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Receiving Workers’ Compensation for Mental TraumaThe injuries you receive at work can go beyond what can be physically diagnosed. Sometimes, an incident at work can be traumatic enough that it causes a mental disorder, such as depression or anxiety. A mental health professional can diagnose your mental disorder and state whether the work incident likely caused the disorder. Illinois law allows you to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you can prove the correlation between the work incident and your mental health. You can use a “mental-physical” claim or “mental-mental” claim.

Mental-Physical

A mental-physical claim is when a physical incident at work caused trauma that led to your mental condition. This can easily happen when you suffer a traumatic injury in the process of your normal work duties. A factory worker who was severely injured while using machinery may feel anxious about returning to work. The worker could be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder if he or she suffers panic attacks due to that anxiety.

Seemingly minor injuries can also create mental trauma depending on the nature of the incident. For instance, someone sexually assaulted by a supervisor may suffer bruises that do not require medical treatment. However, being assaulted at work is traumatic and would understandably cause the victim anxiety about returning to the workplace. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has awarded benefits in such a scenario.

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Five Common Causes of Motorcycle CrashesMotorcycles riders are vulnerable in ways that other motorists are not. Even wearing all the recommended safety gear can only do so much to protect a rider during an accident. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to receive personal injury compensation if another party was at fault. However, proving fault may depend on what caused the accident. Here are five common causes of motorcycle accidents and the likelihood that someone else was at fault.

  1. Other Moving Vehicles: Common accidents between motorcycles and other vehicles involve left turns, lane changes, and rear-ending. Drivers of larger vehicles can be careless about watching for motorcycles, misjudge their speed or simply not see them in their blind spots. The driver of the other vehicle may be at fault for your accident if their actions put you in danger and you attempted to use defensive riding techniques to avoid the accident.
  2. Open Car Doors: People inside parked vehicles can cause motorcycle accidents when they suddenly open their doors. It can be difficult to see a motorcycle coming from behind, though some people fail to look when exiting the vehicle. Whether the person in the vehicle was at fault largely depends on whether you were traveling at a safe speed. Motorcycles should be extra cautious when riding down a narrow road with parked vehicles.
  3. Road Hazards: Riders are at risk of losing control of their motorcycles when they encounter surfaces that are wet or covered in debris. There is no liable party when the weather makes the road slick unless the negligent design of the road caused an unnatural accumulation of water or ice. A public road in disrepair may cause an accident, but local governments are immune from lawsuits unless you can prove willful and wanton negligence. Property owners may be liable for the unnatural debris they create on the road adjacent to their properties. For instance, lawn clippings can become slick when combined with rain and many municipalities have ordinances against blowing lawn clippings into the street.
  4. Speeding: Many motorcycle accidents can be avoided if the rider is able to slow down in time. Riders are at least partially at fault for an accident when they are traveling at unsafe speeds. The safe speed may be below the speed limit if the road conditions are poor or the rider is approaching a sharp curve in the road.
  5. Riding Under the Influence: Riding your motorcycle while intoxicated is an avoidable hazard. Other parties will not be liable if you were drunk at the time of your accident.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Lawyer

Motorcycle accidents can cause severe injuries to riders, if not death. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you receive the compensation you need to cover your medical costs and suffering. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Reasons to Appeal a Guilty VerdictA guilty verdict in a courtroom is not always the end of your criminal case. In Illinois, you have 30 days after your verdict to file a notice to appeal the ruling to a higher court. The appellate court can either affirm the ruling of the lower court or reverse part or all of the ruling, which could mean that the charges are dismissed or the lower court must retry the case under new instructions. Not every guilty verdict is worth appealing if there is practically no chance that it will be successful. However, there are some cases where it is in your best interest to appeal.

Disagreeing with the Verdict

When appealing a verdict, you must state which parts of the lower court’s rulings you dispute and the legal reason why you dispute it. Many criminal appeals argue that the appellate court should overturn the guilty verdict for reasons such as:

  • The verdict going against the evidence in the case;
  • The judge giving the jury incorrect instructions;
  • The court allowing the prosecution to use inadmissible evidence;
  • The court misinterpreting or misapplying the law; or
  • Any other factor that made the trial unfair to the defendant.

In cases with multiple charges, you can choose whether to dispute the verdict on individual charges. Most appellate court judges do not overturn a lower court ruling unless there was a clear mistake during the trial that affected the outcome of the case. Even if they disagree with the verdict, they will defer to the judgment of the lower court unless that judgment was unreasonable and against the manifest weight of the evidence. If they do overturn the ruling, they may send the case back to the lower court for a new trial.

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Four Types of Personal Documents You Need for Your DivorceYou and your divorce attorney will spend much of the process going over your finances to determine how you will divide them with your spouse. Your attorney needs official documentation to have accurate financial information and know if your spouse is telling the truth during negotiations. While your attorney is skilled at finding these documents, you can save yourself time and legal expense by providing them yourself. You can anticipate that your attorney will need several documents during your initial meetings about your divorce:

  1. Proof of Income: How much money you and your spouse make will determine the division of child support and whether spousal maintenance will be awarded. Copies of your and your spouse’s recent check stubs will show your regular pay and how much money you have earned this year. Recent income tax returns will give a larger picture for the last several years. You may need other financial records if you or your spouse are self-employed, such as check registers and bank statements.
  2. Financial Statements: Speaking of bank statements, you will need statements showing the current balances of financial accounts, both shared and individual. You will divide the money from your joint checking and savings accounts, as well as any joint investments, such as mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. Individual investments, such as retirement accounts, can be subject to division if they were accrued during your marriage. It is also wise to know your spouse’s non-marital financial assets, which are part of their total worth.
  3. Property Records: You should have the contracts for any major properties you purchased during your marriage, such as the deed to your home and the titles of your vehicles. You should also present any statements related to loan payments on these properties, such as your mortgage. These records will help your attorney determine the actual value of these properties and whether one of you has a stronger claim to a property.
  4. Debt Statements: Spouses divide their debts during their divorce, just as they divide their assets. Besides the previously mentioned property loan statements, you should present statements for any other debts, such as credit cards, medical bills, or bank loans.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Lawyer

Providing all of these documents will give your attorney a head start in preparing for your divorce. At Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, we know that the search for financial information does not stop there. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney will thoroughly search for any hidden or overlooked assets from your marriage. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Work Injuries Can Extend Beyond Normal Working HoursInjuries that are covered by workers’ compensation insurance extend beyond what many employees realize. For instance, you may believe that you needed to be working “on the clock” for an injury to be work-related. Your employer’s responsibility for your health can continue even after your official work hours. The workers’ compensation insurance provider will likely contest any injury claim that occurs outside of your paid hours or the workplace. This should not discourage you from filing for workers’ compensation benefits.

Qualifying for Benefits

Job requirements can dictate your actions beyond your documented working hours. Many employees are required or compelled to take their work home with them or perform work-related tasks after work. Even the requirement to travel to and from a work site can potentially expose you to danger. When wondering whether an injury is work-related, you should ask:

  • Was I performing a task that was required as part of my job?;
  • Was my employer benefitting from my actions?;
  • Was my employer aware or could my employer have been expected to be aware that I was at a work site during my free time?;
  • Does my employer own or maintain the property where the injury occurred?; and
  • Would I have been in the situation that caused my injury if not for my work?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, it is worth exploring whether your injury would qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

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