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Barrington personal injury lawyersDespite the first COVID-19 vaccines being distributed this week, in all likelihood many people are still going to stay at home for safety during the majority of the wintertime. However, as the economy continues to recover from all the stay-at-home orders and closing businesses, many more people have entered the gig economy as delivery drivers for all sorts of companies. While postal workers and delivery drivers for mainstays like the USPS, UPS, and FedEx have been delivering for years and have plenty of safety guidelines and insurance policies in place to handle slippery sidewalks and walkways, gig workers are much newer to the threat of slips and falls on the job while delivering goods. Here is some “need-to-know” information for these gig workers about premises liability in Illinois and the possibility of receiving personal injury compensation for slip-and-fall accidents this winter while on the job. 

Why Is Premises Liability So Significant Now?

The gig economy is real, and it is growing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the delivery drivers or “gig workers” contracted to deliver goods independently through third-party or less traditional companies are new on the job due to the recession. These workers include:

  • Amazon Prime delivery drivers
  • Grocery delivery drivers (Instacart, Shipt, etc.) 
  • Restaurant delivery drivers (GrubHub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc.) 
  • Private business delivery drivers (Consider deliveries being made by employees or owners of businesses who never had to deliver their products or foods in the past. They have far less experience with this sort of process and need to be made particularly aware of the winter rules of premises liability.)

How Does Illinois Law Define Premises Liability?

If you are delivering something to a house where the snow/slush is not shoveled or the ice is not melted and this has caused you to suffer an injury, you might be able to claim personal injury compensation. This is in addition to any workers’ compensation you might automatically receive as an injured employee. (Keep in mind, though, many “gig economy” jobs hire their workers as contractors who do not have the same benefits and rights as employees, so you might not receive much assistance from your employers, if any, which is all the more reason to pursue your own personal injury case).  

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Barrington, IL personal injury lawyer for medical expert testimonyDue to issues related to evidence, witness testimonies, and liability, personal injury cases can be quite complex, and they can involve many factors that can affect an entire case. One of the most important of these factors is the medical professional(s) that may provide testimony, consultations, or reports in support of your case. Here are some of the ways medical professionals can help you win your personal injury case:

4 Reasons Third-Party Medical Professionals Are Vital to Your Personal Injury Case

Getting fair compensation for your personal injury is not always an easy outcome to attain. You deserve to receive compensation for the injuries you have sustained, including physical and psychological harm, as well as loss of income due to recovery time or disability. As you pursue compensation, some of the most important members of your team will be the medical professionals. Here are some ways they can alter the outcome of your case:

  1. Helping to Decide Whether a Case Is Worth Pursuing—A medical professional can provide keen insights into the technical aspects of your case so that you and your attorney better understand whether your claim will be worth pursuing. By consulting with medical professionals early in the process, your lawyer can get a proper assessment of your case from a medical perspective. 

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Barrington wrongful death lawyersIt is an unfortunate reality that not everyone will survive major accidents that would have otherwise left them severely injured. More than 1,000 people die in vehicle crashes in Illinois each year, according to recent data from the Illinois Department of Transportation. While fatal vehicle accidents make up less than 1 percent of the total crashes in Illinois, each death has an irreversible impact on the family of the person who was killed. If another party is liable for the fatal accident, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit in order to receive monetary compensation.

When Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Be Filed?

A simple way to explain a wrongful death claim is that it is a personal injury lawsuit filed on behalf of the deceased person. Illinois law states that survivors of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim if:

  • Someone’s wrongful act or negligence caused the death
  • The victim would have had grounds to file a personal injury claim if they had survived

With a fatal vehicle accident, a reckless driver may have been responsible for the crash or a vehicle manufacturer may be liable for a defective part that caused a driver to lose control of their vehicle. Wrongful death claims can also apply to other areas of personal injury, such as premises liability and third-party construction accidents.

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Recovering Missed Pay in Personal Injury LawsuitBeing injured in an accident can cost you more than what you must pay for medical treatment. Suffering a debilitating injury may require you to miss time from work while you recover. When you return to work, you may be limited in the tasks you can perform or the hours you can work. Your employer has no obligation to compensate you if your injury occurred outside of your work. You will need to include your compensation for lost wages as part of your personal injury lawsuit.

Time Off

A person who is recuperating from a serious injury may miss weeks or months worth of work days. The time off may include:

  • The initial medical treatment and recovery period;
  • Time in physical therapy to regain strength; and
  • Follow-up appointments with doctors and physical therapists after the patient returns to work.

Depending on your employee benefits, you may not be paid or may receive reduced pay for the days that you miss. Contract workers have no means of recovering the money they lost for time off. Your personal injury compensation can include the pay you did not receive because you were unable to work. Even if vacation or sick days covered some of your time off, you are still entitled to the value of that time off in your lawsuit. Illinois courts will not allow a liable party in a personal injury case to get away with paying less because the plaintiff has insurance and employee benefits.

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Avoid Talking to Insurance Companies Before Your Personal Injury AttorneyThe initial conversations you have with an insurance company after an injury can determine how much the company will cover your health expenses. The goal of an insurance adjuster is to get you to admit fault or downplay your injuries so that the company can save money. That is why the insurance company may contact you immediately after a vehicle accident or other injury when you are least prepared to talk to them. There are several reasons why you should not conduct a recorded interview with an insurance adjuster without consulting your personal injury attorney:

  1. Delayed Symptoms: If an insurance adjuster calls you the day of your accident, you may honestly answer that you do not feel injured. However, you may not notice some of your injuries until a couple of days after the incident. Once the adjuster has your statement on record, the insurance company can use it against you when determining your claim.
  2. Lack of Information: Even when you know you have been hurt after an accident, you will not know the full extent of your injuries until seeing a medical professional. You should not speculate about your injuries because your statement may contradict your official diagnosis.
  3. No Condition to Talk: Insurance adjusters contact you as soon as they can after an accident because they know you are vulnerable. You have just been through a traumatic experience that may prevent you from thinking clearly. You do not want to be held accountable for statements you made when you were upset or exhausted.
  4. Letting Your Guard Down: Many insurance adjusters come off as being personable and sympathetic during conversations. Friendliness is a tactic to get you to feel comfortable talking to them. With your guard down, you may inadvertently admit to fault in the accident or inaccurately portray your physical health.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

An insurance adjuster may try to pressure you into giving an immediate statement, saying that it is needed to start your claim. However, it is more important for your claim to accurately cover your medical needs than be expedient. The insurance adjuster cannot force you to say anything or record you without your permission. You can respond to immediate phone calls by saying that you need time to consult with your attorney before making any official statements that may affect your claim. A Barrington, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, can advise you on what you should tell an insurance company to make sure you receive the coverage you need. Schedule an appointment by calling 847-381-8700.

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