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IL pedestrian accident lawyerPedestrian accidents can be some of the most dangerous traffic accidents that can occur. Pedestrians are at more of a risk than other motorists for serious injuries because of the lack of protection that is given to those in motor vehicles. Because of this, pedestrian accidents can turn out deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 6,200 people killed in pedestrian accidents in 2018, an increase of nearly 4 percent from 2017. The NHTSA has focused efforts on reducing pedestrian accidents and have identified certain factors that are commonly present during pedestrian accidents in the U.S. Here are a few things that have been discovered about the risk factors for pedestrian accidents.

Gender Matters

When it comes to pedestrian accidents, males were more likely to be killed in crashes than females. The NHTSA found that more than two-thirds or around 70 percent of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents were men. In fact, the overall male fatality rate for pedestrian accidents for every 100,000 people was 2.60, which is more than double the rate for females, which is around 1.07.

Environmental Factors Play a Big Role

Some of the most serious factors that can increase the chance of a pedestrian accident are environmental factors such as the location of the pedestrian, the amount of daylight present. A majority of pedestrian accidents, or around 73 percent, occurred at places other than intersections, where pedestrians are expected to be. Additionally, around three-quarters or 75 percent of pedestrian accidents occurred when it was dark outside.

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IL injury lawyerOne of the hardest things we will all have to do at some point in this life is to grieve the death of a loved one. When their death is untimely and preventable, it can be even more heartbreaking for family members. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 37,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2017. Losing a loved one in a car accident can be hard to deal with, especially if the other party was at fault and they were able to walk away from the accident. Fortunately, the state of Illinois allows family members to claim compensation in their loved ones’ name in what is known as a wrongful death claim.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death lawsuits are wide-reaching; they can cover a variety of intentional or unintentional actions taken by individuals, a group of people or even companies as a whole. Specifically, the Wrongful Death Act states that wrongful death can be caused by “wrongful act, neglect or default.” Wrongful death acts are also typically acts that would have entitled the deceased to file a personal injury claim if death had not ensued.

Requirements for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

To file a wrongful death lawsuit, the deceased person’s personal representative must do so. Usually, this person is the deceased’s spouse or a close family member, which can also include the deceased’s children or adoptive parents. This person can also be a person who has been appointed by the court to manage the deceased person’s estate. The statute of limitations is two years for wrongful death lawsuits, but that is extended to five years if the death was due to violent intentional conduct.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

IL crash lawyerOne of the most common types of car crashes in the United States is rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions may not seem very dangerous, but they can cause extensive damage to your vehicle and injuries ranging from whiplash to broken bones and even death in some situations. In most cases, it is fairly easy to determine who is at fault in a rear-end collision. In other cases, assigning responsibility for the accident is not so easy. If you are in any type of car accident, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Determining Fault

Securing legal representation is crucial after a rear-end collision. It can get very expensive very quickly for needed repairs on your vehicle and medical bills and/or lost wages from your injuries. You and your attorney will discuss what happened during the accident and determine if the other person is liable for the damages you have sustained. Basically, there are three different options when it comes to assigning fault in a rear-end collision:

Rear driver is at fault: In a majority of rear-end collisions, the driver in the back is the responsible party. Many times, rear-end collisions occur because the rear driver is not paying attention to the road. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of rear-end collisions.

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IL crash attorneyOne of the great dangers that plague today’s world for a majority of Americans is car crashes. The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that the leading cause of death in 2016 for children who were 10 and 11 years old and young adults ages 16 to 22 was motor vehicle crashes. Nearly 7.3 million police-reported traffic accidents occurred in 2016, injuring more than 3 million people and killing nearly 37,500 people. Getting into any car accident is a serious matter, even if nobody was hurt. Apportioning fault is a big part of ensuring you get the compensation you deserve from any damages to your vehicle or injuries you sustain from a car accident. But how is fault determined in these cases?

Violation of a Traffic Law

One of the easiest ways to determine who is at fault for a car accident is whether or not either party violated a traffic law. Every person on the road has a duty to follow all traffic laws and to refrain from actions that endanger others on the road. If it can be proven that one party violated a traffic law and that violation led to the collision, that party may be held liable for the damages from the accident.

Type of Collision

The next thing that your attorney, insurance agent, judge and any other person involved in making the decision as to who is at fault will look at is the type of collision that occurred. Certain types of collisions can make it easy to see who was at fault for the collision. For example, a rather common type of collision is a rear-end collision. Most people would agree that the person who hit the car in front of them is mostly responsible for the accident, rather than the driver who was hit.

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IL accident lawyerOne of the most dangerous driving behaviors is speeding. Most states, including Illinois, have strict laws about speeding that are regularly enforced. If you excessively speed, you could face felony charges, but that does not stop some people. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding killed more than 9,700 people in 2017 alone, with speeding-related deaths accounting for around 26 percent of all traffic fatalities. Even when speed-related accidents do not cause death, they can cause serious and life-altering injuries.

Reasons for Speeding

There are a variety of reasons why a person would speed while they are driving. Often, drivers do not even realize that they are engaging in this dangerous behavior, while some do and speed nonetheless. Reasons why a person may speed include:

  • They are running late for something
  • They are distracted by their cell phone or other type of distraction
  • They are intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • They are simply unconcerned with the safety of others

Further, there are certain factors that have been known to correspond with the type of people that are guilty of speeding. For example, young adults who are under the age of 34 tend to make up the majority of the population who speeds. Males, no matter their age, tend to be speeders more often than females. Those who have had adverse driving incidents on their records, such as a previous speeding, DUI, license suspension or revocation or car crash are also more likely to speed.

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IL injury lawyerNow that the weather is warmer and days are sunnier, more children and their caretakers are flocking to playgrounds. What should be a fun day outside, can turn into a disaster pretty quickly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 200,000 children who are treated for playground-related injuries at emergency departments each year. Of those 200,000 children, nearly half (46 percent) are treated for severe injuries, such as fractures, internal injuries, dislocations, and amputations. The CDC also states that around 75 percent of nonfatal playground injuries occur on public playgrounds, with most occurring at schools and daycare centers.

When your child is injured while in your care or the care of others, it can be an emotionally and financially stressful experience. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help recover some of the costs and damages associated with the injuries your child sustained.

Common Playground Hazards

There are many reasons why a playground could be unsafe and dangerous for children. Most of the time, a hazardous playground is one in which the responsible property owners do not keep up with the maintenance of the playground equipment. Some common examples of playground hazards that could cause injury include:

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IL defense lawyerWhen it comes to premises liability in Illinois, the duty of care that property owners owe those who are on their property changes in certain situations. The level of liability you have to an occupant on your property depends on whether or not the person was a trespasser on your property. If the person was lawfully on your property, you have the responsibility of exercising ordinary care to ensure the property is reasonably safe. If the person is a trespasser, you are only responsible for refraining from willful or wanton conduct. When it comes to a child trespasser, the rules are slightly different.

What is the “Attractive Nuisance” Doctrine?

When it comes to children trespassers, the laws pertaining to the property owner’s duty of care are slightly different. Rather than having strict liability, a property owner can be accused of negligence if they knew or should have reasonably known that there was a condition present on their property that posed a risk of injury to children. The reason why there is a difference in how adult and child trespassers are treated is that children often do not have the ability to recognize certain hazards or understand the consequences of their actions.

The property owner has the responsibility of anticipating that a child could trespass and become hurt because of a condition that existed on their property. The Illinois Civil Jury Instructions state that the degree to which the property owner will be held responsible depends on the risk of injury to the child relative to the cost or inconvenience to remedy the dangerous condition that was present on the property. If the cost or inconvenience to remedy the condition is minimal, the property owner has a duty to do so.

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IL injury lawyerCar accidents can be deadly events. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 37,000 Americans killed in traffic crashes in 2017. Even in traffic crashes that did not involve a fatality, there were more than 2.7 million people injured in traffic crashes in 2017. Depending on the factors surrounding the accident, injuries range from bruises and superficial cuts to internal bleeding and traumatic brain injuries. One of the most common traumatic brain injuries resulting from car accidents are concussions.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain is jostled and the fragile tissue of the brain hits the walls of the skull. This commonly occurs when a person sustains a blow to the head, but violent shaking of the head and/or upper body can also result in a concussion. Symptoms can appear right away or they can take time to develop. Symptoms typically dissipate, but it can take days, weeks or even longer for that to happen.

Signs of a Concussion

There are quite a few symptoms that can manifest if you are suffering from a concussion. Some can be obvious and others are not so obvious. Here are a few warning signs you may be experiencing a concussion:

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IL injury lawyerAt some point during the day, everyone is a pedestrian. If you are not in your vehicle and you are walking, you are a pedestrian. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a pedestrian includes anyone who is walking, running, jogging, sitting or lying down. Being a pedestrian involved in a traffic accident can be extremely dangerous. Serious and sometimes even fatal injuries can occur when vehicles hit pedestrians. The NHTSA has reported that there were nearly 6,000 pedestrians that died in fatal traffic crashes in 2016. Fortunately, there are things that both drivers and pedestrians can do to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents.

Safety Tips for Drivers

Many times, it is not the pedestrian’s fault that an accident occurred -- most of the fault is placed on the driver. Here are a few tips to help drivers prevent pedestrian accidents:

  • Keep your eyes on the road at all time. Pedestrians do not always act predictably, but you should always be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially in densely populated areas;
  • Always yield to pedestrians, no matter if they are in a crosswalk or not. Pedestrians always have the right of way, so you should always allow them to cross the road;
  • If weather conditions are bad, be extra cautious. If it is difficult for you to see other vehicles, it will also probably be difficult for you to see pedestrians;
  • Always follow the speed limit. Speed limits are posted for a reason -- to keep people safe. If you are speeding and you get into an accident, you could get into trouble.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians

The responsibility for preventing pedestrian accidents is not always on the drivers. Here are ways pedestrians can do their part to prevent pedestrian accidents:

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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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