COVID-19 Update: Abels & Annes remains open 24/7.
We are able to evaluate your case by phone or video, and sign up your case electronically.

photo-3-3-300x225Recently, an appellate court issued an opinion hinging on a governmental immunity defense in an Illinois negligence lawsuit. The case arose after a construction worker fell and suffered severe career-ending injuries during a project.

The construction worker was assigned to a project after a Chicago water reclamation plant entered into a contract with a construction company for the removal of certain facilities. The government agency and construction company entered into an agreement that included provisions regarding acceptance of plans, and responsibility for the safety, maintenance, and repairs of the project.

The construction worker’s wife filed a lawsuit against the government district, alleging claims including construction negligence, loss of consortium, and willful and wanton construction negligence. The plaintiff argued that the district exhibited a conscious disregard and indifference for the construction worker’s safety.

Most people understand that when an Illinois resident is injured by another person, state law allows them to file a civil negligence claim to recover for their damages. However, the same principle is usually true even if the victim was injured by an animal, not a person. And, just like dog owners can be held responsible in an Illinois dog bite case if their canine inflicts injuries to others, Illinois law provides the same protection for those injured by livestock. The Illinois Domestic Animals Running at Large Act, usually referred to as the Animals Running Act, protects state residents from being harmed by others’ livestock running at large.

Illinois has a robust agricultural industry, and many of the state’s farms have cattle and livestock. The Animals Running Act, 510 ILCS 55, states that: “No person or owner of livestock shall allow livestock to run at large in the State of Illinois. All owners of livestock shall provide the necessary restraints to prevent such livestock from so running at large and shall be liable in a civil action for all damages occasioned by such animals running at large.” Put simply, the act creates a form of recovery for those who are injured when livestock is running at large due to their owner’s negligence, which, in turn, incentivizes owners to ensure that their livestock is properly restrained.

The act imposes a reasonableness standard on owners of livestock, so that they cannot be held liable if something outside of their control happens and they are unaware their livestock is running at large, so long as they can prove that they took reasonable precaution to secure the animals. For example, if an owner takes all available precautions to secure their cattle, but an unexpected tornado comes and damages the farm so that the cattle can run free, the owner can likely escape liability since he still took reasonable precautions.

Manufacturers and distributors of toxic or dangerous products that are used for consumer, commercial, or industrial purposes can be held accountable with the assistance of a Chicago personal injury lawyer for injuries or illnesses caused by their products, especially in instances in which the dangers of the product were deliberately concealed from customers. Exposure to asbestos, a compound that was once commonly used in consumer and construction products, has been linked to several deadly diseases, including cancer, and the manufacturers and distributors of many asbestos-containing products may be liable for damages related to their use of the deadly compound. The Supreme Court of Illinois recently decided an appeal filed by a man who claimed to have gotten cancer from asbestos exposure.

The plaintiff in the recently decided case is an Illinois man who was exposed to asbestos in the 1960s and 1970s. Evidently, the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos through his work with construction equipment, as well as with brake parts that he used on his personal vehicles. When the plaintiff was later diagnosed with lung cancer, he filed suit against the defendants, claiming that their negligence caused his cancer. The plaintiff also claimed that the defendants’ willful concealment of the dangers related to asbestos exposed them to additional liability to the plaintiff.

Before the plaintiff’s case went to trial, the defendants successfully pursued a favorable judgment from the court on several of the plaintiff’s claims, citing previous Illinois appellate court opinions with similar allegations against the same defendants. The Supreme Court of Illinois had already ruled that nearly identical claims against one of the defendants in this case must fail as a matter of law, and the circuit court found it necessary to rule against the plaintiff on the same grounds. The plaintiff appealed the ruling to the Illinois Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court’s decision on procedural grounds, resulting in the defendants’ appeal to the highest state court.

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).

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Contact Information