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Personal Injury

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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Open-and-Obvious Rule Bars Slip-and-Fall Claim in Illinois

man slipping accident

In August, we wrote a post introducing premises liability in Illinois. Recently, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois had the chance to apply the principles we described in that post to an actual case, Ochoa v. Menard. Here’s what happened, what the court decided, and what you can take from it. What Happened in Ochoa v. Menard?Menards is a home improvement store with multiple locations throughout the Chicago area. In September 2009, Rogelio Ochoa visited the Menards on West North Avenue. While there, Ochoa proceeded to the restroom. On his way, he came across a Menards employee...

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What Are Punitive Damages and When Are You Entitled to Them?

punitive damages in personal injury

What are Punitive Damages? Damages are an essential element of any personal injury lawsuit. Most personal injury cases focus on compensatory damages, which are designed to compensate the plaintiff for the injuries that the defendant caused. But occasionally, a personal injury plaintiff may be able to pursue both compensatory damages and what are known as punitive damages. Keep reading to learn more.  What is Punitive Damages Designed to Do? Punitive damages are a distinct type of damages that are available only in a few specified circumstances. Punitive damages serve two important functions:Punitive damages are meant to punish particularly egregious behavior by the...

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The Phases of an Illinois Personal Injury Lawsuit

phases of illinois personal injury

When most people think of lawsuits, they picture what happens at trial: two attorneys in a courtroom asking questions of witnesses before a judge and jury. But lawsuits involve much more than just what happens in the courtroom. To help visitors to our blog understand what is involved in a lawsuit, this post provides a basic overview of the phases of an Illinois personal injury lawsuit.  Phases of a Lawsuit  Pre-FilingBefore filing a lawsuit, an attorney will investigate a plaintiff’s claim and try to negotiate a settlement with the defendant. Many personal injury claims are settled without even filing a...

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What Do You Do When Someone Else’s Insurance Refuses to Settle?

car accident attorney

Picture this: You’re seriously injured in a car wreck. You believe the other driver is at fault. Her liability insurer believes you are at fault. You sue the other driver, seeking damages that exceed her insurance policy limits, but offer to settle for an amount equal to those limits. The insurance company refuses, believing that it can avoid paying anything at all by winning at trial. And even if you win, it’s only obligated to pay up to policy limits, so what’s it got to lose, right?Wrong. To understand why, let’s step back and look at the big picture when...

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The Blame Game in Court

court room interior

In a personal injury lawsuit, a plaintiff claims that the defendant caused some bodily injury to the plaintiff. In turn, the defendant will often claim that the plaintiff is at fault for his own injury—or at least part of it. The parties play this blame game because it can mean a greater or lesser recovery for the plaintiff and a greater or lesser hit to the defendant’s pocketbook. The legal significance of the blame game in personal injury lawsuits has changed over time. This post summarizes how different states, including our own state of Illinois, deal with these contradictory claims...

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