Recent Blog Posts

What You Should do if Your Teen has Gotten Into a Car Accident

 Posted on June 10,2021 in Uncategorized

Teenagers are one of the most car accident-prone groups in the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 3,200 teen drivers ages 15 to 19 involved in fatal traffic crashes in 2017 and more than 2,500 were killed. Car crashes are still the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S., with many of the crashes being caused by distracted or other types of impaired driving. A car accident can leave you with thousands of dollars worth of damages and your teenager with serious injuries or even criminal charges, depending on the situation. Here are a few steps you should take if your teen has gotten into a car accident:

  1. Call Emergency Services Immediately: For many teenagers, their first instinct after they get into an accident is to call their parents. While this can be relieving for you, you also need to make sure that emergency services are called. Either you or your teen needs to call 911 immediately, even if injuries are not serious. Calling 911 will dispatch police and ambulances if needed.

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Claiming Compensation When a Loved Dies due to Negligence

 Posted on June 05,2021 in Uncategorized

For most people, the most difficult thing they will have to deal with at some point in their lives is the loss of a loved one. The most tragic deaths are those that occur to people before their time or at the fault of another person. In some of these cases, Illinois gives family members the right to file a wrongful death claim, which can help recover some of the expenses associated with an unplanned death and the loss of the deceased from their lives. Though no lawsuit can bring back a loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit may be able to help lessen the financial burden that the family may be facing.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When a person commits a negligent or intentional act that causes another person to die, this is called a wrongful death accident. A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim that the deceased’s representative or family member files in order to recover money from the person who caused the accident. Typically, wrongful death lawsuits award damages to the deceased’s family that the deceased would have been able to recover in a personal injury case if he or she was alive.

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Understanding Personal Injury Claims for Catastrophic Injuries

 Posted on May 26,2021 in Uncategorized

Suffering an injury is a stressful experience, no matter the injury you have sustained. Many everyday situations such as car accidents, work accidents or even freak accidents can cause multiple types of injuries, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to more severe injuries such as brain or spinal injuries. Whatever the accident, there is always the risk of a more serious, catastrophic injury, which is much more consequential than something you will recover from completely. Depending on the situation, sustaining a catastrophic injury may allow you to recover compensation from the responsible parties.

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

The definition of a catastrophic injury varies depending on the source you are getting your information from. For the most part, catastrophic injuries can be considered injuries that have serious consequences and permanently alter the person’s life or quality of life. Examples of catastrophic injuries can include:

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Can I be Convicted of a Drug Crime Even if I Have no Drugs on Me?

 Posted on April 18,2021 in Uncategorized

If the police conduct a lawful search and find drugs on your person - i.e., in your coat pocket - you can be charged with illegal possession of a controlled substance. However, even if you are not actually carrying any drugs, you may still be convicted of a crime if you had "constructive" possession of narcotics.

Constructive possession means that drugs are found in an area determined to be under your control.

The Elements of Constructive Possession

Constructive possession generally requires the state to prove two factors beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You had knowledge that the drugs were present in the location they were found;
  • You had "immediate and exclusive" control over that area.

For example, say you live alone in an apartment. The police search the premises and find marijuana on the dining room table. It is a pretty safe bet you will be convicted of constructive possession even if you were not physically holding a joint. A jury can easily infer the drugs belonged to you.

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Can an Accuser Stop Me From Proving My Innocence?

 Posted on April 07,2021 in Uncategorized

Although television legal dramas might lead you to think the criminal justice system is infallible - the heroic police and prosecution always manage to catch the clearly guilty defendant - the reality is there are many people in Illinois sitting in prison for crimes they did not commit. In fact, the National Registry of Exonerations at the University of Michigan reports 195 wrongful convictions in Illinois - most of them from Cook County - have been identified and overturned since 1989.

Illinois Man Exonerated After Years in Jail

Defendants in sexual assault cases are especially vulnerable to false convictions based solely on the testimony of an unreliable accuser. An Illinois appeals court recently looked at whether or not an accuser may challenge a defendant's actual innocence even when the state concedes there was a wrongful conviction.

The defendant in this case was convicted of rape in 2004. Nine years later, prosecutors moved to reopen the case, vacate the defendant's conviction, and release him from prison. An Illinois judge granted the state's petition and later issued the defendant a "certificate of innocence." Such certificates clear a defendant's criminal record and allow him or her to seek compensation from the state for wrongful imprisonment.

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What to Do if in a Car Accident With an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?

 Posted on March 26,2021 in Uncategorized

Getting into any type of car accident can be a very unpleasant experience. Depending on the situation, you could be facing extensive damage to your vehicle or even serious injuries to yourself or your passengers. If you are in an accident with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured, the complexity of your situation increases quite a bit. Every driver in the state of Illinois is required to have a certain amount of coverage for collisions that are their fault, but not every driver obeys that rule. According to a 2017 study from the Insurance Information Institute, around 13 percent of drivers in the United States did not have any type of car insurance. This can be problematic for everyone involved in an accident, especially if you are a victim.

Dealing With an Accident With an Uninsured Driver

Usually, when you are in a car accident, the insurance company of the driver who is found to be at fault pays for the costs associated with the accident. When you are in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance, it can become a problem when trying to get your own insurance company to pay for damages. Even if a driver does have insurance, they may not have the right amount of insurance or enough to cover the costs of the damages. If you have been in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, here are a few things to keep in mind:

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Important Things You Should Know About Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Illinois

 Posted on March 10,2021 in Uncategorized

The right to own firearms is part of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution and cannot be taken away by the government. However, lawmakers in each state have the authority to make their own laws pertaining to the use, sale, distribution, and ownership of firearms and to legally restrict certain people from owning one. In Illinois, owning a firearm is legal and even carrying a concealed firearm can be legal. If you are a firearm owner, there are a few things you should know about carrying a concealed weapon in Illinois.

You Must Possess the Proper Licensure

In the state of Illinois, if you want to carry a concealed weapon with you, you must first obtain both a firearm owner identification (FOID) card and a concealed carry license (CCL). Everyone in the state who owns a firearm must possess a FOID card, while only those who wish to carry a concealed weapon must also have a CCL. To be eligible for a CCL, there are a variety of requirements, such as:

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Illinois Industries With the Highest Number of Non-Fatal Injuries

 Posted on March 05,2021 in Uncategorized

Since the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970, the U.S. government has placed an increased focus on decreasing the number of injuries happening in workplaces across the country. Today, OSHA still pushes for workplace safety and adequate training and precautions to try to prevent as many workplace injuries as possible. Unfortunately, workplace injuries are still common. According to the latest information from the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were an estimated 132,400 workplace injuries recorded throughout the state in 2017. Though an injury can happen in any workplace, there are certain industries that have more workplace injuries than others.

  1. Health Care and Social Assistance: Most of the time, people think that the most dangerous industries to work in are those that use heavy machinery such as construction or factory work. In reality, the health care industry is typically the industry that has the highest number of workplace injuries. In Illinois, there were an estimated 21,300 injuries in this industry in 2017. Workplaces in this industry commonly include nursing and residential care facilities and hospitals.

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Understanding Field Sobriety Tests During Illinois DUI Stops

 Posted on February 27,2021 in Uncategorized

Before police even pull you over for a DUI stop, they will be watching your actions and the way you are driving to determine if a traffic stop is needed. The police officer will be looking for signs of alcohol impairment, such as failing to maintain proper lane position, speeding and braking problems, poor judgment and lack of vigilance. Once the officer believes they have enough evidence to initiate a traffic stop, they will pull you over and may ask you to step out of the vehicle. If the officer suspects that you might be under the influence of alcohol, they will ask you to complete a series of tests, which are called field sobriety tests. These can be standardized or non-standardized, although standardized field sobriety tests tend to hold up better in court because they have been extensively studied.

Standardized Tests

Standardized field sobriety tests have been studied and determined to be fairly accurate in determining if someone is impaired by alcohol. An officer will ask you to perform these tests during almost every traffic stop for suspicion of DUI. There are three types of field sobriety tests that are considered to be standard:

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How the "Surveillance Location Privilege" can Compromise a Criminal Defendant's Rights

 Posted on February 11,2021 in Uncategorized

The Constitution affords all criminal defendants, such as those facing drug charges, the right to "confront" the witnesses against them. This means that if you are arrested and charged with a crime, you have the right to cross-examine the arresting officer and any other prosecution witnesses at trial. However, law enforcement often tries to undermine a defendant's right to confrontation by withholding information that might benefit the defense and undermine the prosecution.

Drug Conviction Reversed After Improper Invocation of Privilege

Some Illinois courts recognize what is known as a "surveillance location privilege." This often comes up in the context of drug cases where a police officer on stake out claims to observe illegal activity. At trial, the prosecution then argues that the officer should not be required to disclose his or her "secret" surveillance location.

Although the Illinois Supreme Court has never expressly approved of the surveillance location privilege, the state's intermediate appellate courts do. The privilege itself is not unlimited but rather must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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