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Rockford personal injury attorneysNews reports of fatal drunk driving accidents are sadly common. Poor road conditions and winter weather only increase the risk of alcohol-related traffic accidents. On average, approximately 30 people in the U.S. die as the result of drunk driving accidents each day. This adds up to over 10,000 lost lives per year. Monetary damages from accidents involving a drunk driver are estimated to be more than $44 billion annually. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a car accident involving an intoxicated driver, you may be able to receive compensation.

Winter Weather and Poor Road Conditions Add to Danger of Intoxicated Drivers

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is always a reckless move, but it is especially dangerous during winter road conditions. Icy roads can lead to rear-end collisions when a driver fails to stop their vehicle in time. Multiple car pile-ups may be more likely to occur during adverse weather as well. The combination of an intoxicated driver and slippery roads can also increase the likelihood of a pedestrian being struck and killed.

Negligent Drivers Can Be Held Liable for Damages

Everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car has an obligation to everyone else around him or her to drive with care and attention. When a driver chooses to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit or while otherwise intoxicated, he or she is not fulfilling his duty to act with reasonable care.

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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysElectric scooters can be a fun and efficient way to get around town. From New York to Chicago to Los Angeles, more and more people are using electric scooters for transportation. Unfortunately, these vehicles are not without risk. Because the rider stands on top of the scooter, it can be easy to fall off. Keeping your balance on a scooter may also be harder than it looks, especially in crowded or obstacle-filled streets. Until recently, there was almost formal data regarding electric scooter safety. Now, a new study shows that scooter injuries are quite common and can range in severity from bruises to serious head injuries.

Research Suggests Scooter Falls Are on the Rise

The study, which was recently published in the journal JAMA Network Open, analyzed data from 249 patients who visited the emergency room for scooter-related injuries in the Los Angeles area. Although scooters are thought of as nearly risk-free, injuries resulting from scooter falls or crashes are being more prevalent. Of the patients studied, about 40 percent suffered head injuries and roughly a third had broken bones. A noteworthy number of scooter-related injuries occurred in patients younger than 18. Simply falling off the scooter accounted for over 80 percent of the injuries studied while about 11 percent of injured scooter riders ran into an obstacle. Although most electric scooters only reach speeds of about 15 miles per hour, falling off a scooter, colliding with an obstacle, or being struck by a car while riding a scooter can cause serious injuries or even death. Dr. Joann Elmore, professor of medicine at UCLA and senior author of the study, says that scooter riders are underestimating the potential danger of these vehicles.  

Lawsuits Arising from Scooter Injuries

Some people who were involved in scooter-related injuries have filed lawsuits in order to recover compensation for medical bills or missed work. As with any personal injury lawsuit, the issue of negligence is the central concern when it comes to electric scooter lawsuits. Claimants must prove that their injury was caused by negligence in order to collect reimbursement through a civil suit of this kind. For example, if negligent design led to the injuries, the designer of the scooter may be held liable. Likewise, a scooter with faulty parts may have been manufactured carelessly which would make the manufacturer responsible for any injuries sustained. Assigning blame for defective products can be an intricate and demanding task. This is why it is critical for any person pursuing a defective product personal injury suit to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysThanks to television procedural dramas and other dramatic depictions, you are probably familiar with the common legal phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt.” While the concept predates American law, it has become a cornerstone principle in criminal courtrooms around the country, providing a basis for protecting the rights of the accused. Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of entertainment, it is easy to assume that the same standard applies in any type of court proceeding. Reasonable doubt, however, does not play a specific role in civil court or personal injury claims, as the standard used in such cases is much different and much easier to attain. In civil court, a claimant must only show that his or her version of the event in question is more likely than not based on the “preponderance of the evidence.”

Burden of Proof Is on the Claimant

As you might expect, the party that files a car accident, slip and fall, or other personal injury claim has the burden of proof. This means that, in order to collect compensation as requested in claim, he or she must present a case that shows several distinct elements. The claimant must demonstrate and support with evidence that:

  • The defendant owed him or her a duty of care;
  • The defendant breached that duty by negligence or willful act;
  • The claimant suffered actual injuries or losses; and
  • The defendant’s breach was the cause of the claimant’s injuries or losses.

In most cases, the defendant’s duty of care is based on the standard of reasonable care, meaning that he or she must take the same steps that a reasonable person would take to prevent foreseeable injuries.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysCell phone use—particularly texting while driving—has become a serious problem in America. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 1.2 million accidents are caused by texting and driving each year. Those numbers, however, may be far lower than the reality because the police rarely investigate to determine whether or not an accident was caused by cell phone use. However, skilled auto accident attorneys can help to uncover this information and may even be able to help their clients seek punitive damages for their injuries.

Why Texting and Driving Accidents Are So Serious

Studies that have been conducted on distracted drivers have suggested that cell phone use one of the most dangerous forms of distraction. In fact, one study found that, while the body tries to compensate for other forms of distraction through a flight or fight reaction, that same compensation is not present when using a cell phone and driving. This is because the brain relies heavily on hand-eye coordination to activate this defense mechanism, and texting takes that coordination away. As a result, the accidents that occur due to texting and driving often cause serious injuries.

Your Injuries and Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not often seen in auto accident cases. However, when a driver “willfully and wantonly” causes harm to another person, such as in accidents with drinking and driving or the use of a cell phone, victims may be due added punitive damages. Unfortunately, obtaining such damages is not an easy task. Knowledge of the law and of penal codes is required. This is why every victim who suspects that texting or talking on the phone while driving may have been a factor in their accident should seek skilled and experienced legal assistance.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysAggressive driving is a common factor in traffic accidents across America. In fact, a 2009 study from the American Automobile Association (AAA), which used information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatal Accident Report System (FARS), had found aggressive driving to be a factor in as many as 56 percent of all U.S. car crashes between the years 2003 and 2007. What does these statistics mean for non-aggressive drivers, and what can victims do after an accident has occurred?

What Constitutes Aggressive Driving?

Most people see the terms “aggressive driving” and “road rage” as synonymous, but road rage is actually a form of aggressive driving—certainly one of the more concerning displays of it. Other forms of aggressive driving include:

  • Speeding;
  • Following too closely, or “tailgating;”
  • Racing;
  • Improper lane changes;
  • Driving on the shoulder;
  • Driving in the median;
  • Passing where prohibited;
  • Failure to yield the right of way;
  • Failure to signal;
  • Driving too fast for road conditions;
  • Improper turns;
  • Reckless or erratic handling of a vehicle;
  • Failure to obey traffic signs or controls; and
  • Failure to observe warnings or instructions.

All these maneuvers and behaviors may place the driver and other road users at risk for an accident. If a crash does occur, aggressive drivers may be held liable for the injuries or damages experienced by victims.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Rockford car accident attorneyOf all the car accident injuries, whiplash is, by far, the most commonly reported in the United States. In fact, recent statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicate that some 66 percent of all claimants file an injury related to the neck, and over 800,000 whiplash injuries have been reported over the last 12 years. What can accident victims with whiplash expect after a crash, and what kind of compensation might they be entitled to receive? It is important to understand the dangers of this condition and what can be done about it.

What is Whiplash?

A soft tissue injury that involves the tendons, ligaments, and surrounding tissues of the neck, whiplash occurs when the head is suddenly and violently thrust backward, and then forward. It might sound as though it takes a high-speed crash to create this type of motion. However, whiplash is often seen in even low-speed crashes (perhaps as little as six miles per hour, if going by the cut-off limits in the UK). There is also a common misconception that whiplash occurs only in rear-end crashes, but front-on collision victims are also at risk.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Though the pain of whiplash may not show up immediately after the accident, victims are likely to notice symptoms in the coming hours, days, or weeks after an accident. Often hard to ignore, and typically far more painful than just a simple ache, these symptoms can include:

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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysIf you were to ask a random person on the street to think of a personal injury lawsuit that did not involve a member of their family, that person might name any number of cases. If you were to ask that same person to think of a frivolous lawsuit, he or she will almost certainly bring up the idea of suing over a cup of coffee and being awarded millions of dollars.

In 1994, an elderly New Mexico woman named Stella Liebeck did, in fact, sue McDonald’s over a cup of hot coffee. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury did decide that she should receive nearly $3 million in damages. A closer look, however, reveals that labeling the lawsuit as “frivolous” is, at best, unfair to the woman who suffered gruesome injuries from coffee that was far too hot.

The Facts

Ms. Liebeck was 79 years old when her grandson took her to McDonald’s in 1992. As she sat in the passenger seat of the car, she started to remove the lid of her coffee so that she could add cream and sugar. The cup tipped over and spilled the coffee onto her lap. The spilled coffee was so hot that Ms. Liebeck suffered third-degree burns on her legs and genitals in a matter of a few seconds. Her injuries were so severe that she required skin grafts and extensive surgeries.

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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysThe House Veterans Affairs Committee has begun an intensive investigation into the quality of care at 133 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing homes after it was revealed that the VA itself ranks most of its facilities as seriously lacking. The agency’s internal rankings of its nursing homes had been kept secret for years, but they are now available for the public to view. The data is grim. Almost half of all VA nursing homes have been assigned the lowest possible score with regards to cleanliness, safety, and quality of patient care.

VA Facilities at Greater Risk for Pain and Medical Complications

Tragically, studies show that care for American war veterans is shockingly insufficient. An investigation headed by USA Today and The Boston Globe found that 60 VA nursing homes were given a score of one star out of five. In over two-thirds of VA nursing homes, patients were found to have higher rates of pain and a higher incidence of bedsores than nursing homes in the private sector. Residents in VA nursing homes show a greater decline in their quality of life than nursing home residents in private facilities.

Illinois nursing homes did not fare particularly well on quality-of-care rankings. The facility in Danville, IL, scored one out of five stars in part due to a resident who had a catheter left in their bladder. The lowest possible score for nursing home quality is one star. Other two-star nursing home facilities had high rates of bedsores and residents slipping and falling. The best-rated home in Illinois was in North Chicago and earned three stars out of five.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysThe weather has been warming up in Northern Illinois, and that means that people are out picnicking, swimming, and walking their dogs. Although many consider dogs to be “man’s best friend,” the reality is that dogs are still animals, and their behavior is not always predictable. Sometimes, a dog who has never shown signs of belligerence suddenly becomes aggressive. If you have been bitten by a dog in Illinois, it is important to know that you might be able to receive financial compensation for your injuries.

Illinois Dog Bite Laws

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximate about 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States every year. Illinois has traditionally been a state in which a higher-than-average number of dog bite lawsuits are filed. This is partially due to how the law is written. In some states, a dog owner is not responsible for damages caused by a dog bite if the dog had never bitten anyone before. For example, if someone owned a dog who was usually friendly and non-aggressive, but then one day the dog suddenly bit someone, the dog owner may not be held liable because he or she did not know the dog was capable of violence. However, Illinois does not have this law in place. Instead, a dog owner can be held liable for damages caused by his or her dog biting someone even if the dog has never shown signs of aggressiveness in the past.

The Illinois Animal Control Act dictates when a dog owner is liable for injuries caused by his or her dog. According to the act, “If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.”

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