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Illinois Law

Can You Make a Federal Case Out of a Personal Injury Claim in Illinois?

In the United States, our court system, like our government generally, is split between two levels: State courts are courts of general jurisdiction and can hear pretty much any kind of legal dispute. In contrast, federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction—they can only hear cases that the Constitution or a federal statute says they can hear. So, it should come as no surprise that state courts in Illinois have jurisdiction to hear personal injury lawsuits. In fact, the Illinois Legislature and Illinois Supreme Courts are the ultimate authorities on what personal injury law is in Illinois, subject only to a...

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Are Arbitration Clauses Enforceable in Illinois?

As we’ve mentioned before, these days relatively few legal disputes are resolved in court. Most go through one or another of several methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration. Arbitration has become something of a controversial topic in the United States, because many big businesses build arbitration clauses into their contracts to prevent their customers from filing a lawsuit against them. An arbitration clause is a contract provision that requires or permits a person to submit any disputes to arbitration, rather than filing a lawsuit. A clause that requires arbitration is known as a mandatory arbitration clause. Today’s question is:...

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Injured by a Drunk Driver? What the Illinois Dram Shop Act Means for You

injured - illinois dram shop act

If you’re injured by a drunk driver, can you sue the bar that served him or her? Normally, when you file a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois, you’re limited to the person or persons who directly caused your injury. However, in some cases, the law allows you to hold another person or persons responsible even though their contribution to your harm was only indirect. One statute that operates in that way is the Dram Shop Act, section 6-21 of the Liquor Control Act of 1934. Under the Dram Shop Act, certain people who contributed to the intoxication of a person who...

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Injured at Work: What Now?

In Illinois, 200,000 work-related accidents occur every year, according to the most recent report of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). Of these, roughly one-third result in more than three lost workdays, which can severely impact an employees’ pay. Normally, when a person is injured by the fault of another, the injured person can file a lawsuit to recover for his or her damages. But, as we’ve explained before, that option isn’t available in workers’ compensation cases. So, if you’ve been injured on the job, what are you supposed to do? And what can you expect of the process of recovering...

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5 Facts to Know About Car Crashes in Illinois

Every year, the Illinois Department of Transportation releases a report summarizing information about motor vehicle crashes in Illinois. The data in these reports is always two years old, but we wanted to review some of the information collected in the most recent one for our readers. So, here are five things to know about car crashes in Illinois: The Number of Accidents Increased Over the Prior Year  According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, during 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, there were 313,316 motor vehicle crashes in Illinois. This represented an increase of 6% over...

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Do I Have to Pay Federal Taxes on My Illinois Personal Injury Settlement?

The start of a new year always brings to mind the topic of taxes. In a few months, more than 150 million Americans will file their individual income-tax returns for the year just ended with the IRS. When they do, many will face new questions that they have never had to answer before. Those who started a business last year will need to know how businesses are taxed. Those who got married will need to learn the difference between filing jointly and separately. And those who received a personal-injury judgment or settlement will need to understand how that amount impacts their...

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How to Protect Yourself Against Winter Hazards

So far, 2018 in Chicago can be described in one word: Cold. Overnight temperatures as low as -15 have been reported, with wind chills—how cold it feels outside—dropping to nearly -30. It’s been so cold the last few days that Chicago’s annual Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan was canceled this week. Of course, cold and wintry weather don’t only threaten residents’ ability to have fun by jumping into freezing water—if “fun” is the right word for that. Instead, they pose hazards to everyone in carrying out their normal daily routines. To help our readers get through Chicago’s current cold spell and...

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Illinois Personal Injury 101: What is Discovery?

discovery law in Illinois

Many old television shows about lawyers feature a common courtroom trope: The underdog attorney is about to lose the case until, by some stroke of luck or genius, he or she stumbles across some hitherto-unknown evidence that conclusively proves his or her client’s case. Television writers rely on this trope to make their stories more dramatic, but it isn’t very realistic. Instead, real trials rarely feature such surprises. To prevent what courts and commentators call “trial by surprise,” state and federal rules of civil procedure in Illinois prescribe rules for pre-trial discovery. As we’ve mentioned before, discovery is the process through...

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Dog Bite Lawsuits in Illinois

dog bite attorneys

According to insurance industry statistics, Illinois was home to more dog-bite claims in 2013 than 48 of the other states. It was second only to California.   When a person is injured by a dog bite—or in any other way by any kind of animal—what remedies does the law provide? In Illinois, there are two answers to that question, depending on whether a dog-bite lawsuit proceeds under the common-law rules for wild and domestic animals or under the Animal Control Act.   The Common Law Approach The common law in Illinois—the law as developed by court opinions over the years—divides animals into two categories: wild...

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Illinois Personal Injury 101: The Burden of Proof

Illinois Personal Injury 101 The Burden of Proof

One of the most fundamental concepts in personal-injury law is the burden of proof. Technically, there isn’t just one burden of proof, but three:   The burden of pleading refers to the requirement that a plaintiff must plead whatever it is he or she wants to prove in court. Otherwise, the court might not let him or her introduce evidence on that topic.   The burden of production is a minimum requirement for evidence. If the plaintiff fails to introduce enough evidence that the jury could find in his or her favor, the judge may decide that particular issue against the plaintiff.   ...

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