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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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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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Watching for Child Injuries After Car AccidentsBeing involved in a car accident can become a nightmare if you have a child with you in the vehicle. Your immediate concern will be to check for any visible injuries on your child, followed by medical attention. As with adults, some injuries that children suffer in car accidents take longer to develop or notice. However, children are different from adults because they are not adept at explaining their problems. As a parent, you must carefully watch your children for symptoms of longer-lasting trauma or injuries resulting from the car accident.

Head Injuries

Concussions are serious injuries but harder to identify than scrapes or broken bones. Symptoms of an internal head injury may manifest in your child’s behavior, such as:

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Woman Awarded $4.5 Million in Premises Liability LawsuitAn Aurora, Ill., woman recently received a $4.5 million judgment as a result of a personal injury lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo. The injury took place in 2012, when the woman was walking into a Wells Fargo mortgage retail office in Aurora. A metal door closer unit detached and hit her in the head, causing immediate injury and long-term disability. The judgment included:

  • $1.25 million for her disability;
  • $1.25 million for her pain and suffering;
  • $1 million for emotional distress; and
  • More than $500,000 for medical expenses.

The judgment is reportedly the largest ever awarded for a personal injury lawsuit in DuPage County that was not a medical malpractice case. The jury needed only two hours to reach its decision in the case. Before the trial, Wells Fargo had attempted to settle with the plaintiff by offering $125,000.

Unsafe Building Conditions

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How Comparative Fault Affects Personal Injury CasesObtaining compensation in a personal injury case relies upon proving the defendant’s negligence. Illinois law defines negligence as failing to act in a manner that a reasonably careful person would or acting in a manner that a reasonably careful person would not. However, both sides can be negligent in a personal injury case. The idea of shared blame is often called comparative fault. If a jury decides that a plaintiff's negligence partially caused his or her injuries, it may award reduced damages or no damages at all.

Comparative Fault

A jury in a personal injury case must first determine whether the defendant is at fault for the plaintiff's injury. If the jury rules in favor of the plaintiff, it moves on to determining how much compensation is owed and whether there was comparative fault by the plaintiff. Illinois law instructs the jury to quantify the plaintiff’s share of the responsibility for the injuries in terms of a percentage:

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