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Recent blog posts

Gathering Evidence for a Premises Liability ClaimProperty owners owe a duty of care to create a reasonably safe environment for people they invite onto their premises. If you are injured due to a safety hazard while visiting someone’s property, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation through the premises liability laws. Proving that a property owner owed a duty of care is usually straightforward. As long as you had permission to be on the property, the duty of care should exist. However, it is more difficult to prove that the property owner should be liable for the conditions that caused your injury. They may not be liable if:

  • The hazard was apparent and could have been avoided
  • They could not have reasonably been aware of the hazard
  • You acted in a reckless manner that created your injury risk

Gathering evidence is a key step in proving a premises liability claim. Here are four types of evidence that could help:

  1. Pictures from the Scene: If you can identify the hazard that caused your injury, you should immediately take photographic evidence of the hazard. Do not rely on coming back to take pictures later, when the property owner may have had time to put up warning signs or fix the hazard. The court needs to see the property conditions at the time of your accident to understand why the property owner is liable.
  2. Witnesses: If someone saw your accident as it happened, they can testify about how the accident occurred and whether they noticed the hazard themselves. Talk to potential witnesses at the scene and ask for their names and contact information. Your lawyer can decide whether they would be good witnesses and do the work of getting them to testify.
  3. Video Evidence: Depending on the location, there may have been security cameras that captured your accident. You can file a subpoena to obtain a copy of the recording, which may support your claim about the hazard that caused your injury.
  4. Documents: The property owner may say that they did not know about the hazard on their property, but there may be documents that contradict them. For instance, they may have received a notice from a safety inspector about the hazard and the danger it could pose to visitors.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

By gathering enough evidence on your premises liability claim, you improve your chances of winning your lawsuit or receiving a settlement offer from the property owner. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can find the evidence that will be most relevant to your case. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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What Are a Juvenile’s Rights After Being Arrested in Illinois?When a juvenile in Illinois is accused of committing a crime, they often face a different justice system than adults. The Illinois Juvenile Justice System calls juveniles “delinquent minors” instead of criminals. The juvenile court places greater importance on rehabilitating the juvenile than punishing them. It is easier to expunge a juvenile’s arrest and criminal records than it is for adults. Knowing all of this, your child is better off in a juvenile court than an adult criminal court if they are arrested. How does Illinois determine whether a case belongs in juvenile court? What are a juvenile’s rights during the arrest? These are important things to know if your child has been charged with a crime.

Juvenile Court Requirements

The age of the defendant and the nature of the criminal charge will decide whether a person is tried as a juvenile or an adult. In Illinois, a defendant is tried as a juvenile if:

  • They are 17 or younger and were charged with a misdemeanor
  • They are 16 or younger and were charged with a felony

Illinois will use the age the defendant was when they allegedly committed the offense, not their age at the time of the trial. Once a case has been heard in juvenile court, the court can continue jurisdiction over the case until the defendant is 21.

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What to Expect from the Illinois Adoption ProcessMany couples who are looking to add a child to their family will consider adoption as an alternative to childbirth. Adopting a child can be a rewarding experience for the parents and a great benefit to a child who may otherwise grow up without a stable home. However, Illinois has a stringent adoption process in place to ensure that the child is going to a safe home. Attempting to adopt without the guidance of a family law attorney could result in frustration with the process that discourages you from completing the adoption. There are several things you should know about adoption before you get started.

  1. There Are Multiple Ways to Adopt: Your first step in the adoption process is choosing which method of adoption you will use. Some people work with an adoption agency that matches a child with parents. Others may work outside of an agency if they are related to the child or reach an agreement with the child’s current parents. You can also choose between adopting domestically or internationally. Adopting a child from a foreign country can complicate the process depending on the adoption laws of the child’s home country.
  2. You Need to Know Whether the Child Is Eligible for Adoption: When you adopt a child, the court transfers the parental rights for the child from their biological parents to you. This can be difficult to accomplish without the biological parents’ cooperation. The parents can sign a form that consents to the adoption and waives their parental rights. To involuntarily terminate the parents’ rights, you would need to prove that the parents are unfit. Grounds for unfitness include abandonment, a conviction for a violent or sexual crime, or repeated neglect or abuse.
  3. You Must Present Yourself as a Fit Parent: Before approving an adoption, the court will require a home study to assess whether you can provide a suitable environment for the child. You can choose a professional with a licensed agency to conduct the home study. The study may include multiple visits and interviews to determine your motivations for adopting the child, how you would raise them, the type of environment the child would be living in, and your ability to support the child both financially and emotionally. There will also be a background check to see whether you have a history of criminal behavior.

Contact a McHenry County Family Law Attorney

Completing an adoption can take months or years, depending on the type of adoption that you choose. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, family law lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Receiving Permanent Total Disability Benefits After a Work InjuryMost workplace injuries are ones that you expect to recover from with time. You may need to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your medical expenses and lost wages if you miss time from work. Unfortunately, some injuries cause permanent disability that will forever affect your ability to work. If your disability makes you unable to work any job, you may qualify to receive Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits for the rest of your life. Because the workers’ compensation insurer is likely to contest a PTD claim, you would need the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer to prove your case.

What Is a Permanent Total Disability?

Your disability is permanent and total if you are incapable of performing any work tasks for which you could receive employment and if your condition is unlikely to improve. Most PTDs involve losing a body part or losing your ability to use that body part. However, you do not have to be completely incapable of normal function in order to qualify for PTD benefits. You can argue that your disability has made you unable to obtain employment if:

  • You make a good-faith effort to apply for jobs but have not received any job offers
  • You do not have the education or training to qualify for jobs that could accommodate your disability
  • Your age makes it unreasonable to expect you to retrain for a new career

You may qualify for Permanent Partial Disability if you are capable of working in a limited capacity or in a position that pays less than what you made before.

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By: Brian K. Stevens

Illinois DUI AttorneysFirst a caveat:  This article is not a “How To” of avoiding a DUI arrest.  If it is late at night and a police officer observes any traffic violation and then subsequently smells any amount of odor of alcohol, they will almost always find some reason to arrest the motorist for DUI. Therefore, the best that can be done on such a stop is to minimize the amount of evidence that you give to the police officer.  That way, once the matter is placed into the court system, an experienced DUI attorney can utilize the State’s evidence (or more importantly, lack thereof) to gain an advantage for his client, and many times, significantly reduce the penalties or even have the DUI case entirely dismissed. With those parameters in mind, here are the Top 10 Things To Do If You Are Stopped for a DUI:

  1. As soon as you see the squad car’s emergency lights activated, begin to pull your vehicle over

The longer the time you take to pull over, the more it can be argued that your reactions were slowed due to alcohol consumption. As soon as you see the police car’s overhead lights, gradually slow your car down, use your turn signal and begin to pull over to the side of the road.  If there is a parking lot in the immediate area, it is okay to turn into it to pull over, but do not drive more than one block to look for one.

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