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Manufacturers Have Strict Liability with Product DefectsWhen a defective or unexpectedly dangerous product injures you, you can file a product liability lawsuit to collect personal injury compensation. Most product liability cases in Illinois fall under the theory of strict liability, which means that you do not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent in order to hold it liable. Before you file a product liability lawsuit, you should make sure that your case meets the qualifications under Illinois law.

Product Liability Types

There are three categories of product liability claims, each of which blames the injury on a different defect with the product:

  • A design defect means that the faulty design of a product makes it inherently dangerous to consumers;
  • A manufacturing defect means that the manufacturer did not build the product to design specifications or used faulty materials; and
  • A marketing defect means that the instructions that came with the product did not warn consumers about dangers in using the product that would not be obvious to a normal person.

You will file your lawsuit against the manufacturer in most cases because it is likely responsible for the defect. You can include the business that sold you the product or the product wholesaler if they knew about the defect or somehow caused it.

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Court Deems 22-Year Juvenile Prison Sentence UnconstitutionalIllinois criminal law requires courts to add 15 years to a prison sentence if the defendant had a firearm while committing the offense. However, Illinois amended its law regarding juvenile sentencing in 2016 to allow a court to disregard the mandatory sentencing enhancement if it believes it is not appropriate for a juvenile offender. The law instructs the courts to consider:

  • The juvenile defendant’s maturity and ability to consider risks;
  • Outside influences on the defendant;
  • Neglect or abuse at the defendant’s home;
  • The defendant’s potential for rehabilitation;
  • The circumstances of the offense;
  • The role the defendant played in the offense;
  • Whether the defendant participated in his or her defense; and
  • The defendant’s criminal history.

Illinois prisoners have since appealed their juvenile criminal sentences, citing the new law. Courts have ruled that the law does not apply retroactively to juvenile offenders who were sentenced before the law went into effect. However, courts have granted resentencing for a few of these appeals, saying that the sentence was excessive for a juvenile case.

Recent Case

In People v. Barnes, the defendant appealed a 22-year prison sentence he received for an armed robbery he committed when he was 17. Fifteen of the years were mandatory because he had used an unloaded revolver during the robbery. The defendant argued that the 15-year firearms sentence was unconstitutional for a juvenile because it violates the Illinois Constitution’s proportionate penalties clause. The clause is the state’s equivalent to the eighth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects defendants against cruel and unusual punishment for a crime. An Illinois appellate court agreed that the defendant’s sentence went against society’s “evolving standard of moral decency.” The court noted that the defendant:

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A Divorced Parent's Guide to Giving Holiday GiftsReceiving holiday presents is supposed to be an exciting event for your children, but divorce can instead make it stressful. As their parent, you must preserve the joyousness of the tradition. This may mean working with your co-parent or swallowing your pride to keep your children happy. Here are five tips for giving holiday gifts after divorce:

  1. Do Not Make Gift-Giving a Competition: The holidays can become a proxy war between co-parents who try to buy their children’s affection and loyalty through presents. Some parents undermine each other by buying more expensive versions of the same gift. Children can see your motivation for giving the gift and feel pressured to pick a side between parents. You have made giving the present more about yourself than your child.
  2. Try to Coordinate Your Shopping: You may unknowingly buy the same gift for your child as your co-parent because your child has shared the same gift list with both of you. This will make you disappointed and your child sad for hurting your feelings. You can avoid this by talking to your co-parent about who will buy which gifts. If there is a particularly expensive gift, you can agree to share the cost.
  3. Let Your Gifts Travel with Your Child: Some divorced parents give a present with the condition that it must stay at their home. You should allow your children to take their gifts to whichever home they want. Putting conditions on your gift once again makes the gift more about you than your child, who will enjoy the gift more if he or she is free to use it without restriction.
  4. Respect Your Co-Parent’s Wishes: You may disagree with your co-parent about what are appropriate gifts, given your child’s maturity or your co-parent’s values. Do not give your child a gift that you know that your co-parent will disapprove. You will create conflict between your child and your co-parent if your co-parent tries to take the gift away.
  5. Help Your Children with Their Shopping: Your children want to give their own presents to your co-parent but may not be old enough to pick out and pay for them on their own. You may need to help your children with their shopping and pay for gifts. Make sure your children pick out good gifts because it is important to them to make their other parent happy.

Contact a McHenry County divorce attorney

Your time may be the most important gift you can give your children during the holidays. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you negotiate your parenting time schedule during your divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Continuing Workers' Compensation After a Recurring InjuryWorkplace injuries often take time to heal, and the effects can linger for years. You may take enough time off to completely recover, only for you to reaggravate your injury once you return to work. Now, you are facing more medical treatment and time away from work. Rather than refiling for workers’ compensation, you can extend the benefits of your previous claim if you can prove that your new injury is a continuation of your previous injury.

Recent Case

Whether a workplace injury is a continuation of a previous injury can determine which employer is liable for an employee’s workers’ compensation. In Par Electric v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, an Illinois appellate court ruled that the respondent electric company must continue to cover an electrical line worker’s medical expenses after he reinjured himself while working for another employer. The worker cited three separate injury incidents, for which he filed separate claims:

  • On June 16, 2014, the worker suffered a labral tear in his right shoulder when he caught himself after slipping in a bucket lift. He had surgery on Sept. 26 and did not return to work until he was hired by another employer on March 23, 2015; and
  • On April 1, 2015, the worker claimed he felt his right arm pop out of his socket after tossing an item to a co-worker. A similar incident occurred on April 3. A doctor confirmed that he had suffered another labral tear, which required a second surgery.

Causal Connection

In his compensation claims, the worker stated that the injury he suffered from his second and third work incidents was separate from his original injury. Conflicting testimony from two doctors complicated the case because:

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Five Ways Motorcyclists Can Stay Safe This WinterMany motorcycle riders choose to lock up their bikes for the season when the weather turns cold and icy. For those die-hards who ride year-round, safety is paramount. Driving conditions have deteriorated for everyone on the road, and motorcycles may not get the same amount of traction that riders are used to. Here are five tips for motorcycle safety during winter weather:

  1. Check Your Tires Before Riding: It is important that your tires are in good condition before you head out onto the slick roads. Make sure that your treads have not worn down, and check your tire pressure, which may be low because of the cold. You need as much traction as you can get.
  2. Be Equipped for the Weather: The basic safety gear remains the same for winter motorcycle rides, such as a helmet and jacket. However, you must also dress to keep yourself warm. Numbness in your hands or feet may impair your ability to control your bike. You can protect yourself from the elements by using additional wind guards and heated grips.
  3. Help Your Bike Warm Up: Your motorcycle will get warmer as you continue to run it, but it will not take long for it to cool down. Stopping at an intersection may be enough time for your tires to cool, decreasing your traction once you starting moving again. Some riders sway to retain heat, while others quickly accelerate and decelerate a couple of times. You may need to simply be cautious as you wait for your bike to warm up again.
  4. Take It Slow: You will face more road hazards than normal, such as icy roads and cracks created by snow plows. Riding at a slow speed can help you maintain control of your bike when you encounter these hazards. Give more space to the vehicles in front of you because your decreased traction means you need more time to brake. Be smooth when accelerating, braking, or making turns.
  5. Avoid the Snow: Snowstorms can create the slickest road conditions and decrease your visibility. Your best safety precaution is to not ride your bike if there is a chance of snow. If it starts snowing while you are riding, you need to either slow down or stop somewhere to wait out the storm.

Contact a Crystal Lake Personal Injury Attorney

You are responsible for your own medical expenses if you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by wintery conditions or your own negligence. However, another party may be liable if he or she caused your accident. A McHenry County personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you receive injury compensation for your motorcycle accident. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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