Being injured in an accident is a difficult experience regardless of the circumstances. In addition to the pain and the medical expenses, you might be unable to work during your recovery. If your injuries are severe, you might never be able to return to your job. The good news is that the law requires negligent parties to pay for the harm they cause to others. An Aurora personal injury lawyer could help you pursue monetary damages for your injuries and hold the negligent parties accountable. An experienced lawyer has the knowledge and resources to mount a strong case against the defendant.
The Process of Seeking Compensation
Whether they arise from a motor vehicle crash, a slip and fall, a workplace injury, or any other kind of accident, most personal injury cases will involve a claim against the negligent person, which will be handled by their insurer. Claimants must understand that insurance companies devote substantial resources to limiting the amount of money they must pay. The typical response from an insurer is to lowball an offer or to outright deny the claim.
Claimants are at a disadvantage because they often have little idea about how much an injury will actually cost them or how much compensation they deserve; and insurers will exploit that fact. Claimants also might be worried about going into debt and could accept an early offer to avoid that result, which will end up being inadequate.
Professional representation could handle negotiations and demand that the claimant receive fair compensation for their injuries. At the same time, they could investigate and gather evidence to be used if the parties end up in court.
Establishing Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
Proving that another party was negligent is the cornerstone of a personal injury case. The plaintiff has the burden of demonstrating that the defendant did not exercise reasonable care, and must show that their injury was the direct result of the defendant’s lack of care.
Different situations call for different definitions of reasonable care. For example, because trucks are so large and have potential to cause injury to others, a truck driver operating their rig at five miles over the speed limit might be considered negligent when a driver of a passenger vehicle might not be held to such a high standard. A local personal injury lawyer could evaluate a case and identify potential negligence.
A plaintiff must show that their injury caused them documentable losses, known as damages. A plaintiff could establish losses by producing:
- Medical bills
- Pay stubs documenting lost wages or used vacation/sick time
- Receipts for services the plaintiff needed because of their injury
- Statements from friends and family explaining how the plaintiff’s life has changed since the accident
- Other proof that establishes that the plaintiff has incurred actual expenses and endured real suffering due to their injury
Plaintiff’s Negligence Could Reduce Damages
A claimant sometimes bears some responsibility for the accident that injured them. That could include speeding, texting while walking, or not following a doctor’s instructions.
The fact that a plaintiff was negligent does not automatically bar them from seeking damages because Illinois follows the modified comparative negligence doctrine. 735 Illinois Consolidated Statutes §5/2-1116(c) allows a negligent plaintiff to seek damages as long as they are not primarily responsible for the accident that injured them.
Comparative negligence can be an issue in negotiations before a lawsuit is filed, as insurance companies might attempt to shift blame onto the claimant to reduce their liability. An Aurora civil lawsuit lawyer could counter those attempts with evidence demonstrating the plaintiff’s actual role in the incident that injured them. If a claim becomes a lawsuit, a judge will apportion blame among the parties and reduce a plaintiff’s damages by an amount that reflects their portion of fault.
Work with an Aurora Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury law might seem convoluted and complicated, and insurance adjusters and defense lawyers might seem intimidating. Spare yourself from the stress and confusion, and select an Aurora personal injury lawyer to pursue your claim for damages. They could handle all matters related to your settlement while you focus on feeling better and getting on with your life. There is no time to waste, so schedule a case review today.