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Recent blog posts

What Are Common Injuries You Can Suffer in a Head-On Collision?A head-on collision may be the most frightening type of car crash you can be involved in. Seeing another vehicle coming at you in the same lane is startling, and you may not have the time or maneuverability to avoid the collision. The aftermath of a head-on collision can be just as scary for those involved, even if they were wearing safety belts and their airbags deployed. Head-on collisions are the most deadly type of crash because a collision between two vehicles heading opposite directions will have a greater force and cause more violent damage to the vehicles. If you are fortunate enough to survive the crash, you may suffer serious injuries with long-lasting effects on your life. Common injuries that people in head-on collisions sustain include:

  1. Traumatic Brain Injuries: Your brain is an area of particular concern following a head-on collision. During the collision, your head likely jerked forward while the rest of your body was held in place by your safety belt. This can cause brain injuries if your head strikes a surface or if your brain is jostled against your skull. Brain injuries can take longer for you to notice than other injuries, but the consequences can have a profound effect on your ability to think and function.
  2. Neck and Spine Injuries: Along with your head, your neck is not as secured as the rest of your body during a head-on collision, which can lead to whiplash. The collision can also potentially damage your spine through cracked vertebrae or a herniated disc. Spinal injuries can cause partial or total paralysis.
  3. Chest and Abdomen Injuries: Though the safety belt and airbags protect you from being propelled forward during a head-on collision, the force with which you are stopped can cause damage to your chest and abdomen. You may suffer cracked or broken ribs or internal organ damage if they are pierced by your broken ribs or an instrument in your vehicle.
  4. Lower Body Injuries: Your legs and feet will absorb much of the impact during a head-on collision, which can cause torn ligaments and broken bones. Those injuries may be worsened if your legs strike the instrument panel of your vehicle or are crushed in the vehicle wreckage.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Lawyer

With the extensive injuries that can result from a head-on collision, it will be important to pursue compensation if another driver was at fault for the crash. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you receive damages that will cover your medical expenses and compensate you for your pain and suffering. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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What Are Your Rights When You Have Been Arrested?With people around the world protesting police mistreatment of people of color, this is a good time to educate yourself about your rights if a police officer arrests you. By understanding your rights, you can avoid saying or doing something that could be used against you in a criminal case. There are rules that all officers in the U.S. must follow during an arrest to ensure that the arrestee’s constitutional rights are not being violated. Unfortunately, some police officers violate the rules, which can result in unlawful arrests or harm to the arrestee. Proving police misconduct during your arrest could lead to the charges against you being reduced or dismissed.

Miranda Warning

Leading up to and after your arrest, a police officer may ask you questions in hopes that you will provide information that can be evidence in a criminal case. It is in your best interest to not provide the officer with any information other than identifying yourself. After your arrest, the officer is required to read the Miranda warning to you before they ask more questions. The Miranda warning informs you that:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • Statements you make to the police can be used as evidence against you
  • You have the right to request an attorney before speaking to the police
  • An attorney will be assigned to you if you cannot afford one

If no one reads your Miranda warning, any statements that you make in response to police questions after your arrest will be inadmissible as evidence in court.

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Why Power of Attorney Is Vital to Your Estate PlanYour estate plan mostly concerns instructions for what to do following your death, but there are parts of the plan that can apply while you are still alive. You may lose the ability to make sound decisions for yourself if you are suffering from a cognitive illness such as dementia or are incapacitated due to a health emergency. Who will consent to medical treatment that may help you but also carries risks? Who will manage your properties, including making sure that your bills are paid? You can assign the power of attorney as part of your estate plan to determine who is allowed to make these decisions.

What Is the Power of Attorney?

The power of attorney is a legal document that names a person or persons who will have the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. There are two types of power of attorney in Illinois:

  • The property power of attorney is the authority to make financial decisions.
  • The health care power of attorney is the authority to make health-related decisions.

You can place limits or add instructions to your power of attorney if you do not want another person to have complete discretion when making decisions while you are incapacitated. For instance, a “do not resuscitate” order could instruct whether you should be removed from life support if you are unlikely to regain consciousness. You can also choose which transactions someone is allowed to make for you.

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Illinois Presumes Workers’ Compensation for Essential Workers with COVID-19Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Illinois has relied on many workers to continue operating essential businesses and services while potentially exposing themselves to the virus. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission enacted an emergency rule in April that created a rebuttable presumption that healthcare workers, emergency responders, and front-line workers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 contracted the virus as a result of their job and would be eligible for benefits. As of June 5, Illinois replaced that emergency rule with a new law that provides the same protections for these workers. The following guidelines will help you understand whether you could receive workers’ compensation if you contract the coronavirus.

Who Qualifies?

Several states have enacted laws providing workers’ compensation for employees at hospitals and emergency responders, such as EMT workers, police officers, and firefighters. Illinois is one of the few states that has extended the coverage to front-line workers. The law defines front-line workers as those who work for businesses and organizations that Illinois deemed to be essential in the executive order that declared Illinois a disaster area due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The businesses and organizations include:

  • Grocery stores and pharmacies
  • Food production and distribution companies
  • Restaurants that can serve food for off-premises consumption
  • Social service organizations
  • Transportation and fuel services
  • Financial institutions
  • Construction workers
  • Hardware and office supply businesses
  • Delivery services
  • Utility and maintenance workers

In order to qualify for coverage, the workers also must have been required to interact with the public or work at a location with at least 15 employees. The law applies to workers who contract the virus from March 9 to the end of the year.

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Which State Has Jurisdiction in a Product Liability Lawsuit?If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, you would obviously prefer for the case to be heard in a court that is local to you. This should not be a concern if the defendant resides or does business in your home state. However, there may be a question of jurisdiction if you are dealing with a defendant who resides in a different state. State jurisdiction over product liability cases has become contentious because of a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that set stricter requirements for proving that a state has the authority to hear a case involving a non-resident defendant. The ruling has made it easier for corporate defendants to request a case dismissal due to lack of jurisdiction.

Personal Jurisdiction

Part of deciding whether a state has jurisdiction over a case is determining whether the state has authority over the defendant, known as personal jurisdiction. Many defendants in product liability cases are businesses that have headquarters in a different state from where the case is being heard. However, there are many ways to establish personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant. First of all, your jurisdiction claim is its strongest if you purchased the product and were injured in the same state where you are filing. You may also need to prove that the defendant had minimum contact with you in your state, such as:

  • Operating a branch office or warehouse in your state that is related to the product that caused your injury
  • Soliciting you to purchase the product by catalog, phone call, or other means of product marketing

Lack of Minimum Contact

The Supreme Court ruling emphasized that a state cannot claim personal jurisdiction over a defendant without minimum contact that is relevant to the case. For instance, a defendant may own property in your state where it conducts business or manufactures products that are unrelated to your case. Courts in many states had allowed jurisdiction over personal injury lawsuits based on this evidence, but some courts are now citing the Supreme Court ruling and saying that this evidence is not enough to prove minimum contact.

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