will county personal injury lawyers
When you’re the victim of an accident, you can be left feeling unsettled and confused in addition to suffering from the pain of your injuries. While no one wants to be in this situation, our laws do provide a way to seek compensation from those responsible for causing that suffering. By filing a personal injury claim, you can recover money to pay for your losses, but it’s important to understand how this process works.
The Elements of a Personal Injury Case in Will County
There are four elements that must be present in any personal injury case. As long as you can show these four elements exist, you may have grounds to pursue your case. By going over each element individually, you may be able to apply them to your circumstances.
1. A Duty to Exercise Reasonable Care
The first element of a personal injury claim is the ability to show the other party or defendant had a responsibility for your care. It’s easiest to understand this responsibility to exercise reasonable care in a business setting, such as a grocery store. While you’re on the business property, the business is responsible to ensure the area is reasonably free of hazards. This responsibility only extends to areas in which you are authorized to be in and in situations in which you’re activities are permitted. For instance, this standard of care wouldn’t extend, if you tripped in an area marked for employees only or if you were in the store after hours in an attempt to steal from the business.
2. Failure to Exercise Reasonable Care
This leads to the second element, which requires being able to show that the defendant was negligent in exercising reasonable care. In a grocery store setting, a spill on the floor in a public area would constitute a breach of this duty. The store managers and employees are responsible for cleaning the spill or otherwise marking it as unsafe for customers. If the failure to do so caused you to slip and fall, the store would be responsible for the resulting injuries you suffered.
3. The Negligence Caused Your Injuries
Next, you must also show that breaching the duty of care directly caused your injuries. The defendant’s negligence must have played a part in causing the injuries to the plaintiff. In the grocery store setting, it may be fairly simple to show that the spill on the floor caused the slip and fall. You must be able to show that the defendant’s negligence played a major role in causing the accident.
4. You Suffered a Monetary Loss
You must also show that you suffered a significant monetary loss. For instance, if you merely sprained an ankle and the injury healed within a day or two, you may not have grounds for a personal injury claim. Conversely, if you hit your head as you fell and suffered a traumatic brain injury, you would likely have grounds to file a claim. Depending on the nature of the accident and the injuries suffered, you may be able to claim other damages in addition to compensation for medical care.
Collecting Damages in Your Will County Personal Injury Case
When it comes to claiming damages in your case, the nature of your accident may play a part. For instance, a traffic accident will likely result in damage to your vehicle, so you would file a claim for property damages. Conversely, a slip and fall in a grocery store typically won’t result in property damages. An attorney can give you a better grasp of the damages you can claim in your case, but, generally, the following damages may be claimed in most personal injury claims.
- Medical care
- Loss of income/missed days from work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damages
- Loss of consortium
If the case goes to trial, a jury may also award punitive damages. Punitive damages aren’t intended to compensate the plaintiff as much as they’re meant to punish the defendant. If the trial establishes that the defendant’s actions were especially careless or abhorrent, the jury may want to make an example of the defendant. In this case, the defendant may be required to pay a significant sum to the plaintiff.
It’s always a good idea to work with a Will County personal injury lawyer in recovering damages for an accident. Your lawyer will know how to negotiate for a fair settlement or how to develop a strong strategy for pursuing the case in civil court. Additionally, your attorney can help you avoid making mistakes that could hurt your case. Hiring an attorney will help you achieve the best possible outcome from your claim, so you can restore your quality of life.