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Lake County personal injury attorneysThe weather is finally starting to warm up in Illinois, and that means that more and more people will be out enjoying the sunshine on their bicycles. Riding a bike is a healthy, environment-friendly, and enjoyable mode of transportation, but it is not without its risks. More than 850 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2018 and cyclist accidents continue to happen. Ideally, every motorist that shares the road with a cyclist would be especially aware of the cyclist’s safety, but unfortunately this is not always the case. If you or a loved one have been in a car accident while riding a bike, read on to learn about your legal options.

Bike Accident Injuries Can Be Severe

A bicycle is no match for a motor vehicle. Most cars, trucks, and SUVS on the roads today weigh several thousand pounds or more while an average bicycle typically weighs about 20 pounds. Specialty bicycles, such as those for racing, can weigh significantly less than average. A cyclist has virtually no protection in the event of an auto accident. Bicycle riders who collide with a motor vehicle may suffer road rash, broken bones, amputations, traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries, spine and neck injury, dental and facial injuries, and more. These injuries may leave the cyclist severely hurt or even permanently disabled. The injured cyclist may require extensive medical treatment and be unable to return to work or care for his or her children. Injuries such as these not only reduce the quality of the injured person’s life, they can also result in crushing debt and long-term financial harm. Fortunately, some people injured in bicycle accidents are able to receive compensation for their damages.

Recovering Compensation for Medical Bills and Property Damage

If a driver’s negligence led to a bicycle accident, the driver will most likely be liable for the damages caused in the accident. A driver may be considered negligent if he or she was driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, distracted by an electronic device, violated traffic laws, or otherwise acted carelessly. One option for individuals who are hurt by a negligent driver while riding their bike is to file a claim with the driver’s car insurance. Unfortunately, many insurance companies only offer minimal compensation that does not fully reimburse the injured party for his or her damages. If an insurance claim fails to cover the injured rider’s losses, a personal injury lawsuit may be the best way to pursue full compensation.

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Waukegan personal injury attorneysIf you or a loved one have been injured, you may wonder whether or not you will be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim. The vast majority of personal injury cases hinge upon the concept of negligence. The word “negligence” is typically understood to mean carelessness or recklessness, but the legal definition is much more specific. In order to prove that a party’s negligence led to your injuries, you will need to demonstrate several things..

Duty and Breach of Duty

When a party has a legal “duty of care” to another party, it means that there is a certain relationship between the parties. For example, doctors and nurses have a duty to provide reasonably competent medical treatment to patients in their care. Similarly, commercial property owners have a duty to keep premises safe for customers. When this duty is breached, it means that the party that owed a duty failed to uphold their responsibility, and such a failure could constitute negligence.

Cause in Fact and Proximate Cause

In order to bring a successful personal injury lawsuit based on negligence, you will also need to prove that the defendant’s action or inaction resulted in your injuries. This is sometimes referred to as “but-for” causation, meaning if it were not for the defendant’s actions, the injury would not have occurred. Medical records are often a crucial element in proving cause in fact. You will need to show that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s actions and were not preexisting. 

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Lake County personal injury attorneysMarijuana has several substantial effects on a user’s body and mind. Depending on the amount of cannabis smoked or otherwise consumed, the drug may cause impaired judgment, reduced coordination, and slowed reflexes. These effects can significantly impair a person’s ability to safely drive. On January 1, 2020, Illinois legalized the recreational consumption and use of cannabis. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a driver who was under the influence of marijuana, you may wonder what your options for compensation are now that cannabis is legal.

Drugged Driving Laws in Illinois

When most people think of driving under the influence (DUI), they assume the intoxicating substance is alcohol. However, driving drunk is not the only way a person can be charged with a DUI in Illinois. It is also against Illinois law to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle if:

  • There is a controlled substance in the driver's body.
  • A driver's blood contains a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of five nanograms per milliliter or more. THC is the main psychoactive substance in cannabis.
  • Another bodily substance (such as saliva) contains a THC concentration of ten nanograms per milliliter or more.
  • A driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to an extent that leaves him or her unable to drive safely.

The legalization of recreational marijuana does not negate the laws prohibiting drugged driving. Even though it is now legal to purchase and use cannabis in Illinois, a person can still be guilty of a criminal offense for driving under the influence of cannabis.

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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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Waukegan personal injury attorneysThe spine is made up of 33 bones that encase the delicate nerves of the spinal cord. In addition to the spine, the back contains muscles and soft tissue that support the body and allow us to move. When the spine or back is injured, the injured person may experience extreme pain and be unable to move around normally for months or even years. Even a seemingly minor back injury can cause a person debilitating pain and discomfort. If you have suffered a back injury in a work accident, car accident, slip and fall, or other incident involving negligence or wrongdoing, a personal injury lawsuit may help you receive compensation.

Common Back Injuries That May Lead to a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Almost any type of back injury that causes damages such as missed work and medical bills may be grounds for a personal injury claim. Most personal injury claims are brought against a negligent party. The negligent party could be a driver who caused an accident by driving drunk or texting while driving, a restaurant that exposed patrons to a hazardous condition, a landlord who did not properly maintain a property, and many more. 

Some of the most common back injuries involved in personal injury claims include:

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