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Tips for Staying Healthy When in Public Places

Each year, millions of people suffer from colds, flu, or other viruses. Some viruses can spread easily from one person to another. Now more than ever, it is important to take care of yourself and your immune system. Try these tips for protecting your good health, as well as the health of others.

Get a Flu Shot

There are many viruses each year, and each one can affect people differently. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated annually—and while you’re at it, make sure your other vaccinations (including chicken pox, shingles, and measels) are up to date. Vaccination is especially important for those with chronic health conditions. Other benefits include reducing the severity of illness as well as the likelihood of hospitalizations and flu-related death in children.

Wash Your Hands

chicago illinois personal injury lawyerJust the simple act of washing your hands often and thoroughly will help protect you from germs. More than any other part of your body, your hands come into contact with your surroundings. Whether you are at your workplace, a store, a bus, or any public place, when you touch a surface, you risk picking up germs. According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on hard surfaces for up to eight hours.

Wash your hands several times a day. In general, wash your hands whenever they are visibly dirty, or after you have come into contact with any questionable surfaces. Make it part of your daily routine. For example, wash your hands before preparing or eating food, caring for someone who is sick, and inserting or removing contact lenses. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands after using the bathroom, sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose or caring for someone who is sick. Also, wash your hands after handling food (including pet food) or garbage, or touching an animal or animal waste.

The Mayo Clinic recommends washing your hands with soap and water. Regular soap is just as effective as over-the-counter antibacterial soaps to kill germs.

For thorough, effective hand washing, experts recommend:

  • Use clean, running water.
  • Apply soap and scrub your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds or more. Make sure you rub all parts of your hands, including between your fingers, under your fingernails, the backs of your hands and your wrists.
  • Rinse completely, and air dry your hands or use a clean towel.
  • Use alcohol-based sanitizer

An alcohol-based sanitizer is also a sensible way to kill germs and protect against illness, but only if soap and water aren’t readily available. For maximum effectiveness, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends using a sanitizer containing 70 percent to 95 percent ethanol or isopropanol.

Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Mouth, and Nose

Even if you wash your hands regularly, it is impossible to keep them completely clean all the time. You can’t see them, but germs are everywhere. If you touch something that is contaminated with germs and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you risk infection. Unfortunately, touching your face is a tough habit to break. Those who have habits such as nail-biting risk ingesting germs.

When wearing a mask, be sure to follow the recommended guidelines for safe and sanitary use.

Keep Your Home, Workspace, and Car Clean and Sanitized

You probably feel that your home, office, or car is very clean. However, we are all touching surfaces all the time. After you have been out in public, you may have gotten in your car, driven home, and along the way, touched your keys, cell phone, and other areas in your home before you got around to washing your hands. Doing so just invited all sorts of germs into your life.

Countertops, whether they are in a store or your own kitchen, can be teeming with germs. If you make yourself a snack on a contaminated surface, you will ingest all those germs. Even kitchen sponges harbor germs. They should be disinfected or changed regularly.

Avoid Touching Common Surfaces in Public Places

Common public surfaces/places that have the most germs include:

  • ATMs, PIN pads or other electronic payment terminals
  • Gas pumps
  • Shopping carts
  • Pens used to sign at a store checkout or a restaurant
  • Self-checkout terminals at the grocery store
  • Doorknobs and handles
  • Handles and other surfaces on public transportation

Use sanitizer or disinfectant wipes to clean public surfaces before you touch them and then use hand sanitizer afterward. You can also bring your own pen to use at the register. As much as possible, avoid putting your hands on stair rails, doorknobs, and faucets. Especially in busy public places, people touch these surfaces constantly, and they probably do not get sanitized enough to keep them free of germs. Instead, use the back of your hand, arms, and elbows, use a disposable paper product, or use the outside of an article of clothing. Also, do not share items such as cell phones.

Avoid Crowds

Do your best to avoid unnecessary crowds and travel. You can’t always tell if someone is sick, because people may be infected with the flu or cold even before symptoms appear. Therefore, stay away from crowded spaces if you can. If you find yourself in a crowd, try not to talk too close to people. If someone near you is sneezing or coughing, turn away and cover your mouth and nose. Breath out slowly so that you don’t inhale the contaminated air and move at least 6 to 10 feet away from that person.

Try to stay away from busy malls or performance venues. We all love to go to a movie theater or live performance, but in those situations, many people are sitting close together, and if one person has a virus, germs can spread easily and quickly.

It is easy to see why daycare or childcare centers are a frequent source of colds or flu. In these settings, young children often use their hands to touch their faces or wipe their noses. Then they handle their toys, touch every surface within reach, and touch other children, who, in turn, do the same. The flu virus and other germs can easily spread among them, especially as their immune systems are still building up. According to the CDC, flu can be especially dangerous for children, especially those aged five or younger, because they are at a higher risk for complications.

Avoid Close Contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. To protect others, cover your mouth and nose with a mask or tissue and, if possible, stay at home if you are sick. If you are caring for someone who has a contagious illness, follow all basic sanitation procedures. Try to stay in a separate area, away from the sick-room, and avoid using the same bathroom. Be extra cautious about sharing household items. Don’t share unwashed drinking glasses, eating utensils, or dishes. Also, avoid sharing linens, such as bedding, towels, or kitchen linens. After a sick person uses household items, always wash and sanitize them carefully.

Practice Other Good Health Habits

Most of the secrets to good health are just common sense. Keep your immune system in good shape by eating nutritious food, drinking plenty of liquids, getting enough sleep, being physically active, and controlling your stress level. Be careful and be well.

Smartwatches and Distracted Driving

distracted driving lawyer in chicago illinoisLong before there were electronic devices, there were driver distractions. However, as technology has developed, the problem has grown. At any given moment during the daylight hours, researchers estimate that over 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone on a handheld cell phone.

In recent years, smartwatches have become the latest digital device that poses a distracted driving risk. Most people are aware of the risks of using smartphones while driving, but what about smartwatches?

What Is a Smartwatch?

A smartwatch is a wearable computer in the form of a wristwatch. In addition to telling time, smartwatches provide wearers with instant messages, texts, alerts of incoming calls, and social network updates. Smartwatch software may also include digital maps, personal organizers, and health-related applications. Like other computers, a smartwatch gathers information from internal or external sensors, and it may control, or retrieve data from, other devices or computers.

Using a smartwatch, a driver can receive notifications of text messages or emails, read and respond to them; send reminders or calendar notifications; either answer or decline incoming calls; play music; or operate a GPS. The increasing use of devices and the dangers of distracted driving have concerned people for a long time. The dangers of texting or using a smartphone while driving is well-publicized. However, smartwatches bring new issues to the world of distracted driving.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Careful driving can be difficult under the best of circumstances. Driving while distracted is far more difficult and more dangerous. Distracted driving is driving while engaging in any behavior that could potentially take your attention away from the most important area of focus: the road in front of you. Like reckless driving, driving while distracted endangers yourself, but also any passengers, other drivers, and nearby pedestrians. In just one recent year, 2,841 fatalities took place because of distracted driving.

These three risky forms of distraction make driving more dangerous:

  1. Visual distractions, which means anything that takes a driver’s eyes from the road or even for a split-second.
  2. Cognitive distractions, which includes anything that keeps your mind from focusing on driving
  3. Manual distractions, which are often combined with visual distractions. It means taking your hands off the wheel for any reason.

Some activities involve multiple distractions. For example, texting while driving requires you to look at a screen, type using your hands, and think about what you’re writing. The effect of using a cell phone, whether it is handheld or hands-free, adversely affects a driver’s reaction time. In some cases, it delays drivers’ reactions to the same degree as a blood alcohol level of .08 percent.

Distracted Driving and Smartwatches

Some people assume that smartwatches are safer because their features are voice-activated. However, safety experts say that hands-free devices can be just as dangerous as handheld ones because they divert the driver’s attention from the road.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), a U.K. based road safety group, warns that smartwatches are potentially more dangerous than smartphones, because while a driver can usually operate a smartphone with one hand, a smartwatch actually requires two hands. One hand wears the smartwatch and the other hand operates it. Even if the information just scrolls across the screen, you need to look at it, sometimes by raising the watch to eye level, to read the notifications.

Additionally, notifications and alerts are hard to avoid. The device on your wrist may be vibrating, making some kind of noise, or lighting up. Unlike phones, which can be left in a pocket or cup-holder and ignored, when a wearable device is going off, there is a strong temptation to check it.

The screens on many smartwatches are smaller than those on smartphones. It may take slightly more time to look at it. However, even a brief moment of inattention can be deadly. In one experiment done in the U.K., a driver’s reaction time was 1.35 seconds when he was holding a hands-free phone conversation. By comparison, reading a text on a smartwatch took an average of 2.52 seconds to react to an unexpected event, compared with 0.9 seconds when he was talking to a passenger in the car. He also veered out of his lane four times while using the smartwatch.

Distracted Driving Laws

Most states do not specifically discuss the use of smartwatches while driving. Is using a smartwatch a distracted driving offense?

Not in Illinois, for example, but there it does not make the use of such devices legal. Under Illinois law section 625 ILCS 5/12(b), “A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device.”

According to section 625 ILCS 5/12(a), “Electronic communication device” means any electronic device, such as a smartphone or laptop, but does not include a GPS or navigation system that is integrated into the car’s system.

This statute does not specifically list smartwatches as an example of an electronic device, but the statute may include electronic communication devices other than those specifically stated in the statute. Also, smartwatches are not specifically excluded in this statute. Therefore, the statute may characterize smartwatches as an “electronic communication device.”

Originally, under the 2014 law, a first offense for texting while driving was not a moving violation and thus did not affect the individual’s driving record. However, as of July 1, 2019, a person cited for driving while texting can receive a moving violation. The violation goes on their driving record and if a driver commits three moving violations within 12 months, their license may be suspended. In addition, the law established fines for first-time offenders. The penalty for a first offense is $75, $100 for a second, $125 for a third, and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense.

The Risks of Smartwatches and Distracted Driving

Using a smartwatch while driving increases the risk of an accident. It may only take a second to glance at a smartwatch, but a second’s inattention may be all it takes for a crash to happen. A car accident can result in a lifetime of serious consequences, such as severe or even fatal injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

Seeking Recovery for Rideshare Drivers

Passengers are not the only people who can get injured in ridesharing accidents. Our Chicago rideshare accident lawyers often represent Uber and Lyft drivers that sustain injuries due to the negligence of other motorists. Rideshare drivers may find themselves involved in, and injured from, accidents and incidents behind the wheel. Physical injuries can lead to significant medical and economic consequences for rideshare drivers, particularly when the injuries keep them away from work and unable to earn fares. Property damage, typically to a vehicle, can put a driver out of work for the immediate future. Modern vehicles are becoming harder and far more expensive to repair.

Rideshare drivers have the same rights to the road as any other motorist. Unfortunately, pursuing compensation from an at-fault driver, a large insurance corporation, or a multi-billion dollar rideshare company is rarely a simple task for anyone, including a rideshare driver. When a rideshare driver is injured or suffers property damage on the job, they deserve to have someone in their corner. This is where the trusted car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes come in.

Drivers’ Rights to Compensation

Drivers for a rideshare service have a right to receive compensation for injuries they sustain in the course of their work, including:

  • The costs of medical care necessary to treat an injury, from emergency medical care through long-term therapy.
  • The economic impact of wages lost because an injury prevented the driver from returning to work, and of future economic opportunities the injury forced the driver to forego.
  • The expenses associated with services the driver needs to retain to manage day-to-day life while recovering from or living with an injury, such as childcare or keeping house.
  • The non-economic impact of an injury, such as the physical pain and emotional suffering it causes, and its detrimental effects on a driver’s quality of life and close, personal relationships.

At Abels & Annes, we believe hard-working rideshare drivers deserve this compensation. Rideshare drivers are skilled professionals, and an essential aspect of modern transportation—they deserve the same protections as any other motorist, particularly when providing a service to others. We can help drivers recover the compensation they deserve no matter if it requires chasing down insurance coverage, taking legal action against a rideshare company, or suing an at-fault party.

If you’re on your way to pick up a rider or carrying one in your vehicle, Uber covers you with a $1 million policy—more than the personal policies that most Uber drivers or other motorists carry. Unfortunately, Uber’s insurance company is no more likely to offer an adequate settlement on a valid claim than any other insurance company. That’s where the Uber accident lawyers at Abels & Annes come in.

Our Chicago Uber Accident Lawyers Can Help Uber Drivers, Too

The Chicago legal team at Abels & Annes can help you obtain the money you deserve after sustaining an injury as a rideshare driver. We are prepared to analyze your unique situation and to explore all paths available to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, our assistance can include:

  • Review of police reports;
  • Investigation of the accident scene;
  • Input from experts when required;
  • Consultation with witnesses;
  • Analysis of recovery options under all insurance policies and against all potentially liable parties;
  • Obtaining medical records and bills;
  • Preparing a settlement demand package and negotiating with the insurance carrier(s);
  • Negotiating and reducing medical bills;
  • Pursuit of an appropriate legal strategy, whether in or out of court.

Rideshare drivers are quickly becoming an essential aspect of our economy, and millions of Americans rely on rideshare drivers to get them where they need to be, whether for work or for pleasure. Accordingly, rideshare drivers should have an ally when the unexpected happens, even if that means going up against a large insurer or rideshare company to ensure you are made whole under the law. Contact Abels & Annes to protect your rights as a rideshare driver and to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Who Is at Fault in a T-Bone Car Accident?

A T-bone car accident, sometimes referred to as an angle collision, occurs when the front end of one car strikes the side of another car, forming a T. Some also call T-bones broadside collisions, if the impact occurs on the passenger side of a car. T-bone accidents are among the most deadly and dangerous of traffic crashes; they often occur at intersections, and determining fault is not always an easy task.

When a T-bone car accident occurs, multiple different parties can be at fault. In some situations, one party can be fully liable for a T-bone accident. In other crashes, two or more parties can share liability. We cover each of the potentially liable parties in a T-bone car accident below.

Putting your case in the hands of a trusted and experienced Chicago car accident attorney can help ensure as speedy and productive of a resolution to your claim as possible.

The Other Driver

T-bone car accidents can occur at large and small intersections alike. Some intersections have traffic control devices like stop lights or stop signs, and others are uncontrolled intersections. Remember that an intersection doesn’t only refer to where two roads meet, but can also refer to where a driveway and a road meet, or the entrance to a store or parking lot and a road.

No matter the type of intersection, one person has the right of way and the accident occurs because another driver did not yield to that right.

Specific driver behaviors that lead to a driver entering an intersection without the proper right of way include:

Who Is Liable for My Bills Following a T-Bone Accident?

While an attorney can help ensure the person responsible for the accident compensates you for damages (such as medical bills), you will still likely receive invoices for payment shortly after the crash.

This is why hiring a personal injury attorney is so important: Like many other victims of T-bone accidents, you likely have mounting medical bills, may miss time from work, and have enough to deal with focusing on your recovery. The sooner you can obtain compensation from the responsible party, the sooner you and your loved ones can get back to normal.

Your attorney can negotiate aggressively on your behalf to secure a fair settlement for your injuries. If necessary, your attorney can argue your case in court and ensure the best possible chances of a successful recovery. If you have trouble managing your bills in the meantime, your attorney can work with providers to ensure your care is delivered uninterrupted (such as asking the medical provider to file a lien or place your account on hold) while you work toward a settlement.

Holding even the most irresponsible of drivers accountable for their actions can require navigating a minefield of challenging and time-consuming insurance representatives, law enforcement professionals, opposing counsel, and possibly a judge and jury.

Third Parties Who Contributed to Driver Actions

Numerous negligent drivers choose to drive without insurance, and even then, many do not have the means to compensate the victim of a serious accident they cause. Even if your attorney successfully proves that the other driver was responsible for the accident, what happens if the other party lacks insurance or the resources to collect from?

The driver of the vehicle responsible for the collision may not be the only party potentially liable for damages—and if so, a car accident lawyer can work to hold third parties partially or fully liable for a T-bone car accident when their negligence contributes to driver behaviors that lead to an accident.

Possible scenarios where an attorney names a third party in a T-bone car accident claim or lawsuit might include:

  • Alcoholic beverage service. Under Illinois’s dram shop law, The Liquor Control Act of 1934, commercial establishments who serve alcohol, such as restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, open themselves up to liability if a patron drinks too much and gets behind the wheel. Private social hosts are excluded in Illinois law unless the drunk driver is underage.
  • Employers. Those organizations that allow or require employees to drive company vehicles can be held liable for an accident under a theory of agency. Further, they have a responsibility to perform background checks on their employees and train them properly if they are driving special equipment or vehicles. When an employee causes a T-bone accident in a company vehicle, Illinois courts can hold the employer liable. Similarly, employers have a responsibility to properly maintain company vehicles. Mechanical failures can lead to dangerous T-bone accidents and open an employer up to liability for a car accident.

Uninsured Motorist Claims

If an at-fault driver is without auto insurance, the most likely scenario is an uninsured motorist claim (UIM claim) with your own auto insurance carrier. Here, your auto insurance company steps into the shoes of the other motorist and pays on the claim. Due to the high rate of uninsured drivers, UM claims are very common and our lawyers handle them regularly.

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Make All the Difference

If you were in a T-bone car accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries when another party caused the accident. An experienced car accident attorney can investigate the facts of your case, handle negotiations with insurance companies, and ensure the party or parties responsible for the accident pay what you are owed under the law. Contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.

Who Pays Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

car accident lawyer in chicago illinoisAccording to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), more than 67,000 crashes on Illinois roads resulted in injuries in just one year. In severe car accidents, medical bills often pile up for those who are injured. This creates undue stress and economic uncertainty for many accident victims and their families; those who suffer injuries often cannot work, at least in the short-term. In the most extreme cases, some families may need to file bankruptcy, lose their homes in foreclosure, amass debt, and sometimes do not have enough money to cover even basic needs.

You are responsible for paying all medical bills you receive that are related to the treatment of injuries sustained in a car accident. Yet, the source of the funds you use to pay your medical bills will vary based on the circumstances of your accident, your insurance coverage, and the coverage of the other driver.

If you have sustained injuries in a car accident in Illinois as a result of another party’s careless actions, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced Illinois car accident attorney. Below, we provide an overview of Illinois insurance requirements and information about who pays medical bills in different insurance coverage scenarios.

Illinois Auto Insurance Requirements

Illinois has a fault-based insurance system, which means the party who causes an accident is liable for property damage and injuries related to the accident. Under Illinois law, all drivers must meet minimum insurance requirements. Coverage that applies to medical bills falls under bodily injury coverage.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage (BIL)

Bodily injury liability pays for costs related to the injury or death of a driver or occupant in another vehicle or a pedestrian. In some cases, BIL also covers passengers in your car, if they are not a member of your household. Illinois law requires that drivers carry at least $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage and a total of $50,000 per accident. Additionally, Illinois drivers must carry a minimum of $20,000 in property damage coverage.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)

Uninsured motorist insurance coverage is similar to bodily injury coverage to the extent that it covers medical bills after a car accident. UM coverage kicks in when an uninsured driver causes your car accident. Illinois drivers must carry a minimum of $25,000 in uninsured motorist coverage per person $50,000 per accident.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)

Illinois underinsured motorist insurance covers the gap in insurance that occurs when the at-fault driver does not have high enough insurance limits to cover the bodily injury or death in the accident they caused. Illinois only requires UIM coverage when policyholders purchase higher limits of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.

Who Pays When You Don’t Have Car Insurance?

If you did not cause the accident, the at-fault driver’s BIL coverage will kick in to cover your medical bills up to their policy limit. Keep in mind that even if insurance covers your medical bills, you likely will have to wait months before you see a penny of reimbursement. Make sure to keep your medical providers informed of your situation, so they do not send your account to a collection agency.

Who Pays Your Medical Bills When the at-Fault Driver Has No Insurance?

If you are in a car accident with a driver who isn’t insured or doesn’t have enough insurance, you will initially have to pay all of your medical bills. Fortunately, Illinois requires uninsured motorist coverage. If you are compliant, you can file a claim under your UM coverage to receive compensation for your medical bills up to your policy limit.

Once you have met or exceeded your UM coverage limits, your lawyer will have to negotiate with your medical providers and work to reduce your medical bills accordingly. This typically includes using the Illinois Health Care Services Lien Act (770 ILCS 23/). Here, hospitals and doctors can only collect certain percentages of your settlement.

Uninsured motorist coverage also covers hit-and-run accidents. Hopefully, if an at-fault driver leaves the scene of an accident, law enforcement can track him or her down. This, however, is not usually the case, so your UM coverage will kick in to cover your medical bills up to your policy limit.

Who Pays When You Have Exceeded Auto Insurance Coverage Limits?

A wide array of expenses falls under the umbrella of car accident-related medical bills. An ambulance ride, emergency department visit, and a short stay in the hospital can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. If you have suffered multiple traumas and severe injuries, expensive and lengthy hospitalization is likely. Medical bills also include surgery and accompanying costs, diagnostics, lab testing, rehabilitation, aftercare, and medication. Severe injuries can easily lead to medical bills totaling well into six figures, which can quickly exceed BIL and UM policy coverage limits.

You can rely on your health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare to cover some costs for specific things, but sometimes you have to exhaust all other insurance alternatives before health insurance will start paying. After you have met or exceeded your health insurance limits, you could be asked to pay your medical bills out-of-pocket.

For some, this could mean amassing credit card debt, draining bank accounts, and selling personal items to earn more money. However, for those smart enough to work with an experienced accident lawyer, it means having that attorney negotiate your medical bills. There are no guarantees, but typically medical providers will want some portion of a bill paid over an unrealistic debt collection, and they will often settle.

If you were in a severe car accident that led to a stack of medical bills, you can get the help you need by consulting an experienced car accident attorney. An auto accident lawyer can help get the compensation they need and deserve for their medical bills. An attorney can investigate the facts of the case, gather necessary evidence, and build the strongest case possible against the at-fault party.

What Do I Need for an Initial Consultation With a Truck Accident Attorney?

chicago truck accident lawyerThe time immediately following your truck accident is often one of confusion and stress. When you decide you need to speak with an attorney, having the right information readily available for your consultation can help your truck accident lawyers determine the best course of action for you.

Here is some of the information you might want to bring to an initial consultation with a truck accident attorney, if you have it available. If not, your truck accident lawyer can help you track it down.

Police Report

A police report serves as an official account of the accident. The responding officer may determine fault based on the evidence at the scene. If the accident requires further investigation, officers may delay their official conclusions.

Providing the police with your account of what occurred is always a smart idea. An official report can serve as valuable documentation for future civil action. Speaking with the officer is important; however, it is equally important that you use caution in speaking with others. Anything you say to the other driver or others at the scene may work against you later.

Never admit fault or apologize to the other driver. Statements like an apology can and often are used against accident victims who experienced serious injury due to the negligence of another driver.

Witness Statements

Chances are that witnesses who observed your accident were close to becoming accident victims themselves. Collecting the contact information for any witnesses that stop at the scene can help with your case. In addition to witness statements to police, a personal injury lawyer can use the contact information to follow-up with them once your case is underway.

Some witnesses may feel uncomfortable becoming involved in a legal matter, while others may express a willingness to help. Their relief that they escaped injury and their anger toward the reckless truck driver may propel them to assist your quest for justice.

Accident Scene Photos and/or Video

A smartphone can capture quality photos and/or videos of your accident. If your injuries are too severe, ask a witness to take photos for you. The presence of mind to take photos and possible video can help when it comes time to take civil action.

A truck accident lawyer can also ask witnesses if they have pictures of the scene or possible dashcam video of the crash. According to Google’s Automotive Trends report, dashcams are a large consumer-led trend as drivers want another set of eyes and documentation for possible accidents.

Medical Bills

An accident with a large truck puts you at risk for serious and often catastrophic injuries. The medical bills associated with the following types of injuries can far exceed your insurance and personal budget:

  • Spinal cord injury – A spinal cord injury is especially devastating due to the paralysis that can result. The use of a power chair, the need for home modifications, and other expenses can escalate into the millions of dollars each year, throughout your lifetime.
  • Traumatic brain injury – A severe traumatic brain injury impacts such functions as thinking, movement, and sensations. The need for 24-hour care for your loved one may require placing your loved one in a skilled nursing facility. The costs associated with such care in Illinois averages between $5,900 to $6,700 per month.
  • Broken bones – The severity of an impact with a large truck can leave you with more than just a broken arm. With more than 200 bones in the human body, the possibility of breaking more than one is very real. Depending upon the severity of your break you may face future surgeries, extensive physical therapy, and possible amputation.
  • Internal injuries – An internal injury often exhibits no outward signs or symptoms. Internal injuries are why you should always accept emergency transport to the hospital following a serious accident. Only a trained medical professional using the appropriate testing can diagnose and treat an internal injury. If left untreated, a serious internal injury can result in death.

These are just a few examples of the serious injuries that can result from an accident with a truck. Bringing any medical reports and expenses that you have can help with your free case evaluation.  If you haven’t received any, don’t worry, your accident lawyer will order all of your records and bills as the case progresses.

Insurance companies may offer you a settlement soon after your accident. The initial settlement offer may seem like a large sum to you and your family. The reality is that the initial settlement offer is most likely not enough to cover your future medical needs. If you accept their offer, you may lose your right to pursue compensation later.

Do not speak with insurance company representatives, and secure legal representation instead. Insurance companies want to protect their best interests, and not yours. Hiring an attorney experienced with truck accident cases is a smart way to protect your best interests.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You

A truck accident is a sudden event that turns your world upside down. Dealing with your injuries is difficult enough. You do not need the high pressure of insurance company representatives who want to settle your case quickly and for the least amount possible.

Knowing that someone is on your side can afford you valuable peace-of-mind. A truck accident lawyer can aggressively negotiate with insurance companies for the compensation you deserve while treating you and your family with a companion.

Most truck accident lawyers offer free case evaluations, leaving you with nothing to lose by contacting a lawyer today. Preparing for your free case evaluation by gathering essential documents and information can make the process smoother and less time-consuming.

The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case requires quick action. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, you may miss your opportunity for possible compensation forever. If you experienced serious injuries due to a negligent truck driver, give careful thought to consulting with a personal injury attorney today.

How Will My Family Be Taken Care of in the Event of an Accident With a Truck?

truck accident lawyer in chicago

A serious truck crash can leave you with catastrophic injuries or result in the loss of a loved one. If you experience serious injuries or lose a close family member to a negligent truck driver, a personal injury lawyer can help you. In addition to emotional stress, the mounting medical bills and a loss of income can overwhelm any family. Civil action against those liable for your injuries or your loss may help you find justice and secure financial compensation.

Common Injuries Associated With Truck Accidents

A passenger vehicle is no match for a large semi-truck. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), semi-trucks are 20-30 times heavier than passenger vehicles. The FMCSA reports that trucks weigh an average of 40 tons—compared to the average 2 tons of a passenger vehicle.

The massive weight of a truck can result in serious injuries, or death, in the event of a collision with your car. Examples of common types of injuries associated in such accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Burns

These are just a few examples of the types of injuries possible in a tragic crash with a semi-truck. These types of injuries can leave you with extensive medical bills and result in a long recovery or permanent disability. The costs associated with a spinal cord injury alone can reach millions of dollars throughout the victim’s lifetime.

Your life may never return to how it was before the accident and that is not fair. Securing legal representation is essential for protecting your family’s best interests. Most personal injury lawyers offer free case evaluations and there is often no attorney’s fee unless they collect damages for you. You have nothing to lose by discussing your case with a personal injury lawyer today.

Possible Types of Compensation for Your Truck Accident Injuries

While each personal injury case is different, the details of your accident and injuries may qualify you for:

  • Medical costs: emergency transport to the hospital, doctor bills, and continuing costs such as therapy and medications.
  • Lost income from your time away from work during your recovery.
  • Compensation for diminished earning capacity—if your injuries prevent you from returning to the career you had before the accident.
  • Pain and suffering.

Determining liability for your accident injuries is important. A personal injury lawyer understands how to investigate your accident to identify those responsible for your injuries. Official police reports, witness statements, and accident scene photos are all valuable evidence. Medical reports regarding your injuries and your medical bills are also important documents for pursuing civil action.

Illinois Wrongful Death Law

Losing your loved one in an accident with a truck is especially devastating. If your loved one left home, never to return due to a drowsy, distracted, or speeding truck driver, discuss your case with a lawyer. You may qualify for a wrongful death claim and a possible lawsuit.

Wrongful death damages typically involve:

  • Final medical costs associated with your loved one’s care.
  • Funeral, burial, or memorial costs.
  • Loss of income and potential future earnings.
  • Loss of companionship.

Illinois has a statute of limitations for wrongful death. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, you may lose your opportunity for possible compensation forever. That time can pass quickly as you mourn the loss of your loved one. Do not miss your chance for justice and for the compensation your family needs during this most difficult time, so call a truck accident lawyer immediately.

How to Protect Your Best Interests

When you experience a serious injury due to an accident with a truck, your medical bills start to mount immediately. That is why your family may feel tempted to accept an initial settlement offer from an insurance company. While the offer could seem like a fair amount, it most likely will not cover your future medical needs.

If you lost a loved one, your time of grief is no time to deal with insurance companies. Their high-pressure tactics only add to your stress during this difficult time. By allowing a personal injury lawyer to handle the details of your case, you can focus on the recovery process for you and your family.

Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer on Your Side

A truck accident lawyer fights for the rights of accident victims. They understand how insurance companies try to deny or to delay the compensation victims deserve. The right truck accident lawyer will not stop until they secure the best possible outcome of your case. If they can’t reach a fair settlement out-of-court, they are ready and willing to go to trial.

Time is of the essence due to the statute of limitations. The statute allows two years for a personal injury case against most defendants. If you were seriously injured due to no fault of your own in an accident involving a truck, give careful thought to contacting a truck accident lawyer.

Rising medical costs, mounting medical bills, and a lack of income—all due to another party’s negligence—are a significant burden for your family. No one should pay out-of-pocket for expenses that result due to a reckless truck driver or a truck with faulty brakes.

Pursuing civil litigation takes time. The sooner a personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case, the sooner they can determine the best course of action for you. Your bills will not wait, and neither should you.

Do not let insurance companies pressure you into accepting less than you deserve. Having a lawyer on your side can comfort you in knowing you are not alone and that someone is protecting your best interests. If you experienced serious injuries or you lost a close loved one in an accident that was due to negligence, let a truck accident lawyer review your case for free today.

How to Get the Most Money From a Car Accident

chicago car accident lawyerSerious injuries from a car accident deserve compensation. Not only must you live with the limitations of those injuries, often for the rest of your life, but you may also need help paying your medical bills and managing the other expenses that go along with your injuries. How can you get the most money from a car accident?

Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

If you want to maximize the compensation you receive following a car accident, hire an attorney. You should contact that attorney as soon after your accident as possible. Hiring an attorney:

Prevents you from mistakenly minimizing your compensation. After a serious car accident, an insurance company could make a settlement offer. Often, this settlement offer fails to reflect the funds you really deserve for your injuries. In some cases, in fact, the insurance company may offer only a fraction of what you really deserve for your injuries. Some car accident victims may accept this offer because they believe they will not get a better one or because they think it represents the maximum compensation available for their injury. An attorney can give you a better idea of how much you really deserve for your injuries, preventing you from mistakenly minimizing the compensation you can receive.

Provides you with a full evaluation of all parties liable for your accident. Illinois drivers who carry minimum auto insurance may have insurance that provides only $25,000 in compensation for bodily injury as a result of the accident. The medical bills for many types of injuries, including burns, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injury, may far exceed that amount. You can file a personal injury claim against all entities that contributed to your accident, which may maximize your compensation.

An attorney can:

  • Seek video footage of your accident. Video footage may include dash cam footage, security footage from local businesses, or traffic camera footage that clearly displays your accident.
  • Speak to witnesses. Witness statements can help an experienced attorney or expert witness put together exactly how the accident occurred and what factors contributed to that accident.
  • Check truckers’ logs and evaluate the trucking company, including taking a look at the driver’s past tickets and accident history. An experienced attorney may learn that a trucker has exceeded the number of hours he can legally spend behind the wheel or that the trucking company has a history of expecting drivers to meet unrealistic expectations or drive in unsafe conditions, for example.
  • Take a look at the maintenance history of the vehicle and evaluate whether, if mechanical failure caused the accident, the manufacturer or a mechanic who recently worked on the vehicle may share liability for your injuries.
  • Take a closer look at any other factors that contributed to your accident, including a poorly loaded truck or a mechanical defect.

Increases your understanding of the compensation you deserve for your injuries. You may question how much compensation you really deserve following a serious accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can improve your understanding of the compensation you deserve and provide you with a highly effective plan to proceed with your claim.

Most car accident victims include several common aspects as part of their claims, including:

  • Medical expenses. Your medical expenses may mount quickly, especially in accidents that include burns, traumatic brain injury, or spinal cord damage. An experienced personal injury attorney will help you evaluate all medical expenses associated with the accident, including emergency transport, treatment in the emergency room, surgeries and procedures, tests, and durable medical equipment. An attorney will also advise you about other expenses that count as medical expenses for the purposes of your personal injury claim. For example, you may need to make modifications to your home to accommodate a wheelchair after a spinal cord injury or amputation, or you may need ongoing personal care as a result of a traumatic brain injury. An attorney can help you understand how and when to include those expenses as part of your personal injury claim.
  • Lost wages. Severe injuries can prevent you from returning to work long-term—or, in some cases, prevent you from returning to work permanently. If you face lost time at work due to your injuries, you deserve compensation for those injuries. Your attorney will help evaluate the terms of those lost wages, including how lost vacation time as a result of your injuries could increase the funds you deserve in your personal injury claim.
  • Pain and suffering. While pain and suffering does not represent a tangible cost, it can add substantially to your personal injury claim. Many car accident injuries not only cause significant physical pain and suffering, they may leave you suffering from isolation or struggling to return to the activities that normally bring you joy. An attorney can help you determine how to calculate the worth of that pain and suffering.

Provides support as you deal with negotiations, mediation, and even go to court, if necessary. You may go through numerous stages of negotiation before you reach a resolution in your personal injury claim. In some cases, you may need to go to mediation to reach a resolution if you and the liable party, usually an insurance company, cannot come to an agreement about the worth of your claim. Failed negotiation results in your claim going to court. At every stage in this process, your attorney provides vital support that can help increase the compensation you receive for your injuries.

If you want to maximize the compensation you receive from a personal injury claim, start by hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. Many clients find that simply retaining an attorney increases the compensation the insurance company will willingly offer. In other cases, an attorney will manage the negotiation process or proceed to court for your claim. Contact an car accident attorney to discuss your case and learn more about how to obtain as much compensation as possible after your car accident.

After Suffering a Brain Injury From a Motorcycle Accident

chicago motorcycle accident lawyerMotorcycle riders face unique risks on the road. They’re almost 30 times as likely to die in a motorcycle crash than passenger vehicle occupants are. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hop on your bike for a ride around town or a cruise out to do errands—but what happens when the unthinkable occurs?

Motorcycle crashes can and do happen; and while we understand why it’s difficult to discuss, we know it’s important to share about what happens after a crash. Many motorcycle accident survivors partner with attorneys to help them after experiencing brain injuries and other emotional, mental, and physical damage.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

We’re all taught to drive defensively when we get behind the wheel. If you’re looking to hop on a motorcycle, you should know some of the key risks that you face on the road.

Lots of motorcycle accidents can be easily traced to:

  • Distracted driving | A motorcycle or vehicle operator can easily become distracted on the road. When this happens and a crash occurs, the motorcyclist is clearly the more likely of the two to face serious injury.
  • Road defects | Sometimes, a motorcycle accident feels all but unavoidable thanks to road defects and other circumstances. Always look out for potential crash risks. Potholes, uneven roads, and other road conditions can all lead to a crash.
  • Inclement weather | Weather itself rarely causes crashes—it’s the people who fail to accommodate for the weather who might misjudge stopping distances or drive too fast in poor visibility, then crash into motorcyclists, who cause accidents.

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to stay calm. This advice assumed that you do not need immediate or emergency medical attention. If somebody is seriously injured, he or she should not focus on these steps of the process and instead wait on emergency attention.

  • Contact authorities (call 911)
    • Police will help fill out an accident report when they arrive
    • Those who need emergency medical attention will receive it
  • Collect information and evidence
    • Photo and videos of the crash, damage, and injuries
    • Names of witnesses and other drivers
    • Insurance and phone information from other drivers
  • Seek medical attention, if needed
    • If you sustain injuries, seek medical attention at an ER, urgent care,  or with your primary care provider ASAP after the crash
    • Adrenaline can sometimes mask more serious injuries, so if you’re in pain, seek medical attention.
  • Start with attorneys
    • Only once your physical and mental health are stable
    • Most initial consultations are free
    • Let your lawyer talk to insurance companies for you

Your health should always be your first priority after a motorcycle accident. If you’ve faced serious injury during a crash, your lawyer can help you piece together information that is needed to pursue a claim. Attorneys are used to working with crash survivors who struggle with serious injuries—they will not decline your case just because you were injured and can’t collect much evidence.

Watch for Symptoms: Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (or TBIs) present a serious risk for motorcyclists.

If you or somebody you love was involved in a motorcycle accident, watch for these warning signs of TBI:

  • Loss of consciousness, disorientation, or dizziness
  • Nausea, altered sleep and language patterns, headaches
  • Persistent or worsening symptoms like headaches and nausea
  • Fluid leakage from the ears or nose
  • Extreme confusion, agitation
  • Slurred speech

Never overlook a TBI. Any degree of a TBI can result in severe complications and long-term impairments. If you believe that someone is exhibiting symptoms of a TBI, you should contact a medical professional immediately.

Other Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

We support motorcycle crash survivors with a broad range of injuries. While a TBI does pose one of the highest risks to human life, there are plenty of other types of physical damage that can impact survivors’ lives, too:

  • Road rash
  • Bruises, cuts, lacerations
  • Back injuries
  • Neck and spinal cord injuries
  • Loss of limb
  • Bone fractures

If you’ve suffered any injury as the result of a motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to compensation to help account for your losses. It’s important to speak openly and honestly with your motorcycle accident attorney to achieve the best chances of success.

A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help You Recover Damages

What To Do After A Motorcycle AccidentIf you partner with a motorcycle accident attorney who’s prepared to carry out your case, he or she may help you recover damages. This means that you’ll receive compensation to account for the physical, monetary, and emotional expenses of your accident. Nobody can guarantee that you will recover damages and nobody can predict which damages you could recover. Your attorney can help clarify this once they delve into your case.

That said, recoverable damages in motorcycle accident cases often include:

  • Past, present, and future medical bills | Including emergency transport, specialized services, custom equipment, and more.
  • Pain and suffering | Any accident has the potential to leave long-lasting effects on survivors; if your motorcycle accident caused a brain injury, it’s no exception. Motorcycle accident survivors can collect damages to account for exceptional physical and mental pain attributed to their experiences.
  • Lost wages and/or earning potential | Sometimes, a brain injury is so severe that it leaves someone temporarily unable to work. If this is the case for you, your lawyer should suggest pursuing compensation for lost wages. Other victims face a lifetime of altered or diminished earning potential after their accidents. These individuals would pursue damages for lost earning potential.
  • Disability | Some accidents cause disability in survivors. Brain injuries, in particular, can and do lead to disabilities with some regularity. If your motorcycle accident case resulted in disability, you can pursue compensation for it.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Illinois and the Surrounding States

Whether you’re riding down Lake Shore Drive or a quiet country road outside the city, for many people, nothing can compare to driving a motorcycle on a nice day. Other vehicles just don’t provide that wind in-your-face connection with the road that a bike so easily can. If you have already had a dangerous encounter while on a motorcycle that left you with severe injuries learn what an experienced Chicago motorcycle accident attorney.

When it comes to riders on the road, few states have more motorcyclists than Illinois: In fact, only five states have more registered motorcycles than the Prairie State.

But while Illinois has more bikes registered in the state, Illinois’s neighbors, Indiana and Wisconsin, both have more bikes per capita. In fact, all three states rank high in ownership and ridership.

However, that’s where the similarities stop. When it comes to the law, all three states have different rules and regulations. If you plan on riding between the three states, it’s a good idea to know the laws and make sure you comply in each state you pass through.

Riding a Motorcycle in Illinois

Each state has its own rules when it comes to riding a motorcycle. However, one common theme that exists among most states—they require riders to wear a helmet while riding their motorcycles.

Three states in the United States have no laws that mandate helmet use while riding a motorcycle. Illinois is one of those three states.

While Illinois has passed no law regarding helmets, the Illinois Department of Transportation strongly recommends a helmet for all riders. Additionally, all riders must wear protective eyewear anytime they are on their bikes.

So where does Illinois stand when it comes to motorcycle safety? According to one report—about the middle of the road. A report conducted by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association found that 14.3 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in one year involved a motorcyclist. Comparatively, Nevada had the largest percentage of fatalities with 22.6 percent of fatalities being a biker. On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska had the lowest percent of motorcycle fatalities, with just 7.1 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involving a motorcyclist.

What You Need to Know When You Travel to or From Neighboring States

Gary Annes Lawyer
Motorcycle Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

While Illinois does not have any helmet laws, this is not the case for Indiana or Wisconsin. Both states mandate helmet use. However, neither state requires universal helmet use. In both Indiana and Wisconsin, all drivers 17 and younger must wear helmets. Wisconsin goes a step further and requires anyone operating under a learner’s permit to wear a helmet as well. Additionally, any passengers riding with a driver who has an instruction permit must wear a helmet, even if they are older than 17. For all other riders, helmet use is optional.

Both states have similar safety stats as Illinois in regards to fatality rates. In 2016, 12.3 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in Indiana involved a motorcyclist. In Wisconsin, the number was slightly higher at 14 percent.

Do Helmets Actually Work?

In a word, yes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets are about 37 percent successful in preventing motorcycle rider fatalities. For passengers, effectiveness increases to 41 percent. Furthermore, when you look at the percent of known unhelmeted motorcyclists killed in 2017, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin all had some of the highest rates in the country.

While helmet use is optional for many riders in all three states, most safety experts agree that regular helmet use can help prevent serious injury or death. In addition to helmets, strong evidence supports the use of other protective equipment.

This includes:

  • Eye protection, including glasses, goggles, and face shields.
  • Protective clothing, including pants, jackets, and boots.
  • Protective gloves

Aside from safety equipment, all riders should take extra precautions to stay safe on the road. Safety tips include:

  • Do not perform stunts on public roads. Only experienced riders who know what they are doing should perform stunts—and they should do so away from other drivers and riders.
  • Don’t speed. Speeding makes it harder to control your bike and increases the risk of an accident.
  • Don’t weave in between traffic. Stay in your lane. Do not attempt to drive in between two vehicles.
  • Be seen. Wear bright or reflective clothing so other drivers can see you in low light or poor visibility.
  • Don’t drink and ride: According to the NHTSA, 28 percent of motorcycle riders killed in 2017 were drunk.

Helmet Use and Your Rights in a Motorcycle Accident Case

Your choice to wear a helmet—or not, in accordance with the law—does not absolve other drivers of the responsibility to see and respect motorcycles. Those drivers cannot tailgate motorcycles, must drive the speed limit, must drive sober, and otherwise obey the rules of the road. If they don’t, they remain liable for any injuries they cause—whether you wore a helmet or not.

Know Your Rights

Whether or not you wear a helmet every time you ride is your choice, at least in Illinois. After an accident, helmet use should play no role in your right to a fair and just recovery. However, this does not mean the insurance company will not try to make the process more difficult. If you were in an accident, you have rights. After an accident, surround yourself with people you trust and who will support you through your recovery.

If you have questions after an accident or need help with your claim, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney for more information about your legal rights.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575