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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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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 Your Landlord Is Liable for Negligent SecurityA rental property owner is not always liable if you are the victim of criminal activity, such as an assault or battery. There are some incidents that unfortunately could not have been foreseen or prevented. However, the property owner is responsible for providing reasonable security if it should know that a lack of security would put you in danger. Its burden increases if you live in an area with high levels of crime. You may be able to collect personal injury compensation from your landlord if you can show that your landlord had a duty to protect you and that a lack of security enabled an act of violence against you.

Failed Promises

Landlords will often include a list of property security measures within their leases, such as:

  • Locks on doors and windows;
  • Lights in parking areas and at entrances;
  • Security cameras; and
  • Security guards.

Landlords are not required to provide all of these security measures but create a legal obligation to maintain them once they have promised them in a contract. They should not allow lights or cameras to fall into disrepair and should act quickly to fix them once they realize that there is a problem. They are also responsible for the professionalism of security guards on the premises. If there is a system for contacting security in the event of an emergency, you should expect an immediate response from someone trained to help you.

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