Types of Accident You Can Sue For and When to Sue

Being a victim of somebody else’s negligence can take great tolls emotionally, physically, and financially. But depending on the situation at hand, you may be entitled to significant monetary compensation. This will allow you, at the very least, to pay your medical bills and take strides to heal emotionally. Below are some of the most common types of accidents that people can sue for as well as when it’s most appropriate to file a lawsuit.

Car Accidents

Being in a car crash, whether a minor fender bender or totalling of the vehicle, can cause injury or even death. Some of the more common car crash injuries include:

  • Brain injuries
  • Paralysis and other spinal cord injuries
  • Back pain
  • Fractures
  • Internal bleeding
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Whiplash

If your car crash injuries stem from another driver’s negligence — such as distracted driving or drunk driving — there is a good chance that you can recoup your financial losses through litigation. People are often unaware of the hardship and loss that comes with being involved in a car crash, including pain and suffering, loss of normal life, disfigurement, high medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and lost wages.

If you’ve experienced any of these losses, it never hurts to pick up the phone and consult with a personal injury lawyer to see if you can recover the full extent of your damages.

Nursing Home Negligence

Nursing home negligence is not only tragic, it’s all too common. Around 5 million elders are affected by nursing home neglect and/or abuse each year. This type of abuse could range from physical, psychological, or even financial, and everything in between. 

Most nursing home neglect stems not from malicious intentions, but rather from nursing home owners prioritizing  profits over people.  They cut corners by underpaying their workers and/or by not hiring enough qualified workers to care for our loved ones.

Consider the following scenario: a nursing home employee with no medical degree, making barely above minimum wage, is responsible for caring for a dozen elderly people during each shift. His/her responsibilities include everything from dressing to bathing to changing catheters, administering medicine, and assisting with all other activities of daily living (ADLs). If that employee is overworked and undertrained, they may not be able to properly (and safely) perform these important tasks. Being overworked and underpaid, the worker may even develop a sense of apathy or resentment toward their duties — nursing home care is often messy, after all. That worker might end up viewing their job/patients as assembly line work, and they might not be as careful and they should be. The end result is that the resident gets injured.  

Dog Bites/Injuries Caused By Animals

Dog bites are another common type of personal injury case in Illinois. There are around 4.5 million dog bites per year in the US, with 800,000 of those (or around 1 in 5) requiring medical attention. 

However, you need not be bitten or actually attacked by an animal  in order to have a valid, statutory cause of action.  As long as you are “injured” by an animal, the Illinois Animal Control Act allows for recovery.  The Act provides in pertinent part as follows:

“If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.”

Take this hypothetical: a dog sees someone walking down the street and gets excited. It pulls itself free from its owner and runs to greet the stranger, jumps up on them, knocks them over, and causes a head injury.  Under the Animal Control Act, the owner of the dog is responsible for the full extent of the injuries caused to the passerby.  

Medical Malpractice

We all put great trust in the medical providers who care for us.  So when a case of medical malpractice happens, it can be devastating. You may feel that your trust has been betrayed and get frustrated that a singular person, or hospital system, has failed you in the costliest of ways. 

Medical malpractice is when a doctor or health organization, through negligent acts, causes harm or injury to a patient. This can come in many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Errors in treatment
  • Neglecting alarming health issues
  • Failure to disclose health risks

In order to successfully prosecute your medical malpractice case, you’ll need to prove several things:

  • Doctor-Patient Relationship: first you’ll need to show that you and your doctor have an established professional relationship. This is generally the easiest thing to prove through billing and other records.
  • Unreasonable Care: then you need to prove that the health care provider was negligent. This means that the health care provider failed to act as reasonably careful (doctor, nurse, etc.) under the same or similar circumstances.  We prove this by hiring the best experts in the field to explain what the standard of care requires and why/how your doctor/hospital  breached that standard. 
  • Your Damages: the injuries you sustained must be the result of your doctor’s negligence.  So, if your doctor prescribes the wrong medication but it did not cause you any harm or injuries, you do not have a case for malpractice. 

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Falling down, generally speaking, may not sound like a very big deal to many, but it can be disastrous — particularly for the elderly. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 out of 5 falls in the elderly (age 65 and up) causes a broken bone or head injury. Additionally, around 1 in 4 seniors slip or fall down each year.

Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that globally, falls are the 2nd-leading cause of unintentional injury deaths, only behind vehicle fatalities. Falling down is a serious matter; and if the fall is caused by the negligence of a property owner, the injured person can be entitled to significant compensation. Here are some example scenarios in which a property owner can be held liable for a slip, trip, or fall:

  • Defective stairs
  • Wet/slippery floors with no warning signs
  • Neglect of weather elements (eg. not shoveling or salting sidewalks when required)
  • Poorly lit hallways with obstacles
  • Wear and tear from neglect (eg. torn up sidewalks/potholes)

Personal injury cases involving falls can be tricky as you must prove negligence on the part of the property owner. Additionally, a court will have to consider your contributory negligence, if any. For example, if you trip and fall on an obstacle, but you were simply looking down at your phone at the time, chances are you won’t be successful in recovering compensation for your injuries.  However, if you fall through a defective stair and can prove the owner knew about it and did nothing to fix it, you likely have a strong case on your hands. Either way, be sure to consult an experienced attorney so you know what your options are.

Brian Lewis is Here to Fight For Your Rights

Whether you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence, Brian Lewis is an experienced Chicago personal injury and wrongful death attorney who has helped families achieve justice since 1997. He will walk you through every step of the process, lifting the burden off your shoulders and giving you the knowledgeable representation that you and your loved ones deserve. Brian’s litigation experience and passion to hold people accountable have allowed him to win more than $100 million in damages throughout the course of his career.

He is ready to help you too.

Give Brian Lewis a call today if your loved one has passed away or has been injured due to someone else’s negligence.

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