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Recent blog posts

What Are Common Injuries Suffered in a Motorcycle Accident?The summer months are a popular time to ride a motorcycle because of the good weather and road conditions, but motorcyclists should be aware of the risks of accidents and injury associated with their vehicles’ smaller size and lack of enclosed protection. In Illinois in 2018, motorcycle accidents accounted for less than 1 percent of all automobile accidents, but motorcycles were involved in 12 percent of fatal accidents and 3 percent of accidents resulting in injury. In total, more than 2,000 motorcyclists were injured in accidents in 2018, and more than 1,000 were killed or suffered an incapacitating injury.

Some of the most common injuries for motorcyclists include:

  1. Broken Limbs: Broken and fractured arms and legs are common in motorcycle accidents, either from the force of impact of the initial crash or collision with the road surface or stationary objects on the roadway.
  2. Lacerations and Road Rash: When motorcyclists are thrown from their vehicle and skid across road surfaces, they often suffer skin abrasions and lacerations that can leave lasting scars.
  3. Fractured Ribs: Motorcycle accidents often result in multiple fractured ribs, especially for drivers over 40 years of age, which can lead to significant internal bleeding.
  4. Internal Organ Injuries: Impacts to the chest and abdominal area in a motorcycle wreck can puncture the lungs and damage the kidneys, liver, and other internal organs. Internal injuries can be especially dangerous because they are not always immediately apparent after the accident.
  5. Spine Injuries: Spine fractures and spinal cord injuries tend to occur when a motorcyclist collides at high speeds with another vehicle or a stationary object on or near the road. These injuries can be fatal or lead to long-term paralysis.
  6. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Forceful blows to the head occur frequently in motorcycle accidents and can cause concussions and other traumatic brain injuries that can prove fatal or impair regular brain functions including memory, speech, senses, and emotions. Wearing a helmet can prevent or reduce a significant number of these kinds of injuries.

Any of these injuries can have severe, long-lasting impacts on a motorcyclist’s health and quality of life. If you are a motorcyclist who was injured in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you can seek compensation for your injuries, but it is crucial that you seek or accept medical attention immediately after the crash no matter how minor your injuries seem to be. Your fast action can strengthen your personal injury claim and may save your life.

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Posted on in Probate

What Can Cause Delays During Probate?Sorting through your loved one’s possessions is a necessary activity following their death. Most families go through the probate process, in which an executor will administer the estate plan of the deceased. You may have heard horror stories about the probate process taking years and leaving bitter divisions between family members. Some people structure their estate plans so that their beneficiaries will not have to go through probate. There are several complications that can delay the probate process and increase the costs associated with it:

  1. The Estate Plan Is Out-Of-Date or Incomplete: The probate process runs most efficiently when the instructions in the estate plan are clear and thorough. When significant assets are missing from the plan, the executor and beneficiaries need to determine what the deceased person likely intended to do with the assets. This can easily lead to disagreements that must be settled in probate court. The executor also must consider the value of the missing asset, how it affects the estate’s total value, and whether there are any tax consequences.
  2. Beneficiaries Contest the Plan: Even when the estate plan has clear instructions, the beneficiaries may dispute whether it is valid or legal. Someone may claim that the deceased was manipulated into modifying their estate plan to the benefit of one person. They could also say that there is a newer version of the estate plan that supersedes the original. Sometimes, a person is upset by the instructions in the estate plan and may start a legal battle that they have little chance of winning.
  3. The Executor Declines Their Responsibility: An estate plan will name an executor, but that does not mean that the person named will accept their role. The person may have never agreed to be the executor or changed their mind about it. You must name a new executor for the estate, and a court must approve that person.
  4. You Need to Assess the Property Values: The total value of the properties in the estate will determine whether the IRS will charge an estate tax. If the estate’s estimated value is close to the threshold that triggers the tax, you may need to assess the value of each property to determine whether the estate is above the threshold.

Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Probate Attorney

The probate process can be long and emotionally charged. The best way to prepare yourself for challenges is by working with an experienced McHenry County probate lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

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How You Can Tell It May Be Time for a DivorceYou need to be certain about your decision to divorce before you tell your spouse or prepare to file the necessary paperwork because couples rarely turn back once the divorce process starts. It may be worth trying marriage counseling or other forms of reconciliation if you believe your marriage can still be saved. Even when the evidence shows that you need to divorce, it can be difficult to accept that conclusion. If you are uncertain about whether you should divorce, the following signs suggest that your marriage is beyond repair:

  1. You No Longer Have Healthy Communication: Marriages survive and thrive because couples are willing to talk to each other when they disagree and consider what the other side has to say. Couples in an unhealthy relationship may mostly communicate through heated arguments or refuse to communicate at all. The lack of constructive communication may become so bad that even minor disagreements have the potential to escalate into major arguments. Not communicating in order to avoid conflict means you have resigned yourselves to the fact that you cannot agree, which may cause tension and resentment.
  2. You Cannot Trust Your Spouse Because of Past Mistakes: A betrayal of trust, such as infidelity, will often lead to a decision to divorce. Whether that is true in your case depends on whether your spouse is willing to change and whether you are willing to forgive them. Even if your spouse has done everything right since their mistake, you are not obligated to forgive them or to continue your marriage. It is okay to divorce your spouse if you have lost all trust in your relationship.
  3. The Bad Times Far Outweigh the Good Times: Every marriage has highs and lows, but a sign of a healthy marriage is when you feel like the high points make up for any low points. You need to ask yourself how often you are able to be happy in your marriage and whether that happiness is worth all of the times you are unhappy. If you find your marriage is more likely to fill you with contempt and sadness, you may be happier if you end the marriage.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Lawyer

You should take your time before deciding whether to divorce because it is one of the most consequential decisions you will ever make. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, is available to answer your divorce questions and represent you if you decide to move forward with a divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Is It Difficult to File for Workers’ Compensation?There is no doubt that filing a workers’ compensation claim can be beneficial if you have been injured while working. Workers’ compensation benefits cover your healthcare expenses related to your injury and give you disability pay if you are forced to miss time from work or are limited in the work you can perform. However, you may also wonder how much work is required to file a claim. It is natural for a person to feel discouraged by the prospect of filling out application forms and arguing their claim in court. Most workers’ compensation claimants find that applying for benefits is well worth the effort they put into it.

Steps Leading Up to Filing

Whenever you suffer a work-related injury, you should prepare as if you will be filing a workers’ compensation claim in the future. This includes:

  • Seeking immediate medical attention to diagnose and treat your injuries
  • Notifying your employer within 45 days of your injury
  • Keeping track of the doctors you visit and healthcare expenses you incur

Receiving medical attention and keeping a record of your expenses are tasks that you would be doing regardless of whether you filed a workers’ compensation claim. Some workers may be worried about telling their employer about their workplace injury, but your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for filing a claim.

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Why Riding ATVs Is a Dangerous Activity for TeensEach year in the U.S., hundreds of people die and thousands more are injured in accidents involving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Riding an ATV can be dangerous for people of any age or skill level, but children and teens seem to be particularly at risk of being injured or killed. Riders younger than 16 make up a quarter of those who are injured in ATV accidents and a third of those who are killed. Before you allow your child to operate an ATV, you should understand why it is a risky activity and how you can best protect them.

Lack of Regulation

Unlike with most other motorized vehicles, Illinois does not have any restrictions on how old you must be to operate an ATV or requirements for safely using an ATV, such as helmets or passenger limits. Instead, it is up to the riders to learn how to safely operate the vehicle. Even in states that have stricter rules, it can be difficult to enforce those rules because people usually ride ATVs on private properties and not public roads.

Dangerous Vehicles

The design of most ATVs makes them prone to rollovers and leaves the rider exposed to injury. ATVs have a high center of gravity, and many lack safety features such as rollover bars, seatbelts, and safety cages. Having an additional passenger on an ATV meant for one person can throw off the balance during turns. If you add the uneven terrain and people riding at unsafe speeds, you have a recipe for disaster. A rider or passenger can be thrown from the vehicle or pinned underneath it after a rollover.

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