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b2ap3_thumbnail_winter-shoveling-work-injury-snow-ice.jpgThere is no doubt about it: Illinois winters can be harsh. Snow and ice accumulation can make something as simple as going to the grocery store or walking through a parking lot a treacherous excursion. Icy walkways, sidewalks, and parking lots are especially dangerous because of the potential they have to cause slip and fall injuries. Slipping on ice and falling can cause broken bones, serious back injuries, and even traumatic brain injuries. If you or a loved one have slipped on ice and fallen on a commercial property, you may be wondering whether or not you can sue the property owner for damages. Illinois personal injury cases involving snow or ice-related injuries are especially tricky due to a special law regarding snow and ice accumulation.

Natural vs. Unnatural Accumulation of Snow and Ice

Unlike other types of property maintenance, most property owners are not obligated to remove “natural accumulations” of ice, snow, or melt water. One exception to this rule is if a lease or contract obligates a property owner to remove natural accumulations. This means that a property owner is typically not liable for injuries caused by the accumulation of snow or ice caused by the weather. However, if an individual slips and falls on an “unnatural accumulation” of ice or snow, the property owner may be liable.

Consider the following scenario: In order to clear his parking lot of snow, a business owner arranges for the snow to be plowed and piled in the corner of the parking lot. As the weather changes over the next few days, the snow from the pile melts and refreezes creating a very icy patch near the entrance to the business. A patron entering the business slips on the ice and suffers a major head injury. In this situation, the property owner may be liable for the patron’s injury because the icy patch on which the patron slipped was an unnatural accumulation of ice caused by the property owner’s actions. Differentiating between natural and unnatural ice accumulation can be extremely challenging and will require guidance from an experienced attorney.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysIn order to reach the emergency as soon as possible, police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles may run red lights and drive in ways typically not permitted by law. Loud sirens and flashing lights alert the surrounding motorists to move over and make way for the emergency vehicle. While most motorists see the warning signs and safely move out of the way of  approaching emergency vehicles, others are not able to avoid the emergency vehicle and a collision occurs. A motorist may also hit something else while attempting to avoid an emergency vehicle.

Illinois Laws Regarding First Response Vehicles

Moving out of the way of first response vehicles is not only common sense, it is also mandated by law. Drivers are required to yield to any authorized emergency vehicle that is signaling an emergency. The driver is expected to pull over to the right side of the road and remain stopped until the emergency vehicle passes or the police directs the motorists to proceed.

Another law mandating motorists’ behavior with regard to first response vehicles is the “Move Over” law. The Move Over Law requires motorists to reduce speed, change lanes, and proceed with due caution when they approach an emergency vehicle stopped along the road. The law is also called “Scott’s Law” in memory of the death of Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department. Lieutenant Gillen was struck and killed by a drunk driver while providing aid at an accident site.

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Illinois snowmobile accident lawyersIllinois offers a great number of outdoor recreation opportunities. During the winter months, many outdoor enthusiasts enjoy climbing aboard a snowmobile and cruising off into the wintery landscape. Unfortunately, as enjoyable as snowmobiling is, it can often be equally as dangerous. Snowmobile accidents are relatively common, and many of these accidents result in severe injuries or even death. If you or a loved one have been injured in a snowmobile accident, you may have incurred significant medical bills, lost income, and other expenses. If the injury was caused by another party’s negligence, you may be able to receive compensation for these and other expenses related to the accident.   

Top Causes of Snowmobile Accidents

It is estimated that about 2 million people ride snowmobiles each year in the United States. Of these snowmobile drivers, about 14,000 will suffer an injury in a snowmobile crash. Snowmobile accidents often result in broken bones, back injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Sadly, it is estimated that about 200 people die in snowmobile accidents every year. Some of these accidents are caused by a snowmobile driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, not skilled enough to safely maneuver the vehicle, or traveling at unsafe speeds for the terrain conditions. However, many snowmobile injuries are not the fault of the driver. In some cases, another party’s negligent actions or inaction are to blame for the driver’s injuries.

Determining Fault in a Snowmobile Crash

When another party’s negligence causes someone to be significantly injured, the responsible party may be held liable for the economic and noneconomic damages that result from the injury. Negligence occurs when a party’s recklessness, carelessness, or other wrongdoing causes another party harm. If your loved one was injured in a snowmobile collision and the other driver was operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the other driver may be legally responsible for the damages caused. If a malfunctioning snowmobile or snowmobile part caused the accident, the manufacturer of the snowmobile or defective part may be to blame. Determining fault in a personal injury case can be challenging, so it is essential that you hire an experienced personal injury lawyer if you think your accident could have been caused by another party’s negligence.

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Waukegan medical malpractice attorneysAccording to a recent study, over 4000 avoidable surgical errors occur every year in the United States. These mistakes can range in severity from relatively minor to catastrophic or even fatal. Some surgical errors are so unacceptable that researchers have nicknamed them “never events” because they should literally never happen. Unfortunately, these “never events” do happen and when they do, patients can suffer devastating consequences. Medical malpractice lawsuits involving surgical errors result in over a billion dollars in payouts to patients and families each year. If you or a loved one have suffered due to a surgical error, a medical malpractice claim may help you receive compensation.

Frequency of Major Errors During Surgery

Individuals who wish to become surgeons must typically undergo upwards of 13 years of education and training in order to meet the qualifications to perform surgical procedures. General surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, cardiothoracic surgeons, and other surgeons are trained to know how to avoid major surgical mistakes. Unfortunately, this does not prevent thousands of patients from suffering every year due to careless errors.

It is estimated that incidences of surgeons leaving foreign objects inside of patients’ bodies occur approximately 39 times each week. When surgeons leave objects like medical tools, sponges, and towels inside of patient bodies, the patients can suffer extreme pain, infection, and other complications. Surgery errors such as performing surgery on the wrong body part or performing the wrong surgical procedure are also startlingly common.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysAlthough dogs are referred to as “man’s best friend,” dog attacks do happen. Severe injuries including deep lacerations, broken bones, and nerve damage and can result from a dog bite. Because dogs’ mouths are filled with bacteria, wounds from a dog bite can quickly become dangerously infected. In some cases, a dog bite can also cause terrible disfiguration. Dog attack victims may require an extended hospital stay, antibiotic medication, and surgery to correct the damage. The physical and emotional scars caused by a dog attack can last a lifetime. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a dog attack, you may be wondering who will be responsible for the medical bills incurred by the attack. The answer depends on several factors.

Illinois Law Regarding Dog Bites

In some situations, the owner of the dog can be held legally responsible for any injuries caused by the dog. Illinois statute 510 ILCS 5/16 states that a dog owner is liable for injuries caused by a dog attack when the following conditions are present:

  • The dog attacked, tried to attack, or otherwise injured the person
  • The injured individual was in a place that he or she should lawfully be when the attack occurred and
  • The dog was not provoked

A dog owner is not liable for injuries caused by someone trespassing. So, if the injured person was walking through someone else’s backyard when he or she was attacked and did not have permission to be there, the dog owner is not liable. It should be noted that the Illinois dog bite law covers dog bites as well as other injuries caused by a dog. For example, if a dog pushed someone to the ground and that person sustained a head injury, the law still applies.

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