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IL DUI lawyerAll car accidents are devastating, but car accidents that involve alcohol are especially tragic. Drunk driving accidents are almost entirely preventable and can be some of the deadliest accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were about 10,874 deaths from alcohol-related car accidents in 2017. Those nearly 11,000 deaths equated to around 29 percent of all car accident fatalities in 2017.

The question of liability in these crashes is an ambiguous one. If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit because of injuries sustained in an alcohol-related car accident, you have a couple of options when it comes to pinning the fault on an entity. Many people immediately think that the driver is the entity at fault, but what they might not know is that you can also hold the establishment that provided the alcohol at fault too.

What Is the Dram Shop Act?

The Illinois Dram Shop Act (formally known as the Liquor Control Act of 1934) allows certain establishments and bars to be held liable for injuries that are caused by an intoxicated person that they have sold alcohol to. The Act allows third parties who have suffered damages and injuries as a result of actions of an intoxicated person to place liability for the accident on the establishment that provided the intoxicated person with alcohol.

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IL injury lawyerIn every state, there are laws in place that state you must stop and stay at the scene of any car accident that you are involved in. Unfortunately, not everyone makes sure all is well after an accident. In the event that you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you will probably be feeling frustrated, angry and lost. Hit-and-run accidents must be handled differently than normal car accidents, mostly because the other party is not always known. Even though it will be more difficult to pursue compensation for damages and injuries, it is not impossible. Fortunately, there are things you can do to mitigate the negative consequences of a hit-and-run accident.

Gather as Much Information as Possible

Information is key to having a successful hit-and-run claim. Having as much information as possible will increase the chance that the police will catch the driver who fled the scene and it will also help your insurance company make a decision about your claim. If it is possible, you should get information such as:

  • The make, model and color of the vehicle that hit you;
  • The license plate number of the other driver;
  • A description of damage to the other vehicle; and
  • What direction the other vehicle left in.

Look for Any Possible Witnesses

Witnesses can help you file a report with the police and they can also give you information about the other driver that you might not have known. If you are able to find witnesses to the accident, make sure you write down information such as their name and contact information. They may be able to add some depth to your case.

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IL injury lawyerAlmost every state in the country requires drivers to have some sort of car insurance. It is illegal for you to drive without insurance or to have financial responsibility for any damages that may occur while you are driving. Though the laws on the amount of insurance and the type of coverage that you are required to have vary from state to state, many states require that you at least have bodily injury and property damage coverage. Though it is illegal to drive without insurance, many people do--according to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2015, an estimated 13 percent of drivers were uninsured. In Illinois, the number was estimated to be slightly over the national percentage at 13.7 percent. It is important to understand what type of insurance you are required to have in the state of Illinois and what it means if you are in an accident that involves an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

Illinois Insurance Laws

Illinois has established a statewide law on the amount and type of insurance coverage that all drivers must have. According to the Illinois Secretary of State, the minimum requirements for car insurance are:

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IL car accident lawyerDistracted driving has become a problem in recent years, with the number of crashes involving distracted drivers steadily increasing year after year, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 3,477 people were killed in car crashes involving a distracted driver and another 391,000 injured in 2015.

What Is Distracted Driving?

When people talk about distracted driving, oftentimes the conversation revolves around texting and driving, but that’s not the only distraction that could take your mind off the road. The NHTSA has identified three main types of distractions:

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Illinois injury lawyerDriving in the Chicago area at rush hour is anxiety-inducing enough when major throughways such as 90/94, 290, 55, and Lake Shore Drive are facilitating traffic with optimal results. When additional variables are present, such as unexpected temporary lane closures or reductions, the stress, and danger increase. This is especially the case when driving alongside a semi-truck, flatbed carrying wide contents, or an industrial grade vehicle utilized for purposes such as construction, waste management, or agriculture.

The larger, longer, and wider the vehicle, the greater the chance it has of a crossing a lane boundary, especially when weather conditions or city construction has reduced lane sizes. When a boundary is crossed, a collision may occur. Similarly, a chain reaction may occur when one driver panics at the sight of a veering large vehicle, thereby introducing chaos and disarray into traffic and causing an auto accident. When one of these scenarios plays out and personal injuries are suffered, the law allows for victims to pursue monetary damages for medical bills and other losses.

Injuries Sustained in an Accident Involving a Large Vehicle May Be Severe

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Illinois injury lawyerIn the Chicago area, the battle between the end of winter and the start of spring in the months of March and April can wreak havoc on Illinois roads, sidewalks, and points of ingress and egress at local businesses. Rain turns to snow, snow turns to rain, and sometimes precipitation however between its solid and liquid states, coating surfaces with a dangerous layer of icy slush. The city is usually dogged in its efforts to plow snow to the sides of roads and dissolve ice with salt. The same is true of most local business owners, whom, like the city government, literally have a duty to safeguard persons visiting, entering, exiting, or crossing a business’s premises.

As such, if a retailer, bar, restaurant, or other business fails to protect customers (and even mere visitors or passersby) by diligently keeping ice at bay and posting warning signs about slick surfaces, and a slip-and-fall in which personal injuries are sustained results, the business may be held liable for the injuries and other losses.

Inadequate Surface Maintenance and Signage Is Indicative of Negligence

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Illinois injury lawyerWhen it comes to shouldering responsibility, car accidents may be more complicated than they might initially seem. Complexities may emerge in either the sequence of events leading up to the moment of collision and personal injuries that follow or in the capacities of each driver (and in some cases pedestrians) involved. Your job as a car accident injury victim is not to play detective. Recovering from the harms you have suffered and adjusting your work and other schedules accordingly are your proper focus. Recording every detail of the facts at issue is the territory of law enforcement, and in apportioning blame and imposing liability, the province of an attorney.

Multi-Party Auto Accidents and the Question of Fault

As a Chicago area resident, you are already familiar with the complexity of the city’s system of roads and highways. Take, for example, the frequent site of road construction area where lanes narrow and traffic snarls. Now, factor in winter weather. You are on your way to work as driving lanes on both sides of a median or temporary traffic divider are halved by red cones and a squad of city workers. You adjust accordingly, slowing to the reduced speed limit.

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Illinois injury lawyerBetween the hours of noon and 7 p.m., few places in a metropolitan area are more bustling than popular restaurants. Hosts conduct the endless jigsaw puzzle of expeditiously seating parties eager to dine and return to work in the time allotted by employers. Servers race around from table to table, taking orders, delivering food and beverages, and bussing tables to make room for the next in line. And the cooks in the kitchen line grills and prep stations with ingredients and tools. Most of the time, a popular restaurant is the definition of a “well-oiled machine,” with the relationship between patrons and staff being a harmonious one. This is precisely how a restaurant becomes popular and stays in business, turning patrons into “regulars.”

Sometimes, however, food service goes awry and a patron is injured by a spilled scalding hot beverage or tray of plates containing fresh-off-the-grill items. Besides the interruption of an otherwise clockwork-like day, restaurant-related injuries, such as burns, can be severe. When this happens – when you have suffered an injury in a restaurant – an experienced Park Ridge personal injury attorney will work to obtain compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Burn Injuries May Require Surgery and Physical Rehabilitation

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Illinois injury lawyerOrdinarily, when a consumer is zooming through a “big box” retain center or other bustling store in a major shopping center, he or she only sees what is straight ahead and to the left and right. This mundane truth is despite the fact that all around are shelving units and metal pallets stacking store items from the floor to the rafters. While employees are aware of these storage devices, customers typically only become aware of them when an accident is caused by a falling store item. With items often being heavy and stored at a significant height, accidents caused by falling store items can inflict severe injuries on the unsuspecting customers below. In such instances, it is only right to hold the retailer responsible for the injuries sustained. An experienced Park Ridge premises liability attorney is well aware of this principle of liability, and will advocate for your legal rights.

Retailers Owe Customers an Elevated Duty of Care

In life, we owe one another a duty of care. This duty includes, for example, driving safely. In the law, the sphere of this duty ranges from a broad “zone” to an even broader (and abstract) area of foreseeability. Importantly, retailers owe customers a duty of care, too. This duty of care is even greater – even more serious – than the duty owed by individuals to one another.

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Illinois divorce attorneyWith freezing rain and snow in the short-term Chicago area weather forecast and throngs of last-minute holiday shoppers and merrymakers set to descend upon malls from Park Ridge to Michigan Avenue, precipitation and peregrination will meet to cause injuries. For shopping slip-and-fall victims, it is critical know that every business has a special duty to protect its customers from unsafe conditions on its businesses. When a business abrogates this duty, those that have suffered injuries and other harms and losses may rightfully seek compensation from the business for medical bills, lost income due to missed work, pain and suffering, the consequences of any short or long-term disabilities stemming from the injuries, and, depending on the specific circumstances, additional damages. While nothing can “unruin” a holiday season beset with injuries suffered in a slip-and-fall, an experienced Park Ridge personal injury attorney will be there to seek all compensation to which you are rightfully owed.

Illinois Businesses Owe Customer-Invitees an Elevated Duty of Safekeeping

Every business in the state of Illinois that makes efforts to attract shoppers onto its premises owes its customers a duty of safekeeping. Importantly, this duty is above and beyond even what individuals owe to one another on a general level in society. In the law of premises liability, a business’s customers are classified as “invitees” – a legal term that translates approximately to “special guest.” Inadequately discharging the duty owed to its invitees, a business must both actively work to protect customer-invitees from harm and post clear warning signs concerning dangers. As concerns Chicago area wintertime shopping, Illinois businesses must work to keep entry and exit areas free from ice, rain, snow, and moisture generally. This includes snow-shoveling, ice-salting, and posting abundantly clear warning signs about the presence of slick areas.

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Illinois injury attorneyA slip-and-fall accident in or around an Illinois business may from the outside appear as a simple sequence of events. From a legal perspective, however, the question of liability for a slip-in-fall in which injuries are sustained may involve layers of complexity, depending on the presence or absence of notice of caution, employers, employees, independent contractors, and number of accident victims.

If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident at an Illinois bar, restaurant, grocer, store, or other business, an experienced Park Ridge personal injury attorney will assert your legal rights and determine where liability lays for the harms that you have suffered.

The Complexities of a Multi-Party Slip-and-Fall

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