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Orland Park personal injury lawyerMost of us drive several times on any given day. Although the act of driving may become second nature, it is important to remember how dangerous driving a vehicle actually is. Motorists should always exercise caution and constantly be on the lookout for hazards which could cause an accident. This is especially true when sharing the road with a semi-truck, flatbed truck, or tractor-trailer. Fully loaded, a tractor-trailer may weigh up to 80,000 lbs. These vehicles are not capable of maneuvering as swiftly as smaller vehicles and also take significantly longer to stop. Truck accidents can lead to catastrophic and often fatal injuries, so learning how to reduce your risk of being involved in a truck accident is essential.

Avoid Driving in The Truck Driver’s Blind Spots

Driving in a large truck is dramatically different than driving a passenger vehicle. While drivers of smaller vehicles can see most of the space around the vehicle, truck drivers must contend with large blind spots. Because of the way truck windows and mirrors are orientated, there are large spaces on all four sides of the truck that the truck driver cannot see. A truck driver cannot see up to 20 feet in front of the cab and up to 200 feet behind the truck as well as certain areas on each side of the truck. Staying out of these blind spots or “no-zones” is crucial to your safety and the safety of other drivers. If you cannot see the driver’s face in his or her mirror, that means that he or she cannot see you either.

Be Prepared for Wide Turns and Slow Acceleration and Deceleration

When a tractor-trailer turns at an intersection, the trailer portion takes up a great deal of space. Motorists should always avoid driving between a truck that is turning and the curb. You could end up colliding with the truck or being forced off of the road. This puts your life and the lives of pedestrians and cyclists in danger. It is also important to remember that trucks take a long time to speed up or slow down. When merging from an entrance ramp onto the highway, keep in mind that truck drivers cannot maneuver their vehicles the way other motorists can. It is also imperative that motorists avoid tailgating a truck driver.

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Orland Park personal injury lawyerIf you have ever watched a news story about an airplane accident, you may have heard experts talking about the plane’s flight recorder or “black box.” Many commercial trucks are also equipped with a recording device which is often referred to as a black box. Technically called an event data recorder (EDR), this device can be an extremely valuable source of evidence in a truck accident injury case. Most personal injury claims hinge upon the question of fault and proving that the negligent actions of the truck driver, trucking company, or other party caused your truck accident is often the biggest obstacle in successfully obtaining compensation for injuries.

How Do EDRs Work?  

Most event data recorders are capable of recording vehicle and occupant information immediately before, during, and after a collision. Depending on the type of EDR installed, the device may record data about the vehicle’s engine performance, vehicle speed, whether or not the brakes were applied, steering performance, airbag deployment, seat belt usage, electronic stability control, and the force of the impact. Commercial trucking companies are not required to install EDRs in their trucks; however, more and more trucking companies are voluntarily installing these black boxes. After a truck accident, a data-retrieval technician may be able to extract data from the EDR. Because many of these devices do not permanently retain data, it is important to retrieve EDR information as soon as possible after an accident.

Proving Liability for a Truck Accident

The information contained in an EDR may be combined with other types of evidence and used to establish exactly what happened during an accident. Evidence from dash camera footage, security camera footage, the truck driver’s hours of service logs, the driver’s driving history, and the truck maintenance records may also shed light on how and why a truck accident occurred. Data from the truck driver’s personal cell phone may reveal whether or not distracted driving was a contributing factor in the accident. However, gaining access to this information is not easy. Trucking companies are usually very hesitant to release EDR data and other information and may even destroy data in an attempt to evade responsibility for an accident. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help ensure that this valuable evidence is preserved.

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How Do Building Code Violations Influence Illinois Premises Liability Claims?premises liability claim is one involving an injury on another party’s property. Property owners and managers cannot be expected to prevent every injury on their property, but they do have a legal obligation to keep their premises free of dangers that they could reasonably prevent. If the negligent actions or inaction of a property owner or property manager lead to someone’s injury or death, the property owner or manager may be liable for damages. In many cases, unsafe conditions on a property are the result of building code violations. Read on to learn about how violating building codes can influence your premises liability claim.

What Are Building Codes?

Local, state and federal laws referred to as building codes regulate the design and construction of buildings. These codes typically describe the minimum standards that must be met regarding the building’s materials and how those materials are assembled.  Building codes regulate structural components of the building as well as electrical wiring, plumbing, and more. Safety features such as smoke detectors, fire sprinklers, emergency escapes, proper lighting, and exit signs are also typically required. Buildings must also meet standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Equipment like handrails, railings, and grab bars are just some of the accessibility features that buildings may be required to have.

Building Code Noncompliance Can Lead to Injury or Death

A local building inspector is typically the party responsible for ensuring that a building meets applicable building codes. Failure to comply with building codes can result in fines and other penalties. Even worse, a building that is not up to code creates a risk of harm to customers or other people invited onto the property. For example, if a building’s electrical systems are not properly installed, this can cause a fire. Broken stairways or missing handrails can result in an individual falling down the stairs and becoming severely injured. Leaky plumbing can cause wet floors that present a slip and fall risk.

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Understanding Illinois Law Regarding Shared Fault in Personal Injury CasesIn the majority of injury-causing accidents, determining why an accident occurred is not simple and straightforward. There may be many variables that combined to cause a “perfect storm” of circumstances. For example, in a drunk driving accident, the driver’s intoxication may not be the only reason the accident occurred. It may also have been raining, the road may have been in poor condition, or the other driver involved in the collision may have glanced down at his or her phone moments before the crash. In situations involving shared fault, who is deemed legally responsible for the harm caused in the accident? Illinois follows a legal doctrine called modified comparative negligence when a person’s injury was partially his or her fault and partially the fault of another party.

Understanding Modified Comparative Negligence

There are two main ways that states handle personal injury cases involving shared liability: comparative negligence or contributory negligence. In states that follow the doctrine of contributory negligence, if an injured person contributed to his or her own injury, he or she cannot collect compensation. This is considered an unreasonable rule in many people’s eyes because a person who is only one percent at fault for an injury is barred from collecting compensation from a party who was 99 percent responsible. Fortunately, Illinois is a comparative negligence state. This means that an injured person can still collect damages even if he or she is partially at fault for the injury-causing accident.

Illinois followed a slightly modified version of comparative negligence which is sometimes referred to as the “51-Percent Bar.” According to the rules of modified comparative negligence, an injured party may be eligible for compensation as long as he or she was not 51 percent or more responsible for his or her injuries. However, the amount of compensation he or she can receive will be reduced according to his or her percentage of fault. For example, if an injured party requested $50,000 in a lawsuit for a slip and fall accident but the court found him to be 20 percent responsible for the accident, he would receive $40,000.   

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Nursing Home Neglect May Lead to Recurrent BedsoresResidents in a nursing home may have physical and mental disabilities that make them dependent on nursing home staff for help with daily living tasks like showering, eating, and taking medication. Some residents may also have significantly reduced mobility. They may be unable to get in and out of bed on their own or need help changing positions in their bed or wheelchair. Staying in one position for too long puts pressure on the skin and can cause painful bedsores. If a resident is experiencing frequent bedsores or bedsores that are not properly addressed, this may be a sign that he or she is suffering from nursing home neglect.

Causes and Treatment of Bedsores

Bedridden or immobile nursing home residents are very susceptible to bedsores. Also called pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, bedsores are caused by unrelenting pressure that cuts off circulation to the skin. Bedsores can be very painful and may lead to serious infections or even sepsis. Nursing home staff must periodically reposition residents so that a body area does not receive long periods of pressure. If a bedsore does develop, staff should ensure that the wound is kept clean and protected by gauze or other appropriate dressings. The staff should carefully monitor the resident for signs that the bedsore is worsening or has become infected. In some cases, the wound may require debridement, skin grafts, or other major medical intervention.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (NHCA) protects the rights of individuals living in nursing homes. The act asserts that nursing home residents have all of the rights that any other individual would have under state and federal law. It also gives residents the right to be free from physical and chemical restraints except under very specific circumstances, the right to manage their own financial affairs, the right to privacy, and many other rights. Most importantly, nursing home residents have the right to be free from neglect and abuse. The NHCA states that an owner and licensee are liable for any negligent or intentional act or failure to act that injures a resident. When nursing home staff fail to provide reasonable care to residents and the resident is injured or killed as a result, the nursing home may be legally responsible for the harm caused. The injured resident or his or her family may be entitled to damages. They may receive compensation for medical expenses caused by the injury, pain and suffering, and more.

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