If you’re the victim of an accident that wasn’t your fault, one of your first concerns will be how much you may expect to recover as compensation for your losses.
Though the question is a common one for injured victims, it’s not one that can be easily answered.
The reason is that so many different factors can affect a personal injury claim. Every case is unique, and injuries affect victims in different ways.
Still, it’s important to understand what to expect when you seek monetary damages in an accident case. You can rely on an Illinois personal injury lawyer to assist with your claim and advocate on your behalf, but the following information may be useful.
How Personal Injury Accidents Happen
While the exact circumstances may vary, these incidents typically occur because someone was careless or reckless. In the practice of law, this concept is called negligence. You can recover compensation for your losses if you can prove that the responsible person or entity failed to exercise reasonable care, and this breach led to the accident in which you were hurt.
Negligence is the theory of liability in motor vehicle accidents, which are among the most common types of personal injury cases. Examples of negligent acts include:
- Speeding in excess of the posted limit;
- Traveling too fast for weather or road conditions;
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Failure to yield;
- Other violations of Illinois Rules of the Road;
- Texting, talking on the phone, or posting to social medial while driving;
- Other forms of distracted driving, such as eating, grooming, or adjusting a GPS device.
Negligence is a Factor in Other Personal Injury Cases
Besides auto collisions, there are other situations where negligence can lead to an injury-causing accident. Property owners have a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe for guests and lawful visitors.
They can be liable if you’re hurt due to a failure to fix hazards, inspect the property, or post warning signs regarding dangerous conditions. Often, these claims are termed “slip and fall” accidents due to how the victim is hurt.
However, any type of injury could lead to a claim based upon premises liability.
Plus, negligence may be a factor in such personal injury claims as:
- Dog bites and animal attacks;
- Nursing home neglect and abuse;
- Medical malpractice, which involves unique factors based upon the nature of the medical profession;
- Security and hiring employees; and,
- Many others.
Note that negligence is the basis of claims where the victim dies because of his or her injuries. These claims fall under the concept of wrongful death, which provides certain family members with rights.
Other Liability Concepts
In addition, you may have rights under different theories of liability in certain situations. For instance, if you’re hurt by a dangerous, defective product, the laws regarding strict liability apply.
You don’t need to prove that the manufacturer was at fault in putting a flawed item on store shelves. Instead, you must show that the product was defective because of:
- An error made during the design process, which affects every product made from that blueprint;
- A mistake in manufacturing or production that results in that batch of products being flawed; or,
- A failure to properly label the product so that the end user knows of certain inherent hazards, and has instructions regarding proper use of the item.
Serious Injuries Are Common
The severity of your injuries affects what your case is worth, as victims often sustain serious bodily harm in accidents. Some of the most common personal injuries include:
- Head injuries, including concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI);
- Herniated or bulging discs, and trauma to the spinal cord;
- Whiplash, neck, and related soft tissue injuries;
- Broken bones, cuts, abrasions, and bruises;
- Burn injuries; and,
- Many more.
Overview of the Personal Injury Claims Process
In many negligence-based cases, your first step will be to file a claim with the insurance company that covers the responsible party or entity.
Motorists, business owners, property owners, and others carry insurance to protect their interests in the event of an injury-causing accident. There can be challenges in the claims process that affect the value of your personal injury claim.
Insurers are businesses like any other, so they’re driven to minimize losses and maximize profits. Your claim is a threat to both of these objectives, so a claims adjuster may blame the accident on you or contest the severity of your injuries.
Instead of paying out your claim, the insurance company will likely make a counteroffer that doesn’t fully cover your losses.
In such a case, you may need to file a lawsuit in court to obtain fair, reasonable compensation. Litigation also affects how much your personal injury case is worth, since the stakes are higher and there’s a considerable amount of time and effort involved with the process.
Compensation is Available for Victims
The value of your case boils down to the losses you suffer because of your injuries, which are physical, emotional, and financial in nature. The point of personal injury law is to compensate you for these losses, such that you’re in the same theoretical position as if the accident never happened. You may be entitled to recover monetary damages for:
- Your medical costs, including surgery, emergency treatment, pain medications, physical therapy, long-term care, and related expenses;
- Lost wages, if you’re not able to work because of your injuries;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress; and,
- Losses that affect your personal relationships.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Illinois Personal Injury Attorney Today
Though it’s not possible to provide an exact dollar figure for how much a personal injury case is worth, our experienced lawyers at VanDerGinst Law, PC can offer advice and useful information regarding your case.
We can also represent you in connection with an insurance claim or in court to ensure you get the compensation you deserve by law. Please contact our firm to set up a no-cost case evaluation with a skilled personal injury attorney.
We serve clients throughout the Quad Cities and Eastern Iowa, and we’re happy to help with your claim.