In the state of Illinois, injured victims have up to two years to file a claim for compensation after a personal injury. Two years may seem like ample time, but the clock starts ticking as soon as the accident happens. So what happens if you don’t even discover the injury until two years have passed? Latent injuries can show up weeks, months, and even years after the initial incident. Suddenly you’re out of work and facing a mountain of medical debt for an injury caused by someone else’s negligence. You may have a million questions about your injury, and the personal injury attorneys at the Curcio Law Offices are ready to answer them all.
At Curcio Law Offices, our personal injury lawyers can protect your legal rights and fight for the maximum compensation in your case. Call us today at (312) 321-1111 to schedule a free consultation to go over the details of your case.
What is a Latent Injury?
Some injuries are not discovered until well after the accident. Sometimes the shock and adrenaline from the accident can mask the symptoms of the injury. In other cases, you may not show symptoms until days or even weeks after the incident. These are known as delayed or latent injuries.
What Are Examples of Latent Injuries?
Unlike broken bones and lacerations, latent injuries are not immediately visible at the time of the accident. Sometimes the injuries start as minor internal damage and progressively get worse. Some injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, may not show symptoms until some time after the incident. A traumatic brain injury is a catastrophic injury that can result in lifelong damage. Some other common latent injuries include:
- Internal organ damage
- Torn ligaments
- Hairline fractures/stress fractures
- Latent diseases after prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals
What Can Cause Latent Injuries?
Any number of accidents can cause latent injuries. It can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of an injury if the symptoms don’t appear immediately. This is why it’s important to get a medical exam after any major accident, even if you feel fine. Having medical records and documentation can be a major piece of evidence in court. Below, we’ve outlined how various types of accidents can cause latent injuries.
In Illinois, injured workers have only 45 days to notify their employer of an injury or illness in order to receive workers’ compensation. After this period, the worker is barred from receiving workers’ compensation benefits for the injury. Unfortunately, diseases and injuries caused by working around toxic chemicals don’t always appear within this time frame. Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer caused by prolonged asbestos exposure. In many cases, workers are exposed to toxic chemicals for years before showing symptoms. Even after the symptoms start, it can take some time to figure out the true cause of the injury.
Medical professionals have to follow a standard of care with their patients. Distraction, inexperience, and inattention can all cause severe medical injuries. In some cases, the injuries aren’t discovered until years after treatment.
Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home residents are often vulnerable victims with no one advocating for them. Nursing home staff members are often overworked and understaffed. This means they often don’t have the resources available to help every resident. When residents have memory problems like dementia or Alzheimer’s, the abuse can be written off as a wild imagination or a dream. Older people also tend to be frailer than younger adults, so their injuries may be attributed to general weakness or normal bumps and bruises.
A car accident can cause major damage, and sometimes the damage isn’t immediate. Brain injuries and spinal cord injuries can show up weeks after the accident and get progressively worse with time. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the injury, especially if you walked away from the accident with nothing more than a few scrapes and bruises. Pedestrian accidents can cause a significant amount of damage as well. Internal damage and torn ligaments can often be overlooked after an accident and cause a significant amount of pain later.
Under Illinois’ premises liability law, property owners have a responsibility to keep their property safe for customers and invited guests. When it comes to serving customers, property owners have to be aware of any problems on their property that could lead to injury. When harmful conditions would not be discovered by a reasonable inspection, this is often known as a latent defect. Proving a homeowner’s responsibility for a latent defect can be a difficult task, but you can trust the attorneys at the Curcio Law Offices to handle it.
The amazing thing about the free market is that consumers can buy almost anything from anyone who sells it. Unfortunately, not every merchant is truthful about their product. Product liability claims can be made if you were injured by a product you purchased. This can include medications and surgical implants. You may have heard the phrase “buyer beware” and think you’re out of luck. Fortunately, this is not the case. Buyer beware is more about obvious defects in the product or property. Defective designs and product malfunctions can lead to severe injuries, and you are entitled to compensation.
How Can a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?
Finding out that an accident in the past may have caused a delayed injury can be a difficult case to prove. Many defendants may try to claim that you were fine after the incident and have not complained of any injury, so therefore you must be making it up to receive compensation. At Curcio Law Offices, we know the intense pain and distress that can come with realizing you have a latent injury. Working with experienced personal injury lawyers can protect your rights and ensure that your claim receives the best possible outcome. The skilled attorneys at our law firm can help you with the intricacies of filing personal injury claims and fighting for the maximum amount of compensation in your case.
Filing Personal Injury Claims
Filing personal injury claims can be an overwhelming process, especially while recovering from an injury. Working with the experienced attorneys at Curcio Law Offices means that you can rest and recover while we fight for you. In most personal injury cases, the injured party has to prove that the responsible party was negligent in some way. To win a negligence claim, you and your legal team have to prove four legal elements. You must establish that there was a duty of care and a breach of that duty. You must also prove that the breach caused an injury, and the injury resulted in financial losses. Having an experienced team by your side means that you can focus on healing while we focus on getting positive results in your case.
Compensation for Latent Injuries
At Curcio Law Offices, we understand that financial damage from a latent injury is more than simply medical bills. This is why we fight for fair compensation in your case. Our personal injury attorneys fight to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost income
- Loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses, if the injury results in wrongful death
- And more
How Long Do I Have to Claim Compensation For Delayed Injuries?
In most personal injury cases, victims have a time limit to bring forth any compensation claims. In the state of Illinois, this time limit is two years from the date of injury. This means that you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for compensation. If this deadline is exceeded, you are barred from recovering compensation for your injuries.
Exceptions to this rule exist, especially when it comes to medical malpractice or child injuries.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
The two most common exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations for personal injuries are when these injuries involve children or are caused by medical malpractice. If a child suffers a latent injury, they have a legal disability until they are 18 years old. Children under 18 cannot file a personal injury lawsuit, but parents can file one on their behalf. The statute of limitations begins the day the child turns 18 and is not measured from when the accident occurred.
Medical malpractice claims also have a two-year statute of limitations, but the time limit doesn’t begin until the victim finds out about the injury. This means that if the injury is a latent injury that you don’t become aware of until 3 years after the date of the incident, you have two additional years to file a compensation claim.
However, if a child sustained injuries due to medical malpractice, a claim must be filed within eight years of the incident that caused the injury or before the victim’s 22nd birthday, whichever comes first. Even if you believe that time has run out in your case, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Curcio Law Offices. We can provide a free consultation to go over the details of your case and determine the best course of action for your case.
Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at Curcio Law Offices Today
If you or a loved one has suffered latent injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you have legal options available. After a severe injury, your top priority should be on healing from your wounds. A personal injury attorney from our firm can take care of all the details in your case. With experience in both settlement negotiations and litigation, our attorneys have the knowledge and resources to handle your latent injury claim with ease.
At the Curcio Law Offices, you can rest easy knowing that the best personal injury lawyers are handling your case with the dedication and care it deserves. To learn more about our legal representation services, contact us at our Chicago, Illinois office today by calling (312) 321-1111.