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Rideshare Drivers Face Inherent DistractionsDrivers working for rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft have the added responsibility for the safety of their passengers, to go along with all drivers’ responsibility to each other on the road. Because of the distractions involved with the job, safe driving advocates wonder whether rideshare drivers are more likely to be in car crashes. Unfortunately, there are no official records of the number of accidents involving rideshare drivers. Police crash reports do not categorize rideshare vehicles for statistical purposes. Unlike taxi cabs, rideshare vehicles are not obviously marked as a commercial vehicle. Analysis of how rideshare drivers operate suggests that they face increased distractions related to their work.

Focus on Phones

Whereas taxi drivers typically use radio dispatch for communications, rideshare drivers communicate using their phones. Drivers have their phones mounted to their dashboards, with their ridesharing app open. The app is used for accepting jobs, giving directions and contacting potential passengers. The rideshare companies say that they design their apps to minimize distractions. However, there are several unavoidable distractions involved with using a phone while driving:

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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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Distracted Driving Extends Beyond CellphonesDiscussions on distracted driving often focus on drivers using cellphones. Illinois is one of several states to criminalize talking or texting on a handheld electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. However, cellphones are not the only culprits in distracted driving. People regularly perform actions while driving that are legal but qualify as distracting. Any activity that momentarily shifts a person’s attention away from driving can cause a vehicle accident with personal injuries.

Physical Distractions

The obvious danger of using a cellphone while driving is that it takes a driver’s hands off the wheel and eyes off the road. In the moment that someone’s attention is drawn to his or her phone, an unexpected obstacle may appear in front of him or her. By the time the driver sees the danger, it may be too late to react and avoid an accident. There are other activities that demand the attention of someone’s eyes and hands, such as:

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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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