An injury can be life changing. Focus first on your medical care and working toward good health. But before too much time passes, think also about whether you need to take legal action in order to be compensated for the amount the injury has cost you – not only in terms of medical bills, but other damages, as well.
1. Property owners can be held responsible. The law that applies to this situation is often called premises liability. Whether you have a good case against the property owner for your injury depends on how you were hurt and whether the property owner knew something on their property was dangerous. It also can depend on whether you were visiting a friend or shopping at a business. In general, these are negligence cases, in which you have to prove that the property owner owed you a duty of care and failed to live up to that duty.
2. Your damages are important. Some injuries are very minor, and if you are going to make a full and quick recovery, then legal action might not be necessary or recommended. If your injury is catastrophic, then certainly you should talk to an attorney. Your damages – the monetary value of your injuries – is likely to be large and necessary in order for you to cover medical bills, loss of income, and future expenses as well. In the in-between cases, an experienced attorney can spell out the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision. Filing a lawsuit shouldn’t be done on a whim, but it’s an important tool for those who have been harmed by the negligence of others.
3. Many property owners carry insurance. One of the things your attorney will consider when evaluating your case is whether the property owner carried insurance. If not, then you can only recover from them what they already own. If they don’t have any assets, then even if you win, you won’t be able to collect much of anything. However, many property owners have insurance to protect them from lawsuits. What this means, practically speaking, is there is money available to compensate you for your medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
4. There is a deadline for taking legal action. There is a statute of limitations on exercising your legal rights. It’s basically a deadline. The general rule is that Illinois law gives you two years from the date of your injury to file suit. However, there are exceptions that can make that deadline shorter or longer. If you are injured on government property, then you should take action as soon as possible. If you are a minor you might have more time.
5. Don’t listen to random advice. If you suffer an injury and you believe someone else is at fault, then you will undoubtedly receive varied advice from friends, family and co-workers. Everyone just wants to help, of course, but unless they are a personal injury lawyer, don’t rely on their advice. An initial consultation with an attorney shouldn’t cost you anything in this type of case.
If you have any questions or would like us to refer you to an Illinois premises liability attorney, please click the contact us button at the top of the page. All calls are free and confidential.