Common Personal Injury Claims and Defenses in Illinois
In many cases, the only way for an accident victim to be reimbursed for their losses after an accident caused by someone else is to file a personal injury lawsuit. You’ll find an explanation below of some of the most common types of personal injury claims, as well as defenses that the at-fault party may try to use to defeat an accident victim’s claims.
Don’t let a giant insurance corporation or their team of defense attorneys keep you from recovering for your injuries. Seek skilled legal representation for your personal injury claim by contacting the Chicagoland personal injury lawyer John Fairman for a consultation on your case.
Motor vehicle accident: Each year, millions of people are involved in accidents on the road. When those accidents are caused by the failure of the at-fault driver to pay adequate attention to the road and drive responsibly, then victims may have a claim for damages against the at-fault driver.
Premises liability/slip-and-fall: Businesses, public buildings, and other property owners who invite customers or guests onto their property are obligated to ensure that their property is safe and free from any hidden hazards. If a visitor is injured by, say, slipping on a clear puddle of liquid or tripping on a broken stair, the property owner may be obligated to pay for the victim’s costs of care.
Product liability: Product manufacturers and retailers have an obligation to make sure their products are safe before making them available for purchase. However, many companies, eager to make a profit, rush products to market without first ensuring that they’re safe to use and work as promised. When customers are injured by defective products, they can file claims against the maker, distributor, and seller of that dangerous item.
Medical malpractice: According to a recent study, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the US. Doctors and other medical professionals who don’t give the required attention and care to their patients may be at risk of facing a claim for malpractice.
Common defenses to personal injury claims
Assumption of the risk
If an accident victim understood that the activity they chose carried certain risks, and they bring a claim based on injuries received from those activities, then the defendant might claim that the victim assumed the risk. For example, if a plaintiff is injured during a guided hike and files a claim against the guide company, that company may claim that the plaintiff assumed the risk of injury by taking the hike.
Some defendants may try to argue that an injured plaintiff is in part or totally to blame for their injuries, and thus the defendant shouldn’t be required to pay. In other words, the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to the accident that caused their injuries. For example, let’s say two cars are in an accident where a car that changed lanes without signaling was struck by a speeding car that was already in the neighboring lane. If the lane-changing car filed a claim against the speeder, the speeder would claim that the lane-changing car was comparatively negligent for failing to signal their lane change, which would have alerted the speeder to slow down.
Illinois follows the rule of “modified comparative negligence.” Under this rule, an injured plaintiff may only recover damages from the defendant if the court determines that the plaintiff is less than 50% responsible for the accident occurring. If the plaintiff is allowed to recover, the amount of their damages award will be reduced by the percentage for which they’re deemed responsible for the accident. For example, if the plaintiff was determined to be 30% responsible for an accident, they might receive only 70% of their damages. A skilled personal injury lawyer will use expert testimony and physical evidence to argue for the defendant’s total responsibility for an accident and a non-negligent explanation of the plaintiff’s behavior.
Call Attorney John Fairman in Homewood or Bridgeview after a Chicagoland Injury Accident
If you have been injured by another party’s negligent or reckless conduct in Illinois, contact the compassionate and effective Chicago area personal injury lawyer John Fairman for a consultation, in Bridgeview at 708-960-4806, or in Homewood at 708-799-4848.