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

  1. You Should Immediately Call Emergency Services: Obviously, you should call 911 if anyone involved in the accident is seriously injured. However, it is always a good idea to call the police to the scene – even if there were no injuries – so that the accident can have an official record.
  2. Get the Other Driver’s Contact Information: If the motorist stops after the accident, you should ask them for their insurance information. They may or may not tell you if they have insurance, but even if they do not, you should get their contact information such as their name, address and phone number.
  3. Begin Gathering Evidence: This step can be crucial in any claim that involves an uninsured or underinsured motorist. You should collect as much evidence as you can when you are still at the scene of the accident. Try to take photos of any obvious injuries to yourself or others, any damage to your vehicles, their license plate number and vehicle, and the surrounding area.
  4. Consult with an Attorney Before Talking to Your Insurance Company: Before you contact your insurance company, you should contact an attorney. Your attorney will be able to provide you with all of the available options for obtaining compensation after your car accident, even if there was an uninsured or underinsured motorist involved.

Our Cook County Car Accident Injury Lawyers Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve

Getting into a car accident can be devastating, but things can be even more stressful when the other driver involved in the accident does not have insurance to cover your damages. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we know how difficult it can be to obtain compensation for your injuries, even in situations in which the other driver does have insurance. Our skilled Tinley Park, IL, car accident injury attorneys will work with you and your insurance company to help you get the most out of your claim. Call our office today at 708-942-8400  to schedule a free consultation.

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Understanding Personal Injury Claims for Catastrophic InjuriesSuffering 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:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations or loss of limb
  • Crush injuries
  • Severe burn injuries

What Types of Compensation Can Be Recovered?

Most of the time, if you have suffered a catastrophic injury, you will need medical care or specialized care for an extended period of time. In some cases, you may need specialized care for the rest of your life. Also, in many catastrophic injury cases, your ability to work is diminished or taken away completely. Here are a few examples of costs and the types of compensation you can recover by filing a lawsuit for a catastrophic injury:

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Can I File a Lawsuit if I Get Sick from Eating a Food Product?When you purchase food at a restaurant or grocery store, you should be able to expect that the product is safe to eat. Even though there are stringent inspection processes for food in the United States, sometimes there is still food on the market that can pose a health threat to those who consume it. There are hundreds of different types of foodborne diseases that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites, most of which can be prevented through proper storage, handling and cooking. If you get sick from consuming food from a restaurant or grocery store, you may be able to hold the manufacturer or supplier responsible.

Recent Listeria Outbreak Prompts Recall

Last week, Almark Foods issued a recall on all of its hard-boiled egg products over concerns of listeria contamination. The Food and Drug Administration linked the hard-boiled egg products that were produced from the company’s Gainesville, Georgia, plant with a listeria outbreak that affected people from five different states and killed one person in Texas. The egg products were sold under various brand names and at various retailers, including Trader Joe’s, Giant Eagle, Kroger, and Walmart.

What is Listeria?

Listeria is a foodborne illness that can affect anyone but can be particularly severe in newborns, older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems. The symptoms of listeria vary depending on the person and the part of the body that is affected. In adults who are over the age of 65, listeria can cause infections in the bloodstream and brain. Women who are pregnant with a listeria infection often experience flu-like symptoms such as fever and muscle ache, but their babies can get extremely sick and even miscarry or die at birth.

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Three Ways You Can Help Prevent a Dangerous Winter Car AccidentAs Old Man Winter stretches his legs across the United States, cold temperatures and snowfall begin to appear in the weather forecast. While snow makes for a pretty landscape, it can be deadly for drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 17 percent of all car accidents occur during times when winter weather conditions are present. Wintery roads bring about many dangers to drivers, such as slippery surfaces, snow, wind, black ice, and slush. Though weather conditions are out of drivers’ control, drivers are still responsible for their actions, especially when a traffic accident occurs. Here are a few ways you can be proactive this winter to help you avoid a car accident:

  1. Make Sure Your Vehicle Is In Good Condition: The first thing you should do when the cold weather rolls around is to perform a maintenance check on your vehicle or take it to a mechanic who can perform a check. It is a good idea to make sure all of your headlights, taillights, and blinkers are working. It is also a good idea to make sure your car battery is in good condition and has a decent charge. Be sure to check the tread on your tires and their air pressure.
  2. Stay Alert While Driving: It is important that you are more alert than usual when you are on the road in the winter. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, so it is crucial that your eyes, ears, and mind are all focused on the task at hand. Be aware of other drivers around you and always yield to others, even if you do not have to.
  3. Avoid Risky Driving Behaviors: It is also extremely important that you do your best to minimize any risky driving behaviors during the winter months. You should never be texting and driving, but it can be especially dangerous in the winter. Do not speed; the ice and snow can make it difficult to slow down suddenly if a car is stopped in front of you.

Have You Been Injured in a Winter Weather Car Accident? Contact Our Will County Personal Injury Lawyer

Though most people hope for a white Christmas, snow and ice can make for dangerous driving conditions. If you have been injured in a winter-weather car accident, you should immediately contact a knowledgeable Joliet, IL, car accident injury attorney for assistance. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we know how serious car accident injuries can be and we are confident that we can help you get the compensation that you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 708-942-8400.

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Pursuing Compensation After an Illinois Car Accident Involving a Drunk DriverIt is illegal in all states to operate a motor vehicle while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Yet, this does not stop people from doing just that. Driving while you are intoxicated increases the chance that you will get into a car accident and unfortunately, DUI-related traffic accidents are common in the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 10,500 deaths caused by drunk driving accidents in 2018, accounting for around 29 percent of all traffic deaths that year. Even if you are not killed in a drunk driving accident, you can be seriously injured. The state of Illinois gives you a few options when it comes to pursuing compensation after a drunk driving accident.

The Illinois Dram Shop Act

In Illinois, it is possible to pursue compensation from different responsible parties. Not only can you pursue compensation from the drunk driver themselves, but you may also be able to pursue compensation from the establishment that served the driver his or her alcohol. The Illinois Liquor Control Act (also known as the Dram Shop Act) is the legislation that allows bars, restaurants, and other establishments to be held liable for damages and injuries caused by a drunk driver that they served.

Pursuing a Case Under the Dram Shop Act

In order to prevail in a case where you are holding an establishment responsible, you are required to prove certain elements. The burden of proof lies with you, meaning you must convince the court that the establishment was responsible. To do this, you must prove the following is true:

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What is Comparative Negligence in an Illinois Car Accident Case?When it comes to car accidents, there are few instances in which the fault of the accident can be entirely blamed on one person. In many cases, the actions of all those who are involved contributed in some way to the accident, meaning there is more than one person to blame for the outcome of the accident. In some personal injury cases, it is even possible for the person seeking compensation to have contributed to the accident in some way. Some people may think this bars them from recovering any type of compensation, but that is not necessarily true.

Determining Fault for the Accident

Aside from making sure everyone’s injuries are attended to, one of the first things that must be done when attempting to claim compensation for a car accident is determining who was at fault. This can prove to be difficult because to determine whose fault the accident was, you have to piece the events of the accident together from witness statements, your own recollection of the accident, the other party’s account of what happened and the police report.

To determine the fault of the accident, you have to prove that someone acted negligently and that their negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injury. Sometimes, there may be more than one other driver who committed a negligent act that led to harm. In some cases, the person who is claiming compensation for damages could have committed a negligent act that contributed to the accident. In those cases, the idea of comparative negligence comes into play.

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Can a Nursing Home be Held Responsible for a Slip and Fall Accident?There are a number of reasons that a slip and fall accident could occur in a nursing home, and many of them are preventable. Surfaces that are damaged or uneven, floors that are wet or slippery or even just the age and physical ability of the nursing home resident can cause a person to lose their footing and fall. Many of the causes of slip and fall accidents are the result of a careless nursing home attendant, which means the nursing home could be held responsible for injuries caused by these accidents. Injuries can range in severity from bruising to broken bones, brain injuries or even death in some cases. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a slip and fall nursing home accident, an Illinois nursing home negligence lawyer can help you determine if the responsible party acted in a negligent manner.

Property Owners Have a Duty to Occupants

The Illinois Premises Liability Act states that a property owner must make sure that their property is reasonably safe for occupants and visitors, known as the “duty of reasonable care.” According to the duty of reasonable care principle, all property owners are responsible for keeping their property safe and free of dangerous items or situations that a “reasonable person” would know to be dangerous. 

When it comes to a nursing home, the situation can get a little more complex. Most nursing homes exist because residents need a little more help in their daily lives performing basic activities and getting from place to place. Nursing homes are required to meet certain state and federal standards to keep their residents safe. If you can prove that any of those standards were not met, you may have a case.

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Claiming Compensation When a Loved Dies Due to NegligenceFor 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.

Filing the Lawsuit

Illinois law states that a “personal representative” of the victim is the one who can file a wrongful death claim. The personal representative can be a spouse or child of the deceased. In the absence of a spouse or children, a parent or sibling of the deceased may be eligible to file the claim. As with any legal action, there is a deadline by which action must be taken, known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in Illinois for a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the death, or five years if the death was caused by violent and intentional conduct. 

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Tips Everyone Can Follow to Help Prevent Pedestrian AccidentsAt some point during the day, we are all pedestrians. If you are not in a motor vehicle, you are a pedestrian. During the warm-weather months, the number of people walking from place to place greatly increases. Unfortunately, so does the risk that they will be involved in a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in 2017. Though this is less than the number of pedestrians killed in 2016, pedestrian fatalities still remain a large issue in our country. 

Pedestrian accidents can result in serious injuries, if not death. A 150-pound human is no match for a 3,000-pound car, especially if the vehicle is traveling at a relatively high rate of speed. Fortunately, pedestrian accidents can be avoided with a little effort from both drivers and pedestrians.

Tips for Drivers

In many areas, pedestrians have the right of way, meaning you must yield to them while they are in the street. Even if the pedestrian does not technically have the right of way, you are in a vehicle while they are unprotected; you could cause serious damage to them. Here are a few tips to help avoid a pedestrian accident:

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What You Should Do If Your Teen Has Gotten Into a Car AccidentTeenagers 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.
  2. Take Photos: If your teen is able to, you should have them take photos while they are still at the scene. These photos could be crucial to the successful settlement of a car accident case. Make sure they take as many photos as possible, especially of the damages to their car and the other person’s car, any visible injuries they may have, the license plates of each vehicle, the scene of the accident as a whole and any factors that may have contributed to the accident.
  3. Record Information: You should tell your teen to take notes of any other information that might be useful. Important information can include the make and model of the other vehicle, road conditions, weather conditions, the date and time of the accident, the time police arrived, the officer’s badge numbers and any witness information. Tell them to get the insurance information of anyone else involved in the accident before they leave the scene.
  4. Get a Copy of the Police Report: When police are called to the scene of an accident, they will begin compiling information about the accident that will later be written into a formal police report. It will also be helpful to have a copy of the police report when you begin a case with your insurance company or a lawyer. The police report will include information about testimonies given to the officer by both parties involved in the accident, the officer’s opinion of what happened and any witness testimonies, including their contact information. 

A Cook County Car Accident Attorney Can Help

It can be a scary thing to receive the call that your teen has gotten into a car accident. Once you know that your teen is safe, you should begin taking steps to ensure the situation is resolved quickly. Depending on the severity of the accident, your teen could be suffering from serious injuries that could cause them to miss school or lose out on wages from their job. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we understand that injuries from a car accident can be so severe that it will affect your teen for the rest of his or her life. Our compassionate Tinley Park, IL, car accident lawyers can help you fight for the compensation that you and your teen may deserve. Call our office today at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

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How to Determine Negligence in a Car Accident Injury CaseGetting into a car accident can leave anyone feeling shaken up and worried. Even if the car accident only resulted in relatively minor injuries, such as a broken bone, it can come with even more damages, like missing work, medical costs, and repair costs, among others. This is typically when the idea of a car accident injury claim may come in handy. Most car accident injury claims are based around the idea of negligence, which just means the other person involved in the car accident failed to exercise their duty to drive safely on the road. To prevail in a car accident injury case, you must prove the following elements exist:

Duty of Care

When it comes to car accident claims, the duty of care is the responsibility that every driver has to operate their vehicle in a safe manner that is also consistent with traffic laws and other precautions most reasonable drivers would take. Examples of duty of care include:

  • Using turn signals;
  • Avoiding distractions, such as your cell phone;
  • Driving at a safe speed; and
  • Fully stopping at red lights and stop signs.

Breach of Duty of Care

The breach of duty of care is rather important because this pinpoints the action that caused your damages. You must prove that the driver either blatantly violated a traffic law or that he or she committed an action that put you and other drivers in unwarranted danger.

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Tips to Help Avoid a Motorcycle Accident in IllinoisFor many Americans, motorcycles are a preferred method of transportation during the warmer months. Now that the snow has melted and the sun is shining, there are more and more people who are out enjoying their bikes. Though this is a cherished pastime for some, it can be deadly for others. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 5,000 motorcyclists who were killed in traffic accidents in 2017, with tens of thousands more who suffered from injuries. Fortunately, you can lessen your risk of being injured or killed in a motorcycle traffic accident. Here are a few ways you can reduce your chance of being in a motorcycle accident:

  1. Wear Adequate Protection: The first thing you can do to keep yourself safe is to wear clothing and gear that can provide you with protection. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable because they do not have the structure of a vehicle surrounding them, as others do. Before you hop on your bike, you should be sure to wear long pants and long sleeves, ideally made out of leather or heavy denim. You should also be wearing a helmet that meets the Department of Transportation’s safety standards.
  2. Know What You Are Doing: If you are a first-time rider, you should be fully licensed and have taken some sort of a riding course before you begin riding. The NHTSA states that around 27 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were riding without valid motorcycle licenses. Even if you are not new to riding, you should take a refresher course to ensure you are practicing safe riding habits.
  3. Do Not Impair Your Ability to Ride Safely: Unsurprisingly, more motorcycle accidents – especially fatal motorcycle accidents – happen when the rider is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Never ride your motorcycle when you have been drinking or taking drugs. 
  4. Do Not Assume You Are Always Visible: Most motorcycle accidents occur simply because other drivers cannot see you. Motorcycles are much smaller than other vehicles and can get lost in a vehicle’s blind spots rather easily. You should never assume that another driver can see you or knows where you are. Try to stay out of other vehicle’s blind spots and wear brightly-colored, reflective clothing.

Were You Injured in a Motorcycle Crash? A Cook County Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help

Sometimes accidents happen through little to no fault of yours. If you were in a motorcycle accident that resulted in injuries to yourself, or a loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to claim compensation for your losses. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we can help you pursue a personal injury claim for your motorcycle accident injuries. Let our knowledgeable Orland Park motorcycle accident lawyers help you – call our office today at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Homer Glen car accident lawyerGetting into a car accident is a scary experience. Not only are you probably emotionally rattled, but you may also be suffering from serious injuries. These injuries may be causing you immense pain and prevent you from working, resulting in lost wages and putting a financial strain on your family. Pursuing a personal injury claim can often be worthwhile, but this can also be tricky. You bear the burden of proof in a personal injury claim, meaning you must provide evidence that the collision happened, that you were injured during the crash, and that the injury has caused you pain and suffering, wage loss, or other damages. In order to prove all of this, it is important to gather the correct evidence after a car accident, including:

Photographs

Photos can be an invaluable part of your case in pursuing compensation for your injuries. After the accident, if you are able to, you should try to take photos of each of your immediate visible injuries. Next, take pictures of the scene of the accident, getting landmarks, street signs, street lights, and the vehicles involved in the accident in the photos. Take as many pictures as you can and take them from different angles to capture as much of the scene as possible.

Personal Notes

It can also help for you to take down some notes to record details of the accident. Write down everything that you remember about the collision. These notes should include the time of day when the accident took place, what you were doing immediately before the accident occurred, and any other details about the crash.

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Tinley Park rideshare accident injury attorneyA Chicago couple may continue their lawsuit against Uber after an appeals court in Illinois reversed the ruling of a Cook County judge. The couple was injured in 2014 in a chain of events that began when they were kicked out of an Uber vehicle near 44th Street and Homan Avenue in the Brighton Park neighborhood. The lawsuit seeks damages for the injuries the couple suffered as the result of being hit by a car while walking home from where the Uber driver left them.

A Quick Recap

In October 2014, the couple used the Uber app to request a ride home from the movies. They were picked up at the theater at around 2:00 a.m., but according to court documents, the Uber driver did not drive the proper route to the couple’s home. He allegedly made several wrong turns and ended up lost. When the couple tried to help by giving the driver directions, he reportedly got upset and kicked them out of the car prior to reaching their intended destination.

The couple started walking toward their home. While they were crossing at an intersection along the way, they were hit by a car, and they both suffered injuries. The driver fled the scene but was arrested the following day.

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Tinley Park car accident injury lawyer airbagsIf you have bought a new car—or even a used car—in the last few years, you have probably noticed that new safety features are being added to vehicles all the time. Newer cars often come equipped with braking-assist systems, blind spot detection, and a wide range of other systems designed to keep drivers and passengers safe and limit injuries in the event of a car accident.

For those who learned to drive many years ago and still use the techniques they were originally taught, some of these safety features can actually present unexpected dangers. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other safety organizations now say that the old “10-and-2” method of steering can put drivers at risk for burns, broken bones, and other injuries if the steering-wheel airbag deploys.

Airbags Make a Difference

Driving instructors have long taught new drivers to envision the steering wheel as the face of a clock. Drivers were instructed to grip the wheel with the left hand at the 10 o’clock position and the right hand at the 2 o’clock position. The idea was to give the driver the most control over the steering wheel and the vehicle while steering. 

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