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Joliet personal injury attorneys Personal injury claims are used to pursue compensation for injuries caused by another party’s wrongful, reckless, or negligent actions. There are four main components to a successful personal injury claim. You and your attorney will need to show that you were owed a duty of care by the defendant, the defendant breached the duty, your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty, and you sustained damages. To prove each of these elements, you and your attorney may use a variety of techniques and resources. One of these resources is testimony from witnesses. Read on to learn about the different types of witnesses that may be involved in your personal injury claim and how they may help you demonstrate the elements needed to win your case.

Eyewitnesses to the Accident

Incident witnesses or lay witnesses are people who witness your accident happen. They may be used to confirm the series of events that took place and explain what happened from their perspective. Whether your injuries were caused in a car accident, slip and fall accident, dog attack, or another type of accident, eyewitness statements may be used to corroborate your testimony. Your lawyer can help you locate and obtain testimony from eyewitnesses.  

Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses are individuals who are authorities in a particular field that offer insight and professional opinions about the facts of a case. Testimony from an expert witness can significantly strengthen your claim. Expert witnesses may provide testimony in court or they may serve as consulting experts who help clarify complex issues in your case. Some of the most common types of expert witnesses in Illinois personal injury claims include:

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Will County nursing home abuse attorneysNursing homes should be places of refuge for elderly and disabled individuals. Residents deserve to receive appropriate medical care and be treated with respect and dignity. Sadly, many nursing home residents are victims of abuse and neglect. The abuse may come from staff, visitors to the facility, or even other residents. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or assisted care facility, it is important to learn about the signs of nursing home abuse.

Psychological Abuse

Some studies consider psychological abuse or emotional abuse to be the most common form of elder abuse in nursing homes. In one sad example, a 91-year-old Chicago nursing home resident was teased and taunted by staff. The staff filmed a video of themselves bullying the vulnerable woman and uploaded it to a social media app. Psychological abuse may take the form of threats, intimidation, bullying, or humiliation.

Physical Abuse

It is hard to believe anyone would intentionally injure a vulnerable nursing home resident, but physical abuse does happen in Illinois nursing homes and in nursing homes across the country. This abuse may be at the hands of staff or other residents. Hitting, pinching, grabbing, and kicking are all forms of physical abuse. Physical abuse can not only lead to physical injuries it can also leave lasting mental scars. Some signs that a resident is being physically abused include unexplained bruising and cuts as well changes in behavior or signs of fearfulness.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneysWhen a person is injured because of the reckless, negligent, or malicious actions of another party, the injured person has a right to bring a legal action against the at-fault party. Through a personal injury claim, the injured person may be awarded financial compensation or “damages” for their losses. Catastrophic injuries are injuries that dramatically impact a person’s life or result in permanent disability. Cases involving catastrophic injuries often result in much higher settlements and awards than cases involving injuries that are less severe.  

Catastrophic Injuries Significantly Affect a Victim’s Life

Traumatic brain injuries, spine injuries, severe burns, vital organ injuries, amputation injuries, and other catastrophic injuries have a profound impact on the victim’s life. If you or a loved one suffered a life-changing injury in a car accident, slip and fall accident, work accident, or other incident, you may be curious about your legal options. The injuries may have created an overwhelming financial burden on you and your family. Fortunately, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages sustained in the accident.

Financial Compensation You May Be Entitled to After a Catastrophic Injury

There are many factors that will influence the amount of compensation you or a loved one receive after a severe injury including the type of injuries sustained, how long it will take to recover from the injuries, and how the injuries affect the victim’s life. Damages in a catastrophic injury claim may include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_burden-of-proof-justice-scales.jpgThe average Illinois resident has little to no experience with the Illinois legal system. When most people sustain a serious personal injury or lose a loved one in a wrongful death accident, they may be unsure of what the civil claims process even entails. If you are interested in bringing a civil claim for damages in Illinois, it is a good idea to educate yourself about legal procedures and rules that will likely be involved in your case. One issue that many people misunderstand when it comes to civil matters such as personal injury claims is the “burden of proof.”

Establishing the Defendant’s Negligence

A personal injury claim or wrongful death claim is a legal action in which a plaintiff seeks “damages” or financial compensation for the losses caused by the injury or death. The plaintiff’s losses may have been caused by the defendant’s intentional or malicious actions or the case may be founded upon the concept of negligence. To prove that a defendant was negligent, the following main points must be proven:

  • The defendant had a “duty” or legal obligation to act a certain way. For example, drivers have a duty to obey traffic laws and drive responsibly.
  • The defendant breached this duty. The breach of duty may be based on the defendant’s actions or inaction.
  • The plaintiff’s injuries or the deceased person’s death was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
  • The plaintiff experienced damages such as lost income, property damage, or medical bills as a result of the injuries or death.

Understanding the Burden of Proof in Illinois Personal Injury Cases

If you have ever watched a legal television show such as Law and Order, you may have heard the phrase “burden of proof.” The burden of proof in a legal case determines which party has the “burden” or responsibility of proving a particular claim and how much evidence will be needed to prove the claim. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means that the jury must be exceedingly certain of a defendant’s guilt.

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What Is Needed for a Successful Slip and Fall Injury Claim?A slip and fall accident or trip and fall accident can cause painful injuries that require considerable medical treatment. Head injuries including traumatic brain injuries, back and spine injuries, broken bones, and other injuries caused in a fall may result in thousands of dollars of medical expenses and lost income. If you or a loved one were hurt in a fall accident caused by the negligent actions of a property owner or occupier, you may be interested in pursuing compensation through a premises liability claim. To successfully obtain compensation, you and your attorney will need to prove several facts.  

Establishing The Defendant’s Negligence

The party who brings an injury claim is the plaintiff or claimant, and the party who the claim is brought against is the defendant. The defendant in a slip and fall case may be the property owner or the party who managed or occupied the property on which the injury occurred. Most slip and fall injury claims are based on the assertion that the defendant did not keep the property reasonably safe for individuals who were lawfully on the property. Spilled liquids, fractured concrete, broken stairs, and faulty handrails are all examples of hazards that may lead to a slip and fall accident.

The presence of a potential injury-causing hazard on the property is typically not enough to prove that the defendant was negligent. You will also need to show that the defendant knew or should have known about the unsafe condition. The question of foreseeability often plays a major role in premises liability claims.

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Vincent CorneliusThe attorneys of Schwartz Injury Law would like to congratulate Vincent F. Cornelius on his recent election as Circuit Court Judge in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court of Will County. With his extensive legal experience and dedication to protecting people’s rights, Vince will ensure that all who enter his courtroom are treated fairly and justly.

For the past several decades, Vince Cornelius has been a pillar of the community and the legal profession in Illinois. He has represented clients in hundreds of criminal and civil cases in Will, Kane, DuPage, Cook, Grundy, DeKalb, Kendall, and Winnebago Counties. Whether defending against criminal charges or working to reach settlements in personal injury cases, he has always provided the personal touch and aggressive advocacy to help his clients achieve positive results.

Vince is not only respected for his work inside the courtroom, but he has also demonstrated dedication to the legal community. He has been highly involved in the Illinois State Bar Association, serving as President and on the Board of Governors and as a member of the Judicial Evaluations Committee and the Special Committee on Capital Punishment. He has also served as the President and on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Bar Foundation and as the Chancellor of the Illinois Academy of Lawyers. He is a founding board member of the Black Bar Association of Will County and a member of the Will County Bar Association, the DuPage County Bar Association, and the National College for DUI Defense. He was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Criminal Law Reform and has served on the Northern Illinois University College of Law Board of Visitors.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneysWith just a few short days to go before Thanksgiving, and with the winter holidays fast approaching, now is the time to consider your strategy for preventing drunk driving-related arrests or, worse, injuries. The holidays are a time for families and friends to celebrate with festive gatherings that often include delicious meals, lavish desserts, and, in many cases, beer, wine, and cocktails. If your holiday plans involve alcoholic beverages, enjoy yourself, but make a plan to get home safely and encourage your loved ones to do the same.

Seasonal Spike in Injuries

While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact percentage of increased risk, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 725 people are killed or injured in drunk-driving crashes every day during the holiday season, with more than 25,000 total accidents. On any given day during the year, drunk driving plays a role in about 30 percent of highway fatalities, Around Thanksgiving, and for the rest of the year, that number jumps to 40 percent, tragically culminating over the New Year’s holiday, during which alcohol contributes to nearly 60 percent of roadway deaths.

Make a Plan…

The most important thing you can do to avoid drunk driving this holiday season is to be prepared. “Prepared” can mean different things for different people. You may choose to drink only a very modest amount or not at all, remaining sober and unimpaired for the drive home. Similarly, you may designate a driver who is not drinking at all. In some families, one designated driver may even be willing to make several trips to ensure that everyone is safe. Finally, alternative transportation may be another solution. Call a cab, even if you will need to wait for a while, or use ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. Whatever the expense may be for a ride home, it pales in comparison to the potential costs of a DUI ticket or injury.

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