Belleville Personal Injury Lawyers
Just across the Mississippi River and a 30-minute drive southeast of St. Louis, Belleville, Illinois, is a rapidly growing city. With a Metrolink station, three active airports, and many fun activities, this bustling area is indeed beautiful.
Travelers from nearby towns and cities contribute to heavy traffic downtown and on the surrounding highways, consequently increasing the occurrence of accidents in Belleville. The subsequent consequences of the aftermath of a car accident, including lost wages, financially devastating medical bills, and pain and suffering can affect the victim’s quality of life.
If you or your loved one sustained personal injuries through someone else’s negligent actions, you may be eligible for financial compensation under personal injury law.
Generally, personal injury law allows injured persons to file civil lawsuits and get settlements for all losses accruing from incidents and accidents. The law exists to help victims injured in avoidable accidents be “made whole” or compensated financially after they experience undue harm following someone else’s intentional, reckless, or negligent conduct.
At NST Law, we’re devoted exclusively to delivering skilled, professional legal guidance to injured victims. We leverage our experience and compassion to provide personalized legal counsel services. As a result, we have recovered over $1.5 billion on behalf of personal injury victims and their families.
Common Types of Personal Injury Claims in Belleville
Several injury cases fall under personal injury law, including the following practice areas:
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation Division of Traffic Safety, Belleville experienced 1,076 crashes and 13 fatalities in 2018. And the number continues to increase as more drivers:
- Disobey traffic laws
- Drive for long periods without taking breaks
- Lack adequate driving experience
- Fail to keep up with their vehicle maintenance
- Overload their trailers
- Drive-in hazardous weather conditions without taking appropriate precautions
- Drive while distracted
A May report tracked an 11% increase in Illinois car crash fatalities in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of 2019. So much as these figures fluctuate from year to year, there is no denying that car crashes are a significant source of personal injuries and fatalities in the city.
If you’ve sustained injuries in a car accident in Belleville that was no fault of your own, contact NST Law to learn more about your legal options.
Large and semi-trucks are the backbone of many industries in Illinois. These long-haul trucks cross the state daily, and they cannot avoid speeding or reckless drivers. Truckers nodding off while at the wheel is another common cause of truck-related accidents.
Tragically, truck accidents commonly result in at least one fatality and severe injuries. In a recent crash in Fayette County in Southern Illinois, two people in a commercial truck were traveling on a rural state highway. In the process, the driver nodded off only to awaken, realize his mistake, and overcorrect. That caused the truck to crash into a ditch with one casualty.
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident caused by a tired, drowsy, or sleeping trucker, contact our team of truck accident lawyers to learn about your legal options.
While fun and thrilling to ride, motorcycles can be dangerous, contributing to a significant amount of traffic fatalities in Illinois.
According to the latest Illinois Department of Transportation reporting, 2,266 motorcyclists were injured in 2020. Eight hundred and eleven of these injuries were catastrophic, with 119 motorcyclists losing their lives.
Motorcycle accidents can be serious and even deadly. Motorcyclist deaths account for 11.5% of all Illinois traffic-related deaths each year.
Belleville is a model example of the high cost of workers’ compensation for local governments. According to city records of Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission contracts, the city has spent over $2.5 million on workers’ compensation settlements since 2013.
Those statistics show how prevalent construction injuries and other work-related accidents are in Belleville.
If you’re injured in the course of your job, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation. Your employer’s insurance company may cover your medical costs, lost wages, and disability benefits if you’re temporarily or permanently disabled.
The Illinois Compiled Statutes for Wrongful Death defines the tragedy as “Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default…”
Wrongful death can result from:
- Trucking accidents
- Automobile accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical errors or malpractice
- Construction accidents, etc.
No amount of financial compensation can replace a loved one, but a monetary settlement can help cover medical expenses, burial, and other costs.
Other Personal Injury Claims
Other commonly pursued personal injury claims include:
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
Steps to Take After Suffering a Personal Injury in Belleville
If you’re injured in an accident in Belleville, IL, you should take the following steps to ensure your safety and protect your legal claim for compensation:
Step 1: Assess Your Injuries
Call for help if in pain and note any dizziness resulting from movement. If you’re okay to move around, do so carefully.
Remain at the scene of the accident. If you can, check whether the other victims need urgent medical attention.
If you or another person sustained severe injuries like broken bones, call 911 and request immediate medical assistance.
Step 2: Call the Belleville Police Department
Illinois state law requires you to report an accident that causes death, serious injuries, and property damages of over $1,500 within 10 days. Failure to report is considered a felony.
Unless it’s an emergency, begin by phoning the Belleville Police Department to report the accident.
Step 3: Don’t Understate Your Injuries
While adrenaline and possible embarrassment may prompt you to declare you’re fine, resist that urge. Don’t mask or understate the severity of your injuries, as doing so may negatively impact your health or make it more difficult to link your injuries to the accident.
If anything, keep any details of your injuries to yourself. Only share them with medical professionals.
Step 4: Evaluate What May Have Caused the Accident
After assessing your injuries and receiving immediate medical help as needed, consider liability. Take a moment to evaluate whether the accident resulted from negligence or minor inconvenience.
Step 5: Gather Relevant Evidence
If you can safely gather details about the accident and your injuries, do so. Enlist the help of witnesses if they’re willing.
To thoroughly document the accident:
- Take photos of the scene of the incident or accident: Photograph everything from injuries to road surface and weather conditions. Take the photos from varying angles and perspectives.
- Write down the contact information of any witnesses: Note the names of all parties involved in the accident, including medical teams and corresponding officers. If there are witnesses, try to obtain their contact details. Our team of personal injury lawyers may contact them later to get statements in support of your case.
- Obtain videos: If other people near the scene caught the accident on camera, request a copy of the footage. If the accident was caught on a CCTV camera, obtain a copy.
Step 6: Get Medical Help at Memorial Hospital Belleville or the Nearest Health Facility
Schedule a medical appointment even if you’ve sustained minor injuries after the accident.
Some injuries such as internal bleeding and head trauma are not apparent immediately after the accident. Yet, they may worsen if not caught and addressed quickly.
Seeking medical attention will also help you obtain the necessary medical report to support your claim.
Step 7: Retain a Belleville Personal Injury Attorney
In case of severe injuries that require hefty compensation, it’s best to hire an attorney. Injuries deserving of a payout might include birth complications, bone fracture, brain injury, and lacerations.
It’s not uncommon for insurance companies or liable parties to try and refuse or reduce liability surrounding serious injury claims in a bid to protect their finances and reputation.
Having a personal injury lawyer may increase the odds of fair compensation. In addition, a lawyer is better poised to assess the strength of your case as well as counter any tactics the defendant may use against you.
Step 8: File a Claim
Enlist the help of your lawyer to gather all the necessary documents to support your legal case. Then proceed to file a claim. Pertinent documents include:
- Police report
- Public records
- Medical bills and medical reports
- Evidence collected at the scene of the accident
- Proof of lost wages
How much is my personal injury claim worth?
To calculate your injury damages, consider the medical expenses stemming from your injuries and lost wages due to missed work, including current and potential future losses. Include tangible injury and losses, as well as pain and suffering and mental anguish.
Generally, damages are either economic or non-economic. Economic damages are calculable and easy to prove, such as medical bills related to your injuries. Non-economic damages are often intangible and relatively hard to prove, such as the cost of mental distress.
Besides the damages you suffered, the value of your claim is dependent on:
- How well you can prove and support your claim
- If you’ve made a noticeable effort to mitigate your injuries promptly
The extent to which you were “at fault” or responsible for the accident
Types of Available Compensation for My Personal Injury Claim
Common damages in personal injury cases include:
- Damaged property
- Current medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Cost of hiring outside help for household services
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of society/companionship in wrongful death lawsuits
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental suffering
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Compensation for wrongful death covers burial, funeral, and other costs.
While the state of Illinois does not cap on personal injury damages, you must provide relevant and acceptable tangible proof to be awarded any or the full extent of these damages.
Who's liable for my personal injury in Belleville?
Determining liability for personal injuries can be complicated and usually depends on whether a given party was reckless or negligent.
The basic rule is if one party involved in an incident or accident was more reckless than the other, the careless party must compensate the other for, at least, a portion of the suffered damages.
Legal liability is often determined by the following:
- The at-fault person owed the injured victim a duty of care
- The defendant failed to observe their duty of care
- The victim got injured as a result of the defendant’s breach
- The victim’s injuries were proximately caused by the defendant’s wrong or careless actions
As such, the plaintiff must prove both negligence and injuries, clearly linking the sustained injuries to the negligent conduct.
In cases of multiple at-fault parties, Illinois provides that one of the at-fault persons is liable for the resulting injuries and damages. The responsible parties should then decide how they’ll proceed to settle the claim.
In Illinois, if you’re partially (below 50%) at fault, you can still receive compensation from other liable parties. However, your total settlement can be reduced by your percentage of shared liability.
Liable parties in car accidents include:
- The driver of the car responsible for the accident
- The auto insurance company of the at-fault driver
- Employer of the at-fault driver
- Owner of the vehicle driven by the person responsible for the accident
- Vehicle parts manufacturer
- A government entity in cases of poor roadway conditions
Liable parties in truck accidents include:
- At-fault truck drivers or their insurer
- Parts manufacturer
- The trucking company or their insurance provider
Liable parties in motorcycle accidents include:
- At-fault driver or their auto insurance company
- Your personal injury protection provider or property damage liability provider
- The owner of the motorcycle
- Motorcycle parts manufacturer
- Government agencies in cases of poorly maintained roads
Liable parties for workplace accidents include:
- Your employer or their insurance provider
- The local or state government (in cases of compensations below $250,000)
Liable parties in wrongful death cases include:
- Negligent drivers
- Negligent medical professionals and health care facilities
- Negligent nursing home caregivers
- Store owners
- Product manufacturers
Time Limit to File My Personal Injury Lawsuit in Belleville
The statute of limitations in Illinois allows individuals two years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.
There are few exceptions to this limitation. For instance, while medical malpractice cases have a two-year limitation, the starting date may vary. The clock can start when you first sustained the injury (generally, the date of the accident) or when you first discovered it.
For claims against a county or city entity, you have a year to file a lawsuit. If suing the state, you have two years to do so, but you must first file a formal claim within one year.
Stages of a Personal Injury Case in Belleville
Civil litigation matters go through specific proceedings that can sometimes take time. Of course, each claim is unique.
Before anything else, consult a personal injury attorney about your claim. You need to ensure your case is valid before investing your time and resources and that your timing is within the Illinois statute of limitations.
The following steps show how a personal injury claim in Illinois progresses:
Step 1: The Investigation
Your personal injury lawyer will seek to understand how the accident happened, your background, medical condition, and any treatments provided or still needed.
Be sure to provide all the details you know about the accident and your injuries.
Next, your lawyer will gather all your medical bills and reports relating to the accident. They may also obtain other relevant documents as needed.
The attorney will then review the medical records and supporting information to determine whether you have a solid case.
Step 2: Demand Letter
If your attorney is confident they can settle the claim, they’ll make a demand to the liable insurance company.
The attorney usually submits a formal letter of claim detailing the circumstance of the incident or accident and the injuries you’ve sustained. The letter also explains why the defendant is liable for the damages.
Once the insurance company is in receipt of the letter, they’ll have about three months to investigate the claim and reply stating their rebuttal or acceptance of the claim.
In the meantime, your lawyer will collect further evidentiary support for your claim. They’ll also collect any data needed to quantify your damages, including your medical expenses, lost wages, and a determination for pain and suffering.
Step 3: Negotiating a Settlement
If liability is accepted, the involved parties will negotiate to try and reach a fair compensation amount.
The lawyer will keep in the loop about any offers received from the liable party and advise you on whether it’s reasonable or not.
Step 4: Filing a Lawsuit
If liability is denied or settlement discussions are unsuccessful, your lawyer may file a lawsuit, especially in cases of permanent impairment or injury or wrongful death. Thus, your lawyer should not make a demand before you’ve attained maximum medical improvement.
Once a lawsuit is filed, the clock will start ticking down to when your case will make it to trial.
Step 5: Discovery Phase
During this period, your attorney will investigate what the defendant’s legal claims and defense points are. They’ll send document requests and ask questions to the defendant.
Your lawyer will also take the depositions of relevant witnesses to the subject matter of your case.
Step 6: Trial
After the discovery phase, lawyers will talk about settlement. If the parties cannot settle the case by themselves, they can engage a mediator.
If the involved parties cannot reach an agreement, the case may proceed to trial.
If the case goes to trial, the court will likely require you to attend with your lawyer.
Step 7: Settlement
If the claim is successful and you’re offered a satisfactory offer that you choose to accept, your lawyer will send you documents to sign as a confirmation that you’ve accepted the offer.
The lawyer will then confirm to the liable party that their offer is accepted, and wait for the settlement checks.
How can NST Law help me with my personal injury case?
Filing a compensation claim after an injury can help get your life back on track. For one, it’ll help replace money spent on medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses.
As mentioned, choosing the right lawyer is crucial to ensure you get fair compensation, all while freeing up time to focus on your recovery.
At NST Law, we work to:
- Analyze your injuries
- Assess your suffering, pain, and other compensatory and punitive damages
- Determine the insurance company action
- Estimate future medical needs and costs
- Determine liability
- Gather relevant and acceptable evidence to support your case
- Build a strong argument for your case
- Serve as your legal representation in court proceedings
We handle the claim process so that you can focus on healing.
We have represented victims of negligent actions for more than 32 years. During this period, we’ve recovered over $1.5 billion. We employ a proactive approach to ensure the claim process is as smooth and streamlined as possible. We commit to being available for you each step of the way.
We have over 34 personal injury attorneys and over 135 staff with the experience and resources necessary to investigate and help resolve injury cases successfully. We’re committed to caring for you and our community, and we pledge to provide a high level of personalized services. Contact our Belleville office today for a free consultation.