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Illinois Bikers Share Responsibility for Safety Despite No Helmet LawIllinois is one of three states in the U.S. that does not have any law requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Some states mandate that all riders wear helmets, while others make the requirement only for people of certain ages. The lack of a law is legally beneficial for riders who may otherwise be ticketed for not wearing a helmet. In some ways, Illinois' legal situation also helps riders who are seeking personal injury compensation after a motorcycle accident. However, not wearing a helmet may affect the plaintiff's ability to receive full compensation.

No Legal Fault

In states with motorcycle helmet laws, failing to wear a helmet when required is negligence by the rider because he or she violated the law. The rider shares some of the fault for the accident, which may affect how much money he or she is awarded. Because Illinois does not have a law, there is no automatic assumption of negligence if the rider was not wearing a helmet. Thus, the rider has a better chance of not sharing fault for the accident, which will prevent deductions from his or her requested compensation.

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Unnatural Accumulation Determines Liability for Snow and Ice InjuriesThe coming of winter means we are nearing slip and fall season in Illinois. Snow and ice accumulation creates treacherous surfaces, which can cause us to fall despite our best efforts to remain safe. Falls can cause severe injuries, including broken bones and head trauma, which can affect you for years. When unsafe conditions on someone else’s property cause you to fall and hurt yourself, you can try to sue the property owner for negligence. However, Illinois law protects property owners from personal injury liability in most cases involving natural accumulation of snow and ice. To win the personal injury case, you will need to prove that the property owner created the conditions that led to your injury.

Natural Accumulation

According to Illinois law, property owners are under no obligation to protect visitors by clearing snow or ice from walking surfaces. This rule holds even if a municipal ordinance requires snow to be removed from walking services after a certain amount has accumulated. Thus, property owners are not liable for injuries caused by a natural accumulation of snow or ice on their properties. The definition of a natural accumulation includes:

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Finding Witnesses in Your Personal Injury CaseWitnesses can provide important supporting evidence during a personal injury case. Their statements hold weight in lawsuits and insurance claims because they are usually neutral parties. Witnesses are often available for car accidents because the incidents take place on public roads. However, car accident victims need to obtain witness statements soon after the incident. A witness becomes less credible over time because his or her memory of the incident will fade. Your attorney can help you in contacting potential witnesses but was most likely not at the scene of your accident. Assuming you are physically capable of doing so, you can help by talking to people at the scene.

Identifying Good Witnesses

A car accident will draw the attention of everyone around you, but the most helpful witness is someone who saw the circumstances leading to the accident. The witness may be able to explain which party’s actions were at fault for the accident. However, there are several ways a defense attorney may question the credibility of a witness, such as whether:

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Law Protects Baseball Teams in Spectator Injury LawsuitsA suburban Chicago man has filed a negligence lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs after a foul ball hit him while he was attending a game in August, making him blind in his left eye. This is not the first personal injury case that a spectator has brought against the Cubs or other baseball teams. Initially, it seems that there could be a strong basis for claiming negligence:

  • There is protective netting behind the plate, but most of the injuries occur in areas along the foul lines that are not protected;
  • Hit balls travel at such high velocities that it can be difficult for a person to react, even if he or she is paying attention; and
  • With the history of spectator injuries, baseball teams are aware of this danger but have not taken enough preventive measures.

Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, there is a very low success rate with these lawsuits. Legislation specifically protects operators of baseball stadiums from liability in most cases.

Baseball Rule

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Woman Awarded Record Damages in Premises Liability CaseA Cook County jury recently decided that the city of Chicago must pay $148 million to a woman who suffered partial paralysis after a bus shelter collapsed outside of O’Hare International Airport. The award is reportedly the largest ever given to a plaintiff who filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city. According to testimony during the trial, the plaintiff was waiting for a ride under the bus shelter when a storm passed through. The shelter came loose and fell on the woman, severing her spine and leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. An investigation determined that the shelter was missing bolts and other shelters at the airport were in similarly poor condition. The city of Chicago accepted liability for the incident but argued that the plaintiff was entitled to $34 million. The plaintiff countered in court by requesting $174 million. The case is an example of how both premises liability and catastrophic injuries factor into personal injury lawsuits.

Premises Liability

Illinois law holds the owner of a property responsible for making reasonable efforts to protect its guests. However, there are circumstances that can absolve a property owner from liability when a person is injured on its property, such as if:

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