Accidents happen every day, and sometimes they happen to you. When they are the fault of someone else, you can sue the person or company that you believe is at fault. Suing the other party is not your only option. But if you decide to sue there are a few important things to remember.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the length of time you have to sue the other party. This can change due to the type of injury, and who the other party is. If you were injured in a car accident, at work, or at a business, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations is longer for children under 18.
If you were on a City of Chicago bus or train, there is a strict timeline for filing a lawsuit. You have 6 months from the accident date to file a notice with the CTA of your plans to file a lawsuit. If this deadline is missed, you cannot file a suit later.
How do I find an attorney?
There are many ways to find a lawyer who can talk to you about your injury and your legal options. You may see them on television commercials or have a friend that knows and has worked with a lawyer. You can also go online and type in “personal injury lawyer” and your location and come up with many options. The Illinois State Bar Association also provides a free lawyer search.
Once you find a lawyer, you will want to make sure that they are licensed in the State of Illinois and currently allowed to practice law. The best way to do this is by going to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (IARDC) website and entering the lawyer’s name. The IARDC is the agency that oversees lawyers and handles any complaints. Their website has all the basic information you need to know about the lawyer you are meeting with. This includes the date they passed the bar, if they have been in trouble, and whether they are currently allowed to practice law.
When you meet with a lawyer, they will ask you questions about the accident. They will also want to know if you have been to a doctor, and whether or not you have talked to anyone involved in the accident. Make sure to bring any paperwork that you have about the accident, including the police report or hospital records.
What are the fees involved?
Your first meeting with a lawyer shouldn’t cost you anything. The lawyer will be paid when your case is settled or won in court. This is known as a contingency fee.
Illinois has laws outlining how much a lawyer will get paid. Your lawyer can take up to 33.3% of the money you win, plus costs.