When you’re hurt through the action or inaction of someone else, you know that you’ll face hurdles in your pursuit of compensation. You’ll need to meet procedural obligations. You’ll need to amass sufficient evidence. You’ll need to overcome the other side’s defenses. In some cases, you’ll also need to overcome the other side’s failure to participate in the discovery process properly. When an opponent does this, you’ll need to know how to handle it. In the case of one amusement park guest, she obtained a favorable jury instruction that helped to win her case and secure a $1.514 million damages award.
In an injury case, as with any civil action, one of the key aspects of the case is the discovery phase of the lawsuit. Whether your case is about liability and damages, or just damages, the discovery process is a vital part of the proceeding, and handling this aspect well can be key to achieving a successful outcome. You certainly want to make sure that you turn over those things that the law says you have to disclose, but you also don’t want to do anything that isn’t required and may weaken your case. In the case of an injured computer analyst, the Illinois Appellate Court issued a ruling recently, stating that he did not have to make discovery disclosures unless the trial court first made findings that the benefit outweighed the burden that would be placed on him.
For the fifth consecutive year Attorney
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An Illinois auto worker recently succeeded in his effort to get his award of workers’ compensation benefits reinstated. Even though the Ford Motor Company worker injured himself while bending over, which can often be considered by the law a “neutral risk” that does not allow for an award of benefits, he was successful because his evidence was able to persuade the Illinois Appellate Court that his injury actually qualified as “a risk distinctly associated with” his employment, which the law recognizes as compensable.
Achieving the result you need in a personal injury case is about more than just proving that you were hurt and that it was a foreseeable result of a negligent or intentional act or omission on someone else’s part. In many cases, it is about pursuing (and obtaining a judgment against) the right defendant. Win against a driver who makes $10 per hour for an auto accident that caused you to suffer $5 million in damages, and you may end up with an uncollectable judgment. Obtain a verdict against the driver and the corporate employer for which he was performing an errand when he hit you, and you may have a greater chance of achieving a more meaningful recovery.
One case in which this truth was on display was a matter recently decided by the Illinois Appellate Court. The victim was a lawyer who had hailed a cab to take him from a business meeting in Chicago to his home in the southwest suburbs. As the cab approached the Hinsdale exit off Interstate 294, the cab driver took the cloverleaf ramp, which had a posted speed limit of 25 mph, at speeds in excess of twice that. The driver lost control, and the minivan slipped off the ramp, then went airborne for 32 feet, and finally slammed into a retaining wall, at which point it was still going more than 40 mph upon impact.
If you are a Chicago-area resident who has been injured by someone else’s mistakes, you probably prefer to sue the wrongdoer here in Illinois. Having to carry out your case in some other state means having to hire out-of-state counsel instead of a local law firm, and it very likely means having to travel to this distant location for various events, including the trial. These are just a few of the reasons why it often pays to contest an opponent’s efforts to have a case moved out of state. In one set of cases arising from an Indiana bus crash, a group of Chicago-area plaintiffs successfully persuaded the courts that the rules regarding lawsuit forums did not require moving their injury actions to Indiana (and away from Cook County).
In two separate cases involving very similar sets of facts, two different Northern Illinois bicyclists won their respective appeals and got renewed opportunities to pursue compensation for the harm they suffered after they fell while riding along bike paths in the greater Chicago area. In both cases, the plaintiffs’ appeals succeeded because the government entities that owned and were responsible for maintaining the paths were not immune from suit under Illinois statutes.
Chances are, if you’ve followed the news during the past several weeks, you’re familiar with a doctor from Kentucky and his premature exit from United Airlines Flight 3411, bound from O’Hare Airport to Louisville. Cell phone video footage shows law enforcement officers violently dragging the man off the flight, allegedly causing the doctor to suffer a concussion, a broken nose, and the loss of two teeth. Now, sources including the Chicago Tribune indicate that legal action is forthcoming.
When you are injured on the job and seek workers’ compensation benefits, there are many things that will go into your case. At some point, a doctor may examine you and give you an AMA impairment rating. In a recent First District Appellate Court decision, the court upheld an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission determination finding a welder 25% impaired despite an AMA impairment rating below 10%. While the AMA impairment rating was an important part of the impairment determination process, the statutes list five factors, which go beyond simply what a doctor’s opinion says.
Schools at all levels, as part of the responsibility entrusted to them to safeguard the safety of their students, face the ongoing problem of hazing. One case that made headlines was the death of a pledge who passed away after a night of excessive drinking at an Illinois university fraternity house in November 2012. The case yielded the criminal prosecution of 22 students and a wrongful death lawsuit by the parents of the dead student. A ruling last year by the First District Appellate Court revived the parents’ civil case and gave them a renewed opportunity to recover compensation for the wrongful death of their son.