Illinois Personal Injury LawsuitsThe primary role of the jury in an Illinois personal injury lawsuit is to determine whether the named defendant was responsible for the accident resulting in the plaintiff’s injuries. In so doing, the jury must consider all the evidence presented and come to a reasoned conclusion based on that evidence. Frequently, the question comes up, what if the plaintiff was partially responsible for the accident resulting in their injuries?

Defendants in Illinois car wreck cases and slip and fall claims will often argue that the accident victim was at least partially responsible for their own injuries. For example, a defendant may argue that a plaintiff failed to exercise caution when they slipped and fell on the defendant’s property, or that a car accident victim’s negligence contributed to the accident. These questions implicate the doctrine of comparative negligence.

Comparative negligence is the legal concept that determines which accident victims can recover for their injuries. It used to be that a plaintiff who shared even the slightest amount of responsibility for an accident could not recover for their injuries because they were considered to have been contributorily negligent. However, in a 1981 case, the Illinois Supreme Court abandoned the defense of contributory negligence in favor of pure comparative negligence.

A recently introduced pilot program to allow electric scooters to be used as a rideshare alternative on Chicago streets may actually increase the danger for riders, pedestrians, and drivers alike. According to a recently published news report, at least ten people were sent to the emergency room during the first six days of the pilot program. As more and more Chicagoans use electric scooters, dangerous accidents may become more common.

According to the article, several factors have contributed to the accidents. Some accidents are caused by riders who fail to ride in the proper lane, either riding on sidewalks, on the wrong side of the road or in the middle of the street. When a rider uses the scooter on the sidewalk, it can threaten pedestrians, and riding a scooter on the wrong side of the road or in the middle of the street presents a danger to both the riders and other drivers, who could get into an accident while trying to avoid a scooter.

The article also suggests that the scooters are popular with people who have been drinking, and intoxicated riders present an even larger threat to themselves or others. Illinois DUI laws apply to scooter riders, however many scooter users appear oblivious or indifferent to the fact that it is illegal to operate a scooter on a public road while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol over the legal limit.

Trials in Illinois personal injury cases can be long and grueling, but even the most hard-fought cases can be overturned for seemingly small decisions during trial. An Illinois appeals court recently overturned a multimillion-dollar verdict because the trial judge barred testimony from a witness.

According to the court’s opinion, a truck driver was driving a semi-tractor trailer on a highway when he started to have engine trouble. The driver pulled over to the shoulder of the highway and turned off the vehicle. He could not restart the vehicle and called his employer, who told him to call the manufacturer of the truck’s engine. The driver eventually called a towing company, which sent two tow trucks to tow the tractor and the trailer. One tow-truck driver parked in front of the tractor-trailer, and the other driver parked behind it. Soon after, another semi-tractor trailer driver was passing by on the highway and sideswiped the rear tow truck, crashing into the back of the tractor-trailer. The crash resulted in the deaths of all four men.

The wife of one of the tow-truck drivers filed suit against several defendants, including the employers of both of the tractor-trailer drivers. She claimed the employer of the first tractor-trailer driver was negligent for several reasons, including for failing to properly maintain its tractor-trailer and for its driver’s decision to pull onto the shoulder rather than driving to the next exit. She claimed the employer of the driver who sideswiped the truck was negligent for several reasons as well, including failing to watch the road properly, and crashing into the vehicles. The case went to trial and a jury found both employers liable. The jury divided the liability, assigning 57% to one employer and 43% to the other. The jury awarded the plaintiff over $19 million in damages.

Nobody gets on a motorcycle thinking that they will get into an accident. However, according to recent government data, there are over 2,500 Illinois motorcycle accidents each year with nearly 1,000 resulting in serious injuries. In addition, approximately 150 motorcyclists are killed each year in traffic accidents. The majority of these accidents occur in urban areas, like Chicago.

Anyone fortunate enough to remain conscious after being involved in a motorcycle accident should take certain steps to protect their rights. This is important because, unfortunately, motorcyclists have a bad reputation, even though motorcyclists are not responsible for causing most accidents. After an accident, a motorcyclist should be sure to do the following:

  • Check for injuries – If you’ve just been in a motorcycle accident, chances are you will have injuries. It is important you check your body for injuries because it is not uncommon for adrenaline to mask the pain typically associated with road rash or broken bones.

It is not uncommon for employees to become injured while on the job. An injury or illness is considered work-related if an event or exposure in the work place caused or contributed to the resulting condition or aggravated a pre-existing condition. Workers in the manufacturing industry, especially factory workers, are more likely than many others to experience a work injury.

As of 2015, the State of Illinois had 568,500 manufacturing jobs. Many of these jobs are located in more urban areas, but some factories do still call the Chicago area home. Despite the number of manufacturing jobs in Illinois being smaller compared to near-by states, on-the-job injuries and illness rates in Illinois are statistically greater than the national rate according to the United States Department of Labor (USDOL).

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Rideshare operations such as Uber and Lyft have become extremely popular in Chicago and other cities throughout the United States–and it is easy to see why. Ordering a ride through your smartphone is faster, easier, and often less expensive than hailing a cab. In addition, many people believe that rideshare services are safer. Unfortunately, Uber accidents still often happen in the Chicago area.

Uber does insure drivers and passengers involved in car crashes. However, when drivers are using their vehicles for personal use, they are covered under their personal auto insurance policy. If a driver is using the app but has yet to start a trip, they are covered under their personal insurance policy and Uber’s contingent liability policy, which provides up to $50,000 per injury for a total of $100,000 and up to $25,000 in property damage in the event the driver’s personal insurance does not cover the issue. If an Uber driver has accepted a fare or is on a trip with a passenger, they are are covered by a one million dollar liability policy and a one million dollar uninsured/underinsured policy. The UM/UIM coverage protects drivers and passengers in event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

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Death is an unfortunate part of life, but sometimes due to the negligence of others death comes too soon. When someone dies due to the fault of another’s recklessness or negligence their loved ones, under Illinois law, may be able to claim damages against the at-fault party.

There is no amount of money that can compensate fully for the loss of a loved one but damages can help families cover medical costs, funeral costs, and the cost of living after the loss of the loved one. This allows the family to focus on what matters most – healing. Damages can help a suffering family begin to move forward with their lives without the stress of financial debts hanging overhead.

Wrongful death claims can include a number of types of fatal accidents and can stem from most negligence claims, but most often these claims arise from motor vehicle accidents. A myriad of scenarios can give rise to wrongful death claims.

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It is no secret the construction industry is dangerous, reporting the most injuries and fatalities across American industries. Electrocutions or electrical hazards is considered one of the ‘Fatal Four’ – a hazard that contributes to sixty-percent of construction workplace fatalities each year.

Electrical injuries are very common for workers in America with approximately 160-180 fatal electrical injuries reported every year according to the Illinois Center for Injury Prevention. Half of these electricians occurred in the construction industry.

Construction workers are not the only ones exposed to potential electric injuries. Anyone who works on electrical tasks is at risk. These accidents are often common in factory settings and those working closely with public utilities. CTA employees are also exposed to a substantial risk given the dangerous third rail utilized by CTA trains which provides electric power to keep trains moving.

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Under the Illinois Animal Control Act, if you or a loved one are injured by an animal, you may have a claim against the owner. The law holds animal owners strictly liable if their pet attacks another person unless the attack was provoked or certain other exceptions are met under the law. The most common animal attack incidents in Chicago are dog bites or dog attacks.

Our pets quickly become a part of the family, and no one wants to believe that their dog could harm anyone, especially a friend or family member. While many dogs are gentle and loving creatures, these incidents do occur frequently. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million Americans experience a dog bite injury every year.

Children are most commonly the victim of dog bites. Of those 4.7 Americans injured by dog attacks, half of these are children. Children often do not understand that a dog is not a play toy and may antagonize the dog, making the dog uncomfortable and leading to an attack. It can be difficult for a dog to understand a child’s innocent intent when the dog perceives the child’s conduct as threatening.

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The most recent statistics report that across America, over 1.4 million individuals reside in nursing homes. As of 2014 there were almost 16,000 nursing homes with this number steadily rising. In Illinois alone there are 1,200 long-term care facilities serving more than 100,000 residents.

Nursing homes are heavily regulated and frequently inspected by the state’s public health department in accordance with the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and guidelines to ensure safe and dignified care for those in nursing homes. However, despite these efforts many facilities do not comply with these care standards. One of the most common violations is the improper and negligent care of immobile patients.

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