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Crystal Lake car accident attorneyWhile temperatures were warm just last week and Illinois residents were spending recreational time outside, the reality is that winter is fast approaching. The leaves quickly changed from green to brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds, and now, most of the leaves that you can see are on the ground, far from the branches where they grew. In past years, we might have seen some substantial snowfall by this point, but most of the region has largely avoided serious dangers related to the weather so far. Winter is coming, however, and now is a good time to get your car, truck, or SUV ready for the ice and snow. By taking precautions, you can help yourself avoid winter car accidents in which you could easily be injured.

Keeping Your Car Maintained

Two of the main concerns for your vehicle in the cold are the battery and antifreeze. Your car relies on the battery to start the engine, so you need to make sure that the battery has enough of a charge to start even on the coldest winter’s day. Have your battery tested, and if it is not up to the challenge of winter, replace it now before you are left stranded.

Antifreeze is also important to ensure that ice crystals do not form in your vehicle’s radiator. If ice does form in the radiator, you could face a host of issues, including a breakdown. Be sure that your antifreeze is flushed, if needed, and maintained properly so that you can start the winter fresh.

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Collecting Workers' Compensation After a Parking Lot FallTypically around one-third of Illinois’ workers’ compensation claims during the winter are from injuries caused by slips and falls. Snow and ice present a hazard for any employees who must walk from their vehicles to their place of employment. Normally, a workers’ compensation injury must occur when an employee is on the clock or performing a work-related task. However, Illinois has a parking lot exception that allows employees to receive compensation if injured from a slip or fall in an employer’s parking lot.

Parking Lot Exception

Illinois courts have ruled that an employer must cover worker injuries that occur in a parking lot because it is an extension of the employer’s premises. It does not matter whether the employer owns the parking lot as long as it is the designated area where employees are expected to park. The court will also consider whether the employee is exposed to a risk of injury that is different from what a member of the general public would normally experience. For instance, a court once rejected a woman’s workers’ compensation claim because she parked in a lot that was meant for both employees and customers of a store. However, the court may have accepted her claim if the store had required its employees to park in a designated area.

Safety Measures

Employers are not required to clear their parking lots of snow and ice, but their negligence would increase the risk of employees being injured and filing for workers’ compensation. Attentive employers will have a contract with a professional snow removal company, as well as salt and sand on site to create safer walkways. They will also instruct employees about safe walking practices, such as:

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Five Tips for Teen Drivers During the WinterPart of learning to be a driver is having your first winter driving experience and understanding how it affects your road safety. Teens who have recently obtained their driver’s license may not fully appreciate the dangers of driving through snow and ice. In the worst scenario, their inexperience may result in a vehicle accident that leaves them injured or worse. As parents, you can prepare your teen for winter driving with a few safety tips:

  1. Staying Warm: It is important to dress appropriately for the weather, including warm gloves and boots. Hands and feet that are numb from the cold may not respond quickly enough when the driver needs to take decisive action. Being cold in general can also be distracting. Remind them that the interior heating system may take a couple of minutes to warm up the vehicle if it has been sitting cold for a while.
  2. Decreased Traction: Wintery conditions on the road can make starting and stopping take longer than a teen driver is used to. Losing control of a vehicle due to ice on the road is frightening and may cause teens to panic. Tell them to give themselves additional time to brake and to not slam on the brakes or the accelerator if they lose traction on the road.
  3. Driving Distractions: Reiterate the importance of paying attention to their driving and not being distracted by electronic devices. In addition, teens must clear the vehicle of snow and frost before they start driving. Trying to clean a windshield or mirror while driving will take their attention away from the road.
  4. Extra Time: Winter conditions cause all traffic to slow down in order to stay safe. Teens should give themselves additional time to get to their destination. Running late may cause them to hurry, which can lead to accidents.
  5. Knowing to Stop: There are times when the weather conditions are bad enough that driving is unwise. Teens may not want to be told that they should not drive because of the weather, but their inexperience would put them in even more danger than other drivers. They should also understand that it is acceptable to pull over or stop somewhere if the weather suddenly turns worse.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

Though your teen may be the more inexperienced driver, it is possible that another driver was at fault for their accident. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you prove that another party should be liable for your teen’s injuries. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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