Personal injury law allows an injured person to sue in a private action called a civil action, known in the legal community as a tort action. A “tort” is a wrong against a person. Any accident or injury (physical, emotional, and psychological) against a person can constitute a tort – whether it be in a car accident, the use of a product, or the negligence of a professional.
If the person is injured, they (or a family member) should contact tough and experienced personal injury attorneys to provide information on whether to pursue an action in court. If a loved one is killed in an accident or through negligence, the surviving family members would pursue wrongful death litigation. If successful, you can recover money damages for medical bills, lost income and other economic and non-economic damages. Keep in mind there is a deadline in filing cases known as a statute of limitations. These statutes vary and it takes an experienced law firm to examine the facts and the law to determine the limitations period that applies in each case.
For more insight, please review this general outline of the order of events during a personal injury case or see the graphic below.
Selecting a Personal Injury Attorney FAQs
The Honorable Henry R. Simmons (Ret.) served as a Cook County Circuit Court Judge for nearly two decades and served as a Senior Mediator for one of the top mediation services in the country. He is now a Managing Partner of Clifford Law Offices and is here to answer these questions. Note: this is a summary; please click here for the complete list of questions and answers.
How early do I contact a personal injury attorney?
Of course, the earlier you can contact an attorney, the better it is. I would recommend that as soon as you are feeling you are able to communicate, it is a good time to make a call. Alternatively, we suggest a family member contact our office as soon as possible to protect the interests of the injured party. Many agencies involved want the injured party to give a statement or possibly just not present the best foot forward. Insurance companies, their adjusters and investigators are on it immediately. They try to be a step ahead of the injured party all the time.
Should I sign an insurance company release?
Eventually, if there is going to be any payment for damages in a personal injury, one must sign a release. However, it is a very dangerous document. It must be carefully reviewed by counsel. Do not sign a release unless you have it reviewed by counsel. Even if you are negotiating your case yourself, hire a lawyer on an hourly basis to read the Release to make sure it conforms to everything you understood.
How do personal injury law firm contingent fee contracts work?
Our law firm fees are completely contingent upon the results we attain for our clients. We do not charge any upfront retainer fee or charge fees by the hour. The standard fee is 1/3 of the settlement or verdict award in the case. A client will be asked to sign a contingency fee contract which explains in detail that we do not receive any fees unless we succeed.
Our firm is routinely recognized as one of the top Chicago law firms, and we have been ranked in the U.S. News – Best Lawyer “Best Law Firms” list. This year, Expertise.com awarded us Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Chicago. All of us at Clifford Law Offices work together as a team to ensure each case has the best representation possible.
These awards have been earned because of outcomes such as:
- $112 million verdict for two workers who were burned in a grain bin explosion in downstate Illinois.
- $15.8 million verdict for a 12-year-old girl severely injured when a YMCA van struck her at an intersection when she tried to cross the street after school.
- 6 million settlement for a 73-year-old musician was practicing with his ensemble on the stage of a public university when a large screen above him fell striking him causing him permanent injuries.
- $4 million verdict for the family of 9-year-old Louisiana girl who was killed in a trucking accident in Florida.
We are Chicago’s premier personal injury law firm for a reason and are here to help you seek justice during this challenging time. Please reach out to us today or call 312-899-9090. All consultations are confidential and free of charge.