FAQ – Personal Injury Lawsuits

Do I have a case?

Just because you have been involved in an accident does not automatically mean that you have a meritorious case. Working with a personal injury lawyer, you have to prove that some other person or company caused the accident due to their negligence.

The courts define “negligence” as a failure to exercise ordinary care. If a personal injury lawsuit goes all the way to trial, a jury will decide whether the defendant exercised ordinary care. Even if the jury finds the defendant at fault, the verdict can be reduced if the jury finds that the plaintiff was also at fault.

If the plaintiff’s fault is less than fifty percent, the verdict will be reduced in proportion to the jury’s assessment of the plaintiff’s degree of fault. If the plaintiff is fifty percent or more at fault then the plaintiff cannot recover anything. Our personal injury attorneys thoroughly investigate our cases in order to decide whether we think a jury will find in your favor. Prompt action is necessary to obtain witness’ statements and preserve the physical evidence.

In malpractice cases, we have to carefully review the medical records and do a medical literature search to determine whether or not the doctor has been negligent. Medical negligence cases require that expert medical witnesses certify the case as meritorious before suit can be filed.

Thus, the so-called “frivolous lawsuits” that many conservative politicians talk about don’t exist. By imposing limits on malpractice verdicts, these politicians are sacrificing your rights in order to save money for the large insurance companies that give them campaign contributions.

How much will it cost me to pursue a case?

All cases are handled on a contingent fee basis. This means that no attorney’s fees are charged unless and until we secure a recovery on your behalf. In most personal injury cases, the contingent fee charged is one-third of the amount recovered. Costs and expenses are usually advanced by the firm and paid back at the time the case is settled.

How long do I have to sue?

In general, any suit for medical malpractice or other personal injury must be filed within two years but there are various exceptions to this rule. However, the sooner you contact our Chicago personal injury lawyers the better, as witnesses’ memories fade and documents tend to disappear the longer you wait.

How much is my case worth?

Since the lion’s share of any verdict is usually for pain and suffering and disability, and since the jury has wide discretion in awarding compensation, it is often difficult to determine what a case is worth. However, effective representation of your case by an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney maximizes the value of your case and Donald A. Shapiro, Ltd. has won millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for his clients.

When will I receive compensation for my injuries?

If it was just up to us, we would settle your personal injury lawsuit as soon as possible. However, as the expression goes, “It takes two to tango”, so in order to settle we need an insurance company or defendant who is willing to “dance”. In Cook County, the time between when a personal injury lawsuit is filed and when it goes to trial can be three to four years.

Since insurance companies like to hold onto their money for as long as possible, most of them will not even discuss settlement until shortly before trial. So while we do everything we can to put pressure on the defense while your case is waiting for trial, please understand that no personal injury lawyer can truthfully promise you a “quick” settlement. You will need to have patience and trust that our personal injury attorneys are doing the best they can to favorably resolve your personal injury lawsuit.

Call 312-263-3443 to speak with a personal injury lawyer Chicago, IL today.

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