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.
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).
Uber’s self-driving vehicle service took a bit of a detour in March, when the company temporarily shut down the service in Phoenix and Pittsburgh after a self-driving Uber vehicle was involved in a crash in the Phoenix area. After the accident was determined to be the fault of the other driver, Uber quickly resumed the service, Reuters reported.
A woman who was run over by a public bus in Champaign was able to receive a sizeable damages award that reflected the substantial injuries she suffered, which included the loss of both of her legs. According to news-gazette.com, a Champaign County jury assessed the woman’s damages at $9.4 million and her husband’s damages at an additional $450,000.
The ridesharing services Lyft and Uber have become extremely popular in recent years. Users may find these services to be more convenient and more economical than using traditional taxi services. But Lyft and Uber drivers are still drivers and still have the possibility of causing an accident due to their own negligence. Thus, with that in mind, what happens if you’re injured in an accident, and the person who hit you is a Lyft or Uber driver? Depending on the specifics of your situation, you may have a legal claim against Uber or Lyft for your injuries.
Several people have launched lawsuits against the ridesharing entities for personal injury damages or sometimes wrongful death. One of the first occurred in the wake of a fatal New Year’s Eve 2013 crash. Six-year-old Sophia Liu, her brother, and her mother were walking in a crosswalk (and with a green light) in San Francisco when they were struck by an Uber driver who was attempting to make a right-hand turn, according to sfgate.com. The crash killed the girl.
If you travel much, you’ve been there. You’re at the car rental counter, answering the clerk’s questions regarding whether you will or won’t purchase insurance on the car you’re renting. Many people, of course, decline this coverage. So what happens if you’re injured, and the at-fault driver declined coverage on his rental car and has personal insurance with a low policy limit? According to a recent decision from the First Appellate District, your own insurer must pay (if you have underinsured motorist coverage) just the same as if the other driver was driving his own vehicle, rather than a rental.
WILL SELF-DRIVING TRUCKS BE SAFER, SOONER?
With all the talk about self-driving cars lately, it is surprising not to hear more about self-driving tractor-trailers. Given that trucking collisions cause massive harm across Illinois Expressways every day, most people would welcome self-driving trucks if we knew that they would make our highways safer or at least decrease the number of accidents. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the number of traffic crash fatalities has surpassed each of the totals for the past 5 years. In fact, Illinois has eclipsed 1,000 traffic deaths even before the start of the final two weeks of the year. Of these fatalities, 247 have taken place in Cook County while each Winnebago, St. Clair, Will, Kane, DuPage, and Lake Counties suffered nearly 40 deaths in crashes.
When you’re injured in an auto accident, there are certainly many things on your mind. You’re likely concerned, first and foremost, about the welfare of your family and you, as well as recovering from your injuries. Your legal rights probably aren’t at the forefront of your thoughts. Nevertheless, it is very important to engage in pro-active steps to ensure that you don’t lose your legal right to obtain compensation, whether that involves pursuing the at-fault driver or your own insurance company. While acting right away is always best, you should not assume that, if you didn’t act immediately, you have no case. One recent case decided by the Third District Appellate Court offers an example in which a Northern Illinois woman was able to pursue her case despite a claim that her case was barred by the statute of limitations.
Studies reveal that lost productivity, expensive medical and psychological treatment, court costs and legal fees, and costs related to emergency services, insurance administration, property damage and roadway congestion associated with vehicle crashes added up to an estimated $242 billion in 2010 alone. That is approximately $784 per each person in the U.S., and about 1.6 percent of the United States Gross Domestic Product. When valuations for quality of life were included, that number soared to an estimated $836 billion. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), lifetime costs for 32,999 traffic crash-related deaths, 3.9 million vehicle accident injuries, and 24 million vehicles that were damaged were responsible for these costs.
Additionally, the NHTSA report revealed that:
- The economic cost over a lifetime for each car crash-related fatality is approximately $1.4 million. Lost workplace and household productivity and legal expenses account for more than 90 percent of this cost.