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Injury Cases

The Parts of a Personal Injury Case
A brief timeline and description

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer
Scott D. DeSalvo
On The Timeline of a Lawsuit

I put this page together to explain and give a rough time-line, step by step, of what happens in a typical injury case or claim. This timeline does not apply to Workers Compensation claims or Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist claims. All three of those kinds of cases can actually move forward more quickly that a standard third-party injury claim. Complicated cases with many parties in the lawsuit (like medical malpractice cases, products liability cases, and some nursing home abuse and neglect cases) can run longer and take longer to move through the system than a simple car accident case.

1. Pre-Suit Investigation.

In this part of the case, your lawyer collects information about WHO should be sued, and discovers who each potential Defendant’s insurance company is. I also always try to find out how much insurance there is, so I can advise my client right away about the best strategy is for their case given the type and seriousness of the injury, and insurance policy limits. Whether treatment is complete or not, your attorney should get all of your medical bills and records together, as well as all information that shows why each Defendant is liable (things like witness statements and police reports). Once all of this information is together, your personal injury lawyer will send each Defendant’s insurance company a settlement submission including all of the gathered information, organzied and put together in the way most likely to convince the insurance company to make an offer. If successful, your case is settled.

Testimonials

WOULDN’T TRUST MY CASE WITH ANY OTHER LAWYER!
"I like Mr. DeSalvo. He is very good with his work and very professional. I knew I had a tough case. I wouldn’t entrus...

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Carmen Cummings
Import/Export and Building Management
Workers’ CompWork Injury
Chicago, Illinois
HE DID THE RESEARCH AND WE WON!
“Mr. DeSalvo takes the time to actually review the case and he helped comfort us. I didn’t think that we would be co...

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Belinda Brickhouse
Disabled
CarAccident
Chicago, Illinois
HE ALWAYS RETURNED MY CALLS!
“I was referred to Mr. DeSalvo by a friend. I Was worried that the other guy had no insurance coverage, but Mr. DeSalv...

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Dennis Bouwsma
Maintenance Man
Car Crash
Homer Glen, Illinois
COURTEOUS AND HELPFUL!
“I have had less than good (terrible) experiences with lawyers. But Mr. DeSalvo was courteous and helpful. He made me ...

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Joyce Peterson
Retired/Disabled
Car Crash
Chicago, Illinois
MR. DESALVO IS DIFFERENT!
“I ordered Mr. DeSalvo’s CD and read his materials I ordered from his advertisement. I talked to other lawyers but t...

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Denise Anderson-Harris
Security Officer
Car Crash
Chicago, Illinois
THANK YOU FOR ALL THE WORK YOU DID!
“Dear Scott: I just wanted to drop you a note to say Thank You for all the work you did on my case. I will definitely ...

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Michelle Benedicta
Editor
Fall Down Case
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
I FEEL GREAT!
“My Mom recommended Mr. DeSalvo to me. I wanted to be sure that everything was done in my case in a timely manner. He ...

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Julius Spearman
Drugstore Clerk
Car Crash
Chicago, Illinois
TREATED ME WITH RESPECT…VERY CARING!
“When I first met Mr. DeSalvo, I just knew that he would handle my case. I have used lawyers in the past, and they wer...

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William Miller
Security Officer
Negligence Truck Injury
Chicago, Illinois
GOOD EFFICIENT LAWYER!
“I hired Mr. DeSalvo because the way he presented himself, he seemed like the best lawyer for the job. He always made ...

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Lizella Palmer
Home Health Care
Pedestrian Versus Car
Chicago, Illinois
HONEST SPIRIT!
“I never even met Mr. DeSalvo face to face. I hired him over the telephone because I could feel his honest spirit, and...

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Fritz LeGros
Musician
Fall Down Case
Chicago, Illinois
DIDN’T USE ‘ATTORNEY-LANGUAGE’!
“I felt comfortable with Mr. DeSalvo because he talked to me about my case in words that were understandable – not ...

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Christine Bethscheider
Nurse
Motorcycle Crash
Chicago, Illinois
I WOULD HIRE YOU AGAIN!
“Mr. DeSalvo: I’d like to thank you so very much. I am simply moved to tears. I did hire you to be my Personal Injur...

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Maria Forowycz
Physical Therapist
Automobile Crash
Hunter, NY (Chicago, IL)
ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS!
“Please allow me to begin by saying Thank You. You took on my Workers’ Comp case not knowing what it would be in ter...

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Wendell Murray
FactoryWorker
Work Injury
Chicago, Illinois
NEVER TOO BUSY TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!
“To Mr. DeSalvo: Thank you very much for being the attorney that you are. You are never too busy to answer any questio...

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Stacy L. Holzendorf
Car Crash
Chicago, Illinois
VERY HAPPY WITH MY EXPERIENCE!
“My fiancée recommended Mr. DeSalvo to me, so I knew I could trust him for a job well done, with a good attitude towa...

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Pawlina Palij
Homemaker
Auto Versus Pedestrian
Chicago, Illinois
FINALLY HAD SOMEONE ON MY SIDE WHO COULD BE THERE TO FIGHT F...
“Scott, Thank You so much for helping me last week! I saw you there for me, and a weight was lifted from my shoulders....

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Sue Nika
School teacher
Employment Dispute
Chicago, Illinois
HE WAS REALLY THERE FOR MY DAUGHTER!
“I had another lawyer on my case but he wasn’t doing or couldn’t do anything as he said, so I searched for another...

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Nicole Palmer
Self-Employed
Car Versus Pedestrian
Chicago, Illinois
TREATED ME LIKE FAMILY!
“I was referred to Mr. DeSalvo and was told that he was the best person to talk to if I was injured. I was a little co...

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Seth Ketchum
Industrial Mixer
Work Injury –Workers’ Comp
Dolton, Illinois
APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE!
“Dear Mr. DeSalvo: My mother and I wanted to thank you for everything you have done for us! We can’t begin to expres...

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Lynette and Mae Tucker
Chicago, Illinois
GREAT LAWYER AND BETTER FRIEND!
“Scott: Thanks for everything! You are a really great lawyer and an even better friend!”...

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Joe and Anne Galvan
Graphic Artist and Sales Representative
Chicago, Illinois
VERY PROFESSIONAL!
“Mr. DeSalvo is a very good lawyer. I did some research before hiring Mr. DeSalvo. He was very professional. I receive...

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Michael Maury
Construction Laborer
CarAccident
Summit, Illinois
MY CASE WAS A SUCCESS!
“A friend of mine told me about Mr. DeSalvo. I was really worried about my doctor bills being paid. I never had a lawy...

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Tamberia Johnson
Customer Service Representative
CarAccident
Chicago, Illinois
ONE OF A KIND!
“Mr. DeSalvo has a lot of care in him about people. I didn’t worry about anything because once I talked to Mr. DeSal...

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Teresa Martin
Cosmetology
Multi-Car Crash
Chicago, Illinois
GREAT PERSON AS WELL AS A GREAT AND SKILLED LAWYER!
“A family member referred me to Mr. DeSalvo. I came to his office and he was very nice and very caring. Right away, it...

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Michelle Clark
Customer Service Representative
Car Versus Pedestrian
Chicago, Illinois
HONESTY AND CONSISTENCY IN MOVING THE CASE FORWARD!
“I hired Mr. DeSalvo because he came well-recommended to me. Once I hired him, I had no worries. He broke the entire l...

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Kim V. Ewing
Secretary
Car Accident and Breach of Contract
Chicago, Illinois
MADE ME FEEL THAT THERE WAS HOPE!
“My Mom recommended Mr. DeSalvo to me. I never hired a lawyer before Mr. DeSalvo but he answered all my questions and ...

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Shakka Bradford
Car Accident
Bank Teller
Chicago, Illinois
I FEEL VERY GOOD ABOUT HOW HE HANDLED MY CASE!
“I hired Mr. DeSalvo because he indicated professionalism to me and I felt that he would do the best representing me. ...

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Charles "Chuck Cannon" Giannone
Premises Liability/Fall Down Case
Journalist
Skokie, Illinois
HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND TRUST!
“I hired Mr. DeSalvo because he is an attorney who really cares about his clients, and he takes the extra effort to ma...

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Leroy Bowers
Work Injury/Motor Vehicle Accident
Construction Worker
Chicago, Illinois
BEATS DEFENDANTS AS IF HE WAS THE ONE WHO WAS INJURED!
“I had a case with another lawyer, but they dropped my case after 6 months of frustration. I was afraid Scott would dr...

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Sinovia Bell
Ceiling Collapse
Medical Administrative Assistant
Chicago, Illinois
EASY TO COMMUNICATE WITH NO AIRS OR SEPARATION BETWEEN LAWYE...
“Mr DeSalvo, thank you very much for handling my case. I appreciate everything you have done for me in getting the bes...

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Nina Ellison
Car versus Semi-Truck Accident
School Teacher
Chicago, Illinois
HANDLED MY CASE WITH CONFIDENCE!
“Mr. DeSalvo is a good lawyer to talk to. My main concern in my case was getting full recovery and a fair settlement. ...

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Ivory Johnson
CTA Bus Accident
Construction Worker
Chicago, Illinois
WASN’T AFRAID TO GO TO COURT TO PROVE THE POINT!
“I had a lawyer before I hired Mr. DeSalvo, but I fired him because the other lawyer wasn’t “into” into my case....

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Dennis Brown
Car Accident
Forklift Operator
Chicago, Illinois
I COULD FEEL HIS CONCERN FROM THE VERY BEGINNING!
“I had an attorney before Mr. DeSalvo. The day before the trial in my case, the other lawyer dismissed my case, claimi...

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Sharon Scott
Car Accident
Sales Associate
Chicago, Illinois
HE HAD FAITH IN ME!
“When I was considering lawyers, Mr. DeSalvo seemed to know a lot more and told me a lot more than others did. I hired...

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Cynthia Outler
Car Accident
Homemaker
Chicago, Illinois
OPEN HONEST AND TRUTHFUL!
“Mr. DeSalvo was very open and honest with me, so I felt confident in hiring him. I was worried about how much of a se...

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Steve Parson
Fall Down Accident
Doorman
Chicago, Illinois
FELT CONFIDENT AND RELAXED!
“Mr. DeSalvo took my case even though I brought it to him long after the accident happened, and right before the case ...

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Guy Oppedisano
Car Versus Pedestrian Accident
Disabled/Chef
Chicago, Illinois
GOOD ATTITUDE AND MAKES YOU FEEL AT EASE!
“I hired Mr. DeSalvo because I trusted him to handle my case with professionalism. Before I knew about Mr. DeSalvo, ye...

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Erin Riley-Benson
Fall down/Premises Liability Case
Medical Malpractice Case
Waitress/Homeaker
Lagrange, Illinois
HE WAS THERE FOR US 24/7!
“I hired Mr. DeSalvo instead of another lawyer because of his honesty and willingness to help. I never felt like I was...

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Loren and Melissa Brooks
Medical Malpractice
Truck Driver
Joliet, Illinois
HELPED ME GET THE MONEY I DESERVED!
“Mr. DeSalvo is a very fair lawyer. He will tell you if you have a case and what he can do about helping you. When I h...

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Dorothy Hamilton
Car Accident
Security Guard
Chicago, IL
HE MADE ME FEEL CONFIDENT!
“A friend of mine referred me to Mr. DeSalvo, and when I spoke with him over the telephone, he seemed like he was very...

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Vanishia Jamison
Car Accident
Store Manager
Chicago, Illinois
GOT ME A FAIR SETTLEMENT EVEN THOUGH IT WAS A TOUGH CASE
“I was worried about getting paid for my time lost from work injury when I hired Mr. DeSalvo. He explains the legal sy...

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John Czaplewski
Car Accident/Medical Malpractice
Medical Office Supervisor
Naperville, Illinois
MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE A FRIEND
“I met Mr. DeSalvo when he was calling my medical office trying to get help for one of his clients. He was very since...

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Tina Lunau
Car Accident/Medical Malpractice
Medical Office Supervisor
Naperville, Illinois

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During this phase, insurance companies are also doing their own investigations, including an impressive amount of background checking to check on your criminal record, your insurance and health insurance and claims records, employment history, and a dizzying number of other things. After all, when you have all the money you will ever need, like insurance companies, they can afford to leave no stone unturned. During the negotiation process, insurers will often request information from you (if you do not have a lawyer) or your lawyer. Depending on what is being requested, it is up to your lawyer to decide whether what is being requested is reasonable.

This part of the case can take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years, depending on the case, how difficult it is to obtain needed records and information, and whether the insurance company is being cooperative.

2. Lawsuit: Service and Pleadings

If the personal injury case cannot be settled, then it either must be dropped or a lawsuit must be filed (in 3rd party cases). Once the lawsuit is filed, no progress can be made towards trial until each Defendant is served with a copy of the Compliant by the Sheriff or a Private Investigator. Once served, each Defendant must file an Appearance, and then, they can ask the Court to dismiss your case if they think there is a problem with it, or , they can Answer what is alleged in your Complaint.

This part of a case can take several months to more than a year in a complicated case.

3. Lawsuit: Discovery

Once everyone is in the case, then all party trade written questions called Interrogatories, as well as requests for documents, which must be answered by everyone and verified by the parties. Then depositions, or sworn statements taken under oath transcribed by a Court Reporter, are taken of parties, witnesses, doctors, etc.

This is a great simplification of the long, expensive, and drawn-out discovery process, which can take as short as 4 months to as along as several years in rare occasions. This part of a case can take the longest.

4. Lawsuit: Motion practice, Trial Setting

Once discovery is complete, if the Defendant thinks that there is a fatal flaw in your case, he can move for Summary Judgment, which allows the Court to dismiss your case if you do not have evidence to prove it. If no such Motions are brought, or if they are denied, then your case is set for trial, and your lawyer gets ready for trial-a very time consuming and stressful time. You doctor or doctors and your liability expert, if any, must either come to Court to testify live, or your personal injury lawyer can take the witnesses’ evidence deposition to be read to the jury (or watched by video tape) at trial.

This phase usually lasts only a few months, but in certain Courtrooms, the backlog of cases can delay a trial date for a year.

5. Lawsuit: Trial

A bench trial, no no jury and only a Judge deciding the case, can last a day, or several weeks. A jury trial usually lasts at least 2 days to several weeks in the case of very complicated personal injury cases. No matter what, you, as the client, must be present during the entire trial, must dress nicely, and must assist your attorney in combating the notion that you are greedy, were not really hurt, and are just looking for a quick buck. Jurors are pre-disposed to suspicion of injury cases these days, even in straightforward injury cases, so you must take the trial of your cases as seriously as your lawyer.

6. Post-Trial Motions/Appeal

After the trial, if either party thinks that mistakes were made which affected the outcome of the case, then they may file post-trial motions to set aside the trial, for a new trial, or to reverse the jury’s decision, or simply file an appeal with the Appellate Court.

Parties have only a very short amount after a trial to file such Motions or to file an Appeal, but if they do, Appeals have been known to last at least a year, and sometimes, much longer. Appeals are very, very rarely taken.

Of course, the above is meant simply as a broad introduction to how these cases move through the system. It is not complete and there are a lot of details that, for the sake of time and space, I cannot describe in minute detail.

I hope you find the information helpful. If I can answer any questions you have or if you wish to contact me about your case, you may contact me HERE.

Chicago Personal Injury attorney Scott D. DeSalvo has been in practice defending the rights of people who have been injured for many years. More information about Mr. DeSalvo and information about how to protect your rights can be found at www.desalvolaw.com.

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