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After the Storm – How to Help with Hurricane Harvey and Irma Clean Up

Many want to help in the immediate aftermath of any natural disaster. For those of us fortunate enough to be unaffected, we look for any way to provide support and assistance. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, many want to help.

The southern part of the United States and the Caribbean are experiencing flooding and up-rooted trees. Additionally, millions had no power. However, many face must larger challenges as these scrape the surface.

How can people in Arlington Heights, Chicago, and Illinois help? We live far from from Texas and Florida. Nonetheless, trucks filled with clothes, toiletries, and other essentials depart every day. But what these helpful citizens do not recognize the potential hazards and obstacles these trucks may cause.

[Read more…]

How to Safely Enjoy the Fall Foliage

How to Safely Enjoy the Fall FoliageThe best time to view fall foliage in Illinois is mid-to late October. During this time, expect to see distracted leaf peeping out of towners on the road. Unfortunately, many locals dread this time of year because these distracted drivers not only slow your commute, they can cause accidents as well.

It’s no wonder locals find leaf peepers a nuisance. Slowing down, failing to signal, or stopping on a through way—easy to do when trying to catch a glimpse—are dangerous and frequently cause accidents.

Tips for Safe Viewing

To ensure you can enjoy the fall foliage in Illinois safely, follow these tips.

Be Aware of the Risks

When drivers are distracted by nature in all its glory, they can put other drivers on the road at risk. Drivers viewing the leaves commonly drive slower than traffic and often make driving maneuvers without properly signaling. Stay alert so you can recognize distracted drivers, and give them plenty of room, so you can quickly and safely maneuver around them and avoid collisions.

Know the Rules

The Illinois rules of the road handbook provides guidance on what to do when someone is blocking a lane or driving unsafely. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these rules, so you know the legal—and safe—action to take when dealing with negligent drivers.

Be Cautious When Driving on Leaves

After that first rainstorm, expect to see some of those beautiful leaves on the street. Although they make for beautiful pictures, wet leaves are slippery and cause accidents by obscuring the road. Drive slower on leaves, and turn with caution.

Help When You Can

You can also contribute to keeping our roads safer during fall foliage season by helping people from out of town locate the best areas for viewing leaves and the safest pull out spots.

Leaf peepers aren’t the only risk you’ll face on the road this fall. Deer in mating season, more kids out due to school, and leaf debris on the road can all contribute to accidents. So, follow the tips above and stay safe when viewing the beautiful foliage this fall!

 

If you’ve recently been in an accident and want compensation for your losses, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

Safe and Slow: Reducing the Risks of Back to School Season

Safe and Slow: Reducing the Risks of Back to School SeasonBack to school season means more children are walking to and from school, riding the bus, and playing sports outdoors. Because more children are out and about, driving safely and aware is more important than ever.

A Safe Start

To have a safe and successful start of the new school year, follow these tips:

Lower Your Speed

Most school zones have lower speed limits than surrounding areas—usually 20 mph—but when the school day is just starting or ending, you may want to drive even slower. Exercise caution when kids are crossing the street, loading the bus, or getting picked up. Heed the speed limits; they are there for a reason. Children are unpredictable and can easily find their way into the road before you have time to stop. Also, expect steeper fines for speeding in a school zone.

Stay Aware When Near Schools

You might see crossing guards and school safety personnel in school zones. They help keep traffic moving and the kids safe. Many schools have crosswalks that are closely monitored during school hours. Expect to drive slowly and carefully whenever in a school zone.

Give Buses Room

Be extra careful near school buses. Again, children can be unpredictable, and you can face steep fines for illegally circumventing buses while they load and unload kids.

Take Your Time

Back to school season comes with higher risks but also more distractions and priorities. When coupled together, these two factors pose a deadly risk. It is illegal to use a hand-held device or text while driving in Illinois. Even activities like eating or drinking can be distracting enough to harm someone. Don’t risk it. Get up a little earlier, so you don’t feel the need to multitask behind the wheel.

The start of school can be a fun time of the year. But in the midst of all the excitement, make sure you practice safe driving and stay on guard. And if you’re involved in an accident, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. An Arlington Heights personal injury attorney can advise you of your rights and help you seek fair compensation step by step.

 

If you or a loved one were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

 

 

Enjoying Oktoberfest in Illinois

 

A Fall Tradition

 

Oktoberfest is a tried and true fall tradition celebrated across the U.S. and Europe. In Illinois, the festivities start around mid-September and continue into October. Oktoberfest began as a celebration of the fall harvest. But contemporary Oktoberfests are full of good food, good beer, and good friends for a fun way to kick off fall.

 

Oktoberfest in the Area

 

We’ve compiled a list of Oktoberfest events in the Northwest suburbs of Illinois so you can easily plan when and where to celebrate. Oktoberfest in Illinois is typically family friendly. Many feature activities for the kids along with the traditional beer and brats we’ve come to expect from this Bavarian tradition.

 

Palatine Oktoberfest: 9/15-9/17

 

Palatine’s Rotary Club hosts this event, which is free to the public. Family friendly and fundraising, this festival is filled with activities to keep everyone entertained.

 

Arlington Heights Autumn Harvest Fest: 10/7

 

While not a true Oktoberfest, this is definitely one you will want to check out. The autumn fest will feature hayrides, face painting, food, and a scarecrow-building contest. The Village’s Special Events Commission and the Park District put on this event.

 

Mount Prospect Oktoberfest: 10/13-10/14

 

Featuring all the expected elements of Oktoberfest—like beer and a German band—the Mount Prospect Oktoberfest is sure to please even the most traditional festivalgoers. Kids can enjoy pumpkin decorating, hayrides, and trick or treating Saturday afternoon as part of Fall Fest.

 

A Note of Caution

 

Attending Oktoberfest and other fall festivals can be a fun and safe activity. But because beer is the traditional drink du jour, there is always the potential for drunk driving and the dangers that come with it. Driving under the influence is illegal and can cause fatal auto accidents. Choose a designated driver or use public transportation or a rideshare service if you are going to drink alcohol. And, as always, keep an eye out for intoxicated drivers when on the road.

 

If you are involved in an accident with a negligent driver, speak with an Arlington Heights personal injury attorney. You have a right to fair compensation from the liable party. A knowledgeable attorney can help you file a claim or a suit, so you are properly compensated for your losses. Otherwise, we hope you have a fun and safe Oktoberfest this fall.

 

If you’ve recently been injured and are seeking compensation, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

 

Filing Third-Party Claims for Construction Site Accidents

Filing Third-Party Claims for Construction Site AccidentsDespite the strict safety regulations enforced on construction sites, workers can suffer serious injuries on the job. Whether due to hazardous work practices, defective equipment or tools, or a negligently managed site, construction workers risk leg and limb every day to build our homes, stores, schools, and offices.

 

Fortunately, construction workers who are injured on the job may be eligible for compensation from their employers and potentially other parties. You cannot sue your employer for injuries you suffered while on the job, but you can file an Illinois workers’ comp claim. Workers’ comp will cover your medical bills and lost wages.

 

Workers’ comp claims help injured employees from all industries cover their necessary medical costs. Unique to construction site accidents, however, is the involvement of third parties, or other companies working on the same site as you. You may also be able to file a third-party claim against any other parties that contributed to your accident. The compensation you receive from such a claim could cover your losses beyond what workers’ comp would cover, and your employer might even be able to recover a portion of your workers’ comp benefits.

 

A third party claim is a claim against a company or person—such as other contractors working on your site—whose negligence or strict liability was the proximate cause of your injury. Third party claims are relatively common in construction site accidents because construction sites typically have several companies or contractors working on the same project. You could also file a third party claim against a manufacturer if a defective product caused your injury.

 

Third-party claims can be complicated because many pieces of documentation—such as contracts, releases, and agreements—must be obtained and reviewed to determine liability correctly. So, if you have been injured on a construction site, notify your employer right away to file a workers’ comp claim, but you should also speak with an attorney about the potential for third-party claims.

 

To ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses from all responsible parties, consult with an Arlington Heights construction accident lawyer as soon as you can. You only have a short amount of time in which to file a third-party claim, which is called the statute of limitations. The sooner you file a claim, the better your chance of holding the liable parties responsible and receiving the compensation you deserve.

 

If you’ve recently been injured on the job and are seeking compensation, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

Unreported Nursing Home Abuse

nursing home abuse

More than 25% of serious cases of nursing home abuse are not reported. According to the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services, the state of Illinois topped the list with 17 unreported cases of abuse.

What Does the Law Say About Nursing Home Abuse?

The law states that nursing homes must turn over all serious cases of abuse occurring in nursing homes to the police. Through nursing home audits, the Office found these unreported cases of serious abuse. Next, additional review and probing will begin into these nursing home cases. Additionally, HHS will begin investigating nursing home reporting practices as a whole. This alert triggered immediate action and fixes.

According to the Office’s alert, the federal law was strengthened but does not state in what way it was strengthened. The law requires that “someone who suspects abuse of a nursing home resident causing serious bodily injury, to report their suspicion to local law enforcement in two hours or less. If their suspicion of abuse does not involve serious bodily injury of the nursing home resident, they have 24 hours to report it. Failure to do so can result in fines of up to $300,000.”

However, the Office of the Inspector General’s alert did not specify what constitutes a “serious injury.” Some of the cases cited in the alert provides some examples. According to investigator Curtis Roy, 134 cases from 2015 to 2016 required medical attention. Unfortunately, most of these cases were incidents of sexual assault. Roy’s investigation spanned 33 states including Illinois.

This is clearly a problem concerning the health and well-being of elderly citizens.

[Read more…]

When on Two Feet or Two Wheels, Auto Accidents Can Be Catastrophic

When on Two Feet or Two Wheels, Auto Accidents Can Be Catastrophic

In cities, growing suburbs, villages, and small towns across Illinois, more and more people are biking and walking in the face of rising fuel costs and the drive toward more eco-friendly means of transportation. Unfortunately, until infrastructure catches up with this trend, not every thoroughfare is pedestrian and bicycle friendly, putting those who forgo the car commute at a greater risk of being hit while on the road or in crosswalks.

 

Auto accidents involving bicyclists or pedestrians tend to result in serious—even catastrophic—injuries. When up against more than a ton of metal, the human body stands no chance. Some pedestrian and bicycle accidents are fatal, which begs the question of what can we do to increase the safety of biking and walking both immediately and long term.

 

This increasing safety risk is not lost on many suburban cities, towns, and villages. The village of Arlington Heights has taken steps to implement a revised Arlington Heights Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, which includes safety measures to reduce the risk pedestrians and bicyclists face. Neighboring areas like Palatine, Mount Prospect, and Buffalo Grove have taken similar steps.

 

The plan revision builds upon existing efforts to help the Village of Arlington Heights gain Bicycle Friendly Community status from the League of American Bicyclists and make the entire village more walkable and less car-dependent. Steps such as mapping bikeways, implementing safer crosswalk beacons, increasing bicycle signage, and improving sidewalk safety are meant to reduce the risk of accidents.

 

Regardless of who has the right of way, pedestrians and bicyclists should always exercise extreme caution when on sidewalks or roads. Distracted motorists often fail to see pedestrians and bicyclists, and indeed this is a common contributing factor to accidents. To reduce your risk of getting in an accident, make sure you are visible at all times, and try to make eye contact with motorists when crossing the street. Many pedestrian and bicycle accidents result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities, so take appropriate precautions whenever near or on the road. And, as always, look, listen, and be aware no matter your mode of transportation.

 

If you’ve been in an accident as a pedestrian or bicyclist and were injured, speak with an experienced Arlington Heights pedestrian and bicycle accident attorney. If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you have a right to fair compensation for your losses. And we understand those losses could be substantial if you’ve been hit by a car. An attorney can help you determine who is liable and seek compensation for your losses.

 

If you’ve suffered injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

Who’s to Blame? Identifying Liability in Trucking Accidents

Who’s to Blame? Identifying Liability in Trucking AccidentsTruck drivers face many hazards when they get behind the wheel. Not only does driving a freight truck require a high level of skill, focus, and endurance, truckers have to keep their cool despite extensive blind spots, frequent mechanical issues, and many hours on the road. These elements make trucking one of the toughest—and most dangerous—jobs. Not surprisingly, there are around 500,000 truck and large bus crashes a year with over 4,300 proving fatal.

 

Accidents involving commercial trucks tend to be more serious than ones involving just passenger vehicles. The sheer weight of a truck upon impact can leave a passenger vehicle devastated and the driver with catastrophic injuries.

 

Trucking accidents also tend to be more involved because the liability isn’t always straightforward. Is the driver liable, or the employer? Does the owner of the truck face liability? What if another company improperly loaded the truck and that caused the accident?

 

As you can see, liability in trucking accidents can be complicated considering the numerous factors at play, and every trucking accident is different. Generally speaking, however, several parties could be found liable for a truck accident.

 

Any person or company involved in getting the truck out on the road could potentially face partial or full liability, including the driver, the driver’s employer, the owner of the truck, the manufacturer of the truck, or even the person or company that loaded the truck or equipped it for the road. But to get a clearer idea of who is liable for your injuries, you need to speak with an experienced Arlington Heights trucking accident attorney about the specifics of your case.

 

If you’ve been injured in a commercial trucking accident, you have a right to compensation from all liable parties if you were not at fault. Speak with an attorney if you’ve been involved in a trucking accident. In these types of cases, the sooner you get an attorney involved, the more he or she will be able to help you. Truckers are subject to both State and Federal Department of Transportation regulations, meaning you need an attorney who is familiar with these to parse out exactly who is responsible and to what extent. You will also need an attorney who knows what pieces of information need to be gathered and from whom to prove liability.

 

Sharing the roads with truckers puts all of us at risk. So, report unsafe driving, stay aware of their blind spots, and give them plenty of space while on the road to reduce your chance of getting in a trucking accident.

 

If you’ve recently been injured and are seeking compensation, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

Digital Crash Dummies

crash test dummies

In 2015, CNET, a technology and consumer electronic report journal, reported that real crash test dummies have become a thing of the past. Last we discussed crash dummies, we introduced the idea of THOR, a sophisticated sensor system similar to crash dummies. Because of the technologically-based world we live in, the car industry will transform to using these digital crash tests for safety crash testing. However, currently actual car crash dummies remain for testing car safety, but digital dummies inhabit the car industry’s mind.

Why The Car Industry Needs Digital Crash Safety Technology

If you think about it, a crash test dummy looks like us. So, it seems possible that they produce better safety results. However, in reality, it’s not enough.

According to CNET, most crash-test dummies can only detect “impact data for about 20 points on the body.” Scott Gayzik, an associate professor of biomechanical engineering at Wake Forest School of Medicine, says that “conventional dummies generally have between 55 and 200 sensors that collect data while with these computational models there’s almost an infinite number of points that can provide data on the effects of an impact.” Of course, this seems like a lot. And Gayzik acknowledges that. However, he states that “computerized models also have a higher degree of biofidelity – performing like bodies do in real life – and they’re variable; we can ‘morph’ them to represent different body shapes and sizes.” In other words, you would not need to create a crash test dummy for each body type. Instead, we can duplicate the efforts but just adjusting the computer model.

But Gayzik isn’t the only one who noticed the additional benefit of using digital car-crash test. Other state that digital crash-test dummies operate as “computational human body models, anatomically accurate computer figures built from MRI, CT and other medical scanning techniques to simulate how the body’s bones, organs and connective tissues react to external objects and forces.” The end result would mean that digital crash dummies could determine how a muscle or tissue could react in a car accident.

[Read more…]

Dram Shop Laws and Pub Crawls: Know Your Right to Relief

Dram Shop Laws and Pub Crawls: Know Your Right to ReliefThe recent popularity of the pub crawl trend has taken its toll on communities across the nation. The recent death of two local men caused by drunk driving is a harrowing example all too close to home. When 28-year-old Tyler Stuart got behind the wheel of his truck the night of February 11, he had already had enough to drink. Stuart had just finished a bar crawl that spanned three establishments. Stuart’s family and the family of the Crystal Lake man whom Stuart killed by colliding with his car that night are now trying to hold those three establishments liable for irresponsibly serving alcohol to Stuart before he got behind the wheel.

 

The law, which the plaintiffs are basing the suit off of, is called a dram shop law. The dram shop law holds an establishment or a host that serves liquor to a clearly intoxicated person liable for the injuries or losses caused by the patron. For example, a bar that serves an obviously intoxicated person with more alcohol may be held liable if that patron then got behind the wheel and caused an accident, either injuring or killing someone.

 

In Illinois, the dram shop law, which falls under the purview of the Liquor Control Act, provides relief for those injured by someone who was negligently served alcohol. But these cases can be intricate, especially if more than one bar was involved, and—not surprisingly—the establishments often fight back.

 

Dram shop laws are particularly relevant when it comes to pub and bar crawls, where the patron in question travels from establishment to establishment to drink. Pub and bar crawls are growing in popularity and can be an enjoyable activity but only if there is a designated driver or the participants use public transportation to travel between bars and to get home. Fortunately, as towns and cities across Illinois improve public transit and embrace ride sharing, there are more safe ways to get home from pub crawls than ever before.

 

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be able to file a lawsuit to get compensation for your losses, so you should speak with an experienced attorney about your rights. Again, these cases can be complicated and are best handled by an experienced Arlington Heights auto accident attorney.

 

When people get behind the wheel after drinking, the results can be fatal. If you enjoy pub crawls, make sure you identify a designated driver or use a ride share service at the end of the night to keep you and others safe.

 

If you’ve recently been in an accident, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

About the Firm


Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron

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