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Pursuing Compensation in Cases of Wrongful Death

Web Admin - Friday, May 11, 2018
Mount Prospect wrongful death lawyerThe death of a loved one is devastating for a family. In addition to the grief that family members experience, they will often struggle with financial difficulties, especially when the deceased person is a family’s primary income earner. These issues become even more difficult when the death could have been prevented or occurred because of someone’s negligent or careless actions. When family members are working to put their lives back together after a tragic loss, they should be sure to understand their options for pursuing compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Illinois Wrongful Death Laws

According to Illinois law, wrongful death occurs when a person’s death is caused by someone’s wrongful or negligent acts. Acts are considered negligent if the victim could have pursued a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party or parties had they not died. A liable party may be an individual person or a company or corporation.

A personal representative of the deceased person may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the person’s surviving family members, and damages recovered are for the “exclusive benefit” of those survivors. Wrongful death cases have a two year statute of limitations in Illinois (that is, a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of death), although this statute of limitations is extended to five years (or one year after the final disposition of a criminal case) if the death was caused by “violent intentional conduct” such as murder, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, or reckless homicide.

Wrongful Death Damages

A wrongful death lawsuit can seek to recover damages from the party responsible for the death, and these damages may be economic or non-economic. Types of damages include:

  • - Medical expenses - A family may be compensated for the costs of hospitalization, surgery, or any other medical treatment the deceased person received before their death.
  • - Burial expenses - Compensation may include funeral costs and any expenses related to the disposition of the deceased person’s remains.
  • - Lost income - One of the primary types of economic damages families experience is the loss of the income earned by the deceased person, as well as any benefits they received. Wrongful death compensation can address these damages, providing a family with the financial means to meet their ongoing needs.
  • - Emotional damages - A family may be able to receive compensation for the grief and sorrow they experience because of the loss of their loved one.
  • - Loss of society - In addition to economic damages and emotional harm, a family will be deprived of their relationship with their deceased loved one, and they may be compensated for the loss of love and companionship, as well as the education, instruction, or services which the deceased person would have provided for their family.

Contact a Barrington Wrongful Death Lawyer

If your family member has died because of someone’s actions or negligence, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you understand your options for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. We will work to help you receive the compensation you need to address your financial difficulties and emotional suffering. Contact an Inverness personal injury attorney 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:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2059&ChapterID=57
http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/31.00.pdf

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





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


What Happens If a Pet Bites Someone?

Web Admin - Friday, July 24, 2015

Illinois dog bite lawyer, dog bite liabilityFor many of us, pets are considered another member of the family. While pet owners love their pets, they may end up costing their owners money if they bite another person through personal injury lawsuits. Though dogs and cats are the typical animal involved, Illinois law is applicable to all living creatures, other than human beings, which may be affected by rabies.  

Owner Responsibility

Under Illinois law, an administrator is appointed to attempt to control the spread of rabies and the overpopulation of dogs and cats. The administrator uses sterilization, humane education, rabies vaccines, impoundment, and any other means deemed necessary to accomplish these goals. The administrator is usually a veterinarian licensed by Illinois.

In the event that an animal bites a person, the animal is confined under the observation of a licensed veterinarian for 10 days. Immediately upon confinement, the veterinarian reports the clinical condition of the animal to the administrator. The report contains the owner’s name and address, date of confinement, breed, description, age and sex of the animal, and whether the animal has been spayed or neutered.

At the end of the confinement period, the veterinarian submits a written report to the administrator indicating the final disposition of the animal. If the animal has been inoculated against rabies and the veterinarian deems it satisfactory, the animal may be confined to a house or in any other manner in which it will be prohibited from biting a person for a period of 10 days. At the end of this confinement, the animal is examined by the veterinarian.

An owner who is aware that his or her animal has bitten someone must inform the administrator. It is illegal for the owner to euthanize, sell, give away, or otherwise dispose of the animal until it is released by the administrator.

If an animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures a person, the owner of such animal is civilly liable to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused by the attack or attempted attack. This places owners under strict liability, meaning they can be ordered to pay damages without the victim proving negligence or any fault on the part of the owner; all that needs to be proven is injury caused by the animal.

In certain circumstances, a determination may be made as to whether a dog is considered a dangerous dog. This determination must be proven by a preponderance of evidence. The decision is made after meeting with the owner, gathering medical and veterinary evidence, and interviewing witnesses. A dog is not considered dangerous if the conduct that led to the inquiry was justified. Some examples of justified behavior is when the threatened person was harming the dog or the dog was protecting itself.

A determination that a dog is dangerous is appealable. The owner must file a complaint against the administrator in circuit court within 35 days of receiving the notice of the determination. The determination that a dog is dangerous places more responsibility on the owner, including mandatory spaying or neutering, microchipping, and adult supervision anytime the dog is in public.

Personal Injury Assistance

If you have been bitten by another person’s pet, it is possible that you have a valid claim for personal injury against the owner. For more information, speak with an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. Our firm proudly represents individuals in areas such as Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Rolling Meadows, and Arlington Heights.

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.

Boating Safety Laws in Illinois

Web Admin - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

illinois boating accident lawyerOne of the most common summer activities around Illinois is boating. It is a great way for people to get out and enjoy the water and the good weather. However, boating is also a dangerous activity if people do not do it with the proper care. 

Consequently, Illinois has a variety of boating safety laws in place to help ensure that everyone can safely take advantage of the summer weather while it lasts. These laws were recently updated following the death of a 10-year-old boy in an alleged drunk boating accident. The new laws include further restrictions and increased penalties on operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol, special signaling requirements for safety and visibility, and boating licenses for younger operators.

Boating and Alcohol

One of the most common causes of boating fatalities is the improper use of alcohol while boating. Just like driving a car, operating a boat while intoxicated increases the risk of death or serious injury while on the water. In fact, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, despite alcohol being involved in approximately one in six boating accidents overall, it has been a factor in one-third of the boating deaths this year.

Boaters should keep in mind that the legal limit for operating a boat or personal watercraft is the same as it is for driving a car: 0.08 percent blood alcohol content. The penalties for such violations can be severe, including thousands of dollars in fines and up to 14 years in prison if the impaired boat operation results in a person's death. Additionally, if a person is convicted of three DUIs, then the state may take their boat from them as part of the penalty. Boating DUIs can also affect a person's ability legally to drive their car since courts may punish intoxicated boaters by suspending their driver's licenses.

Signaling and License Requirements

The updated laws also have new requirements as far as signaling and licensing requirements are concerned. Now, any boat that is pulling someone behind it in a tube or on water skis must display a bright orange flag from the highest point on the boat. The flag must be at least a one-foot square, and it must stay out the entire time that the boat pulls the person. The law also added a new license requirement for boat operators between the ages of 12 and 17. Starting in 2016, minor operators must complete a boating safety course before they can operate a motorboat.  

If you have recently been involved in a boating accident caused by the negligence of others, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our skilled team of lawyers represents clients in many northwest suburban towns like Rolling Meadows, Barrington, 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.

Swimming Pool Accident Injuries and Legal Concerns

Web Admin - Thursday, April 24, 2014

illinois swimming pool injury attorneyNow that the warm weather is finally on the way, people across Illinois are starting to look forward to a nice summer swim. However, this relaxing summertime activity can quickly turn dangerous if people are careless. Hundreds of people each year die as a result of water related injuries, according to information compiled by the Centers for Disease Control. Young children are at especially high risk for these injuries, accounting for approximately 20 percent of those deaths. Yet, people who suffer swimming injuries like this are not without recourse. There are a variety of legal claims available for the different injuries that may occur due to a swimming accident.

Types of Swimming Pool Injuries

Swimming pools can be responsible for a several different types of injuries. One of the most common is, of course, fatalities caused by drowning, but swimming pools can be dangerous in other ways as well. For instance, even if a person survives nearly drowning, the oxygen deprivation can cause permanent brain damage. Further, people diving into pools can often injure themselves by failing to check the depth of the water, which can cause them to strike their heads on the bottom of the pool. This can result in traumatic brain injuries like concussions, as well as damage to a person's spinal cord.

Types of Legal Claims for Swimming Pool Accidents

When a person sustains an injury in a swimming pool, they have two legal claims that they can pursue: premises liability and products liability. Premises liability, probably the more commonly used argument, takes effect when a person injures themselves on someone else's property. The law gives landowners a duty to use reasonable care to ensure that others do not injure themselves because of defects or hazards on their property. That means that pool owners may be liable for a person's injuries if they failed to properly maintain or secure their pool and someone was injured as a result. For example, if a pool owner failed to properly label the pool's shallow end, and a child dove in and injured their head or spine, the pool's owner may be liable for that injury.

Products liability claims do not attempt to hold the pool's owner liable, but are instead aimed against the poo's manufacturer. These claims occur when there is some inherent defect in the pool's manufacturing or design that made it unsafe for public use. Suppose the manufacturer improperly designed one of the pool's drains, and someone got their hand stuck in it, resulting in an injury. That injury might give rise to a products liability claim against the manufacturer since they should have made sure that their product was safe before bringing it to the market.

If you or your child has recently been injured in a swimming pool accident, seek help from a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney. Our firm lends its experience to clients across the northwestern suburbs, including Buffalo Grove, Barrington, 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.

Recovering in a Hit and Run Accident

Web Admin - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

illinois hit and run lawyerAfter a car accident, people have a variety of duties that the law requires them to fulfill. Among these duties is the requirement that the drivers stop and exchange insurance information. This allows the parties the opportunity to recover from the insurance companies for the damages once fault has been decided. However, some drivers ignore this duty and instead flee the scene of an accident. In fact, these hit and run drivers are responsible for over 1,000 deaths every year, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

This trend of hit and run accidents is a particular problem because victims of these sorts of accidents can find it difficult to receive compensation from the driver who caused their injuries. Yet, such victims are not without recourse. People injured in hit and run accidents may be able to use a variety of resources to discover the identity of the other driver. Further, even if the other driver cannot be identified, the injured person may be able to file a claim with their own insurance company to help handle their medical costs and repairs.

Identifying the Driver

Hit and run accidents can be a chaotic experience, which makes it difficult for the victim to get any identifying information about the fleeing car. However, injured drivers do have some tools at their disposal. Oftentimes, there will be eyewitnesses on the scene who can help provide descriptions of the car or license plate numbers. Additionally, there may be video evidence of the accident from nearby traffic cameras that can help police determine the identity of the fleeing driver. Finally, some hit and run drivers experience remorse for leaving the scene. Drivers who flee the scene out of fear, especially those under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, have been known to turn themselves in to the police at a later date. All of these methods can help tie a person to the accident, and allow victims to receive full and fair compensation for their injuries.

Without an Identified Driver

In the event that the driver who perpetrated the hit and run cannot be identified, injured motorists may still have the ability to file a claim using their own insurance to receive help with their medical and repair bills. Many insurance policies include insurance for collisions with uninsured or underinsured motorists. These policies are mostly intended to come into use when the policyholder gets into an accident with someone without insurance or someone whose insurance will not cover all the damages. However, many of these policies count unidentified drivers as uninsured drivers, so it is possible that they would cover hit and run accidents.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident, contact a Palatine personal injury lawyer. Our team of experienced attorneys serves clients in towns like Deer Park, Inverness, 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.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance Claims

Web Admin - Thursday, April 17, 2014

illinois uninsured motorist attorney

Driving is such a mundane part of many people's lives that they often take it for granted. However, because driving is so common, it is only a matter of time for most people before they end up in an auto accident. In fact, according to estimates done based on car insurance industry data, most people will experience three to four accidents over the course of their lives. That means that for the majority of drivers, car accidents are a matter of when, rather than a matter of if.

Consequently, carrying car insurance protection is not only a good idea, but it is actually legally required in Illinois. However, despite these laws, many motorists take to the roads without any insurance at all. Furthermore, even those who do carry state minimum coverage may not have enough to cover the injuries and property damage that often arises from more serious accidents. That means that drivers should take their security into their own hands by maximizing theiruninsured and underinsured motorist (UM or UIM) coverage.

What Is UM/UIM Coverage?

UM covers both your property damage and bodily injury in cases where the driver at fault for the accident either does not have insurance or has too little insurance to pay for the full cost of the crash. Many"full coverage" insurance policies in Illinois already have this sort of coverage built into them. It is important to read the policy carefully to understand whether they involve UM coverage, as well as the maximum amounts of property damage and personal injury that the plan will cover.  Ask you agent to maximize your UM/UIM coverage.

Using UM/UIM Coverage

UM coverage comes into play in two circumstances. The first circumstance occurs when there is no way to receive damages from the driver at fault for the accident. Often, that is because the driver at fault is illegally driving without insurance, but UM coverage may also protect against hit-and-run accidents where the driver at fault flees the scene.

The second circumstance occurs when a person ends up in an accident with a driver whose insurance will not cover the full cost of the accident. Suppose someone with $100,000 in personal injury UM coverage is hit by a driver with only $30,000 of personal injury insurance. If the accident is serious enough that the medical bills exceed $30,000, then the driver with UM insurance can pursue a claim against their own insurance company to make up the difference.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, seek help from a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Filing UM insurance claims can be a complicated process, and our team of attorneys helps people across the northwest suburbs in towns like Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, and Crystal Lake. Our attorneys will help ensure that you receive the full protection provided in your insurance contracts.

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.

Jet Ski Accidents and Injury Lawsuits

Web Admin - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

illinois jet ski injury lawyer

With the warmer months approaching, people are once again going to start taking advantage of Lake Michigan, the Fox River, the Chain of Lakes and other inland waterways. Among the many popular waterfront activities available are the use of jet skis, also known as personal watercrafts (PWCs). While these PWCs are a fun way to spend a summer afternoon, they can also turn dangerous if riders do not take proper precautions. In fact, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, hundreds of people each year are killed or injured in PWC accidents. Many of these accidents are caused by careless PWC operators, but there are also other people who could be held responsible.

Responsibility for Jet Ski Accidents

The majority of lawsuits related to jet ski accidents proceed against the PWC’s driver based on the legal theory of negligence. Negligence is a legal doctrine that requires people to pay for harm that they caused through their own carelessness. Common negligent causes of PWC accidents include excessive speed, distracted boating, and operating a PWC while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

However, more people than just the operator of the jet ski could be responsible for the crash. For instance, many companies rent PWCs to tourists or beachgoers. These companies are responsible for properly maintaining their jet skis and making sure that the people to whom they rent are competent pilots. A failure to fulfill either of these requirements could make them liable for damage that their jet skis cause.

Courts may also hold the manufacturers of the jet ski in question responsible for harm that comes to users. This would happen under the products liability doctrine, which requires companies to pay for dangerous products that they make. There are several types of flaws that could give rise to a products liability lawsuit: design defects, manufacturing defects, and failures to warn:

  • Design defects occur when the producer of the jet ski fails to design it safely enough. For instance, a jet ski designed so that a hot wire next to the gas tank presents a fire risk might qualify as a design defect.

  • Manufacturing defects occur when the company designs the PWC properly, but fails to build it to the right specifications. A flawed manufacturing process that led to the jet ski having a leaking hull could be a manufacturing defect.

  • Failures to warn are slightly different. Rather than resulting from an inherent danger in the product, they arise when the manufacturer fails to warn the user about a possible danger in the product or fails to provide enough instructions about the safe way to use the device.

If you have been injured in an accident with a PWC, seek the counsel of a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney. They can examine your specific case and identify different parties who may be responsible for your injuries. Our firm helps clients in a variety of northwest suburban towns including Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, and Inverness.

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 Traffic Accidents in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, March 13, 2014

illinois pedestrian accident attorneyWhile many traffic accidents can cause the victims serious injuries, accidents involving a car and a pedestrian can be particularly devastating. The pedestrian’s complete lack of protection can leave them especially vulnerable to injury. In fact, of the hundreds of pedestrian-vehicle accidents that happen each year in suburban Cook County, almost 25 percent of them result in fatal or incapacitating injuries, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s crash summary report. Pedestrians should be aware of the common causes and consequences of traffic accidents, as well as the legal ramifications of one, in order to keep themselves safe.

Causes and Consequences of Pedestrian Traffic Accidents

Traffic accidents involving pedestrians have a wide variety of different causes. One of the most common causes is simple carelessness on the part of the driver. Failing to stay alert for pedestrians at crosswalks and in the street can lead to serious accidents. Evening and night driving can also exacerbate these problems because the low light makes people more difficult to see. 

This is especially true for elderly drivers whose increased risk for vision problems already makes them more likely to be involved in car accidents. Violations of traffic laws are also common causes of pedestrian injury, especially driving under the influence and speeding. Accidents resulting from speeding can be particularly problematic because the higher speeds can cause more severe injuries to the unprotected pedestrian.

When these accidents do happen, the injuries that arise can be quite serious. Pedestrians can experience a range of injuries, including:

  • - Broken bones;

  • - Head trauma;

  • - Brain injuries;

  • - Paraplegia;

  • - Quadriplegia;

  • - Amputations;

  • - Disfigurements; and

  • - Injuries to the neck, back, and spinal cord.

The Legal Side of Pedestrian Traffic Accidents

These sorts of accidents can give rise to personal injury claims on the part of the pedestrian if they suffer a serious enough injury. The personal injury case will hinge on the legal concept of “negligence.” This means that the driver, or their insurance, will likely have to compensate the pedestrian for their injuries if the court finds that the driver acted negligently, meaning that they acted without reasonable care for the other people around them. This concept is also important when judging the pedestrian’s actions, because the pedestrian may have been negligent as well.

For instances in which both the pedestrian and the driver were negligent, Illinois judges fault based on “comparative negligence.” The doctrine of comparative negligence means that a person’s ability to recover for their injuries is reduced if they were also acting carelessly. For example, if a pedestrian is 20 percent responsible for their injuries, they would only be able to recover 80 percent of their costs. Furthermore, if a pedestrian is more than 50 percent responsible for their own injuries, they cannot recover at all.

If you have recently been involved in a pedestrian-automobile accident, contact an Illinois personal injury attorney in your area. We represent clients in matters like this in many northwest suburban towns, such as Crystal Lake, Des Plaines, and Arlington Heights.

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.


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