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How to Avoid Dog Bite InjuriesApproximately 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs each year. In 2018, insurers paid $675 million in homeowner liability claims for dog bites. Illinois had the fourth-most dog bite claims of any state in 2018. There were 822 claims that received a total of $29.2 million, which is an average of $35,553 per claim. All of these statistics show that dog bite injuries are common and often result in the owner being liable for medical expenses. Illinois law states that dog owners are liable for any injuries that their dog causes, as long as the victim was not trespassing and did not provoke the dog. You want to avoid a dog bite if possible for the sake of yourself and the owner. There are several practices that reduce the chances of a dog attack:

  1. Talk to the Owner First: Before you approach an unfamiliar dog, you should ask the owner for permission. You do not know how aggressive the dog is and how it reacts to strangers. It is best to leave some dogs alone for your own safety.
  2. Proceed Slowly: After receiving permission to approach the dog, do not immediately start with petting or playing. Calmly walk up to it and offer your hand for it to sniff. If the dog accepts the gesture and seems happy or calm, you can proceed by gently petting it. Do not force the dog to greet you if it seems disinterested or scared.
  3. No Surprises: Do not interrupt a dog when it is eating, sleeping or otherwise occupied. Do not approach the dog from behind to pet it. Startling a dog could cause it to react defensively, such as biting.
  4. Play Nice: You may be used to playing aggressively with your dog. Do not assume that someone else’s dog is familiar with that kind of play. What seems playful to you may be aggravating to the dog.
  5. Watch Your Children: You need to remind your children of all of these rules before they meet an unfamiliar dog. They may not realize that someone else’s dog can behave differently than their own dog. Children are more likely than adults to be seriously injured by a dog because they are less capable of defending themselves.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Lawyer

A dog bite can cause a serious wound and possibly carry a disease. It is common to experience trauma from the incident. Though you may not blame the owner, you may need compensation if your injury requires expensive medical treatment. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you determine how much compensation you need for your dog bite injury. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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How Businesses Can Be Liable for Personal InjuriesFiling a personal injury lawsuit against a large business can be more challenging than when an individual is a defendant. Corporations are often familiar with being the subject of lawsuits and have attorneys who are prepared to respond to litigation. The corporation has the resources to afford a protracted legal battle if it believes it is in the right or that its reputation is at risk. On the other hand, a corporation may be more willing than an individual to offer you a settlement if it believes a court battle is not worth the expense. A personal injury attorney can review your case to determine the benefits and risks of filing a lawsuit against a corporation.

Premises Liability

Businesses can be liable for the safety of guests on their properties. Stores are the most common example of these properties, though the public could also visit an office location. To prove a premises liability case, you must show that:

  • A condition on the business premises caused your injury;
  • The business failed to identify the dangerous condition in a timely manner or did not properly warn you of the danger; and
  • You could not have reasonably foreseen or avoided the injury.

It is more difficult to prove that a business is liable for a dangerous condition that suddenly developed than a condition that is the result of a lack of maintenance. For instance, you could slip and fall after someone spilled a drink on a tile floor. Depending on how recently the spill occurred, employees may not have had a chance to clean it up and put out a “wet floor” sign. If an automatic door malfunctions and crushes your arm, the business would be liable if it was aware of the danger and had done nothing to fix it or warn you.

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Using Proximate Cause, Circumstantial Evidence in a Personal Injury CaseThe strongest argument that you can make in a personal injury case comes from having direct evidence of the actual cause of an injury. Your first-hand account or the testimony of a witness can directly connect the negligence of another party with the incident that led to your injury. Unfortunately, some cases lack direct evidence of what caused an accident, such as a wrongful death incident that no one witnessed. You can use proximate cause and circumstantial evidence to prove the defendant’s liability, but the court will need to be convinced that it is the most plausible explanation.

Proximate Cause

As opposed to the actual cause, proximate cause is a factor that led to an injury or death, even if it was not the direct cause. The proximate cause may be an act of negligence or recklessness that set in motion the events that resulted in an injury. Courts determine that a factor is the proximate cause of an injury if the injury could have been avoided if not for that factor. For instance:

  • When you are in a car accident, the other vehicle may have been the actual cause of your injuries; but
  • If a faulty car part caused the other driver to lose control of the vehicle, the equipment malfunction would be the proximate cause of the accident and the party that made or installed the equipment is liable.

Circumstantial Evidence

When you do not have direct evidence of what caused an accident, you can present circumstantial evidence that you believe infers the cause of the accident. Circumstantial evidence may be observations or witness testimony that reasonably points towards the cause of an injury. A court will accept circumstantial evidence as establishing a fact if that fact is the only probable conclusion that it can draw from that evidence.

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Deciding Whether to Take a Public Injury SettlementMany personal injury cases end with a settlement before heading to court. By filing a personal injury claim, you may receive a settlement offer from the liable party or its insurer. Accepting a settlement is quicker and less expensive than filing a lawsuit, although you would likely receive more compensation in a successful lawsuit. However, there are situations where it is wiser to file a lawsuit than accept a settlement. A personal injury attorney will consider several factors when advising you on your case:

  1. How Much Is the Liable Party Offering?: The insurance company would prefer to pay you the minimum amount necessary in response to your injury claim. You must consider whether the settlement amount will fully cover your injury expenses. The insurer may dispute the extent of your injuries or whether certain treatments are necessary for your recovery. Some insurers have a maximum payable amount for injury claims. You may need to file a lawsuit if the insurer cannot or will not offer enough compensation for your injury.
  2. How Much Do You Need For Pain and Suffering?: An out-of-court settlement can include compensation for pain and suffering if your injury caused a decline in your quality of life. However, compensation for pain and suffering can be a subjective amount, even if both sides agree that it should be part of the settlement. There are different formulas to quantify pain and suffering compensation, and some of the values in the formulas depend on how severe you consider the injury to be. By filing a lawsuit, you can let the court decide the appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation.
  3. How Strong Is Your Case?: Illinois uses comparative fault when determining the amount to award in a personal injury lawsuit. Even if the court finds in your favor, it can decrease your award if it determines you were partially at fault for the incident that caused your injuries. You will receive nothing from the case if the court decides that the defendant was not at fault or that you were more than half at fault for the injury. If there is serious doubt about who was at fault, you may risk receiving less from the lawsuit than you would from the settlement.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

Before deciding whether to accept a settlement, you should speak to a Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, to determine if it is a fair offer or if you would benefit more by filing a lawsuit. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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How Social Media Can Hurt Your Personal Injury CaseReceiving the monetary compensation that you deserve in your personal injury case depends on convincing the court of the extent of your injury and the negative effect it has had on your life. You present detailed medical reports as evidence of your physical condition and have other people testify on how the injury limits your activity and enjoyment of life. The defense’s job is to try to discredit your evidence and show that your pain and suffering is not as bad as you claim. In recent years, defenses have turned to social media to find evidence against personal injury claimants.

Contradictory Statements

Under no circumstances should you discuss the details of your personal injury case on social media – publicly or privately. When talking about your injury, you may say something that contradicts the case you are presenting in court, such as:

  • The circumstances that led to your injury;
  • Your physical limitations as a result of the injury; and
  • The emotional suffering that the injury has caused you.

Never assume that a conversation on social media will remain private. The defense is looking for evidence that may cast doubt on your motivations for the lawsuit and need for compensation.

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