Justia Lawyer Rating for David M. Barish

Many major national and international entities use complex corporate structures to attempt to minimize or avoid civil liability, especially in today’s more complicated “gig” economy. They may have layers of subordinates or franchisees which, they will argue, are independent and solely liable for negligence that injures you. These large entities can range from online retailers to pizza restaurants to rideshare companies. Many times, these franchisees or subordinates may be very small and/or very financially limited.

The law, however, recognizes some important exceptions when the larger entity is actually the one “pulling the strings” and maintaining control of the activities being performed, and therefore potentially liable. With the right proof, you may still be able to get the full recovery you deserve by pursuing the (often much larger) parent or principal entity. To accomplish these kinds of goals (and others) in your Illinois accident case, be sure you have placed a skilled Chicago injury attorney on your side.

A case from Florida gives some insight into how success might be achieved. In the Florida case, a former fire chief was traveling a state highway when a pizza delivery driver cut in front of him. The chief reportedly swerved to avoid contact but lost control of his truck and flipped. The accident left the chief with permanent spinal injuries that rendered him a quadriplegic. He died 15 months later as a result of complications of the accident, according to a Florida Today report.

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settlementstick-300x276There may be many different possible ways to resolve your Illinois personal injury action. You can litigate the case all the way to a verdict, you can work out a settlement with the other side, or you may achieve a settlement through an alternative dispute resolution process like mediation. In order to protect yourself, you need to make sure that you understand your case in great detail, including the monetary value of your case. Without this knowledge, you may fall into the trap of accepting a low-ball offer to settle your case. Retaining knowledgeable Chicago car accident counsel to represent you is one important way to make sure that your interests will be properly safeguarded, whether through trial, mediation, or any other process.

The case of Keenan, reported by the Madison-St. Clair Record, was an example of how mediation can fail because the defendant does not submit an appropriate offer. According to Keenan, Anne rear-ended him in the town of Shiloh, causing him to suffer significant injuries. When you’re injured in an auto accident, there are several steps that are involved in the process to obtain compensation for the harm you suffered. Whether you want to settle or go to trial, whether you seek a courtroom resolution or an outcome achieved through alternative dispute resolution, knowledgeable legal representation will know how to handle any of these scenarios.

The defense asked for the two sides to participate in mediation. Mediation can be a useful way to reach a fair and beneficial outcome without having to go through everything that is inherently involved in a full trial. Some of the keys to a successful mediation generally involve a strong knowledge of what your case is worth (so that you don’t agree to a settlement that is too small) and an opponent who participates in the process in a serious manner.

Thursday September 5th marks the start of the 100th season of NFL action. Injuries are nothing new in the NFL and are more or less considered a common occurrence. Getting compensated for these injuries should be just as common but sadly it isn’t. Here are a few facts about Workers’ Compensation for NFL players :

  • Since the year 2000, there have been 458  Workers’ Compensation claims filed against the Chicago Bears by players (and a few off field employees) that have paid out just under $13 million dollars
  • After retiring in the 90s with a severe ankle injury, shoulder injury and back injury, Former Green Bay Quarterback Don Majowksi had to file a workman’s comp claim in California (the only state that allowed FORMER players to file workmans’ comp claims even if they didn’t play for an in state team) in order to get his future medical covered.

Many times, vehicle accidents involve a limited range of legal options. You can pursue the at-fault driver and his auto insurer… and that could be all. In other situations, though, a vehicle accident may present you with a greater array of legal avenues. If, for example, your injury accident was caused by the driver of a truck or other work vehicle that was doing work for the City of Chicago, then you may be able to pursue compensation from the City of Chicago.

This option of suing the city may greatly enhance your odds of getting a full and fair recovery, whether via verdict or settlement. To learn more about the various legal options available to get the full amount of compensation you deserve, be sure to engage an experienced Chicago injury attorney.

Two accidents that illustrate this point recently ended in settlements. The more recent accident, reported by the Sun-Times, occurred in the West Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Reportedly, the accident victims, 7-year-old S.L. and her mother, J.L. were attempting to cross South Ashland Avenue at West 65th Street. The pair made it only halfway across the street before they were struck by a tractor’s trailer. The accident left the mother with a hip injury but killed the girl.

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An Uber driver in Chicago made the news in late July for the wrong reasons. The driver, a 27-year-old from Midlothian, allegedly was driving drunk when he struck a police officer’s vehicle on I-94 near 76th Street. The officer was injured and required hospitalization.

If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunken Uber (or Lyft) driver, would you know what to do? Would you know who to pursue for compensation for the harm you suffered? For answers to these and other essential questions, be sure to seek out the advice of an experienced Chicago car accident attorney.

In that type of situation, you’d probably recognize that you could sue the driver. But, what do you do if the driver has few assets only has minimal insurance coverage, while you have piles of medical bills and other damages? Can you sue Uber? The answer is: potentially yes.

In slip-and-fall (and trip-and-fall) cases, there are several techniques the defense may deploy to attempt to defeat your claim and avoid paying compensation to you. One of the more common tactics is to assert that the defect that caused your fall was “open and obvious.” This argument can be powerful because the law says that the owners or controllers of a property have no legal obligation to provide protection against, or a warning about, open and obvious risks. In order to make sure you have your opportunity for your day in court (and to obtain the compensation you deserve), be sure that you are prepared by having experienced Illinois premises liability counsel representing you in your case.

One man who had to battle against an “open and obvious” argument was Steven, who was injured while attempting to enter the condo he shared with his girlfriend, Karen. According to the injured man’s lawsuit, he slipped and fell on the “stoop and stairs” situated in front of the condo’s entrance. The fall caused Steven to suffer very serious injuries to his left knee and left ankle, which caused him to have to undergo multiple surgeries and led him to sue.

According to Steven, the problem arose after the property manager hired a firm to apply an epoxy substance to the stoop and stair area. Allegedly, after the epoxy job was completed, the stoop and stair area was very slippery, especially when wet. Karen allegedly complained to the property manager at least 3-4 times, starting in 2008. (Steven’s accident took place in October 2009.)

Uber drivers might not be considered employees by Uber, but rather independent contractors. Like many disrupter companies, Uber has very little interest in following the workers’ compensation laws in the States that they operate so that they can save money. This is important to Uber since they lose hundreds of millions of dollars each year as they increase the reach of their business across the globe. This isn’t surprising considering that Uber has sought to upend many of the state and local regulations regarding taxi and chauffer licensing. They certainly don’t want to pay health care insurance for their drivers either. When people think of Uber, they usually don’t think about layers of companies that make a company like it. Uber prefers to attempt to dictate what the law should be for their benefit by hiding beyond their wholly-owned subsidiary Raiser, LLC. Uber is protected through direct litigation because of Raiser LLC. By doing so, Uber claims that when one of their drivers gets hurt while on ridesharing duties are not employees. While this would have most people scratching their heads, in in places like Chicago, Illinois, the laws seem much clearer in establishing that Uber drivers are indeed employees while transporting or driving to transport passengers. What is clear is that Raiser is not associated with Lyft and Lyft is not associated with Uber.

In all likelihood, most people who aren’t working for Uber don’t realize it, but Raiser, LLC pays the Uber drivers for their rideshare fees. Basically, Uber collects the money and Raiser pays the drivers. By doing this, Uber claims that it doesn’t directly employ the drivers. At the end of the day, Raiser basically cuts the driver their checks by sending funds to a driver’s bank account. Then, once per year, Raiser sends the drivers a 1099 tax form for work as an independent contractor. When a driver has an issue with Uber, the driver has to take it up with Raiser, which acts as a protective shield or intermediary for Uber where the drivers will be coldly directed to “Terms and Conditions” to deal with their concerns. In issues involving workers’ compensation, the major concern for an arbitrator or commissioner is evaluating direction and control. If someone exercises a certain amount of control over the way in which another person does the job duties, then an employee-employer relationship is established. Most employers like to avoid employment relationships for liability and tax reasons, but their avoidance sometimes backfires. Ironically, in a personal injury situation, Uber seems to clearly be in an agency relationship with the driver while the driver is picking-up and dropping-off passengers. It certainly seems to be hypocritical to have drivers acting as agents of Uber, but then when those agents are hurt during agency, Uber will not provide the basics of a claim like providing disability checks or paying for medical bills.

Although drivers must use Uber’s app for picking-up and dropping-off passengers, Uber claims that they simply don’t employ the drivers when they are hurt during that software-driven, nearly automated process. Clearly, without the app, Uber drivers wouldn’t be able to do their job. Further, the app provides a medium of communication for the Uber drivers and potential customers as well as a portal between the drivers and Uber. To say that Uber doesn’t control its drivers certainly seems to be contrary to the daily functions of a driver using Uber’s app. While Raiser LLC is liable for any rideshare accident that happens at Uber, when someone makes a claim against Uber, the claim would also be against Raiser, LLC. Legally, Uber drivers are borrowed employees of Raiser LLC or the subsidiary Uber uses in the Chicago market. As far as Uber is concerned, drivers don’t work for them even though they use their app continually and display the brand name clearly.

Sleep Tips for Commercial Drivers

If you are a commercial driver or you know one, it’s important to educate yourself about drowsy driving, what helps mitigate it, and what makes it worse.

1. Get Enough Sleep Before You Drive

Chances are, if you’ve watched enough television or movies, you’ve become familiar with a certain stereotype: a person who is involved a car accident where one vehicle is stopped and the other is going 2 mph. The person struck appears fine at the scene, only to reappear later in a massively bulky neck brace. Like many stereotypes, this one rarely reflects reality. The truth is that, even if you’re involved in a low-speed crash and even if the pain you feel doesn’t set in right away, that doesn’t mean that you weren’t seriously injured as a result of the accident and it doesn’t mean that you cannot recover compensation for the harm you suffered in that accident. Whether the wreck was high-speed or low-speed and whether your pain started immediately or had a delayed onset, make sure you fully explore your options by contacting an experienced Chicago injury attorney about your situation.

A recently settled case, originally reported by the Madison-St. Clair Record, was an example of precisely this kind of scenario. J.D. was driving his motorcycle through a small Illinois town just east of St. Louis when he approached an intersection. J.W. was parked on the side of the road and was attempting to turn left into a parking lot. As J.W. turned his pickup truck left, he crossed into the path of J.D.’s motorcycle, according to the motorcyclist’s complaint. The impact allegedly caused the bike to topple over and pin J.D. underneath.

J.D. sued J.W. for negligence. Although J.D.’s accident was a low-speed one, the motorcyclist allegedly suffered significant damages. His complaint asserted that the accident caused him to incur “progressive and disabling injuries to his neck, back, and spine; left shoulder, hand and wrist; and pelvis.” These injuries allegedly caused the motorcyclist to incur substantial medical bills, in addition to a great deal of pain and suffering, according to the Record.

A worker who suffers a workplace injury in Illinois is entitled to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Some claims may proceed in a straightforward way, where the focus falls primarily, or solely, on whether or not the injury was compensable and the extent of benefits to which the worker was entitled (and which the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will pay).

Other times, though, there are added “wrinkles” in a case. Many times, these extra hurdles are things that are impossible to see in advance. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your claim is to make sure that you have an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney on your side, who knows how to navigate the system and engage in the proper procedural steps in response to any unexpected hurdles.

What do we mean by unexpected additional hurdles? Look at the case of G.K., an employee of a stucco contractor. G.K. was reportedly injured on the job in 2008 and filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. At this point, G.K.’s case might have seemed straightforward, but it wasn’t. There was a problem that was completely not the worker’s fault: the employer had breached its contract with its workers’ compensation insurer, so the courts decided that the insurance company was not legally obligated to pay anything in G.K.’s case.