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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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Posted on in DUI Defense

Defending Against DUI Charges in IllinoisWhen it comes to criminal laws and punishments, each state creates its own. When it comes to driving under the influence, the legal BAC limit for almost all states is 0.08 (Utah recently lowered its limit to 0.05), but the consequences of breaking that law differ greatly between states. Some states, like South Dakota, have no minimum jail sentence or fines for first or second-time DUI offenders. Illinois has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country, with a first offense resulting in an administrative driver’s license suspension, fines and possible jail time.  

Defense Strategies

Being accused of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a very serious matter. Even if you are not convicted, you can face a driver’s license suspension and the arrest may appear on your criminal record during a background search. It is crucial that you have help from an experienced DUI defense attorney if you are facing DUI charges. Your attorney will be able to examine your situation and determine what the best defense strategy would be for your case. Common defenses to DUI charges include:

  • You Were Not Read Your Miranda Rights: Since the Miranda v. Arizona decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, every American citizen must be read their constitutional rights before they are questioned by police. These rights include your right to remain silent and your right to not speak until you have talked to an attorney. If you did not have your rights read to you before you answered questions or your rights were not completely read, your attorney can use this as a defense to bar evidence from after your arrest. 
  • You Were Unlawfully Pulled Over: Police cannot just pull you over for no reason – they have to have what is called “reasonable suspicion,” which means they must have a legitimate reason to believe that you have done or are doing something illegal.
  • Your Chemical BAC Test Was Inaccurate: Nothing is perfect, not even chemical BAC tests. During traffic stops, portable breathalyzer tests are often used to establish a suspect's BAC. Medical conditions like acid reflux or diabetes, as well as improperly maintained equipment, can produce inaccurate results.

Hire a Will County DUI Defense Lawyer to Help With Your Case

If you have been arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should immediately contact a knowledgeable Joliet, IL, DUI defense attorney. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we understand how a DUI conviction can affect your life. We will do everything in our power to avoid a conviction. Call our office today at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Understanding Illinois Reckless Driving ChargesMost American drivers will be pulled over by police at least once in their lifetime. Most of the time, the reason you are pulled over is because of a small moving violation, like speeding or not fully stopping at a stop sign. These stops usually end with the officer issuing you a ticket that carries a fine that you must pay within a specific time period. In other situations, the officer may arrest you because they feel that you have done something too serious to warrant just a fine. Offenses of this nature can be driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, street racing or what is called reckless driving.

What is Reckless Driving?

The Illinois Vehicle Code states that reckless driving occurs when a person drives his or her vehicle with “willful and wanton disregard” for the safety of other drivers or other people’s property. It also states that reckless driving can occur if a person drives a vehicle and uses an incline such as a railroad crossing, hill or bridge approach to cause the vehicle to become airborne. 

There is no comprehensive list of the type of behaviors that are automatically assumed to be reckless driving. This is left up to the discretion of the arresting police officer, the judge assigned to your case and the jury. Examples of reckless driving can include:

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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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What You Should Know About Illinois’ New Recreational Marijuana LawsThe United States has had a long and complicated history with marijuana. Though cannabis was widely used in different medicines throughout the 1800s, recreational use was not introduced to the U.S. until the early 1900s by Mexican immigrants, and the substance was soon strictly regulated and effectively illegal by 1937. Cannabis officially became a controlled substance in 1970 when an Act was signed into law that made marijuana a Schedule 1 drug.

After decades of criminalization, the uses for marijuana have finally begun to be re-examined and many states have legalized both the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana. Illinois was the 11th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in June, with the laws going into effect by January 1, 2020. It is important to understand these laws because you could face unwanted consequences and even criminal charges for any violations.

Buying and Possessing Marijuana

Illinois residents who are at least 21-years-old may purchase marijuana and marijuana-infused products starting in January. At the beginning of 2020, the only places that can sell recreational marijuana legally will be medical marijuana dispensaries. Near the middle of 2020, more licenses will be issued to new stores and cultivators.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Workers’ CompensationThough some workplaces may present more obvious dangers than others, you can get injured in any workplace. According to the latest information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were around 2,811,500 nonfatal workplace injuries in the United States in 2017. Being injured at work can be stressful, especially if you have to miss work because of your injury. Fortunately, programs such as workers’ compensation exist to help people in this situation. If you are injured on the job, you have the right to submit a claim for your medical expenses and lost wages. The workers’ compensation process can be confusing, so here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about Illinois workers’ compensation:

  1. What is Workers’ Compensation?: Workers’ compensation is a statewide system of benefits that applies to most employees in Illinois. Most employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance in case one of its employees is injured while on the job. Those who are injured at work or experience an occupational disease are eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
  2. What Should I Do if I Get Hurt at Work?: The best thing to do if you are hurt while you are at work is to first get medical help if it is a life-threatening injury and then immediately notify your employer. You have up to 45 days after the incident to report your injury to your employer, but it is better to begin a record of your injury or illness as soon as possible.
  3. Will My Medical Bills Be Paid?: Yes. If you are hurt at work, your employer is required to pay for all medical care to treat your injury until you have reached maximum medical improvement. These costs can include emergency care, doctor’s visits, surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, medication, and even certain medical or prosthetic devices. If your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer do not dispute the workers’ compensation claim, they can pay the bills directly.
  4. Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?: While it is not necessary to have an attorney after you are hurt at work, hiring a lawyer can be extremely beneficial to your case. Having a lawyer by your side can decrease the chances that your employer disputes your claim. If your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer refuses to pay your medical bills or provide you with other benefits that you have a right to, an attorney can make sure you get the treatment and compensation you deserve.

Contact a Cook County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

The last thing you want to do while you are recovering from a workplace injury is having to fight with an uncooperative employer or insurance company. If you have been injured while on the job, you should consult with a Tinley Park, IL, workers’ compensation attorney. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call our office today at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation. 

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The Difference Between Assault and Battery in IllinoisAssault and battery are two terms that are commonly used as synonyms for one another in everyday conversation. In the legal world, assault and battery are two separate criminal offenses that have different definitions and carry different sets of punishments for committing them. In Illinois, assault and battery crimes are taken seriously and can be either a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the circumstances. Punishments can range from probation to prison time, which is why it is important to seek legal counsel if you have been charged with either crime.

Assault

In Illinois, assault is defined as any action that puts another person in “reasonable apprehension” of being physically hurt, Reasonable apprehension refers to the way the majority of people – or a reasonable person – would react to such actions. Basic assault is a Class C misdemeanor, which means you can face $75 to $1,500 in fines, up to 30 days in prison or up to two years of probation. Unless you are sentenced to jail time, you will also have to serve between 30 and 120 hours of community service.

Certain situations can also elevate assault charges to aggravated assault, which typically carries harsher punishments. An aggravated assault charge can be based on the location where the assault took place, the status of the person who was assaulted (such as a police officer) and whether or not a firearm or motor vehicle was used in the assault. Aggravated assault can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 3 felony. This means you could face between one and five years in prison, fines between $75 and $25,000 and up to 30 months of probation.

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Alcohol and Minors: Never a Good Mix in IllinoisIt is not uncommon for teenagers to get in trouble with the law. When they do, the offenses they are known for committing are usually minor, yet serious offenses like theft, vandalism and traffic violations. One of the most common reasons teenagers get in trouble with the law is because of alcohol-related offenses. In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, you are required to be at least 21 years old to legally possess, purchase and/or consume alcohol. If you are caught drinking while under the age of 21, or if you are caught providing alcohol to someone under the age of 21, you could be facing serious fines and other consequences that could follow you for the rest of your life.

Possession or Consumption of Alcohol by a Person Under the Age of 21

In Illinois, consequences of underage drinking vary, but the person will likely be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This means the person could face up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. Additionally, that person’s driving privileges will be affected. If they receive court supervision, their license will be suspended for three months. If they are convicted, their license will be suspended for six months.

Providing Alcohol to a Person Under the Age of 21

It is also illegal for a person who is able to purchase alcohol to provide alcohol to a person who is under the age of 21. Doing so can result in a Class A misdemeanor charge, which carries possible consequences of up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. This also includes providing alcohol to minors at a private residence under Illinois’ social host law. A minimum $500 fine will be imposed for a misdemeanor violation, with possible fines of up to $2,500. If death or serious bodily injury occurs, felony charges will be imposed, which can lead to up to three years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines.

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Claiming Medical Malpractice When You Have Been MisdiagnosedWhen you are experiencing health issues, you go to a doctor. You trust that doctor to examine you, take into consideration your symptoms and diagnose you so you can begin treating the issue. The key to getting the care that you need is being diagnosed correctly – which does not always happen. According to CBS News, some 12 million Americans seeking outpatient care are misdiagnosed each year, with around half of those misdiagnoses having the potential to cause severe harm to the patient. Being misdiagnosed not only leaves you without the proper care for your actual condition but could also cause you to receive treatment for conditions that you do not actually have, which can cause other health problems.

Misdiagnosis Claims

A misdiagnosis claim can actually take the form of three different types of medical malpractice behaviors:

  1. Missed Diagnosis: The doctor does not believe that there is anything wrong with the patient. The patient actually has a disease or condition but is not receiving treatment due to the lack of diagnosis.
  2. Delayed Diagnosis: A great amount of time passes between the patient’s original appointment for his or her symptoms and when the patient is correctly diagnosed. During the time passed, the patient may or may not have had missed or incorrect diagnoses, but proper treatment was not given in a timely manner.
  3. Incorrect Diagnosis: The doctor diagnoses the patient with a disease or condition that he or she does not actually have. The patient may have been given treatment that was inappropriate or that caused other adverse reactions. The patient also does not receive the proper treatment for his or her actual condition.

How to Succeed With a Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice Claim

Every medical malpractice case must contain three elements in order to prevail. First, you must prove that the doctor violated the standard of care. Then, you must prove that you were injured because of that violation. Finally, you must prove that you suffered significant damages because of that injury. 

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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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Understanding Field Sobriety Tests During Illinois DUI StopsBefore 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:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN): During this test, the officer will be looking at the involuntary shaking of your eyeball as you gaze to the side, following the motion of the officer’s finger or pen. This is a phenomenon that occurs when people rotate their eyes at high peripheral angles but is exaggerated and occurs at lesser angles when a person is impaired by alcohol. 
  • Walk-and-turn: This test involves you walking along a line on the ground while maintaining your balance and focus. The officer will ask you to take nine heel-to-toe steps, turn on one foot and return in the same manner. The officer will be watching to see if you can follow directions and how intact your balance is.
  • One-leg stand: During this test, you will be instructed to stand with one of your feet about six inches off of the ground, during which you will be asked to count out loud until the officer tells you that you can stop after about 30 seconds. The officer will be looking to see if you can balance without swaying, putting your foot down or using your arms to keep balanced.

Non-Standardized Tests

The type of tests that officers use typically depends on the specific police department they work for and that department’s policies. Illinois police have been known to use other non-standardized tests during DUI traffic stops, which you may be able to challenge in court. These tests include:

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Exploring Charges and Penalties For Crimes Involving Fake IDs in Illinois For as long as government-issued identification cards have been around, fake IDs are sure to have also existed. Added security measures and other changes are constantly being made to ID cards in an effort to combat fraudulent or fake IDs, but that still does not stop some people from attempting to make them. Many times, crimes involving fake IDs are perpetrated by juveniles who are using the card for things such as purchasing alcohol. Some fake ID cards are nearly undetectable, but using one and getting caught can mean you will face quite a bit of trouble with the law.

Penalties for Crimes Involving Fake IDs

Illinois has strict laws and rather serious consequences when it comes to crimes involving fake IDs. Not only can you face criminal charges and penalties for the use, possession, manufacture and/or distribution of fake IDs, but you can also risk having your driving privileges taken away. The Secretary of State has the authority to suspend your driving privileges for up to one year or revoke your driving privileges for at least a year if you are caught violating laws concerning fake IDs.

You can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor if you are caught doing the following:

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Understanding the Construction Industry’s ‘Fatal Four’ AccidentsWhat comes to mind when you think of dangerous workplaces? For many people, construction sites are considered to be extremely dangerous – and they are not wrong. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were more than 4,600 worker fatalities in 2017. Of those fatalities, around 971 of them happened to construction workers. This means out of every five worker deaths that occurred, one of them was a construction worker. There are many reasons why construction sites are dangerous, but OSHA has pinpointed four causes of construction worker deaths.

The ‘Fatal Four’

These four causes of construction worker fatalities were determined to be responsible for nearly 60 percent of all construction worker deaths in 2017:

  1. Falls: Deaths due to falls were responsible for nearly 40 percent of deaths in 2017. OSHA’s classification of falls includes falls and jumps to lower levels and falls on the same level. Typically, falls to lower levels are more serious than falls on the same level because of injuries sustained from the impact between the person who fell and the lower-level surface.
  2. Struck by Object: Around eight percent of deaths occurred because of objects striking workers. These injuries can also be serious because they involve injuries sustained from forcible contact or impact with another object, which can be anything. Workers who died by being struck by an object may have been hit by a vehicle, a rolling object or a falling object.
  3. Electrocutions: OSHA reported that electrocutions were responsible for a little over seven percent of construction worker deaths in 2017. Electrocutions occur when a person is exposed to electricity, whether directly or indirectly. Direct exposure can occur if a person comes into contact with an intentionally electrified object, such as an electric fence. Indirect exposure can involve situations such as a worker coming into contact with water that has been electrified.
  4. Caught-in/Between an Object: Around five percent of construction worker deaths were caused by the worker being caught in or compressed by equipment or other objects. Injuries sustained from these types of accidents can occur when a person or a part of a person’s body is pinched, squeezed or crushed in machinery, stationary or moving objects or wire or rope.

Contact a Cook County Construction Accident Attorney Today

Depending on the circumstances of the situation, you may be able to claim compensation through a couple of different ways. If the person died while they were on the job, you may be able to claim death benefits from a workers’ compensation claim. In other situations, you may have to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we can help you determine the best type of case to pursue to obtain maximum compensation. Our compassionate Tinley Park, IL, construction accident injury lawyers are happy to help you begin your case today. Call our office at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

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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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Speeding in Illinois Can Become More Than Just a TicketThough speeding may seem like a victimless crime, nothing could be further from the truth. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were almost 10,000 people who were killed because of speed-related traffic accidents in 2017. Millions of people each year receive citations for speeding, but there are certain instances in which speeding can become more than just a ticket and a fine that you must pay. In the state of Illinois, aggravated speeding is a crime that can result in misdemeanor charges against you.

What is Aggravated Speeding?

According to Illinois law, aggravated speeding is considered to be any speeding that is 26 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit. If you are speeding 25 mph or less over the speed limit, you will only receive a ticket and you will not face criminal charges, such as these.

  • Class B misdemeanor aggravated speeding: You will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor if you are caught going 26 mph or more over the speed limit, but less than 35 mph over the limit. You could face up to six months in prison, up to two years of probation and/or between $75 and $1,500 in fines.
  • Class A misdemeanor aggravated speeding: If you are caught speeding 35 mph or more over the speed limit, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. You could face up to one year in prison, up to two years of probation and/or between $75 and $2,500 in fines.

Jail Time for a Speeding Conviction?

It is within the applicable sentencing guidelines for a judge to sentence you to prison for an aggravated speeding conviction. However, this is rather uncommon. Illinois judges tend to sentence those convicted of aggravated speeding to a period of court supervision, especially if this is the first time a person has ever faced aggravated speeding charges. Court supervision is a rather lenient sentence that allows the charges to be dropped if you do not commit any other traffic violations during the supervisory period. This allows the person to avoid a conviction from appearing on their criminal and driving records.

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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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Exploring Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation Death BenefitsIn the blink of an eye, an accident can happen while you are at work. True, there are certain jobs in which accidents are more common, but a workplace accident can occur anywhere, regardless of where you work and who you work for. One of the most devastating outcomes of a workplace accident is the death of a loved one. Not only does this bring on grief and emotional pain, but it can also mean that you are now burdened by the worry of your family’s financial future. Fortunately, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission offers death benefits to families whose loved ones die as a result of workplace accidents.

Eligible Family Members

If a worker is killed on the job, the worker’s primary beneficiaries are entitled to receive the survivor’s benefit. A primary beneficiary is considered to be the worker’s spouse and any children under the age of 18. If the worker did not have any primary beneficiaries, then the benefits can be paid to the worker’s totally dependent parents.

The remarriage of a surviving spouse does not negate any claim to survivor’s benefits for the worker’s children. If the children are eligible to receive the benefit when the spouse is remarried, they will continue to receive the benefit until they are no longer eligible. If there are no eligible children, the spouse is entitled to a lump sum that is equal to two years of compensation.

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Can I Refuse to Take a Chemical Test If I Am Pulled Over for DUI in Illinois?One of the most serious laws you can break when you are behind the wheel of a car is driving while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a police officer spots you while you are driving and thinks that you may be under the influence, he or she will immediately pull you over. Before the officer even walks to your vehicle, they will be assessing you and your behavior to determine whether or not you are intoxicated. They may ask you to step out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests. If you do not do well with them, they may request that you blow into a Breathalyzer so they can determine your blood-alcohol content (BAC) or they may arrest you and request that you complete chemical testing at the police station. Can you refuse to take that chemical test?

Implied Consent Laws

Illinois law states that any person with a state driver's license who is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle is deemed to have given their consent to have their blood, breath or other bodily substance tested to determine their BAC or whether or not there are any drugs or intoxicating compounds in their system. You do not even have to be conscious to have a chemical test performed on you because you are deemed to have already given your consent. Illinois law states that a person who is dead, unconscious or otherwise unable to refuse to perform a chemical test is not deemed to have revoked his or her consent.

Consequences for a Refusal

Can you refuse a chemical test, despite the implied consent law? The answer to the question is yes – technically. You have the right to refuse a chemical test, but you will face negative consequences for doing so. In Illinois, the first time you refuse to take a chemical test will result in your driving privileges being suspended for 12 months, though you will be eligible to apply for a monitoring device driving permit. You will face a suspension of your driving privileges for three years for the second or subsequent time you refuse to take a chemical test within five years of your first offense.

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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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Defending Against Assault and Battery Charges: Claiming Self DefenseOne of the most common defenses people use when they are fighting assault and/or battery charges is claiming that they were acting in self-defense. In some situations, this may be a legitimate defense, but many people do not realize that there are certain elements that must be proven if you want to succeed with a claim of self-defense. 

Illinois recognizes that there are certain situations that citizens may be put into that require the use of force against another person. Because of this, there are stipulations in the Criminal Code of 2012 that allow a person to use force against another person, as long as it is legally justifiable. If you plan to use self-defense as your claim against assault and/or battery charges, you need an attorney who has experience with self-defense claims.

Illinois Self Defense Laws

The Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 states that people can legally use force against others if they reasonably believe that the use of force is necessary to protect themselves or someone else against a person’s use of unlawful force. This means that you are permitted to use force against another person as long as it was actually necessary and you had no other way of protecting yourself.

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