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Gathering Evidence for a Premises Liability ClaimProperty owners owe a duty of care to create a reasonably safe environment for people they invite onto their premises. If you are injured due to a safety hazard while visiting someone’s property, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation through the premises liability laws. Proving that a property owner owed a duty of care is usually straightforward. As long as you had permission to be on the property, the duty of care should exist. However, it is more difficult to prove that the property owner should be liable for the conditions that caused your injury. They may not be liable if:

  • The hazard was apparent and could have been avoided
  • They could not have reasonably been aware of the hazard
  • You acted in a reckless manner that created your injury risk

Gathering evidence is a key step in proving a premises liability claim. Here are four types of evidence that could help:

  1. Pictures from the Scene: If you can identify the hazard that caused your injury, you should immediately take photographic evidence of the hazard. Do not rely on coming back to take pictures later, when the property owner may have had time to put up warning signs or fix the hazard. The court needs to see the property conditions at the time of your accident to understand why the property owner is liable.
  2. Witnesses: If someone saw your accident as it happened, they can testify about how the accident occurred and whether they noticed the hazard themselves. Talk to potential witnesses at the scene and ask for their names and contact information. Your lawyer can decide whether they would be good witnesses and do the work of getting them to testify.
  3. Video Evidence: Depending on the location, there may have been security cameras that captured your accident. You can file a subpoena to obtain a copy of the recording, which may support your claim about the hazard that caused your injury.
  4. Documents: The property owner may say that they did not know about the hazard on their property, but there may be documents that contradict them. For instance, they may have received a notice from a safety inspector about the hazard and the danger it could pose to visitors.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

By gathering enough evidence on your premises liability claim, you improve your chances of winning your lawsuit or receiving a settlement offer from the property owner. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can find the evidence that will be most relevant to your case. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Protecting Yourself from Injury While Riding Your BicycleAs the weather continues to improve and the daylight hours extend, more people will be enjoying rides on their bicycles – whether they are going somewhere or looking for recreation. In many situations, cyclists will be sharing the roads with cars. Cyclists know that they are more vulnerable to severe injury if they are involved in an accident with larger vehicles. While a cyclist can file a personal injury lawsuit against a driver who was at fault for the accident, it is always better to try to prevent injury. Here are four safety tips for riding your bicycle this spring:

  1. Using Safety Equipment: Illinois does not have a state law that requires cyclists to wear helmets. Some municipalities have their own requirements, but they may only apply to minors. All cyclists should wear helmets, as well as bright clothing if riding during the day or reflective clothing if riding at night. Bicycles should have reflectors, a front light if you plan to ride at night, and a bell or horn to alert others.
  2. Inspecting Your Bike: If this is the first time you have ridden your bicycle in months, you should look over your bike to see that it is still in working order. Check your breaks, handlebars, and seat so that they are both functioning and comfortable to use.
  3. Obey Traffic Laws: Bicycles must comply with traffic signs and signals in the same way as any other vehicle on the road. The smaller size and increased maneuverability of a bicycle tempt some cyclists to ignore stop signs or traffic lights, which puts them at increased risk of causing an accident. Cyclists have the added responsibility of staying as far to the right as possible and using arm signals when they are turning or stopping.
  4. Practice Defensive Riding: Drivers of motor vehicles may have more difficulty seeing bicycles and may not be expecting to encounter a bicycle on the road. Cyclists can protect themselves by staying aware of other vehicles and assuming that the drivers do not see them. Watch out for hazards in the road and behave predictably.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

Cyclists involved in crashes can suffer serious or even fatal injuries. Taking every reasonable precaution may not prevent an accident if the driver was negligent. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will help you gather evidence to prove that the driver is liable for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Holding a Gun Owner Liable for an Accidental ShootingStatistics on gun violence mostly focus on the number of deaths, but twice as many people are wounded by firearms. According to a recent study by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, more than 73,000 people are shot and injured in the U.S. each year. Shooting injuries can happen for a variety of reasons, including attempted homicides, self-inflicted wounds, and weapon malfunctions. It is also possible to be accidentally shot due to someone else’s negligence, for which you can receive personal injury compensation by filing a lawsuit.

Proving Liability

A person can be liable for causing an unintentional injury with their firearm, even if they do not face criminal charges. You will have a stronger case to hold someone liable if you can prove that the shooting was caused by negligence and not simply an accident. Examples of negligence by the gun owner includes:

  • Carrying or handling a firearm in a way that increases the risk of accidental discharge
  • Using a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Pointing a firearm at someone without intending to fire

Gun owners are expected to exercise reasonable care when handling their weapons. Witnesses to the shooting can help you establish that the gun owner showed a lack of caution that put you at risk of being shot.

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Gathering Evidence for a Dog Attack Injury ClaimThe injuries you can suffer from a dog attack are painful, whether they are from a bite or being knocked down. As uncomfortable as the situation may be, it is sometimes necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the dog’s owner. Illinois’ strict liability law makes the process easier than in some states because you do not need to prove that the owner was negligent. The only situations in which the owner is not liable are if you provoked the dog or if you were trespassing on the property. Gathering evidence is still important in order to prove the severity of your injuries and to connect those injuries to the dog attack. There are several details you must collect in a dog attack lawsuit:

  1. Owner Information: In order to file a dog injury lawsuit, you need to know who owns the dog. If the owner is not present, you can ask nearby property owners if they recognize the dog. Once you have found the owner, you need the contact information for them and their insurance company, if they have one. 
  2. Police Reports: It may be necessary to call 911 after a dog attack if your injuries are severe or you believe that the dog may be a danger to others. If police or animal control are dispatched to the scene, they will create a report on the incident and the action that they took. You can obtain a copy of that report as evidence of the details of the attack.
  3. Witness Accounts: You should talk to anyone who may have seen the dog attack and ask them to provide testimony during your case. A witness could tell what happened during the attack and refute a claim that you provoked the dog.
  4. Physical Evidence: Having the presence of mind to document and save physical evidence of the attack will be useful during a lawsuit. Have someone take pictures of your injuries, including bite marks. Save clothing that was torn during the attack.
  5. Doctor’s Reports: You should seek medical attention after a dog attack to treat your injuries and check for other injuries that you may not have noticed. Your doctor’s report will establish the extent of your injuries and how they are related to the dog attack.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

You have two years after your dog attack incident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner, but it can be helpful to start the process well before then. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can explain how much compensation you may be able to receive in your case. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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How Does Premises Liability Work with Airbnb?For years now, travelers have been forgoing hotels in favor of renting a living space at someone’s home through services such as Airbnb. Vacation rentals can offer better deals, convenient locations, and home amenities that many hotels do not have. As with any business, your host has a duty to keep you safe while you are paying to stay at their home. If you are injured due to the condition of the property, you may be eligible for personal injury compensation through the premises liability law of the state where the injury occurred.

What Is the Duty to Protect?

The owner or operator of a property has a duty to show reasonable care towards the safety of visitors. In Illinois, this means they must make a reasonable effort to:

  • Maintain the property’s condition
  • Detect and repair dangerous conditions in a timely manner once they are aware of them
  • Warn guests about dangers that they may be unable to predict on their own

When staying at someone’s home, dangers could come from uneven walking surfaces, faulty appliances or other areas that the owner has failed to maintain. However, the owner may not be liable for your injuries if you acted in a way that was reckless or that you knew put you at risk of injury.

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