In What Situations Should You Call a Personal Injury Lawyer in Chicago?


Personal injury lawyers are some of the most well-known types of lawyers, next to defense attorneys. Personal injury lawyers give legal advice and help to individuals who have been physically and/or mentally harmed by the negligence (or intentional) actions of another person or party. This is a very broad spectrum, and many personal injury lawyers may only specialize in one area— although several specialize in many areas. Here are a few examples of situations when you’d call a personal injury lawyer.

Injured at Work

Each year, many people get injured in Chicago and all over the U.S. as a result of their work, and this happens daily. Some injuries are minor (such as hitting the edge of a desk), while others are more serious and even fatal (such as falling from a height. Construction workers— including professional roofers, electricians, plumbers, ironworkers, bricklayers, and carpenters have some of the most dangerous jobs.

The good news is that the majority of workplaces are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if an employee becomes injured (not due to their own negligence). However, many injured workers don’t fully understand workers’ compensation insurance, and that’s where a personal injury lawyer can help.

Medical Errors

Mistakes that occur in any medical setting are known as medical malpractice, and this can result in a patient becoming more ill than before. Medication errors, diagnostic failures, and surgical errors are the most common medical mistakes made, but others include:

  • Negligent treatment
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Hospital and emergency room errors
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Dental malpractice
  • Birth injuries

Obstetricians/gynecologists, surgeons, radiologists, anesthesiologists, oncologists, and family medicine physicians are sued more frequently than other types of healthcare professionals. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Illinois is two years from the date of the injury, and if you discover the injury later on you may or may not be able to file a lawsuit, depending on the specifics of your injury. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine what to do.

Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is a specific form of elder abuse that occurs in assisted living facilities, usually ones where patients need round-the-clock care, such as nursing homes. Nursing home abuse and neglect can look like this:

  • Wandering from the facility (i.e., elopement)
  • Poor nutrition
  • Medication errors
  • Hip fractures
  • Falls
  • Dehydration
  • Choking
  • Bed sores
  • Abuse (physical, verbal, etc.)

Unfortunately, around 41% of all nursing homes in Illinois fall below average standards, and it is in these facilities where abuse and neglect are more likely to happen. Personal injury lawyers may or may not specialize in nursing home abuse and neglect, so it’s important to find an attorney or firm that does.

Slips, Trips, and Falls in Public Places

Slip and fall accidents are also pretty common, and most people know to contact a personal injury lawyer if they’ve been injured in a public place due to the negligence of the owner. Some of the most common reasons for these injuries include:

  • Wet and slippery floors
  • Tripping hazards
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Damaged carpeting
  • Broken staircases

This is known as premises liability, and the negligence of a property owner can result in fractures and broken bones, strains, and other internal injuries. Animal attacks (such as dog bites) are also a part of premises liability, and the property owner can be held liable if their animal attacks a visitor unprovoked. These rights, however, do not extend to those entering a property illegally.

Traffic Accidents

Traffic accidents are probably what personal injury lawyers are most known for, as this type of injury is typically more common— or at least, more reported— than any of the others. Traffic accidents involve cars (sedans, trucks, SUVs), big trucks (i.e., 18-wheelers or semi-trucks), motorcycles, and other motor vehicles, but they can also involve bicyclists and pedestrians. Those with the least amount of protection around them are likely to sustain the most severe injuries, and they’re also likely not the cause of the accident. When in a traffic accident, gather as much information as you can to present to your personal injury lawyer.

Class action lawsuits and mass tort cases can also be handled by personal injury lawyers, which is when a company’s product (e.g., over-the-counter medications, personal care products, etc.) has injured a large number of people. This injury and all listed above could also result in the death of an individual, and family members can also call a personal injury lawyer to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

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