If you were injured as a result of the actions – or inactions of someone else – you may wonder if you have a legal right to money damages. In order to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, you must file a claim within the applicable statute of limitations. Statutes of limitations are the time limits on when a legal claim can be filed and the failure to file a personal injury lawsuit, or accept an insurance settlement, within the applicable statute of limitations will result in the forfeiture of your right to pursue a personal injury claim. The applicable statute of limitations varies depending on the jurisdiction, the defendant, and the cause of action. In Illinois, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. In the case of medical malpractice, a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date that the patient became aware of, or should have become aware of, the medical error. If a personal injury accident or medical error results in death, however, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the decedent’s death. If you file a personal injury lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations, you will then file a Complaint in the appropriate court of law alleging that the defendant was negligent and such negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. After the Complaint is filed, the defendant will have an opportunity to file an Answer and assert any affirmative defenses. If the court rules that the case has merit, the parties will undergo the discovery process, which includes interrogatories, the production of requested documents, and depositions of the parties and their witnesses. Depending on the complexity of the case, the discovery process can take several months to complete. Discovery may also include investigations into public information available online, such as social media accounts, blogs, and news articles. For this reason, it is important that parties to a personal injury lawsuit exercise caution when using social media. Ideally, parties would stay off social media while the lawsuit is pending, but if that is not possible, they should take the following preventative actions:
- Avoid posting photos and ask friends to refrain from tagging you in their photos.
- Avoid posting any information about your lawsuit or legal proceedings on social media since doing so can destroy the attorney-client privilege and sabotage your legal claims.
- Monitor your friends’ activity to ensure that there is not questionable information about you on their social medial platforms.
- Maintain honesty and accuracy with your communications, both verbally and via social media.
Once discovery is complete, the case will be set for trial. Many cases settle before trial, but if no settlement is reached, a trial will be conducted in order to determine liability. If the defendant is found liable, the court will also determine damages, which may include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Household services
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability
- Property damages
Contact Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish at (312) 445-9084 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about a possible personal injury lawsuit. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.