If you or a loved one suffer an injury because of someone else’s negligence, the law gives you the right to pursue compensation for your losses. However, trying to navigate the legal system on your own can be tough. At Dwyer & Coogan, our personal injury attorneys help accident victims and their families navigate civil claims court. We do what is necessary to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries. Learn more about how to file a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois, and contact us today for a free consultation.
When To File
Illinois gives you two years* from the date of the accident to file your personal injury claim. If your injury is the result of medical malpractice, the law may allow additional time to file your lawsuit based upon when you learned of the injury or the negligence. However, no lawsuits for medical malpractice can be filed once four years have passed from the date of the incident.* It is essential that you file your complaint within the statute of limitations, otherwise you forfeit your rights to compensation entirely, regardless of the strength of your case.
Where To File
There are 24 circuit courts in the state of Illinois with which you can file your personal injury lawsuit. Our firm concentrates on catastrophic injuries, and thus does its work in the “Law Division” where the minimum severity of the losses is $50,000. Lawsuits must be filed in the county where the Court has proper jurisdiction. This is an important issue to discuss with your attorney because the location of the lawsuit can impact many issues that will occur throughout the life of the case.
Preparing Your Claim
The lawsuit starts with the filing of a “complaint” which is a legal document that outlines important facts and claims in the case. It is important to achieve the right balance between detail and simplicity. This may be difficult to do yourself, as the courts want to know what happened to cause your injury, what types of injuries you suffered, and what damages you hope to recover from the courts. The legal necessities for the complaint are one significant reason that you should consider speaking with an attorney who has filed a complaint before and can file something that will not get thrown out of court.
Some other basics that must be filed are the following three documents:
- A civil lawsuit cover sheet, which provides the courts with your most basic information—including your name, contact information, and address
- An appearance form, which should identify your personal injury lawyer
- A summons, which will be sent to the defendant to inform them of the impending lawsuit
You can get each of the forms you need from the court.
Hire A Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer
Filing a personal injury lawsuit involves much more than submitting paperwork to the courts. To prevail in your lawsuit, you need to gather evidence, witness testimony, and, depending on the nature of the accident that caused your injury, expert testimony. It also involves negotiations and, if negotiations fail, litigation.
Most civilians are not equipped to pursue a successful lawsuit on their own, which is why injured parties generally hire an experienced attorney to pursue compensation on their behalves. If you want to prevail in your case, the personal injury experts at Dwyer & Coogan, P.C. can help. Schedule a free consultation today.
* There are many exceptions and legal considerations to determining the proper statute of limitations applicable to your claim and we recommend you consult with an attorney about the actual time limit that applies to a claim you may have. The time quoted here does not apply to every case and may not be appropriate for your case.