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Chicago e-scooter injury lawyerAs the city of Chicago continues the second year of its electronic scooter pilot program, fleets of the small, convenient vehicles have become widely available in other cities around the country as well. The explosion in popularity of e-scooters has created challenges for municipal regulators as they struggle to keep up with safety concerns and the impact of the scooters on city traffic patterns. According to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there are several factors that contribute to the likelihood of being injured on or around e-scooters.

Lack of Clear Rules

Electric scooters represent a relatively new phenomenon, and city planners and policymakers are playing “catch-up” in many cities. This means that too often, scooters are made available and are being used without consistent policies and rules in place regarding how to ride with safety as the top priority. The IIHS study found that e-scooter riders suffer more injuries per mile ridden than bicycle riders and were two times more likely to be hurt by potholes, lampposts, and cracks in the pavement. Bike riders, however, were three times more likely to be hit by a car. Thus, clear and consistent policies are extremely important for keeping riders and pedestrians safe.

Riding on Sidewalks

One of the biggest areas of concern is in regard to where e-scooters should be ridden. According to the IIHS, the jury is still out on whether it is actually safer to ride on sidewalks or on the road. The study found that riding on sidewalks creates more opportunities for the riders to be hurt, but riding on the road increases the chances of more severe injuries. Bicycle lanes may offer a potential solution, but combining e-scooters and bicycles—which usually travel at faster speeds—in one lane has risks as well. In the city of Chicago, e-scooters are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks, so riders must use roadways and bicycle lanes.  

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Chicago e-scooter accident lawyerBy this point, most residents of Northern Illinois are aware that Year Two of the Chicago e-scooter pilot program is now underway. The second round of the program began in August and consists of about 10,000 electric scooters for rent throughout much of the city. During the first month of this year’s program, riders took more than 230,000 trips, which seems to indicate a level of acceptance from the general public.

It is important to remember, however, that e-scooters can be dangerous if they are not used properly and ridden in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. In fact, several dozen deaths have been linked to e-scooters and similar modes of transportation in the last few years, as well as tens of thousands of additional injuries.

Federal Estimates, Scary Numbers

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), no fewer than 41 people have been killed between 2017 and 2019 in incidents involving e-scooters, e-bikes, and hoverboards—collectively known as “micro-mobility” devices. During that same period, approximately 133,000 people required emergency room treatment for injuries related to micro-mobility products. These figures represent an upward trend in injuries and deaths involving these items, which is hardly surprising, as the trend largely corresponds to the uptick in the devices’ popularity.

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Chicago scooter injury lawyerWe are now a month into the second round of Chicago’s experimental program to test the efficiency and usefulness of electric scooters in the city. City officials have been looking at e-scooters as an environmentally friendly way for people to move around the city without using buses, cars, and other transportation options that rely on fossil fuels. E-scooters are also faster and easier than walking on Chicago’s streets.

The first round of the e-scooter pilot program took place late last summer and into the fall. The second round started in August of this year and is expected to run until December. With the first month of the second test program now in the books, it seems that the novelty of e-scooters may be wearing off, despite an uptick in overall trips.

More Rides Taken, But…

This year’s program put nearly four times as many e-scooters on the streets of Chicago compared to last year, with 10,000 scooters made available from three different scooter companies. In the first month of the program last year, riders took about 218,000 trips, with an average trip covering about a mile and a quarter. This year, the first month saw 230,400 trips, and the average trip covered 1.87 miles.

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Illinois personal injury attorney e-scooter accident

For the second year in a row, the city of Chicago is experimenting with electric scooters. A new pilot program launched on August 12, as part of an effort by city officials to determine if e-scooters should become a permanent part of Chicago street traffic. This year’s version of the program is much larger than last year’s, both in terms of the number of scooters available and the areas of the city in which the scooter can be found.

The E-Scooter Program at a Glance

Three e-scooter companies are taking part in this year’s pilot program. Bird, Lime, and Spin have each pledged to provide one-third of the 10,000 total e-scooters that will be scattered across much of the city. This is about four times as many scooters than were used last summer, but the number of participating companies has dropped from 10 to just three. Each company uses a proprietary mobile phone app and is allowed to set its own pricing for scooter rental. Reports indicate, however, that the prices are similar across the board: about a $1 fee to unlock a scooter and an average of 35 cents per riding minute after that. Discounts, special pricing, and even free rides are available.

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Chicago personal injury lawyerEstablishing fault in a car accident is not always straightforward. Often, when motorists are involved in a car crash, there are a number of factors at play. For example, outside distractions, such as pedestrians, construction work, closed lanes, or heavy traffic, can make an accident more likely to occur. Car accidents often involve several vehicles, and it can be extremely difficult to determine which car actually caused the accident.

Proving who was at fault for a crash is crucial for several reasons. First, the at-fault party's car insurance company is usually responsible for paying repair costs for other vehicles involved in the accident. Secondly, if another person was injured in the accident, the at-fault party may be responsible for that person’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

No-Doubt Liability

Generally, it is up to the car insurance companies of the individuals involved in an accident to determine financial liability for a car accident. The insurance companies use the help of claims adjusters and police reports to determine which of the drivers involved in an accident was at fault.

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Chicago motorcycle accident lawyerIllinois is one of the few states in the country that does not have a motorcycle helmet law. Our state leaves it up to individual riders to decide for themselves whether to wear a helmet. At Livas Law Group, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwarz, we represent many motorcycle accident victims who have suffered terrible injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). With this in mind, we encourage riders around the state to consider some of the evidence around the safety and effectiveness of motorcycle helmets.

Helmets Do Not Meaningfully Restrict Vision or Hearing

Many riders refuse to wear a helmet because they believe it will restrict their vision or ability to hear. These are certainly legitimate concerns. A rider’s safety would be compromised if they could not see or hear as well, in which case a helmet could be counterproductive and could, in fact, cause an accident.

However, research has shown that these fears are not well-founded or supported. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated, a person’s range of vision, including peripheral vision, usually covers between 200-220 degrees. Helmets provide up to 210 degrees of vision—so that is very slight impairment if any at all. Further, more than 90 percent of accidents happen within a 160-degree range, which means that vision impairment caused by a helmet will not contribute to most collisions. A rider can easily counter any slight restriction in peripheral vision by simply moving her head a little bit more in either direction.

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Chicago personal injury lawyerThe actions motorists take can often contribute to the severity of their injuries in the event of a collision. Refusing to wear a seat belt is a classic example. At Livas Law Group, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we routinely field questions about whether the refusal to wear a seat belt will harm a person’s personal injury lawsuit. In particular, accident victims want to know whether the seat belt defense is valid in Illinois.

Why the Seat Belt Defense Matters

Illinois recognizes the concept of comparative fault. Under this concept, a motorist cannot receive compensation if he or she is “more” at fault for an accident than all defendants combined. Put simply, a victim can be up to 50 percent responsible for their injuries—but not more—to collect compensation.

Failure to wear a seat belt probably sounds like a form of negligence. After all, seat belts have been proven to reduce the risk of injury and save lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a seat belt reduces the number of serious injuries by approximately 50 percent. In one year alone (2016), seat belts saved approximately 15,000 lives. Furthermore, wearing a seat belt is the law in our state. Everyone ages 8 or older must buckle up, even if the car is equipped with airbags.

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Chicago personal injury attorneyDistracted driving is a major threat to road safety and there is no bigger distraction than cell phones. Far too many people are texting behind the wheel of a vehicle and the results can be disastrous. At Livas Law Firm, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we represent motorists who have been injured in car accidents caused by distracted drivers.

Illinois has tried to address the dangers of distracted driving by making it illegal to text while driving. Any motorist convicted could have their license suspended and face various other penalties. Still, on any given day, countless motorists are driving with one hand on the wheel and the other hand clutching a cell phone. Below, our personal injury lawyers identify why the act of texting and driving is so risky.

Texting Delays Brake Onset

When drivers text, they have their eyes on their cell phones — not on the road. Consequently, they will not see anything that may be in their way, such as a pedestrian crossing the street or another vehicle stopped at an intersection. It is not surprising that brake onset is delayed while a person is sending or reading a text message.

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Chicago personal injury attorney sideswipe car accident

Before an accident victim can obtain compensation, he or she must show that another driver was at fault for the crash. In certain crashes, the fault is obvious. For example, a motorist might run a red light and T-bone another vehicle, all of which may be caught on camera if the intersection has video surveillance. Establishing fault for a sideswipe collision can be more complicated in some cases. Fortunately, the personal injury lawyers at Livas Law Firm, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, have brought many successful claims for sideswipe car accidents.

Situations Where Sideswipes Occur

The location of the accident can help narrow down ways for proving fault. Most sideswipe accidents occur in the following places:

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Chicago personal injury lawyerTraumatic brain injuries are difficult to diagnose because they are so hard to see. If you cut your head, then the amount of blood flowing down your neck gives you some indication that you have been injured. But when injuries are internal, many people are unsure of whether or not something is wrong. At Livas Law Group, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we help car accident victims get compensation after a collision.

Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most devastating that a car accident victim can suffer. Meet with one of our attorneys to discuss your legal options.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Doctors typically classify brain injuries as either open or closed:

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Chicago personal injury attorneysEach year, millions of Americans are bitten by dogs. Although some bites might seem minor, many of them end up causing serious complications which can cost our clients thousands of dollars. At Livas Law Group, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we meet with dog bite victims to discuss their legal options, but they need quality medical care first.

Below, we review some of the relevant considerations to keep in mind. To obtain compensation, please contact us as soon as possible.

Go to the Hospital if the Dog Breaks the Skin

Some wounds are merely superficial, more like scratches. However, if the wound is bleeding, then it is definitely something your doctor should look at. A dog’s sharp teeth can sever veins, damage soft tissue, and possibly kill nerves. Your doctor can fully assess the damage. Ideally, you should go to the doctor or hospital as soon as possible.

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Chicago personal injury attorneysOnce upon a time, an injured person’s lawsuit died with them. This might be shocking, but it meant that someone whose negligent or wrongful conduct ended up killing someone could not be held liable in civil court for that death. At Livas Law Group, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we are happy to report that the law has changed.

Now, Illinois recognizes wrongful death cases. Surviving family members can receive compensation when a loved one is killed by the wrongful conduct of another person. Doing so, however, generally requires the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney.

What is a Wrongful Death?

The relevant statute is the Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180). It states that a wrongful death is one caused by the default, neglect, or wrongful act of another person so that, if the person had lived, he or she could have brought a personal injury lawsuit.

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Chicago personal injury attorneysLarge commercial trucks can be seen driving in and out of Chicago, carrying goods from our city to distant points in the nation and back again. If you have been injured in a collision with one of those trucks, however, you should contact a personal injury lawyer at Livas Law Group, A Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz.

According to the Department of Transportation, Illinois sees over 11,000 tractor-trailer accidents in an average year. If you have been injured in such a crash, we recommend that you take the following steps to preserve your ability to collect compensation.

Call the Police

You should report the accident as soon as possible so that the police can come out to the scene. The responding officer should write a police report, which you will want a copy of for your records. This report helps lock in key details of the accident, such as the date, time, location, and involved parties.

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Chicago personal injury lawyersUnder Illinois law, anyone registering a vehicle must have adequate insurance. Currently, our state requires that you have at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability insurance, up to a maximum of $50,000 per accident (when two or more people are injured). The state also requires at least $20,000 in property damage insurance. At Livas Law Group, A Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we want to notify the public about the importance of uninsured motorist coverage, which is included in every car insurance policy sold in Illinois.

What UM Covers

Uninsured motorist coverage kicks in if you were struck by someone who lacks insurance. It is fault-based coverage, meaning you cannot use it if you were to blame for the collision. But if someone else is at fault, then UM coverage can pay out benefits up to the policy limit for:

  • Medical care
  • Lost income or lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

About 13 percent of all Illinois motorists lack coverage. This means that if you are hit by such a driver, you will not be able to make a claim with their insurer. UM coverage, however, can step in and provide benefits in this unfortunate event.

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Chicago premises liability attorneysThe basic concept of premises liability means that a property owner can be held liable for injuries occurring on his or her property. In most personal injury cases involving premises liability, however, the injured party must show the owner or occupier of the property was negligent or committed a willful act that caused the injuries. Such cases often hinge on the idea of foreseeability and whether the owner of the property should have reasonably expected the consequences that occurred as a result of his or her negligence or actions.

Understanding Foreseeability

In a retail setting, for example, if a store employee mops a floor and fails to place “wet floor” warning signs, a slip and fall injury would almost certainly be foreseeable. Slip and fall accidents are common on wet floors, and store employees are expected to take precautions to prevent injuries. The responsibility for the injury would likely extend to store management or ownership for unsafe practices.

Conversely, consider an example in a grocery store that carries a particular brand of salad dressing containing peanuts. The dressing is packaged in glass bottles. A child running through the aisles of the store knocks a bottle of the shelf, and it explodes on the floor, splashing dressing into the eyes of nearby shopper who happens to have a severe peanut allergy. If the shopper then experiences an allergic reaction and is injured, he or she may try to hold the store owner liable. However, the store owner would certainly be able to argue that there was no way to foresee such an unusual combination of circumstances and that the shopper’s injuries were not due to negligence or actions on the part of the owner.

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In this unprecedented time, Livas Law Group remains committed to putting its clients first. As government officials recommend social distancing, limitation of in-person meetings and travel, and practicing self-quarantine, we are adjusting how we go about the practice of law. Out of an abundance of caution to our employees and to the public, the leadership of the firm decided it was best for now that all employees work from their homes. The firm was properly prepared to have its office fully operational on a remote basis.

Our technology allows the firm to be in contact with each other, to be in contact with clients, and to continue working on their behalf. Our highly skilled technology staff allows for the confidentiality of client information with all security measures in place while allowing full access for those working on your files. Although lawyers and staff are working uninterrupted remotely, our fully equipped virtual desktop permits our entire staff to handle all matters that arise, despite the courts throughout the State of Illinois and across the nation being closed for the upcoming month and possibly longer. Most courts have now extended the discovery deadlines, so we expect some delays with depositions and hearings, but many judges are hosting video teleconference hearings and adjusting to these changing times.

Our expert witnesses still are hard at work reviewing files. Attorneys are answering and issuing interrogatories, motions are being drafted, cases are being filed, and telephone calls and voicemails are being answered and returned. We are using all means of communication necessary to ensure that your case is moving forward. Should you need to contact your lawyer, please call us at 312-804-6102 or email us directly. 

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Chicago personal injury attorneysSpring may be right around the corner, but in the greater Chicago region, it is still winter. In fact, the next big winter storm is poised to blanket the area with snow as the last weekend of February approaches. With such weather, obviously, comes a number of related hazards and dangers, many of them related to road travel and highway safety. Winter storms can also cause serious problems for those on foot, making getting from the car to the house rather treacherous. There are, however, some things you can do to reduce the danger of a slip and fall accident and the resulting injuries that such a fall can cause.

Choose the Right Shoes

As you make your way into the office, do you wear your dress shoes or heels? Consider carrying your fancy footwear with you or leaving them at your desk and trade them for winter-appropriate boots. Be sure to find something that fits properly, with an aggressive tread that will grip slippery sidewalks better.

Alight With Caution

A large number of slip and fall accidents occur while trying to get out of the car, as a single foot on icy pavement can leave you quite vulnerable. Take your time when you reach your destination to exit your car carefully, placing two feet firmly on the ground and a hand on the vehicle before attempting to stand. If you can only put one foot out, for whatever reason, be sure to keep both hands on your vehicle to help maintain your balance.

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Chicago personal injury attorneysHere in the greater Chicago area, winter weather ranges from mild and wet to very cold and very icy—a pattern that can create some serious hazards getting around. Whether you are travelling on foot or by car, one of the most dangerous of these conditions is black ice. With over 150,000 car accidents happening every year due to ice on the road—over 500 of which result in at least one death—it is easy to see why black ice is something every driver should take very seriously.

What Is Black Ice?

At its most basic, black ice is a transparent coating of ice that takes on the color of whatever surface lies beneath it. Most often, the surface is a roadway, and roadways usually have a black asphalt surface, hence the name “black ice.”

Black ice generally forms when temperatures warm up, and snow and ice starts to melt, leaving the surface wet and slick. Then, it gets cold again, and the ice-melt refreezes. It can happen anywhere along a road, but it often starts on bridges and overpasses because, unlike the regular road, these structures are exposed to freezing temperatures from top and bottom.

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Chicago personal injury attorneysFor many individuals, the sight of snow can create an unparalleled feeling of joy and happiness. Due to the events and breathtaking sights that transpire in Chicago every holiday season, people from around the world will come to visit. Although this time of year is often associated with enjoyable experiences, the negligent or reckless actions of another individual can lead to serious injuries and unintended fatalities taking place. At Livas Law Group, A Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, our team of knowledgeable personal injury attorneys understand the legal system, and can work with you to hold negligent party members responsible for their actions.   

Slip and Fall Injuries

One of the more prevalent ways of sustaining a wintertime injury is the possibility of slipping and falling. Weather conditions such as snow, ice, and slush can make any street or sidewalk a serious hazard. Although this form of injury does not seem crucial, the possible outcomes can be significant. For instance, a loss of footing caused by snow, ice or slush can lead to:

  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • TBI (traumatic brain injury)
  • Back and spine injuries
  • Torn ligaments
  • Sprained muscles 

If a slip and fall accident resulting from inclement weather conditions does take place in Chicago, the owner of the property may be held responsible. According to the City of Chicago Municipal Code, every person that is in charge of a building or lot of ground is required to remove snow and ice from their sidewalk. 

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Chicago personal injury attorneysAs ice, snow, and slush starts to become more common throughout the city of Chicago, pedestrians are at a higher risk of suffering a personal injury. While there are steps that individuals traveling by foot can take to reduce the chances of being injured, it is impossible to control the negligent actions of others. For instance, a sliding vehicle can create a dangerous situation for everyone in the general area. At Livas Law Group, A Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we are knowledgeable on the topic of pedestrian accidents and we are here to help. If you or a loved one has suffered because of the reckless actions taken by a motorist, financial compensation may be awarded.   

What Can Cause a Winter Car Accident?

In a city that accommodates millions of individuals on a daily basis, the roads and sidewalks of Chicago are often filled with people trying to get from one location to another. First and foremost, it is important for motorists and sidewalk users to understand the rules of the road. According to Chicago Ordinance 9-24-030, a pedestrian will have the right-of-way at a crosswalk or intersection that is clearly marked and has stop signs in place. Similar to a motorist, however, a pedestrian will also have to follow traffic-control signals at an intersection or crosswalk. With the prevalence of snow, ice, and black ice, the possibility of a car making contact with a pedestrian that is crossing the street can dramatically increase. Most commonly, a collision would take place due to:

  • Decreased vision of the motorist
  • Slippery road conditions, increasing the amount of time it takes to stop
  • Poor vehicle conditions, such as inadequate tire traction, broken windshield wipers, or non-functioning headlights

If the individual on foot was injured in an area that he or she was legally allowed to be, fault could be placed solely on the motorist.

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