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Fall is the perfect time to hit the open road on two wheels.

The temperatures are crisp, the air clean, and the breeze gentle. You have gorgeous fall colors surrounding you just about everywhere you go in Illinois – even downtown Chicago. The golden hues of leaves, the orange and red colors filling the park, and the smell of pumpkin spice emanating from the local coffee shops make you want to soak up as much as you can before the winter season strikes.

While fall is a great time to experience the road on a motorcycle, unique hazards present themselves during this season. Whether you are an experienced or novice rider, knowing about these risks is imperative for your safety, the safety of passengers, and even the safety of those sharing the road with you.

Tips for Safer Motorcycle Riding during Chicago Fall Season

One of the best ways to avoid an accident is to know the risks. If you are unaware of the unique hazards during the fall, now is the time to read up and make sure you are prepared for your next trip. It doesn’t matter if you are going on a road tour for a few hundred miles or you are riding your motorcycle to work, these risks are real and increase the likelihood of a dangerous collision.

Look out for Falling Leaves

Unfortunately, one of the greatest aspects of fall can also be one of the biggest safety risks. Fall’s bright colors come with falling leaves by the pound. While riding backroads, you are more prone to finding leaves littering the roadway or even falling on top of you while you ride.

Falling leaves, for starters, create a visual hazard. They can block your line of sight. And when a gust of wind blows enough in front of you, you might find it impossible to see ahead.

Furthermore, leaves tend to become wet, muddy, and stick to the roadway. As they sit there, they break down and become slimy, slippery surfaces that trap oil and moisture. When riding your motorcycle, avoid patches of leaves that might affect your traction. If you have no choice but to ride over the patch of leaves, use caution and avoid sudden turns or braking while you are passing over them.

Lastly, realize that leaves cover hazards you might see otherwise. For example, you might have a pile of leaves covering a pothole. As you drive over it, your front tire enters the pothole while the rest of your bike leaps forward – throwing you with it. Again, this is why it is best to avoid the pile of leaves if you can.

Cooler Temperatures Mean Cooler Concrete and Less Traction

Not only are your tires slightly firmer in the fall because of the colder temperatures, but the concrete and paved surfaces you drive on are cold too. Your tires eventually come up to temperature from friction as you drive, but this takes longer. When you stop, your tires cool faster, putting you where you were initially.

Cold tires and cold concrete mean less traction. When tires are not as pliable, they do not grip the surface of the road, which can make it harder for precise turns or even stops. Use caution and be aware that the maneuvers you do in the summer are dangerous in the fall.

Mud, Dirt, and Slick Surfaces

Fall means more dirt and mud from rainfall – even if it has not rained for a few days. You also are more likely to encounter slicker roadways. Also, with the already decreased traction from colder tires, you are at higher risk for an accident if you try to maneuver suddenly.

Unpredictable Weather

Anyone that lives in Chicago knows that the temperatures are not always as clear as the weather person would like you to believe. What is deemed a “partly cloudy” day might turn into a sprinkle or full out rainstorm.

Because weather is so unpredictable in the fall, you should bring along rain gear, including goggles, so that the weather does not affect your ability to ride safely. Bring gear that is waterproof, even if there is only a risk of a light misting.

Fall Means Deer Season Too

Illinois State Police specifically mention deer season as part of their motorcycle safety to-do list. This is because fall season means crops are harvested, and deer must move to other places to forage. Deer might cross the streets, and they may cross in front of a motorcycle. A collision with a motorcycle and deer is almost always tragic for both parties involved. Always scan the road and the sides of the road, looking for reflections. Deer eyes naturally reflect with the headlamps of your motorcycle, which help you better see them hiding off to the side.

Prime crossing times are dawn and dusk. So, if you are riding at these times, exercise additional caution.

Frost on the Roads

It might not be winter, but overnight the temperatures drop enough to promote frost. Even a thin layer of liquid can turn into frost that can result in a severe loss of traction and increase your chances of an accident. Stay in the center of the road or follow the path of vehicles in front of you because you are less likely to find sheets of ice here.

Furthermore, remember that under bridges and on highway entrances and exits you may find icy sheets.

Check Your Bike before Each Ride

Regardless of the season, you should be doing a safety check on your vehicle. You want to ensure that you have enough brake pads, that your lines are not leaking, and you are not low on any fluids. Furthermore, check the traction and air pressure of your tires before each ride. With the fluctuating temperatures, your tire pressure may naturally decrease overnight and require replenishment before you hit the road again.

Change Out Your Helmet Visor

The cold air you experience while riding is harsher on the eyes, which might limit visibility. Consider changing out your helmet’s visor to a full or half visor. Also, make sure you are wearing a properly fitted helmet.

Wear a Helmet – Even If the Law Says You Aren’t Required to Do So

Yes, Illinois is one of the few states that does not require a helmet, but that does not mean you should go out on the highway without one. Not only will a helmet save you from a serious, traumatic injury in an accident, but if you are in a crash, that helmet can prevent contributory negligence from reducing your settlement.

For example, you are in an accident but you did not wear a helmet. Most of your injuries are because of your choice to not wear a helmet. The law didn’t require you to wear one, which means you did not commit a crime. However, tort laws require that you do your part to avoid being injured (or increase your injuries) in an accident. Therefore, failing to wear a helmet means you contributed, in part, to your injuries. As a result, the court will reduce your settlement by the percentage they feel you are at fault for – which could be extensive, depending on the case.

Know When It’s Time to Store

It is equally important that you know when it is time to put away the bike until spring shows up. Once there are more frosty mornings, cooler temperatures, or the rainy season really kicks in, winter is just around the corner. Now is probably a safe time to winterize your bike and park it until it is safe for riding again.

After all, you do not want to be caught in a snow flurry while you are trying to ride home in rush-hour traffic on I-90. Anyone that drives or rides in the snow knows that those first snowfalls tend to increase accidents; it seems drivers must re-familiarize themselves with how to drive on slick surfaces once again.

Know Your Rights Following a Motorcycle Crash – Speak with an Attorney

You might be the safest, most prepared rider out there. But you can still be involved in a serious accident. When you are in a motorcycle accident, the injuries are almost always more severe. You could suffer from lacerations, TBI, crush injuries, internal organ damage, and more.

The medical costs to recover from your accident are likely to be extensive – even in a low-speed accident case. You could miss days, weeks, or be permanently unable to work. Your disability leaves you unable to provide for your family, pay for living expenses, and your quality of life suffers tremendously.

When you did not cause the accident, why suffer the financial consequences? Instead, speak with an injury advocate who will fight for your right to compensation.

Contact the attorneys at Malman Law for a free case evaluation. We are here 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help you with your case.

Schedule a free consultation now at 888-625-6265 or request more information online.

No one gets in his or her car, buckles up, and heads out on the road expecting to be involved in a collision.

However, accidents happen daily in the United States, and Chicago is no stranger to car accidents either.

The state of Illinois saw 83,392 car crashes alone in 2015, which tells you how frequently crashes occur. If you average that out per day, it was approximately 228 crashes daily in 2015.

It is hard to imagine what it is like to be involved in a collision, and the experience you have will still be unique, even if you and your neighbor both experience a rear-end collision. The type of accident will ultimately determine the trauma you might experience – but other factors such as the speed of each car, number of passengers, what was inside each vehicle, and additional outside factors influence what it is like to be involved in a crash.

Regardless, understanding what happens to your body in and after the accident is essential. Knowing this makes it more likely you will seek medical treatment, even if you feel like you are not injured. Furthermore, it helps you better understand why speaking to an accident attorney could prove to be beneficial – especially in more severe accidents.

What Chicago Drivers Might Experience If Involved in an Auto Accident

You often hear about what happens to your vehicle in an accident, and you might even see the crash tests where your car is slammed into a solid object and the test dummies come out unscathed. While they look okay, what happens to their body? After all, the average human is not made from high-impact absorbing plastic, and it often reacts differently than the standard dummy.

Apart from the injuries, there are emotions and memories you might notice in an accident as well.

First, we will discuss a few shared experiences you might have right before and during the crash:

Most Victims Never Forget

If you were to ask someone about their car accident a few years ago, they are likely to remember how they felt and certain details from the crash that are as clear as if they happened yesterday. Car accidents are extremely traumatic events; therefore, it is easy for a person to recall the details.

Furthermore, you can see why post-traumatic stress disorder is common after a car accident. A person can relive their incident, and they might even re-experience the emotions and fear each time they try to get in a car.

Most Victims Report the Moments before the Accident Were Slow

Instead of everything going by in a blur, most victims that saw the crash occurring will say that it was as if it were in slow motion. For example, they recall seeing a vehicle pull out in front of them, trying to hit the brakes, and what felt like a lifetime before the actual collision took place.

The Airbag Hurts More Than You Realize

One surprising realization is that airbags are not big fluffy cushions that protect you in a crash. In fact, they come out of the steering wheel and dashboard with gusto and can cause injuries themselves. However, hitting your head on the dash or wheel would cause more serious injuries than an airbag’s impact.

Most victims who have had the experience of an airbag going off in their face remember the smell (which is like gunpowder), the burning sensation, but may not remember what happened much after that.

Post-Impact, You Might Not Feel “There”

Car accidents release an enormous amount of adrenaline, which is your body’s natural response to the collision. Likewise, the impact of an airbag combined with going from a moving car to a stagnant position creates confusion. If you suffer a concussion or lose consciousness, you might feel even more out of it.

Some people realize instantly they were in an accident, while others take a few minutes to orient themselves and realize what has happened.

Seatbelt Mechanics

Seatbelts do save lives when they are worn properly. You are traveling down the highway at 65 miles per hour, which means your body is also traveling at that speed. Once you make an impact, you go from 65 miles per hour to 0 in seconds. Your body stops its momentum the moment the vehicle does if you wear your seatbelt.

However, if someone in the car is not wearing a seatbelt, they move around the vehicle and strike you or other passengers, which can cause serious injuries – including the fatalities of those who were seat belted in the car properly. Therefore, it is essential that everyone wear a seatbelt, regardless of age.

Neck Stiffness and Back Soreness

Some people report stiffness and soreness immediately after, while others feel nothing until that evening or even the next day when they wake up.

Remember that, while the airbag and seatbelt stopped you from moving, seatbelts come across the chest and over the shoulder but your head and neck still take a good jolt. This whipping motion might result in whiplash, which can be incredibly painful.

Head Trauma

The speed of the vehicle, items not secured in your car (including people), and the type of collision determine whether you experience head trauma. Head-on collisions might increase the risk for head trauma, including a traumatic brain injury because the impact of both vehicles traveling at similar speeds creates a catastrophic crash.

Your vehicle has head restraints on the back of each seat that are explicitly designed to keep your head from whipping backward and causing serious injury, including TBIs. However, if you do not adjust them properly, your head could still whip backward and you could suffer serious, if not catastrophic, injuries to your head, neck, and spinal cord.

Commonly Injured Areas

After the accident, you have a few areas that are prone to injury – some that might not be seen just by looking yourself over. These injuries are the reason it is vital to seek medical attention right away, regardless of how you feel. An emergency room physician is trained to diagnose a person after a car accident, and they can look for signs of injuries that you might not have symptoms of quite yet:

  • Chest Injuries – Chest injuries can be anything from a broken collarbone after an airbag impact to a crushed sternum. The force of body restraints can also cause serious chest injuries, such as broken ribs.
  • Abdominal Injuries – Stomach, spleen, intestines and other vital organs in the abdominal cavity could be injured minorly or majorly. You might have a bruised spleen, while other times, a spleen ruptures and requires emergency surgery.
  • Lacerations and Cuts – A common injury includes lacerations and cuts. These might be on your limbs, face, or other extremities. You could have lacerations from broken glass or objects moving around in the vehicle. Debris from the car as it breaks apart can also cause lacerations. Some of these cuts are minor, while others might require stitches.
  • Fractures and Breaks – Bone fractures and breaks are equally common. You might fracture your fingers, hand, or wrist on the airbag; you could also suffer a more severe injury like a pelvic fracture. Depending on the position of your legs and feet in the crash, you may have a broken leg, ankle, or foot.
  • Internal Bleeding – Internal bleeding is not something you feel. Often, by the time you show symptoms, you are already in a serious, life-threatening situation. The endorphins released post-accident will mask symptoms of internal bleeding, including pain or bloating.

Paying for the Medical Costs, Post-Accident – How an Attorney Helps

After a severe car accident, you might have one or a few of the injuries listed above. If you did not cause that accident, why should you take on the burden of paying for your medical bills, trying to cover expenses when you cannot work, or worrying about how you will provide for your loved ones now that you are disabled?

An accident attorney can help you with these issues by negotiating with insurance companies or aggressively seeking damages from the at-fault party through a personal injury lawsuit. Injury attorneys, like those at Malman Law, are advocates. They know that their clients did not cause the accident, and they work hard to seek compensation for medical costs, lost wages, disability, pain, and suffering.

If you experienced a serious motor vehicle accident and you would like to understand your rights, speak with one of our attorneys today during a free case evaluation. Call 888-625-6265 to schedule your consultation 24/7 or send us a message online

After a car accident, you might walk away assuming that you did nothing wrong; therefore, the other guy is at fault.

Unfortunately, determining fault is not as simple as your word. Instead, an insurance company and law enforcement assess the accident site and the factors surrounding the case to determine who is at fault.

Even more surprising is the fact that you and the other driver might both be at fault. When that happens, contributory negligence laws will take over and your compensation value decreases based on how much fault is apportioned to you.

To determine fault appropriately, including whether you are at fault or the other party, you need to know the processes used and your state’s requirements.

car accident infographic

Who Determines Fault?

When you hear the term “fault,” you are dealing with the insurance’s assignment of liability. That means the insurance claims adjuster will investigate the accident and see which party is liable. The liable party is the financially responsible party.

The Role of the Claims Adjuster for Determining Fault

A claims adjuster investigates after you report the accident to your insurance company. They determine who is at fault. And even if they work for your insurer, they can find you liable.

The adjuster reviews all of the evidence, including the police report. Sometimes the police report will indicate who caused the accident or any citations issued to point the adjuster in the right direction.

Instances Where Fault Is without a Doubt

While your claims adjuster gets the final say on whom they feel is at fault, there are instances of no-doubt liability. These types of accidents almost always have the same party assigned fault; therefore, they are relatively easy to wrap up for a claims adjuster.

These instances include:

Rear-End Collisions

In most cases, the party that rear-ends another car is at fault. Unless the leading car’s carelessness contributed to the accident, the vehicle that rear-ends was following too close and not exercising caution. In this case, insurers would find them liable.

Exceptions to Rear-End Collisions

As stated before, you could be liable even if you are rear-ended by another car. For example, your brake lights were out, which made it impossible for the following car to see you slow or come to a sudden stop.

Another example would be when you cut off a driver and then hit the brakes. In this case, you already cut the other vehicle off, giving them little time to put space between the bumpers.

Left Turn Collisions

When you are driving straight through an intersection and the vehicle coming in the opposite direction turns left in front of you, resulting in a collision, it is usually their fault.

Instances Where Left Turn Collision Rules Change

The rules can change for these types of accidents, and you could be at fault if you:

  • Were speeding through the intersection – making it difficult for the other driver to estimate your speed;
  • Ran a red light; or
  • The other driver had to suddenly slow or maneuver to avoid someone else who was recklessly driving – hitting you as a result.

The Factors of Contribution

Lastly, a claims adjuster will consider all the factors and how each party contributed to the accident. Questions they might ask themselves include:

  • What was the speed limit of both parties?
  • Who had the legal right-of-way at the time?
  • Were either party under the influence at the time?
  • Did either party receive a traffic citation?
  • What do the witness statements say about each party’s role in the accident?
  • Were there dangerous weather conditions that might have contributed?
  • Did anyone admit to fault at the accident scene?

Comparative Negligence – Are You Both Liable?

In Illinois, the modified comparative negligence laws apply when both parties are at fault.

Using the modified rule, the courts would consider the degree of fault by the plaintiff and compare that to the defendant. As long as you are under 51 percent at fault, you can still collect compensation. If you are more than 51 percent, the court bars you from filing a claim.

Furthermore, the percentage of fault assigned to you will deduct from your compensation.

For example, you are awarded $100,000 but you are also found 25 percent at fault. In this case, your $100,000 would be reduced by 25 percent – or $25,000. Therefore, you would only receive $75,000.

Leave the Fight over Fault to the Professionals

If you were involved in a severe car accident, the last thing you should worry about is who is at fault or fighting the insurance company when they try to put part of the blame on you.

Instead, speak with an accident attorney to explore your rights and get the compensation you deserve. Contact the team at Malman Law today by calling our office or requesting further information online.

Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, are not an annoyance; they are a severe health and safety risk that are entirely preventable.

Bed sores affect those who are confined to the same position for long periods, especially comatose patients who cannot reposition themselves and rely solely on their caretakers for movement. Pressure ulcers can happen if there is friction or pressure on a specific area of the body (usually bony areas), and the sores continue to form if the patient is not repositioned.

Typically, pressure ulcers form on elbows, knees, ankles, heels, and the lower back. They are entirely treatable, but also preventable. When a patient develops sores and those sores are allowed to remain untreated, the nursing home or individual responsible for caring for the patient can be held legally responsible for their actions.

Preventing Bed Sores in Comatose Patients in Chicago-Area Care Centers – Yes, It Can Be Done

Whether you have a loved one in a nursing home, hospital, or they are being cared for at home by a nursing service, there is no excuse for bed sores. Furthermore, there is no excuse for these sores to continue past Stage 1 where they pose serious health risks to the patient.

Intensive care units in the US see an average of 16.6 to 20.7 percent of their patients developing pressure sores. And because they are so common, it is imperative that family members be proactive and ensure their loved one is repositioned frequently to avoid them.

Risk Factors for Pressure Sores

Certain risk factors increase the likelihood a patient will develop pressure ulcers, which include:

  • Limited or no mobility. A patient in a coma has no mobility. Therefore, they are at high risk of developing a bed sore because they cannot reposition themselves to avoid continuous pressure on the skin.
  • Health conditions. Certain health conditions might thin the skin, create blood circulation issues, or weaken a patient’s immune system – all of which can increase the chances for them developing pressure sores.
  • Poor hygiene. Comatose patients rely heavily on their caretakers to bathe them, change them, and clean them if they soil themselves. If a patient is allowed to remain soiled, urine and feces can degrade the skin and increase the risk of a pressure sore as well as become a serious infection if there is already an open sore present.

How to Prevent Bed Sores in Comatose Patients

Pressure ulcers are preventable by following a few tips. Any nursing care facility that specializes in the care of a comatose patient should have protocols in place to inspect for and treat pressure sores (which can develop in a matter of hours) and to prevent ulcers from happening.

Some ways to prevent bed sores from forming include:

  • Repositioning Every Couple of Hours: Comatose patients should be repositioned every couple of hours (sometimes as little as every 30 minutes) and throughout the day to reduce their risk of developing these sores. Repositioning might mean moving them from their back, to the right side, then to the left side, and so forth. Using pillows and propping devices will ensure that their weight does not drag them back down to a position that they were already in.
  • Keep the Skin Dry, Clean, and Sanitized: The cleaner the patient’s skin is, the less likely they are to develop an ulcer. Comatose patients should be bathed regularly using warm water and mild soap. Their skin must be pat dry because any moisture that remains can lead to sores, too. Frequently changing their bedsheets, inspecting for any leaks from the catheter, and changing diapers are equally important.
  • Using Water Beds: Some facilities implemented the use of water beds because they provide uniform pressure, but without pressure points being irritated. While these are expensive, they can be beneficial for those lying down for extended periods of time.
  • Foam Cushions: Using foam cushions under a patient might also provide equal pressure without irritating bony areas of the body.
  • Using Pillows in Between Irritated Areas: Pillows can prevent bed sores by reducing pressure. For example, a comatose patient moved to their side can have a pillow placed in between their knees and ankles to reduce burden on those bony points.
  • Exercise: Comatose patients should still receive exercise. This includes helping move parts of their body to promote blood circulation and keep the muscles from weakening. Most hospitals use physiotherapy for their comatose patients a few times per week, including movement and massage.
  • Avoid Certain Clothing: Most comatose patients are kept in hospital gowns. But if they are dressed, avoid clothes that have buttons, zippers, or thick seams. Clothes should not be too tight either, because this can restrict blood flow.
  • Air Mattress Pads: Another preventative method is the use of an air mattress pad when foam or water beds are unavailable. The air mattress pad works similarly to waterbeds by creating equal pressure.

Recognizing and Treating Bed Sores Is Equally Important

If proper prevention techniques are used and the patient still develops pressure ulcers, it is imperative that they are caught and treated right away. Once pressure ulcers reach a certain point, they become untreatable and fatal.

Bed sores have four distinct phases, with the first and second being the least dangerous while the third and fourth can be life-threatening.

Stage One Bed Sore

Stage one sores are a mild irritation and sometimes missed by inexperienced caregivers. Those with experience caring for bedridden or comatose patients would recognize a stage one wound because they are trained to know what to look for.

Stage one sores affect the upper layers of the skin and have not entered deeper tissue or bone. The spot might feel different from the surrounding skin, such as being softer or firmer. It also might have a red irritation to it, but a full sore has not formed yet.

Stage one sores can clear up in two to three days with proper treatment. This is a critical time frame for caregivers to take proper measures to keep the sore from becoming worse.

Stage Two Bed Sore

By stage two, the sore has developed deeper in the skin layers. It is obvious there is a sore now because the skin is open and might even have a pus-filled blister. Around the sore, you may notice redness, warmth, and skin swelling.

Now is the time for the sore to be treated immediately. While it should have been caught and treated in stage one, stage two sores are apparent, even to the untrained eye. There is no excuse for not seeing these sores on a comatose patient.

Stage Three Bed Sore

Unfortunately, many nursing home patients do not receive the care they need, and eventually their stage two sore turns into stage three. Stage three sores move through the second layer of skin and enter the fat tissues.

Now the sore looks more like a crater, and it is likely infected at this point so a foul odor is present. Stage three sores cannot be treated by nursing home staff alone. Instead, they require physician intervention. Often antibiotics are necessary to treat underlying infections, and dead tissue around the sore is removed to prevent further tissue death.

Sadly, stage three sores will require daily care and take one to four months to heal, which means the chance of further infection is likely.

Stage Four Bed Sore

Stage four bed sores are the most serious and unnecessary. A pressure ulcer should never be allowed to progress to stage four where muscles, ligaments, fatty tissues, and skin are all affected. The infection is more likely to enter the blood at this point, resulting in sepsis and sometimes a more serious condition known as septic shock.

Bone infections can also occur once the sore reaches stage four. Any stage four pressure ulcer requires hospital treatment. And most of the time, these wounds need surgical correction. Most stage four pressure ulcers take three months to a year to heal – sometimes longer if the patient has a health condition that affects circulation or their immune system.

A Patient’s Legal Rights When Bed Sores Occur

In a nursing home setting, the patients there (including those who are comatose) have an expected standard of care. Their family has placed them in that nursing home under the assumption that, in return for payment, the nursing home staff will meet the daily care needs of their loved one. This includes repositioning throughout the day to avoid deadly bed sores.

When your loved one develops a bed sore due to inadequate staffing or they develop a life-threatening infection because nursing home staff failed to seek medical treatment, you have the right to hold the nursing home and their team responsible.

To explore your option and advocate for a loved one who cannot do so themselves, contact the attorneys at Malman Law.

We are here to fight for your right to compensation aggressively, and we hold nursing homes responsible so that patients under their care receive the treatment they deserve.

Schedule your free consultation now at 888-625-6265 or request further information about our services online.

At some point in your life, you are likely to find yourself injured by another person. Not that they planned to harm you, but their negligence caused an accident, which in turn led to your injury.

Whether you were in an auto accident on 79th Street or you slipped on the floor of your local farmer’s market, these injuries have left you burdened with extensive medical costs and no way to pay them off. In some cases, you might be permanently disabled and unable to return to work. If you did not cause the accident, you might explore the idea of filing an injury claim against the party that did.

Personal injury claims compensate you for your losses. To file a complaint, you need to know the proper procedures, including where to file your claim. Ideally, you should speak with an injury attorney. Personal injury cases are more than filing the case with the civil court and receiving compensation.

Instead, you might find yourself going up against an insurance company and a team of attorneys ready to fight against your claim. If you want to increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve, talking to an attorney might help.

Filing an Injury Lawsuit in Chicago, Illinois

In Illinois, if you are seriously injured and want to file a claim for compensation, you must do so within two years from the date of the accident. The Illinois statute of limitations protects people from being named as defendants in injury claims years after the fact – but in a way, they protect you too. They ensure that you file your claim quickly so that witnesses still remember what they saw, and evidence is always available to prove your case.

Once the two-year mark passes, you cannot file a lawsuit. If you were to try, the judge would dismiss the case.

Deciding Which Court to File In

Where you file depends on factors like the compensation value, whether you were in Chicago at the time of the accident, and if you are a Chicago resident.

At the Cook County Circuit Courts’ Civil Division, you can file a claim if the case involves compensation of $30,000 or less. If your case seeks damages over $30,000, you must file within the Law Division of the Cook County Circuit Court. Any branch allows for filing as long as you meet the filing requirements.

Drafting a Complaint

To file a case with the court, you must first write your complaint. This is your official document that explains your legal basis for filing the lawsuit. Your complaint is not a novel; instead, it is succinct and to the point. You must be specific enough to show the defendant that you are serious and have evidence proving your case. Your complaint is filed, and you pay a fee for filing the case with the court.

Once you file, you are not done. The complaint is only the first step. Afterward, you must also serve the defendant, keep proper documentation that they were served, and wait for their response. If you are injured, handling the filing and serving is a burden that is unnecessary. You should be focusing on your recovery instead of waiting in line at the County Clerk’s office to file a claim or hunting down a defendant to serve them.

Understanding Your Injury Case’s Requirements

Injury claims are based on negligence.

Negligence refers to the defendant’s failure to provide a standard of care, and that failure to exercise the acceptable standard caused your injury.

The burden of proof in an injury case lies on the plaintiff (the victim). You must prove, using a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant was negligent and their negligence led to the accident, which caused your injuries.

The preponderance of evidence works like a scale. One side of the scale is the defendant; the other side is the plaintiff. Your amount of evidence must tip the scale onto your side, showing that your evidence is stronger compared to the counter-evidence provided by the defense.

While this sounds simple enough, this is only part of the battle. The obligations of the plaintiff extend much further than you might realize – only furthering the burden you experience when you attempt to represent yourself.

Getting Evidence Accepted

You know that the burden of proof is on you to show, using a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant:

  • Was negligent;
  • The defendant’s negligence was the cause of the accident;
  • The accident was the cause of your injuries; and
  • You suffered injuries.

While this sounds simple, realize that you must successfully get the evidence entered at court. The defense might enter a motion to have some of your proof excluded, especially if you did not follow proper protocol when obtaining it or entering it.

The evidence is crucial in an injury claim. Not only do you need evidence to establish the defendant’s fault, but you rely on it to prove the damages you have requested, too. Any evidence excluded due to successful motions by the defense harms your case and makes it that much harder to prove.

Knowing Courtroom Procedure

The courtroom is an official place where each side presents evidence, argues to the court, and follows specific procedures. Attorneys know the protocols because they were trained for them, but also, they practice with each case they take on. Most have years of experience at trial – something you cannot compare with when you represent yourself.

Therefore, you must realize that the other side is likely to have an attorney, especially if you have named the insurance company as a defendant or the amount is more than $30,000 in damages.

The judge will not excuse your lack of knowledge of courtroom procedures. Therefore, not knowing how to enter evidence, address the court, enter a motion, or object could be detrimental to your case.

Fighting Claims of Comparative Negligence

A common defense strategy is to put as much of the blame on the plaintiff as possible so that the defense can at least reduce the compensation they pay. Illinois adopted the modified comparative negligence laws. This means the fault is divided by party and damages reduced based on the percentage of fault.

If the court finds the plaintiff more than 50 percent at fault, they cannot seek compensation. While you might have enough evidence to prove that you are not more than 50 percent at fault, do you have evidence to counterclaims that you are 10 or even 20 percent at fault?

Realize that the court reduces your compensation – the funds you need to pay medical costs, cover expenses when you cannot work, and more – by your fault percentage. Losing 10 percent of your compensation could be detrimental.

For example, you are awarded $100,000, but the court found you 10 percent liable. Therefore, they reduce the compensation by $10,000. That is $10,000 that you cannot use to pay for your living expenses while you are recovering from your injuries or $10,000 that you cannot use to buy a new car, replace personal items damaged, or cover medical costs.

An injury attorney is prepared for the comparative fault defense strategy. They prepare arguments, evidence, and are ready to fight back when the defense tries this common strategy.

The Benefits of Hiring an Injury Attorney

Hiring an attorney can benefit you in numerous ways. Not only will you have someone there ready to handle the courtroom protocols, fight back against claims of comparative negligence, and argue on your behalf, but you have an advocate who is there to fight for your rights.

Just some advantages to using an attorney over trying to file a personal injury claim alone include:

  • Higher settlement values. Plaintiffs that file their lawsuits with attorneys tend to see a higher settlement than if they negotiate one alone. Attorneys know how much a case is worth, and they also are skilled negotiators who know how to present the evidence so that they get the results their client needs.
  • More time to focus on healing. You were seriously injured in an accident. You need time to rest, recover, and not worry about making deadlines. With an attorney, you do not have to handle the paperwork; instead, you have a team working for you to settle your case.
  • Less stress overall. Filing an injury claim, dealing with insurance companies, and handling meetings can be stressful. While you are recovering from a severe injury, the last thing you need is more stress. An attorney eases the pressures on you and your loved ones by handling the tasks, dealing with insurance companies, and ensuring you get compensation quickly.

Schedule a Consultation Today

After a serious accident, you need an attorney equally serious about getting you the compensation you deserve. Speak with an attorney from Malman Law today to explore your options. We have been offering our legal services for more than 25 years, and we are more than happy to meet with you for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Discuss your case risk-free at 888-625-6265, or request more information about our services online.

Most car accidents happen because of driver error, but there are those rare instances when a defect with the vehicle causes the accident.

When defective car parts are on the road, serious (if not fatal) accidents can occur. Worse, if the manufacturer does not issue a recall for those defective products, no one will know there is an issue until several accidents happen.

It is essential for motorists to take their vehicle in for regular maintenance and especially when a recall is issued.

Furthermore, owners must know the common defects that can lead to accidents so they can make sure their car is safe to drive.

What Is Considered a Defect and What Should Chicago Drivers Know about Them?

A car might develop (or be made with) a defective component. Unlike your average consumer product, a defect in a vehicle can be dangerous – if not catastrophic. Vehicle defects can lead to severe accidents, injuries, and they do not care how cautious the motorist is at the time. Drivers have limited control over whether a defect causes a crash.

There are instances where owners can be at-fault for defects, too, such as not maintaining their car. For example, a driver knew their brakes were faulty but refused to replace them anyway. By continuing to drive with brakes that were inadequate, they caused the defect and would be at fault instead of the manufacturer.

What Are the Most Common Types of Defects

Defects take many forms, but the most common type of vehicle defects seen in accidents include:

Defective Tires

Defective tires have gained more attention in the past few years, especially after the Bridgestone and Firestone tire recalls in the early 2000s. These tire recalls were the two largest in history, and only recalled after the company acknowledged that at high speeds their products might disintegrate and lead to fatal accidents.

The Firestone defects alone led to several hundred injuries, but even non-publicized defects could be out there. Defects could be from a single tire, a component of that tire, or poor maintenance by the owner of the vehicle.

As a driver, you should have your tires checked throughout the year, rotate them per the owner’s manual, and replace them when necessary.

Suspension Defects

Your vehicle relies heavily on the suspension system. And when that system is not working properly, serious injuries may occur. Most of the time, a car will give off signs that it has a faulty suspension. Signs like uneven wear on your tire tread, bouncing during driving, or a pulling/drifting sensation while you drive.

Powertrain Failure

Your car’s powertrain is the main driving force of that vehicle. It includes the engine, drive shaft, transmission, and other components supplying power so that your vehicle moves. When your powertrain fails, you could be in the middle of the freeway – increasing the chances of a high-speed impact.

Your vehicle will give signs that there is a powertrain failure, including frequent repairs, puddles of oil underneath, and warning lights.

Total Steering Failures

Your steering system is one of the most critical components for safety. If you cannot maneuver your vehicle, you cannot turn or avoid traffic, which might cause an accident.

Steering failures take many forms, and most show signs long before they fail.

Your steering might make high-pitched squealing as you turn the wheel, you may notice a delayed response, the steering could give out from time to time, or you notice your wheel is unusually stiff while turning.

Defective Brakes

A safety component that no driver wants to have fail in their car is their braking system. Brake defects are one of the most dangerous defects you can have happen, and they also contribute to a high number of motor vehicle accidents each year.

You may have warnings of pending failure, while other times, your vehicle doesn’t warn you at all. Common indicators of failing brakes are brake lights which are continuously lit, grinding or squealing, changes to how your brake pedals respond, or sluggish response.

Airbag Defects

Sometimes, a defect doesn’t cause an accident, but it causes serious injury in an accident. Airbag defects, for example, can be catastrophic. The airbag is supposed to save your life. But in some instances, they might not deploy in the collision, deploy at the wrong time, or emit debris that causes serious injury.

Defects that Occur During Accidents

For example, a roof that collapses during a rollover crash that should not have is a defect. As I mentioned before, an airbag that doesn’t deploy when it should during an accident is a defect.

These types of defects can be especially devastating, because car owners have no way to tell that they are at risk until they are involved in a severe accident – and by then it is too late.

Can You Sue a Manufacturer for an Auto Defect Accident?

Yes, you can hold manufacturers accountable.

However, you would need to determine liability. Automobile manufacturers and the companies that manufacture those parts owe a duty to the public to ensure that all of the products they sell are safe. If a product has a risk, they are required by law to notify the public of that risk – whether that risk is known at the time of the product’s release or later.

When a manufacturer fails to fulfill this duty, the injured party may file a lawsuit against the company under a product liability lawsuit.

With a product liability lawsuit, you have the right to hold the manufacturer accountable for your injuries and seek damages (compensation).

Who Is Liable?

When you have a product liability case, the first hurdle is determining who is liable. Often, in cases of product liability, there are multiple parties at fault.

The potential parties for a lawsuit include:

  • The Manufacturer of the Vehicle: The most apparent party is the one that created and manufactured the vehicle. This would be the brand behind the name.
  • The Manufacturer of the Defective Part: While a car is assembled and sold under a name, they are not the sole maker of all the vehicle components. Therefore, you may have a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the elements that were defective. Take the Takata airbag lawsuit, for example. Toyota vehicles were affected, but Toyota did not make the defective airbag. Instead, they purchased it from a third party.
  • The Dealership: Dealerships might not make the vehicles, but they are still responsible for ensuring the cars they sell are safe.

The Conditions Required for a Defective Automobile Lawsuit

Like any product liability case, you must meet specific criteria to file your lawsuit. To have a valid claim, the three following conditions must be met:

  • Unreasonably Dangerous Defect was Present: You must show that one of the vehicle’s components or the entire vehicle was unreasonably dangerous, and that the unreasonable condition injured you.
  • Manufacturer Should Have Known of the Danger: The manufacturer should have reasonably known about the defect and the risk of injury.
  • The Defect was the Direct Cause of the Accident and Your Injuries: The defect must be the reason for the car accident. If it turns out your car has a defect but the accident was unrelated to that defect, you cannot sue the manufacturer for your damages.

What Damages Might I Receive for a Claim?

The damages you receive in a car accident involving a manufacturer defect depend on several factors. To start, it will depend on the type of defect and whether the defect caused the crash.

Some of the average compensation seen in these accidents include:

  • Medical Expenses: Medical expenses include all treatments, prescriptions, equipment, surgeries, hospitalizations, and ambulance fees associated with your injury. Any specialists you see are also included. You might receive compensation for chiropractic care, but it will depend on the nature of your injuries and other medical treatments you received as well. Any future medical expenses you might have from the injury can also be included in the settlement. If you will require long-term medical care (including rehabilitation, physical therapy, or psychotherapy), you can receive compensation to cover those costs.
  • Lost Wages: Naturally, a car accident removes you from work for several days or weeks. Sometimes, you are permanently disabled and cannot return to work as you once did. You will receive compensation for the amount of time you took off work to recover. Furthermore, if you cannot work in the same position, same number of hours, or you are permanently disabled and cannot work at all, you receive compensation for the lost earning capacity.
  • Pain and Suffering: It is hard to put a dollar amount on a person’s pain and suffering, but you do receive compensation for any physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional trauma resulting from the accident. Pain and suffering damages are typically calculated based on the trauma, severity of the injury, and how long that injury might affect you. Medical experts will testify on your behalf to help justify the compensation you request in this category.

Speak with an Attorney for Your Accident – Right Away

If you suspect that a vehicle defect has caused your automobile accident, you need to consult with an attorney. Product liability claims are complicated. And when you are going up against the resources of a vehicle manufacturer, you need an attorney that has experience handling these types of cases.

The advocates at Malman Law can help you with your case. We have represented clients in car accidents and product liability claims. We know how to negotiate with big corporations, and we will help you succeed with your case. Schedule a no-obligation case evaluation with our attorneys today by calling our office or ask us a question online.

No one goes through life expecting to be in an accident.

So, it is not uncommon for individuals to be under-informed about the process of filing a claim or even their rights. Unfortunately, this paves the way for myths to seep into our brains and make us assume things that are not true – and sometimes can derail our chances of receiving compensation entirely.

While there is nothing wrong with turning to friends and family for advice, you must realize that if they have not been in an accident, they might be using the information they have heard elsewhere and not always from a reliable source.

The best way to receive accurate information is to contact an accident attorney – like those at Malman Law.

Our advocates educate our clients on their rights and what to expect from the accident claim process, including what may occur if we proceed with a lawsuit. We advise anyone who has been in an accident to contact an attorney and schedule a consultation.

While you wait for that appointment, let us go over the common car accident myths and the facts you should know.

Common Car Accident Myths Chicago Injury Attorneys Need to Set Straight

Myths are out there for just about anything in life – and car accidents are no different.

Whether it is the accident itself, the insurance claims process later, or filing a lawsuit, be informed about car accidents here in Chicago by understanding these common myths and the real truth.

Myth #1: Your Insurance Company Works for You – They Will Resolve the Claim with the Other Party’s Insurance

In theory, you pay your insurance company, you are the client, so that must mean that they work for you.

In reality, it is rarely the case.

Even if your insurance company calls you saying that they will fight for your compensation and resolve the issue, you must realize all insurance companies have a single goal: to preserve their bottom line. The more time they invest, and the more money they pay out, the less money in their company reserves.

Your insurance company is legally obligated to provide payments when requested, but they are still a business. And like all businesses, they drive on profits. Treating your insurance company as though they are a friend or family member working for you is the biggest mistake you can make.

Insurance companies avoid liability at all costs. They have no problem using tricks and legal maneuvers to get out of paying for a claim, and they will gladly take advantage of anyone trying to negotiate a settlement without professional help.

When your insurance company or the other side offers you a settlement, realize that the amount offered is likely much less than what you deserve. The only issue is it could take you a few months or years afterwards to figure that out – and by then it is too late.

Myth #2: Any Personal Injury Attorney Can File a Lawsuit and Help Me Get Compensation

Yes, any attorney can technically file a lawsuit and seek compensation.

However, the amount of compensation, the time it takes, and the results vary, depending on the quality of representation you have.

One attorney might have just as much experience handling injury claims as another, but their record for settlement amounts and success can vary significantly from another. Also, whether they are willing to go to court or not matters in the eyes of an insurance company.

If the insurance company knows an attorney is unlikely to take them to court, they will push that attorney around until they settle – and the person that suffers here is the victim. On the other hand, if an insurance company knows an attorney has experience and will go to trial if necessary, they are more likely to settle out of court for the amount you need.

Do not hire the first attorney you find. Instead, consider all your options, have consultations with a few, and hire the one that not only has a good reputation but one you are comfortable with as well.

Myth #3: The Accident Was Minor, I Don’t Need a Police Report or to File a Claim

Leaving the scene of the accident or not reporting an accident not only hurts your case later but might result in criminal charges, too.

You cannot leave the scene of an accident when property damage is more than $500 – which is the case for most fender benders. Furthermore, you might not feel injured at the time, but even a rear-end collision with minimal vehicle damage could result in painful injuries. The only catch is that these injuries don’t manifest right away (sometimes days).

If you do not take the right steps at the scene of the accident, you could face numerous issues when you are ready to file a lawsuit or request compensation from your insurance company.

Any time you are in an accident, regardless of the injuries you may feel, you need to do the following:

  • Pull over and assess. Make sure everyone in your car, as well as in the other car, are okay and no one needs immediate medical attention.
  • Call the police and report the accident.
  • Get the other party’s insurance and contact information and give them yours for reference.
  • Take photographs of the accident scene if you can. You’ll want pictures of the area, the condition of the vehicles, and your injuries.
  • Talk to the police and give them a statement, but never admit fault.
  • See a doctor right away – even if you feel fine. The human body is notorious for masking pain as a survival mechanism, but that doesn’t mean you are without injuries. You could have traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, or even something minor like soft tissue damage. The issue is that these injuries will manifest symptoms later – and by then, you could be too late.

Myth #4: I Feel Fine, So I Don’t Need a Doctor

After the initial accident and even a few days later, you feel fine.

The reality is that car accident injuries can take time to manifest. Traumatic brain injuries, soft tissue injuries, back injuries, nerve damage, and other complications take some time to display. Without diagnostic testing, you might not realize the severity of your injuries until days after the incident.

Regardless of how you feel at the accident, you need to see a physician. If you do not want to incur the costs of an emergency room visit, you can see your family physician and make sure everything is okay. Furthermore, if you notice pain (even slightly) after the accident, you should seek treatment to make sure nothing more serious is going on.

If you see the doctor, follow all treatment plans they give you as well. In the event you file a lawsuit later, failure to follow through with doctors’ orders could result in the court not approving all medical costs you request compensation for.

Myth #5: All Auto Accident Laws Are the Same – Regardless of Where You Live

Every state has different auto accident laws, because these agencies run how car insurance is sold in their state.

Filing a car insurance claim itself is complicated, and it becomes more complicated if you don’t know your state laws. Some states allow no-fault insurance, but Illinois is not one of those states. Instead, accidents in Illinois fall under fault laws, which means the financial responsibility for the accident falls on the party who caused the crash.

Hire the Right Attorney for Your Accident

No one wants to be the victim of a car accident. But when it happens, you want to rest assured you have an advocate by your side ready to fight for you and your right to compensation.

You want an experienced attorney that handles car accident claims, like the advocates at Malman Law.

Our attorneys understand how confusing it can be after an accident. We also know that information from all sides (family, friends, co-workers, and the internet) can become confusing.

We are here to advise you on your rights, walk you through the process of filing a claim, and negotiate the compensation you need so that you can cover your expenses.

We help our clients receive compensation for:

  • Medical expenses – including any future medical care related to your accident
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity (in the event you cannot work because of your injuries)
  • Loss of enjoyment after a disabling injury
  • Loss of companionship when a loved one dies because of their accident injury

To get started, meet with one of our attorneys for a no obligation case evaluation. Schedule an appointment now at 888-625-6265. You can also ask our team a question online by completing the online contact form.

Nursing homes are required by state and federal laws to provide their patients with a specific level of care. That care includes basic necessities like food, water, and hygiene.

Dehydration in a nursing home resident often indicates nursing home neglect or abuse.

If you suspect that your loved one has been deprived or that they suffer from dehydration, you must educate yourself about what causes this condition and whether it is a case of neglect and abuse.

Understanding the Issue of Dehydration in Chicago Nursing Homes – Is It Abuse or Neglect?

The human body needs hydration, and nursing home residents should receive proper nutrition and hydration so that they can maintain the right level of health. Nursing home residents typically have a higher hydration requirement, because the medications they take could result in medical conditions that demand more fluids.

Sometimes, a nursing home resident’s physical or mental condition makes it hard for them to monitor their water intake, which is why nursing home staff should do it for them. When you pay for a nursing home to care for your loved one, they are obligated to maintain their health – that includes giving them access to water or using intravenous supplements to ensure hydration.

Can You Sue for Dehydration?

A resident who suffers from dehydration could encounter a serious medical condition or die from it. Nursing homes are responsible for maintaining resident hydration. Therefore, family members may consider holding that nursing home accountable if their family member becomes ill or dies from dehydration.

Cases for dehydration, which are typically classified as neglect, require that family members establish four primary elements. These elements show that the nursing home owed a duty of care and breached the duty of care that ultimately led to the patients’ injuries or death.

Determining a required level of care comes down to the state and federal expectations of that nursing home and the attention that the individual would have received if another facility treated them.

The Elements Required for Proving Dehydration in a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Claim

If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect, the next step would be to prove that you have a valid claim against the facility.

This starts by proving the four elements:

1. The Nursing Home Owed a Duty of Care

First, you must show that the nursing home owed your loved one a duty of care and that they were legally obligated to fulfill those duties stemming from state and federal laws along with their contractual obligations.

One duty all nursing homes must comply with is providing nutrition and hydration to their patients – especially those who have an additional need for hydration or cannot monitor their hydration themselves.

2. The Nursing Home Breached Their Duty of Care

Next, you must show that the nursing home breached their duty of care by showing that they did not have the adequate staff count to care for patients, or they have a history of patients suffering from dehydration and other health complications. During discovery, your nursing home neglect attorney will look for records that show how much assistance your loved one received, the visits documented by aides, and water intake monitored by the staff. Then your attorney may be able to demonstrate that nursing home caregivers did not have the time to monitor or administer liquids adequately.

3. Creating a Connection Between the Breach and Injury

The third element is known as causation. Causation is the tie between the breach and the injury or illness. Basically, you must show that the breach of duty was the direct cause of your loved one’s injury or medical complication.

The nursing home might argue that your loved one’s dehydration stems from their medical condition – not a lack of care. Your attorney will counter argue against this by showing that the nursing home’s neglect was the direct cause of their dehydration and associated complications.

Documenting your loved one’s dehydration and using independent medical evaluations should be enough to prove that the nursing home failed to fulfill their obligations to your loved one. Also, documenting symptoms (including skin elasticity, lowered vital signs, and low blood pressure) can help prove that dehydration was present, and the nursing home staff failed to diagnose and treat it.

4. Damages

Even if you have the three elements, you still must show that you or your loved one suffered damages because of the breach of duty. Damages come in numerous forms, but the most common for a nursing home neglect case include:

  • Medical Costs – It is likely your loved one will encounter medical costs as a direct result of their dehydration. These medical costs could consist of everything from hospitalization to IV fluids to medications. They may require long-term care following medical complications from dehydration – only adding to your family’s out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Pain and Suffering – Dehydration is unlikely to be the only type of neglect your loved one received. They could also be malnourished, suffer from bedsores, or have other medical complications as a direct result of this neglect. All of these conditions lead to physical pain, mental anguish, and long-term emotional suffering.
  • Wrongful Deaths – If your loved one passes away due to the horrific conditions provided by their nursing home, you might be entitled to compensation for that death, including compensation for funeral costs, loss of companionship, and more.

What Evidence Do You Need to Prove Your Case?

Proving that dehydration occurred from negligence or abuse is not easy. You should consult with a nursing home abuse attorney first to explore your options, because an attorney can help collect evidence and knows what evidence they need to prove their case. Some of the evidence that might help prove your claim includes:

  • Medical Records: Your loved one’s medical records, especially when they receive treatment for the dehydration, will indicate the level of dehydration at the time of their admittance. It will also discuss their prognosis, complications that resulted from the dehydration, and whether outside factors played a role.
  • Expert Witnesses: Often a physician’s testimony is required to prove negligence or abuse happened. Expert witnesses in these cases are usually physicians who can testify that the victim’s conditions were caused by dehydration, and how medical staff at the nursing home should have recognized the signs of dehydration and corrected it.
  • Nursing Home Records: Nursing home records for the victim and records regarding past inspections and licenses can be used to prove abuse. Histories of complaints, citations for health and safety violations, employment records, and the care file for the victim can also show how a lack of staffing, attention, and inadequate training led to the victim’s illnesses.
  • Witness Testimony: Aside from expert witnesses, your attorney might contact other residents, their family, or employees in the nursing home who will testify to the conditions and how the victim’s dehydration occurred.

Do You Suspect Abuse? Contact an Abuse Attorney Right Away

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from dehydration and you think the dehydration stems from abuse or neglect, contact an abuse attorney immediately to explore your options.

The attorneys at Malman Law understand how stressful and confusing this can be for your entire family. Let us serve as your advocates in your case. We will investigate, collect evidence, and aggressively fight for your right to compensation. Most importantly, we want to ensure this doesn’t happen to another resident in the facility and that your loved one receives the care they should have received from the start.

To get started, schedule a free consultation with one of our nursing home neglect attorneys. Call our office to schedule your appointment or contact us online with your questions.

Halloween might be the time of year where you invite in the ghouls and goblins, but all in good fun.

Unfortunately, Halloween tends to turn into more than just a night of festivities – it is also one of the busiest nights of the year for emergency rooms.

Injuries on Halloween are common. And while you cannot prevent other people from acting negligently, being aware of the risks out there might help prevent you and your family from joining the crowds at your local ER.

What Are the Most Common Injuries Seen in Chicago ERs for Halloween?

Injuries on Halloween night take quite the range but might include minor lacerations, tummy aches from too much candy, or injuries from a rowdy night. Some injuries are more common than others. And by knowing what those injuries are, you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Lacerations

Cuts, scrapes, and severe lacerations are a common reason for ER visits on Halloween night. Whether it is an accident during pumpkin carving or a trip and fall, these injuries can be painful for any age.

If you are carving pumpkins with the family, leave the actual carving to an adult. Children should not use knives or carving tools, because it is easy for the blade to slip and cut their hand instead.

Have children participate in the safer activities of pumpkin carving, like scooping out the seeds, tracing designs with a marker, or painting the exterior of their pumpkin.

Burns

Unfortunately, burns are a common threat for all ages on Halloween, including full house fires.

The most common reason for burns on Halloween come from those flowing costumes, long wigs, and capes. Anyone using live candle flames in their pumpkins or for part of their Halloween décor runs the risk of causing a fire.

When buying your child’s costume, opt for one made from a synthetic material, like nylon or polyester. Anything made from 100 percent cotton is likely to catch fire and burn quickly.

Also, masks, wigs, and beards should be flame retardant.

In your home, use LED candles that simulate the look and feel of a real candle but without the risks. While your children trick-or-treat, teach them to avoid walking next to a live flame and to be aware of where their costume drapes.

Eye Injuries

Basic safety precautions tend to go out the door when Halloween hits.

You teach your children to not run with sharp objects. But on Halloween when costumes come equipped with knives and swords, it is easy to forget that basic necessity and run around with the pointy end facing up.

The most common reason for eye injuries comes from being poked by a sharp object – usually a costume prop. However, it is not the only reason eye injuries come to the ER on Halloween night.

Other causes of eye injuries include:

  • Contacts: Using cat-eye or colorful contacts can lead to serious eye injuries. They irritate the eye, and someone inexperienced with using contacts might scratch their cornea trying to put one in or take it out.
  • Glittering Makeup: On an average day, you wouldn’t buy cheap eye makeup. On Halloween, you might pick up those bargain-bin glitter eye makeup products to complete the look of your costume. However, not all of those Halloween makeup products use cosmetic-grade glitter. In fact, some contain craft-grade glitter which can irritate the eyes and cause permanent eye damage.

Always make sure the eye makeup you buy is non-toxic. Also, do not let your children wear cosmetic contacts – regardless of the costume’s demand for it. If you use decorative contacts for your costume, purchase contacts from a contact supplier and not a costume supplier.

Dehydration

One injury parents and trick-or-treaters are unaware of is dehydration. Halloween is a time for rushing around, last-minute shopping, going to events, and hurrying out the door for candy. All of the rushings leave little time for hydrating.

Make sure you and your children drink water throughout the day. Also, everyone should have a glass of water before they head out to trick-or-treat. Even when the temperatures are not hot, the physical exertion of walking and rushing around is enough to dehydrate the body – especially if you did not get enough water in the day.

Also, know the signs of dehydration and keep an eye out for them. Some common indicators of dehydration include:

  • Dark colored urine or not needing to urinate during the day
  • Extremely dry skin
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Sleepiness or lack of energy
  • Confusion or unexplained irritability
  • Fainting – in severe cases

Trips and Falls

Everything from uneven sidewalks at the neighbor’s house, to walking through the grass, to costumes that are too long, all creates the perfect storm for a serious trip and fall injury.

Trips, slips, and falls can cause acute pain and serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

You can protect yourself, your children, and visitors to your home by doing the following:

  • Remove Tripping Hazards: Make sure your home is trick-or-treater ready by removing any potential hazards. As the homeowner, you are required to correct trip, slip, and fall hazards in a reasonable amount of time. If you have uneven walkways leading up to the door, consider moving your candy bucket to the driveway where children can avoid going to the door entirely. Also, make sure any Halloween decorations you use do not block the walkway or create tripping hazards (like cords crossing the sidewalk or decorations making it hard to enter the porch area).
  • Trim the Costume: If your child has a baggy or oversized costume, trim or hem the edges so that nothing drags on the ground. If it drags, it can become caught under their shoes or someone else’s and lead to a severe fall.
  • Consider Visibility when Using Masks: Your child’s costume might require a mask to complete the look, but that doesn’t mean you should forgo the basic need to see. Use masks that do not obstruct their vision. You may need to open eye holes further if they are too small for your child to see around them.

Car Accidents

Car accidents are plentiful on Halloween night. Drivers and pedestrians both need to be aware of the risks while walking around from house-to-house or even driving to their destination.

Starting at about 4:00 pm, trick-or-treaters will enter the streets – and most people are driving home from work with limited visibility. As the sun sets, it blocks your vision, making it hard for pedestrians to see oncoming vehicles and drivers to see pedestrians in the roadway.

When nearing intersections and crosswalks, both parties should enter cautiously and be aware of the limited vision.

Furthermore, anyone driving on Halloween should consider the following:

  • Take it slow through neighborhoods. On Halloween night, you know children are out roaming the streets. Go slower than the average speed limit and take special care as you turn around the corner, cross intersections, and especially when you drive past parked vehicles (where children are likely to jump out and cross the road).
  • Watch for children everywhere. As you drive, always assume a child will jump out in front of you – even if it never happens. Exercise caution and never pass a stopped vehicle in the road, back out slowly from your driveway, and yield to anyone crossing (even if they are not using a designated sidewalk).
  • Avoid distracted driving. Now is not the time to check Facebook, post a status update, or even text a friend. Put the phone down, avoid using your radio, and focus on the road ahead. Distracted driving causes enough accidents throughout the year. But on a night like Halloween, it could lead to catastrophic incidents.
  • Never drink and drive. Halloween parties are fun, festive, and most likely to contain alcohol. If you plan to drink on Halloween, find a designated driver or see if you can stay at the party location for the night. DUIs increase on Halloween, and you might discover roadblocks conducting roadside sobriety tests. Not only do you risk an arrest for a DUI, but if you were to injure someone while intoxicated, you could be held criminally and civilly liable.

While you and your children roam the streets filling those bags with candy, make sure you also exercise caution by:

  • Using crosswalks when possible. Not all roads have crosswalks, especially in neighborhoods. Regardless, use the designated crossing zones where vehicles are more likely to stop and wait for pedestrians.
  • Never dart into the road. Most importantly, your children need to be aware that cars are still on the road and basic road safety applies while trick-or-treating. They should never dart into the street, cross outside of the sidewalk, and they should always be careful about crossing behind parked vehicles. Making eye contact with the driver of the car before passing in front of them ensures that they are seen.

When Injuries Occur, Contact a Professional

You and your family should not shoulder the financial burden in the aftermath of a severe accident. If you or your child was seriously injured in a crash on Halloween, contact the attorneys at Malman Law to explore your options.

We aggressively fight for our clients right to compensation – and we can help you, too.

Schedule a free consultation today at 888-625-6265 or contact us online with your questions.

You were in a car accident, you know that you are telling the truth but your vehicle and the photographs from the accident state otherwise. You might have nothing more than a scratch or ding on your car, but your injuries and costs of those injuries are astounding.

Luckily, you might still have a case even if there was no severe damage to your vehicle. You might not see the damage, but cars are designed to absorb impacts and collisions still cause damage to the structure of the car. Therefore, while you might not see damage outright, that impact could have left you suffering from soft tissue injuries such as whiplash.

In cases like this, insurance companies will use the photographs of your vehicle to disprove your claim. They will try to say that no visible damage to your car means you are faking your injuries or making up the accident entirely.

You must realize you are going up against a company that wants to save as much of their profits as possible. They work hard to reduce losses by limiting what they pay out on claims – even if you have legitimate injuries.

It is in your best interest to consult with an accident attorney and even more so if you have no visible damage to your car. An attorney knows the steps insurance companies take to avoid paying out on claims, and they can help you succeed in your case.

What Chicago Victims Must Know about Claims without Vehicle Damage

Vehicles are meant to survive car accidents. And while there might be minimal damage on the outside (or no damage at all), there could be problems lurking under your pristine paint job and flawless bumper. Minor damage goes unnoticed to the naked eye, and it is similar to soft tissue injuries.

A person with soft tissue injuries might not have bruises, lacerations, or internal bleeding, but they are injured.

Certain types of damage can go unnoticed after a car accident, including:

  • Leaking Fluids: A minor crash might have no physical damage present but could result in leaking fluids, including a leaking radiator, oil pain, or brake fluid. A tiny rupture of these essential fluids could turn into a severe problem.
  • Battery Life Complications: During a minor collision, battery lines might come loose from the impact. It might also agitate sediment inside the battery or lead to a short circuit – all of which can reduce battery life. While minor, combined with other issues, it could lead to an unexpected breakdown.
  • Damage to Computer Diagnostics: Cars today are sophisticated, and they rely heavily on their diagnostic computer systems. In an accident, these systems might knock loose and have a delay in checking and reporting failures. If you think your car is fine, but you have a check engine light on, you may want to take your car in.
  • Alignment: One overlooked piece of damage to a vehicle is the alignment. Your vehicle’s bumper will absorb the shock from your collision. While you might not see the physical damage, that absorption could have knocked out your vehicle’s alignment. Driving on poor alignment might not be anything severe at first, but it will eventually wear down your vehicle’s tires. In poor weather conditions, misalignment could become a dangerous problem.
  • Car Mount Breakage: The motor mounts, the items holding your engine in place, may suffer damage in even a minor bump. Those mounts may eventually give way, or your vehicle develops a serious vibration while you try driving.

Should You Still Report an Accident without Vehicle Damage?

In Illinois, you must report a car accident if the accident results in death, injury, or more than $1,500 in property damage. Naturally, if you do not see any damage, you might feel there is no need to contact the policy and report the incident.

However, what if you have injuries that have not yet appeared?

Luckily, you have up to ten days to report the accident with the Illinois Department of Transportation. Therefore, in a few days, if you do notice injury symptoms, you can create a report.

Ideally, a person should report the accident immediately. Police reports help establish that your accident exists and document parties involved in the accident – which might make tracking down the responsible party easier.

Even if you did not file a police report, you might still have a case. You would need to discuss this issue with your attorney and see what your options might be to file a claim without a valid police report on file.

What Injuries Could One Suffer without Vehicle Damage?

If you are in a car accident with no damage or very minimal damage, it is unlikely you would suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries. However, it is not unheard of for life-threatening injuries to occur without vehicle damage.

The human body, like your vehicle, is designed to sustain a vast amount of serious impacts. And these injuries might not be present with symptoms at the scene of the accident. When these injuries go unnoticed and untreated, you may suffer from complications – including those that could be life-threatening.

Neck and Spinal Damage

A common injury that you do not see right away is damage to the neck or spine, like whiplash. Whiplash can occur in any collision but is more commonly seen in rear-end accidents.

The injuries can range from mild to severe, and the primary symptom is neck and shoulder pain. Whiplash symptoms can vary, depending on the person and the severity of the injury itself. Some signs you might experience include:

  • Pins and needles in the extremities
  • Stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Headaches or chronic migraines
  • Weakness or numbness that radiates from the shoulders into the arms
  • Neck instability
  • Reduced range of motion

You might have one or all of these symptoms. Some may appear right away while others take a few days to develop.

Back Injuries

Back injuries, like whiplash, take a few days to weeks to manifest. These injuries can involve discs or muscles in the back, and you might notice one day your back is stiff or moving is painful when you wake up the day after the accident.

Chronic back issues can reduce a person’s quality of life. The pain alone might make it hard to sleep, interact with family and friends, or even work.

Internal Injuries

In rare cases, a person can suffer internal organ damage after an accident with no physical vehicle damage. Internal bleeding does not always have symptoms until it becomes more serious. And by the time the symptoms appear, it may be life-threatening.

Nerve Damage

Another injury that is common with minimal vehicle damage is nerve injuries. You may start to notice numbness or tingling, and it may worsen as the days move past the accident. Sometimes, the nerve injuries are temporary while other times permanent. If you notice any numbness or tingling sensations, speak with a doctor right away.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Another rare injury that might occur is a TBI. TBIs could include minor concussions or something more serious like a brain blood clot. Either way, if you notice serious headaches or blurred vision after an accident, see a doctor.

How Do You Make a Case without Vehicle Damage?

With an attorney’s help, you can build a case for compensation – even if the vehicle damage is not present at the scene. An attorney collects evidence to support your claim and prove that you had damages stemming from that incident.

Some of the evidence an attorney uses to prove your case includes:

  • Medical bills
  • Vehicle repair estimates and inspections
  • Employment statements for lost wages
  • Witness testimony proving an accident occurred
  • Expert testimony about future care needs and how an accident with no vehicle damage resulted in physical injury

Speak with an Attorney Regarding Your Case Today

After a car accident, regardless of the extent of damage to your car, you should contact the law firm of Malman Law.

Our team understands that even with minimal or no damage, you may have suffered serious physical and emotional harm. Our team will fight for the compensation you and your family deserve.

You can learn more about your options or start your claim process by meeting with our attorneys for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Call 888-625-6265 now to schedule an appointment or ask us a question online.