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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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Distracted Driving Is More Than Cell PhonesThousands of people in the U.S. die each year and many more are injured due to traffic crashes that involve distracted driving. If you were injured in a vehicle accident, proving that the other driver was distracted should establish their liability in a personal injury lawsuit. People often associate distracted driving with cell phone use because talking or texting while driving will take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road. States such as Illinois issue traffic tickets to people caught using a handheld digital device while driving. However, the problem of distracted driving goes beyond cell phones.

Cognitive Distractions

All acts of distracted driving share a common trait: they divert your attention away from driving. Talking or texting on your phone is a good example of this because you are concentrating on a conversation you are having with someone. You could be similarly distracted if you are driving while you are:

  • Having a deep discussion with a passenger
  • Talking to someone on a hands-free device
  • Eating or drinking
  • Applying makeup or otherwise grooming yourself
  • Using a touch screen installed in your vehicle

Unlike using handheld digital devices, many of these activities are not traffic violations, even though they could still be dangerous. By reading the police report for your accident, you may see that the other driver admitted to being distracted right before the crash, which is an act of negligence.

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Compensation Options for Pedestrians Injured by HIt-and-Run DriversHit-and-run incidents involving vehicles and pedestrians are unfortunately common occurrences. A driver who strikes a pedestrian may be more prone to panic and flee the scene because they know that the pedestrian has likely suffered a severe or fatal injury. A pedestrian who has survived a hit-and-run incident often needs emergency medical treatments and lengthy rehabilitation. It is common for these incidents to cause permanent disabilities and emotional trauma. As an injury victim, you need compensation from the driver or your insurance provider.

Compensation from the Driver

The driver responsible for the hit-and-run could turn themselves in after they have calmed down and listened to their conscience. If the driver does not come forward, the police will try to identify the driver and bring them to justice. Your attorney can track the status of the case so that you are prepared to take civil action against the driver if they are found. To prove your injury claim, you can use evidence from the police report and witnesses, such as showing that:

  • The defendant was the driver of the vehicle that struck you;
  • The driver was at fault for the accident; and
  • The accident caused your injuries.

It is important to remember that decisions in criminal and civil cases are independent of each other. Illinois uses comparative fault when deciding whether to award damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Motorist usually must yield to pedestrians when there is a question about the right-of-way, but a pedestrian may share fault for the accident if they were behaving recklessly. The driver could be guilty of a hit-and-run charge but not liable for your injuries if you were more than half at fault for the accident.

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How Pedestrians Can Protect Themselves During the WinterThere are typically fewer pedestrians during the winter months, but winter conditions can make walking near streets more hazardous for those who brave the weather. Drivers bear most of the responsibility for preventing accidents involving pedestrians. As a pedestrian, you can take extra precautions to protect yourself and help drivers:

  1. Visibility: Daylight hours are shorter during the winter, and the snow can make it harder for drivers to see you. Wear bright colors during the day and reflective clothing at night. Walk in well-lit areas. Your own vision may also be diminished by the conditions and your need to bundle up. Make sure you are able to see around you in order to avoid potential hazards.
  2. Eye Contact: If you are at an intersection with a stopped vehicle, make eye contact with the driver before you cross. Do not assume that the driver notices you and knows that you plan to walk in front of the vehicle. By making eye contact, you are acknowledging that you see each other and understand who has the right-of-way.
  3. Footwear: Have on boots or shoes that are appropriate for the conditions you will be walking through. Your footwear should protect your feet from being numbed by the cold and give you enough traction to walk on slick surfaces. Slipping in or near an intersection puts you at greater risk of being hit by a vehicle.
  4. Stopping Time: Suddenly walking into an intersection forces a driver to react quickly. Vehicles need more time to stop in slick conditions, and slamming on the brakes may cause the driver to lose control. Be more cautious about when you enter an intersection because you know the driver may have difficulty stopping for you.
  5. Staying Out of the Road: You may be tempted to walk in the street if you reach an area of sidewalk that has not been cleared of snow. However, walking in a driving lane puts you at much greater risk of being hit because drivers are not expecting pedestrians in the road. If the pedestrian walkway is impassable, you should find an alternate route that does not involve walking in the street.

Contact a Barrington Personal Injury Lawyer

Being cautious may not prevent a pedestrian injury in all cases, but it eliminates needless risks. Behaving recklessly may also mean that you share responsibility for the accident, which can lessen your award in a personal injury case. A Barrington, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, can help you receive compensation when you have been injured in a pedestrian accident. Schedule a consultation by calling 847-381-8700.

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Dram Shop Law Allows Drunk Driving Victims to Sue Alcohol ServersMotor vehicle accidents involving intoxicated drivers can cause serious injuries and death. The victim in a drunk driving crash can sue the driver for personal injury compensation and the loss of a loved one. There is a third-party liability in Illinois that can extend to businesses that serve alcohol to drunk drivers. Illinois’ dram shop law allows a victim to receive additional injury compensation by filing a lawsuit against an alcohol vendor that is deemed partially responsible for a drunk driving incident.

Proving Liability

Illinois’ dram shop law applies to restaurants, clubs, retailers, and hospitality businesses. In most cases, an individual serving alcohol at a social gathering is not liable. For a successful lawsuit against a third-party alcohol vendor, the victim must prove that:

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