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Orland Park personal injury attorneyIn what the NHTSA has called "the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history," approximately 46 million vehicles equipped with Takata airbags have been recalled. The airbags were found to have chemical defects that can cause them to explode and spray metal shrapnel onto passengers. The propellant in the air bags was found to break down when exposed to high temperatures and humidity. This causes the propellant to burn too quickly and results in increased pressure in the inflator, which can cause the inflator to explode.

Dangerous Products

The faulty airbags have injured nearly 200 people and killed 19. Takata airbags are in cars made by 19 different manufacturers. Some automakers, such as Tesla, Honda and Subaru, have been vigilant about getting news of the recall out to the public. They have contacted consumers by putting ads on social media and sending representatives door-to-door. Unfortunately, other automakers are not being as aggressive with their outreach. Of course, letting people know about the recall is only half the battle. It is sometimes difficult to get people to respond to recalls such as this because they do not think the problem is a big enough concern to actually take the car in to be fixed. The NHTSA and vehicle manufacturers are urging the public to get their defective airbags fixed as soon as possible. The repair is free for consumers.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneyFor many people around the country, the Thanksgiving holiday begins on Wednesday and continues through to Sunday—or even Monday in some areas. Most children do not have school, and a large number of adults take time off work to travel, visit family, and spend the holiday weekend with loved ones. Of course, many Thanksgiving celebrations include alcoholic beverages, which means there is a marked increase in the number of potentially intoxicated drivers on the road at the end of the celebration. There a few things that you can do, however, to avoid becoming the victim of a drunk driver’s bad decisions.

Be Alert When Out and About

Whether you are driving yourself, riding with another person, or simply walking somewhere during the Thanksgiving weekend, you would do well to be aware of your surroundings. Pay particular attention to other vehicles, watching for indications that other drivers may be impaired or not focused on the road. Common signs of driver impairment include:

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Orland Park personal injury attorneyA car accident can be a frightening, traumatic experience, but so can the events that follow. Serious injuries, time away from work, unpaid medical bills, financial problems, and so much more are all possibilities. However, it is possible to recover your losses, including those that may not have a monetary value. Protect your rights and improve your chances of receiving fair compensation by knowing what steps to take after an accident in Illinois.

Get Immediate Medical Assistance When Needed

If anyone is seriously injured during an accident, your first step should be to call 911. Excessive bleeding, head injuries, lack of consciousness, entrapment, or difficulty moving a body part are all signs to look for in yourself, your passengers, the other driver, or the other car’s passengers. If at all in doubt, call for help. Also, unless you have specific medical training, you should never try to move someone who is seriously injured unless leaving them would put them in greater danger.

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Orland Park premises liability attorneyLast night, the 2017 World Series got underway as this year’s baseball season draws to a close. Business is essentially back to normal for Major League Baseball, though the mood could have been quite different. About a month ago, a toddler at Yankee Stadium was hit in the face by a 105-mile-per-hour foul ball during a game. The little girl suffered a broken nose and other fractures, spending five days in New York hospital, but her injuries could have been much worse and potentially fatal.

The frightening incident has led many to wonder about the family’s recourse regarding their child’s medical expenses. Could they sue the New York Yankees or the ownership group for negligence or failure to provide for the safety of spectators in attendance? While many injured spectators have tried in the past to sue ballpark owners and sports teams, their efforts are often unsuccessful due to a doctrine known as “assumption of risk.” In the state of Illinois, the assumption of such risk has even been codified into statutory law.

Premises Liability

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Orland Park personal injury attorneyA car accident is not truly safe for the occupants of any of the vehicles involved. Automakers and insurance companies, however, are constantly crunching numbers to determine which seat—if any—may be slightly less dangerous than others in the event of a car crash. Long-standing wisdom suggests that the back middle seat should be the safest in an accident, but recent advancements in safety technology have challenged this way of thinking.

Farthest From the Impact

The prevailing belief regarding the rear middle seat—despite usually being the most uncomfortable position in a vehicle—is that the spot is typically about as far as one can get from the point of impact. When a collision occurs at the front the car, the back middle is, on average, the farthest away and least likely to be affected. Crashes that occur at intersections may result in crushed doors and outer seats, but the middle is statistically safer.

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Orland Park distracted driving accident lawyersThe fall season has officially arrived in Northern Illinois and school is back in full swing. If you have school-aged children, you may have struggled with them adjusting to getting up early again, finishing homework before dinner, and the everyday stresses that are part of the educational process. Of course, the new academic year affects those without children as well, particularly individuals who live near a school or who must pass by a school on their way to and from work. Every day, millions of Americans drive through school zones, but a disturbing new study suggests that as many as one in three drivers may be distracted when they do.

Safety Analysis

Zendrive is a California-based tech company that develops tools for capturing and analyzing driving behaviors for individuals, fleets, insurance companies, and other organizations. The company recently conducted a study that examined some 75,000 schools across the United States and how drivers who passed them behaved behind the wheel. According to Zendrive’s numbers, nearly nine out ten drivers (88 percent) still use their phone while driving despite laws against hand-held device use in nearly every state.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneyCar accidents can be complex and messy. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by someone else, you deserve compensation for your losses. Often times, car accident cases become complicated and require extensive courtroom litigation. A qualified personal injury attorney can assess your case and explain potential strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes an expert witness can be used to testify on your behalf and strengthen your case for collecting damages.

Proving Who Was at Fault

One of the first things an accident victim must do is prove that he or she was not at fault or was less at fault than the other driver for the crash. If fault is not obvious, each side may call upon expert witnesses to testify as to who caused the accident. Expert witnesses may analyze the accident, draw conclusions based on evidence, and explain their findings and fact-based opinions at trial. Medical professionals, economists, accident reconstructionists and engineers commonly use their experience and knowledge to explain what happened during the accident and what the effects were.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneyLabor Day, the holiday recognizing America’s workers, is intended as a day of rest and relaxation and a chance to enjoy a rare three-day weekend. Barbeques, ballgames, lakeside fun in the sun – these are hallmarks of Labor Day, so it is both unexpected and tragic when the holiday is marred by an injury or death. 

Unfortunately, with so many Americans hitting the road to visit friends and family, and with alcohol often being a feature of social get-togethers, accidents are inevitable. Personal injuries may be suffered on one of the nation’s highways, parks, sporting grounds, lakes and other swimming areas, or even unlikely places where you least expect it. Cuts, bruises, broken bones, post-traumatic stress, and even loss of life are among the consequences. 

When harm is suffered by no fault of your own, the pain and suffering are only magnified. Besides a ruined holiday and unexpected medical care and bills, there lingers the need to hold a wrongdoer accountable for the physical, emotional, and financial losses you have suffered. Fortunately, in the civil courts of the state of Illinois, procedures are in place to allow victims to seek redress from those that have caused harm, whether intentionally or negligently.

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Orland Park medical malpractice attorney, patient informed concentMedical malpractice involves more than a physician's negligence. A doctor can be held liable if he or she fails to inform the patient about the “general nature” of a procedure and the patient is subsequently injured. Informed consent in this context includes explaining the “risks involved, the prospects of success, the prognosis if the procedure is not performed, and alternative treatments."

Court Reinstates Malpractice Claim Over Child Injured During Delivery

Informed consent often comes up when dealing with birth injuries. There are cases where a doctor fails to properly warn an expectant mother of the risks of natural childbirth. As a result, the child may be injured during delivery and suffer lifelong consequences.

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Orland Park personal injury lawyer, motorcycle accidentApproximately 4,500 people are killed each year in motorcycle accidents, according to federal safety statistics. Even a non-fatal motorcycle accident can leave a driver with serious injuries and cost thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost income. Therefore, when an accident is the result of another party’s negligence, it is important to hold him or her accountable.

Lying in Road Not an “Overt Action”

Sometimes a motorcycle accident may not be directly caused by another person, but there is still a question as to how a person’s actions may have led to the victim’s injuries. An Illinois appeals court recently addressed such a case. The central question was whether two dog owners’ alleged carelessness led to a motorcycle accident.

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traffic stop and search, Orland Park criminal defense attorney, illegal drugs, felony drug possessionAnyone who has seen the television show Law & Order knows the familiar opening narration: “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders.” But what happens when these functions become blurred, i.e. the district attorney’s office starts acting as the police? The Illinois Supreme Court recently addressed this question in an important case arising from the controversial policies of LaSalle County's former top prosecutor.

IL Supreme Court Says Ex-LaSalle Prosecutor Conducted Illegal Stops, Arrests

In 2011, then-LaSalle County State's Attorney Brian Towne formed a team of special investigators known as SAFE. Special investigators are individuals appointed by a State's Attorney to serve subpoenas and conduct limited investigations to “assist” prosecutors in performing their duties. They are not, however, sworn police officers.

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assault, battery, Orland Park criminal defense attorney, police excessive force,  criminal chargesThis past January, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) completed a formal investigation into the Chicago Police Department (CPD), specifically the misuse and overuse of force in ways that violate the civil rights of Illinois residents. The DOJ found there was “reasonable cause to believe” that CPD officers routinely took part in acts that “unnecessarily endanger themselves and result in unnecessary and avoidable uses of force.” This was not the result of a few bad officers, the DOJ said, but rather a system-wide “failure to train officers in de-escalation and the failure to conduct meaningful investigations of uses of force.”

IL Judges Reverse Battery Conviction of Man Tased Repeatedly by Police

There are many cases where police not only use excessive force, they turn around and charge the victim with a crime, such as assault and battery. Sadly, many of these victims-turned-defendants suffer from mental illness. The DOJ report noted that many law enforcement officers are not properly trained to deal with “complex situations” involving people with mental health problems and, as a result, the situation quickly escalates.

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violent crime, felony charges, unlawful use of a weapon, Orland Park criminal defense attorney, criminal convictionIf you are charged with a violent crime in Illinois, you have the right to a fair trial. On television legal dramas, you often see crusading prosecutors make powerful opening or closing arguments designed to sway a jury's emotions. In real courtrooms, however, prosecutors need to stick to the evidence. They are not ethically or constitutionally permitted to inflame the jury with prejudicial language.

Court Reverses Attempted Murder Convictions Following Prosecution Misconduct

For example, a prosecutor who repeatedly refers to a defendant as a “criminal” during opening arguments may violate that defendant's right to a fair trial. Indeed, an Illinois appeals court recently overturned the convictions of two co-defendants after a prosecutor did just that. The underlying criminal case involved three Chicago police officers who were shot and injured while attempting to execute a search warrant against one of the defendants.

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drug crime cases, drug charges, criminal conviction, drug conviction, Orland Park criminal defense attorney.Most drug crime cases in Illinois involve police searches, and the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the police to obtain a warrant for most searches. In its broadest terms, the Fourth Amendment protects our right to privacy. However, this presumes that we had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the first place.

For example, if a police officer walks into your house and starts looking around, that would clearly be a violation of your privacy. Yet suppose you live in an apartment building and an officer searches the lobby, which is unlocked and accessible to the public. Illinois courts have said such searches of “common areas” do not require a warrant because there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Still, even within an apartment building, there are limits to how far the police can go. In a 2016 case, the Illinois Supreme Court held that police could not conduct a warrantless search outside an apartment door that was “located within a locked apartment building.” The court said the fact that public access was restricted to the hallway leading up to the defendant's door was critical.

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Orland Park criminal defense lawyer, criminal trial, sexual assault, presumption of innocence, Taking the FifthThe most basic principle of the criminal justice system in Illinois is the presumption of innocence. Whether you are charged with a DUI, sexual assault, or murder, state law provides that “[e]very person is presumed innocent until proved guilty.” In any criminal trial, the burden is therefore on the prosecution to establish the defendant's guilt beyond a “reasonable doubt.”

Can You Be Punished for “Taking the Fifth”?

It is important to understand how the burden of proof works in a criminal trial. If you are accused of a crime, you are not obligated to present any evidence in your defense. Of course, it may benefit you to do so, depending on the circumstances of the case. But at no point can a judge or jury demand that you “prove” you did not commit a crime. Aside from the fact it is difficult to prove a negative, it violates the plain language of Illinois law, which presumes the defendant's innocence.

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felony convictions, own a gun, weapons charges, Orland Park criminal defense attorney, armed habitual criminal lawGun ownership is not an absolute right in Illinois. A resident must obtain a Firearms Ownership Identification card (FOID) from the Illinois State Police in order to legally possess any firearms or ammunition. Anyone who owns or carries a gun without a FOID may face felony weapons charges.

Illinois' Armed Habitual Criminal Law

Certain classes of people are ineligible to receive a FOID. Notably, this includes individuals who have been previously convicted of a felony in Illinois or any other jurisdiction. In fact, if someone previously convicted of multiple felonies is found in possession of a firearm, he or she may face serious sanctions under Illinois law.

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Orland Park criminal defense attorney, right to a speedy trialYou probably know that the United States Constitution guarantees your right to a “speedy trial” if you are accused of committing a crime. The Illinois state constitution has a similar requirement. But what exactly constitutes “speedy?”

In state criminal cases, Illinois law says that a defendant who is taken into custody must be tried within 120 days. If the defendant is released on bond, he or she must be tried within 160 days after filing a written demand for a trial.

Prosecutors Cannot Engage in “Piecemeal Litigation”

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Orland Park criminal defense attorney, DUI charge, field sobriety testWhen an Illinois police officer suspects you of DUI, you may be asked to take one or more field sobriety tests. By law you do not have to agree to such tests. Moreover, if you take a test and “fail,” based on the officer's judgment, it may be used against you as evidence in court.

Court Rejects Peoria Officer's Arrest Based on HGN Test

However, not all field sobriety tests are afforded the same weight by judges. Nor does failure necessarily prove that you were intoxicated above the legal limit in Illinois. Therefore, it is important to challenge any test result that may be inaccurate or improperly administered by the police.

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Orland Park criminal defense attorney, DUI, marijuanaWhen it comes to DUI, there is a critical difference between alcohol and illegal drugs such as marijuana. You probably know that drunk driving is only a criminal offense if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or higher. This means that most people can have one or two beers in their system and not worry about legal liability.

However, when it comes to illegal drugs, Illinois law states that “any amount” in a person's system is unacceptable. In other words, if police find any amount of THC—the active ingredient in marijuana and cannabis products—in your system, you are guilty of DUI even if there is no evidence that you were impaired. Additionally, if you are arrested for a DUI where someone else is seriously injured, you can be charged with an “aggravated” DUI which carries stiffer criminal penalties.

Illinois Supreme Court Rejects “Medical Condition” Defense in Aggravated DUI Case

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Orland Park DUI defense attorney, Illinois police, drug userDUI does not just refer to drunk driving. It is against Illinois law to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any drug, legal or illegal. However, police must have reasonable grounds to believe that you are actually under the influence of drugs.

Officer Lacked “Probable Cause” Based on Questionable Drug Test

This can be a problem when an officer lacks appropriate training and simply jumps to the conclusion that a driver was using drugs without adequate proof. Given that a drug arrest can not only lead to a criminal charge, but also carries a “civil penalty” in the form of an automatic driver's license suspension, such mistakes can be devastating to innocent individuals.

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