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IL injury lawyerThis Fourth of July weekend will be a time of celebration for many people, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted holiday plans in 2020. In the midst of this celebration, however, it is important to keep your safety in mind. Unfortunately, the Fourth of July also tends to come with a spike in certain types of accidents that can result in serious injuries. You should do your best to prevent and avoid these accidents, but know that a personal injury attorney can help if you do suffer injuries.

Common Causes of Injuries on the 4th of July

Many popular Fourth of July traditions contribute to the increased risk of injuries on and around the holiday. Some of the most common causes of injuries include:

  • Fireworks accidents - According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 15,000 people required emergency treatment for injuries related to fireworks in 2020, primarily for burns, eye injuries, and hand injuries. If you choose to light fireworks yourself, the CPSC recommends safety precautions like keeping a bucket of water nearby, lighting only one item at a time, and avoiding picking up fireworks that do not fully ignite.
  • Drunk driving accidents - Many Fourth of July celebrations include alcoholic beverages, and unfortunately, some people choose to drive under the influence. The National Safety Council reports that hundreds of people die in fatal car accidents on Fourth of July weekend each year. If you can avoid driving, especially late at night, you have a better chance of avoiding a serious crash.
  • Boating accidents - Illinois residents often take advantage of the long weekend and warm weather to boat on Lake Michigan, Fox

What to Do If You Are Injured on the Fourth of July

If you are injured due to one of the above causes, or any other reason, this Fourth of July weekend, you should be sure to get the medical care you need. If someone else is responsible for your injuries, like a drunk driver or boat operator or a person lighting fireworks irresponsibly, you may have a case for compensation through a personal injury claim. An experienced attorney can help you take the necessary steps to recover financially for your damages.

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IL accident lawyerIf you have been seriously injured in an accident, you understand how much it can affect all areas of your life. Your most immediate concern is likely your health, or even your very survival, as well as your ability to cover the costs of your care. However, over time, your concern may shift to the ways in which your injuries continue to affect your daily life, happiness, and well-being. You should know that if your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you are not only entitled to compensation for the financial costs, but also these ongoing effects, which are often referred to as pain and suffering.

Examples of Pain and Suffering

In a personal injury claim, pain and suffering damages cover a variety of negative effects that do not necessarily have a tangible financial cost, but nonetheless impair your quality of life. Some examples include:

  • Physical pain - The costs of medical treatment for pain management will be included in the economic damages you can pursue, but you may be entitled to additional compensation for the non-financial impact of your chronic pain.
  • Mental anguish - Your mental health can also suffer due to the effects of your injuries, especially if you are in constant pain, or if your injuries have limited your physical abilities or altered your appearance.
  • Interference with daily tasks - Severe injuries can make it difficult or impossible for you to perform even simple tasks, like caring for yourself and your home on your own.
  • Loss of enjoyment - Your injuries may prevent you from doing many things that you used to enjoy, including exercising, traveling, and engaging in other recreational activities.
  • Loss of companionship or consortium - Many injury victims have supportive family members and friends, but unfortunately, the physical and mental effects of an injury can often make it difficult to maintain quality relationships in the way that you used to.

Securing Compensation for Pain and Suffering

Because pain and suffering damages do not have an easily defined monetary value, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you understand the compensation you may be entitled to based on your personal situation and other similar cases. Your lawyer can work with you to prepare evidence and testimony that demonstrates the full extent of your pain and suffering, including statements from your doctors, in-home care providers, friends, and family. Compelling evidence of this nature can help you secure greater compensation in a settlement or trial.

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IL injury lawyerMopeds and motorized or electric scooters are a common form of transportation and recreation for many people throughout Illinois, and they are increasing in popularity with the rise of e-scooter rental companies like Lime, Bird, and Spin. In fact, the City of Chicago has recently run e-scooter pilot programs, with signs pointing to a possible full-time adoption. However, traveling by e-scooter is not without its dangers, and it is important to know what you should do if you are injured while riding.

Requirements for Different Kinds of Scooters in Illinois

In general, vehicles that are considered to be mopeds or scooters are subject to the same Illinois traffic laws as bicycles. This means that if they are traveling on a public road, they should follow traffic signs and signals, stay to the right side of the road, travel in the same direction as other vehicle traffic, and yield the right of way when appropriate. They also must be equipped with a visible headlight and taillight at night, and they are only permitted to carry two people if the passenger has a seat and footrest. Motorized scooters with gas-powered engines must also be titled and registered.

In addition to these laws, there are different legal requirements for different types of scooters. Some motorized scooters are classified as motorcycles or motor-driven cycles based on the power of their engines, and drivers of these vehicles must have a valid Class L or Class M motorcycle license. Drivers of lower-powered mopeds, on the other hand, are only required to have a regular driver’s license.

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IL accident lawyerIf you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. However, a successful claim typically requires substantial evidence of the negligence at hand and the damages you have suffered. Depending on the situation, this can include physical evidence, photos and videos, documented reports, and more. Various types of witness testimony can also be invaluable when it comes to supporting your claim.

Witnesses to the Incident

Whether you have been injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, a dog attack, or some other situation, chances are that someone saw it happen. Eyewitnesses can help you establish the circumstances surrounding your injuries to determine whether they were caused by a negligent act or some other incident that would entitle you to damages. Eyewitnesses can include many different people, such as:

  • Friends, family, and acquaintances who were with you at the time of your injuries
  • People who were with the negligent party at the time of your injuries, as a passenger in the other vehicle
  • Bystanders in the surrounding area
  • Law enforcement officers who saw the incident happen or responded to the scene

Other types of witnesses can also help you establish the negligence of another party. For example, a person familiar with the other party could speak to a pattern of dangerous behavior similar to the act that caused your injuries. Expert witnesses like car accident reconstruction specialists can also speak to the likely causes and effects of a collision.

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IL injury lawyerIn Illinois and throughout the United States, the vast majority of car accidents are caused by the actions of at least one of the drivers involved. However, there are sometimes other contributing factors. In recent years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that in approximately 4 percent of accident cases, the critical reason for the crash can be attributed to either the vehicle itself or the surrounding environment. In some of these cases, a defective part or product may be fully or partially responsible for the collision and resulting injuries. If you have been injured in a single-vehicle or multi-vehicle accident, an experienced attorney can help you determine whether you may have a claim for compensation based on product liability.

Defective Car Parts

Cars and other motor vehicles include a number of features to both ensure that they can be safely operated, and to protect drivers who are involved in collisions. If any of these features fails or malfunctions in the time leading up to an accident or after the impact, serious injuries can result. Some examples of defective auto parts that may contribute to accidents include:

  • Seat belts - Seat belt restraints are meant to reduce the injuries that a driver or passenger may suffer in a car accident, but a design or manufacturing defect could mean that they are unable to withstand the force of a collision and fulfill their intended purpose.
  • Airbags - Like seat belts, airbags play an important role in protecting vehicle occupants in the event of a collision. Defective airbags could fail to deploy upon impact.
  • Tires - Defective tires may rupture without warning and cause a driver to lose control, resulting in a single-vehicle or multi-car accident.
  • Brakes - Brake failure due to defects can prevent a driver from safely reacting in time to slow and avoid a collision.
  • Accelerators - Defective acceleration pedals can sometimes stick, and in some recent cases, vehicles have been known to accelerate against the driver’s intentions.
  • Cruise control - Newer vehicles commonly have automated features, like adaptive cruise control and lane maintenance, that help drivers maintain control of their vehicles in traffic. However, if these systems fail, the driver may not have time to react to avoid an accident.

Does Product Liability Apply in My Case?

In Illinois, vehicle designers, manufacturers, and retailers can be liable for injuries caused by defects in their products. Sometimes a defective part may be the primary reason for an accident, in which case one of these parties may be mostly or fully responsible for compensating injury victims. Even in cases involving driver negligence, product manufacturers and designers can be partially liable if the failure of safety features led to more serious injuries than would have otherwise occurred. However, a designer, manufacturer, or retailer may be protected from product liability if the malfunction was due to improper maintenance or unsafe alterations, or if they had issued a recall addressing the failed parts and properly notified the vehicle’s owner.

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