How to Choose a Top Personal Injury Lawyer in Chicago
Personal injury is a legal term used to describe any harm to one’s body, mind or emotional well-being that is caused by the negligence or intentional misconduct of another person. When pursuing a personal injury lawsuit for injuries or losses you have suffered because of someone else’s actions, your future is at stake and you want to choose a top Chicago personal injury lawyer who will help you get the best possible result in your case. Every personal injury case is different and choosing the right lawyer isn’t always an easy decision. If you have been the victim of domestic violence or criminal battery during the COVID-19 pandemic, you deserve to have a skilled personal injury lawyer represent you in your case and help you seek fair compensation for the harm you have suffered. Don’t wait to get the help you need, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
Table of Contents
- Domestic Violence During COVID-19
- Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
- How COVID-19 Could Affect Your Personal Injury Claim
- Delays in Courtroom Procedures
- Limited Access to Medical Care
- What to Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer
- Scheduling a Personal Injury Consultation
- Questions to Ask During the Consultation
- Have You Been the Victim of Domestic Violence or Criminal Battery?
- How an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Domestic Violence During COVID-19
As the novel coronavirus continues its global rampage, experts say there is another public health crisis to add to the toll of COVID-19: domestic violence. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, households are on lockdown across the United States and worldwide. As a result of these stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, many victims of domestic violence are now isolated in their homes with their abusers and may therefore be at risk for more frequent and dangerous abuse. Additionally, millions of people are out of work due to COVID-19 and growing fears about job loss and financial insecurity are causing tensions to rise in many households. At the same time, victims’ access to medical care and domestic violence support services is limited due to the coronavirus quarantine. Taken together, this combination of unique circumstances has raised serious concerns about the proliferation of domestic violence and personal injury in states across the country.
“We anticipate an escalation of violence as people become more isolated,” said Emilee Dawn Whitehurst, president and CEO of a women’s shelter in Houston, Texas. “Isolation compounds violence.” In Illinois, the potential for intimate partners in abusive relationships to face an increased risk of violence during Governor JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order has prompted the state to expand services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. “During times of crisis, there may be an increase in domestic and sexual violence, while barriers to services are compounded,” said Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Grace B. Hou in announcing a plan to increase the capacity of Illinois’ network of domestic violence services. “The health and safety of survivors during COVID-19 is of the utmost importance to IDHS and Gov. Pritzker, and today’s actions will ensure that access to these critical services continues.”
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
When you have suffered physical, emotional or psychological harm and another person is at fault, it is important to retain a personal injury lawyer to represent you. The state of Illinois uses a tort system to determine who is legally at fault, or “liable,” when a person is injured or killed because of another person’s negligence or intentional acts. An experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer will have a clear understanding of the law in Illinois and how to present your case in the best possible light. You may consider representing yourself in your case, but unless you have substantial experience with personal injury claims and litigation, you will only be doing yourself a disservice. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you expertly navigate the claims process and ensure that your legal rights and best interests are protected throughout the duration of your case.
How COVID-19 Could Affect Your Personal Injury Claim
The current coronavirus situation has increased the risk of domestic violence, assault and battery in households across the country. Spending significantly more time together in quarantine has caused increased tension in many relationships, especially those where problems already existed. As a result of the new circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, divorce and domestic violence rates are on the rise in the United States. Unfortunately, the novel coronavirus has also caused other issues that could end up affecting your personal injury claim.
Delays in Courtroom Procedures
First and foremost, the COVID-19 crisis has all but shut down the court system, albeit temporarily, and caused a bottlenecking of courtroom procedures and schedules, which is a concern for those who wish to file a personal injury claim. You can still bring a claim during COVID-19, but keep in mind that your case may not be resolved as quickly as it could under normal circumstances. Your best bet is to hire a personal injury lawyer to get your claim moving as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can keep you informed of any possible coronavirus-related setbacks you may face and handle them on your behalf. The sooner you file your claim, the sooner you can reach a resolution in your case.
Limited Access to Medical Care
You may also be less willing or able to seek medical care for your injuries during COVID-19. Many people are afraid to go to the hospital for fear of contracting the virus, which is an understandable concern. However, seeing a doctor as soon as possible after you are injured is critical to the success of your personal injury claim. If you decide against seeking medical care, you won’t have an official record of the severity and timeline of your injuries, which could weaken your claim. If you have been laid off of work because of illness you may be able to to file for transition pay.
What to Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer
There are many personal injury lawyers to choose from in Chicago, so how do you know which lawyer is right for you? Not all personal injury lawyers have the same credentials and experience and it is up to you to do your due diligence to make sure you choose the right lawyer for your case. The following are some important qualities to look for in a Chicago personal injury lawyer:
- Positive case results – A winning attorney will be able to demonstrate his past success in personal injury cases. You can find more information about the lawyers you are considering by checking legal resources like Avvo.com and Super Lawyers.
- Trial experience – When it comes to representing your case in court, there is no substitute for trial experience. If your case does go to court, you want a lawyer who is willing and able to try your case in front of a judge and jury, not one who pushes you to settle even if a settlement isn’t in your best interest. When choosing a personal injury law firm in Chicago, look for one that has a good amount of experience going to trial.
- Investigative skills – Depending on the circumstances of your case, your lawyer may be able to investigate your case himself. Or it may be necessary bring in an investigator or an expert witness to testify on your behalf in court.
- Honesty and transparency – Keep in mind that the best lawyer isn’t necessarily the one who promises to get you a high dollar amount. Winning your case isn’t a certainty and it shouldn’t be presented as such. A good lawyer will instead promise to represent your best interests and fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve for your injuries.
- Patience – You aren’t a legal expert, that’s why you’re hiring a lawyer. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a clear understanding of the legal process and how your case will proceed once you file a personal injury lawsuit. You should feel comfortable in knowing what to expect, even though you don’t know exactly how your case will turn out. A patient personal injury lawyer will be able to explain all of this to you.
- Top ratings – Chicago’s top personal injury lawyers will likely be rated as such. Check out lists like U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Law Firms or the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, or look at websites like Avvo.com to find a reputable lawyer in your area. The lawyers included on such lists are typically recognized for their professional excellence and have received outstanding ratings from clients and colleagues.
- Client testimonials – If you can’t ask someone you know and trust for a lawyer recommendation, the next best thing is reading client testimonials. Don’t just rely on the testimonials you read on the firm’s website. Use a third-party site like Lawyers.com or Avvo.com to read a variety of reviews, good and bad.
In pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, your choice of lawyer can have an impact on the outcome of your case. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you are putting your trust in that person and relying on him or her to see your case through to a satisfactory resolution. The personal injury lawyer you select should be professional, attentive and friendly and should feel at ease explaining the law to you as it pertains to your case.
Scheduling a Personal Injury Consultation
Before you contact any lawyer, you should do some background research first to get a feel for which lawyer might be right for you. The most important thing you should find out is whether the lawyer has had success representing people in situations similar to yours. If you have suffered serious injuries in a domestic violence incident, you want a lawyer on your side who has experience representing domestic violence victims in Chicago. Look into the types of cases the lawyer has handled and the outcomes of those cases before you make any decisions about who to retain to represent you. You also want a lawyer who has a good reputation among his clients and colleagues. Once you have narrowed down your choices, schedule a consultation with one or more of the firms to see how comfortable you are with the attorneys and their staff. You will be sharing personal information with your lawyer and your level of comfort will be an important factor in getting the best possible result in your case.
Questions to Ask During the Consultation
During your initial consultation, be sure to ask questions about the lawyer’s past cases and the amounts he or she has won for previous clients. Ask what the firm charges for cases like yours. In most personal injury cases, the firm will deduct their fees and costs from your settlement or court award, meaning you will not have to pay anything up front. That being said, you will want to find out what percentage of the total amount collected your lawyer will be entitled to if you win your case. Your lawyer should also discuss with you any additional costs or expenses that may arise in your case, such as fees for expert witnesses, investigators, police reports, medical records and more.
Have You Been the Victim of Domestic Violence or Criminal Battery?
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the subsequent lockdown and the economic downturn that followed, tensions are growing in households across the country. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have already reported a spike in domestic violence cases and domestic violence advocacy groups are struggling to keep up with the increased demand for their services. Domestic violence or intimate partner violence is a complex, pervasive public health issue that can take on many different forms. In addition to physical abuse, individuals in lockdown due to COVID-19 may suffer other forms of abuse perpetrated by an intimate partner, including isolation from friends, family and support systems; strict rules for behavior; constant surveillance; and restrictions on access to food, clothing, money and other basic necessities.
How an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, criminal battery or any other kind of attack by another person during the coronavirus quarantine, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against your alleged attacker. By retaining a top personal injury lawyer in Chicago, you can significantly improve your chances of obtaining a satisfactory resolution to your personal injury case and recovering the compensation you deserve for your injuries.