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Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

In the past, this blog has informed readers about how they may potentially be able hold their rideshare service like Uber or Lyft liable for negligence for injuries riders suffer as a result of the rideshare service contracting with a driver that the service knew or should have known was unsafe. That type of liability, where an entity is held liable for negligently hiring and/or training a driver, even if that driver is an independent contractor, is not something that is limited to situations involving rideshare services. This technique may also be an important element of your successful Chicago truck accident case against a transportation company for the injuries you suffered as a result of an unsafe truck driver. Whether you were hurt by an unsafe Uber driver or an unsafe trucker, there may be many different ways to get the compensation you deserve, not just from the driver but from the entity that put that unsafe driver on the road.

Recently, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed a multi-million dollar jury verdict against a trucking company that employed a driver it knew or should have known was dangerous. A Michigan-based trucking company received an application from D.L.J., who was applying to be a truck driver. The company discovered that the applicant had never completed a truck driving course and, in the three years before submitting his application, had racked up four accidents, three moving violations and two license suspensions. In the previous 10 years, the applicant had been fired from four differed truck driving jobs, including one termination for crashing into another vehicle while the trucker was driving aggressively on an interstate highway. He also had a felony conviction in connection to his truck driving, where he tried to shatter the headlights of a woman’s car after he perceived the woman to have tailgated him.

The company declared D.L.J. a marginal candidate and hired him. The driver quickly picked up a speeding citation and again got his license suspended. Nevertheless, the company kept using the man. A year later, the driver rear-ended a man, causing him to suffer massive but non-fatal injuries.

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Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is drafting a bill that would ban “mega mergers” between the nation’s largest companies as well as try to improve the bargaining power of short-term and temporary workers.

The forthcoming legislation, a collaborative effort with Rep. David Cicilline of the House antitrust subcommittee, would bar tie-ups including a company with over $40 billion in annual revenue or two companies each with at least $15 billion in annual revenue, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It would also grant gig workers the power to unionize, a potential landmark change for rail-hailing companies like Uber Technologies and (click here) to read the full article via CNBC.

In many auto accident cases, insurance policies and insurance coverage will play an important role in securing payment for the damages you suffered. That inevitably means dealing with, and sometimes battling in the courts against, insurance companies. The law has rules designed to protect consumers when it comes to insurance coverage and dealing with insurance companies, which is just one of many reasons why it is so important to make sure you have skilled Illinois car accident counsel on your side before you take on an insurance company in court.

A case from southern Illinois recently provided an example of how the law can help you in the case of an ambiguous insurance policy. A Massac County teen, Austin, and his passenger, Lesley, were hit by an underinsured driver in June 2015. Both the driver and the passenger settled with the at-fault driver for $25,000. Austin and Lesley’s total damages were far greater than $25,000, however.

The pair then pursued Austin’s parents’ insurer. They asserted that the insurance policy that the parents had signed allowed for $75,000 of underinsured motorist coverage and that, since there were four vehicles on the policy and the insurer charged four separate premiums, they were entitled to seek payment of $300,000 in underinsured motorist coverage.

Rideshare services in the U.S. have been in the news recently with the tragic death of a South Carolina university student, who was kidnapped and murdered by the person she mistakenly believed to be her Uber driver. While events like that are thankfully rare, car accident injuries involving rideshare drivers are less so. Sometimes, those damages are suffered due to the missteps of a rideshare driver, sometimes the rideshare driver is the person who was harmed.

Whether you’re an injured rideshare driver or someone hurt by a rideshare driver, there are several things you need to know in order to take legal action in the most effective way possible. One of the most basic of these is: whom should I sue? This can be more complicated than you might think, given the complexity of the corporate structure of some of the rideshare services. Every choice you make matters and may mean the difference between success and defeat, so be sure you have a skilled Chicago injury attorney representing you at every step along the way.

One question being asked these days, in relation to rideshare services, is “what is Raiser, LLC?” Raiser is an integral part of the corporate structure of Uber and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber. (Uber has several of these entities.) Raiser is the business entity with whom Uber driver are technically contracted. When an Uber driver gets paid, it is Raiser that is technically paying that driver.

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.

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.

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.

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