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Contaminated Lettuce Leads to Widespread E. Coli Outbreak

Web Admin - Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Rolling Meadows product liability attorney food poisoningWhen you purchase food at a grocery store or restaurant, you expect it to be safe to eat. Unfortunately, cases occur all too often in which foods containing pathogens are provided to consumers, resulting in serious diseases and even death. A currently-ongoing case involving romaine lettuce illustrates the dangers of contaminated foods, and people injured by food poisoning should be sure to understand their options for recovering compensation under product liability laws.

E. Coli Contamination

An outbreak of food poisoning from romaine lettuce contaminated with E. Coli began in March of 2018. In the ensuing weeks, 149 cases have been reported across 29 states (including Illinois), with 64 people being hospitalized and one person dying so far. These cases were linked to lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region, and the strain of E. Coli in this case is especially virulent, resulting in a high rate of complications.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has advised consumers to avoid eating any romaine lettuce, including whole heads or hearts, bagged lettuce, organic romaine lettuce, and salads containing mixed greens, unless they can confirm that the lettuce was not grown in the Yuma region. While some restaurants and grocery stores have announced that the lettuce they are selling or serving is not from the Yuma region, consumers may prefer to avoid romaine lettuce altogether. People should also be aware that rinsing or washing lettuce is not an effective way to remove E. Coli.

The strain of E. Coli in this case is known as a Shiga-toxin producing E. Coli (STEC). After consuming STEC, symptoms will typically occur within three to four days, and they may include severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. This strain has been shown to result in hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening form of kidney failure.

Contact a Palatine Personal Injury Attorney

Food poisoning from contaminated foods can lead to severe, life-threatening illnesses that can have long-lasting effects on a person’s health and well-being. If you have contracted E. Coli or another disease after eating food bought from a restaurant or grocery store, you may be able to recover financial damages from the party or parties who were responsible. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, our Des Plaines product liability lawyers can help you understand your rights and options, and we will advocate for you to receive the compensation you deserve for the damages you have suffered. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to arrange a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2018/o157h7-04-18/index.html
https://www.consumerreports.org/e-coli/romaine-lettuce-e-coli-cases-climb-what-you-need-to-know/
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/09/health/romaine-e-coli-outbreak-spreads/index.html

Most Frequent Causes of Traffic Accidents

Web Admin - Tuesday, June 21, 2016

causes of traffic accidents, Illinois Personal Injury AttorneyAnyone can find themselves involved in an automobile accident. Even a safe and courteous driver can can quickly become the victim of someone else’s negligence on the road. When an accident occurs, injured victims can suffer from any number of personal injuries or property damages. Therefore, these individuals deserve to be compensated for medical expenses, treatment, lost wages and lost property. 

Why Do Traffic Accidents Occur? 

There are several reasons why drivers are negligent behind the wheel. The most commonly cited causes for traffic accidents include the following: 

1. Distracted driving. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in Illinois. While it is illegal to text and drive in Illinois, many drivers still do it and end up causing accidents. However, fiddling with a cellphone is not the only way that a driver could be distracted while behind the wheel. 

Drivers can be distracted by passengers (e.g., unruly pets, distracting children, talking passengers, etc.), eating or drinking while driving, or searching for items that are on the floor, in the glovebox, or are in a purse or backpack. Drivers who do not stay focused on the task at hand—driving safely—are negligent and are responsible for any accidents and injuries that they may cause. 

2. Driving while tired. All too common in large truck accidents, drivers may get behind the wheel and operate a vehicle while they are too tired to drive safely. A driver may accidentally doze off at the wheel or lose focus on the road. Droopy eyelids and inattentiveness make overly tired drivers unsafe drivers. Moreover, dozing off at the wheel is negligent driving. 

3. Speeding. Most people speed as some point when they are driving; sometimes it is to pass another vehicle and sometimes it is on accident. However, there are drivers who frequently make it a habit to drive at unsafe speeds. Additionally, speeding is commonly cited as a cause of many accidents in Illinois. 

4. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When a driver decides to get behind the wheel while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, then he or she is exercising bad judgement and is placing himself or herself, a well as other drivers, at risk of injury or death. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is clearly negligent, and drivers who operate a vehicle while under the influence should be held accountable for their poor judgement and negligent actions when others are hurt.

Speak with a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer in Illinois Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in traffic accident, then it is important that you speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer immediately. We will work to help you obtain the maximum possible recovery to which you are entitled by thoroughly examining the scope and extent of your injuries, identifying all of the potentially liable parties, and diligently investigating your claim. 

With offices located in Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness and Deer Park, our experienced Illinois personal injury attorneys are here to help ensure your best interests are met. Please call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member of our team today.

    Ken Apicella

    About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Sources:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K12-610.2

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501





Accidents Involving Large Trucks

Web Admin - Thursday, February 04, 2016

accidents involving large trucks, Illinois Personal Injury AttorneyFor many reasons, accidents involving very large trucks, such as semi-trailers or 18-wheelers, are unique. To begin, these accidents have a higher chance of serious injury when passenger vehicles are involved, which can lead to very important personal injury claims. Further, passenger vehicles are usually completely destroyed when hit by a semi-trailer. These accidents are also unique because there are special federal laws regulating the trucking industry. 

Serious Accidents 

A semi-trailer truck pulls one or more detachable trailers and are used to transport various goods and equipment. It is common for drivers of these trucks to travel great distances. As a result, along with the fact that accidents involving these trucks are so dangerous, the trucking industry is regulated by both state and federal law. 

Under the regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a driver of a commercial motor vehicle (such as a semi-trailer truck) is not permitted to drive when his or her ability to drive is impaired due to fatigue or illness to such an extent that it is unsafe to drive. Further, drivers can only be on the road for a limited number of hours. For example, an individual driving a truck carrying property can only drive a maximum of 11 hours after he or she has been off-duty for at least 10 consecutive hours. Some of the other issues that truck regulation addresses include retention of the driving log, the size and weight of the vehicle, and required maintenance of the truck. 

Despite the regulations placed on the trucking industry, accidents still occur. Some of the more common reasons why accidents occur are because the driver is under a tight deadline, the driver deprived of sleep, or the driver is distracted due to using a cellular phone or other device. When these accidents occur, there are many individuals or entities that potentially can be held liable and include the following: 

1. The driver;

2. Trucking company;

3. Owner of the truck;

4. Truck manufacturer; and

5. Parties responsible for inspection or maintenance. 

While the number of potential responsible parties may increase the chance of a successful claim by the plaintiff, it also introduces a greater level of complexity than accidents involving passenger vehicles. Another issue when making a claim for a truck accident is dealing with the truck company’s insurance claims adjuster. The levels of insurance that truck companies must carry are quite often significantly higher than what a driver of a passenger vehicle must carry. As a result, claims adjusters will work very hard to limit the liability of the company. 

Help for Victims 

If you have been injured in an accident involving a large truck or commercial vehicle, it is likely that you have significant medical costs. For more information related to the development of a claim against those responsible for your accident, please reach out to a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm provides help for individuals in the communities of Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park. 

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Source: 

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/392.3


Basic Overview of Medical Malpractice Claims

Web Admin - Tuesday, January 05, 2016

medical malpractice claims, Illinois personal injury attorneyWhen we are sick or injured, we turn to doctors and other health care professionals for help. Unfortunately, in some cases, mistakes are made that can lead to more harm. When those mistakes rise to the level of negligence, it may be possible for the victim to file a medical malpractice claim against those responsible. 

Making a Claim 

In general, the following must exist for an individual to make a medical malpractice claim: 

1. A doctor-patient relationship;

2. The doctor, hospital, or medical professional acted negligently in diagnosing or treating the patient, which is proven by showing that a competent doctor under the same circumstances would not have caused the harm the patient suffered;

3. The negligence caused the patient’s injury; and

4. The patient suffered specific damages, which may include physical pain, mental suffering, increased medical bills, or the inability to work. 

Under Illinois law, a victim must file a claim within two years of the date he or she became aware of, or should have become aware of, the medical malpractice (this period is known as the statute of limitations). However, a claim cannot be made more than four years after the date of the malpractice, regardless of when the malpractice was discovered. 

If the victim is under 18 years old, the statute of limitations is eight years or when the victim turns 22, whichever occurs first. The statute of limitations is important because after the period to file expires, claims are usually barred. 

Plaintiffs in medical malpractice claims must also file a certificate of merit along with their complaint. Many states require a certificate of merit (or similar document) in an attempt to reduce the number of medical malpractice claims, which are often expensive and time-consuming to complete. A certificate of merit demonstrates that there is some indication of malpractice, which can help ensure that the claim is not frivolous. 

Illinois law requires the plaintiff to declare that one of the following is true: 

- Consultation with a health professional was made and that individual determined in a written report that there is a reasonable and meritorious claim the plaintiff can make;

- Consultation with a health professional was not possible because the statute of limitations was close to expiring (the plaintiff has 90 days from filing the complaint to satisfy the written report requirement); or

- Request was made for the patient’s health care records and the person responsible for presenting them failed to do so within 60 days of receipt of the request (the plaintiff has 90 days from the date of receipt of the records to satisfy the written report requirement). 

It is important to note that if the requirements of the certificate of merit are not met, the statute of limitations continues to run, even if the complaint was properly filed. Help for Victims

If you have been injured and believe it was the result of negligence on the part of a doctor or other health care provider, it may be possible for you to recover a damage award. For more information, please contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm provides our services to the communities of Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars. 

Source:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/073500050K13-212.htm


Construction Workers Injured on the Job

Web Admin - Thursday, December 10, 2015

construction workers injured on the job, Illinois Personal Injury AttorneyConstruction sites are dangerous and the involved dangers—falling objects, electrocutions, and heavy machinery—can lead to substantial injuries. Workers who are injured while on a construction site may have several ways of recovering for the injuries they sustain, including personal injury lawsuits. If successful, these claims can be vital in helping victims recover from their injuries. 

Personal Injury Claim 

It is important to note that an injured worker cannot file a lawsuit against his or her employer. Instead, compensation for those injuries is pursued through a workers’ compensation claim. However, third-party claims are possible in certain circumstances. For example, if a subcontractor’s employee is injured while on site, he or she may file a lawsuit against the owner of the site or the general contractor. Third-party claims can lead to recovery for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. 

Numerous individuals may be held responsible for injuries suffered on a construction worksite and include the following: 

1. The site owner may be held liable even if he or she is not present at the time of the accident;

2. The general contractor is responsible for hiring workers and ensuring that the worksite is safe;

3. A subcontractor holds similar duties as the general contractor; however, his or her liability is usually limited to a particular area of the site;

4. Architects may be held liable for design flaws; and

5. Equipment manufacturers may be held liable if their products are faulty or defective. 

Personal injury lawsuits arising out of construction-related accidents are pursued under a negligence theory. For a plaintiff to be successful, he or she must establish the following elements: 

1. The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff;

2. The defendant breached that duty;

3. The plaintiff was injured as a result of the breach; and

4. The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the injury suffered. 

An important issue to be aware of is the statute of limitations—the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit against those individuals claimed to be responsible. For a personal injury or products liability lawsuit, the plaintiff has two years from the date of the accident. A products liability lawsuit arises when a manufacturer makes a defective product. In a wrongful death claim, the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. Critically, if a lawsuit is not filed within these time periods, the right to recover is (usually) lost forever. 

Helping Victims 

Construction workers often operate in environments that have an increased risk of injury. When an injury occurs, it may have been caused by the actions of another person. If you have been injured in a construction-related accident, please contact a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm represents individuals throughout the northwest suburbs in the communities of Schaumburg, Crystal Lake, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness and Deer Park. 

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2048&ChapterID=57

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2430&ChapterID=68


Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Web Admin - Thursday, June 04, 2015

illinois car accidents, Arlington Heights car accident lawyerIn the unfortunate event that you are involved in a car accident, there are several things you should do to help protect any future claims for personal injury you may have against the person at fault (or their insurance company). While it is not pleasant to think about being involved in a car accident, it can be beneficial to have an idea of what steps you should take in case an accident occurs.

Protecting Future Personal Injury Claims

After you have been in an accident, it is important to check to make sure everyone involved is uninjured. If someone is injured, you should contact emergency personnel to obtain proper medical treatment. It is important to remember that there are several requirements under Illinois law in regards to stopping at the accident, rendering aid, and reporting the accident. There are significant penalties for failing to perform any of these duties.

Quite often after an accident, it is part of natural reflex to want to apologize. However, this should be avoided, as it may indicate potential fault. Along similar lines, it is critical to not admit fault to anyone at the scene, such as the other driver or any passengers. Instead, when the police arrive and begin forming the report of the accident, you should provide the officer with an honest description of what happened.

Additionally, it may prove beneficial to take notes of the scene. Pay attention to things like the weather conditions, any stop lights or signs, and traffic conditions. All of this can end up being important while negotiating with the insurance company or during litigation. Utilize the camera on your phone and take photographs. These often provide much better evidence than people’s statements.

If you have even slight pain, as soon as possible after the accident you should be evaluated by a physician or other health care professional. While immediately after the accident you may have only minimal pain, it is possible that increased adrenaline is contributing to masking your pain. Additionally, minor pain may still be the result of a more serious condition.

Aside from obtaining needed treatment, seeking immediate medical attention will strengthen any personal injury claim you may end up making. If medical treatment is not immediately sought, it can be argued that the injury is not serious or nonexistent completely. Alternatively, assuming an injury is not contested, a gap between the accident and medical treatment can make it more difficult to prove the injury was caused by the accident.

During the period in which you are receiving treatment, it is critical that you keep track of the diagnosed injuries and the specific treatment administered. This includes keeping receipts for prescriptions and any medical bills you receive. Additionally, take note of any correspondence you have with doctors or other health care professionals. If any injuries are physically visible, you should take photographs of them, which will help demonstrate the extent and seriousness of those injuries.

Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been involved in a car accident and believe you have suffered injuries as a result, you should reach out to a passionate Illinois personal injury lawyer in your area. Our skilled professionals proudly represent individuals from Crystal Lake, Buffalo Grove, and Arlington Heights, among many other areas. Contact us today to discuss your legal options. 

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Thanksgiving Day Massacre: If Turkeys Had Legal Rights

Web Admin - Friday, November 21, 2014
turkey Thanksgiving criminal charges, Schaumburg personal injury lawyer

Thanksgiving is just around the corner now, so it seems like a good time to engage in an educational hypothetical: “what if turkeys had legal rights?” Suppose Chris Carver is just about to start preparing Tom Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, when Governor Rauner, taking his cue from the annual presidential turkey pardon, decrees that all turkeys are protected and have the same rights as people. The police break down Chris's door, taking him away in handcuffs and saving Tom. This leads to two questions: “what, undoubtedly delicious, crimes could Chris be charged with?” and “what civil claims could Tom bring against him?"

Criminal Charges

There are a variety of crimes that Chris may be guilty of. The two major ones are kidnapping and attempted murder. Kidnapping is defined under Illinois law as “secretly confining someone against their will.” Chris was clearly confining Tom. Assuming it was done secretly, Chris may actually be guilty of aggravated kidnapping, a more serious version of the crime, because he had a carving knife, which would be a deadly weapon for purposes of the law. Aggravated kidnapping is a Class X felony in Illinois, which carries a sentence of between six and 30 years in prison.

However, Chris was doing more than just confining the turkey; he was preparing to cook him, which would be first-degree murder in Illinois. The different degrees of murder in Illinois are based on what the offender was attempting to do. Chris's qualifies for first-degree, the most serious, because he was intentionally trying to kill Tom. The fact that Chris did not succeed in killing Tom Turkey does not matter because he took a “substantial step” towards the murder when he kidnapped Tom. This means that the state could still charge him with attempted first-degree murder, also a Class X felony.

Civil Claims

While the criminal charges would take care of punishing Chris for his crimes, they do not provide Tom with any restitution for his ordeal. Fortunately, Tom can also sue Chris in civil court for several different claims. For instance, Tom can sue Chris for false imprisonment, the civil version of kidnapping, because he held Tom against his will. Tom could also sue Chris for assaulting him, since Chris intentionally acted in a way that put Tom in fear of an immediate harmful contact. Assuming Tom succeeds on these claims he can recover a variety of damages including payment of any medical bills, any wages he lost from his job during his confinement and recover, and compensation for the emotional pain and suffering of almost becoming Thanksgiving dinner.

If you believe you have been a victim of harms like Tom's, or you want to learn more about your criminal rights if you have been charged, contact the Schaumburg personal injury and criminal attorneys at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC today. We assist clients in Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, and throughout the Chicago suburbs. Call 847-934-6000 for a free consultation.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Truck Accidents in Illinois: Understanding the Types of Collisions

Web Admin - Tuesday, May 06, 2014

illinois truck accident lawyerAccidents involving commercial trucks are a special type of traffic accident that differ from normal car wrecks in both practical and legal matters. From a practical standpoint, accidents that include a commercial truck can be especially dangerous. Even though truck accidents only account for three percent of all accidents in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation reports that they make up nine percent of all accidents involving a fatality. Furthermore, nationwide statistics reveal the 83 percent of people killed in truck collisions are either pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles. Given the abnormally severe consequences of truck accidents, it can be important to understand the general law surrounding them, as well as the specific concerns that arise in truck accidents as opposed to other types of crashes.

The Law of Truck Accidents

Truck collisions are governed by the same law that governs most traffic accidents. This means that the lawsuit will most likely proceed under a theory of negligence. In order for the victim to succeed in showing that the defendant acted negligently, they will need to prove four things:

  • - That the defendant had the responsibility to use “reasonable care” to prevent harm from coming to the plaintiff (motorists almost always have this responsibility towards each other);
  • - That the defendant acted carelessly;
  • - That the defendant’s careless act caused the accident; and
  • - That the plaintiff suffered harm in the accident.

While these four things, often called the elements of negligence, arise in most traffic accident lawsuits, the fact that a commercial truck was involved creates unique considerations, especially because the truck driver may be an employee of a company.

Distinct Considerations for Trucks

Commercial trucking accidents differ from normal automobile crashes in a variety of ways. One of the most common changes is the fact that commercial truck drivers are often employees of a company. This means that the person whom the truck driver injured may be able to hold the corporation responsible for the acts of its employee. This could happen through two different methods.

First, the plaintiff could try to show that the trucking company was in some way negligent. Examples of negligent behavior on the part of companies might include improper maintenance of the trucks, insufficient training of the employees, or a failure to properly supervise employees. This last issue of improper supervision can be important since there are particular regulations related to the trucking industry that govern things like the amount of time that a driver may spend on the road consecutively. Failing to abide by these regulations could increase the chance of a serious accident.

Even if a corporation is not negligent in its own actions, the court may still hold it responsible for its driver’s actions under a doctrine known as “vicarious liability.” This doctrine states that employers may be held liable for their employees’ actions in situations where an employee is acting on behalf of the employer.

If you have recently been the victim of a truck collision, reach out to a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our experienced team helps clients in towns all over the northwest suburban area, including in Palatine, Arlington Heights, and Des Plaines.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Pedestrian-Bicycle Collisions in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, March 06, 2014

illinois pedestrian bicycle accident attorneyPedestrians walking down the sidewalk or crossing the street know to watch out for cars, but many are unaware of just how dangerous a passing bicycle can be and what to do in the event that they end up in an accident with a bike. Collisions between bikes and pedestrians are surprisingly dangerous and more common than many people expect. While exact numbers are difficult to find, since many bike accidents go unreported, a study from Hunter College estimates that over 1,000 pedestrians are hospitalized each year for injuries resulting from bike collisions in New York State alone.

Part of the reason for this is a lack of understanding on by both cyclists and pedestrians about what rules of the road bikes must obey. This leads to confusion on the part of the pedestrian about what the cyclists will to do in any given situation. The Illinois Secretary of State maintains a good guide regarding how traffic laws apply to bikes, but the rule of thumb is that a bicycle in the street must obey all laws that any other vehicle would, and a bicyclist on the sidewalk must obey the laws and signals used by pedestrians.

Harm from Bicycle Accidents

While bicycles lack the mass and speed of a car, they can still do serious harm to unprotected pedestrians in an accident. Some of the most common severe injuries that result from these sorts of accidents are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Pedestrians can develop these types of injuries if they suffer a hard blow to the head after a bike knocks them down. The most common symptom of a TBI is a concussion, but they can also result in nausea, vomiting, headaches, seizures, and even coma in more serious cases. Bike accidents can also frequently cause broken bones, depending on the speed at which they happen and the way the pedestrian falls.

What to Do after a Bicycle Accident

The steps to take after a bicycle accident are similar to those that follow a car crash: make sure everyone is ok, call for medical attention if necessary, alert the police, and exchange information with the other party. The major difference is that bike accidents are more prone to turning into hit-and-runs. While bicyclists are obliged to stay at the scene of an accident just like drivers, many do not realize that they have that duty, and some who do know choose to flee the scene anyway. The best course of action here is to get as much identifying information about the fleeing cyclist as possible, and then make a report to the police.

If you have been the victim of a pedestrian versus bicycle accident, reach out to an Illinois personal injury attorney today. They can help you seek the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Our firm lends its experience and knowledge to clients across the northwest suburbs, in places such as Inverness, Deer Park, and Crystal Lake.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Shopping Hazard: Icy Parking Lots in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, January 16, 2014

By Ken Apicella
http://www.dgaalaw.com/ken-apicella.html
KCA@dgaalaw.com

With winter back in full force in Chicago, shoppers should take care when walking to from their cars through the parking lots full of ice and snow. In fact, tens of thousands of people every year suffer serious injuries sustained from severe falls, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control. The law surrounding such falls is somewhat complex, and who bears the responsibility of paying for the injuries depends on the precise circumstances of the case.

A lawsuit relating to slipping and falling in an icy parking lot would be brought under an area of law known as “premises liability.” Premises liability means that people who own land and allow people onto it have a duty to use reasonable care to ensure that people on their land do not come to harm. However, ice and snow pose something of a special case since Illinois has something known as the “natural accumulation” rule.

The natural accumulation rule states that property owners are not liable for those who slip and fall on the snow, provided they did not alter it in some way. For instance, suppose that it snows 11 inches and a person decides to go shopping. If the store chooses to do nothing about the snowfall and the patron slips, then the store would probably not owe them money, barring some sort of special circumstances. However, if the store plowed their parking lot, and the patron hurt themselves climbing over a mound of snow left by the snow plow, then the store would owe them for the injury. Incidentally, under Illinois law, laying down salt in an effort to prevent ice does not count as altering the snow enough to make a store liable for it.

Stores may also be liable for falls sustained in icy parking lots with “underlying defects.” An underlying defect is a problem with the premises that may exacerbate the issues of ice or snow. Improper lighting is a common type of underlying defect. If a store fails to light its parking lot well enough and a person suffers a fall in the treacherous, icy conditions because they could not see well, then they could have a case against the store.

Furthermore, parties who have agreed to remove snow may also potentially be liable for a shopper’s injuries in a fall. If the company that owns a mall promises the stores in the mall that it will clear the snow, and then fails to do so, the mall could be liable to a shopper who slips. This could even be true if the shopper falls in a natural accumulation of snow

Were you recently injured by slipping and falling in an icy parking lot? If so, contact a Rolling Meadows personal injury attorney today. We serve many areas in the northwest suburbs including Barrington, Buffalo Grove, and Schaumburg.


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