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Winnebago County personal injury lawyersWhen you have been injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, or any other type of incident for which another was even partially responsible, it is easy to believe that insurance companies and other parties will do the right thing. Of course, the “right thing,” from your perspective, probably looks vastly different than from theirs. You deserve to be made whole and to have whatever expenses or losses you may have incurred as a result of your injuries fully reimbursed. Depending on the nature of your case, you may also be entitled to compensation for non-monetary considerations such as pain and suffering. Unfortunately, the other party, even it is your own insurance company, may not be quite so keen on paying you what you deserve. That is why it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.

Understanding Liability

On your own, you may not be entirely sure you have the grounds or standing to file a liability claim. The other party may look to take advantage of your uncertainty, asking you to waive your rights to a claim quickly and with little more than a signature. Whether you have been injured in a truck accident or a trip and fall on commercial property, a personal injury lawyer will be much more familiar with the applicable laws and will help you determine which party or parties may be liable for damages.

Withstanding Pressure

You have the right to represent yourself in any legal proceeding, and, in many injury situations, the process begins at the negotiating table. Insurance carriers, including auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, workers’ compensation, and third-party liability carriers, often start with outright denials of responsibility or with low-ball offers intended to end the case quickly and quietly. Out of context, the initial offer may seem to be an impressive amount, but context is exactly what is needed. In order to know what a fair settlement offer looks like, you will need to fully understand your injuries and the impact they are expected to have on your life. An attorney can help you account for all of the necessary variables and to avoid settling for less than what you need and deserve.

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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysSmartphones have revolutionized the way we communicate with each other and get information about the world. Smartphones are so wonderful that some people have trouble putting them down, even while driving. The statistics about texting and diving are grim: over 1,000 people are injured every day in auto accidents caused by distracted drivers. If you were injured or someone you love was killed due to the inattention of another driver, you may have a valid personal injury or wrongful death claim.

Texting While Driving Is Reckless and Irresponsible

Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving because it integrates visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. Trying to text or otherwise use a cell phone while driving means that a driver takes his hands, eyes, and mind off the road. Someone who is texting and driving is essentially driving blind. If a driver is traveling at 55 mph and looks away from the road for only five seconds, he or she has already traveled the length of a football field.

 Because of the great danger it poses to other drivers and pedestrians, Illinois bans texting and driving by law. Illinois motorists may still talk on the phone while driving, but only using Bluetooth technology or a hands-free device. Recently, Illinois imposed even stricter penalties for distracted drivers which will start in July 2019. Those caught texting while driving will now face more serious penalties for violating the law including possibly having their driver’s license suspended.

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Winnebago County car accident attorneysThere are currently nine states—plus Washington D.C.—in which recreational marijuana has been legalized. A substantial number of other states have decriminalized low-level possession of marijuana, implemented legal medical marijuana programs, or both. Illinois is one of those that has done both. The increasingly lax laws regarding marijuana use have led many to wonder what the impact will be on public safety. Two recent studies that seem to contradict each other offer a fairly reasonable insight into the effect of legalized marijuana on the rate of car accidents.

More Accidents

The first study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and looked at insurance claims for crashes filed between 2012 and 2016. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis use for adults over the age of 21. The researchers looked at those two states along with Oregon and compared their accident claims with neighboring states that did not legalize recreational use. The study estimated that crash rates were about 3 percent above what they would have been if marijuana had not been legalized. While the increase is not dramatic, it is statistically significant, according to the study.

No Effect on Fatalities

The second study was published by researchers from the University of Texas and Rice University and examined car accident fatality rates between 2009 and 2015. Their findings indicated that there was no increase in fatalities in Colorado or Washington compared to other states during the first three years of legalization.

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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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Winnebago County nursing home abuse attorneysAs the Baby Boomer generation ages, more and more individuals are seeking the 24/7 care that nursing homes offer. One study suggests that over half of the current U.S population will need to stay in a nursing home, at least temporarily, at one point in their lives or another. Unfortunately, some nursing homes are not able to manage the increasing number of residents. Understaffed nursing homes or staff who are not properly trained can leave residents without the help and resources they need. When left unchecked, nursing home neglect and abuse can be deadly.

Nursing Home Abuse and Mistreatment Shockingly Common

The most vulnerable among us deserve to be cared for and respected by nursing home staff. Sadly, many nursing home residents find themselves in facilities that do not make residents’ needs the staff’s top priority. Some nursing home staff even purposely harm the residents. A congressional report found that almost a third of all U.S nursing homes were guilty of safety and regulatory violations which put residents at increased risk of harm. Surveys show that almost half of nursing home residents have reported being mistreated at some point in their stay. Even more concerning, an astounding 95 percent of nursing home residents claim to have personally witnessed staff neglecting other residents.

Warning Signs of Abuse and Neglect

One of the most tragic realities about nursing home abuse and neglect is that many residents are unable to communicate what is happening to them. Residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be especially vulnerable to mistreatment. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, be on the lookout for signs of neglect or abuse such as:

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