If you or a family member sustained a spinal cord injury in a slip and fall or motor vehicle accident, you might wonder about the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois. The length of your case and its outcome depend on the extent of your injuries, the negligence involved, and whether the case reaches trial.
Typically, a spinal cord injury lawsuit begins with filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. Contact a spinal cord injury attorney from Nessler & Associates to understand the spinal cord injury lawsuit process and your rights to a fair settlement.
Your attorney will guide you through the process of a spinal cord injury claim and help you recover compensation for the damages incurred.
Hire a Lawyer for Your Spinal Cord Injury Case
The first step in a spinal cord injury (SCI) lawsuit is hiring a lawyer to help you with your case. While you can file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance on your own, working with an experienced personal injury attorney ensures you file the right type of claim.
Working with an attorney also ensures you don’t miss filing deadlines or settle for lowball compensation offers. Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims.
Choose your attorney based on the type of accident that caused your spine injury. For example, look for a skilled truck accident lawyer if you sustained your injury due to a truck accident.
The attorneys at Nessler & Associates work with victims of SCIs resulting from:
When considering a spinal cord injury claim, remember that personal injury attorneys like Nessler & Associates work on a contingency fee basis. This means you can obtain legal representation for your case without paying any upfront costs. Illinois limits the contingency fees to 33⅓ of your settlement, but you won’t pay fees until or unless your attorney wins your case.
Your Lawyer Investigates Your Accident
After hiring an attorney, they will investigate the circumstances of your injury to determine how to proceed with your case. They may gather evidence such as:
- Medical records and rehabilitative care plans
- Results from SCI diagnostic tests like X-rays and MRIs
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Video or photos of the accident scene
- Expert options on your injury
- W-2s for lost wages
During the investigation, your lawyer will identify the person at fault for your injuries. With a full understanding of the cause of your injuries and who is liable, you can move forward to the next step of the SCI claims process.
Your Attorney Estimates Potential Compensation
Personal injury lawyers calculate damages early in the spinal injury lawsuit process. There are two types of damages: economic and non-economic. The monetary damages for injury victims include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages include things that can’t be easily calculated, such as pain and suffering. In cases of wrongful death, your lawyer may also calculate funeral costs and loss of consortium into the settlement.
In some cases, punitive damages may apply. These damages are rare and seek to punish the negligent party for especially egregious behavior.
There are currently no caps on economic or non-economic damages in Illinois; however, if you are awarded punitive damages, they cannot exceed three times your economic damage award.
Estimating compensation gives you an idea of a fair settlement for your case. This is critical in SCI cases where injuries include permanent damage that can result in between $1,217,226 and $2,537,031 in care expenses over your lifetime when the injury occurs at 50 years old. These numbers increase to $1,724,954 and $5,162,152 if you are injured at age 25.
The insurance company may offer a settlement with economic and non-economic damages before or after contacting a lawyer. However, they will usually offer a lower amount. It is crucial to have an experienced law firm calculate your damages to get the full compensation you deserve for your injury.
Your Attorney Files a Personal Injury Claim
Your spinal cord injury lawsuit starts when your lawyer sends the defendant and their insurer a demand letter asking for a settlement. This letter briefly explains the reason for your claim and requests compensation on your behalf.
If the insurance company agrees to your initial demand, you should receive compensation within a few weeks, concluding your case. However, this is rare. In most cases, your lawyer and the insurer attempt to negotiate a settlement. If both parties can’t reach an agreement, your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit with the courts to seek damages.
Your Spinal Injury Case May End in a Verdict or Settlement
A successful spinal cord injury claim hinges on proving the following elements of negligence at trial. These negligence elements are:
Duty. The person who caused your injury was legally responsible for protecting you from harm.
Breach of Duty. The person failed to meet their legal duty to protect you from harm.
Cause. The person caused or was directly responsible for your injury.
Damages. You suffered demonstrable financial and emotional loss due to your spinal cord injury.
Your attorney will use their expertise and evidence from your case to show these factors in court and win you maximum damages. For instance, the attorneys at Nessler & Associates can call on a network of expert witnesses to interpret your medical records for the court and explain the impact of your injuries on your quality of life.
Illinois uses modified comparative negligence in determining damage awards. This statute says you cannot receive compensation if you are more than 50% responsible for your injuries. However, if you are less than 50% at fault, you can win any percent of damages your legal team can prove against the other party.
Working with a skilled attorney can help you navigate this statute and prove that the other party’s negligence caused your SCI and that they should be responsible for your accident-related expenses. Your legal team can refute the other party’s claims that try to detract from your winnings and convince the judge or jury that you were the victim of negligent behavior.
If your lawyer succeeds in winning you a damage award in court, you will receive the award compensation as a lump sum or in payments over a period designated by the judge. Depending on the complexity of your case, a trial may take months or years to conclude.
Hire an Experienced Attorney to Guide You through the Spine Injury Claims Process
The process of a spinal cord injury lawsuit is complicated. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer can guide you through the steps of getting compensation for damages you incurred. Let a lawyer work on your behalf to investigate your claim, determine the negligent party, and calculate your damages.
The attorneys at Nessler & Associates have been helping spinal cord accident victims get compensation for more than four decades. We’ve won millions in settlements for personal injury clients injured by another person’s careless actions in Illinois, Colorado, Florida, and Texas. We will work tirelessly on your behalf to get you fair compensation for your SCI so you can focus on rehabilitation and rebuilding your life.
Contact our law firm at (800) 727-8010 for a free case review so you can begin your spinal cord injury lawsuit process and get the damages you deserve as soon as possible.