Civil Litigation & Appeals

Periodic disputes in business and government are nearly unavoidable. While many usually attempt to resolve these problems outside of the judicial process, sometimes it becomes necessary to litigate despite the best efforts of both parties. After more than 100 years representing individuals, businesses, municipalities and other organizations in the Springfield and Central Illinois area, our attorneys at Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C. understand the concerns you have regarding civil litigation. That is why we make it a priority to provide you with candid and realistic expectations regarding the costs and benefits of litigation in order that you can make fiscally responsible decisions throughout the process. While we are accomplished litigators, we understand that civil litigation is a means to an end for you, and we work closely with you to reach that end in the most cost-effective manner possible.

Our firm is recognized as a trusted legal resource in a number of different areas, including civil litigation and appeals. With our collective knowledge of diverse substantive legal issues, we are well equipped to handle substantial and complex litigation in state and federal trial courts, and we frequently appear before state and federal appellate courts, handling not only cases that originated within our firm, but working with clients whose cases were handled at the trial court level by other lawyers.

Appellate Practice

Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes has extensive experience handling appeals in both state and federal courts. Since the firm's founding in 1911, Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes has represented clients in hundreds of appeals before state and federal courts. Several of the firm's attorneys served as judicial law clerks for appellate judges prior to joining the firm, experience that has served us in handling numerous appeals before all five appellate courts in Illinois, as well as before the Illinois Supreme Court and the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago. In addition, our lawyers are admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and have responded to Petitions for Certiorari before the high court.

Commercial Litigation

Having shepherded numerous matters through the entire litigation process to include trial and appeals, our attorneys are suited to handle just about any type of civil claim and litigation, including complex trials. Our attorneys have represented clients in thousands of civil matters to resolution in the following areas, among many others:

  • corporate and commercial litigation
  • contract disputes and litigation
  • commercial litigation
  • administrative hearings
  • regulatory issues
  • construction litigation
  • insurance coverage litigation and disputes
  • insurance coverage and bad faith defense
  • motor vehicle and negligence defense
  • premises liability defense
  • products liability defense
  • personal injury defense, including defamation, false arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and assault and battery
  • governmental liability and civil rights defense
  • constitutional law
  • professional liability and malpractice defense
  • automobile accident claims and lawsuits
  • unfair trade practices
  • agriculture law

Knowledge of the territory where a case is pending and familiarity with the community from which potential jurors will be chosen is often a very important component to the successful defense or prosecution of a civil case. Our attorneys routinely handle civil litigation and trials throughout Central Illinois, as well as other parts of the state, and we are also very experienced and comfortable with representing clients in civil matters pending in the United States District Courts.

Our firm represents and advises clients who are or might become involved in a lawsuit or appeal as a result of a dispute, including prevention and settlement, in such areas as:

  • Breach of contract, enforcement of a contractual obligation
  • Unfair trade practices
  • Labor and employment law, employment discrimination, civil rights
  • Insurance disputes
  • Product liability
  • Shareholder disputes, shareholder derivative suits
  • Terminations and business dissolution
  • Commercial litigation
  • Appeals
  • Tax disputes
  • Personal injury
  • Construction disputes
  • Foreclosure and condemnation
  • Mechanics liens
  • Construction litigation
  • Railroad Accidents
  • Probate
  • Negligence
  • Automobile Accidents
  • Employee wage and benefits
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Social Security
  • Workers Compensation
  • Wrongful Discharge
  • Collections
  • Wrongful death
  • Unfair denial of Insurance claims

For each client, we strive to find a resolution best suited to that client. The experienced trial lawyers of our firm can readily take a case to court if it is in the client’s best interest. However, we often find that alternative dispute resolution procedures are more cost-effective, and have assisted many clients through the arbitration and mediation processes.

While our litigation practice focuses on organizational clients, our attorneys also represent individuals who have experienced catastrophic personal injury and aggrieved beneficiaries in probate litigation. Ancillary to our comprehensive estate planning practice, our lawyers defend executors and trustees embroiled in litigation with aggrieved beneficiaries, creditors or other parties.

Because we tailor our civil litigation practice to serving the needs of businesses and public entities in Springfield and Central Illinois, our attorneys emphasize pragmatism and efficiency. We understand that you have very specific parameters and we coordinate with you or your in-house legal departments to help ensure our overall strategy is in accord with your goals, priorities, and available resources. Nevertheless, we are prepared to take cases to trial — and appeal — when appropriate. And our reputation as outstanding courtroom advocates has helped facilitate settlements on more than one occasion.

General Civil Litigation

General civil litigation as the name implies, applies to a broad range of laws and the associated litigation of civil law. Civil law is designed to settle disputes between individuals, organizations, associations, business entities, etc. General civil litigation defines the legal status of each party without criminal action and usually includes some sort of compensation for the plaintiff. The plaintiff is the person that files a pleading or files a complaint against the defendant. A dispute or complaint is normally settled by a lawsuit in which the plaintiff seeks reimbursement for damages, reparations for a breach of contract, compensation for injuries, business disputes, or a host of other issues involving reward, punitive damages, or contract violations to be decided by civil court proceedings.

General civil litigation can be filed against individuals, groups, associations, business entities, organizations, companies, or government agencies. General civil litigation matters can involve economic restitution, compensation for an injured party, deterrence from future actions, or retribution for a wrong or wrongdoing.

When legal disputes disrupt your business or personal life, having committed, knowledgeable attorneys to zealously advocate on your behalf brings comfort and peace of mind. Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C. represents clients in all types of general civil litigation in state and federal courts, including:

  • Business litigation
  • Breach of contract
  • Property damage
  • Personal injury claims
  • Insurance claims
  • Construction litigation
  • Consumer litigation
  • Products liability
  • Product defects
  • Torts
Insurance Defense

Litigating insurance disputes requires knowledge of contract provisions and investigation of the facts that establish coverage and liability. The litigators at Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes work with numerous nationally-recognized insurance companies, litigating cases involving coverage disputes, personal injury, and malpractice claims. Most recently, our firm was selected by several national insurance associations to prepare and draft an Amicus (friend of the Court) brief for the Illinois Supreme Court.

We provide a full range of insurance coverage policy and claims analysis and defense, including automobile liability, general liability, commercial general liability, homeowner’s, health, property, excess and umbrella, professional liability and other insurance policies and claims. Our attorneys are often called upon to render policy coverage opinions, prepare reservation of rights letters, conduct examinations under oath, and conducts claims investigations for several leading insurance carriers. We also defend insurance carriers in declaratory judgment actions, breach of contact actions, bad faith actions, and other insurance coverage litigation and disputes.

Insurance defense is a unique area of practice in many ways. Effective tort litigation requires an attorney with intimate knowledge of personal injury laws and principles in addition to state and federal civil procedure and discovery devices. Moreover, because of the volume of claims insurers in Springfield, Illinois must defend, insurance defense requires a strategic approach that takes into account the potential outcomes and the resources that you are willing to utilize. At Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C., our robust insurance defense practice is founded on a 100-year record of success and sensitivity to the needs of those we represent. As a result, major insurers throughout the region routinely look to our experienced attorneys to manage litigation on their behalf.

Auto Accident Defense

Our attorneys are fully apprised of the latest developments in Illinois insurance and traffic laws. We help auto insurers evaluate claims, work with plaintiff’s lawyers and resolve claims in a favorable and cost-effective manner, whether through settlement or trial.

Construction Negligence Defense

Even years after a project is completed, contractors and subcontractors can potentially face liability claims from a variety of sources. Our attorneys work with engineers, construction professionals, safety specialists and other qualified experts to create a strong defense and facilitate a favorable settlement of these types of claims.

Medical Malpractice Defense

Medical malpractice claims frequently involve substantial amounts of money and complex issues of fact and law. For these reasons, medical malpractice insurers need access to reliable attorneys who know how to work with doctors and other medical professionals to build a strong defense.

Premises Liability Defense

Even the most careful property owners and operators receive frequent reports of injuries occurring on their premises. And property insurers must carefully evaluate these claims to distinguish between which are reasonable, which are overreaching and which are completely unfounded. Our premises liability lawyers in Springfield, Illinois conduct thorough investigations and work with respected Springfield, Illinois engineers and construction experts to help property insurers favorably resolve such claims. As experienced litigators, we are not afraid to take a case to trial whenever it is in your best interest to do so. But we also recognize that litigation costs are always a factor in insurance defense work and utilize various forms of alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation, to resolve cases in a favorable and cost-effective manner. Insurance defense attorneys and insurance professionals know that premises liability claims are by no means simple. Even straightforward slip and fall claims can involve complex engineering, construction and safety issues. And assessing the damages in any case requires a close examination of relevant medical records and a consultation with medical, economic and vocational experts. Needless to say, keeping litigation costs reasonable, while still constructing a sound and effective defense, takes skill, experience and creativity. An effective insurance defense lawyer must be able to offer realistic assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of each case and an analysis of the likely outcomes they engender, allowing adjusters and other insurance professionals to make informed decisions regarding how to proceed.

Products Liability Defense

Illinois products liability law places a heavy burden upon manufacturers and their insurers. And because of mass production, one case frequently turns into many over time. Our attorneys help those who insure manufacturers take a strategic approach to claims litigation that ensures cost-effective resolution without creating a problem with future claims.

Our civil litigation defense attorneys have earned a reputation for their ability to cater to the unique needs of insurance companies in Illinois. Contact Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C. by calling our office at 217.525.1571 to schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer.

Personal Injury

The ways in which a serious injury can change your life can be difficult to overstate. From being unable to work and earn a living to taking care of your children or even yourself, a serious injury can leave you in need of serious medical care and dependent on others for many things that we take for granted. Serious personal injuries and accidents can result in several months of lost wages and perhaps some lingering pain and functional limitations, but catastrophic injuries can mean a lifetime of lost wages, medical bills and severely reduced quality of life. Aggressively pursuing fair compensation for these types of cases requires a Springfield, Illinois personal injury lawyer with the practical experience and legal knowledge to get results. At Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C., our personal injury attorneys are backed by the resources and reputation that come with our more than 100 years of history in central Illinois. When auto accidents, defective products or medical malpractice results in catastrophic injuries or death, our attorneys fight for the victims and their families.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due in part to the fault of another, or if a family member has died due to an accident, defective product or medical malpractice, our attorneys can help make sure that the responsible parties pay fair compensation to you and your family. Our consummate and highly qualified professionals represent victims and their families across the state of Illinois who have suffered a catastrophic injury by bringing our firm’s substantial resources and reputation to bear in a variety of injury cases:

Car Accidents

The road can be a dangerous place and hardly a day goes by when a serious car accident does not occur somewhere in or around Springfield. While there are many car accident attorneys in the area, victims of catastrophic injuries and their families must be careful whom they choose. If you or a loved one has been permanently disabled or a family member has been killed in a car wreck, the compensation you receive may ultimately represent the sole source of support for you and your family for years to come. At Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C., our car accident attorneys understand the scope and impact of catastrophic injuries. We help you fully account for your losses and then aggressively pursue appropriate compensation. Car accidents are capable of producing lifelong disabilities and years of pain and debilitation. A car accident lawyer from our firm can help you and your family fight for fair compensation.

Motorcycle Accidents

Most bikers are aware that they face additional danger and exposure when they get behind the handlebars. Unfortunately, the full extent of the lifetime repercussions of a serious motorcycle accident can be difficult to understand. But the serious injuries that can come as a result of a motorcycle accident are very real and can lead to partial or total disability, substantial medical expenses and diminished quality of life. At Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C., we are up to the challenge of zealously representing the victims of these serious injuries and their families. Unfortunately, many motorists do not know how to properly interact with motorcycles on the road. Moreover, the small size of these vehicles makes them more likely to slip into blind spots or to simply not be noticed by other drivers. These factors mean that motorcyclists face an elevated risk of being involved in an accident. Our Springfield, Illinois lawyers know what to look for in order to establish fault in a motorcycle wreck and aggressively pursue all reasonable avenues of recovery on your behalf. Our motorcycle accident lawyers draw on our firm’s substantial resources to offer expert testimony that helps establish the full depth and scope of your losses. Because of their exposure on the road, bikers frequently fall victim to irreversible head, neck and back injuries. If you or a loved one has been permanently injured in a motorcycle accident, one of our experienced attorneys may be able to assist you.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional in Illinois delivers treatment in a manner that no similarly situated medical professional could justify. This is a high burden to meet — much higher than in typical personal injury cases. In meeting this burden, medical malpractice attorneys must rely upon the reliable opinions of other medical practitioners in similar fields regarding the propriety of the defendant’s actions. As such, a medical malpractice attorney’s ability to win a case frequently boils down to his or her ability to attract highly qualified and respected medical experts to testify on behalf of the injured client. At Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C., our 100-year history, exemplary reputation and substantial resources allow us to do just that for you. Medical errors are capable of causing death or permanent injury and can be challenging to litigate. But you and your family can trust a medical malpractice attorney from Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C. to aggressively pursue your case and hold the doctor or hospital accountable.

Products Liability

As in many other jurisdictions, Illinois products liability law imposes what is essentially strict liability for any product that left the manufacturer’s hands with a dangerous defect. The manufacturer is liable for any injuries caused by that harmful condition and could be liable for additional punitive damages under some circumstances. Such actionable defects can be related to the design of the product, materials or manufacturing flaws or in marketing and labeling that fails to address foreseeable dangers inherent in the product. Products liability lawyers frequently rely upon qualified experts, such as engineers and chemists, to identify these defects. - Defective products, including safety equipment, vehicles and pharmaceuticals, can cause serious injuries, suffering or death to those who use them. Our attorneys can help you and your family get compensation for these tragedies through effective products liability litigation.

Premises Liability

Our attorneys protect the interests of clients who are injured due to the negligence of property owners — including slip-and-fall accidents, negligent security cases and dog bite injuries.

If you or a loved one has fallen victim to catastrophic injury as a result of negligence, we appreciate the financial and emotional stress you and your family are experiencing. In the aftermath of a serious injury, you should be focusing on recovery, not on the financial burdens on your family. We understand your concerns and we are here to help you find solutions. Contact Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C. by calling our office at 217.525.1571 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your personal injury case.

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1 West Old State Capital Plaza | Suite 600 Myers Building | Springfield, IL 62701