bite victims may suffer include:

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truck accident lawyerAccidents between a large commercial truck and passenger cars can often result in catastrophic injuries. Worse, many of these crashes end in fatalities. Passenger vehicle occupants are the most likely victims of these fatalities. Truck drivers and their employers face much stricter standards since large commercial trucks pose a much bigger threat on the roads. When these standards are not met, it is more likely that tragedies will occur. If your loved one died in a truck crash, you may be interested in pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit

Fatal Trucking Accidents in Illinois 

Catastrophic injuries and fatalities are more common in truck accidents in part due to the great contrast in size and weight between the vehicles as well as the truck’s greater ground clearance. Trucking accidents can also involve dangerous cargo spills of hazardous chemicals or fuel. 

Truck accidents may be caused by driving errors such as speeding, failing to check mirrors, texting and driving, or external factors such as a tire blowout or bad road conditions. In other cases, these crashes may have been caused by overloaded cargo or cargo that was not properly secured to the truck.  

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illinois medical malpractice lawyerWhen you do not feel well it is common to seek medical attention. With their education and experience, we hold doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to a higher standard. We believe that they can help to figure out the cause of our ailments. This often requires conducting various medical tests. But what happens when a doctor fails to order the necessary tests? It often results in serious and sometimes even fatal consequences. If you believe that your doctor failed to order you the proper test, you may have a claim for medical malpractice and should contact an attorney to learn more about your options.

A Delayed Diagnosis Can Result in Serious Consequences

When the proper tests are conducted and the results are discovered sooner rather than later, physicians can take the right steps to care for patients’ ailments. But when a doctor fails to order the proper tests, the health of the patient can often worsen, sometimes even making the normal course of treatment much more difficult or even impossible. As a result, the patient often suffers physically, mentally, and financially. Oftentimes, failure to receive the right medical tests can even result in death.

There are times when doctors order the wrong tests, or simply fail to order the right ones. Other times, in an attempt to save money, health facilities make doctors jump through hoops before they are able to order certain tests. This is often due to the fact that insurance companies will not approve of certain tests without others being conducted prior. In such a case both the doctor and the facility may be liable.

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illinois injury lawyerIf you are suffering from the effects of an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be overwhelmed by the mounting medical expenses and all of the other ways your injuries have changed your life for the worse. In the most difficult moments, the possibility of recovering financial compensation from the at-fault party may provide some consolation, but it is reasonable to wonder just how much you may receive. Though the value of a personal injury case varies substantially depending on the circumstances, you can start to get a better idea by considering some of these questions.

How Much Medical Treatment Do You Need?

Personal injury victims can pursue compensation for the full extent of their relevant medical expenses. The costs of treating soft tissue or surface injuries are typically lower than the costs of severe, catastrophic injuries that require surgery, rehabilitation, and multiple visits to the hospital and specialists over many months and years. A personal injury settlement or verdict can include compensation for both past and future medical bills.

Are You Missing Time at Work?

Some injuries have a long recovery period, during which you may not be able to work full-time, if at all. Other injuries can leave you permanently disabled, which may decrease your earning capacity throughout the rest of your life. As with medical expenses, it is possible to pursue compensation for lost wages from work time you have already missed, as well as future lost wages related to your disability.

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motorcycle accident lawyer in cook countyCompared to occupants of other motor vehicles, motorcyclists in Illinois have a much higher risk of being injured in a crash. In many cases, those injuries are severe and catastrophic. According to 2019 data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, around 75 percent of motorcycle crashes result in motorcyclist injuries. Of those who are injured, more than one-third suffer an incapacitating injury. Motorcyclists also make up a disproportionate amount of accident fatalities in Illinois. With these statistics in mind, injured motorcyclists and their families need to understand how to recover compensation for the extensive damages they may suffer.

Common Incapacitating Injuries For Motorcyclists

In a collision between a motorcycle and another vehicle, the motorcyclist often bears the full brunt of the impact because their vehicle offers so little protection. Motorcyclists are also often thrown from their bikes, after which they can suffer additional injuries from their impact with the road surface and other stationary objects on or near the road. Here are just some of the catastrophic injuries a motorcyclist can experience:

  • Spinal cord injuries - Severe blunt force trauma from the initial collision or subsequent impacts can damage the motorcyclist’s spinal cord, possibly causing paralysis, lack of sensation, and impaired bodily functions.

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Orland Park wrongful death lawyersAny time a person suffers catastrophic injuries, the personal and financial consequences are severe for both the injured person and their loved ones. When a person’s injuries ultimately prove to be fatal, surviving family members are confronted with the seemingly insurmountable challenge of recovering from their grief and loss. Certainly, grieving is a process that can continue for a lifetime, but if you have lost a loved one, you may have options for making the process more manageable, including pursuing compensation for their wrongful death.

Economic Damages for Wrongful Death

According to Illinois law, when a person loses their life due to the negligence of another, their claim for compensation does not die with them. The victim’s spouse, children, or other surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death claim, through which they can recover economic damages suffered by both the victim and themselves. 

Examples of economic damages in a wrongful death case include:

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Orland Park serious injury attorneysCompared to something like a car accident, a fall may not seem likely to cause severe injuries. Certainly, many people are able to escape from a fall with no injuries or only minor scrapes, bruises, and sprains. However, there are times when fall injuries can have much more serious consequences, sometimes affecting a person for the rest of their life. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic, life-altering injury in a fall, an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover substantial compensation.

Common Factors in Severe Fall Injuries

Depending on how a person lands, any fall could result in serious injuries. However, severe injuries tend to be more common in situations involving:

  • Falls from heights - The greater the distance of the fall, the greater potential there is for a catastrophic injury. Serious injuries are common when a person falls down stairs, from an upper story of a building, or from a ladder or scaffolding on a work site.
  • Older injury victims - Even a simple slip and fall can lead to serious injuries for an elderly person because of their reduced muscle and bone strength, and those who do suffer injuries often take much longer to recover.

Some catastrophic injuries that may result from a fall include:

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Orland Park construction site accident lawyerDespite numerous laws and regulations designed to reduce accidents and injuries, construction sites are incredibly dangerous. Approximately one in five worker fatalities occurs in the construction industry. Equipment-related accidents, falling, electrocution, trench collapses, and struck-by accidents are just some of the common reasons for serious construction site injuries. If you were injured or a loved one was killed on a construction site, it is essential to understand your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, and other damages.

Bringing a Claim Against a Negligent Third Party

Some injured construction workers assume that workers’ compensation is the only avenue through which they may recover financial compensation because their injury occurred at work. However, this is not always the case. If the careless or dangerous actions of a third party caused or significantly contributed to your injuries, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit directly against this party.

The liable party in a construction site injury or death may be:

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Cook County personal injury attorneysWhen car accidents occur, drivers and passengers may be injured, although they will have some protection from a vehicle’s safety systems, such as seat belts and airbags. Pedestrians have none of these forms of protection, and this means that they are likely to suffer multiple types of severe injuries if they are struck by a car, truck, or other vehicle. Victims of pedestrian accidents will want to be sure to fully document their injuries and the ways their lives have been affected, and by working with an experienced attorney, they can pursue compensation from a negligent driver who injured them.

Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries

The injuries a pedestrian may experience will depend on the type of vehicle that struck them, the speed the vehicle was traveling, and other factors. In many cases, the initial impact will occur when a vehicle’s bumper strike’s a person’s lower leg. This will cause the person’s body to rotate, and their head and upper body may strike the vehicle’s hood or windshield. If the vehicle is traveling at a higher speed, the person may also somersault up onto the hood or roof of the vehicle, or they may fully pass over the vehicle and strike the ground behind it. When a person is struck by a larger vehicle, such as a truck or SUV, they may be thrown forward, causing them to strike the ground or placing them in the path of other vehicles, which could result in additional injuries.

These situations can result in significant bodily trauma. The injuries suffered by a pedestrian after being struck by a motor vehicle may include:

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Orland Park personal injury attorneysOriginally published: February 06, 2018 -- Updated: May 28, 2021

Adrenaline is a hormone naturally produced by the body when we experience stress. The purpose of the hormone is to prepare us for fight or flight. Our heart rate quickens sending oxygenated blood to our muscles. We begin to sweat. Our alertness skyrockets. If you have ever been in a car crash, you have probably experienced this firsthand. 

However, adrenaline does not only affect heart rate, breathing, and alertness. It also impacts how our body responds to pain. The hormone does not take our pain away, but it does distract us from painful sensations. Many car accident victims do not feel the full extent of their injuries for several hours or even several days. Once the adrenaline in the victim’s bloodstream settles to normal levels, the victim realizes the extent of the physical harm caused by the crash. 

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Joliet personal injury attorneysWhen most people think about a car crash, work accident, assault, or another injury-causing incident, the most obvious concern is the physical injury itself. However, the psychological implications of a serious injury are often just as significant as the physical consequences of the injury. This is especially true when an accident causes disfigurement or considerable scarring. If you or a loved one suffered a disfiguring injury, it is important to know how the disfigurement may be addressed in a personal injury lawsuit.

Disfiguring Injuries Can Have a Profound Impact on the Injured Person’s Life

In a catastrophic accident, the physical and emotional scars suffered by the accident victim may last a lifetime. When an injury changes the way a person looks, the injured person may feel as though his or her very identity has changed. Scarring and disfigurement is often especially consequential when an accident causes:

  • Facial trauma – Deep lacerations to the face, injuries to the eyes, and injuries that cause disfigurement to the teeth and mouth can all have profound psychological consequences. In one study, up to 70 percent of people with acquired facial trauma suffered from depression and anxiety after the injury. Many patients suffered from social withdrawal and reduced occupational functioning.
  • Amputation – Losing a limb is a life-changing experience to go through. The injured person must deal with the physical limitations resulting from the amputation as well as the psychological toll created by the loss.  The majority of those who suffer a traumatic limb amputation or dismemberment suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, phantom limb phenomenon, and other psychological effects.
  • Scarring – Although advances in surgery and wound care techniques have reduced the severity of scarring after a serious injury, some scars are unavoidable. If your injury caused significant scarring, this is likely to affect your life long after the physical pain of your injury has dissipated.
  • Burns – Chemical burns, as well as burns suffered in a fire or other accident, can also lead to profound disfigurement. Often, a burn victim suffers changes in skin color and texture that last years.

Financial Compensation for Scarring and Other Disfigurement

Illinois personal injury law allows for the recovery of financial damages as well as non-financial damages. There is no amount of money that someone would trade for the loss of a limb or another disfiguring injury. However, financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit may address the psychological toll that disfigurement has on an accident victim. It may also provide reimbursement for counseling or other psychological treatments.

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Illinois defective medical device attorneysModern medicine has enabled people to lead longer, healthier lives. Unfortunately, when a medical device is faulty or malfunctions in some way, the results can be catastrophic. Defective medical devices can lead to new and exacerbated medical problems, and in some cases, even patient death. If you were harmed or a loved one was killed because of a faulty medical device, it is important to know your legal options.

Medical Products with Manufacturing or Design Defects  

When a person is harmed because of a flawed medical product or medical device, the individual may have a right to damages through a product liability lawsuit. Unlike a medical malpractice lawsuit, which is brought against a medical professional for negligent medical care, a product liability case is brought against a product manufacturer or designer. Medical products that are commonly the subject of product liability lawsuits include:

  • Pacemakers
  • Defibrillators
  • Hip and knee replacements
  • Dialysis filters
  • Transvaginal mesh
  • Hernia mesh
  • Birth control devices
  • Drug-coated stents
  • Inferior vena cava (IVC) blood clot filters
  • Robotic surgery devices

What You Must Prove to Bring a Successful Lawsuit

When a product designer or manufacturer makes a mistake that causes a patient harm, that company should be held accountable. If you were injured by a defective medical device or product, you may be able to sue the company for damages. You will need to prove that:

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joliet truck accident lawyerLarge commercial trucks can cause devastating accidents. If you or a loved one were seriously hurt in a truck accident, you may be interested in seeking compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Through an injury claim, you may be able to get compensation for the damages that you suffered including medical bills and lost income. To bring the strongest claim possible, it is crucial to work with a personal injury attorney who has experience successfully handling truck accident cases.  

Collecting Information and Preserving Evidence

When someone contacts a personal injury attorney about a possible truck accident claim, the first thing the attorney will need to do is collect information about the accident. Your lawyer will want to know the circumstances of the collision, what types of injuries you suffered, and what medical treatments you have sought for those injuries. Your attorney may also utilize evidence such as the truck’s event data recorder (EDR), traffic camera footage, the truck driver’s electronic logbook, and forensic evidence from the crash scene. In many cases, a personal injury attorney sends a “preservation letter” or spoliation letter to the trucking company which prohibits the company from destroying evidence.

Identifying the Liable Parties

Truck accident cases are often complicated. It is not always clear who is legally at fault for a truck crash. In some cases, the truck driver himself or herself is responsible for causing the accident. Distracted driving, drowsy driving, and driver intoxication are all common causes of truck collisions. In other cases, the trucking company’s failure to properly maintain the truck or correctly load truck cargo is the cause of the accident. It is also possible that defects in the truck’s brakes, tires, or cargo securement devices are a key contributor to the crash. By pinpointing the cause of the crash, your lawyer can build a more compelling claim for damages and ensure that the claim is brought against the correct party or parties.

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Orland Park brain injury attorneyYour brain is one of the most valuable and important organs in your body. It is literally what keeps you alive. Sustaining an injury to the brain can cause much pain and suffering for you and unnecessary worrying and stress for your family. Traumatic brain injuries, also referred to as TBIs, can even end up causing symptoms that last for years or even the rest of your life. If you have sustained a brain injury from any type of accident, you should speak with an Illinois catastrophic injury lawyer to discuss your options for compensation.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

A TBI occurs when the brain suffers injuries from a violent blow, jolt, or bump to the head and can range in severity from mild to severe. There are various ways a person can sustain a traumatic brain injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls were the leading cause of TBIs and accounted for nearly half of all emergency room visits in 2014. Falls are also the leading cause of hospitalizations for TBIs, with motor vehicle accidents a close second.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

There are various symptoms that you may experience if you have sustained a TBI, both physical and psychological. Some symptoms can manifest right away or within a few days, while other symptoms might take weeks or even months to appear. The severity of the symptoms also depends on the severity of the injury. For most TBIs, symptoms to look for include:

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