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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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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 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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