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Peoria Illinois Personal Injury Law Blog

How can I drive more safely in bad weather?

One thing that we can't control when driving is the weather. While driving safely can greatly reduce the chance of becoming involved in an accident, the weather is something that can pose a safety threat to even the most careful of drivers.

While we don't have any control over whether severe weather will occur, we can change the way that we react to it. By doing this, we have a better chance of protecting ourselves, our loved ones and other people on the road. The following are some of the ways that you can ensure increased safety on the road in bad weather.

Why are crush injuries so dangerous?

No one denies that a car crash can cause you to suffer a variety of injuries, some definitely more serious than others. Crush injuries, however, represent an especially serious type of injury because they often can — and do — lead to catastrophic complications.

MedLine Plus explains that, by definition, a crush injury is one in which part of your body becomes trapped and crushed between two heavy objects or unforgiving surfaces. Your legs, feet, arms and hands face the most risk in a car crash since they can easily get caught underneath your dashboard and/or within your steering wheel.

Understanding how your resignation could impact your benefits

If you were injured at your job in Illinois, one of the first things you probably did after receiving medical attention was file a petition to begin receiving workers' compensation benefits. This support can provide monetary relief, but should also be focused on helping you transition back into working as you begin healing and recovering. If you have decided that you no longer wish to work for your employer, it is important that you understand how this decision could impact your benefits. 

The injuries you sustained in your accident may be challenging to deal with, but they may seem especially daunting if you are confident that your accident could have been prevented. If you feel that your employer failed to provide adequate protection to allow you to perform your job safely, you may no longer wish to maintain your employment with them. Should you decide to resign, Chron suggests that you at least try to continue your employment until your case has been settled completely. 

What are the worst times to drive?

Unfortunately, we are in the dead of winter when the days are shorter, the nights are longer, Daylight Saving Time has ended, snow and ice represent an ever-present threat, and driving becomes even more dangerous than usual. The National Safety Council warns that all of these factors taken together make nighttime winter driving hazardous at best.

Specifically, the NSC lists the following as the worst times for you to drive:

  • Evening rush hour (4 p.m. to 7 p,m., especially on Fridays)
  • Very early morning hours (midnight to 2 a.m., especially on weekends)
  • Nighttime hours (4 a.m. to 6 a.m.)

What does Illinois law say about snow removal?

With winter only about half over for this year, you likely already are more than ready for spring. You hate the thought of any more snow, ice, below-zero wind chills, shoveling, and all the other things that go along with an Illinois winter. Nevertheless, you persevere in removing the snow from your sidewalks and steps so no one will fall on them and sue you for the injuries they receive. You fervently wish everyone else did the same.

It may surprise you to learn that Illinois law does not require individuals and businesses to remove the snow and ice on their property. Furthermore, Illinois law does not automatically allow you to recover damages in a slip-and-fall lawsuit if you fell because of snow and ice. Why? Because, as points out, rather than following the “reasonable care” rule, Illinois still follows the “natural accumulation” rule.

Here's how to stay safe when driving in ice and snow

Safe driving in ice and snow may be difficult, but it is possible. There are specific steps you can take to lower the odds that you get into an accident. Nothing guarantees you'll never crash, of course, but that's true all year around. You do not have to fear winter driving if you simply take the time to understand how it is different and how you can approach it.

Watch out for shade

Why are so many pedestrians killed in accidents?

Walking and running are generally considered to be activities good for one's health. They can also provide positive, environmentally friendly alternatives to driving. Sadly, they seem to be putting more people in harm's way. New data from the Governors Highway Safety Association indicates that pedestrian fatalities across the United States have skyrocketed in recent years.

According to a report by CNBC, the U.S. recorded more pedestrian deaths in 2018 than in the prior 27 years. The rise in the number of people on foot who have been killed in vehicular accidents rose a tragic 41% between 2008 and 2018. While accident fatalities among pedestrians has grown, overall fatalities have reduced. This highlights the severity of the issue faced by pedestrians.

Marijuana is legal in Illinois, but not while driving

Marijuana was legalized in the state of Illinois earlier this month, but according to the 2020 DUI Fact Book, published by the Illinois Secretary of State's Office, driving while impaired by marijuana is still prohibited. Much like with a DUI stop for alcohol use, if an officer stops a vehicle and sees signs that the driver is under the influence of marijuana (e.g., red eyes, drowsiness, etc.), the officer will request that the driver submit to field sobriety tests. Based on the results, the officer may arrest the driver and take him or her into the station, where they will be asked to submit to a blood, breath or urine test within two hours of the traffic stop. If the driver is found to have more than 5 nanograms of THC, the main active chemical found in marijuana, per milliliter of blood, or more than 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter of any other bodily substance, they could lose their license and face criminal charges. However, there is concern that these results may not be solid proof of driver impairment as THC can remain in someone's body long after the effects have worn off.

Motorists who drive under the influence may be charged criminally, but their actions can also be the basis of a civil lawsuit. For example, if one were involved in an auto accident caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol or marijuana, they may file a civil lawsuit against them for damages, including medical expenses and lost wages. If the driver was convicted of a DUI in criminal court, that can help the victim's case in civil court. Keep in mind that the standard of proof is much higher for criminal cases than civil cases though, so even if the driver was not convicted, an accident victim may still have a good chance to recover damages civilly.

Workers' comp is intended only for workplace-related injuries

If you are working for a company in Illinois, there is always a chance that you might suffer an injury while you are on the job. Anyone who suffers an on-the-job injury or illness stemming from their employment may apply for workers' compensation benefits to help support themselves and their family during their recovery when they are unable to work.

Contractors, seasonal workers and other workers who are not classified as employees by their companies will generally not be covered by workers' compensation insurance. It is also important to remember that workers' compensation insurance will only cover injuries and/or illnesses that occurred within the scope of your employment. Pre-existing medical conditions that were exacerbated as a result of a workplace accident, or injuries stemming from even alcohol provided at a company event could be covered.

Steak N Shake invitee files lawsuit after slip and fall

Stores and restaurants have a responsibility to ensure that their premises are safe for customers. If someone is eating at a restaurant and slips and falls due to an unsafe condition on the premises, the restaurant could be held liable for the injured party's damages. An Illinois Steak N Shake is being sued by a restaurant patron who was injured in a slip and fall accident at the restaurant.

The restaurant patron reportedly entered the men's restroom at the Steak N Shake when he slipped and fell on a puddle of water that was on the restroom floor, near the door. The man claimed that he suffered disabling injuries as a result of the incident, and that he suffered a loss of normal life.

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