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Can I Sue a Bar or Restaurant for Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Web Admin - Thursday, April 18, 2019
Des Plaines drunk driving accident attorneyWhen a drunk driver seriously injures another person, the injured person can sue the drunk driver for compensation under Illinois’ personal injury laws. If the at-fault driver became intoxicated in a bar, the injured person may also sue the owner of that bar under state liquor liability laws, also known as dram shop laws. 

What Are Dram Shop Laws?


When a bar serves enough liquor to a patron to cause their intoxication, dram shop laws make the bar owner strictly liable to any person injured by the intoxicated patron. 

What Is the Illinois Liquor Liability Law?


Illinois is one of 38 U.S. states with dram shop laws. The Illinois Liquor Control Act (235 ILCS 5/6-21) states that anyone who is injured in Illinois by an intoxicated person can sue the establishment responsible for that person’s intoxication. That is, the injured person can sue the bar that sold or gave alcoholic beverages to the intoxicated person. 
 
The intoxicated person himself, however, cannot sue the liquor-serving establishment for injuries to himself or his own property, nor can their family make a claim for the loss of the intoxicated person’s support or society.

The Liquor Control Act also specifies limits on the amount of damages that an injured person can claim. These limits are updated annually based on inflation. For incidents occurring on or after January 20, 2019, the maximum compensation is $70,091.09 per person injured. The injured person’s immediate family can also claim loss of support or loss of society up to a maximum of $85,666.89. Each establishment holding a liquor sales license is required to have liquor liability insurance of at least $225,849.07.

What Do You Have to Prove to Win a Liquor Liability Case?


If you have been injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, you will need to prove three key points in order to obtain compensation under Illinois’ liquor liability laws:

- The person who injured you was served liquor at a specific bar.
- That person was served enough liquor at that bar to become intoxicated.
- That person, while still intoxicated, caused the car accident in which you were injured.

An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to investigate your case and gather the necessary evidence. 

For example, when police suspect that intoxication contributed to a car crash, they will typically order immediate blood-alcohol testing of the at-fault driver. That will establish the level of that driver’s intoxication. The police may also obtain verbal testimony from the at-fault driver and any passengers they were transporting, which could reveal where they had been drinking and how much alcohol was consumed.

If the police investigation does not reveal where the at-fault driver became intoxicated, a private investigation led by an experienced lawyer may turn up this information. For example, a drunk driver’s alcohol consumption in the hours just prior to a car crash could be documented through credit card transactions, cell phone tracking, security camera video, or eyewitness testimony from other patrons of the bar.

Consult an Aggressive Palatine Personal Injury Lawyer


If you or a member of your family have been injured or killed in a car crash involving a drunk driver, you may be able to claim compensation from more than one source. For a free initial consultation on your case, call an experienced Schaumburg personal injury attorney. Contact the law offices of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC at 847-934-6000.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=023500050HArt%2E+VI&ActID=1404&ChapterID=26&SeqStart=8200000&SeqEnd=13600000
https://www2.illinois.gov/ilcc/News/Pages/2018-Dram-Shop-Liability-Limits.aspx

How to Get Fair Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries

Web Admin - Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Barrington truck crash attorneyHow many people do you think are injured or killed in car and truck crashes in the U.S. every year? In 2017, motor vehicle collisions injured over 2.7 million people and killed more than 37,000. 

The number of people killed in collisions involving large commercial trucks or semi-trailers rose 16% from 2016 to 2017, and the number of people injured rose 9%. In addition, the total number of large trucks involved in crashes rose 4% in 2017, while the total number of every other type of vehicle, from cars to motorcycles, declined.

Why Are Large Truck Crashes on the Rise?


Some experts blame the same government department that collects these statistics, the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency, for not taking tougher regulatory actions that could prevent more of these semi-truck crashes. In particular, the agency has been faulted for not requiring commercial trucks to have forward collision avoidance systems, which can help prevent trucks from rear-ending other vehicles on crowded highways.

Increasing highway congestion contributes to traffic slow-downs that make rear-end collisions and other accidents involving large trucks more likely. Some causes cited for this increased congestion include insufficient investment in the nation’s highway infrastructure over the past few decades and increased truck traffic related to online shopping. 

Chicago area highways are among some of the most overcrowded in the nation. The intersection of I-290 at I-90/I-94 near downtown Chicago is rated third among the 100 most congested truck bottlenecks in America. Other Chicago area locations making the Top 100 list are the spots where I-90 and I-94 split on both the north and south sides of Chicago.

What to Do if You Are Severely Injured in Crash With a Semi-Truck


It is entirely possible to be in a crash involving a tractor-trailer truck and not be injured, if the truck was braking and almost a stop when you are hit. If a driver of a fully loaded truck gets distracted, however, the consequences can be catastrophic. 

If you or a loved one has been badly injured or killed in a semi-truck crash, here are a few things you need to know. First, remember that many of these trucks are owned by huge companies that can afford the best lawyers, in addition to having the backing of a huge insurance company. Second, you may be pressured by a representative of the company to make a quick settlement when you are at your most vulnerable. 

Before you make any decisions, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you about what your case may be worth. Do not make any decisions for at least a few weeks, until you know the full extent of your damages. Vehicle crash injuries can take years to recover from, and many people never fully recover. While a check for tens of thousands of dollars may sound great in the moment, your medical and lost-income expenses could far exceed that. 

However, do not wait too long; you have just two years from the date of the accident to file a legal claim for compensation.

Consult a Successful Arlington Heights Truck Crash Lawyer


To speak to a knowledgeable Palatine truck crash attorney, call the law offices of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC at 847-934-6000. There is no charge for your initial case review.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812696
https://atri-online.org/2018/01/25/2018-top-truck-bottleneck-list/

What Kind of Damages Can I Claim in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Web Admin - Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Des Plaines medical malpractice lawyerWhen someone suffers a severe injury due to medical malpractice in Illinois, that person may claim two types of compensation from the medical professional or institution who committed the malpractice: 

- Economic damages, which compensate the patient for specific financial losses both past and future, such as medical expenses and lost earnings.

- Non-economic damages, which compensate the patient for physical and/or emotional pain and suffering, inconvenience, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life, per Illinois law 735 ILCS 5/2-1702.


Does Illinois Limit the Dollar Amount of Damages for Medical Malpractice?


Unlike some states, Illinois medical malpractice law places no limits on the amount of either economic or non-economic damages that you can receive in a lawsuit. However, the law does not allow the award of punitive damages, which are intended to punish a wrongdoer and discourage others from making the same mistakes, per Illinois law 735 ILCS 5/2-1115.

What Type of Medical Error or Injury Qualifies for Financial Compensation?


There are many times when medical treatments that do not have as good of an outcome as we had hoped. For example, a knee replacement surgery may not relieve as much of our pain or restore as much physical function as we had expected. A pain medication may not relieve all of our pain and may also have unpleasant side effects. This does not mean that medical malpractice has occurred. You can only claim medical malpractice when a doctor or other licensed medical professional fails to meet the generally accepted standard of care expected in a particular patient-care situation. 

For example, suppose a patient came into an urgent-care center saying that they think they broke their ankle when they fell off a ladder. The expected standard of care would call for an X-ray to be taken and, depending on the severity of the injury, the doctor might apply a cast or refer the patient to an orthopedic surgeon for an operation to repair the ankle. Now suppose that the treating physician did not order an X-ray, incorrectly interpreted the X-ray, or otherwise failed to treat the patient according to generally accepted standards. Let us further suppose that, as a result of the physician’s error, the patient’s ankle does not heal properly, leaving him with a permanent disability and unable to work in his former profession. Taken together, these circumstances suggest that this patient could win damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Consult an Experienced Schaumburg Medical Malpractice Lawyer


If you have suffered a severe injury that you believe can be attributed to misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, surgical error, improperly prescribed medication, or other treatment which deviated from the generally accepted standard of care, consult a knowledgeable Arlington Heights medical malpractice attorney. Call the law offices of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC at 847-934-6000 for a no-cost initial consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=073500050HArt%2E+II+Pt%2E+17&ActID=2017&ChapterID=0&SeqStart=17700000&SeqEnd=19900000
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073500050K2-1115

What Does Comparative Negligence Mean in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Web Admin - Monday, March 11, 2019
Barrington car accident attorney comparative faultThe question of comparative negligence--sometimes referred to as contributory fault--often arises in an Illinois personal injury lawsuit. If you are seriously injured as the result of another party’s negligence and awarded damages of $100,000, you would expect to receive $100,000. However, under Illinois’ modified comparative negligence law (735 ILCS 5/2-1116), the total amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you, up to 50 percent. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 but found to be 25% at fault for the events which caused your injuries, your award will be reduced to $75,000. If you are assigned more than 50 percent of the blame, you are barred from receiving any compensation.

How Comparative Fault Is Determined Under Illinois Law


Fault is determined based on the evidence and the law. For example, if you are properly stopped at a red light and are rear-ended by a speeding driver, you did not do anything wrong. The driver behind you failed to obey the speed limit and to slow or stop to avoid a collision, so they would be assigned 100 percent of the fault. 

If, however, you were in the process of changing lanes when you collided with a speeding driver, each of you might be assigned part of the fault. You had a duty to make sure the lane was clear before moving into it. The other driver had a duty to obey the speed limit and to slow down to avoid a collision if possible. 

When fault must be apportioned, your attorney will thoroughly study the events leading to your injury. This effort may include reviewing physical evidence, interviewing witnesses, studying police reports, gathering medical records, and consulting with experts. Most commonly, your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer will discuss the evidence and come to an agreement about the amount of damages and the division of fault. If no agreement can be reached through negotiation, you will have to go to court.

In a court trial, your attorney will argue that the defendant’s negligence was the primary or sole cause of the events that led to your injuries. Under Illinois law (735 ILCS 5/2-613(d)), the burden is on the defendant to show how your own negligence contributed to your injuries and to argue what percent of the fault should be assigned to you. The jury--or, in the case of a bench trial, the judge--will then decide how the fault should be apportioned.

Consult an Experienced Palatine Personal Injury Lawyer


If you have been severely injured in a car accident or other incident resulting from another person or company’s carelessness, consult a knowledgeable Schaumburg civil litigation attorney for advice. Call the law offices of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC at 847-934-6000. There is no fee for your initial consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073500050K2-1116
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/073500050k2-613.htm
http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/circuitcourt/civiljuryinstructions/10.00.pdf

How to Obtain Compensation for a Head Injury Caused By Negligence

Web Admin - Thursday, February 14, 2019
Schaumburg brain injury attorneyAs recently as 20 years ago, if someone was struck on the head hard enough to become confused or unconscious, they might not even visit a hospital emergency room. A concussion was considered a relatively minor injury with only mild, short-term effects, such as a headache for a few days. Today, a concussion is considered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the potentially severe and long-term consequences of these injuries are much better understood. 

These consequences can include severe headaches, balance problems, cognitive difficulties, seizures, sleep disorders, and an increased risk of developing brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). As a result, if you have suffered a head injury as a result of another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to substantial compensation.

Incidence and Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a government agency charged with studying and making recommendations about serious health issues such as TBI. The CDC is still working on the development and implementation of a system to accurately measure the incidence of TBIs in the U.S., so the data available is currently rather limited.

During the years 2001 to 2010, the rate of emergency department (ED) visits for TBIs jumped substantially from 421 ED visits per 100,000 people in 2001 to 716 visits per 100,000 people in 2010. ED visits rose most dramatically after 2007, presumably due to increased media attention given to the long-term effects of concussions suffered by pro football players and members of the military. 

An estimated 1.7 million people suffer a TBI in the U.S. each year, while 5.3 million Americans currently live with a disability caused by a TBI. The leading causes of TBI are motor vehicle crashes, falls, and blows to the head involving an object or another person. Many falls and blows to the head result from sporting activities, and some are due to criminal assaults. Falls are most serious among people age 60 and older.

Compensation for Traumatic Brain Injury Caused by Negligence


In order to obtain compensation for a TBI, you must be able to show that you suffered serious injury as the result of an accident or event that can be directly attributed to someone else’s negligence. You generally must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident (735 ILCS 5/13/202).

Here are a few examples of situations in which you might have a valid claim for damages resulting from a head injury:

- You sustained a concussion in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, and you have suffered lasting effects, such as severe headaches and memory issues.

- You suffered a TBI in a fall in a store, and the main reason you fell is that the store was negligent in maintaining safe conditions for their customers.

- You suffered a blow to the head during a fight in a bar in which the person who struck you behaved recklessly and intentionally.


Consult an Arlington Heights Head Injury Attorney  


If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fall, collision, or other event caused by someone else’s negligence, it is important that you seek immediate treatment and diagnosis, as well as long-term care to document the full extent of your injuries. In order to file a claim for compensation from the negligent party, you will need evidence of their negligence as well as documentation of the specific injuries you sustained. 

To determine if you have a valid claim, consult with a knowledgeable Palatine personal injury lawyer. The law firm of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries. Call 847-934-6000 to schedule a free consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html
https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Traumatic-Brain-Injury

Understanding the Discovery Process in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Web Admin - Thursday, February 07, 2019
Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyer discovery processIf you have suffered severe damages as a result of someone else’s negligence or malfeasance, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation from the at-fault party. In order to win your case, however, your lawyer will have to develop a strong set of facts and arguments through a legal process known as discovery

For example, if you are injured in a collision involving your car, an SUV, and a large commercial truck, some of the questions that will have to be investigated and argued include:

- What percentage of the fault for the collision should be attributed to each party involved in the crash, including the company that owns the commercial truck and employs its driver? 

- Exactly what physical injuries did you suffer as a result of the collision? 

- What are your reasonable medical expenses to recover from those injuries?

- Did the accident leave you with any permanent disfigurement or disability? 

- What other damages did you suffer, such as emotional trauma requiring psychotherapy or lost income from being unable to work?


The legal process through which the parties to a lawsuit exchange information and answer questions such as these is called discovery. Discovery has two phases: sharing of written documents and oral interviews known as depositions.

Written discovery typically involves three types of documents:

- Interrogatories - These are essentially questionnaires submitted by one party in the lawsuit to be answered in writing by another party. The questions may be as simple as asking for names, contact information, and relevant insurance information for everyone involved in the accident.

- Requests for production of documents - The other side may request documents such as your medical records, medical bills, records pertaining to your vehicle, and any photographs you may have of the accident scene, your vehicle, and your injuries. Your lawyer may, in turn, request such information from other parties to the lawsuit.

- Requests for admission - This document spells out certain facts of the case and asks that the other party admit or confirm that these facts are

true, so that these facts do not have to be further investigated or proven in court. For example, in an auto accident case, the request might seek to confirm the details of a negligent party’s personal liability insurance coverage, obtain an admission that they were not carrying out duties for an employer at the time of the accident, and seek an admission that it was their negligence that caused the crash.

The purpose of the written discovery phase is to lock down all possible evidence related to your case, including any evidence that the opposing parties may use to support their position. For example, there is typically an insurance company involved, and their objective will be to minimize the scope of your damages and thereby minimize the compensation they have to pay you. 

Depositions


Once written discovery has been completed, your legal team will use that information to ascertain the questions they want to ask in the oral interrogation phase known as depositions. Depositions are expensive, so your legal team will want to prepare a very focused list of questions to ask in each interview. Depositions are made under oath and are generally video-recorded and transcribed. 

You may be surprised to learn that the discovery process in a personal injury case can take as long as six months to a year. While this may seem like a long time to wait for a settlement, a thorough discovery process is crucial to prove who was at fault and demonstrate the full extent of your damages. Most cases are won or lost in discovery, and most cases are settled based on the information that comes out of the discovery process, saving you the additional time and expense of a trial.

A Schaumburg Personal Injury Attorney

  
If you have been injured in a car crash or other accident that was not your fault (or at least less than 50% your fault), be sure to select a Palatine personal injury lawyer who has the skill and experience to handle the discovery process for your type of case and advocate vigorously on your behalf. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a free consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/SupremeCourt/Rules/Art_II/ArtII.htm#206

Recognizing Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility

Web Admin - Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Schaumburg nursing home negligence lawyerIf you have an elderly relative who lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, or perhaps is staying temporarily in a rehab center, you could arrive for a visit one day and find that your loved one appears to be seriously ill or injured. There are certainly many ways this can happen through no fault of the facility or caregivers. However, if you see any signs that an illness or injury was the result of nursing home negligence, abuse, or neglect, you should consult a personal injury attorney to determine your legal options.

Examples of Nursing Home Neglect in Illinois


In one recent Illinois case, a nursing home resident died as a result of a head injury sustained during a fall. While being transferred from her bed to her wheelchair via a mechanical lift, the resident fell out of the lift, striking her head. A wrongful death lawsuit was subsequently filed seeking $100,000 in total damages based on two specific claims of negligence. First, the facility’s policy stated that transfers via a mechanical lift were to be performed by two trained staff members. However, in this case, it was alleged that only one staff member was present. The lawsuit also alleged that the facility failed to act with appropriate care in response to the resident’s documented status as “high risk for falling.”

Another recent lawsuit alleged that a nursing home neglected to give appropriate care to a bedridden resident. The resident entered the nursing home specifically to receive care for pressure sores. Rather than improving, the sores grew worse and became infected. The resident’s family members alleged that the facility was negligent in failing to take appropriate action to treat the bedsores. The resident wound up needing surgery and ongoing wound care treatment for two more years, with one small, open wound still remaining at the time of the lawsuit. This case went to trial, which is unusual, because most civil disputes are resolved via pretrial negotiations. The jury awarded the resident $1.25 million, which included $475,000 for past pain and suffering, $300,000 for future pain and suffering, and an additional $475,000 for the facility’s violation of state laws designed to protect nursing home residents.

Consult a Palatine Elder Abuse Attorney  


If you have an elderly relative who may have been abused or neglected by a caregiver, your first step should be to carefully document each specific incident with photographs, times, dates, and names of possible witnesses. Then, call an experienced Arlington Heights nursing home neglect lawyer. The law firm of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC has obtained compensation for our clients in numerous cases of personal injury, including cases involving negligence or malpractice in healthcare settings. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a free consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
https://www2.illinois.gov/aging/ProtectionAdvocacy/LTCOmbudsman/Pages/ombuds_reporting.aspx
https://www.mednetcompliance.com/residents-lawsuits-residents-deaths/

How Trust, Emotions, and Facts Affect Personal Injury Verdicts

Web Admin - Monday, December 24, 2018
Inverness personal injury lawyer jury verdictSerious injuries, illnesses, and deaths happen every day. In many cases, these are unfortunate events that naturally occur in our imperfect world. However, there are times when a personal injury or wrongful death occurs as the result of another party’s negligence or misconduct. For example, a drunk driver may cause a collision that kills another person, or a business may fail to take reasonable precautions when manufacturing a product. In these situations, the party at fault has a civil responsibility to compensate the injured party for their damages. 

Juries Sometimes Award Huge Sums in Personal Injury Cases


Many, if not most, personal injury cases are resolved through an out-of-court settlement negotiated by lawyers. In some cases, however, the two sides cannot agree on the amount of damages that one party should pay to the other, so the case must go to trial. The verdicts in personal injury trials are often unpredictable, and they are sometimes dramatically large, as in these recent 2018 cases:

- An Indiana jury awarded $35 million to a man who was rendered a quadriplegic in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. 

- A Georgia jury awarded $1 billion to a young woman who was sexually assaulted by an armed security guard employed by her apartment complex.

- A San Francisco jury awarded $289 million, which was later reduced by a judge to $78 million, to a man whose cancer was caused, according to the court’s verdict, by Roundup weedkiller.


How Attorneys Build a Convincing Case for a Large Verdict 


What factors convince a jury to rule in favor of an injured person and to award large amounts of compensatory and punitive damages? This is a hard question to answer definitively, but there are several factors that play a role. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to leverage these factors and use them to construct a compelling combination of factual evidence and emotional arguments for a jury trial.

One factor is that jurors seem to be less offended today by plaintiff requests for multi-million dollar verdicts and more willing to award them. Court-watchers speculate that American citizens have been affected by the barrage of online stories highlighting exorbitant professional athlete contracts, lottery jackpots, and the huge gap that has developed between CEO compensation and worker wages. As a result, jurors tend to believe that a corporate defendant can easily afford a large payout and must be made to feel the pain of their mistakes through punitive damages, and that the injured party deserves the compensation. 

Another factor is more widespread feelings of anger and distrust against “the elite.” Part of this stems from the growing division between the highest-paid and the lowest-paid workers in America. This has caused more anger and distrust toward the leadership of large corporations, who are viewed as getting rich at the expense of their workers. Also, with so much “fake news” going around on social media, people are becoming more distrustful in general. In some cases, jurors even distrust the injured person’s attorney and increase their award to the injured person just to “make sure they are taken care of” after the plaintiff’s attorney takes their share of an award.

Short attention spans are a third variable that personal injury lawyers must increasingly take into account when developing their trial arguments. Younger generations do not have the patience to sit through days of oral testimony by technical experts. Attorneys need to use more graphics, videos, and even virtual reality recreations of an accident scene in order to make testimony more compelling and impactful to jurors. 

Attorneys must also be sensitive to the way the injured person is portrayed and the way their story is told. Juries who are emotionally touched by a well-told story can be swayed toward one side or the other. For example, when jurors see that the injured party is part of a likeable, hard-working family that they can relate to, they are more likely to favor the injured party. The injured person’s attorney may also encourage jurors to look at the injured person and think, “What if it were me?” When such feelings are strong enough, they can cause jurors to override arguments that the defendant acted according to reasonable standards of care.

Consult a Des Plaines Personal Injury Attorney  


If you have been injured through another person’s or corporation’s negligence or wrongdoing, you could have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit and be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. The first step is to discuss your case with an experienced Barrington personal injury lawyer. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC have decades of experience obtaining due compensation for our clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a free consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
http://riskandinsurance.com/5-reasons-why-juries-are-awarding-billion-dolla…
https://www.theindianalawyer.com/articles/45836-recent-35m-verdict-is-among-largest-indiana-jury-personal-injury-awards
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/24/613964570/georgia-jury-awards-1-billion-in-lawsuit-over-girls-rape
https://www.wsj.com/articles/judge-reduces-jury-award-against-bayers-roundup-to-78-5-million-1540258899

Recovering Damages When Injured on Chicago Area Public Transportation

Web Admin - Friday, December 21, 2018
Inverness bus accident injury lawyerIf you regularly utilize the public transportation network in Chicago and its suburbs, there are a number of ways in which you could be injured and have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Whether you ride buses or trains operated by Metra, CTA, or Pace, the potential causes of personal injuries are similar, including:

- A slip-and-fall that occurs at least in part due to the negligence of a bus or train operator. A fall attributable only to wet floors on a bus or train when it is raining outside is unlikely to qualify. On the other hand, CTA could be liable for a fall caused by an improperly trained driver who stopped their vehicle too quickly.

- Injuries attributed to faulty design or maintenance of a station platform or piece of equipment.

- Injuries sustained during a train derailment or a bus crash attributed to operator error. For example, Pace could be held liable if a bus driver causes a crash by running a red light, speeding, or being distracted by looking at their phone. However, if a collision is wholly the fault of another vehicle’s driver, Pace would generally not be liable.

- Wounds suffered by a pedestrian who is struck by a bus or train, or by parts flying off a bus or train, where it can be shown that the operator of the bus or train was at fault. If a person trespasses onto train tracks and is struck, they generally cannot hold the train operator responsible.

- Injuries inflicted by a public transit security officer who used excessive force or committed some other type of misconduct.


Time Is Critical in Chicago Public Transportation Injury Cases


If you believe you have a legitimate claim for damages against CTA, Metra, or PACE, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. There are two reasons why Illinois personal injury cases involving public transportation are time sensitive. First, critical evidence must be protected, such as security video recordings that are typically only retained for a limited period of time before being erased or overwritten. An attorney must typically file an emergency protection order to preserve videos and other relevant evidence. Second, Illinois state law (745 ILCS 10/8-101) requires all claims against “local entities,” which includes local public transit authorities, to be filed within one year of the incident, versus a two-year timeframe for most other lawsuits. 

Recovery of Compensation from Transit Authorities is Possible


In 2017, a woman who was injured in a CTA train derailment was awarded more than $6 million in damages by a jury. She suffered injuries to her head, neck, and back when her head struck a metal pole and a door inside the train car. 

To compensate a man who was assaulted in a train station by Metra police officers, Metra agreed to an out-of-court settlement of $250,000 in 2017. The entire incident was captured on video.

Consult an Arlington Heights Public Transportation Accident Attorney 


If you have been injured on public transportation in the Chicago area, and you think you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, talk to a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyer without delay. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC will review your case at no cost to you. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2062&ChapterID=58&SeqStart=8900000&SeqEnd=9200000
https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/woman-who-sued-cta-over-2014-blue-line-derailment-gets-6-5m/
https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/metra-police-beating-video-lawsuit-463813893.html

How Much Is Pain and Suffering Worth in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Web Admin - Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Schaumburg personal injury attorney pain and sufferingWhen you or a family member has suffered a personal injury as the result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you have probably suffered serious financial losses as well. Even if you had good health insurance, or the person who caused the accident had insurance that paid some or all of your medical bills, there are almost always uncovered costs.

Your uncovered losses may include: 

- Medical costs for treatment of the injury when it occurred.

- Costs to buy special equipment or even to modify your home to accommodate a disability.

- Costs for rehabilitation services which could be needed for months or even years.

- The cost of round-the-clock, long-term care provided in your home or at an assisted living facility.

- Costs for mental health treatment.

- Loss of income the person would have earned had they not been injured.

- Costs for your family to travel and visit the injured person.

- Non-economic costs, which are often lumped under the broad umbrella of “pain and suffering.”

Measuring the Non-Economic Costs of an Injury


An attorney can tally up the financial costs listed above, make future projections, and come up with an appropriate figure as compensation for those losses. However, the calculation of the value of non-economic losses is much more difficult. Some of the specific factors that need to be weighed include: 

- Is the person permanently disfigured or physically impaired, such as by an amputation or paralysis?

- Will they have to suffer through numerous surgeries over the years to try to restore their appearance and/or function?

- Is the injury such that it results in long-term pain to the victim? This is often the case in spinal cord injuries or when a part of the body, such as a leg, suffers multiple fractures or fragmentation.

- Has the person suffered severe emotional distress, perhaps from seeing friends or family killed in the same incident?

- Has the victim suffered from severe insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder?

- Are there beloved hobbies or activities that the person can no longer participate in as a result of the injury?

- Have family members of the victim suffered loss of consortium or companionship due to the victim’s injuries?

The more of these factors that you can prove, the more non-economic damages you may be able to recover. Documentation will be important to prove that these factors are real, including physician reports, medications prescribed, and your own personal documentation, such as a diary noting how the victim was feeling from day to day.

An attorney who has handled many personal injury cases will likely have developed their own formula, or chosen useful formulas developed by others, to translate these non-economic costs into a dollar figure to cite in the lawsuit. One common method is to apply a multiplier to the total financial damages. For example, if the victim and family’s financial losses totaled $500,000, you might triple that figure and claim an additional $1.5 million for non-economic losses. The multiplier, of course, would depend on the severity of the injury suffered and the extent of the non-economic losses. 

Is There a Legal Cap on “Pain and Suffering” Damages in Illinois?


The Illinois legislature passed a law in 2005 to limit awards for non-economic losses in medical malpractice cases to $500,000 for physicians and $1,000,000 for hospitals. However, in 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court subsequently ruled that law unconstitutional. Thus, Illinois currently places no limit on the amount of compensation that can be awarded for non-economic losses.  

Consult a Rolling Meadows Personal Injury Attorney 


If you are wondering whether you should file a personal injury lawsuit, consult an experienced Palatine personal injury lawyer. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC will determine the best legal strategy for your case and fight aggressively to see that you are compensated for your losses. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a no-cost, no obligation consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2010-02-05-1002041182-story.html
https://centerjd.org/content/fact-sheet-caps-compensatory-damages-state-law-summary
https://centerjd.org/content/fact-sheet-understanding-non-economic-damages


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