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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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The Dangers of Teenage Driving and How to Protect ThemThe summer is a time of year when many teens are learning how to drive and getting their driver’s license. While teens may be excited by this life development, parents have reason to be concerned about their safety. Drivers ages 16 to 19 are more likely to be in a vehicle accident than any other age group in the U.S. In 2016, more than 2,400 teens in the U.S. were killed in motor vehicle accidents and almost 300,000 were treated for personal injuries. As a parent, you need to be aware of the dangers that teenage drivers face and how you can protect them.

Dangers

The main reason that teenage drivers are involved in more accidents is the most obvious reason: they lack driving experience. Beyond the technical aspects of operating a vehicle, learning to drive is about making quick judgment calls. Teen drivers are more likely to:

  • Drive at speeds that are unsafe for the conditions;
  • Misjudge how they need to react to a hazard;
  • Become distracted by digital devices or friends in the vehicle; and
  • Forget to wear their seatbelts.

Teens may also make poor decisions before they start driving, such as drinking alcohol. Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. A teen driver with any amount of alcohol in their system is breaking the law. Even if a teen’s blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit for an adult, they may not be able to drive safely with that level of intoxication.

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Illinois Police Warn of Danger from Trucks that Bypass Weigh StationsThe Illinois State Police is responding to what it believes is a significant number of truck drivers who avoid the mandatory weigh stations along Illinois highways. Officers are stationed near weigh stations, watching for trucks that do not pass through the weigh stations or violate other traffic laws. “Operation ByPass” is currently focused on Illinois State Police District 5, which includes Grundy, Kendall, and Will counties. Drivers across Illinois are at risk of personal injury from being in a crash with a commercial truck that is over the weight limit.

Problems with Overweight Trucks

Illinois requires trucks to go through weigh stations because a truck that is over the weight limit could cause damage to bridges and overpasses. The maximum allowable weight depends on the number of axles and the length between them. No truck is allowed to weight more than 80,000 pounds. Overweight trucks are also dangerous to other drivers on the road and can increase the risk of accidents. Because of their size and weight, trucks normally have more difficulty:

  • Maneuvering;
  • Making wide turns;
  • Coming to a quick stop; and
  • Maintaining control when going downhill.

These driving problems increase as a truck gets heavier. When a truck is over the weight limit, its response time will be slower than other drivers normally expect from a truck.

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Five Common Causes of Motorcycle CrashesMotorcycles riders are vulnerable in ways that other motorists are not. Even wearing all the recommended safety gear can only do so much to protect a rider during an accident. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to receive personal injury compensation if another party was at fault. However, proving fault may depend on what caused the accident. Here are five common causes of motorcycle accidents and the likelihood that someone else was at fault.

  1. Other Moving Vehicles: Common accidents between motorcycles and other vehicles involve left turns, lane changes, and rear-ending. Drivers of larger vehicles can be careless about watching for motorcycles, misjudge their speed or simply not see them in their blind spots. The driver of the other vehicle may be at fault for your accident if their actions put you in danger and you attempted to use defensive riding techniques to avoid the accident.
  2. Open Car Doors: People inside parked vehicles can cause motorcycle accidents when they suddenly open their doors. It can be difficult to see a motorcycle coming from behind, though some people fail to look when exiting the vehicle. Whether the person in the vehicle was at fault largely depends on whether you were traveling at a safe speed. Motorcycles should be extra cautious when riding down a narrow road with parked vehicles.
  3. Road Hazards: Riders are at risk of losing control of their motorcycles when they encounter surfaces that are wet or covered in debris. There is no liable party when the weather makes the road slick unless the negligent design of the road caused an unnatural accumulation of water or ice. A public road in disrepair may cause an accident, but local governments are immune from lawsuits unless you can prove willful and wanton negligence. Property owners may be liable for the unnatural debris they create on the road adjacent to their properties. For instance, lawn clippings can become slick when combined with rain and many municipalities have ordinances against blowing lawn clippings into the street.
  4. Speeding: Many motorcycle accidents can be avoided if the rider is able to slow down in time. Riders are at least partially at fault for an accident when they are traveling at unsafe speeds. The safe speed may be below the speed limit if the road conditions are poor or the rider is approaching a sharp curve in the road.
  5. Riding Under the Influence: Riding your motorcycle while intoxicated is an avoidable hazard. Other parties will not be liable if you were drunk at the time of your accident.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Lawyer

Motorcycle accidents can cause severe injuries to riders, if not death. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you receive the compensation you need to cover your medical costs and suffering. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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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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