It happens! Youâ€™re visiting a friend or a relative and you take a nasty fall and hurt yourself. This is when the question of liability arises and you, as the injured party, wonder if you can recover the costs associated with your injuries from the homeowner or renter. Although you may be hesitant to pursue a claim against a homeowner or renter, especially if that person is a friend or family member, it is important to know that the majority of the time their insurance company
Have you ever rented an apartment for yourself or one of your kids and wondered if all your rights are being protected and respected when moving into a new apartment? The relationship between a landlord and renter is based on trust and respect. Yet many people feel that their landlord took too long to fix something in their unit or that they have been scammed out of their security deposit at the end of the lease.
Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular days to get engaged and this year both heterosexual and homosexual couples will be able to plan for a licensed happily-ever-after event due to the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, signed into law on June 1, 2011.
We’re all familiar with motor vehicle recalls. They happen all the time. Whether you hear about it in the news or receive a letter from the manufacturer, we’ve owned cars that have been recalled at one point or another. But how exactly does an automobile manufacturer decide whether to issue a recall? And what is the process that is followed once that decision is made? The Chicago Tribune recently examined that process in an article that focused on the obligations of car manufacturers upon learning of a large scale safety defect. As explained in the article, once a defect is found, the auto manufacturer must follow a specific procedure: Most safety recalls are voluntarily initiated by an automaker after determining that one or more of its vehicles has a safety defect…Federal regulations require that once a manufacturer finds such a defect, it must report it within five working days to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency that enforces motor vehicle safety regulations. But, how exactly are automobile defects discovered in the first place? Well, according to the article, vehicle manufacturers conduct safety studies and tests, during which they sometimes find safety defects. Other times, they learn of defects after receiving multiple reports from different owners regarding problems with a particular car model. And other times,Â crash tests conducted by NHTSA and organizations such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety result in data that indicates safety issues with particular models. Once a safety issue or defect is identified, the automaker must notify the NHSTA, even if the manufacturer has not yet figured out what is causing the problem or how to fix it. Of course, the reason that manufacturers are required to follow these procedures is to ensure that all motor vehicles are as safe as possible, since the safer the cars are, the less likely that passengers will be be seriously injured in a car accident. Because prevention is always the best policy. You can learn more about recent automobile recalls and see if a car that you own has been recalled by heading over to the Kicking Tires Blog. The Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handlesÂ workersâ€™ compensation andÂ personal injury cases. You can reach the firm by calling (312) 346-8780.
Whether women are more likely to be injured in the event of a motor vehicle accident is up for debate, although the results of a recent study tend to support that conclusion. As reported at the Huffington Post, according to a study published just a few months ago in the American Journal of Public Health, women are more likely to be seriously injured in car accidents. The statistics gathered during the course of the study, which was based upon an analysis of accidents occurring between 1998-2008, support the finding that women involved in car accidents are 47% more likely to suffer from serious injuries.Â The reasons for the increased injuries? Well, the study’s authors believe that the increased number of injuries occurred because the vehicles’ safety features were tailored toward men at the obvious expense of women, as explained in this U.S. News Health post regarding the study: The investigators found that female drivers wearing seatbelts were more likely to be injured than male drivers wearing seatbelts, and that belted female drivers suffered more chest and spine injuries than belted male drivers in comparable crashes. The researchers noted “a higher risk of lower extreme injuries reported for female drivers as a result of their relatively short stature, preferred seating posture and a combination of these factors yielding lower safety protection from the standard restraint devices.” However, some dispute the applicability of the study’s finding to most cars on the road today, as explained at the Huffington Post: ABC News reported that the findings probably don’t apply to cars made today, since researchers only looked at car crashes between 1998 and 2008, and some of those cars were likely made before 1998. “The average life of a car is around 12 years,” Clarence Ditlow, of the Center for Auto Safety, told ABC News. “The study would have a lot more value if it were limited to 2000 and later model year vehicles to make sure all vehicles had female friendly airbags.” And, even though it’s possible that women are more likely to suffer serious injuries following an automobile accident, according to a 2007 study, men are more likely to sustain fatal injuries when involved in a traffic accident. So, gender issues aside, automobile accidents pose serious risks for everyone involved. The best way to avoid getting injured in an accident is to do everything you can to prevent the accident from occurring[READ MORE…]
In Caburnay v. Norwegian American Hospital,Â No. 1â€“10â€“1740, the plaintiff was an anesthesiologist who tripped and fell in the lobby of the hospital where he worked. On the date of the accident, he was waiting for an elevator when he tripped over a floor mat that he alleged was folded. As he fell, he hit the back of his head and was rendered a quadriplegic. He filed a lawsuit against the defendant, an Illinois hospital, alleging that its failure to maintain the area around the elevator resulted in his fall and subsequent injuries. He alleged, among other things, that the defendantÂ â€œfailed to properly, routinely and adequately inspect the floor of the [elevator area] to ascertain whether any dangerous and hazardous conditions existed,” â€œfailed to place a clean and secured floor mat,” â€œfailed to place a level and secured floor mat on the floor,â€ and â€œimproperly placed the floor mat so that it was subject to become hazardous, movement, wrinkles and folds.â€ One of the issues on appeal was whether there was sufficient proof offered by Caburnay to show that there were issues of fact regarding the defendant’s negligence. Carburnay claimed that his testimony that he felt his foot catch on a fold or buckle in the rug was sufficient to create an issue of fact. However, the defendant argued that there was no evidence offered that tended to prove that a fold in the carpet existed and that a fair reading of Carburnay’s deposition testimony indicated that he had no idea why or how he fell. The Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, disagreed with the defendant, concluding that Caburnay had offered sufficient evidence regarding the defendant’s negligence: Caburnay has alleged specific facts regarding how and why the mat was improperly placed. As discussed above, Caburnay’s deposition testimony indicates that a fold or buckle existed in the mat at the time of the fall as evidence by the fact that he felt his foot catch on it, and the testimony of Krause and Gonzalez, coupled with the expert opinions of Litwick and Kenzidor, were sufficient to create a question of fact as to whether Norwegian negligently placed the mat in question in front of the elevator, causing Caburnay to fall. Therefore, summary judgment in favor of Norwegian on this issue was improper. Accordingly, the Court reversed the lower court’s judgment and allowed the personal injury case to proceed, thus permitting Caburnay[READ MORE…]
Parents should be aware of a nationwide recall of children’s bicycle helmets. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission recently recalled approximately 30,400 Little Tricky kid’s bike helmets after tests determined that helmets failed to meet safety standards. Bicycle helmets are an important part of bicycle safety and their use helps to prevent severe head and brain injuries, as explained in this East County Magazine article: â€œItâ€™s estimated that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by approximately 85 to 90 percent”… â€œHead injuries have potentially the most severe consequences in the both the short and long term,â€ said Sue Cox, Director of Trauma Services for Rady Childrenâ€™s Hospital. â€œAccording to HHSA, medics noted traumatic injuries to the head or neck in more than half the patients that were not wearing helmets at the time of their injuries.” Bike helmets help to prevent injury by virtue of their unique design and are intended to bear the brunt of an extreme impact occurring during a bicycle accident by protecting “the top and upper part of the forehead and back of the head.” Because bicycle helmets are such important safety devices, it’s particularly distressing when children’s helmets are recalled for safety violations, as is the case with the recent Little Tricky helmet recall. This wpbf.com article describes the reason for the recall and the specific helmets that were recalled: In a news release, the CPSC said children who use the multipurpose helmets produced by Triple Eight Distribution Inc., of Port Washington, N.Y., could suffer impact head injuries in a fall.According to the CPSC, the Little Tricky helmets are marketed for children and youth and feature a large Little Tricky logo on both sides of the helmet… The helmets were sold at bicycle and sports stores and other retailers nationwide and online from August 2006 through November 2011 for about $40. You can learn more about the recall in that article, including specific descriptions of the affected helmets and informational phone numbers. The Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handlesÂ workersâ€™ compensation andÂ personal injury cases. You can reach the firm by calling (312) 346-8780.
Last month we reported on a number of new Illinois laws going into effect. Another interesting new law of note is one that, in certain situations, allows motorcycles and bicycles to run red lights. The law provides that some motorcyclists and bicyclists can, after a reasonable amount of time,proceed through a red light. Although the concept of a “reasonable amount of time” Â hasn’t been defined, State Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) explains what it means inÂ this CBS Chicago article: â€œA reasonable amount of time, which was not defined in the bill, will be 120 seconds,â€ says Beiser. â€œSo two minutes, thatâ€™s what weâ€™ve come to agreement on and that was part of the governorâ€™s concern.” The law is not applicable everywhere in Illinois, however. The law only applies to municipalities with populations with less than 2 million people. So means that Chicago motorcyclists and bicyclists do not fall under the ambit of this new law and may not run red lights. You might be wondering why Illinois would pass a law such as this one–one that sounds like it will do nothing but increase the likelihood of car accidents. Well, there’s actually a good reason for this law. As explained in the CBA Chicago article, the impetus behind the passage of the law was a flaw in the recognition systems of most traffic lights: Motorcycles and bicycles often arenâ€™t big enough to trigger magnetic sensors that switch traffic lights from red to green, WBBM Newsradioâ€™s Alex Degman reports. That could mean the riders either break the law and run the red light, or wait until another vehicle comes along. Let’s hope that Illinois motorcyclists and bicyclists exercise their newfound ability to drive through red lights with great care. Because their vehicles are smaller than cars, it is sometimes more difficult for other motorist to see them. The last thing Illinois needs is an increase in collisions between cars, motorcycles and bicycles. Hopefully allÂ IllinoisansÂ will drive carefully, keeping this new law in mind while keeping their eyes on the road and looking out for those driving through red lights. The Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handlesÂ workersâ€™ compensation andÂ personal injury cases. You can reach the firm by calling (312) 346-8780.
The Chicago Tribune recently reported on a lawsuit arising from a bizarre set of circumstances, but which raised an interesting legal issue. The facts in the case, Zokhrabov v. Jeung-Hee Park. (2011 WL 6823803), are decidedly gory and tragic. On September 13, 2008, 18-year-old Hiroyuki Johowas struck by an Amtrak train traveling approximately 70 miles per hour, and was killed. TheÂ plaintiff,Â 58-year-old Gayane Zokhrabov, was standing nearly 100 feet from the point of impact and was struck and injured by a large part of Johowas’ body as it flew through the air after the collision. Her injuries includedÂ a shoulder injury, a leg fracture, and a wrist fracture. The plaintiff brought a lawsuit against Johowas’ estate, alleging that he negligently crossed the railroad tracks, resulting in his death and her subsequent injuries. While the factual scenario is disturbing, the case presented an interesting issue of causation reminiscent of Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co., a personal injury case that most lawyers study in law school. In Palsgraf, the issue was one of causation and revolved around whether the defendant could be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries after a somewhat random series of events occurred. The events ultimately caused a scale to fall on and injure the plaintiff, a railway passenger waiting for a train and standing far away from the initial event which resulted in the cascade of events that ultimately caused the scale to topple over. The issue faced by the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District was a similar one: Was it reasonably foreseeable that a pedestrian would be struck, killed, and flung down the tracks and onto the passenger platform and if so, did the pedestrian owe a duty of care to the passenger? As explained in the Chicago Tribune article, the Court concluded that the defendant pedestrianÂ was liable: A Cook County judge dismissed Zokhrabov’s lawsuit against Joho’s estate, finding that Joho could not have anticipated Zokhrabov’s injuries. A state appeals court, after noting that the case law involving “flying bodies” is sparse, has disagreed, ruling that “it was reasonably foreseeable” that the high-speed train would kill Joho and fling his body down the tracks toward a platform where people were waiting. Thus, this tragic case drew to a close. And, while this case resulted in an interesting legal issue, it was, nonetheless, a very sad set of circumstances and one that we hope will never be repeated. The[READ MORE…]
Sometimes during litigation, lawyers go too far. They become overzealous and Â let their personal experiences influence their tactical decisions. Unfortunately, doing so can oftentimes lead toÂ disastrousÂ results for your client. That’s exactly what happened in Petraski v. Thedos,Â No. 1â€“10â€“3218, a recent decision issued by the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District. The facts in this case are decidedly tragic. The plaintiff,Â Margaret Petraski was in a vehicle which was struck by the vehicle being driven by Officer Deborah Thedos, of the Cook County Sheriffs Police Department. The car accident occurred at an intersection and Ms. Petraski was was rendered aÂ quadriplegicÂ as a result of her injuries. There was evidence that the defendant drove through a red light while her cruiser’s lights were activated. However, there was also evidence that the plaintiff’s negligence may have contributed to the accident since she had been drinking on the evening of the accident. Following a jury trial, wherein the jury issued a verdict in favor of the defense, the plaintiff appealed and the intermediate appellate court granted a new trial. The defense appealed that decision and on appeal to the First District, the plaintiff argued that the intermediate appellate court properlyÂ concludedÂ that a new trial should be granted. One issue on appeal was whether, during closing statements, defense counsel improperlyÂ commented on the societal impact of drunk driving. The Court described the specific statements at issue as follows: Defense counsel also stated that Officer Thedos was â€œdoing her job as a police officer that we, as residents of Cook County, pay her to do.â€ Finally, defense counsel closed with the following: â€œLet me share one of my images, when the aunt who helped raise me died from a drunk driver. * * * That’s an image I have. What do we want on our roads?â€ Plaintiff’s objection to this statement was overruled, and defense counsel continued: â€œLadies and gentlemen, there was one person, one person that night who had the right to be on that road. That was this police officer.â€ After considering theÂ appropriateÂ legal standards and case precedent, the Court concluded that defense counsel’s statements were highly irregular and likely prejudiced the jury’s deliberations: The trial court found that defense counsel’s statement, however true, was not invited by plaintiff’s counsel and improperly invoked defense counsel’s personal loss to garner sympathy. â€œ[I]t is highly improper for an attorney to do or say anything in argument the only effect of which[READ MORE…]
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