Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

September 30, 2014

Walmart Blames Tracy Morgan for Crash-Related Injuries

1499%282%29.jpgIn most collisions, the actions of one or more drivers involved lead to a dangerous situation where a crash occurs. These car accidents can lead to injuries sustained by an at-fault driver, a passenger in a driver's vehicle, or even another person in a separate car.

Car accidents are responsible for millions of dollars' worth of damages in Chicago and across Illinois every year in the form of medical expenses, rehabilitative care, property damage to a vehicle, lost wages, and other losses like pain and suffering. Following a collision, a victim may be forced to bear these expenses even if a collision was not his or her fault. Yet Illinois recognizes that is it unfair to cause these burdens to be borne by a victim and instead enable victims to seek financial compensation for their losses through the use of a civil claim. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand whether you have a valid claim for your damages, and if so, what types of relief may be available to you.

A June collision between a Walmart semi-truck and a vehicle in June left several passengers of the vehicle, including comedian Tracy Morgan, seriously injured and it claimed the life of one man. The driver of the Walmart truck has been charged with vehicular homicide and assault by automobile and has pleaded not guilty. Due to the extent of his injuries, Morgan filed a civil suit against Walmart for his injuries and has claimed, among other things, that Walmart knew or should have known that the driver of the semi-truck had been awake for more than 24 hours prior to the incident. Morgan's suit also alleges that the truck driver was speeding and that he falsified log records regarding his driving.

In response to the suit brought by Morgan, Walmart recently countered that Morgan is either entirely or partly responsible for the injuries he sustained because he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision. In the incident at issue, Morgan was riding in a limo bus, a vehicle that often does not offer passengers seat belts, though it is not clear whether seat belts were available for Morgan's use. Walmart further claimed that it is not responsible for the damages sustained by those injured in the collision but note that the actions of an individual not under Walmart's control may have caused the crash.

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September 29, 2014

Actress Amanda Bynes Arrested Again for DUI

614.jpgAccording to Mothers Against Drunk Driving ("MADD"), the average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before being arrested for an initial charge of driving under the influence, driving while impaired, or other alcohol-related charge. Every day in America, 28 people die as a result of drunk driving accidents, a statistic that is all the more tragic when you realize that drunk driving accidents are entirely preventable and, unlike some weather-related crashes, need never happen.

Too often, it is innocent victims who are forced to suffer at the hands of a drunk driver because the drunk driver places not only his or her safety at risk, but the safety of all those on the road when driving impaired. In Chicago, drunk driving is a crime and can lead to significant punishments including fines and fees, loss of a driver's license, and incarceration. In the event that a drunk driver causes a collision, the punishments are often more severe.

But the legal implications do not end with criminal charges. Victims of a drunk driving collision may be entitled to seek financial compensation for their damages, including their medical expenses, if they have suffered in an accident. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer in the Chicago area may help you put your accident into picture and explain your legal rights.

Actress Amanda Bynes has been no stranger to the legal systems of the United States in recent years. Known primarily for her work as a child actor and for roles as a young adult, the 28-year-old actress reportedly was arrested for driving under the influence early Sunday morning and now faces at least one misdemeanor count.

Authorities have not revealed which substance Bynes was allegedly under the influence of at the time but have confirmed that chemical tests support the accusation.

A police officer in Sherman Oaks reportedly noticed Bynes operating her vehicle westbound on Riverside Drive around 3:00 a.m. Bynes approached a red light in the area and allegedly brought her vehicle to a stop in the middle of the intersection instead of prior to where the intersection began, tipping off the officer that something may be amiss with the driver. Bynes was stopped where the responding officer suspected intoxication and put Bynes through multiple field sobriety tests, which allegedly she failed. At that time, Bynes was arrested and booked into a local jail. She was released later that day after posting a $15,000 bail.

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September 29, 2014

Jennifer Lopez, Leah Remini Rear-Ended by Suspected Drunk Driver

211.jpgIt seems like celebrities catch a break now and again when it comes to the law, regardless of where in the country they are located. But when it comes to drunk drivers and drunk driving accidents, anyone, regardless of who they are or how famous they may be, can become a victim in just a matter of moments.

Though it is illegal in all 50 states, some drivers continue to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence or while impaired by alcohol or drugs. When doing so, the drunk driver risks not only a traffic citation or criminal charge but also the driver's own personal safety and the safety of all other motorists in the area. Even bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians are not safe from the threat of drunk driving.

In Chicago, the laws are designed to protect those who are innocent victims of accidents while holding at-fault drivers liable for their actions. To ensure this happens, victims of Chicago drunk driving accidents may be able to bring a civil claim for their losses against a responsible driver, the owner of a vehicle, or any other party who caused their damages. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand whether you have a valid claim for your losses, and if so, against whom you may be able to seek relief.

Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez and actress friend Leah Remini learned over the weekend that drunk drivers can affect anyone's lives. The women, along with two children, were riding in Lopez's SUV when they were rear-ended while stopped at a red light. The incident reportedly occurred in Malibu on the famous Pacific Coast Highway and did not result in any significant injuries. According to officials, the women exited the SUV to inspect the damage and speak with the other driver involved. The second motorist, described as a male operating a pick-up truck, initially stopped following the crash but then allegedly fled the scene of the accident without speaking to police.

Authorities were informed of the incident and responded to the scene. When they learned that the suspected at-fault driver fled, they initiated a search that uncovered the man a short distance from the scene. The male driver was stopped and arrested on the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and on charges stemming from leaving the scene of an accident. It is not clear what maximum punishments may face that driver or whether he has any significant driving history related to this crash.

Following the incident, Jennifer Lopez took to social media to confirm the drunk driving crash and to let fans know that no one in her vehicle was injured in the incident.

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September 26, 2014

Children's Safety in Chicago Car Accidents

20140424_084543.jpgWhen traveling with a child in Chicago, many parents worry about safety. While most parents take every precaution possible, unfortunately car accidents still happen in the city every day and many of them involve children. Advances in safety equipment and the design of vehicles have decreased the number of children who are hurt annually in collisions but these numbers are still high and the injuries that result are often devastating.

An injury to a minor may be distressing to an entire family and may leave parents with questions, including how best to protect their children's interests and to make sure their children receive all possible relief possible. As the facts surrounding every collision vary, it is a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer in Chicago who has experience helping children and their families to learn about the options that may be available if a car accident has harmed your family.

The hustle and bustle of daily life means that parents are often rushing to get from place to place, taking their children with them in many cases. When running behind or traveling in a hurry, it can be easy to overlook some of the safety features that are designed to protect children. Experts recommend that all mandated safety rules and regulations be followed at all times to decrease the risk injuries in the event that a child is involved in a car accident. Before driving, consider the following:

- Always use a proper car seat or booster: Illinois law requires that all children in a car, regardless of age or location, be properly restrained with an approved child restraint system. Children under the age of two should always ride in a rear facing car seat in the back seat of a vehicle and children should remain rear facing beyond that point until their weight or height reaches the limit of the seat. Beyond that point, children should be placed in a front facing car seat until the child outgrows that seat. Current requirements and expert recommendations mean that a child too large for a front facing car seat should ride in a booster seat so that a seat belt fits properly until the child is the size of an adult as determined by the minimum height and weight requirements of the car's seat belt.

- Do not let children ride in the front seat until after age 12: The Illinois Secretary of State's website recommends that all parents keep children in the back seat until they are older than 12 years. But air bags, seat belts, and other safety features vary from vehicle to vehicle so it is always best to err on the side of caution and to review all relevant material before moving a child to the front seat.

- Encourage children to think safety first: Habits form at a very young age so anytime can be a teaching time for parents. Talking about the importance of seat belts, car seats, and other safety features with your children can install a sense of importance in them from an early age and help them understand why it is important to follow the rules of safety while riding in a car.

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September 25, 2014

Safely Passing a Bicycle when Driving in Chicago

1425.jpgBicyclists are present in all weather in Chicago. While their numbers swell in spring and summer, even brave riders can be seen during the poor conditions that plague Chicago in the winter. As cyclists continue to increase in number every year, motorists in the city limits are left to anticipate their presence and to drive with the safety of bicyclists in mind.

The laws in Chicago are designed to enable both riders and drivers to operate on the roads at the same time without conflict. For this to be possible, though, both bicyclists and motorists must obey all traffic-related rules or a bicycle accident may result.

Injuries are common following bicycle accidents and are likely to affect bike riders more often than drivers or passengers of vehicles. These victims may incur significant medical expenses yet be unaware of whether they are entitled to legal relief. As the facts of every collision vary, it is a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer in the Chicago area to learn about what options may be available to you and whether you have a valid claim for relief.

One of the greatest factors contributing to the large number of bicycle collisions in the Chicago area is a lack of knowledge of the bicycle-specific rules and regulations in the city. While all drivers know that a red light means stop and a green light means go, fewer are able to express the legal distance for passing a bicycle when overtaking in the same direction. In Illinois, including Chicago, motorists are required by law to leave a safe distance to pass and that distance must not be less than three feet. Drivers who do not follow this rule are likely to pose a hazard to bicyclists and also to violate the law.

While passing with a distance of less than three feet may lead to a traffic ticket or citation, the results can be much more extreme when a collision occurs. Not only will a driver face the possibility of a ticket but that driver may be held legally liable for any injuries or other damages that result from a crash. In the even that a bicyclist is hurt by a driver who passes too closely, that driver, if held liable, may be required to provide compensation for the medical expenses incurred by the victim, provide payment for wages missed while the victim recovers and is unable to work, and pay for damages including pain and suffering, scarring, and the permanency of injuries that stem from the crash. In some accidents, insurance may be a means to make a full or partial recovery in these cases, but where insurance is absent or inadequate, a driver may be personally liable for any remaining losses.

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September 24, 2014

5 People Injured after Illinois Restaurant Fire

fire-flames-1391671-m.jpgMany businesses around Chicago and the surrounding suburbs open their doors to the public by serving food, selling clothes, or trading in other goods. When a business operates within Illinois, it is governed by state specific rules that make sure an establishment is safe for all those who may enter, including the structure itself, interior areas like stairwells and elevators, and the exterior of the building including any areas walked by pedestrians. Failing to keep a building in a safe manner may be a violation of the law and may cause the building's owner and/or manager to be legally liable for any injuries that result.

The damages that stem from a premises liability accident in Chicago can range from minor to severe. In some cases, an incident can prove fatal if a victim loses his or her life. While the nature of injuries may vary, the relief possible is often similar; victims in Illinois can seek recovery for their losses, both monetary and other, through the use of a civil claim. It may be possible to obtain payment for medical expenses, lost wages missed while taking time off work, pain and suffering, and any other damages that result. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer in the Chicago area can help you understand your legal options if you have been hurt in a premises liability accident.

Details are still emerging regarding a Tuesday afternoon fire in an Elmhurst restaurant that left three people injured. At this time, officials believe that the fire began at the site of a gas line repair but it is not clear what caused the initial spark. Emergency medical personnel evaluated five people who were injured in the incident, which occurred near Illinois 83 and St. Charles Road, and treated two on the scene. The remaining three victims were transported to area hospitals with one victim taken to the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center. The extent of their injuries are not clear at this time.

Firefighters from several agencies responded to the scene and successfully extinguished the fire. An investigation into the incident is ongoing at this time as authorities attempt to understand the facts that led to the fire.

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September 23, 2014

Accidents involving High Profile Vehicles in Heavy Wind

If you live in Chicago, you understand that the weather can vary drastically from one day to another. Regardless of the season, the weather can turn from pleasant to threatening in a matter of hours. While poor weather may be inconvenient for pedestrians, it can be hazardous to safety as well, particularly to drivers and others in vehicles. Snow, sleet, and ice are known dangerous among those who drive in Illinois but high wind can be just as problematic.

033.jpgWind can cause a vehicle of any size to list or tilt when the wind sweeps from side to side across a roadway. While small vehicles like compact cars may be able to withstand this force, vehicles with higher sides and raised centers of gravity may not fare as well. Significant winds have been known to contribute to collisions and rollover accidents, and in particular, truck accidents in the greater Chicago area.

While drivers cannot control the weather conditions that they face, they can take steps to increase safety when presented with windy weather. These steps may help motorists in any sized vehicles avoid a crash and any injuries that could result from a collision. Keep the following in mind while in windy weather:

- If possible, wait to drive: When winds are at their worst, it is not worth the risk to drive. If you can avoid it and do not have to be on the roads, consider waiting until the most serious weather passes before you drive.

- Slow down: Increased speed means that a diver is more likely to lose control of a vehicle during heavy wind gusts. Slowing down in response to threatening weather can help drivers steer and maintain their position within a lane.

- Increase your distance from other vehicles: All vehicles on the road are affected by the weather. This means that even if you are driving safely and taking every possible precaution, the motorists around you may not be and may be in danger of causing a collision. A car that tips over or weaves in and out of lanes can easily crash into other cars, so motorists should be aware of other vehicles and leave extra space when possible.

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September 22, 2014

Pedestrian Killed in Illinois Motorcycle Accident

057.jpgRecent focus has been paid to pedestrian safety in Illinois and across the nation. As with many urban areas, Chicago has both a large number of pedestrians on any given day as well as many pedestrian accidents that occur every year. Many factors combine to explain the number of pedestrian collisions that take place, including the fact that drivers do not always respect the rights of those who are walking. But often, pedestrians simply believe that a collision will never affect them personally because they are cautious, safe, and follow all applicable traffic rules while walking.

Unfortunately, even the safest, most law-abiding pedestrian is at risk for being involved in a pedestrian accident in Chicago if a motorist in the area acts in a negligent or reckless manner. When a crash occurs, the results can be devastating and can claim the life of the pedestrian involved or leave a victim with serious, sometimes lifelong injuries. The damages stemming from these crashes can be immeasurable and can stretch far beyond financial losses like medical bills and rehabilitation costs. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer in Chicago may help you understand the implications of your accident, including whether you have a valid claim for relief, if you have been hurt due to the actions of another.

Shortly before 9:00 p.m. on Friday, a collision occurred between a motorcycle and a pedestrian on Illinois Route 53 in Romeoville. Authorities responded to the scene of the incident near Chambers Drive and assessed both the pedestrian and the biker involved. The pedestrian sustained critical injuries and was transported by emergency crews to an area hospital for treatment where he died a short time later. It is unclear whether the biker was injured in the crash.

Officials began an investigation at the scene and determined that the motorcyclist was riding northbound when the crash took place. At this time, it appears that the pedestrian was also in the roadway though it is not clear whether he was walking in the same direction as the biker or was walking against traffic. It is also not clear whether any other conditions led to the impact or what speed the motorcycle was traveling prior to the crash.

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September 18, 2014

Driver in Fatal Huffing Incident Sentenced to 5 Yeas

20130725_130057.jpgDrivers in Chicago and across the nation are required to operate their vehicles in a safe manner at all times because the actions of any one driver can directly affect the health of others. When one motorist chooses to act in a negligent manner, whether by speeding, ignoring a stop sign or red light, or driving while impaired, all other drivers in the area face an increased risk of being involved in a collision and may sustain injuries if a crash results.

While the laws make driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs a crime, potential criminal charges may not be the only responsibility facing an impaired motorist. In Chicago, the laws of the state enable the victims of these crashes to seek financial compensation for their damages. While no amount of money can ever reverse the effects of a crash once one has occurred, financial relief may enable innocent victims to obtain the medical treatment they need and deserve, the rehabilitative care that will return them to their pre-injury state, and provide for any wages that were missed from work while a victim recuperates. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer in Chicago may help you understand your legal options if you have been involved in an accident, including one where a drunk or impaired driver was to blame.

It was Labor Day of 2012 when an alleged impaired driver, high from huffing chemical fumes, caused a serious crash in Highland Park that left a 5-year-old girl dead. Facing charges since that point, the driver's fate was decided yesterday when she received a five year sentence, the same length of the life of the young victim in this case.

Following a not guilty plea, a trial occurred in May where the defendant was found guilty after evidence indicated that she was huffing chemicals from a keyboard cleaner. The driver then lost consciousness and drove across multiple lanes of traffic before driving onto a sidewalk where numerous pedestrians were gathered. One group of walkers consisted of a mother and her three young children who were struck by the vehicle, some several times. While the mother and two children survived, a 5-year-old girl lost her life due to the injuries she sustained in the crash.

Speaking in court, the mother of the victim asked for the maximum possible sentence of 14 years while prosecutors argued for an 8-year term. Attorneys for the defendant, now a 20-year-old woman, cited instances from the woman's past that they claimed should be considered in a reduced sentence, arguing for no jail time in this instance. Following the imposed five year sentence, the defendant will undergo two years of supervised release.

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September 17, 2014

NFL's Josh Gordon Pleads Guilty to Driving While Impaired

1427.jpgRegardless of which state you are in, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and can result in serious charges. Drunk driving or impaired driving also leads to a number of other potential consequences including a substantially increased risk for a collision or accident. Unlike some types of car crashes, like those caused by poor weather conditions, drunk driving accidents are preventable and need never occur.

Too often, the victims of drunk driving collisions are those who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Drivers of other cars as well as passengers in their vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and even passengers in the same vehicle as a drunk driver may sustain serious injuries or even lose their lives when a crash occurs. These victims may be forced to endure the complications and pain that come with injuries but they also may be able to seek financial compensation for their losses through the use of a civil claim for damages. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer or an attorney who represents accident victims may help you understand your legal options if you have been involved in a crash or if your loved one was injured or killed.

The laws apply to all motorists on the roads, regardless of who they are or what they do for a living. Josh Gordon, a wide receiver in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns, was charged with driving while impaired back in July of this year. During a court appearance yesterday, Gordon pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 12 months of probation in addition to a fine and assessed court costs. Sources within the NFL believe that Gordon pleaded guilty to the charge in an effort to limit any potential punishment he may receive by the NFL, including a potential mandatory two game suspension which would become effective if league owners and the players' association ratify a new drug policy.

Gordon is best known for his time with the Cleveland Browns, the organization that drafted Gordon in the second round of the 2012 supplemental NFL draft. Prior to his professional career, Gordon played college football at Baylor. Gordon previously has been reprimanded by the NFL for other off-the-field instances of misconduct including marijuana use, for which he is currently banned for an entire NFL season. That season-long ban is expected to be reduced if the new drug policy is passed.

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September 15, 2014

Chicago Rollover Crash Leaves 4 Injured

IMG_1250.jpgAny vehicle can roll over in a collision which can cause its passengers to sustain injuries. Yet some types of vehicles are more likely than others to roll, placing those drivers at a greater risk for harm. The 1990s saw the rise of the sport utility vehicle and, with it, the rise of rollover crashes among SUVs. Cars, trucks, and vans can roll over at any time but the distribution of weight is a major contributing factor. Those with a higher center of gravity and/or those with a top-heavy weight distribution are more likely to roll when struck or hit.

Rollover collisions in Chicago can occur when one or more vehicles are involved in a collision. Damage to a vehicle nearly always occurs when a car rolls and often, damage takes place on the sides or even the roof of a vehicle. When compared to a front end collision or a rear end crash, there are fewer safety features to protect victims of a rollover, leading to potentially serious injuries.

When an accident occurs in Chicago or across Illinois, the victims of those incidents may be entitled to seek financial compensation against a responsible driver or another at-fault party. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand your legal rights if you have been hurt or if your loved one has been injured in an accident, regardless of whether you were in the same car as an at-fault driver or in a separate vehicle. Further, it is possible to have a claim even if the responsible driver fled the scene or did not have auto insurance as required by law.

Shortly after 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, a one car accident occurred near the area of Erie Street and Halsted in Chicago. Officials who responded to the scene have confirmed that a car traveling in the area crashed into a barrier and ran over it, then struck a pole while rolling over. Eventually the vehicle landed off the road near a wall separating traffic from a train yard.

At least five people were inside the vehicle at the time of the crash, including four passengers. Allegedly, the driver of the vehicle was able to escape and fled the scene on foot. Police are looking for information on the driver's identity and are asking anyone with knowledge to come forward. The four passengers were all seriously injured and needed medical help, including two who were in critical condition. The types of injuries have not been sustained and officials have not released a cause of the collision, though the investigation is ongoing at this time.

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September 12, 2014

Driver Critical after Crash with Garbage Truck

20130724_085359.jpgTruck accidents take place every day in Illinois and many of those collisions occur in the greater Chicago area. While trucks tend to be involved in fewer accidents per mile traveled than other vehicles, like cars, the damages that results from truck collisions are often more severe. Injuries can affect those in a truck and those in another vehicle, whether a driver of a passenger.

The damages done by a negligent driver's conduct do not end with a crash. As a victim seeks medical treatment or is forced to take time from work, the financial harm of a collision begins to add up, and can continue for years or even a lifetime. When faced with injuries, seeking the help of a personal injury lawyer may benefit a victim by illustrating the legal options available for relief, including a potential civil claim against an at-fault motorist.

A crash this morning left a motorist in critical condition after both an SUV and a garbage truck rolled over in the accident. Local officials responded to the scene and have reported that the two vehicles collided for reasons that are not yet clear. It appears that the SUV rolled over first and then the garbage truck rolled over after the SUV, landing on top of the SUV and trapping its driver. Emergency crews were able to remove the driver from the SUV before the driver was taken by air ambulance to a hospital in Downers Grove for treatment. It is not clear whether the driver of the garbage truck or any other individuals involved in the crash were hurt.

When investigators arrived at the scene shortly after 8:00 a.m., they closed the area to through traffic near U.S. 30 and Dugan Road. Motorists were being rerouted and encouraged to take another route if they needed to travel in the area.

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