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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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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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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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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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Recovering Personal Injury Damages After Hearing LossCatastrophic injuries often cause severe injuries that can be permanent or last for a long time. Deafness in one or both ears is one of the most frightening consequences you may suffer from an injury. There is no ignoring it when you have lost your hearing – you are forced to adjust every aspect of your life. If you are fortunate, your hearing may recover over time or hearing aids may allow you to function. Those who are less fortunate may be permanently deaf, forever impairing their ability to work, perform certain tasks and enjoy life. No matter the extent of your hearing loss, you deserve compensation if another party was at fault for the injury that caused your deafness.

Common Causes

Hearing loss injuries are most commonly associated with workplace injuries, such as being exposed to loud noises over an extended period. These cases fall under workers’ compensation law, which is separate from personal injury law and has more limits on the compensation you can collect. However, a hearing loss injury can also fall outside of workers’ compensation law, allowing you to file a lawsuit against someone other than your employer. For instance:

  • A third-party manufacturer may be liable for a faulty product that damaged your hearing or failed to protect you.
  • A negligent party may have caused an extreme noise that damaged your hearing.
  • Ear and brain injuries during a collision, such as a car crash, can cause hearing loss.

It can be difficult to connect your hearing loss to a specific incident because the effect may be delayed. You also must prove that you did not lose your hearing naturally with age or due to factors that are separate from the incident.

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