Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Following an injury where another party is liable, it’s important to know when to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle a case. The right attorney can represent you in a case and help you seek total compensation from liable parties in a successful claim or lawsuit.

a handshake between men after one man hires the other as his personal injury lawyer.

Personal Injury Law in Illinois

If a person or entity’s negligence or malicious intent leads to an injury, you may recover compensation for all related damages sustained through a personal injury claim or lawsuit in Illinois. These are third-party liability claims that entail seeking compensation from the liable party’s insurer, which includes any financial and personal losses resulting from your injuries.

To succeed with a case, you must prove that the liable party was negligent or responsible for conduct that led to your injuries and resulting damages. Depending on the nature of the case, it could be difficult to prove that the liable party was negligent, that this negligence led to injuries, and that your injuries resulted in definable damages.

For help with this, a personal injury lawyer can help gather evidence, organize it, and build a successful case against the parties responsible for your damages.

Statute of Limitations

Like other types of cases, personal injury claims and suits in Illinois have a statute of limitations. This statute dictates how much time you have to file a claim or lawsuit before you’re unable to recover compensation.

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the time of the injury or discovery of an injury. This means you have two years to file a claim before you’re unable to get compensation for your injuries. However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations when you may be able to succeed with a case even after the initial time limit passes, such as if the plaintiff is a minor at the time of the incident or if the liable party leaves the state of Illinois.

With the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you may more easily succeed with a case and ensure you file on time.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in Illinois?

Even if a case appears simple on the surface, it may be more complicated than you initially believed. An attorney can help you navigate the claims or legal process and provide benefits that make legal services worthwhile. Without the help of an attorney, you could inadvertently compromise your case by taking the wrong steps, saying the wrong thing, or otherwise hurting your chances of successfully recovering compensation.

Knowledge of the Legal System

One benefit of hiring an attorney is access to knowledge of personal injury law. An attorney in this practice area will understand how a personal injury lawsuit works and what your case will involve.

Without the help of a professional like an injury lawyer, you may not know how to proceed with your case, and make a misstep that hurts it in the end. Attorneys versed in personal injury law will know what actions defendants may take and sufficiently prepare for them, helping ensure you get full compensation in the process.

In addition, an attorney can help answer questions you have about your case, including “How long does a personal injury lawsuit take?” and “What are my chances of success?” In fact, you should ask these questions in a free initial consultation to get a feel for the attorney and how he or she will approach your case.

Negotiate Fair Settlements for Victims

Another advantage of working with a personal injury attorney is the ability to get the full compensation you need following an injury.

There are multiple types of compensation involved in these cases, including:

  • Economic Damages: Economic damages involve direct financial losses resulting from injuries. Economic damages include medical bills, lost income, therapy costs, disability expenses, and other costs pertaining to your injuries. These are typically easy to prove, as they are calculated using wage statements, receipts, and bills.
  • Non-Economic Damages: In addition to economic damages, you may seek compensation for non-economic damages stemming from your injuries. These are personal losses that an attorney can quantify and count toward a total settlement amount. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, psychological trauma, disfigurement, loss of companionship or consortium, and anguish resulting from injuries. Proving these damages is challenging, but it’s possible to do so by keeping a pain journal and documenting your personal experience with your injuries and the recovery process.
  • Punitive Damages: Unlike compensatory economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages aim to punish defendants for egregious behavior. Personal injury cases rarely involve these damages, and only the courts can award them in a trial case. However, your lawyer will determine whether these damages apply to your case based on the degree of negligence or malice the defendant displayed.

Whether your case involves economic, non-economic, or punitive damages, an attorney can help determine how much your case is worth early on and begin seeking total compensation. While an insurance company and other parties may attempt to make a low offer to get you to settle and swiftly end the case, a knowledgeable lawyer will fight for the actual value of your case and aim for the most successful outcome.

What Are the Costs of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Before hiring a lawyer, you may wonder how much an attorney costs. This concern can lead many to avoid seeking representation, which could do more harm than good. If you’re worried about the cost of an attorney, it’s important to know how personal injury lawyers charge for their services, which could give you more peace of mind.

Contingency vs. Hourly Rates

Generally, personal injury attorneys in Illinois charge on a contingency fee basis, which means they don’t charge clients until they succeed with a case.

The contingency fee model helps ensure that attorneys only provide representation for cases they believe they are likely to win. As a result, attorneys will typically offer free consultations to discuss a case with you, giving you time to explain your situation, your injuries, and the overall nature of your case. During this consultation, the attorney will ask you questions about your case, and you’ll have the chance to ask questions in return.

If the attorney decides to handle your case, you may begin building your claim or lawsuit against the liable parties involved. The contingency fee will come out of the total settlement amount upon receiving it.

What Are Other Costs Associated With a Personal Injury Case?

In addition to contingency fees, there may be other costs to cover through a settlement, depending on the evidence needed, the involvement of experts, and other factors contributing to your case.

For example, your settlement may cover the cost of hiring an expert witness to recreate the events of an accident that led to your injuries. This expert witness could be the key to helping you succeed, which may make this professional well worth the costs of hiring him or her.

Additionally, an attorney may need to take out a portion of your settlement to cover court filing costs if your case goes to trial. Other extraneous costs could include administrative expenses, the cost of investigating the case, and deposition expenses.

Know When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one sustain injuries, whether it involves a car accident, medical malpractice, or another incident, an attorney will increase your chances of getting full compensation. Hiring an experienced lawyer can make all the difference if you want to increase the likelihood of success and build a strong case.

Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
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