How to File a Personal Injury Claim in Illinois

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Have you been injured or had property damaged due to someone else’s negligence? To get compensation for your injuries or property, you may want to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

The process for filing a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Illinois is similar to other types of lawsuits. Unfortunately, even if you follow all the steps to file a claim, a personal injury case can quickly become complicated.

It’s in your best interest to talk to an experienced local personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident so you can make sure that your case is filed correctly and within the statute of limitations—and that you have the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve.

Personal Injury Cases: Lawsuits vs. Settlements


The first thing to keep in mind is that most personal injury cases do not result in a lawsuit. Instead, the most likely outcome is an out-of-court settlement.

A settlement is an agreement to resolve the claim between the involved parties. The injured party (you), the defendant, the defendant’s insurance company, and attorneys for both parties will come together and try to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution—in other words, “settle” the case before taking it to court.

If an agreement cannot be reached, then the next step is for the injured party to file a personal injury lawsuit.

7 Steps to File an Illinois Personal Injury Lawsuit

Every personal injury case is unique, and the steps you take to file a lawsuit may vary based on the accident, the severity of the injury, the complexity of the case, and the defendant. However, you can use these steps as a guideline for the general process of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Illinois.

1. Seek Medical Care

Your health is the priority. If you were involved in an accident, seek medical care immediately. Depending on the severity of your injuries, this process may involve visiting the emergency room (ER) or making an appointment with your primary care physician (PCP).

Some injuries do not appear right away; instead, symptoms can show up days, weeks, or even months after the incident. An early medical examination and prompt treatment can identify injuries and help prevent worse injuries later.

2. Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Once you have received medical care and are ready to start the process of securing compensation for your injuries, it’s time to talk to a lawyer.

Experienced personal injury attorneys have extensive knowledge of complex personal injury law in the state of Illinois. They can advise you on whether your case is worth pursuing, handle the legal process for you, and increase your chances of success.

Many personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. Look for a trustworthy personal injury lawyer in your area and schedule a consultation as soon as possible. (Remember, personal injury cases have a statute of limitations in Illinois; don’t delay on getting the lawsuit process started.)

3. Gather Evidence & Prepare Documentation

To support your personal injury case, gather as much evidence as you can, from photographs and video surveillance footage to medical records and pain journals. Prepare documentation like medical bills and eyewitness statements as well.

Determining what evidence to collect and conducting an investigation into the incident can quickly get difficult—not to mention costly. A skilled personal injury attorney can take care of this documentation and evidence for you.

4. Build a Case & Establish Negligence

Your personal injury attorney will then begin building your case. With the evidence in hand, they will interview expert witnesses, establish negligence (duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages), calculate the amount of compensation you deserve, and build a case.

5. Send a Demand Letter

After your lawyer has established negligence and built your case, they will likely send a demand letter to the at-fault party. This letter will detail your personal injury claim, describe how the negligent actions (or inactions) of the at-fault party caused your injuries, illustrate the severity of your injuries, and demand a certain amount of compensation for your injuries.

When the letter is delivered, you and your personal injury attorney will wait for a response from the other party, their insurance company, and/or their legal representative.

6. Begin Settlement Negotiations

Most of the time, the defendant’s insurance carrier and attorney will try to negotiate a settlement that is agreeable to both parties before a lawsuit is even filed. Your personal injury lawyer will handle the settlement negotiation process for you.

Usually, both parties will come to an agreement and settle the case. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf.

7. File a Lawsuit

If the defendant’s insurance carrier or attorney refuses to offer a fair settlement or denies the incident, your legal team will begin the litigation process by filing a lawsuit.

Depending on the specifics of your case, your personal injury lawsuit may need to be filed at the circuit court in either the county where the incident took place or the county where the at-fault party lives or conducts business. An experienced personal injury attorney will ensure your lawsuit is filled correctly and on time.

Do You Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case?


You can file a personal injury lawsuit yourself and may even be able to handle a small injury-related claim on your own. But if your goal is to achieve an advantageous result and recover fair compensation for your injuries, it’s important to seek counsel from a trustworthy personal injury attorney.

An attorney with a background in personal injury law has the expertise necessary to evaluate your case, determine the best strategy for you and your case, handle settlement negotiations, file a lawsuit (if necessary), and increase your chance of success.

Instead of rushing straight to the courthouse, find a local personal injury lawyer and explore your options.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Vasilatos Injury Law. We have represented hundreds of personal injury clients and obtained millions of dollars in awards for our clients in Chicago and across Illinois.

Our personal injury attorneys have experience in all aspects of personal injury law, and we are dedicated to helping our clients get the best possible compensation. Regardless of the nature of your case, you can rely on us to guide you toward a favorable outcome for you and your family.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.



Vasilatos Injury Law maintains this website exclusively for informational purposes only. This web site is not intended to create and does not create an attorney-client relationship between any visitor to the web site and Vasilatos Injury Law. Communication with Vasilatos Injury Law through this web site does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship with Vasilatos Injury Law. An attorney-client relationship with Vasilatos Injury Law can be formed only pursuant to a mutual agreement memorialized in writing.

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