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Proving Proximate Cause in a Personal Injury LawsuitTwo factors determine whether a defendant can be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit: actual cause and proximate cause. Actual cause, also known as cause-in-fact, is when the defendant’s actions directly lead to the injury. Proximate cause is determining whether the defendant could have reasonably foreseen that his or her actions would cause injury. Proving proximate cause can be straightforward with a defendant whose actions directly resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. A reckless driver can reasonably foresee that his or her actions would put other drivers and pedestrians in danger. However, proximate cause can be more difficult to prove with a third party involved in the incident.

Recent Case

In Kramer v. Szczepaniak, the plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit against multiple defendants whom they claim are liable for a vehicle-pedestrian accident. The plaintiffs were leaving a Chicago movie theater at 1:30 a.m. and used Uber to call a ride. The driver could not figure out the directions to get the passengers to their destination and kicked them out of the vehicle when one of them offered to help give directions. While walking home, the plaintiffs were hit in a pedestrian crossing by a driver who was speeding. The plaintiffs filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle that hit them, the Uber driver, Uber, and the person who let the Uber driver use his vehicle. Before hearing any arguments, a trial court dismissed the lawsuit against all defendants except for the driver who hit the plaintiffs, citing a lack of proximate cause.

Appeal

An Illinois appellate court reversed the trial court’s ruling, stating that there is a question of fact whether the Uber driver is liable for the injuries. The court said that the plaintiffs proved actual cause with the driver because they would not have been walking home if the driver had not forced them out of the vehicle before reaching their destination. As for proximate cause, the court said it is possible that the driver could have foreseen that he was putting the plaintiffs in danger because:

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Illinois workers compensation insurance, McHenry County Workers' Compensation LawyerWhen employees are hired, they may not necessarily inquire about the company's workers' compensation benefits immediately. It may take an injury for an employee to discover that the employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance, and this may be after the employee has large medical bills and has missed work and pay. While the employee may be in a bad situation if he or she finds out there is no safety net, there are ways to still seek and receive compensation for the injuries sustained.

In Illinois, all employers, even those with one employee—full time or part time—have to carry workers' compensation insurance. There are a few exceptions, for example for corporate officers and some agricultural employers. Therefore, most employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance and can face penalties and be charged criminally for failing to do so.

Employers are not allowed to pressure or force an employee to not claim benefits or report the business for not having the required coverage. Employees who discover that their employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance are encouraged to report this to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission's Insurance Compliance Division.

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multiple personal injury defendants, Illinois Personal Injury LawyerGenerally, when the general public hears about a personal injury lawsuit, it is boiled down into a simple A v. B scenario. B did something careless that allegedly caused an injury to A, and now A is suing B.

However, personal injury cases are not always that simple and are more complex than one person causing another's injury.

Imagine a scenario with three drivers: A, B, and C.

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personal injury lawsuit, employee driver, McHenry County Personal Injury LawyerOne of the most important parts of any personal injury lawsuit is making sure that the party responsible for the injury is the one being sued. While this may seem like an obvious statement, it is not always easy. Yes, there are instances where two people get into a car accident and the responsibility ends with the two drivers. However, what happens when one of those drivers is an employee of a company? Is the company responsible because they put that person behind the wheel? These questions are answered by an area of law known as agency law.

Agency law is the law that governs when one person, the agent, is acting for the benefit of another person, the principal. Generally speaking, a principal can be held responsible for the careless actions of their agents if two factors are true. First, there must be a legal agency relationship between the two people. Second, the agent must be acting within the scope of the authority given to them.

The Existence of an Agency Relationship

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victims rights, Illinois civil suit, McHenry County personal injury attorney, personal injury lawsuit, victim's rights, constitutional amendment, victim's injuries, criminal case, guilty pleaThere are several instances when a civil personal injury lawsuit can be entwined with a criminal case. For instance, an assault that leads to serious injuries can result in a civil suit by the victim to recover for his or her injuries, as well as a criminal suit by the state. Criminal suits are handled with minimal involvement on the part of the victim. A victim does have rights related to the cases, such as the right to be notified of court dates and the right to address the court. However, as the law stands, a victim does not have many options to enforce these rights if violated.

This November, Illinois voters will go to the ballot boxes to determine whether they want to amend the state's constitution to provide more security for victim's rights. The amendment, labeled HJRCA 29, would implement a variety of modifications to the state's constitution to provide victims with the ability to better enforce their rights.

Entwined Civil and Criminal Cases

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