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Three Safety Tips for New Illinois Motorcycle RidersBeing behind the wheel for the first time can be an exhilarating yet nerve-wracking experience for young, new drivers. They never have the same instinct and ease as those with years of experience under their belt. The same goes for those who have recently obtained their motorcycle license. While you may have spent years driving a passenger vehicle, getting behind the handlebars of a motorcycle is a whole new ballgame. These small, unprotected vehicles can leave even the most experienced riders with serious or fatal injuries. If you have recently obtained your Illinois motorcycle license, heed the following precautions before taking your first ride:

  1. Get the Right Bike for You: There are a vast number of models that one can choose from when looking for their first motorcycle. While you may be leaning towards the larger, more advanced motorcycles, it is critical that you test out the bike before purchasing. When sitting, your feet should be able to easily rest flat on the ground and the handlebars should be right within reach. The larger bikes may be more alluring, but a motorcycle that is not the right fit for your body can lead you into dangerous waters. 
  2. Antilock Brakes Are Worth the Investment: Antilock brakes have proven to save lives time and time again. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycles with antilock brakes were 37 percent less likely to be in a fatal crash than those without them. These special brakes allow motorcycle riders to maintain steering control during an emergency stop, rather than having the brakes lock up. This will reduce a rider’s chances of skidding and crashing and is also useful in bad weather conditions.
  3. Take a Safety Course: In order to legally ride a motorcycle on Illinois roadways, a motorcycle license is required. However, this does not mean that a course is technically mandatory — it simply requires the passing of a written exam and driving test. Safety experts always suggest that new riders take a training course to learn basic riding skills and more advanced safety measures. The courses can sometimes provide other benefits, such as discounted insurance rates and a credit towards a new motorcycle depending on the manufacturer.

Call a Barrington Personal Injury Lawyer

No matter how many precautions or safety measures you have taken, you can never control the abilities of other drivers on the road. Accidents involving motorcycle riders are often caused by passenger vehicles, but due to their lack of protection, motorcycle riders suffer more serious consequences. The legal team at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, assists both motorcycle drivers and passengers to help them obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries. We have extensive experience handling motorcycle accident cases and understand the unique issues involved. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our Illinois personal injury attorneys at 847-381-8700 to schedule your free consultation.

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How Child Support Can Help Pay for CollegeA parent’s financial responsibility to their child does not always end when the child turns 18. Many children need help to pay for their continuing education after high school, whether that is attending a community college or a four-year university. Because of this, child support payments can continue after a child turns 18 so that both parents are helping pay for college. However, the child support payments will end if you do not take action. You must file a court motion to extend child support for college expenses and explain how much support your child will need from the paying parent.

What Does College Child Support Cover?

Illinois normally uses an income shares table to calculate how much both parents should pay towards child expenses. When continuing child support for college, you need to present the expenses that you expect to pay for your child’s education, such as:

  • Tuition and fees to attend the college
  • Room and board, which can include off-campus housing
  • College application fees
  • Textbooks and other required materials
  • Healthcare coverage
  • Living expenses for when the child is living on their own, even if college is not in session

As a condition for ordering continued child support, the court may require the student to make a good-faith effort to limit expenses. For instance, the child may need to choose the less expensive college when deciding between multiple colleges that will provide equitable opportunities.

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Heavy Machinery Poses Injury Risk for Construction WorkersA construction worksite has plenty of dangerous equipment that can cause severe injury or death if workers are not careful. Some of the most dangerous equipment is heavy machinery, such as bulldozers, cranes, dump trucks, and excavators. When used safely, these machines are highly useful because of their ability to complete large-scale tasks in an efficient manner. When accidents happen, workers can suffer broken bones, severed limbs, and traumatic brain and spine injuries. If you have been injured by heavy construction machinery, you may be eligible for personal injury compensation.

Staying Safe

Most construction workers are appropriately cautious when around heavy machinery, but some accidents happen because a worker was being careless or reckless. Making a mistake with a machine could cause injury to yourself or others. You need to take safety precautions in order to protect everyone on the construction site:

  • Do not operate heavy machinery that you have not been trained to use or are not comfortable with.
  • Be cautious when entering and exiting the machine to avoid falls.
  • Stay focused on operating the machinery and avoid distractions, such as your phone.
  • Do not operate the machinery if you are impaired, such as feeling drowsy or sick.
  • Always use safety equipment when on or near the machinery, even if for just a short time.
  • If moving the machine, communicate with a spotter on the ground who can check in your blind spots.
  • When driving the machine, stick to the designated safe routes.
  • If working on the ground, keep a safe distance from the machine and stay aware of its location.

Injury Compensation Options

Many construction workers who are injured on the job are limited to claiming workers’ compensation benefits. You do not have to prove negligence when filing for workers’ compensation, but there is a cap on the amount of compensation you can receive. Sometimes, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party who was liable for your injury. For instance:

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How Planning Can Prevent Financial Mistakes in Your DivorceIt is vital to have a financial plan when you are creating a divorce agreement, including your budget for after the divorce and which assets you most need from your marriage. Your income as a single adult will be lower than what you had as a couple, and some expenses will become your sole responsibility to pay for. A smart divorce agreement will help you transition into a more stable financial situation. Conversely, a poorly planned agreement may leave you at a financial disadvantage. Here are three financial mistakes that can hurt you after your divorce:

  1. Overlooking the Cost of Real Estate: Marital homes and other real estate are among the most valuable properties in a divorce, but they are also among the most expensive to keep. Any residence or building that you own comes with property taxes, utility fees, and maintenance costs. Many homeowners are also still paying the mortgage on their house. Your home or other real properties may be worth keeping after your divorce, but you must include the related costs in your budget.
  2. Not Considering Growth Potential: There are multiple ways of calculating the value of marital properties. One way is to consider whether a property has the potential to increase or decrease in value over time. Common examples include businesses, financial investments, and collectibles. You may regret letting your spouse keep these properties based on their current value, only to watch them increase in value in a couple of years. However, there is also risk involved if properties do not increase in value at the projected rate or decrease in value. The marital properties that you keep in your divorce should be a mix of those with growth potential and value certainty.
  3. Taking Short-Term Gain at a Long-Term Cost: Your immediate financial concern during a divorce is how you will support yourself, but you should still consider your long-term financial goals. Your retirement plan is a good example. You can withdraw money from your plan in order to compensate your spouse for letting you keep a valuable marital property. However, you are taking away from the money you need to support yourself later in life and may incur fees or taxes for making an early withdrawal. The long-term value of some assets can be more important to you than the short-term benefits of selling them.

Contact a Barrington, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer

The division of property is more than trying to get the most valuable assets from your marriage. A Barrington, Illinois, divorce attorney at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, will make sure you have a strategy when negotiating your agreement. To schedule a consultation, call 847-381-8700.

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Is a Business Liable If You Slip on the Ice Outside Its Store?Though we hope that the worst of the winter weather is behind us, there is a fair chance that we will see more snow this season. Many people are injured each winter because they slipped and fell on an icy or wet walking surface. While you can do your best to clear the walkways outside your home, you have no control over the conditions of a public place, such as outside a retail store. Your initial reaction after falling in public may be to blame yourself, but it is possible that the property owner is liable for the conditions that caused your fall. To receive personal injury compensation from a retail store, you will need to prove that an unnatural accumulation of ice or snow caused your accident.

Outside the Store

Property owners in Illinois have no legal obligation to remove snow or ice that has naturally accumulated. This means they will likely not be liable if you fall because they did not shovel or put down salt to melt the ice. Property owners are also not liable for tire tracks or footprints that create a slipping or tripping hazard. They are liable if they cause unnatural accumulations of snow or ice outside of their property. Examples of unnatural accumulation include:

  • Removing snow or ice in a way that creates a hazard that would not have existed otherwise
  • A defect in the building or sidewalk that causes snow or ice to accumulate in certain spots, which the property owner knew about and had time to fix

Property owners also have a general obligation to provide a safe means of entering and exiting the store, which includes adequate lighting.

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