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Illinois Personal Injury Class Action Cases - Legal Unicorns

Our office is routinely contacted by injured people asking for an attorney to represent them in a class action case for their personal injuries, or, asking if there is already a class action case going for the type of bodily injury they suffered. Thanks to the popular media, and abundant legal advertising by injury attorneys in Illinois and elsewhere, many people wrongfully believe that you can be part of a class action case for personal injuries suffered. Here in Illinois, there is no such thing.

Class action cases are brought on behalf of a group of people who were "injured" in some similar way, caused by the same facts, where the injuries are essentially the same for everyone. The "injury" is not to the body, but is usually financial. A good example is an environmental case where a company dumps a toxic chemical in a neighborhood and the property values of all the homes surrounding it are decreased. Our firm has handled many such environmental class action cases. However, cases where that same chemical dumping is involved, but the injuries are personal injuries (such as the development of cancers linked to the chemical) cannot be part of a class action. The reason: they are inherently personal injuries, not identical across the group; the "personal" in "personal injury."

Now, when something happens and many people suffer personal injuries as a result of some type of wrongdoing, such as through use of a defective medical device or drug, some injury attorneys will handle the cases together and try and get them consolidated into a group and put on the same track. But they are still each distinct cases and thus, not a "class" (which is generally more than 50 people) under the law. Do not be confused, in the eyes of the law a "class action" and "consolidated cases" are two very different things.

Whether you are part of a class, injured in a situation that must be brought as an individual case, or just wonder what your legal rights are, only a qualified attorney can properly advise you on the law. Do not rely on what you see in the media or in advertisements. If you are injured, or have questions on your legal rights, you should contact an experienced lawyer without delay. 

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The Collins Law Firm, P.C.
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Naperville, IL 60563

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