Injuries can happen to almost anyone at almost any time. You could be hurt by something you eat for breakfast or by the malfunction of an appliance in the kitchen. Whether you drive to work or school or ride a bike, bus, or taxi, there’s the possibility of a traffic accident. If you go out to dinner, there’s a chance of food poisoning, or you could slip and fall in the parking lot. If you see a doctor or dentist or need a hospital visit, you could be injured by medical malpractice. And it doesn’t stop just because you retire. Nursing home abuse has happened in dozens of Illinois nursing homes. If you think about it too much, you couldn’t be blamed for deciding to not get out of bed in the morning. Injuries happen every day – to someone.
However, if you’re injured because someone else was careless or negligent, in Illinois you have the right to seek justice by taking legal action against that person. Don’t feel like there’s nothing you can do, because there definitely is something you can do. If another person’s carelessness is responsible for any injury you’ve suffered, discuss your circumstances at once with experienced Chicago personal injury attorney Joseph Dooley. That “other person” could be a hospital, a business, the manufacturer of a defective product, or even a governmental agency as well as an individual. A good personal injury lawyer will fight aggressively to win the compensation that injury victims need and the justice they deserve.
Be Careful What You Sign
An everyday document that anyone might sign, like a gym membership, may include a disclaimer that releases owners and managers from any responsibility for injuries caused by their equipment or occurring on their premises. Almost all gyms today, from big franchise chains to small, neighborhood gyms, ask members to sign a disclaimer. Other types of organizations often have similar requirements. Many people never read disclaimers. That can be a mistake.
In Hussein v. L.A. Fitness, the Illinois Appellate Court scrutinized a disclaimer signed by Sahal Hussein as part of a contract with L.A. Fitness. Hussein is now quadriplegic after striking his head in a fall from an assisted dip/chin machine at an L.A. Fitness location. Despite signing the disclaimer, Hussein filed suit, arguing that L.A. Fitness was negligent by failing to maintain and inspect its equipment and by failing to supervise or instruct members on how to use the equipment. L.A. Fitness argued that the disclaimer protected them from the personal injury action. The trial court agreed with L.A. Fitness. Hussein went to the Illinois Appellate Court.
The Appellate Court focused on whether the disclaimer was valid. Was it so general or broad that it failed to alert the other party what rights they were signing away? Unfortunately for Mr. Hussein, the court found that the disclaimer was “clear, explicit, and unequivocal.” It acknowledged the dangers a member was exposed to and alerted members to exercise a greater degree of caution. Disclaimers like these are frequently upheld by the courts, so remember whenever you sign anything, read it first.
Whether or not you’ve “signed a waiver,” if you are the victim of a personal injury caused by another person, you can probably pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Speak with experienced personal injury attorney Joseph Dooley promptly. Personal injury victims can win compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Let a good personal injury lawyer evaluate your case and advise you. If you’ve suffered any kind of personal injury, talk right away with experienced personal injury attorney Joseph Dooley, and start receiving the compensation you deserve.
You Need to Act Quickly
Statutes of limitations restrict the length of time you have to file a lawsuit. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the accident date in most cases, but a number of exceptions may apply. If you’ve suffered any kind of personal injury in the Chicago area due to another person’s negligence, speak immediately with a Chicago personal injury attorney and make sure your claim is filed properly and on time. Your attorney can explain the exceptions to the Illinois statute of limitations, and if necessary, can determine if any of them apply to your case.
“Tolling” is a legal concept which allows pausing or delaying the period of time set forth by a statute of limitations. Certain circumstances may toll the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. For example, if the victim of the injury was a minor at the time, the statute of limitations period doesn’t start running until the minor reaches age 18. Once 18, the injured minor then has two years to file a personal injury action. Another reason the statute of limitations may be tolled is when the victim of the injury was not mentally competent at the time. If an injured party is deemed to be mentally incompetent, he or she will have two years to file his or her personal injury case after being deemed competent. Personal injury cases involving sexual abuse or molestation have longer statutes of limitations depending on the age of the victim and whether the memory of the abuse has been repressed due to trauma.
While the two-year period may be extended in some Illinois cases, the amount of time you have is shorter when you are suing a government agency or institution. In most cases you have only a year, and you may have even less time to file a notice of intent. The wise strategy is to act immediately. After you’ve been injured, obtain the advice and representation you need and speak with experienced Chicago personal injury attorney Joseph Dooley as quickly as possible.
Discovery & Deposition
A good personal injury lawyer will attempt to negotiate a fair and sufficient settlement with the party who was negligent. Should negotiation be unsuccessful, your personal injury case will go to trial, and attorneys will conduct the discovery process before the trial begins.
“Discovery” describes the procedure where attorneys on both sides seek answers and gather evidence prior to preparing arguments for trial. As each side learns what the other side “has,” the possibility of a settlement before trial actually increases.
What lawyers call the “interrogatory” is the core of the discovery procedure; the interrogatory is a set of questions from the opposing attorney(s) about your injury and the accident that caused it. The interrogatory may include inquiries into your injury-related expenses and the effect of your injury on your ability to work. Responding fully and truthfully to the interrogatory is vitally important and may mean the difference between winning and losing your case.
A “deposition” is also used in discovery. Depositions are meetings where the parties involved are examined by the opposing attorney(s). Witnesses at a deposition testify under oath; usually there’s no limit on the number of questions that may be asked. A court stenographer will be present to record the questions and answers; both sides later receive hard copies of the session.
Sometimes a “subpoena” may also be a part of discovery. It’s a court order that legally compels a person to attend a deposition or else requires specific documents (such as business or medical records) to be produced.
Seek the advice of a good Illinois personal injury lawyer immediately if you have suffered a personal injury of any kind in Illinois. You may be awarded damages for your medical costs and lost income, and in some situations you may even receive punitive damages. Protect yourself and your rights; consult experienced personal injury attorney Joseph Dooley as quickly as possible if you have been the victim of a personal injury.