Most Common Personal Injury Claims in Chicago


Sick man lying in a hospital bed. Most common personal injury claims.

The most common personal injury claims stem from car crashes, slip-and-falls, and medical malpractice cases. These accidents are often caused by negligence, or a lack of care. If you have a claim, a personal injury attorney in Chicago can help you get economic damages for medical bills and other expenses and noneconomic damages for pain and suffering.

What Is Considered a Personal Injury Claim?

Even the most common personal injury claims are wide-ranging. What they have in common is that someone’s actions or negligence led to an injury. Claims can stem from car collisions, slip-and-fall accidents, and medical malpractice. They can also result from product liability cases, dog bites, and workplace incidents, among others.

There are two main ways to assign culpability for car and truck accidents and others like them.

Ordinary Negligence

The duty of reasonable care plays a major role in ordinary negligence. This duty of care means people should act in a prudent and responsible way to avoid harming others. With car crashes, for example, the duty of care means being aware of the surroundings. Maintaining awareness of the locations of other cars and pedestrians and traffic light colors helps drivers take precautions to reduce the chances of accidents.

In bad weather involving ice or snow, an example of reasonable duty of care would be a driver slowing down.

If a driver in the Chicago area does not exercise reasonable care, this person could be liable for damages in a personal injury lawsuit. If a driver does exercise reasonable care and becomes hurt in crashes, the driver could be eligible to seek compensation for injuries and losses.

Negligence per se

Negligence per se relates to the flagrant violation of safety precautions. An example would be a driver ignoring a red light and causing a crash. Another example could be driving after drinking heavily. While ordinary negligence may have some ambiguity, negligence per se is more clear-cut.

Evidence in car crashes may include tire marks, stop signs, and videos from the scene. Physical evidence such as a broken taillight and empty beer bottles may come into play as well.

Car Accidents

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were about 1,168 fatal crashes in the state in 2023. Car crashes often stem from negligence. Much of the time, the negligence is a driver’s. However, other parties, such as tire manufacturers or a driver’s employer, can be found negligent or liable, too. For example, the concept of third-party liability means an employer could be held responsible for damages an employee causes while performing work duties. Truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and even pedestrian injuries can lead to car accident personal injury cases. For example, common truck accident injuries include traumatic brain injuries as well as spinal cord and internal injuries.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip-and-fall accidents are among the major reasons people go to emergency rooms in Illinois. Most of these claims fall under premises liability. For example, the owner of a property has the responsibility to keep it safe. Owners should add railings to staircases, warn about wet floors, and install proper lighting. If this doesn’t happen, it can be negligence with the owners held liable.

To prove negligence, personal injury lawyers should show that the property owner knew about the risky condition and did not fix it, or that a reasonable inspection would have let the owner know about the danger.

Common settings for slip-and-fall accidents include stores, restaurants, workplaces, hotels, resorts, and apartment buildings. Other frequent settings include hospitals, schools, train stations, sidewalks, and parking lots.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is among the most common personal injury claims. Health care providers have the duty to provide patients with a reasonable standard of care. If they deviate from what a reasonable person with their training and expertise in their position would do, the result could be medical malpractice. Plaintiffs must establish a breach in the duty of care and show the connection between this breach and the patient’s harm.

Plaintiffs in Chicago can hold different types of people liable. They include doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses. The parties can also be hospitals, facilities, and pharmaceutical companies, among others. Personal injury examples from medical malpractice can include the following:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Birth injuries
  • Surgical errors
  • Prescription errors
  • Anesthesia mistakes

There are many types of malpractice within each category. For instance, inadequate preoperative planning, wrong-site site surgery, instruments left inside, inaccurate incisions, and postoperative complications can all be surgical errors.

What to Do if You Have a Personal Injury Claim in Illinois

The Illinois statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim is generally two years from the date of the injury. Exceptions exist for medical malpractice and claims against state and local governments, among others. Regardless of the claim type, personal injury cases are time-sensitive. It is better to consult an attorney sooner rather than later.

After a car crash, slip-and-fall, or other type of injury, seek medical attention as soon as possible. This prioritizes your health and helps establish direct links between the event and your injuries. If possible, take photos and witness statements. Documentary evidence can be helpful later. You also need to report the incident to your insurer and other parties who need to know. The parties could include the property owner if the incident is a slip-and-fall.

Consult a Personal Injury Attorney

A personal injury attorney can give you customized advice for your situation and explain your options. Your attorney can help figure out the responsible parties and file your insurance claim. Negotiation with insurers is likely, and your attorney can handle that.

Be careful about accepting the first settlement offer an insurance company makes. Insurers want to quickly settle claims for the lowest amounts they can. For example, they might not fully consider the implications of a traumatic brain injury for your health years from now. A settlement offer might fail to recognize the increased odds of Alzheimer’s from a serious TBI. Your attorney can help you review settlement offers to ensure fairness and thoroughness.

If insurance talks do not result in fair settlement offers, a lawsuit may be necessary. Your attorney can handle steps such as discovery, mediation (or settlement talks), and the trial.

Compensation for Personal Injury Claims in Chicago

Compensation for personal injury claims in Illinois can cover both economic and noneconomic damages. Illinois sets no cap on damages in personal injury cases.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are tangible, meaning their value is fairly clear. They represent direct financial losses. Examples include medical expenses, lost income, and property damage. Out-of-pocket expenses for transportation to appointments and home modifications to accommodate a disability also count as economic damages. They are easier to prove in court due to their quantifiable nature. For instance, plaintiffs can use medical bills, pay stubs, repair invoices, and receipts to show the monetary value of these damages.

Medical expenses commonly include current and future medical bills from hospital stays, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation, and therapy. Personal injuries typically affect a person’s ability to work, so compensation can cover lost income during recovery as well as potential future lost income.

Noneconomic Damages

Noneconomic damages can be subjective and lack a precise monetary value. Common examples include:

  • Pain and suffering: Injuries often cause physical pain and emotional distress.
  • Emotional distress: Plaintiffs may need compensation for depression, anxiety, or other trauma from the injury.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: Injuries may cause a person to enjoy daily life and hobbies much less.
  • Loss of consortium: Injuries can affect a person’s relationship with his or her spouse and other family members.

For instance, the plaintiff might suffer injury types such as whiplash and a broken leg. Physical pain could make it difficult for a plaintiff to walk or sit comfortably. Hobbies such as tennis may no longer be possible due to the injuries.

Emotional distress can result from the trauma of the accident as well as the uncertainty surrounding recovery. Someone who used to be confident and social may feel anxious and scared, especially when driving or riding in a car.

All of these stresses can hurt a person’s relationship with his or her spouse. A lack of communication and intimacy can result in a loss of consortium.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are unique and somewhat rare. They might not apply in most common personal injury claims. They’re based on the behavior of the defendant when it is shocking or heinous. These damages are meant to punish defendants and deter similar behaviors in the future.

Illinois law says that punitive damages cannot exceed three times the amount of economic damages. Cases involving punitive damage, wrongful death, or other nuances can add more layers to compensation.

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Keith & Robert Shindler

Keith & Robert Shindler are partners at the personal injury law firm of Shindler & Shindler, Attorneys at Law. The brothers focus their practice on protecting the rights of injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. They take pride in handling every case personally, and delivering top-notch legal services to the people of Illinois.

Years of Experience: More than 65 years of combined experience
Bar & Court Admissions: Active

Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois Wisconsin United State District Court, Northern District Illinois United State District Court, Central District Illinois