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Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer | Panio Law Offices

Negligence and Personal Injury

In most personal injury cases, the plaintiff must demonstrate negligence in order to recover damages.

"Negligence" is a legal term that simply means an individual behaved in a careless or thoughtless way, which can open them up to liability should that negligence give way to harm or damage. Negligence may be shown in either the action or inaction of others. For instance, a driver may speed recklessly through a school zone or a driver may fail to yield to a child in the same school zone while driving at a reasonable rate of speed. In both cases the driver is likely guilty of negligence.

The fact is drivers have a duty to act in a responsible manner when behind the wheel of a car. This duty or responsibility is sometimes called a "duty of reasonable care." Of course, all drivers have a responsibility to observe to rules of the road in their state or local municipality, but they also have a distinct responsibility to maintain safe driving practices should road conditions change to warrant it.

For example, if a highway's speed limit is published at 35 mph, yet weather conditions at the time of an accident included heavy rain and sleet providing slippery surfaces and low visibility. The responsibility of the driver should have been to proceed more slowly and approach road conditions more carefully. Failure to do that would expose the driver and his/her insurer to liability should an accident result and injury or damages occur.

If, in fact, both drivers act irresponsibly then the fault for resulting injuries may be shared by both drivers. The applicable theory of legal liability then becomes comparative negligence. Proving negligence is, not the only basis, however, for a personal injury claim. Claimants must also prove not only that the other party was indeed negligent but also that they themselves suffered injuries and/or damage.

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When the At Fault Driver is Not The Only Person Liable for Damages

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If you have been the victim of driver neglect that resulted in a car accident, it’s likely that finding the at-fault individual responsible for your injuries was not that difficult a task. In most cases, the at-fault individual is the driver that did not use reasonable care or caution when behind the wheel (that is if you, yourself were not also in some way negligent and partially responsible, in which case comparative negligence would come into play). But in some cases the driver that caused the accident is not the individual responsible for your injuries or damages. In some cases, Illinois law attributes responsibility to someone more than those behind the wheel and, perhaps, not even in the car at the time of the accident.

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4 Mistakes That Hurt Personal Injury Car Accident Claims

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Car accidents are an everyday occurrence and it never fails that victims of car accidents stop short of receiving the compensation they deserve to cover the costs of injuries, repairs and other losses incurred as a result of another driver’s negligence.

One of the reasons for these mistakes is that the victim often makes critical mistakes when pursuing/considering a personal injury claim. These 5 mistakes can mean the difference between receiving the compensation one deserves and being left to cover growing medical costs when an auto injury claim goes south.

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Why It’s So Important to Always Seek Medical Attention After a Car Accident

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Have you ever played a rigorous game of football or tennis or soccer and felt fine throughout the whole game, only to feel excessive pain and stiffness the next day or even later? Oftentimes during competitive sports, your body is in an excited state and as such, it releases adrenaline and endorphins into your system that prevent you from feeling pain or even injury in some cases.

But once the excitement dies down, so does the release of these chemicals and the aches and pains come on with a vengeance. During a car accident, your body is often in a similarly excited state, releasing adrenaline and endorphins that can mask the pain of injury, so much so that you might feel you suffered no injury at all during the accident itself and might not even seek medical attention.

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Why it’s Important to Have Attorney Representation in Car Accident Cases

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When someone is the victim of a car accident, it’s often a very scary and confusing time. Nerves are often frayed and if injuries are sustained, negotiating with an insurer and proving liability is the last thing you really want to focus on.

An early offer from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier may seem quite tempting, but are you really in a position to know the severity of your injuries and understand the scope of the kind of medical treatment you may need long term? Does your settlement offer factor in lost wages, lost future income, and other losses that are intangible such as permanency of injury?

There are many reasons why it’s important to discuss your claim with an experienced personal injury attorney before agreeing to any type of settlement.

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