What is a Personal Injury Claim? Everything You Need to Know

what is a personal injury claim

When someone else’s careless or reckless actions injure you, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the economic and personal burdens alone. Whether it was a distracted driver causing a car accident, a property owner failing to clear a hazardous condition, or a company releasing a dangerously defective product – the law provides a way to hold them accountable. This is known as a personal injury claim.

At its core, it allows the injured person to seek financial compensation from the negligent party or parties whose unreasonably unsafe choices directly contributed to the incident and resulting damages. From medical bills to lost wages, personal injury claims are the legal avenue to recover monetary costs and non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

While the process seems simple in theory, successfully navigating a personal injury claim often benefits from the knowledge of an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights and maximize the value you recover.

Recovering Rightful Compensation for a Personal Injury Claim in Illinois

Insurers often make unreasonably low settlement offers, hoping you will take the quick payout. But accepting an insufficient offer forfeits your right to additional compensation. An attorney can almost always negotiate a higher settlement or take the case to court if needed. Don’t settle too early.

Illinois law allows you to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit if you are injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence. This includes both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages cover tangible, quantifiable losses resulting from an injury. Typical economic damages include:

  • Medical expenses – All reasonable costs for medical treatment, hospitalization, rehabilitation services, prescriptions, assistive devices, and in-home care related to the accident injuries.
  • Lost income – Wages, salary, commissions, and other income lost due to missing work during recovery. Damages can cover past lost income and future diminished earning capacity.
  • Loss of future earnings – If injuries permanently impact your ability to work or earn promotions, you can recover damages for future lost income.
  • Property damage – Repair or replacement costs for property damaged in the accident, such as a car, bicycle, medical equipment, eyeglasses, clothing, etc.

Documenting these losses requires evidence like medical bills, pay stubs, tax returns, employment records, receipts, and repair estimates.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages provide compensation for intangible injuries and losses. These can include:

  • Pain and suffering – Monetary damages accounting for any physical pain, discomfort, stress, insomnia, fatigue, stiffness, reduced mobility, and other effects of the injury.
  • Emotional distress – Compensation for mental anguish, depression, anxiety, fear, embarrassment, mood swings, personality changes, and other emotional trauma resulting from the accident.
  • Disfigurement – Compensation for permanent scarring, disfigurement, and other impact on physical appearance due to accident injuries.
  • Loss of consortium – Damages to account for impacts on family relationships, companionship, and ability to provide love and affection due to the injuries.

Quantifying these subjective, non-economic damages relies heavily on testimony from you, your family, eyewitnesses, and medical experts regarding the severity and longevity of the impacts.

With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, we will seek full and fair compensation for all applicable economic and non-economic damages you suffered due to the negligence of others. Let our Bloomington injury law firm protect your right to recover.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

Complying with the statute of limitations is one of the most time-sensitive aspects of any injury claim. In Illinois, these legal deadlines impose strict time limits for initiating your claim before your rights automatically expire:

  • For most personal injury cases, you have two years from the date of the incident to file your claim
  • If the injury wasn’t reasonably discoverable right away, the 2-year clock starts when you knew or should have known
  • Claims against municipal/government entities must meet an even shorter 1-year statute
  • Certain types of cases, like medical malpractice or product liability, have their own distinct statute rules

Missing these deadlines can mean an automatic dismissal of your case—no matter how warranted your claim may be. That’s why retaining experienced personal injury counsel is crucial from the outset. We accurately calculate your statute timeline and ensure all requirements are met to preserve your legal rights to compensation.

The Difference Between Personal Injury Claims and Lawsuits

While often used interchangeably, “claims” and “lawsuits” represent two very different phases of the personal injury case process:

A claim involves sending an official notice to the at-fault party’s insurer stating:

  • You suffered injuries due to their insured’s negligence
  • You’ll be seeking financial damages accordingly
  • This initiates the out-of-court settlement negotiation process

Key milestones in a personal injury claim include:

  • Documentation/evidence exchanges on liability and damages
  • Our attorneys calculate your total economic/non-economic losses
  • The insurance company inevitably makes an opening lowball offer
  • Vigorous negotiations until an acceptable settlement is struck

If negotiations reach an impasse after good-faith efforts, your attorney would then escalate by filing a personal injury lawsuit to initiate the litigation process:

  • The formal “discovery” phase of evidence/document/deposition gathering
  • Motions for judgment, mediation attempts, and complex legal maneuvering
  • Taking the case to trial if no pre-trial settlement can be achieved

Most cases don’t have to go to court. Still, having qualified personal injury representation from the initial claim stage is invaluable. We lay the groundwork for maximizing your leverage – positioning you for either maximum compensation via a settlement or a case to take to trial.

What are Personal Injury Settlements, and How Are They Paid Out?

For injured persons who reach a negotiated settlement, key considerations around the payment structure and disbursement process remain:

Your law firm will carefully review the proposed settlement terms, including the timing and structure of your financial recovery. Here’s what to expect:

Step 1: Settlement Amount Agreed Upon

After negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company, a final settlement amount for your injuries and damages is agreed to.

Step 2: Settlement Documentation Prepared

Your lawyer will prepare the official settlement documentation and release forms for you to review and sign. This formally agrees to the settlement terms.

Step 3: Outstanding Liens Resolved

Before you receive the settlement money, any outstanding liens need to be paid out from the settlement. This includes liens from medical providers, health insurers, Medicare/Medicaid, etc.

Step 4: Settlement Funds Disbursement

The remaining settlement funds after liens are paid will then be disbursed to you and your attorney. There are typically two options:

  1. Lump Sum Payment: The entire remaining settlement balance gets paid out in one single lump sum check or deposit into a special trust account set up by your lawyer.
  2. Structured Settlement: The settlement is paid out over time through periodic payments funded by an annuity purchased by the insurance company. You may also receive a smaller partial lump sum upfront.

Step 5: Attorney’s Fees Paid

Your law firm will take their agreed-upon percentage of contingency fees from the final settlement amount before disbursing the remaining funds to you.

Step 6: You Receive Net Settlement

After deducting liens and fees, you will receive the remaining net settlement funds owed to you per the agreed disbursement method (lump sum or structured periodic payments).

Our experience in maximizing settlements and protecting our clients’ long-term interests allows us to optimize your financial recovery. Whether a lump sum or scheduled payments, we’ll ensure your settlement accommodates all your current needs while providing a sustainable foundation to uplift your life circumstances.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Injury cases involve legal procedures that stack the deck against ordinary citizens. Insurance companies have teams of adjusters and lawyers exploiting every advantage. But an attorney levels the playing field and handles the grunt work so you can focus on recovery.

Specifically, a personal injury lawyer will:

  • Investigate your accident to uncover evidence and establish liability. We obtain police reports, video footage, photographs, witness statements, inspection reports, and medical records. Strong evidence leads to better settlements.
  • Identify all potentially liable parties. Multiple parties are often responsible, like a driver and their employer. An attorney digs deep to make sure everyone pays their fair share.
  • Deal with insurance companies on your behalf. We handle every call, letter, and document request from insurers. Adjusters won’t be able to pressure you into accepting unfair settlements.
  • Negotiate a settlement. We calculate all past and future damages you deserve and relentlessly negotiate until insurers pay up. Over decades, we’ve extracted millions in compensation for injured persons.
  • Take your case to court if needed. Insurance companies know we aren’t afraid to take cases to trial. An experienced trial lawyer will fight for justice before a judge and jury if negotiations fail.

With an accomplished personal injury lawyer handling all aspects of your claim, you can concentrate on your health and family while we battle the insurance companies.

We Handle All Types of Injury Claims in Bloomington

We’ve helped clients recover damages after all types of accidents and injuries, including:

Regardless of how you or a loved one were hurt, we have what it takes to prove liability, establish damages, and maximize compensation.

Why Choose Onward Injury Law for Your Bloomington Personal Injury Case

Not all law firms are created equal when it comes to helping injured people. At Onward Injury Law, years of experience and an impeccable track record set us apart.

What you can expect when you choose us:

  • Trial-tested experience. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of personal injury cases, from accidents to jury verdicts. Insurance companies know we’re ready, willing, and able to go to court if needed. With our seasoned lawyers on your side, you have true leverage.
  • Laser focus on injury law. We concentrate exclusively on helping the injured, not dabbling across multiple areas of law. You’ll have a pro on your case, not just a general practice lawyer. We keep our skills honed to maximize case outcomes.
  • Personalized attention. We ensure every client gets the time and attention they deserve. We know you by name, not just a case number.
  • Respect and compassion. The legal process can feel intimidating. We treat every client with genuine empathy, patience, and concern. You’re a human being going through a tough time, not just a payday.
  • Contingency fees. You pay no attorney fees out of pocket. We only get paid if we recover damages for you. And our fees come out of the settlement, not in addition.
  • Results. Our track record speaks for itself – just read our client testimonials. We want the opportunity to get you the maximum settlement possible.

When you’re injured, you need an attorney who will fight tooth and nail on your behalf. At Onward Injury Law, we have the skill, experience, and commitment to do exactly that. With us handling your case, you have an ironclad advantage.

Contact Us Today for a FREE Consultation

If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the physical and emotional toll can feel overwhelming. Your instincts may tell you to just accept what happened and move on. However, when negligence leads to substantial damages or serious injuries, the law provides important protections.

Recovering compensation rarely proves straightforward, however. Insurance companies have teams of adjusters looking to minimize payouts to injured parties. Too often, those who try handling things on their own end up settling for less than they deserve.

This is why partnering with an experienced personal injury attorney makes all the difference. At Onward Injury Law, our attorneys offer compassionate guidance and relentless legal advocacy to injured persons in Bloomington and beyond. We help you understand your rights, deal with insurers, and fight for the maximum compensation the law allows. With an attorney on your side, you can focus on healing while we handle the legal battle.

If you’ve suffered losses in an accident, learn more about how our attorneys can help. We offer a FREE consultation to review your case details and craft a personalized legal strategy. Don’t go it alone – let our team protect your rights and best interests.

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