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Most states now have laws on the books that prohibit smart phone use when you’re behind the wheel of a car: no texting, browsing the internet, checking your email, or engaging in any other behaviors that will take your eyes off of the road and lead to distractions. Unfortunately, many of those states lack similar laws about devices like smartwatches—which, as it turns out, can be just as distracting as smart phones. In some cases, smartwatches can be even more distracting than smartphones.

The Distractions Presented by Smartwatches

Most people recognize that their smartphone can provide a significant distraction when they’re on the road. In fact, some even go to the extreme of turning the phone off or tucking it in the back seat instead of keeping it with them when they’re in the driver’s seat. Most drivers, however, aren’t thinking of their smartwatch as a distraction—including a June 2018 case of a driver who was ultimately fired for distracted driving after he was caught looking at his smartwatch. How distracting are smartwatches? There are several things to consider for drivers and passengers.

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Commercial and private boat accidents are on the rise nationwide, and recent high-profile accidents have raised concerns about vessel safety, operator competence, and ultimately, liability for injuries and fatalities in the worst-case scenarios.

If you’ve survived a boating accident, you might have sustained traumatic physical or emotional injuries. Or, if you’re the family member of a victim who didn’t survive an accident, you may wonder who is responsible for your loss and how you can hold them accountable.

Many “accidents” aren’t accidents at all. Often, they may be the result of poor judgment or negligence. The top three causes of boating accidents are operator incompetence, alcohol, and hazardous water. Equipment failure is also a major contributor to safe boating, especially when water and weather conditions intercede. Most of these factors are within the control of the boat captain (or “operator”) though other hazards can cause serious injury or death in spite of the operator’s skill and best efforts.

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More and more people are bicycling for exercise, to commute to work, or just for fun. It is a great way to get around in the Chicago area: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Chicago bicycle commuters has increased by 150 percent since 2000. Among major U.S. cities, Chicago is third in the number of bicycle commuters. However, as the population of the city grows and the more bicycles there are on the roads, there is accordingly more potential for crashes. A City of Chicago 2012 Bicycle Crash Analysis reports that there were 32 fatal bicycle accidents and 8,861 crashes resulting in injuries between 2005 and 2010.

What Is a Right Hook Accident?

By law, bicycles traveling on the roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. Section 9-16-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago deals with turning right in front of a bicycle. This is a common type of bike accident, known as the right hook. The law states that “When a motor vehicle and a bicycle are traveling in the same direction on any highway, street, or road, the operator of the motor vehicle overtaking such bicycle traveling on the right side of the roadway shall not turn to the right in front of the bicycle at that intersection or at any alley or driveway until such vehicle has overtaken and is safely clear of the bicycle.”

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When you go to a doctor to be treated for an injury or illness, you expect your condition to improve. However, occasionally the negligence or wrongful actions of a medical professional can cause additional harm, and your overall physical and mental health deteriorates. In some cases, this medical malpractice can even lead to the death of a patient.

While we would like to think that cases of medical malpractice-related fatalities are rare, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Patient Safety found that an estimated 400,000 people die prematurely each year due to preventable harm caused to patients by medical professionals, and that 10-20 times as many people suffer from non-lethal harm each year. This means that it is more critical than ever that patients are aware of the signs of medical malpractice so that they can consult an attorney if they believe that they or a loved one was harmed, or died, as the result of a doctor or hospital’s actions. Here are a few of the signs you can look out for indicating that you or a loved one may be a victim of medical malpractice.

Failure to Diagnose

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In congested traffic, the odds of a rear-end collision substantially increase. There are more drivers stuck in a smaller area. Not only is it more difficult to predict what those drivers are going to do, it can be difficult to maneuver in tight traffic. A moment’s distraction or inattention, and bang! Suddenly, you’re the victim of a rear-end collision. How do you proceed from here? What’s the right process after you’ve been rear-ended, especially in tight or congested traffic? While working with a qualified attorney is the most effective way to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process, it’s important to proceed carefully in the initial stages after the accident.

What to Do If You’ve Been Rear-Ended

You were stuck in traffic, unable to move forward. Suddenly, a jolt hit you from behind. You’ve been rear-ended. Now what? There are several key steps that you should take immediately after your accident.

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Cyclists and bikers who ride in town are at constant risk of “doorings” – the accident that happens when a vehicle door opens unexpectedly in front of them, causing a collision. Doorings can result in death and severe injuries when riders fall over their handlebars or collide with the open door. They are one of the most common and dangerous hazards cyclists and bikers face in urban riding conditions.

In this blog post, we discuss how doorings happen, how riders and drivers can take steps to prevent them, and what to do if you’ve been injured in a dooring accident.

How Doorings Happen

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The Boys Scouts of America swear an oath to help other people at all times. However, the organization has not always done its best at helping its own young members. Many instances of sexual abuse by troop leaders and other adult chaperones have surfaced, and the concerns of parents of potential Boy Scouts have rightfully increased in recent years. Recently, former Boy Scouts filed 15 lawsuits in Chicago courts regarding sexual abuse of members of a Burbank, Illinois, troop.

The organization just announced one response to such concerns—increased background checks and additional requirements for adults who supervise overnight excursions. Before June 1, troop leaders and other registered volunteers had to undergo background checks and complete a training course before volunteering. Now, the Boy Scouts require background checks and training for any adult who is chaperoning a trip that lasts at least 72 hours, which includes parents of scouts on the excursion.

The training course is a one-hour online session about youth protection. It covers protecting minors from dangers such as sexual molestation, especially during overnight activities such as camping trips, which can get particularly high-risk. This requirement only applies to Boy Scout troops, however, and not to Cub Scouts, who are usually younger than 11.

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When you think of a personal injury lawsuit, you may initially think of a case arising from a car accident or another type of accidental injury. However, not all injury cases stem from accidents. Some cases involve allegations of sexual abuse of minors—for example the numerous high-profile sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

Recently, many elite USA gymnasts came forward and reported a widespread sexual abuse scandal involving a trainer team doctor based out of Michigan State University (MSU), Larry Nassar. Hundreds of gymnasts testified that Nassar sexual molested them under the guise of “medical treatment.” He was the primary physician for elite gymnasts competing for the USA and MSU, so many gymnasts had to visit him and suffer abuse over and over again for years.

Nassar was convicted of numerous counts of criminal sexual conduct and the court sentenced him to 40 to 175 years in prison.

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Approximately one million people in the United States are treated for a traumatic brain injury  (TBI) each year, and an estimated 5.3 million people live with a TBI-related disability. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of TBI, particularly when cars strike pedestrians. Unlike broken bones or cuts, traumatic brain injuries may be permanent.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is most often caused by a blow or jolt to the head. An object that penetrates the brain tissue can also cause a TBI.

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Road construction seems to be never-ending in Chicago. Both the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) have a constant stream of projects on roads and highways around the city, especially during the warmer months. Road work can cause delays and frustration among drivers, especially due to lane closures. However, this work is necessary to ensure our streets are as safe and efficient as possible for all Chicago motorists.

While road construction happens to keep us safe, road work zones are also common locations for traffic accidents. Cars can crash into one another or into members of a construction crew, and serious injuries may result. Despite increased penalties for traffic violations in work zones, as well as safety initiatives for the public, road work zone accidents continue to occur with surprising frequency. In fact, according to IDOT, 6,741 work zone crashes took place in the state of Illinois during 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. That comes out to an average of nearly 18.5 construction zone accidents per day!

At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are committed to representing the rights of people injured in construction zone accidents. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago personal injury attorney, call our office today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.