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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_winter-walking-city-park-safety.jpgThroughout the winter season, inclement weather conditions such as snow, ice, and slush can become prevalent on our roads and sidewalks. Although the sight of snow can be appealing to look at, both pedestrians and motorists should be aware of the hazards that can result. At Livas Law Group, A Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we understand that the negligent actions of an individual or business can lead to life-altering injuries. Before venturing out in the wintertime, there are several preventive measures that can be utilized to limit the possibility of suffering an injury.

Dress Appropriately

Paying attention to the weather conditions and understanding how clothing and footwear could affect your safety is crucial during the wintertime. A pedestrian that is traveling by foot should consider wearing clothing that increases their visibility and shoes that can help maintain traction. For example, clothing that blends in with the environment (white coats and non-reflective items) and footwear that limits your ability to move safely (dress shoes and high heels) should be avoided for outdoor use.      

Walk Cautiously

It is important to be aware of the movement restrictions that wintertime weather can cause. Due to the likelihood of slippery streets and wet pavements, every action should be well thought out. Even if a surface looks safe, black ice can be prevalent. When out and about, pedestrians should remember to:

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Chicago personal injury attorneysWintertime can be a beautiful season throughout the city of Chicago due to the snowfall and holiday decorations. Although the sights can be breathtaking, it is imperative to understand the risks that are often associated with winter weather conditions. Falling chunks of ice can strike an individual, causing severe injuries and even death. Before simply accepting or dismissing the incident as happenstance, a victim should seek legal help from Livas Law Group, A Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can work with a victim or their family to help recover compensation linked to negligence.   

How Does a Falling Ice Injury Occur?

As the skyline of Chicago continues to grow with additional buildings, pedestrians should be aware of the possible hazards that can result. Once snow on a roof begins to melt because of sunshine or building heat, water will flow down from the top of the building. If temperatures are below freezing, that melted water will form into icicles. The accumulation of additional water molecules will increase the size and weight of an icicle. Although the build-up of frozen water may be interesting to look at, there is a chance that it could fall to the ground. Warmer weather dramatically increases the probability of an icicle detaching.  

How Can Icicle Injuries Be Avoided by Pedestrians?

For Chicago citizens and tourists alike, there are several things that can be done to limit the possibility of an icicle injury. During the winter season, pedestrians and motorists should be aware of their surroundings. If possible, avoid walking under a roof overhang with ice buildup. In addition, a person traveling on foot should never stand still underneath or near an icicle formation. If ice begins to fall from a structure, it is important to get as far away as possible. 

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Chicago personal injury attorneysAs winter weather becomes more prevalent in the city of Chicago, citizens and property owners alike are preparing for the season. Unpredictable weather conditions coinciding with the lake effect can cause an unsafe environment. Sleet, snow, and ice can lead to pedestrians sustaining serious injuries, such as broken bones, sprains, and head trauma. At Livas Law Group, A Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we understand the challenges that a slip and fall injury can cause an individual and their family. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury due to the weather conditions, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney.

Who is Responsible for Snow and Ice Removal in Chicago?

Many people rely on public transit or walking as their primary method of travel in Chicago. As snow, sleet, and ice start to accumulate on the ground, streets and sidewalks can become a dangerous place for pedestrians and motorists. According to the Municipal Code of Chicago (4-4-310 and 10-8-180), the responsibility of snow and ice removal falls on property owners and occupants. Every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant, or other person that has authority of a building or property is required to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk. 

Can a Business or Property Owner Be Liable for Injuries?

Negligent and careless snow, ice, or water removal can leave a property owner liable for any resulting injuries. Premises liability holds an owner responsible for maintaining and securing the safety of their property. For example, if a business owner left massive amounts of snow near the entrance of their property that later melted and turned into ice, the company may be responsible for any slip and fall injuries. Furthermore, if a faulty design or maintenance technique led to a slip and fall injury, the owner may also be liable.  

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Illinois personal injury attorneysAt the Livas Law Group, A Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we understand that a motor vehicle accident can happen to any person, at any given time. Regardless of your actions, a personal injury may result due to another individual’s negligence. Even if inclement weather conditions caused a car crash to happen, the driver may still be liable for the resulting damages and injuries. While factors such as rain, wind, sleet, ice, and snow may lead to a driver wanting to avoid the road, that might not always be possible. Driving in Chicago can already be a stressful scenario for many motorists; it is important to take extra precaution and remember these tips before driving in the winter: 

Prepare for Ice

Winter car accidents are commonly linked to vehicles sliding on icy roads. Throughout the city, ice can be prevalent and lead to devastating damage and injuries for both motorists and pedestrians. 

In an effort to avoid sliding on ice, motorists should:

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Chicago e-scooter injury attorneysAfter four months of testing a new form of transportation in the city of Chicago, the e-scooter experiment has reached its conclusion. Ranging from June 15th to October 15th, roughly 800,000 e-scooter trips were registered in the defined pilot area. The test program prompted a lot of positive and negative feedback from both riders and pedestrians. The determination of whether or not e-scooters are going to stay or leave is still ongoing. Many factors will be taken into consideration before a decision is reached. 

A Summary of Chicago’s E-Scooter Test Program 

Looking back to the details of Chicago’s test program, the city allowed 10 different companies to distribute a total of 2,500 e-scooters throughout the designated area. These motorized scooters can reach speeds of roughly 15 mph and were governed by the same legal statutes as any other motor vehicle. Varying from company to company, the average cost associated with an e-scooter was the initial fee of $1.00 to unlock the vehicle, accompanied by 15 cents for every minute used. E-scooters were accessible from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day and could be left at any pickup location upon the riders’ completion.  

What Will be Considered?

Whether or not e-scooters will remain in Chicago is the decision that must now be made. Key topics such as safety, popularity, and financials will all be taken into account during deliberation. To coincide with those areas of concern, the following topics may be considered by the city:

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