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Tuesday, November 6, 2018
At some point in your life, you are likely to find yourself injured by another person. Not that they planned to harm you, but their negligence caused an accident, which in turn led to your injury.
Whether you were in an auto accident on 79th Street or you slipped on the floor of your local farmer’s market, these injuries have left you burdened with extensive medical costs and no way to pay them off. In some cases, you might be permanently disabled and unable to return to work. If you did not cause the accident, you might explore the idea of filing an injury claim against the party that did.
Personal injury claims compensate you for your losses. To file a complaint, you need to know the proper procedures, including where to file your claim. Ideally, you should speak with an injury attorney. Personal injury cases are more than filing the case with the civil court and receiving compensation.
Instead, you might find yourself going up against an insurance company and a team of attorneys ready to fight against your claim. If you want to increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve, talking to an attorney might help.
In Illinois, if you are seriously injured and want to file a claim for compensation, you must do so within two years from the date of the accident. The Illinois statute of limitations protects people from being named as defendants in injury claims years after the fact – but in a way, they protect you too. They ensure that you file your claim quickly so that witnesses still remember what they saw, and evidence is always available to prove your case.
Once the two-year mark passes, you cannot file a lawsuit. If you were to try, the judge would dismiss the case.
Where you file depends on factors like the compensation value, whether you were in Chicago at the time of the accident, and if you are a Chicago resident.
At the Cook County Circuit Courts’ Civil Division, you can file a claim if the case involves compensation of $30,000 or less. If your case seeks damages over $30,000, you must file within the Law Division of the Cook County Circuit Court. Any branch allows for filing as long as you meet the filing requirements.
To file a case with the court, you must first write your complaint. This is your official document that explains your legal basis for filing the lawsuit. Your complaint is not a novel; instead, it is succinct and to the point. You must be specific enough to show the defendant that you are serious and have evidence proving your case. Your complaint is filed, and you pay a fee for filing the case with the court.
Once you file, you are not done. The complaint is only the first step. Afterward, you must also serve the defendant, keep proper documentation that they were served, and wait for their response. If you are injured, handling the filing and serving is a burden that is unnecessary. You should be focusing on your recovery instead of waiting in line at the County Clerk’s office to file a claim or hunting down a defendant to serve them.
Injury claims are based on negligence.
Negligence refers to the defendant’s failure to provide a standard of care, and that failure to exercise the acceptable standard caused your injury.
The burden of proof in an injury case lies on the plaintiff (the victim). You must prove, using a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant was negligent and their negligence led to the accident, which caused your injuries.
The preponderance of evidence works like a scale. One side of the scale is the defendant; the other side is the plaintiff. Your amount of evidence must tip the scale onto your side, showing that your evidence is stronger compared to the counter-evidence provided by the defense.
While this sounds simple enough, this is only part of the battle. The obligations of the plaintiff extend much further than you might realize – only furthering the burden you experience when you attempt to represent yourself.
You know that the burden of proof is on you to show, using a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant:
While this sounds simple, realize that you must successfully get the evidence entered at court. The defense might enter a motion to have some of your proof excluded, especially if you did not follow proper protocol when obtaining it or entering it.
The evidence is crucial in an injury claim. Not only do you need evidence to establish the defendant’s fault, but you rely on it to prove the damages you have requested, too. Any evidence excluded due to successful motions by the defense harms your case and makes it that much harder to prove.
The courtroom is an official place where each side presents evidence, argues to the court, and follows specific procedures. Attorneys know the protocols because they were trained for them, but also, they practice with each case they take on. Most have years of experience at trial – something you cannot compare with when you represent yourself.
Therefore, you must realize that the other side is likely to have an attorney, especially if you have named the insurance company as a defendant or the amount is more than $30,000 in damages.
The judge will not excuse your lack of knowledge of courtroom procedures. Therefore, not knowing how to enter evidence, address the court, enter a motion, or object could be detrimental to your case.
A common defense strategy is to put as much of the blame on the plaintiff as possible so that the defense can at least reduce the compensation they pay. Illinois adopted the modified comparative negligence laws. This means the fault is divided by party and damages reduced based on the percentage of fault.
If the court finds the plaintiff more than 50 percent at fault, they cannot seek compensation. While you might have enough evidence to prove that you are not more than 50 percent at fault, do you have evidence to counterclaims that you are 10 or even 20 percent at fault?
Realize that the court reduces your compensation – the funds you need to pay medical costs, cover expenses when you cannot work, and more – by your fault percentage. Losing 10 percent of your compensation could be detrimental.
For example, you are awarded $100,000, but the court found you 10 percent liable. Therefore, they reduce the compensation by $10,000. That is $10,000 that you cannot use to pay for your living expenses while you are recovering from your injuries or $10,000 that you cannot use to buy a new car, replace personal items damaged, or cover medical costs.
An injury attorney is prepared for the comparative fault defense strategy. They prepare arguments, evidence, and are ready to fight back when the defense tries this common strategy.
Hiring an attorney can benefit you in numerous ways. Not only will you have someone there ready to handle the courtroom protocols, fight back against claims of comparative negligence, and argue on your behalf, but you have an advocate who is there to fight for your rights.
Just some advantages to using an attorney over trying to file a personal injury claim alone include:
After a serious accident, you need an attorney equally serious about getting you the compensation you deserve. Speak with an attorney from Malman Law today to explore your options. We have been offering our legal services for more than 25 years, and we are more than happy to meet with you for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Discuss your case risk-free at 888-625-6265, or request more information about our services online.
They are very helpful, and when it comes to getting things done with your case I had the pleasure of working with Jason Kellerman he was awesome I highly recommend them.
- Britany Weaver
I’m very pleased to recommend Malman Law to my friends and relatives! I have to mention how efficient and professional in dealing with my case has been with everyone that I’ve been in contact with at Malman Law. Mrs. Sabo is outstanding as well as her secretary and assistant in responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. This firm has gone above and beyond to keep me updated and get answers to my questions at any time, weekends included! Malman Law rules in my opinion!
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I’ve been knowing about this Law firm for many years through friends, referrals & advertisements, never I thought I would need their services because I believed things & situations don’t happen to me like this, long story short I was in a situation that I needed help & advice!!! In the right direction, I connected with the Firm & a very patient, understanding professional woman by the name of Margie assisted me in what I needed 🙂 Thank you I will refer as I was as referred as well This firm really does care!
- Elvira G.
I was rear-ended by a semi-truck on my way to work. I was transported to the hospital and my car was totaled. In the aftermath, Dan Petrich and Anna Schmidt from Malman Law helped me get set up with physical therapy and negotiated with the insurance companies to make sure the resulting settlement would cover my medical bills and a rental car until I could get a new car. I would highly recommend their services.
would do everything they could for me.
- Tony S.
I contacted Malman Lawafter my work injury. So professional from my first phone call. Mr. Malman’s investigator, Dan, came right out to our home. Everything was explained in detail so I know what to expect during this process. I certainly recommend anyone ever in need of a personal injury lawyer to call Malman Law. Truly the best!! Thanks, everyone!
- Devin Jones
Attorney Greg Lamorena was my lawyer when I slipped and fell. He kept me updated throughout the case and was always available to talk when I had questions. He is a great lawyer and could not be happier about my settlement!
- Annie Ong
Alexis was the attorney on my case! She kept me in the loop about everything with my case. If I had any concerns I was able to contact her and she’ll answer my questions right away. If you’re interested in working with Malman Law I would highly recommend Alexis she was GREAT. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need!
- Eugenia Cathery
They are so efficient and professional. Always available to help. Attorney Boyer was great and very good with my case. I really appreciate Malman Law. I gave them 5 stars because there is nothing higher.
- Omolewa Snyder
I have had an amazing experience with Malman law so far. From the start, Dan was super easy to work with, got me the medical attention I needed, and fast. Couldn’t ask for better communication. Neil Kilcoyne has been nothing but the best I could not recommend a better attorney. Malman Law is a 10 out of 10 law firm.
- Trevor Harris
Hi, I just want to acknowledge Jay McCarron, Kelly & the firm at Malman Law for representing me as they continue to work on my case. Thanks for keeping me updated & responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. I would highly recommend you and your firm to friends & family. E. P.
- Ernest Pitts
Alexis was the attorney on my case and she was GREAT. She made sure I was updated on everything about my case. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need.
- Ariel Fleming
I had the best experience with Jason and Jay attorneys from Malman Law they really went all the way to settle my case I’m telling you there just the best!! Recommend 100%!
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Adam Meadow acted as the attorney for a family member who was in a car accident. He was highly personable and actively listened to our issues throughout the litigation process. He was able to get us a settlement for the reparations of the accident. We would recommend their services!
- Greg Gustafson
Excellent customer service and a great experience. Malman Law handled the whole process and it was very smooth. The settlement was a great success. I would choose Malman Law again in the future.
- Malak St.Clair
Helped me out of a big jam when my auto was hit twice when and the other drivers had no insurance. Adam Meadow is the only Lawyer I will call for helping me and my daughter.
- Devri Lott
I cannot give enough praise to the team at Malman Law, for helping with my case. My children were involved in an auto collision and the attorney Adam along with his paralegal Michelle worked diligently until the matter was resolved and my entire family was happy. I would definitely recommend Malman Law for anybody going through legal troubles.
- Adrian Lopez
A close friend recommended me to Malman Law. I currently have a case with them due to a car accident I had and ever since the accident they have been taking care of everything for me without me having to worry about anything. They took care of the medical bills & helped me get physical therapy right away. I highly recommend them.
- Vanessa Leon
Bella Feinstein, Jason Kellerman, and Terry Davey have been instrumental in helping me through many difficult situations. Not only did they work to get my mom a settlement, but they have also continued to help me through the legal process of relocating my mom to a different state. I’m very grateful for their hard work and good advice.
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This law firm is the best they got me paid and Malman Law kept in constant communication with me which meant a lot to me I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who. In the position, they are awesome sincerely. Jeff walker
- Jeff Walker
Mr. Kellerman of Malman Law shows compassion for his clients. Returns calls and emails promptly, he takes time to listen to his clients, and gather facts accordingly.
- Steve Acosta
Everyone at Malman Law made me feel welcomed and heard. My lawyer, Adam Meadow, as well as staff, kept me up to date and were more than happy to do so! I would highly recommend their services. Also- a plus is many employees are fluent in Spanish. My experience was easy and worthwhile.
- Adrianna Gomez
Dan Petrich was the best man for my case of falling through my porch of an apartment I rented. He made sure I got what I deserved not only $ wise but medical wise and that my hospital bills and Dr bills were left at a $0 balance before closing my case. I was definitely happy and glad I choose him. Thank you. 5 stars
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Steve Malman helped me with my auto case. He quickly responded and answered any and all the questions I had. My case was a success as well as 2 other family members I recommended to him won their cases as well. Definitely a 5 star!
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- Eddie Villarreal
I am very impressed with Malman Law and my experience with Tiffany Alberty. She was very professional and knowledgeable. I appreciate the great communication and never felt out of the loop. She was very patient and hard working on my case. I would highly recommend this firm. Thanks for the hard work and all your help!
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Malman Law is definitely professionals and skilled at what they do. Mr. Adam Meadow always kept me informed and never hesitated to answer my questions and was open to hearing my concerns. Wouldn’t think twice about referring them to family and friends. Thank you to all at Malman Law!
- Christina Ocon
Mailman Law, Excellent firm!! Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie Gallegos were super efficient and knowledgeable. Great communication—very quick response and great follow up! My case was resolved sooner than expected. I highly recommend them!
- Adriana Martinez
So glad I contacted Malman Law regarding my accident. Professional and caring. Thank you Mr. Malman. I most definitely recommend to anyone if you need the best to call Malman Law!!!
- Virgil Sanner
I really appreciated and enjoyed Yennin Calderon’s service. I called asking questions and she was so helpful. Not only did she answer all my questions and concerns. It was also a bonus that she was bilingual in Spanish! Loved the warmth she brought. Thank you!
- Jazlyn Caraballo
My experience with Malman Law was great. I worked with Attorney Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie. Both communicated what was going on with my case, explained the next steps, and got my case resolved early. I would highly recommend Malman Law.
- Ashley Jenkins
2 years ago I was involved in a trucking accident involving a 14-wheeler truck that nearly disabled me for life. Steve fought to make sure that I received the most possible compensation for my injuries. I was about to take the insurance company’s lowball offer, but decided to call Steve first – it was the best decision I’ve made yet
NOAH TAFFELPersonal Injury Victim