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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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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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Illinois Personal Injury 101: What is Cause of Action?

illinois personal injury 101

In May, we wrote a post asking whether an employer can fire an employee for making a workers’ compensation claim. In it, we explained that Illinois courts recognize a “cause of action” for retaliatory discharge. While it may be obvious from context what the phrase “cause of action” means, we thought it would be helpful to take a closer look at the concept. In Illinois personal-injury lawsuits, a cause of action is the legal claim that the plaintiff must prove to be entitled to a legal remedy. A lawsuit may include multiple causes of action, which can either be cumulative (“The...

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Healthcare-Associated Infections: Do They Signal Medical Malpractice?

infections and medical malpractice

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), healthcare-associated infections are among the top 10 causes of death in the United States. A healthcare-associated infection is an infection that a patient develops while undergoing medical care, whether in a clinic, hospital, nursing home, or other similar setting.   This raises an important question: if you develop a healthcare-associated infection, can you sue for medical malpractice? The answer, as it so often is in law, is that it depends.   Common Causes of Healthcare-Associated Infections   The IDPH points to the following six types of healthcare-associated infections as among the most important:   Bloodstream infections caused by...

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

punitive damages in personal injury

What is 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 Are 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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