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What Are the Stages of a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Illinois?

Posted on September 06, 2019 in Personal Injury

Rockford personal injury attorneysIf you have been injured in a car crash or any other accident caused by another party’s actions or negligence, you might be able to pursue compensation for the injuries you have sustained. Compensation is generally available to cover medical expenses, time away from work, and damage to property, as well as more subjective losses such as pain, suffering, and permanent scarring. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to collect compensation after an accident, especially if a lawsuit is necessary.

Filing Your Claim

In most situations, the first step toward recovering compensation after an accident is filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Depending on the situation, you might do so by going through your own insurance company first or you could file directly with the other party’s carrier. Your claim will almost certainly include the police report and any other evidence that might help prove that the other party was to blame for your injuries.

At this stage, the insurance company might offer a settlement that seems like it will cover all of your losses. Keep in mind that initial offers often do not take long-term considerations into account. For example, the first offer might come before you have even received a prognosis for making a full physical recovery from your doctor. If you accept a settlement offer, you will waive your right to taking legal action in the future, so you should discuss the matter with a qualified personal injury lawyer before making a decision.

Before you decide to litigate, your attorney will attempt to negotiate with the insurance company in most cases. However, if the insurance company is trying to blame you for the accident or is refusing to believe the extent of your injuries, a negotiated settlement might not be possible. The next step is to file a lawsuit.

Preparing Your Lawsuit

You have every right to file suit in court from the start, but doing so is most often an option of last resort. Going to court can be stressful, time-consuming, and exhausting. As your lawsuit gets started, you and the other parties will be required to exchange relevant documents and information under the court’s supervision. As the process moves along, the other side could offer settlements, especially if the case is starting to look like it will go your way. You can accept a settlement at any time and withdraw your lawsuit, and your lawyer can assist you in deciding if and when to do so.

Proving Your Case

If your lawsuit does go to trial, you bear the burden of proof, which means that it is up to you to show that your version of events is what actually happened. In civil court, you must prove your case “by a preponderance of the evidence,” or that your claims are more likely than not to be true. The burden of proof can be shifted to the defendant under certain circumstances, but it almost always starts with the claimant.

Once liability is established, you will then need to make a case showing the losses you have suffered. Measurable damages like medical bills and lost wages are relatively easy to prove, while noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disfigurement are often more challenging. Your attorney can help you build a case for maximum compensation.

Speak with a Rockford County Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of another party’s negligence, our experienced Winnebago County personal injury lawyers can help you seek justice. Call Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS, at 815-215-7561 to schedule a free initial consultation and case review. We will work hard to get you the full compensation you deserve.




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