When someone sustains an injury or loses a loved one because of the negligent actions of another, an injury attorney in Chicago can help establish legal liability. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that thousands of people die and sustain serious injuries every day because of the negligence of others. In 2014, 32,675 people lost their lives in preventable car accidents. Countless others have sustained injuries or died because of dangerous conditions on properties maintained by others, animal bites, trucking accidents, defective products and other accidents. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the third leading cause of death in the United States is medical malpractice.
Legal Liability Elements
Most accident cases are tried under a legal theory of negligence. This means that the victim through his or her injury attorney Chicago attorney must prove the following:
- The defendant owed a legal duty to the victim
- The defendant violated this legal duty by not acting like a normal person would under the circumstances
- The violation of the duty caused the victim to suffer injuries
In order to prove these elements, personal injury attorneys may take the following steps:
Attorneys can conduct independent investigations in order to determine the actions that resulted in the accident. This may include reviewing statements from the victim, the defendant, witnesses and other people who have information about the accident. Sometimes an investigator is used to help uncover information. Police reports and other official reports may be used.
In some cases, expert witnesses may be consulted and may testify at the trial to explain how the accident happened, how the defendant violated his or her legal duty and to what extent the victim suffered.
When a party files a lawsuit, the attorney representing each party can gather information to help pursue the claim or defend against the claim through the process of discovery. This process allows an attorney to request information from the defendant, issue subpoenas to get information such as onboard reports from a vehicle or phone records and to request certain documents in the possession of the defendant. Additionally, the attorney may conduct depositions in which the defendant is interviewed under oath about the accident.