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Law Offices of David W. Clark, P.C.

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Wheaton car crash lawyer Car accidents can be frightening for various reasons — life-threatening injuries, hospital or medical bills, and insurance claims. When you are the driver in a collision, the fault falls between you and the other driver. This is how insurance companies or the court can determine responsibility and any personal injury compensation for the non-faulty party. However, how does this change if you were a passenger injured in a car accident?

The Driver’s Responsibility to You 

If you were injured as a driver and the car accident was not your fault, you can file a claim against the other driver for negligent driving. This claim can award you financial compensation to cover the costs of your injuries, including hospital bills, continued medical treatments, or repayment for wage loss during your healing process. However, if the car accident was your fault, as the driver, you bear the responsibility for the other vehicle in the collision. The faulty driver most likely will not be awarded any financial compensation for personal injury. 

This changes when you are a passenger riding in a vehicle. Since you are neither driver in the collision, you can file for compensation from the negligence of either driver, depending on which one was the faulty party. For example, if another vehicle collides with the car you are riding in, that driver is at fault for any injuries they cause you as the passenger. Similarly, the driver of the vehicle you are riding in also bears the responsibility for your safety. If your driver is negligent or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and injures you during a car accident, they are liable for any injuries you sustain. If both drivers were at fault, an injured passenger could file a personal injury claim against either or both parties.

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DuPage County personal injury lawyerTrips and falls occur all the time. In fact, they are one of the most common incidents that lead to personal injuries. According to a statistic from the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration division (OSHA), there were approximately 230,000 slip and fall injuries cases in 2019. Uneven sidewalks, especially in large metropolitan cities like Chicago, lead to multiple trip and fall accidents. In Illinois, the De Minimis Rule can help victims receive compensation for any injuries sustained or medical payments made due to a fall from uneven sidewalks.

What is the De Minimis Rule?

When dealing with a personal injury lawsuit, there are three main criteria that the court will use to determine if a victim can be awarded compensation. The first consideration includes when the accident occurred, ensuring that the injury timeline is within the Illinois statute of limitations. Victims typically have two years after the accident occurred to sue for compensation. Then, the court will analyze the injuries and how severe they are. The most important factor, however, is determining fault through liability. Many nuances exist in liability cases, especially regarding injuries such as falls on public property. Liability refers to finding who is responsible for an accident. For example, a drunk driver who drives illegally under the influence of alcohol is liable for any injuries or damages caused if they crash. Similarly, a store owner can be held liable for a customer slipping on a spill that was left unattended. 

Illinois initially implemented the De Minimis Rule to help protect defendants in personal injury cases who could be held liable for injured pedestrians tripping on an uneven sidewalk. The rule states that defendants, including city officials, homeowners, or businesses, would not be held responsible for injuries on uneven sidewalks if the uneven pavement depression was smaller than two inches. It became too difficult for liable parties to maintain every imperfection on sidewalks. So, parties are responsible for sidewalk depressions larger than two inches. 

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Wheaton back injury lawyerWhile many types of accidents can lead to serious injuries, back injuries can be especially dangerous. Injuries sustained to the spine, vertebrae, or other areas of the back can limit movement and cause an individual intense pain. These injuries can occur from doing home improvement projects around the house, playing a sport, partaking in heavy lifting, or other accidents. When an individual sustains a back injury due to another person’s negligence or malice, a victim can pursue compensation to cover any related costs. 

Understanding Serious Back Injuries 

Back injuries, especially to the lower back, are widespread. Many people sustain lower back injuries, such as sprains, resulting from moving heavy objects or even sleeping in the wrong position. Severe back injuries can be harder to identify, but they may cause lasting damage to the spine. Spinal cord injuries can lead to severe medical consequences. Symptoms that can indicate a severe back injury rather than a common sprain include:

  • Persistent tenderness and pain
  • Difficulty moving
  • Muscle spasms around the spinal area
  • Swelling 
  • Radiated pain into other areas of the body

These symptoms may indicate serious back or spinal cord injuries, such as a herniated disk or fractured vertebrae. In some cases, spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis. If you or someone you know are experiencing any symptoms of a severe back injury, it is in your best interest to speak to a doctor immediately. 

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DuPage County car accident injury lawyerCar accidents can occur in a blink of an eye and leave individuals with lifelong injuries. Injuries sustained in a severe car accident can leave victims with substantial medical bills and rehabilitation payments, leaving many people unsure of their next steps. Victims injured in a car accident in Illinois can take action to receive financial compensation to cover these costs. However, there are rules for filing for compensation, including a strict timeline.

The Personal Injury Claims Process

If you or a loved one has been injured or lost their life in a car accident, you may choose to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim to help cover the costs of medical expenses. The personal injury process includes three main steps:

  • Accumulating Evidence of Injuries — One of the essential factors in a personal injury case from a car accident is determining the severity of the injuries sustained. After receiving medical attention, a victim or their medical proxy should keep all necessary medical information, including diagnoses, surgeries, tests, hospital care, and physical therapy. This will help the court determine how severe the injuries were and maintain a money trail of how much was spent on treatment. 
  • Determining Fault — Car accident lawsuits are handled similarly to other personal injury lawsuits in Illinois. In order to sue another individual for financial compensation, the court must be able to determine who was at fault in the situation. If the defendant is entirely at fault for the car accident, it will be easier for the victim to be awarded compensation. However, if both drivers were at fault to some degree, Illinois will follow the comparative fault law. The court and jury will determine the ratio between fault and injuries sustained to decide how much compensation is awarded. For example, if the damages for an injury cost $25,000 and the victim was 10% at fault, the victim may be awarded $22,500. 
  • Filing Court Forms — To go through the court process of filing a personal injury claim, a plaintiff must begin the correct paperwork. The initial complaint form details the events of the accident. Then, subsequent paperwork will follow if the court decides to accept the complaint. 

Victims of a car accident looking to file an injury complaint and receive compensation must follow the statute of limitations for Illinois personal injury cases. Individuals have two years to submit a complaint and begin their case. If a person files a personal injury complaint longer than two years after the accident, the court will likely not accept the case. It is wise for individuals looking to receive compensation for a car accident injury to hire an attorney to ensure that paperwork and other critical information are filed correctly and on time. 

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Illinois personal injury lawyerWrist injuries are prevalent and can occur from many different causes, including car accidents or falls. The hands, wrist, and fingers are critical parts of the body. Without the ability to use their hands, people cannot take care of themselves, complete daily tasks, or even work. If you have sustained a wrist injury as a result of an accident, you may be entitled to file for a personal injury claim depending on the severity of your injury, who was at fault, and the impact it has had on your life. 

Types of Wrist Injuries 

Wrist injuries that occur from an accident can be debilitating. Typically, accidents, including a car crash or a slip or fall, can result in a wrist sprain or fracture. For example, head-on car collisions can cause wrist fractures as drivers place their hands out in front of them while bracing for impact from the other vehicle or the steering wheel. Similarly, slipping on a hazard may lead to a wrist fracture as a victim braces for the fall with an open hand. Common wrist injuries include:

  • Tendon tears from a rapid pulling motion 
  • Scaphoid or Colles fracture from falling with an open hand 
  • Ligament tear from bracing for impact or twisting 
  • Sprains and overstretched ligaments from jams or impact 
  • Wrist dislocation 

Can I Receive a Payout for My Wrist Injury?

While wrist injuries are extremely painful, injured individuals cannot always receive compensation to help alleviate the costs of medical bills and other treatments. There must be a faulty party at hand to receive personal injury compensation. For example, a person could receive compensation for a wrist injury if they were hit in a car collision by another vehicle or if a negligent store owner left out a spill that resulted in a fall. However, if the wrist injury occurred as a result of the injured person’s fault, personal injury compensation will most likely not be awarded.

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