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$2.4 Million Slip and Fall
$1 Million Tree Failure
$650,000 Premises Liability
$250,000 Car Accident
$287,500 Medical Malpractice

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

Your life will be complicated enough after a serious injury to you, a friend, or a family member when you are faced with how to choose a personal injury lawyer. Your daily routine now will be turned upside down just thinking about how to deal with increasing medical bills, losing time from work, possibly preparing for a funeral and the funeral cost, enduring pain and suffering from the result of your injuries or watching a loved one experience severe and debilitating injuries.

And now you you have the increased burden of selecting a lawyer. When picking a personal injury lawyer you may be bombarded by friends recommending their lawyer or their friend's lawyer, watching TV commercials claiming the lawyer or law firm will get you millions of dollars or searching an abundance of lawyer websites. How can you choose the right lawyer one that you have confidence in?

You should choose a lawyer with experience! Experience Matters! Please take the time to read a brief synopsis of my website and a small diverse sample of the cases I have handled throughout my over 30 years of in courtroom experience in my "AREAS OF PRACTICE".

Car Accident

I have handled hundreds of car accident cases and no two car accident cases are alike and no two car accidents are viewed the same by an insurance company. Insurance companies look at various factors when evaluating a case for settlement. The insurance company looks at such things as how soon the injured party received medical attention, what the medical history is of the injured party (preexisting conditions), the severity of the impact, the property damage and whether the injuries the injured party suffered were a direct cause of the car accident and not another incident or preexisting condition. In soft tissue (whiplash) cases, often the insurance company argues the injuries could have resolved itself without medical intervention within 4 to 6 weeks. Often times, the treating doctor will be deposed by deposition to determine whether the injuries were a direct result of the car accident. The treating physician will be asked if the injuries are permanent and will require future medical treatment. There will often be statements of the parties contained in the police report that took place at the scene of the accident so always be aware of your description of the accident and your description of whether or not you were injured at the scene because the police officer will often be called for deposition to testify to what you said at the scene of the accident.

Slip and Fall

In slip and fall cases you must prove what is called "notice" which is actual notice when something like a store employee put a substance on a floor which caused a person to slip and fall. Notice can be "actual" or "constructive". There is an abundance of case law on what constitutes sufficient notice to prevail in a slip and fall. case. Your Chicago personal injury attorney must be familiar with that law and keep up to date with it. I know, as an attorney, I must keep up with caselaw on slip and fall cases because the law in this area is constantly changing. In Illinois, even if you can recover in a slip and fall case on the facts, you must take into consideration that any verdict of settlement may be decreased if you are found to be contributorily at fault for your injuries. For example, the other side will claim, "you should have been looking where you were going!".

Medical Malpractice

Almost every medical malpractice case requires medical expert testimony. Medical malpractice cases are very costly ranging often times from at least one hundred thousand dollars in lawyer expenses because numerous doctors are called to give expert opinions as to what the standard of care is and why or why not that medical provider or hospital deviated from the standard of acceptable medical care. In medical malpractice cases the medical records must be examined with intense scrutiny and often times the records will also have to be reviewed by a non lawyer in the medical field. It is important as an attorney to make sure that you have every single medical record notation including nurses notes, scans, history form, diagrams, etc. in your possession at the start of the case so you have a clear understanding of your client's medical history and are able to put the pieces together of this puzzle to figure out how the medical mistake occurred and who was responsible for making that medical mistake. I have handled numerous medical malpractice cases and sometimes the case may come down to a battle of the medical experts and which medical expert is most credible.

Tree Failure Cases

Handling tree failure cases is something that requires a personal injury attorney such as myself with substantial knowledge about trees and the different tree species' susceptibilities to weather and other climate factors. I learned and studied an abundance of material with regard to trees and tree vulnerabilities. I took and produced for deposition expert arborists in a tree failure case when a tree came down that was situated adjacent to a bike trail at the beginning of a storm killing a bike rider who was a wife, actress and mother. Although your expert arborist will know all there is to know about the tree in question, it is important that the lawyer educate themselves so they know all there is to know about the type of tree that is the subject of the injury. Such was the case when I settled a tree failure case in 2020 this year for one million dollars after approximately thirty depositions. Despite all the protections the Forest Preserve District of Cook County enjoys because it is a Governmental Unit that is protected by the Tort Immunity Act the case was successfully settled.

Truck Accidents

Truck drivers consistently cause accidents because their vehicles make wide turns, they exceed the speed limits and travel in excess of speed limits during bad weather conditions. Truck driver's are supposed to deliver their loads at a specific time which puts pressure on them to exceed speed limits and travel in bad weather. Truck driver's follow too closely, have slow stopping speeds, switch lanes constantly and may even have unsecured loads. Truck driver's also may have more blind spots then passenger vehicles. Fatigue may also enter into a truck driver's alertness while driving. Because of time constraints, they drive long hours and become fatigued. In many truck accident cases, an accident reconstruction expert is needed to recreate what happened at the scene using evidence including the police report and witness accounts from the accident site as well as remaining debris at the scene. I have handled many truck accident cases and I am familiar with truck driver protocols.

Premises Liability

The law may be different with regard to where the specific incident took place. In some cases, you may need to show that the landowner was aware of other incidences that took place similar to the incident that gave rise to your injury. In cases occurring in parking lots, a personal injury lawyer may be required to show that the crack or deviation is a substantial deviation such as showing the deviation or crack is more than two inches. In certain cases, you may need to show that the landowner was aware of the defect or that the defect existed for such a long period of time that the owner should have known of the defect. Although the evidence may not show the exact time length of how long the defect existed, you may be able to show with or without expert testimony that the crack or defect by its appearance existed for a long period of time.

Dog Bite

When a dog bite occurs, it is important to evaluate the injury with a plastic surgeon to determine whether or not a victim's injury or laceration will remain at the location of the dog bite. Every dog bite case I have handled required the injured party to be evaluated by a plastic surgeon. Usually the surgeon will look at the location of the initial bite and follow up with an evaluation at six months and then one year later to determine the permanency and size of the scar. With regard to children, the child will get bigger over time and the scar will expand and possibly diminish with the expansion of the skin. However, if the dog bite is deep enough, the scar will most likely remain even after the child gets older. Almost all dog bite cases are initially disputed. The dog owner blames the victim's actions as the cause of the dog to bite claiming the victim provoked the dog. Provocation is a defense to a dog bite case and in some jurisdictions you as the Chicago personal injury lawyer have to prove that the dog owner was knowledgeable about their dog's dangerous propensities.

Motorcycle Accidents

In my over thirty years of being a personal injury lawyer, I have learned that most people believe that motorcyclists weave in and out of lanes, drive in excess of the speed limit, fail to wear helmets and cut off vehicles when changing lanes. Often times, when a motorcyclist is injured, the injuries are serious or deadly because the motorcyclist does not have surrounding metal like a vehicle to protect them from an impact but only their clothing and helmet. Motorcyclist cases are usually not settled early on in the case and depositions are required. It is very important to hire a personal injury lawyer with experience representing motorcyclists like myself to combat these prejudices. If the motorcyclist is going the speed limit, staying within his or her lane of travel and abiding by the rules of the road, a lawyer can overcome these prejudices.

It is important to hire a personal injury lawyer who actually appears in Court and argues Motions, reports on case status to Judges and goes to trial on cases, not just a lawyer who advertises.

I have devoted my over 30 years of practice in the Chicago area as a personal injury lawyer. I am one of a handful of female lawyers who practice within the personal injury field with over thirty years of personal injury experience. As a female lawyer, I aggressively represent my client's interests and obtain the most significant compensation for their injuries. For over thirty years, I have appeared in Court, argued Motions before Judges, taken thousands of depositions, advocated in hundreds of Arbitrations and trials. My personal injury practice is primarily in the Chicagoland area and outlying Suburbs.

I will handle your case from start to finish. I will take part in the investigation at the start of the case and continue throughout your case appearing in court, filing Motions, taking depositions and taking your case to trial. As a personal injury lawyer my goal is to get you the maximum amount of recovery that you deserve with the personal attention you deserve. My opposing attorneys would describe me as a smart, no nonsense, aggressive lawyer and a female lawyer that is not afraid of any male defense attorney!

I have the experience that matters! It would be my pleasure to handle your case and I will devote the personal attention you deserve to get your questions answered and get the justice you deserve for your injury! Please call for a free consultation and I look forward to advocating on your behalf!

Meet Debra I. Crystal
Debra I. Crystal

Ever since I was a young girl, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. At the young age of around seven years old, while watching the TV lawyer show "Perry Mason", I knew I could be a lawyer, just as he was. I thought it would be the best job in the world!

It would be a long wait before I could even enroll in law school. Fast forward to graduating College from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, I enrolled in Law School in 1983. I would be the first lawyer in my family. After graduating law school in 1986, my first job as an attorney was working for a fast paced law firm. All my cases involved personal injury. My days were usually spent in Court in the mornings and my afternoons were filled taking depositions and advocating at arbitrations. I was the lead attorney on hundreds of trials and arbitrations. I stayed at that job for twenty-one years.

In The News
Client Reviews
Debra Crystal handled and accident case for me several years ago and she was right on top of every aspect - organized and responsive throughout. The settlement was timely and the amount was above my expectations. She has handled other cases for my family with excellent results as well. M.W.
Debra has been my attorney for many years and has handled my personal injury cases throughout the years. I have referred my friends and family to her. We have always been 100% happy with her representation. She is an exceptional attorney. R.S.
Debra is tough and unafraid. She cross examined the police officer in my case who testified against me. I won! The Judge believed me over the police officer because of her tough cross examination. Great attorney! Would recommend! R.K.
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