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Cold Temperatures Can Be Dangerous for WorkersThe cold weather that is typical of winter in northern Illinois is more than an inconvenience for workers. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause severe or even fatal damage. In some cases, people will suffer permanent damage that creates a disability. Workers can take precautions to protect themselves against the cold, but employers also have a duty to protect their employees. If you have suffered damage due to being exposed to the cold while working, you can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

Cold Stress Injuries

As your body temperature drops when you are continuously cold, your body will work to warm itself. Your body prioritizes keeps your organs warm and functioning, which means that your extremities receive less blood flow and are at greater risk of cold stress conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is the freezing of the skin and tissue, which can cause neuropathy in or require the amputation of:

  • Fingers
  • Toes
  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Ears
  • Nose

Trenchfoot is a less severe form of frostbite that can cause blistering and an itching or burning sensation. Hypothermia is an extreme drop in body temperature that can be fatal if not treated. The long-term effects of hypothermia can cause stress to the heart, which is particularly serious for people with pre-existing heart conditions.

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Recognizing and Guarding Yourself Against Drivers with Road RageAccording to a recent survey of drivers in the U.S., 82 percent confessed to having road rage in the past year. When you are in a bad mood, it is easy for the minor annoyances of driving to make you angry. Problems arise when road rage turns into aggressive driving. People who drive aggressively and fueled by anger are more likely to cause a traffic accident, which may seriously injure someone. It is important to be able to identify aggressive drivers on the road and to know how to protect yourself against them.

Signs of Aggression

Drivers who are experiencing road rage will often travel at high speeds and show little regard for the safety of others. Aggressive driving behavior may include:

  • Tailgating, which is following a vehicle too closely
  • Excessive use of the car horn
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Cutting off other drivers
  • Obscene or threatening gestures and language

In extreme cases of road rage, the driver may target someone and attempt to cause them harm, such as using a weapon or exiting their vehicle with the intent to start a fight.

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When Police Pat-Downs Violate Your RightsThe police practice of frisking or pat-downs is controversial because of its invasiveness and connection to racial profiling. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people against illegal searches and seizures, which includes searching on a person’s body. In order to frisk a person, the officer must have a warrant to search for a specific item or reasonably believe that the suspect is armed and dangerous. Police have used the “armed and dangerous” exception to perform what they call “protective pat-downs” on people without establishing probable cause that they committed a crime. Evidence found during an unreasonable pat-down can be dismissed from a criminal case.

Police Encounters

There are three types of encounters that a police officer has with a member of the public:

  • They can arrest an individual when there is probable cause that the person is committing a crime.
  • They can briefly investigate a person that they reasonably suspect of committing a crime.
  • They can have a consensual encounter with a member of the public in which the individual voluntarily talks with the officer.

It can be difficult to differentiate between a consensual encounter and an investigatory stop. During a consensual encounter, the member of the public should feel like they can leave the encounter at any time, but the officer is often the one who initiates the encounter and presses the individual to answer questions. 

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What Are the Consequences for Not Paying Child Support?Child support payments are mandatory for parents who are divorced or separated from each other. Unlike with the optional spousal maintenance payments, child support is meant to help pay for the expenses related to raising the children, such as food, clothing, and healthcare. A parent who does not pay their share of child support may be depriving their children of the resources needed to grow up healthy and safe. Because of this, Illinois has a range of severe consequences for parents who do not comply with their child support order:

  1. Garnishment: If a parent does not pay child support, a court may order that the noncompliant parent’s financial assets be seized. The most common method is wage garnishment, which can be achieved by filing an Income Withholding for Support request with the parent’s employer. If wage garnishment is not an option, the court may seize funds from a bank account, intercept property tax refunds, put a lien on a property, or hire a private collection agency.
  2. Driver’s License Suspension: When a parent is more than 90 days past due on child support payments, the court may revoke the parent’s driving privileges until they have caught up on payments. It also has the authority to revoke or deny an application for a U.S. passport or professional license.
  3. Criminal Prosecution: Nonpayment of child support becomes a criminal offense in Illinois if a parent has gone more than six months without paying or owes more than $5,000. This is a Class A misdemeanor and will most likely result in a fine. However, the offense becomes a Class 4 felony if the parent flees the state to avoid payment, is more than one year late on payments, or owes more than $20,000. A Class 4 felony in Illinois is punishable by one-to-three years in prison and fines.

Contact a McHenry County Family Law Attorney

If your co-parent is not paying child support, you can enforce payment by contacting the Illinois Division of Child Support Services or filing a complaint in court. If you are in danger of falling behind on child support payments, you need to explain to the court why you are unable to make the payments. You may be able to modify your child support order if the payments are unreasonable given your financial circumstances. Either way, you need the assistance of a Crystal Lake, Illinois, family law lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, to resolve your child support issue. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Why You Should Not Immediately Accept a Workers’ Compensation SettlementWhile workers’ compensation insurers will sometimes fight your claim in court, there are other times when they will be eager to offer you a settlement for your injuries. However, an immediate settlement may benefit them more than it benefits you. When an insurer knows they cannot avoid paying a claim, they will try to settle the claim as soon as possible so they know how much it will cost them. There are several reasons why you should wait before settling your workers’ compensation claim:

  1. You Do Not Know the Full Cost: There are more expenses related to a workplace injury than the cost of your initial treatment. You may need to pay for continued rehabilitation, and your doctor may discover other damage that requires additional treatment. You also must consider whether you may need disability pay for your missed time at work. Even after you return to work, it is possible that your injury will worsen, requiring you to miss more time. It may take months or years to know the full cost of your injury, and agreeing to an immediate settlement will prevent you from seeking additional compensation.
  2. The Insurer Is Not Giving Their Best Offer: It is common in negotiations for someone’s initial offer to be lower than what they expect they will have to pay. Workers’ compensation insurers have experience paying claims for injuries such as yours, which means they know how much it usually costs. They know how to make an initial offer that sounds reasonable but is actually much less than what you would receive if you took your claim to arbitration. Though they may talk tough if you reject their initial offer, they will likely return with a better offer.
  3. There Is No Rush to Reach a Settlement: You have three years after the date of your workplace injury to file a workers’ compensation claim, giving you plenty of time to understand the full extent and cost of your injury. The insurer may try to pressure you into accepting their settlement by giving you a deadline to respond, but it is highly unlikely that they will withdraw the offer because they would still rather settle than take the claim to court.

Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Workers’ Compensation Attorney

You should not decide on whether you will negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement until you have consulted with an attorney. A McHenry County workers’ compensation lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can make sure you receive all of the benefits that you will need. To schedule a free consultation, call 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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