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If you were injured because of someone else’s negligence, you may have the right to pursue a personal injury claim. That claim can provide valuable funds that make it possible for you to pay your medical bills, take care of your living expenses, and move forward with your life in the wake of the accident. Do you need a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case? Read on to learn more about the factors you should consider when you are thinking about hiring a personal injury lawyer.

When Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

If you suffered serious injuries in an accident, a personal injury attorney can offer valuable advice about the compensation you should expect to receive based on the type of injury you suffered. Usually clients also find that a personal injury attorney can help them increase the compensation they receive for their injuries. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is more than just an added expense after an accident. An attorney is an advocate who can help the claims process move more smoothly.

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drunk driver on Chicago road - dui injury attorney in Chicago Illinois - Abels and Annes

Drunk Drivers Can Cause Serious Injuries on Chicago Roads

A drunk driving accident is a tragic event that Mothers Against Drunk Driving calls the “most frequently committed violent crime in America”. It seems that each new day brings another disturbing news story about the repercussions of getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. Drunk driving statistics help illustrate just how prevalent drunk driving accidents are in Chicago and across the US; but they also demonstrate how a drunk driver can cause injuries that could affect a DUI accident victim for the rest of their life.

10 Drunk Driving Accident Facts: Statistics that Result in Injuries

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Under Illinois premises liability law, landowners owe a general duty of care to those whom they invite onto their property. Illinois has abolished the common-law distinction between invitees and licensees, and as a result, regardless of the purpose of an invited guest’s visit, a landowner must “exercise reasonable care under the circumstances.” To establish that a landowner is legally responsible in a Chicago slip-and-fall accident Case, the accident victim must show that the defendant landowner breached this duty and that the defendant’s breach resulted in the victim’s injuries.

Building codes can help a plaintiff prove that a defendant landowner was negligent. Chicago building codes are enacted to ensure the safety of all residents, not just those who live in or frequent the area in question. Deficiencies in a building’s stairs and staircases are some of the most common violations of the municipal building codes. The specific requirements for a staircase can depend on several factors, most importantly, whether the building is used for institutional or residential use. The following are some of the municipal code requirements for Chicago staircases:

  • The maximum height of each stair, or riser, in institutional settings is 7.5 inches, with the minimum width of a staircase being 10 inches
  • The maximum height of each stair in other settings (including residential homes), is 7.5 inches
  • Winding staircases cannot be used for building exits except in residential homes
  • The maximum height of a flight of stairs in an institutional setting is nine feet
  • All staircases greater than 44 inches long must have handrails on both sides (and others must have a handrail on both sides)
  • Staircases must offer at least 6’8” in clearance
  • All staircases must be lighted

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rear end accident injury - car accident attorneys at abels and annes

Rear-end Accidents are Serious Incidents that can Cause Serious Injuries

According to a report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, rear-end crashes are the most frequently occurring type of collision. About 29 percent of all car crashes are rear-end collisions. These crashes result in a substantial number of injuries and fatalities each year.

In fact, roughly 1.7 million rear-end collisions take place in the United States each year. Of these nearly 2 million accidents, about 1,700 people die and another 500,000 are injured in the crashes. These numbers constitute a significant portion of highway accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

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Chicago intersection from above - Chicago car accident at intersection - Chicago car accident injury attorneys - Ables and AnnesChicago Has Lots of Intersections, and They All Possess a Special Kind of Danger

Driving a car means passing through some type of intersections, on average, every couple of minutes. And quite frankly, intersections are dangerous as they are a hotspot for car accidents. Intersections are busy places—cars are passing straight through perpendicular traffic or making left or right turns, all supposedly timed and organized by traffic signs or signals. Meanwhile, pedestrians are crossing the streets in various directions, all coordinated by different pedestrian signals. All this activity is a clear recipe for collisions, which are quite common in intersections.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) specifically studies the causes of intersection crashes and publishes reports on its findings. These reports by the NHTSA have found many interesting statistics, including:

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Car accidentAs a Chicago car accident lawyer, I’m often asked what a car accident case is worth and what determines the value.

Short answer:

  • Liability;
  • Insurance; and
  • Damages

This is not an all-inclusive list, but in my opinion these are the big three.

Liability:  Good Facts Win Cases

Liability, meaning who’s at fault? Which driver caused the accident? Is it easy to determine fault, or is liability contested? Liability is very important. You don’t need to be totally free of negligence to pursue a claim, but it’s a lot easier to prosecute a case if it’s clear the defendant caused the accident.

For example, normally a rear-end accident is a much easier case to pursue than a contested “he said, she said” red light case. A drunk driver crossing the centerline is a better case than trying to figure out who had the right away coming out of a four way stop sign. It’s always better to have good facts on your side.

Great Auto Insurance Helps

Quality auto insurance is very important. There are good auto insurance companies, middle of the road, and substandard carriers. Continue reading →

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Car accidents are a common occurrence and many people who live in our nation will be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. Some car accidents are insignificant and provide little cause for concern, but many car accidents cause devastating injuries and property damage. Often people who suffered harm due to a car accident will wish to file a lawsuit to seek compensation from the party that caused the accident, but it seems as if there are countless lawyers in your town to choose from and choosing the right lawyer can seem like an insurmountable feat. If you were involved in a car accident it is vital to choose an attorney with the skills and experience needed to provide you with your best chance for a favorable legal result under the facts of your case.

One of the most important elements to consider in choosing a car accident attorney to represent you in judicial proceedings is the attorney’s experience in handling car accident cases. Each state has different procedural laws and each type of case has unique elements that the plaintiff must prove in order to present a successful case and it is essential to choose an attorney who is well-versed in what it takes to help you set forth a strong case. As such, it is important to determine how long an attorney you are considering hiring has been practicing law, what percentage of the cases the attorney handles are car accident cases, and how many car accident cases the attorney has litigated. Some attorneys will choose to settle a case prior to trial, which may not always be beneficial to his or her client. Thus, it is critical to hire an attorney who will try your case if it is warranted under the circumstances.

Moreover, it is important to retain an attorney who will thoroughly analyze your case and give you an honest assessment as to its value and any obstacles to your recovery. The majority of car accident cases allege that the plaintiff suffered harm due to the negligence of the defendant. To prove negligence you must show that the defendant owed you a duty, which he or she breached, and the breach caused the accident. You must also show you suffered damages as a result of the accident. In many cases, the defendant will argue that the plaintiff was negligent and thus should be precluded from recovering damages. For example, in Illinois a plaintiff can be found negligent and still recover damages, however, as long as his or her contributory negligence is not more than 50%. Your attorney is the liaison between you and the judiciary system and he or she should not only be able to present effective arguments that the defendant should be held liable, he or she should also be able to anticipate and address any obstacles to your recovery.

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Car accidents are often shocking and traumatic experiences. While some collisions are purely accidental most car accidents are caused by negligent driving, and the negligent driver should be held accountable for any harm he or she caused. Many people involved in car accidents are stunned by the accident, however, and in the midst of trying to process what happened, they may fail to consider what actions they should take to preserve their rights and any evidence that may be needed to prove liability or damages in the future.  If you were involved in a car accident it is important to know what actions to take to protect your right to seek compensation in the future.

The first thing you should do following a car accident is contact the police. Calling the police is important for several reasons. First, and most importantly, the police can help assess whether anyone was injured in the accident and assist anyone that sustained injuries in receiving the appropriate care. Secondly, the police will likely conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident and issue a report setting forth their findings following the investigation. The investigation will include taking the statements of the parties involved in the accident, and any witnesses to the accident. It is also helpful to obtain the contact information of any witnesses and take pictures of any damage to the vehicles involved in the accident or marks on the roadway. You should also obtain the insurance information of the other driver involved in the accident.

In certain circumstances, you are also required to report a car accident to the Department of Transportation (DOT), depending on which state you reside in.  Fore example, in Illinois an accident must be reported if it results in injuries or death, or property damage exceeding $1,500. A crash report must be filed within 10 days of the accident and must include certain information such as when and where the accident occurred, information regarding the parties involved in the accident and an explanation of what happened. If a person required to report an accident fails to do so it can result in the suspension of his or her license. Thus, it is important to report accidents to the DOT in a timely manner.

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In many cases, a person involved in a car accident will suffer significant financial losses treating injuries and repairing property damage caused by the accident. These people may wish to pursue a claim against the party that caused the accident but may be hesitant due to uncertainty regarding the cost of an attorney. If you suffered harm or economic damage due to a car accident it is in your best interest to talk to a car accident attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to recover and the cost of representation.

Attorney Fee Structures

There are multiple different ways in which an attorney may be compensated for representing a person in a lawsuit arising out of car accident. One of the most common fee arrangements is a contingent fee agreement. Under this type of agreement, the attorney does not receive any compensation unless he or she obtains a financial award on behalf of his or her client. If the attorney is able to successfully recover damages, the attorney’s compensation will be a percentage of the total damages award. Damages typically awarded include not only the cost of medical bills and repairing damage to a car, but also compensation for pain and suffering and loss of a normal life. A contingent fee agreement can vary in the percentage the attorney will receive, but it is most common for the percentage to range from 33 1/3% to 40%.  Please note that most car accident lawyers, including our office, typically don’t charge a fee for collecting property damage unless the damages are collected in litigation.

Another method in which attorneys are paid is via an hourly rate. This is not common in personal injury lawsuits, but in some cases a person and his or her attorney may find this arrangement to be more suitable.  Under an hourly billing arrangement, the attorney will receive an agreed upon amount for each hour worked.  This is risky for the plaintiff.  If the case falls apart for any reason, he or she may have already paid a significant amount of money for hourly legal fees.  But with the above discussed contingency fee, it’s no fee unless you win, so the risk is on the lawyer and the plaintiff does not have to worry about how they are going to pay for their legal services.

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Sexual Abuse Lawyers ChicagoOver two hundred additional sex abuse victims have come forward making new allegations against the Boy Scouts of America, according to USA Today. The ages of sex abuse victims vary.  Some are still minors, some are in their 20s, and some much older. It’s very common for Boy Scout sex abuse victims to hide their pain for many years without telling anyone about the abuse they suffered.  For example, one victim in his 50s alleges that he was abused in middle school. He was confused about what happened and it took him many years to figure out that he was a victim, that he did nothing wrong, and that it was the adult who was at fault.

With so many victims coming forward for the first time and making claims, approximately 150 new alleged pedophiles have been identified. Also, sex abuse lawyers representing some of the victims allege that children are still being abused, according to the Washington Post.  The two hundred victims are from 33 different states, so the abuse was not just happening in one localized area. The problem appears to be nationwide.

For decades the Boy Scouts of America have kept detailed records about allegations of sexual abuse, but those documents have only been made publicly available over the last few years.  The Boy Scouts recently released a statement saying that “We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting.”  The Boy Scouts further went on to say that they have funded unlimited counseling for victims by a provider of their choice.

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