If you have been involved in an accident, you may be wondering whether you can receive compensation with a personal injury lawsuit. There are three basic questions you must answer to determine whether you have a valid personal injury claim. First, did you suffer injury to your person, and not just property damage? Second, was the accident caused by the negligence of another person or persons? Finally, do you have recoverable damages?
This page provides some guidance on how to answer these questions, but the best way to know for sure if you have a personal injury claim is in a consultation with a personal injury attorney. Please call 312-782-8550 or email Harvey L. Walner & Associates, Ltd. for a free case evaluation today.
Did You Suffer Personal Injury?
Personal injuries are injuries that affect your person in some way. They may be physical or psychological. A spine injury, for example, is a physical type of personal injury. The loss of a loved one that may lead to a wrongful death lawsuit is in no way a physical injury to you, but you still may be able to recover damages (see below). Disfiguring burn injuries are physical injuries with a large psychological component.
Is Someone Else at Fault?
If you have suffered a personal injury, you may be able to file a claim if that injury was caused by someone else's negligence or misconduct. In Illinois, you can still file a claim if you were partly responsible for the accident that resulted in injury. Illinois uses what is called a comparative negligence rule that allows you to receive compensation for an accident if you were 50% or less responsible for that accident, although your compensation will be reduced by the degree of your fault. For example, if the court determines you were 25% responsible for your accident, you would still receive compensation for 75% of your injuries.
This means that you should consult with an attorney even if you were partly responsible for your accident.
Do You Have Recoverable Damages?
Damages is the legal term for losses you suffered as a result of your personal injury. They can come in many forms, including:
- Lost wages (yours or a loved one's, such as in a wrongful death lawsuit)
- Diminished earning capacity and retraining, if necessary
- Medical bills
- Disability accommodations for vehicle and home
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of companionship and support
Obviously, these damages can be both economic and noneconomic. Economic damages you may be able to just sit down and calculate, but noneconomic damages generally require the perspective of an experienced lawyer to make reasonable estimates.
If you think you might have a personal injury claim, please contact Harvey L. Walner & Associates, Ltd. in Chicago for a free case evaluation.