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Sex abuse attorneys David Abels & Gary Annes

Abels & Annes P.C., working with co-counsel, has filed a sex abuse lawsuit against the City of Chicago and former Chicago Police Department officer William Whitley. The lawsuit alleges that Whitley exploited his position as a Chicago police officer to sexually abuse a 14-year-old girl and that the City of Chicago facilitated the abuse by failing to investigate, discipline, and otherwise hold police officers accountable for misconduct. Whitley was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison for paying the 14-year-old and three other minors for sex between 2012 and 2016.

At the time of his crimes, there were at least 29 complaints lodged against Whitley by civilian and/or internal affairs agencies. He should long before have been removed from his position of public trust. But Whitley benefited from the City’s long-running pattern and practice of letting police officers get away with flagrant misconduct, and from the code of silence that inhibits police officers and others from speaking up about abuses. A federal government investigation recently reported that “numerous entrenched, systemic policies and practices … undermine police accountability” in Chicago, especially the code of silence that the “City, police officers, and leadership within CPD and its police officer union” all acknowledge that a code of silence exists.

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Customers of a business who are injured by a hazardous condition while on the premises of a business may have a cause of action against the business or property owner if certain conditions are met. Business owners have a duty to prevent hazardous conditions that may injure their customers, and may be held accountable for negligence in the event someone is injured while on the property. The duty is not absolute, however, as demonstrated by a recent federal appellate court decision that prevented an Illinois premises liability lawsuit from going to trial, and ultimately precluded the plaintiff from obtaining relief.

The plaintiff in the recently decided case is a man who was injured when he tripped on a display sign while shopping at the defendant hardware store. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured when he was moving large pieces of lumber from a pile in a lumberyard, and tripped on a display sign that was not in its proper place. The plaintiff filed an Illinois personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, claiming that the defendant was negligent by allowing the display to be placed in a dangerous position and creating a hazard that caused his injuries.

Before the case went to trial, the defendant filed a motion with the district court arguing that the hazardous condition presented by the sign was open and obvious, and that the plaintiff either saw it before he tripped or should have seen it, and that his case should not proceed to trial as a result. The district court ruled that under Illinois law, injuries caused by an open and obvious hazard do not qualify for a claim of damages, and ruled in favor of the defendant, resulting in the plaintiff’s appeal.

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Illinois car accident victims who seek compensation from the insurance company representing the party who is legally responsible for their injuries may find that all of the damages they suffered are not covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. For this reason, all Illinois drivers are required to carry underinsured motorist protection coverage, which is used to compensate an injured party for their losses which exceed the policy limits of the other driver. A case recently decided by the Appellate Court of Illinois demonstrates some important issues that arise for injured drivers attempting to make an underinsured motorist claim to their own insurance company after an accident.

The plaintiff in the recently decided case was a man who was involved in two auto accidents in the fall of 2010 and suffered injuries from each crash. Neither accident was the plaintiff’s fault, and he made insurance claims with the companies who covered the other drivers, and was awarded the policy limit amount for each claim, which was $20,000 for each accident. Although the insurance companies paid out the policy limits and had fulfilled their obligation to the plaintiff, he still claimed that he suffered damages in excess of the amount he was paid, and made a claim with his own insurance company to collect additional damages under his own underinsured motorist bodily injury protection policy.

The plaintiff’s initial claim against his insurance company was referred to arbitration, which is an out of court proceeding where each party submits their case to a panel of arbiters, who are licensed attorneys in Illinois who have been additionally licensed to rule at arbitration proceedings. At arbitration, the plaintiff argued that he suffered a total of $45,000 in damages from the two accidents, and was entitled to such an award from his insurance company under his underinsured motorist protection policy. The arbitration panel agreed with the plaintiff and awarded him $45,000.

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Causes of Car Accidents Sometimes car accidents are just that—accidents. Mechanical malfunction or a medical emergency are actions the driver cannot control. Other times, drivers’ actions cause accidents. Depending on the type of accident and what you are driving, you could suffer minor injuries, catastrophic injuries, and even death. If you suffer injuries in a car accident, contact a vehicle accident attorney in Chicago.

If You Are in an Accident

First, if you do get in a crash, whether it’s your fault or not, take these steps if possible.

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drunk uber driver - uber car accident lawyer - abels and annesWere you injured in an Uber while the driver was drunk?

Under Illinois law, it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more. In fact, it is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol generally, so it is possible to face DUI charges with a BAC of less than .08. Of course, these limits apply everyone on the road – including people who drive others for money.

What is Uber and Lyft and How are they Affecting Society?

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medical marijuana card illinois - abels and annes - personal injury lawyers

Driving While High is Still a Crime in Illinois

Medical marijuana became legal in the State of Illinois on January 1, 2014. However, it is important to note that Illinois law applies strict regulations for using medical marijuana, especially when it comes to driving under the influence of marijuana.

Driving while drunk or drugged can significantly alter the driver’s perceptions and reaction times, leading to serious accidents and catastrophic injuries. If you have sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drugged driver, a lawyer can determine whether or not you are eligible to recover monetary compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. may be able to represent you in your case and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

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Choosing a Personal Injury LawyerWhen you have been injured in an accident and the other person is at fault, you should retain a personal injury attorney to represent you ASAP. Illinois uses a tort system to legally determine fault when an accident causes injuries. After an accident, you can file a claim with your own insurance company or the defendant’s insurance company. However, you should always keep in mind that any insurance company, even your own, is in business to make money. The insurance company is going to pay the least amount possible to get you to settle.  For that reason, it is always best to retain a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate the claims process.

Before You Contact an Attorney

Illinois has many personal injury lawyers ready to help you. So, how do you choose the right lawyer? Before you contact an attorney, you should do some due diligence to make sure you pick the right attorney for your case. Most importantly, you should try to figure out whether the attorney has experience representing people who have had similar accidents or injuries, and whether they have a good reputation and track record.

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How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?When you suffer injuries due to someone else’s negligence, bills may quickly become a serious concern. You may have medical bills pile up. You might miss time at work, leaving you without the income you need to take care of your regular expenses, much less any extra bills related to your injuries. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you might not even know when you will be able to return to work.

With all those other financial burdens, hiring a personal injury attorney may seem completely out of reach, especially if you had an accident that resulted in a serious injury like spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, or amputation. Hiring a personal injury lawyer, however, typically costs nothing up front.  They only get paid if a financial recovery is made on your behalf.

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer: Determining the Cost

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How to Find a Personal Injury LawyerYou’ve been hurt or you lost a loved one in an accident and you know that you should find a personal injury lawyer to make sure your rights are fully represented. But how do you pick the right lawyer? Will the lawyer be good enough to get you the full amount of compensation you deserve? Does this lawyer handle cases like yours? Doing some research before you hire an attorney helps you make better choices when it comes to finding the right personal injury attorney.

Ask for Recommendations

Start by asking friends, relatives, and coworkers for recommendations. This doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily use any of the attorneys they recommend, but it gives you a place to start. Because there are so many attorneys to choose from, you’ll drive yourself up the wall trying to start without having some names to begin with. Try to gather the names of at least three or four personal injury attorneys.

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What Questions Should I Ask a Personal Injury Attorney?If you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you have probably been told that you should speak to a personal injury attorney about your case. You may have even conducted some research and found a lawyer or two with whom you’d like to schedule an initial consultation. Now that you’re preparing for your consultation, you’re likely wondering what will happen at that consultation and what questions you should ask.

Don’t Fear the Initial Consultation

Before we get into the questions you should ask the lawyer at your initial consultation, let’s take a look at the initial consultation process, because many people are intimidated by the prospect of actually going to talk to a lawyer about their situation. The initial consultation is simply time that the lawyer will provide, typically for free, to evaluate your case and discuss your legal options. At the same time, it is a chance for you to speak to the lawyer, find out more about their experience with cases like yours, and to decide if this is a person that you feel confident about hiring to pursue your case throughout the legal process.