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Collecting Workers' Compensation After a Parking Lot FallTypically around one-third of Illinois’ workers’ compensation claims during the winter are from injuries caused by slips and falls. Snow and ice present a hazard for any employees who must walk from their vehicles to their place of employment. Normally, a workers’ compensation injury must occur when an employee is on the clock or performing a work-related task. However, Illinois has a parking lot exception that allows employees to receive compensation if injured from a slip or fall in an employer’s parking lot.

Parking Lot Exception

Illinois courts have ruled that an employer must cover worker injuries that occur in a parking lot because it is an extension of the employer’s premises. It does not matter whether the employer owns the parking lot as long as it is the designated area where employees are expected to park. The court will also consider whether the employee is exposed to a risk of injury that is different from what a member of the general public would normally experience. For instance, a court once rejected a woman’s workers’ compensation claim because she parked in a lot that was meant for both employees and customers of a store. However, the court may have accepted her claim if the store had required its employees to park in a designated area.

Safety Measures

Employers are not required to clear their parking lots of snow and ice, but their negligence would increase the risk of employees being injured and filing for workers’ compensation. Attentive employers will have a contract with a professional snow removal company, as well as salt and sand on site to create safer walkways. They will also instruct employees about safe walking practices, such as:

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Five Tips for Teen Drivers During the WinterPart of learning to be a driver is having your first winter driving experience and understanding how it affects your road safety. Teens who have recently obtained their driver’s license may not fully appreciate the dangers of driving through snow and ice. In the worst scenario, their inexperience may result in a vehicle accident that leaves them injured or worse. As parents, you can prepare your teen for winter driving with a few safety tips:

  1. Staying Warm: It is important to dress appropriately for the weather, including warm gloves and boots. Hands and feet that are numb from the cold may not respond quickly enough when the driver needs to take decisive action. Being cold in general can also be distracting. Remind them that the interior heating system may take a couple of minutes to warm up the vehicle if it has been sitting cold for a while.
  2. Decreased Traction: Wintery conditions on the road can make starting and stopping take longer than a teen driver is used to. Losing control of a vehicle due to ice on the road is frightening and may cause teens to panic. Tell them to give themselves additional time to brake and to not slam on the brakes or the accelerator if they lose traction on the road.
  3. Driving Distractions: Reiterate the importance of paying attention to their driving and not being distracted by electronic devices. In addition, teens must clear the vehicle of snow and frost before they start driving. Trying to clean a windshield or mirror while driving will take their attention away from the road.
  4. Extra Time: Winter conditions cause all traffic to slow down in order to stay safe. Teens should give themselves additional time to get to their destination. Running late may cause them to hurry, which can lead to accidents.
  5. Knowing to Stop: There are times when the weather conditions are bad enough that driving is unwise. Teens may not want to be told that they should not drive because of the weather, but their inexperience would put them in even more danger than other drivers. They should also understand that it is acceptable to pull over or stop somewhere if the weather suddenly turns worse.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

Though your teen may be the more inexperienced driver, it is possible that another driver was at fault for their accident. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you prove that another party should be liable for your teen’s injuries. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Illinois ACLU Study Claims Racial Profiling in Traffic StopsBlack and Latino drivers in Illinois are statistically more likely to be pulled over for a traffic stop and subjected to a search, according to a report recently released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. The ACLU looked at results from nearly 6.5 million traffic stops from 2015 to 2017. Illinois law enforcement agencies collect the data as required by the Illinois Traffic and Pedestrian Stop Statistical Study Act, which the state created in 2003 because of concerns about racial profiling. The ACLU said that law enforcement must end its practice of conducting excessive traffic stops and searches in hopes of finding criminal activity.

Statistics

The study cites several pieces of data in claiming that local and state police agencies disproportionately target minority drivers:

  • Police stopped minority drivers at a higher rate than white drivers, and the disparity increased each year from 2015 to 2017;
  • In 2017, minority drivers were 1.5 times more likely to be stopped than white drivers;
  • Black drivers were subjected to consent searches 1.7 times more often than white drivers, and Latino drivers were 1.3 times more likely;
  • Police officers were 1.3 times more likely to find contraband when searching a white driver’s vehicle than when searching the vehicle of a black or Latino driver.

Stops

The ACLU claims that law enforcement agencies have encouraged officers to be aggressive in conducting traffic stops and subsequent searches. The Illinois State Police supposedly instructed troopers to pull drivers over for all traffic violations because it would increase the chance of encountering someone conducting criminal activity. This instruction put into practice means that the troopers may be predisposed to believe that the drivers they pull over are committing other crimes.

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Five Keys to Staying Healthy During DivorceAmid everything else that you are worried about, it is important to maintain your health during your divorce. A combination of stress and poor choices can hurt your physical and mental wellness, which in turn distracts you when making important divorce decisions. There are several ways that you can stay healthy during your divorce while also relieving some of your stress:

  1. Exercise: Getting regular exercise helps you feel healthier and gives you an outlet for your anxiety and angst. You can feel more confident about yourself and have an easier time getting to sleep. Your schedule may make it difficult to find time for a normal workout routine, but you can find other forms of physical activity that take less time.
  2. Sleep: Skipping on your sleep hours will eventually do more to harm you than help you. You may choose not to sleep because you believe you do not have time for it or have difficulty with insomnia because of your divorce stress. Sleep is an important time for you to recharge yourself and reorganize your thoughts. You may think of a solution to a problem you were worried about after you give yourself time to sleep on it.
  3. Diet: With the time requirements of a divorce, it is easy to subsist on a regular diet of fast food. When you do have more free time, your stress may draw you towards comfort foods that are less healthy. Not every meal needs to be nutritious, but you should try to eat healthy meals more often than not. If you do not have time during the week to fix a healthy meal, use free time during the weekend to prepare meals for the week.
  4. Relaxation: You need time during your waking hours when you can relax and not worry about your stresses. Each person has their own favorite relaxing activities, such as getting a massage, doing a hobby, or watching a show. Depriving yourself of enjoyment will mentally wear you down, which may cause physical maladies.
  5. Therapy: Seeing a therapist or attending a support group can help you deal with your divorce anxieties and pressures. Talking about your problems can feel liberating and help you gain a new perspective. Listeners can advise you on how to manage your stress.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

Your peace of mind is a primary concern during your divorce. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, has solutions for issues that you may be worried about. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Separate Injuries Allow Separate Workers' Compensation BenefitsAn Illinois appellate court recently overturned a trial court’s ruling on whether a claimant could receive two forms of workers’ compensation benefits from separate injuries that were consolidated as one claim. There are several types of benefits that the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission can award, including:

The benefits that a worker receives depends on the severity of his or her injury and how it affects his or her ability to continue to work or find other employment.

Recent Case

In Pisano v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, a hoist engineer for the city of Chicago injured his wrist, elbow, and shoulders in three separate incidents from 2005 to 2010. An arbitrator awarded the man Permanent Partial Disability for his elbow and wrist injury in the first incident and wage-differential benefits for his wrist injury in the second incident. The arbitrator determined that the third incident was related to the first two and did not require additional benefits. The arbitrator denied the claimant’s request for Permanent Total Disability because he is physically capable of obtaining other employment if he goes through vocational training. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission approved the ruling, with some changes to the wage-differential rate.

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