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Deciding Whether to Take a Public Injury SettlementMany personal injury cases end with a settlement before heading to court. By filing a personal injury claim, you may receive a settlement offer from the liable party or its insurer. Accepting a settlement is quicker and less expensive than filing a lawsuit, although you would likely receive more compensation in a successful lawsuit. However, there are situations where it is wiser to file a lawsuit than accept a settlement. A personal injury attorney will consider several factors when advising you on your case:

  1. How Much Is the Liable Party Offering?: The insurance company would prefer to pay you the minimum amount necessary in response to your injury claim. You must consider whether the settlement amount will fully cover your injury expenses. The insurer may dispute the extent of your injuries or whether certain treatments are necessary for your recovery. Some insurers have a maximum payable amount for injury claims. You may need to file a lawsuit if the insurer cannot or will not offer enough compensation for your injury.
  2. How Much Do You Need For Pain and Suffering?: An out-of-court settlement can include compensation for pain and suffering if your injury caused a decline in your quality of life. However, compensation for pain and suffering can be a subjective amount, even if both sides agree that it should be part of the settlement. There are different formulas to quantify pain and suffering compensation, and some of the values in the formulas depend on how severe you consider the injury to be. By filing a lawsuit, you can let the court decide the appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation.
  3. How Strong Is Your Case?: Illinois uses comparative fault when determining the amount to award in a personal injury lawsuit. Even if the court finds in your favor, it can decrease your award if it determines you were partially at fault for the incident that caused your injuries. You will receive nothing from the case if the court decides that the defendant was not at fault or that you were more than half at fault for the injury. If there is serious doubt about who was at fault, you may risk receiving less from the lawsuit than you would from the settlement.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

Before deciding whether to accept a settlement, you should speak to a Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, to determine if it is a fair offer or if you would benefit more by filing a lawsuit. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Proving Proximate Cause in a Personal Injury LawsuitTwo factors determine whether a defendant can be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit: actual cause and proximate cause. Actual cause, also known as cause-in-fact, is when the defendant’s actions directly lead to the injury. Proximate cause is determining whether the defendant could have reasonably foreseen that his or her actions would cause injury. Proving proximate cause can be straightforward with a defendant whose actions directly resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. A reckless driver can reasonably foresee that his or her actions would put other drivers and pedestrians in danger. However, proximate cause can be more difficult to prove with a third party involved in the incident.

Recent Case

In Kramer v. Szczepaniak, the plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit against multiple defendants whom they claim are liable for a vehicle-pedestrian accident. The plaintiffs were leaving a Chicago movie theater at 1:30 a.m. and used Uber to call a ride. The driver could not figure out the directions to get the passengers to their destination and kicked them out of the vehicle when one of them offered to help give directions. While walking home, the plaintiffs were hit in a pedestrian crossing by a driver who was speeding. The plaintiffs filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle that hit them, the Uber driver, Uber, and the person who let the Uber driver use his vehicle. Before hearing any arguments, a trial court dismissed the lawsuit against all defendants except for the driver who hit the plaintiffs, citing a lack of proximate cause.

Appeal

An Illinois appellate court reversed the trial court’s ruling, stating that there is a question of fact whether the Uber driver is liable for the injuries. The court said that the plaintiffs proved actual cause with the driver because they would not have been walking home if the driver had not forced them out of the vehicle before reaching their destination. As for proximate cause, the court said it is possible that the driver could have foreseen that he was putting the plaintiffs in danger because:

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Illinois workers compensation insurance, McHenry County Workers' Compensation LawyerWhen employees are hired, they may not necessarily inquire about the company's workers' compensation benefits immediately. It may take an injury for an employee to discover that the employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance, and this may be after the employee has large medical bills and has missed work and pay. While the employee may be in a bad situation if he or she finds out there is no safety net, there are ways to still seek and receive compensation for the injuries sustained.

In Illinois, all employers, even those with one employee—full time or part time—have to carry workers' compensation insurance. There are a few exceptions, for example for corporate officers and some agricultural employers. Therefore, most employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance and can face penalties and be charged criminally for failing to do so.

Employers are not allowed to pressure or force an employee to not claim benefits or report the business for not having the required coverage. Employees who discover that their employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance are encouraged to report this to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission's Insurance Compliance Division.

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multiple personal injury defendants, Illinois Personal Injury LawyerGenerally, when the general public hears about a personal injury lawsuit, it is boiled down into a simple A v. B scenario. B did something careless that allegedly caused an injury to A, and now A is suing B.

However, personal injury cases are not always that simple and are more complex than one person causing another's injury.

Imagine a scenario with three drivers: A, B, and C.

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personal injury lawsuit, employee driver, McHenry County Personal Injury LawyerOne of the most important parts of any personal injury lawsuit is making sure that the party responsible for the injury is the one being sued. While this may seem like an obvious statement, it is not always easy. Yes, there are instances where two people get into a car accident and the responsibility ends with the two drivers. However, what happens when one of those drivers is an employee of a company? Is the company responsible because they put that person behind the wheel? These questions are answered by an area of law known as agency law.

Agency law is the law that governs when one person, the agent, is acting for the benefit of another person, the principal. Generally speaking, a principal can be held responsible for the careless actions of their agents if two factors are true. First, there must be a legal agency relationship between the two people. Second, the agent must be acting within the scope of the authority given to them.

The Existence of an Agency Relationship

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