What We Do
Animal Incidents / Dog Bites
Unfortunately, people are often hurt in animal-related incidents. A common example of this is when an individual is bitten by a neighbor’s dog, or bitten by the dog of a passerby. However, liability can be imposed on an owner or possessor of an animal that causes harm in other ways. For example, if someone’s dog gets tangled in your dog’s leash and knocks you down, you may have a claim.
In Illinois, there are two “roads to recovery” for animal-related incidents. The first is the Animal Control Act, which imposes a strict liability on the owner or possessor of an animal that causes harm. Secondly, it is also possible to hold owners or possessors of animals liable for regular negligence. We can help you delineate what claims you may have and identify the sources of insurance that may be available.
Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Accidents
People are hurt every minute in motor vehicle accidents throughout the State of Illinois. If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to recover. The term “motor vehicle” is very broad. If you have been hurt in an accident involving a car, motorcycle, taxi, ride share vehicle, or a truck/tractor-trailer, you may be entitled to recover against the at-fault driver and their insurance policy. Don’t worry: if the at-fault driver did not have insurance (was uninsured) at the time of the accident, there may be other sources of recovery to turn to. Those include your own car insurance policy, or the policy of a “resident relative.” An experienced attorney can help you identify all of the different sources of recovery that may be available to you.
Working construction is one of the most dangerous occupations someone can have. Construction workers are often injured as a result of unsafe working conditions and/or dangerous job sites, and they can be injured in a variety of ways. For example, they can be hurt using tools that malfunction. They can be hurt while performing work on ladders or scaffolding. They can be hurt as a result of an electrical fault or an explosion, or as the result of falling debris or construction materials. Construction workers can even be involved in car accidents while on the work site. If you or someone you love has been injured in a construction-related accident, please call us.
There are two types of defamation in Illinois: libel (when someone writes something bad about you) and slander (when someone says something bad about you). Certain cases require proof of “actual harm” while other forms of slander are considered to be so bad that proof of harm is not required. Defamation cases can be complicated by First Amendment protections; however, if someone has said or written something bad about you (or your business), you may be able to recover for the damages incurred.
Dram Shop Claims
In Illinois, the Dram Shop Act (235 ILCS 5/6-21) allows a person to bring a claim against a bar, restaurant or drinking establishment if the bar supplied alcohol to an individual who subsequently causes injury to the given person. The “injuries” can include property damage, personal injury and even death. For a Dram Shop Act claim to be successful, five elements must be met:
- The individual who caused the injury was intoxicated when the injury occurred.
- The drinking establishment provided alcohol to the intoxicated person and they consumed it.
- The alcohol was the source of the individual’s intoxication.
- The claimant’s injuries were at least partially caused by the intoxication.
- The injured party was injured.
As an example, pretend that the at-fault party is at a restaurant and has a few drinks, causing them to be intoxicated. Then, they get in the car and cause a car accident. A claim can be made against the drinking establishment for the actions of the intoxicated driver. As another example, pretend that you and your family are at a drinking establishment. An intoxicated patron throws a beer bottle and it hits you in the head, causing injuries. A claim can be made.
Injuries to Minors
If your child (under 18) has been injured as a result of negligence they are likely entitled to recover. When a minor is hurt, the claim is brought by the parents (or a parent) for the injuries sustained. These cases can be a bit complicated due to the need to establish guardianship and involve the court in the settlement process. However, we are well-versed in the process of handling all aspects of minor’s claims, including establishing a probate estate where needed.
If you were hurt at an establishment because security on the premises did not properly intervene, you may have a negligent security case to pursue against the establishment. A common example is when a bar fight breaks out and someone is injured – if the bar had security present and the security guards did not protect the person who was injured – it may be possible to present a claim.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
If someone has injured you while you were riding a bicycle or while you were a pedestrian, you may have a claim. Oftentimes, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents occur when a bicyclist or pedestrian is hit by a car. In other scenarios, bicyclists and pedestrians can be hurt as the result of defective road conditions or by falling material (such as ice from a building).
The term “premises liability” is a fancy way of saying that sometimes, the owner or operator of a premises can be responsible for harm that occurred on the property. In Illinois, thousands of people each year are injured because stores, restaurants, parking lots and owners of sidewalks fail to maintain their premises in a safe condition. As an example, pretend that you are walking down the street in front of a store. You trip and fall because a doormat outside of the store has flipped up and folded over. You may have a claim against the owner of the store, or the individual who placed the mat where it was. As another example, pretend that you are walking into a store at night. You trip and fall due to a deviation in the parking lot. In addition, the lighting in the lot is very dim. You may have a claim against the owner of the lot, the adjacent stores, the property management company, and others. It can be hard to pinpoint exactly who is responsible for a condition on a premises that causes harm right out the gate. For example, if you trip and fall as the result of a deviation in a parking lot, you may automatically think that the store is responsible. However, what if a contractor recently repaved the lot and failed to repair the divot? Or, what if a snow plow did a bad job and caused the concrete to displace? It’s very important to reach out to an attorney right away when a trip and fall or slip and fall at someone’s property occurred – the more time your lawyer has to find the correct and culpable entities, the better.
In Illinois, in order to hold an entity responsible for a condition on the premises, the following must be proven:
- A dangerous condition existed on the premises;
- The entity in possession or control of the premises knew or should have known of the condition;
- The entity in possession or control of the premises failed to use ordinary care to discover the dangerous condition, remedy the condition or warn others about it;
- As a result of the entity’s failures, the injured party was injured.
Sometimes, an individual suffers injury as the result of a defective product. These kinds of cases are called “product liability” claims. Public policy dictates that products should be safe for their intended uses and consumers should not have to worry about them failing and causing injuries. If a product does fail and cause injuries, a claim may be brought against the entities in the distributive chain: such as, the manufacturer, the distributor, and those who transported or handled the product from point A to point B. It should be noted that product liability law is very complicated, and often implicates parties that are not in the United States. For that reason, it is important that a product liability claim be commenced in short order – it will give your attorney as much time as possible to investigate all the angles to the claim and to identify all potential culpable parties.
There are two primary theories under which someone can recover for a product liability claim. The first avenue is a “negligence” claim. This requires showing that the given defendant had a duty, breached that duty, and as a proximate result of the breach, an individual was injured. The second avenue is a “strict products liability” claim, wherein it must be showed that the injury resulted from a condition or defect in a product that was manufactured or sold by the defendant, that the condition or defect was unreasonably dangerous and that the condition or defect existed at the time the product left the defendant’s control. It is the injured party’s responsibility to prove that the defendant was either negligent or should be held responsible under strict products liability.
A wrongful death claim arises when an individual dies as a result of the wrongful actions of another person. The family members (spouse, parents, siblings, children) of the person who died can bring this claim. The claim centers on the loss of love, companionship and affection that the family members have suffered as a result of the death of their loved one. For example, pretend someone dies in a car accident that was not their fault. They left behind their mother, brother and sister. All of the family members can bring a claim against the at-fault driver for their loss of love, companionship and affection.
In addition, the estate may be able to also bring a survival action arising out of the death of the loved one, for which recovery is sought “for” and on behalf of the deceased individual. For example, pretend someone dies in a car accident that was not their fault. The evidence shows that they lived for an hour before ultimately passing away. Technically, the deceased has a claim for pain and suffering, and potentially medical expenses, for the brief period of time that he was alive. Because they have passed away, they cannot bring the claim in their own name. Instead, the family can open an estate an appoint an Administrator. That person can bring a claim on behalf the estate for the injuries and damages sustained while the deceased was still alive.