Irrespective of whether an injury is compensable through a personal injury lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim, the sooner an injured victim contacts a lawyer, the greater the recovery will likely be. From auto accidents to workplace injuries, getting the best medical care is crucial. One problem accident victims face is that insurance companies try to minimize fault and reduce claim values. Seeking medical care and injury compensation is the right of injured people. Legal representation is often the best course of action. (Article continues below Infographic) ______ Work Related Injuries People who were injured at work are entitled to workers’ compensation. The problem they face is that employer and insurance legal departments want to reduce costs associated with injuries. Workplace incidents can take many forms, and may happen at remote job sites. According to the Insurance Information Institute, traffic injuries are a major cause of workplace accidents. Sorting out the red tape demands the best accident lawyer available. Auto Accidents The fault in an auto accident may not be obvious. The fault may be shared, complicating insurance responsibility. Insurance companies try to minimize claims even if the fault is obvious. This can result in injured parties receiving inadequate medical attention, highlighting the need to have the best accident attorneys on the case. After an auto accident, a medical evaluation should be performed immediately. Injuries may not be visible, and may take medical attention to identify. Home and Property Negligence is the most common cause of household injuries. The negligent party may be a landlord, neighbor, or even a contractor. The pet or property of a neighbor can cause immediate, permanent injuries. Personal injury is well-defined in legal statutes, and can be resolved to benefit the injured. Common causes of personal injury include: Animal Bites or Attacks Loose or Damaged Flooring Contractor Mistakes Wet Flooring Slips and Falls Loose or improper flooring is the leading cause of slip and fall accidents. This type of accident can occur at home, in the workplace, or even while shopping. Slip and fall accidents can lead to serious injury, including Traumatic Brain Injury. When someone is hurt by a fall, it is important to seek medical and legal help as soon as possible. Accidents are a fact of life. Acquiring the best care and compensation is up to the individual. The best accident lawyers can help injured people get the help they deserve. Personal injury law[READ MORE…]
Nearly 200 new laws went into effect in Illinois on January 1 this year, making it important to know the most potentially relevant driving laws. This year, the state enhanced two existing laws regarding driving. While accident lawyers may help anyone affected by these laws, it is the responsibility of every Illinois driver to understand and comply with them in order to minimize driving risks. Expanding Scott’s Law The biggest change for Illinois drivers is to an already existing law called Scott’s Law, or the Move Over Law. The law was enacted to protect emergency personnel working on the side of the road. The law required that all drivers either slow down or move into a lane further from the shoulder when passing an emergency vehicle. As of January 1, drivers are now required to take these precautions for any car that is on the side of the road with its hazard lights on. Those who do not either slow down or move over may be fined up to $10,000 and may have their license suspended. Higher Fines for Risky Driving at Railroad Crossings Any driver who opts to either go around a lowered railroad crossing or rush through an arm that is in the process of lowering will be fined at least double the old fine. A first-time offender will be fined $500, and every subsequent offense will cost an additional $1,000. Some police departments are considering stationing officers at train crossings to enforce the law. Getting stuck at a railroad crossing is a frustration that some people are willing to avoid at all costs. Similar to distracted driving, drivers can be so focused on avoiding this inconvenience that they do not recognize how risky their driving has become. Driving can be a dangerous activity, but people become desensitized to those dangers. Modifying existing laws helps ensure that drivers are safer when on or to the side of the road. In the event of a collision, accident lawyers can help review options and compensation eligibility.
Once upon a time, Volvo took a risk and advertised its safety features. The campaign was derided at the time, when style, speed and price were the priority concerns to car shoppers. But over time the marketing strategy has worked and that is now a predominant identification with the Swedish carmaker’s brand. The company introduced three-point seat belts in 1958, decades before they were required of U.S. automakers. Volvo was also the first to make airbags a standard feature. Eventually, American consumers caught on and realized that the death rate on the highways – not to mention the even greater numbers of people living with permanent, life-changing injuries and disabilities as a result of auto accidents – called for safer vehicles. Another factor was the popularity of sport-utility vehicles (SUVs). Despite their tank-like appearance, earlier models were found to be vulnerable to rollovers, particularly when taking corners too quickly. In a recent year, 2011, more than 60 people died and 2,700 suffered serious injuries in overturned vehicle accidents in Illinois. But the essential problem, too high a center of gravity, has been corrected in newer vehicles. The power of lawsuits and attorneys can produce positive change where it comes to vehicle design. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires the following in all new cars: airbags and passive restraint systems; inside trunk handles; tire-pressure monitors; and electronic stability control (ESC), which automatically brakes wheels that are slipping. What are not mandated are side airbags and anti-lock brakes, even though both are considered very good ways to minimize injuries from car accidents. Other features that aren’t mandated by the NHTSA are: Head restraints, back seat – While mandated in front, they are not required in the back seats of vehicles. Anyone who typically hauls passengers – hello soccer moms? – should consider this to be important. Traction control – This system adjust engine power output, primarily with four-wheel antilock brake systems, such that stability is improved when the driver applies excess power. Car weight – The basic physics of vehicles in collisions gives the advantage to larger, heavier vehicles. This means, for better or worse, that SUVs and semi-tractor trailers will always dominate subcompact vehicles. The five-star rating system on vehicle performance in crash test safety, developed by the NHTSA, is called into doubt because the tests do not account for vehicle weight. The ultimate safety device is the human[READ MORE…]
A woman who was recently injured in a fatal bus accident here in Chicago has chosen the Ankin Law Office LLC to represent her in a personal injury lawsuit. Attorney John Topolewski sat on a phone call that the victim, 34-year-old Martine Anoine, held with the Chicago Tribune. Four months ago, Antoine moved to Chicago from New York to study sign language interpretation at Columbia University. On one early evening in June, she and two other passengers were on the bus. Topolewski provided a screenshot of her Ventra card statement with a timestamp of 5:29 p.m. for the No. 148 bus. Shortly thereafter, two people, who were not emergency responders, helped her from the wrecked bus and she was taken to St. Joseph Hospital, Topolewski said. She suffered neck and knee injuries and bruises elsewhere. Describing the experience as violent and “extremely frightening,” Antoine said she was thrown from her seat into the seats in front of her. The Chicago Transit Authority bus allegedly ran a red light, killing a woman and causing injuries to seven others. The CTA cited reports from the Chicago Fire Department and the Chicago Police Department stating that the bus driver was alone, but Antoine’s ticket clearly demonstrates otherwise. Shortly before the incident, Antoine recalled the driver, 48-year-old Donald Barnes, yelling at a vehicle in his path. Looking up from her phone, Antoine saw a black vehicle near the left side of the bus and a silver or gold car to the right. The No. 148 bus had departed the stop at Harrison and State streets and was moving toward its next stop. Around 5:50 p.m., officials said the bus came to a red light on Lake and stopped. Then it suddenly accelerated into traffic on Michigan. The bus jumped a curb and finally came to a stop on a pedestrian plaza. “It was literally something out of an action movie,” Antoine said, noting that she did not think that the driver came to a full stop at the light. Aimee Coath, a 51-year-old from Flossmoor, was killed when the bus ran her over. According to an attorney from the firm that filed a wrongful death lawsuit on the family’s behalf, the Coaths had been planning a wedding for Aimee’s daughter. The suit names the CTA and Barnes as the defendants. Barnes, who has been working with the CTA since September of last year, was[READ MORE…]
Victims of car accidents and other emergency events will now be able to receive medical aid faster than before with the opening of Chicago’s first vertiport. Vertiports offer an efficient new alternative to emergency ground transportation by providing a space for aircraft to vertically take off and land. Vertiport flights can streamline travel from crowded downtown areas to nearby airports or medical centers. This means first responders can access injured victims much more quickly, improving survival rates and potentially lowering the risk of medical complications. Vertiport Chicago, which is currently the largest vertiport in the U.S., is situated 3.5 miles from downtown Chicago. The 10-acre facility includes a terminal, a hangar, space for eight parked helicopters and one spot for takeoff and landing. The vertiport officially opened in late April, making the new takeoff and landing zone available to paying clients and local emergency responders, including paramedics, police and firefighters. Since Vertiport Chicago is built on land that belongs to the Illinois Medical District, the facility will give medical helicopters top priority. These helicopters will be able to take off or land before all other air traffic without paying any landing fees. This arrangement should enable local medical professionals to more efficiently deliver organs and move trauma patients to medical centers where they can receive needed care. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2012 found that trauma patients experienced markedly better outcomes when they were transported to the hospital via helicopter. These patients were 16 percent more likely to survive than patients transported by ambulance. The patients who were moved by helicopter also had a higher chance of progressing to rehabilitative treatment, rather than requiring ongoing assisted care. This study did not determine why air transportation might offer such distinct benefits for trauma patients. However, people who are taken to the hospital via ambulance may be at risk for delays and additional injuries. Eliminating these issues may make a critical difference for people who have been seriously injured in car crashes, workplace accidents and other traumatic incidents. The new vertiport will also serve the community by creating jobs, attracting businesses and drawing in tourists. Already, the vertiport is allowing logistics company DHL to expedite daily deliveries to clients in downtown Chicago. The availability of chartered vertiport flights, which will allow executives to travel to O’Hare International Airport in 10 minutes, may give more businesses[READ MORE…]
It is estimated that over 11 million people in the United States today are undocumented immigrants and out of that number over 511,000 of that population live here in Illinois. Despite the fact they are not legal visitors or residents, these people purchase property, create businesses, work and drive on the state’s roads. Driving is considered a privilege and people who are issued driver’s licenses have taken a course on driver safety and studied the state’s road laws. Many undocumented immigrants are driving without formal training or understanding of these laws and this puts them at risk of getting into a car accident and harming others. Last year, Illinois sought to improve road safety by providing a program that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license which is valid for up to three years. The program, called a temporary visitor driver’s license, requires undocumented immigrants to show the following: Proof of insurance Pass written driving test Pass road test Pass vision test Proof of residency in Illinois for at least one year While the licenses make it legal for undocumented immigrants to drive, they cannot be used as a form of identification and they are color coded to indicate their difference from a regular driver’s license. Furthermore, these licenses are only for driving a car or motorcycle – they do not permit holders to operate commercial vehicles. Since its launch, around 190,000 people have contacted the state to set up appointments to obtain the special license and over 85,000 people have received one. The program encourages immigrants to study driving rules in Illinois, thereby helping them understand what road signs mean and how to identify crosswalks. Immigrants can also sign up for driving courses that help them develop defensive driving skills, avoid engaging in dangerous behaviors such as distracted driving and tailgating, and how to navigate heavy traffic without putting themselves and others in danger. Recently the Chicago Tribune pointed out that almost 800 traffic accidents occur in the state daily. In 2013, the state saw a 4 percent increase in crashes. Some believe this rise is due to the drop in gasoline prices which has encouraged people to drive more. Factors that contributed to the accidents include speeding, alcohol use, weather, wildlife on roadways and inexperience. Now that Illinois has opened a path for undocumented drivers to obtain a license, it is hoped that fewer accidents will be[READ MORE…]
General Motors (GM) has set a new precedence for auto recalls this year, as the first cavalcade of auto recalls quickly turned the safety notices into background noise ignored by many of the effected car owners. GM started the avalanche on February 2014, when they announced that they had to fix a fatally flawed ignition switch on some of their small cars. That was quickly expanded twice and now numbers 2.6 million cars worldwide. The defect is linked to 13 deaths and 54 accidents. Hoping to clean house and avoid more government fines for recall foot-dragging, GM has announced 38 recalls this year through June, covering 14.4 million U.S. vehicles. GM alone will far exceed the past decade’s annual auto industry average of 21 million cars and light trucks. GM’s stepped-up recall pace could continue into midsummer, said GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss. In the past month, GM had announced four more recalls, with the largest for 464,712 Chevrolet Camaros. The Camaro ignition key can be bumped out of position, a problem linked to three crashes and four minor injuries. Meanwhile, other automakers are clearing their cupboards of safety-related issues to stay out of the sights of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is promising tougher oversight to prevent a repeat of GM’s 13-year dawdling before the switch was recalled. So far this year, other auto manufacturers have announced 47 recalls, covering 8.54 million U.S. vehicles, according to government records. That’s a lot, even though it seems otherwise when contrasted with GM’s overwhelming numbers. The millions of recalls that have been issued this year made the situation worse and owner response rates even lower. The typical consumer reaction seems to be, “My car’s running fine. Do I need to bother?” The fact is, car owners should be bothered, but getting them to grasp that fact is a bit like trying to push a piece of string. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that about 75% of recalled vehicles eventually get fixed, depending upon the value and age of the vehicle, how serious the problem seems and how likely the owner thinks that the issue might effect their vehicle. The agency believes toning down recall commotion would hurt, not help; safety is their number one concern and they want to increase and improve ways to reach consumers, not limit the number of recalls. It’s easy to see[READ MORE…]
Winter is causing a lot of potholes and problems for drivers in the Chicago metro area. Many auto repair shops and insurance adjusters are experiencing a backlog of work as autos experience flat tires or more expensive repairs such as transmission damage. As a driver you should be aware of the fact that the City does compensate motorists for damage. Claims are handled by the Chicago City Clerk’s office. Car owners are directed to the website . Once there, go to the section labeled Auto Damage (caused by pothole, accident with a city vehicle, etc.). Download, compete and sign the Damage to Vehicle claim form. The form includes basic information including the date, time and location of the incident. Submit this form along with a copy of the paid receipt for the repairs performed to the car OR a copy of two written estimates for the cost of repairing the damage as well as a copy of a police report for the incident that caused the damage. While you do not have to report damage from a pothole to the police, anything you can do to substantiate your claim, such as including photographs, is helpful in moving your claim through the approval process. The documents must be submitted by mail or in person at any of the three City Clerk’s offices. Once received, the City Council’s Finance Committee reviews the claims. Their staff is available to update car owners on the status of their claim(s). The City sets aside some of the money generated from annual city sticker sales to pay for the repair of cars damaged by city streets. Drivers who properly file a claim and are approved can expect to wait up to a year, though often they are paid only a portion of the repair cost. While waiting for your check, you can follow the Pot Hole Tracker . The site, along with the new Plow Tracker, offers viewers the ability to see the potholes that the Department of Transportation has patched within the last seven days. Pothole repairs are based on calls to Chicago’s City 311 service request number. Pothole season ends in March or April, depending upon the weather. If you are in serious car accident, do not hesitate to contact Ankin Law Offices.
Most people discover that they have improper insurance coverage when it is too late. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are involved in an accident with someone who is inappropriately insured and find out there is not enough insurance money to cover your expenses. Auto insurance protects some of the most important people in your life, “you and your passengers”. For most people their automobile is one of their most valuable assets, next to their home. Appropriately, having good insurance coverage should be taken very seriously. Some people drive with substandard insurance or low insurance coverage or even illegally drive with no insurance coverage at all. It’s critical to keep in mind that not all policies are alike, so it is essential that you understand the details of what you are protecting, and how coverage options apply (or don’t) to you and your family. Most insurance agents recommend that you carry, at the very least, “Full Coverage.” However, you should consider getting “Complete Coverage” as the price difference is not that much greater and it will give you additional services and peace of mind should you be in an accident. Accidents happen and that is what insurance is for. If you are concerned about costs, it is important to understand your deductible as that is what your rate is based upon. The lower your deductible, the higher your monthly insurance premium; the higher your deductible, the lower your rate will be. For example, if you have a $250 deductible, you will pay more for your premium than if you have a $500 dollar deductible. The best advice I was ever given for determining what my deductible should be was to consider what I could afford to pay if I was in an accident. Below is a table of what you get for Full and Complete Automobile Coverage: Full Coverage Personal injury liability coverage Uninsured/Underinsured coverage Property damage liability coverage Collision Medical payment coverage or Med Pay Complete Coverage All of the above plus Emergency Road Service Car Rental Death Benefits Loss of Earnings Special Coverage/Umbrella Policies If you own your home out right, have a lot of equity in your home or have a large net worth, then you should make sure that you carry enough coverage to assure that someone can’t sue you for everything that you worked hard to build. Medical payment coverage[READ MORE…]
I was on a friend’s boat fishing on Lake Michigan when we were hit by another boat. Only two of the four of us in the boat were wearing life preservers so my friend didn’t want to fill out an accident report even though the other boater was at fault. He and the owner of the other boat exchanged information and agreed to settle the damage privately. All 4 of us got to shore but I have continued to have back pain for the last two weeks. What should I do? First, let’s start out with the facts. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) IDNR reported 103 boating accidents in 2011, resulting in 71 injuries and 25 fatalities. The five most common types of boating accidents are collision with another vessel, collision with a fixed object, flooding, skier mishap and capsizing. Fatalities can often be prevented if personal flotation devices (PFDs) are properly used on board. Illinois law requires that there be one PFD available for each person on a boat or watercraft, and that anyone 12 years old or younger must wear a life jacket on board any watercraft shorter than 26 feet at all times while the boat is on the water. So, as long as there were 4 PFDs on board the boat and all four of you are adults, your friend doesn’t need to be worried about the law, just his own lack of common sense. Whether you are on the highway or on water, the first thing you should always do in the case of an accident is to file an accident report with the appropriate authorities. The Illinois Boat Registration Act of 1959 requires the operator of every vessel to file a report in writing whenever a boating accident results in loss of life, injury to a person or property damage in excess of $2000. While accidents that result in death of or serious injury to any person must be reported to the DNR by the vessel operator within 48 hours of the accident, all other reportable accidents should be reported within five days. The same rules that apply to auto or workplace accidents where you are injured should be followed here also. Go to a doctor to determine the extent of your injuries. Make sure you have a clear diagnosis of issues as well as copies of the doctor’s report and any[READ MORE…]
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