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IL DUI lawyerYou probably already know that drunk drivers can be held liable for the harm they cause after an accident. Pursuing compensation from the drunk driver’s insurance company or the drunk driver personally is always an option after a DUI crash. However, you may have another option. Illinois has what are called “dram shop laws.” “Dram shop” is an outdated term for any establishment that serves alcohol on the premises, like bars and clubs. Under dram shop laws, you may be able to pursue compensation from the establishment that served the drunk driver who hit you. These laws are on the books both to hold drinking establishments responsible for overserving people who then go on to injure others due to their intoxication, and also to provide the victims of drunk drivers with an additional source of potential compensation. An attorney can help you understand how dram shop laws may impact your case.

What do Illinois’ Dram Shop Laws Say?

Generally, dram shops laws state that if an establishment serves alcohol to an individual who then goes on to hurt others due to his intoxication, the establishment can be held liable. To recover compensation from a drinking establishment, you will need to prove a few things. First, you must be able to show that the establishment sold or served alcohol to the drunk driver. This can be established by witness testimony, or by proof of a transaction.

Showing that the alcohol the defendant was served caused him to become intoxicated can be a little trickier. The bar may try to argue that the defendant kept drinking after he left, or did not drink enough there to become intoxicated. Witness testimony may play a major role.

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IL injury lawyerCrashing is far from the only way that passengers on public transportation can get hurt. In Illinois, “common carriers” - an old legal term for modes of public transportation - owe the highest duty of care to their passengers. Professional transportation agencies are legally bound to be much more careful about the safety of their passengers than say, a friend giving you a ride in their car. Even if the bus, train, or plane you were on did not crash, the transportation company operating it may still be liable for injuries you sustained while riding. The duty of care involves more than simply not causing an accident. The passenger areas of public transportation vehicles should also be designed and maintained so as to preserve customer safety. If you were injured while using public transportation, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney about whether you may be entitled to compensation.

How do Accidents on Public Transportation Happen?

Public transportation can be risky sometimes. Motor vehicle accidents are not the only causes of injury on public transportation. In fact, you are more likely to be injured in a manner that does not involve a crash. Common causes of injuries on public transportation other than crashes include:

  • Sudden stops - Bus drivers may sometimes need to slam on their brakes to avoid a crash. However, even if the driver avoids an accident, passengers may be violently thrown around due to a lack of seatbelts. Broken bones or even head injuries may result. In some cases, the driver would not have had to brake so suddenly and sharply if they had been paying better attention to the road or driving more carefully.
  • Inadequate security - Security on public transportation is critical. One of the most common dangers associated with public transportation is the other passengers. Common carriers cannot prevent all assaults committed by other passengers, but some degree of security should be offered. Drivers should never ignore an assault in progress taking place on a vehicle they are responsible for. Trains should be equipped with emergency alert systems, like a button or pulley that can be activated by passengers.
  • Falls - Falls are one of the top causes of injury on public transportation. The causes of falls are numerous, ranging from loose or missing handrails where they are needed to ignored spills to unsteady seats.

While public transportation agencies cannot prevent all injuries, they do have the highest duty of care to keep passengers safe. If you were injured on public transportation, an attorney may be able to help you recover compensation.

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IL injury lawyerThe safety standards that apply to products meant for children are much more stringent than those that apply to products meant for adults. Children do not have the life experience and reasoning skills that help adults use dangerous products safely. Parents of toddlers often say that children that age seems as though they are designed to self-destruct, always finding ways to endanger themselves. This is why we do not entrust things like lighters or weapons to children. Parents should be able to reasonably expect that toys marketed for use by children are safe for children. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Injuries related to product defects in children’s toys are much more common than they should be. If your child was harmed by a dangerous toy, an attorney may be able to help you recover the compensation they need through a product liability case.

Common Toy Defects That Put Your Child in Danger

Toy designers should have the safety of children at the top of their priority list. Sadly, adult toy designers do sometimes overlook design flaws that can endanger children. Defects commonly found in children’s toys include:

  • Choking hazards - Small children love to put things in their mouths. Very young children are inclined to examine new objects using their mouths. For this reason, it is important that toys meant for toddlers do not involve any small, removable pieces that a child could choke on. Even the eyes on a stuffed animal can become dangerous if they detach too easily.
  • Batteries - When batteries are needed to operate a child’s toy, they should be well-secured so that young children cannot access them. Batteries can be extremely dangerous for a child’s health if they are swallowed.
  • Sharp edges - A child should not be able to easily cut themselves on a toy. Darts and other throwing toys or projectiles should feature soft tips in case another child is hit.
  • Fall risks - Indoor and outdoor play equipment that children are meant to climb up, like slides or jungle gyms should have features like railings that mitigate the risk of a child falling off and being injured.
  • Burn risks - Quite a few modern children’s toys involve some type of heating component. Think about toys like easy bake ovens, or activity kits where the finished project must be baked in an oven. Young children are not often capable of safely using heat sources, especially when they are very excited about their toy.

Children are quite able to injure themselves in ways adults would never expect. It is critical that toy designers and manufacturers are exceptionally careful about making sure their products will be safe when used by a child.

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IL injury lawyerNow that warmer weather is approaching and children are out of school for the summer, a lot of families will be hitting the road in an RV for vacation. RV travel can be a great way to travel and see the country without spending a fortune on hotels or plane tickets. They can also make long drives much more tolerable for young children, who may enjoy the freedom of being able to move around in the back of an RV. This type of travel does come with a few risks, however. RVs are much more difficult to drive than a standard family car. The lack of seatbelts can also present an added danger in the event of an accident. If you are hurt in an RV collision, it is important to speak with an attorney to determine whether you may be able to recover compensation.

What Are Some Common Causes of RV Crashes?

While Illinois is a bit more particular than other states, requiring an upgraded non-commercial license to drive an RV over 16,000 pounds, these licenses are typically not difficult to obtain with minimal practice. This makes it relatively easy for just about anyone to rent or buy an RV and set off on an adventure. It also makes things a little risky for anyone on the road near an inexperienced RV driver. Some common causes of RV crashes include:

  • Inexperience - For someone who has only ever driven smaller personal vehicles, operating an RV might be a challenge. Inexperienced RV drivers may not be familiar with things like how long it takes to stop such a large vehicle. They may lack familiarity with the controls. It may be harder for them to judge how fast they can safely negotiate a turn.
  • Distraction - Children who are securely buckled up in the back seat of a car or SUV can create a significant distraction for the adult trying to drive. Children who are loose and running around in the back of an RV can be even more distracting. The same may be true of friends vacationing together. An RV driver cannot afford to get distracted - a very minor mistake can cause a very serious crash.
  • Drowsy driving - You have likely heard someone joke that they need a vacation to recover from their vacation. Travel, even travel for pleasure, can be very tiring. Parents, in particular, may be exhausted by the end of an RV trip. Driving while very tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk.

If you were injured in an accident with an RV, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

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IL accident lawyerBy Illinois state law, you are obligated to file a police report if you get into a car accident that causes any type of injury or over $1,500 in property damage. That is enough of a reason to make sure you stick around after the crash to wait for the police unless your injuries indicate that you must be taken to the hospital right away. Aside from that, the police report may be absolutely vital to your claim. While quite a few people are understandably hesitant to interact with the police, it is important that you do not skip this step. A police report showing that you were not at fault for the accident can make or break your case when it comes time to seek damages. You have the option of calling a lawyer from the side of the road for further guidance.

Why is the Police Report so Important?

There are a number of reasons that people who have been hurt in a crash hesitate to call the police. However, failing to do so could make it very difficult for you to recover compensation. A police report can help your case in ways like:

  • Credibility - Right or wrong, courts tend to believe police officers. Having a neutral police officer document that they believe the other driver caused the accident can be enormously helpful. Your version of events and the other driver’s version of events may be wildly different. Whoever the police agree with is likely to succeed in court.
  • Less suspicion - If you fail to call the police after getting hurt in a crash, the court is going to wonder why. Failing to bring the police out to the accident scene can make the court believe that you are hiding something. It could open the door for speculation about why you did not want the police to come. The more the other driver protests your plan to call the police, the more you need them.
  • Prompt investigation - Police can respond quickly after an accident has occurred. This means that they can investigate before the accident scene is disturbed. They can document physical evidence like tire tracks, the positioning of the crashed vehicles, and where vehicle debris landed. These types of evidence may no longer be available by the time you are able to dispatch an attorney.

While dealing with the police always carries some level of risk, you are far better off allowing them to come investigate and take a report after an accident.

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