Understand Personal Injury Law

A personal injury case is a legal dispute that arises after a person has suffered an accident or an injury, and another person is legally responsible. Personal injury law is thus, the defense and legal remedies that are involved in the civil lawsuit which is as a result of of the wrongful conduct that might have caused the injury on the other person. This case does not involve the government, but rather a private plaintiff, who is seeking compensation for the harm done by the defendant.

These cases are usually a based on negligence, where one person, the defendant, puts another person at risk, and this person ends up getting hurt. This doctrine accepts that some accidents cannot be avoided and the plaintiff must to show with enough proof that the defendant would have acted in another manner and had it been another person, they would have realized there was a risk and not placed the plaintiff in harm’s way. Examples of such cases would be; where there arises medical complications or even death as a result of a doctor’s carelessness, car accidents caused by drunk driving or a fall at a construction site because the company refused to put in place safety precautions that would prevent such. Basically, the defendant puts a person or two in harm’s way, ignoring their safety, and they ended up being injured.

After it has been ascertained that it was a case of negligence, the defendant must then compensate the plaintiff for every damage caused. A personal injury case can be solved in court, or it can be solved before it gets to court, mostly by attorneys.

Formal Lawsuit

This happens when the plaintiff files a law suit against the defendant, alleging that they acted irresponsibly and neglectfully, thereby causing damage or injury. It follows the normal court proceedings where evidence has to be tabled and a judge decides if the plaintiff deserves to be compensated, and how much.  For example, if a philadelphia injury lawyer is suing for a client then he typically will go after a formal lawsuit format.

Informal settlement

Some disputes do not make it to court, and they are usually solved by the parties involved, or their lawyers. This settlement is usually a negotiation, and after an amount has been reached, a written agreement is signed, where both parties agree never to push the case further, for example, moving to court.

It is not always easy to determine the amount of money that has top be paid as injuries and damages come in different scales. You can put a price on damaged property and also on medical bills, but sometimes there is emotional distress caused, and this calls for expert testimony.

The plaintiff usually has a limited window of time in which he or she is allowed to file a lawsuit. This time is called a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations starts right after the plaintiff is injured. The length of this time is usually set by the law of the state and it varies from different types of injuries.

You will need facts before you can demand compensation on a case of personal injury, and it is best if you have a lawyer go through your facts before you proceed. Know your rights.


Endorsing Judicial Candidates

The Illinois Civil Justice League endorsed Illinois judicial candidates for the first time in 1998. Our entrance into the judicial election process was — we admit — a direct response to the 1997 decision by the Illinois Supreme Court to overturn the Civil Justice Reform Amendments of 1995.

The decision was not a “sore loser” action — but instead was an admission that very few interests in Illinois — other than various lawyer groups — were paying attention to the election of judges (and the process of electing judges).

U.S. Supreme Court Building

Because “tort reform” in Illinois has been viewed as a Republican issue (it’s not, it’s a taxpayer and small business and health care issue), the ICJL might have been expected to support only Republican judges or judicial candidates.

That hasn’t been the case, however. Surprisingly, the ICJL has endorsed more Democratic candidates for judge, including Democratic judges seeking retention.

The primary reason for the Democrat edge has been the fact that very few Republicans run for judge in Cook County which is easily the dominant judicial jurisdiction in the state. While some Illinois counties may have two or three judicial elections on the ballot, it is not unusual for Cook County voters to have more than 80 candidates to consider.

Democrat judicial candidates and judges have been and still are among the best in Illinois. Among those ICJL has endorsed include former Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann McMorrow (even after she wrote the opinion negating the Civil Justice Reform Amendments of 1995), current Justice Thomas Fitzgerald and current Cook County Appellate candidate Joy Cunningham.

In our first round of endorsements in 2006, several prominent Democrat judges were included. Among them is one of our favorite judges, James Wexstten of Mount Vernon, and a prominent St. Clair County Democrat, Milton S. Wharton.

Later this week, we will announce our final round of judicial endorsements and it is unlikely that any announcement has been anticipated as much as this year’s.

The reason: Madison and St. Clair counties.

Four judges who are seeking retention in the two counties are seeking ICJL support and there are vocal — and credible — forces urging “vote yes” recommendations and “vote no” recommendations.

In St. Clair County, Chief Judge Jan Fiss is on the ballot and in Madison County, the Chief Judge, Ann Callis, and two colleagues, Philip Romani and John Knight are seeking new terms. Knight actually is the resident judge in Bond County but Bond and Madison are in the same circuit and he must win the approval of Madison Count voters also.

Last week, the ICJL met with all four of the judges to discuss the status of the civil justice system in the two counties and to look forward. Their remarks were candid and open, which makes the decision process difficult because we can’t look forward without looking back and all of these judges have been serving in areas described as “judicial hellholes” by the American Tort Reform Association. There have been other, perhaps not as colorful, descriptions of the two counties and few, if any, have been complementary.

But we’ll try to make a sensible recommendation and it will be announced later this week.

We didn’t know this, but Jeffry Mandell from JTM Legal, informed us that in order for any judicial candidate to be considered for our endorsement, he/she must have completed the ICJL’s judicial candidate questionnaire, which includes 12 questions that can be difficult for judges or candidates to answer.


Their answers and other information about all judicial candidates can be found on the ICJL’s judicial website.

The site also provides links to candidates’ websites and also to the campaign financial disclosure reports on file with the State Board of Elections. The source of candidates’ funding often tells more about the candidate than any response to a question or refusal to answer a question. The site also includes (or will include) the evaluations of judicial candidates by various lawyer groups, including the Illinois State Bar Association, and newspaper or other endorsements.