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Ridesharing Accidents: Where Is the Liability?

Ridesharing Accidents: Where Is the Liability?Ridesharing is a great way to conveniently get around town without the hassle of driving and parking. Supplementing the local taxi market, rideshare services through transportation network companies (TNCs)—like Uber and Lyft—connect passengers with drivers via smartphone apps.

But unlike taxis, rideshare cars are not subject to the same strict regulations. Each TNC maintains its own policies, but drivers operate independently and contract directly with the passenger. This begs the question of who is responsible for the actions of the drivers if they get in an accident. Is it the driver or the rideshare company? To answer these questions, let’s take a look at the insurance requirements for rideshare drivers.

Insurance Standards for Rideshare Drivers

Rideshare drivers are required to carry liability insurance. Insurance coverage for rideshare drivers can change depending on what the driver is doing (i.e., waiting for a passenger, on the way to get a passenger, or with a passenger in the car.) The coverage we are concerned with in this blog is that which will cover the passenger in an accident.

As the TNC industry continues to grow, insurance companies are working on developing a coverage type that meets the needs of TNC drivers. Some insurance companies offer rideshare coverage in Illinois. This insurance typically works as a hybrid, covering the driver on a personal level and when “on the job.” This insurance can also cover passengers for bodily injury.

TNCs also have insurance that covers passengers. A standard policy limit is $1 million in liability insurance. But these companies often deny claims by disputing liability and fight aggressively in court.

Stay Smart and Safe

You can get safely from point A to point B using a rideshare service, but be an educated passenger. Choose well-reviewed drivers and verify their identity. Share your trip details with a friend, and ride in the backseat. Also, know the risks of using these services, and never assume you will automatically be covered if you are injured as a rideshare passenger. Although insurance coverage for ridesharing has become more sophisticated, gray areas in the law remain. For this reason, you should work with an attorney if you are in an accident while using a rideshare service. An attorney can work to defend your rights, hold the liable party responsible, and seek fair compensation for your losses.

 

If you’ve recently been injured in a rideshare 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.

How to Keep Your Car Road Ready as the Seasons Change

How to Keep Your Car Road Ready as the Seasons ChangeAs summer winds down, many of us look forward to the beautiful foliage, back to school activities, and upcoming holidays, all of which can have us out on the road. To make sure your fall activities are safe and fun, consider these tips for getting your car road ready as the seasons change.

Check Tire Pressure

Checking your tire pressure is important whenever temperatures fluctuate. Check pressure before road trips and regularly when the tires are cold to ensure proper readings. Always keep tires full for optimal performance.

Check Tire Tread

The tread that got you through the summer might not be adequate when the roads get wet and slippery. Check your tread and consider winter or all-weather tires for when the weather takes a turn for the worse. You might also want to check for uneven wear and rotate your tires for safer handling.

Test Your Lights

As road and weather conditions change, so will your visibility. Check your lights to ensure they are working properly and are bright. Keep spares in your car for emergencies.

Do Routine and Preventative Maintenance

While it’s best to keep your car in tip top shape year round, it’s especially important when the leaves drop and weather becomes unpredictable. Check windshield wipers, fluids, and your battery.

Create an Emergency Kit

If you already have an emergency kit, now’s a good time to replenish it and make sure you have it tailored for colder weather. Include items like emergency blankets, non-perishable food, water, and first aid supplies. When falls starts turning into winter, also include chains and an abrasive material—like cat litter or sand—to help you if you get stuck in the snow.

The carefree days of summer are coming to an end, and fall is right around the corner, which means more risk and poor road conditions. It’s especially important to make sure your car is outfitted right in fall because of added factors like children going to and from school, wet leaves, and leaf peepers, which can all increase your risk of getting in an accident. Make sure you make any necessary repairs and follow the above steps to ensure your car is road ready as summer turns to fall. And, if you are involved in an accident, work closely with an experienced Arlington Heights car accident attorney to ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve.

 

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.

 

 

When Driving With Kids, Remember these Airbag Safety Tips

When Driving With Kids, Remember these Air Bag Safety TipsAirbags can buffer the impact of a car accident, reducing injuries and saving lives. But for young children, they can pose a safety risk as well. When the force of an airbag hits a child, he or she can suffer serious injuries from a device that’s meant to keep us safe.

Why Airbags Are Dangerous

Airbags deploy at a speed of up to 200 mph. Young children can’t handle this kind of impact. As a precaution, all children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat in a car seat appropriate for their age and size. Older children can sit in the front seat, but move the seat as far back as it can go to reduce the risk of injury. And never put children with health conditions or injuries in the front seat.

The Impact of an Airbag

On a child’s body, the impact of an airbag can be fatal. Deploying airbags most commonly cause skull fractures and brain injuries in a child. Airbags aren’t meant to protect a child’s body; they are intended to protect an adult’s body. Accordingly, their force well exceeds that needed to protect a child. This begs the question of who is liable when a child dies because of an airbag impact.

Generally, you will find warning stickers in the car—typically on visor mirrors—cautioning against letting children ride in the front seat. Child safety car seats will have similar warnings. These warnings help you prevent injuries and also limit the company’s liability. Follow these warnings to stay safe. If you or your child were injured from a defective airbag, however, you could have grounds for a personal injury claim.

The Lesser of Two Evils

Front airbags protect occupants who are at risk of hitting the steering console, windshield, or dashboard. Children riding in the back seat don’t face the same risks, but they can still suffer impact in an accident. For this reason, put younger children use car seats, and make sure older children use seat belts properly. Children can also be injured by side-impact airbags; so check your car manual to find out where your airbags are.

If you were injured in an accident or from a defective airbag, speak with an experienced Arlington Heights car accident attorney about your right to compensation. An attorney can help you file a claim, so you recoup your losses.

 

If you’ve been in an accident and want to know your rights, 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.

 

 

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.

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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.

 

Labor Day: More Cars on the Road Means More Risk

Labor Day: More Cars on the Road Means More RiskPlay it Safe This Labor Day Weekend

 

Situated at the end of summer and right before the start of the school year, Labor Day is one of the busiest holidays for getting out on the road. Whether it be visiting a neighboring town or taking a road trip across the state, travel on Labor Day weekend tends to be higher risk. When more cars flood the roads and heat causes irregularities in the asphalt, your risk of getting in an accident goes up. To make the most of your time off this Labor Day, always keep safety in mind.

 

You’ll likely be facing increased traffic and could encounter hazardous road conditions, construction work, or alcohol-impaired drivers along the way. All these factors can significantly increase your chance of getting in an accident.

 

Labor Day is quickly approaching, and if you have travel plans, you should keep the following summer driving tips in mind:

 

  • Get your car road ready. Check fluids and tire pressure, and make sure you have an emergency kit with items such as jumper cables and flares ready to go. Breaking down or experiencing a flat tire is not only inconvenient; it can also be dangerous depending on where you stop.

 

  • Know your route. Bring a printed map, and don’t rely solely on GPS in case reception is an issue.

 

  • Anticipate route changes. Make sure you are aware of any detours in your route that won’t be on a map, such as closed roads and lanes and construction zones.

 

  • Consider driving during non-peak times. Especially near metropolitan areas, driving during peak times can be dangerous as more cars are on the road. Consider early morning departures or driving in the late evening to reduce this risk.

 

Taking extra precautions when driving Labor Day weekend can reduce your risk of getting in an accident. If you are involved in an accident, however, consult with an experienced Arlington Heights auto accident attorney as soon as you can. An attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances of your accident and walk you step by step through submitting a claim and seeking adequate compensation. Otherwise, have a safe and fun Labor Day weekend!

 

If you’ve been in an accident and want to know your rights, 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.

 

 

Road Trip Troubles: Handling Out of State Accidents

Road Trip Troubles: Handling Out of State AccidentsSummer travel is synonymous with road trips. As the summer winds down, many Illinoisans hit the open road to enjoy one last adventure. But because of increased traffic, road construction, and common distractions, summer also tends to see an increase in auto accidents. Accidents are inconvenient at any time and any place but even more so when you’re out of state. Not only do you need to file a claim, but also you may be far from home and unfamiliar with the driving laws in that state. To deal with an out of state auto accident, follow these simple steps:

 

Contact your insurance agency to open a claim. You will be assigned an adjuster who will then inform you of what to do next. The claims process for an out of state accident can vary from provider to provider, so this should be your first step after helping others at the scene of the accident and reporting the accident to the authorities. Your adjuster can also brief you on your policy benefits, such as rental car allowances and towing.

 

Next, understand that your accident will be handled under that particular state’s jurisdiction, not necessarily your state of residence. This is important to remember because each state’s laws vary regarding issues such as liability and insurance minimums, which can complicate your case. Ideally, you would briefly familiarize yourself with the laws in the state(s) you plan on driving through and potentially talk to your insurance provider about adjusting your coverage to ensure you will meet that state’s minimum requirement. This can be a lot of legwork, especially if you are planning on driving straight through some states but know that many states have minimum insurance requirements that exceed those in Illinois.

 

You should also call an attorney. An experienced Arlington Heights auto accident attorney can help you understand how the laws in the state of your accident could affect your claim and your right to compensation. Although these types of cases can be a little more complex due to the jurisdiction, a good attorney can advise you on how to file a claim and seek the compensation you deserve.

 

Don’t let the risk of an accident spoil your road trip. This country is meant to be explored! Just make sure you keep a few safety tips in mind such as keeping your car well maintained and in road trip shape and reducing your distractions by leaving the navigation to someone else and keeping kids occupied in the back. These steps can help you stay safe on the road, so you can enjoy your trip.

 

Filing an insurance claim can be confusing, but 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.

Safely Drive through Construction Zones

construction zones

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, otherwise known as IDOT, over 4,500 motor vehicle crashes occur in construction zones on average each year. Of these 4,500 accidents, 1,100 resulted in injuries, and 27 resulted in fatalities. The Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. has provided you a list of current road projects.

The Illinois Crashing Report defines a work zone as “an area of a highway with construction, maintenance, or utility work activities.” Illinois marks construction zones with “signs, channelizing devices, barriers, pavement marking, and/or work vehicle.” An “end road work” sign signals the end of work and the resumption of typical roadway conditions.

In the Illinois Work Zone Fact Sheet, IDOT states that a motorist is more likely to be injured in a construction collision rather than a construction zone worker. With summer being the prime season for construction work, roadway collisions are being to occur at a typically higher rate. Last month, Johnson County police came upon an accident on Interstate 57. The accident was caused by a driver failing to slow down in a construction zone rear-ending the car in front and pushing it off the road. The driver then rear-ended two additional cars causing multiple drivers injury.

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About the Firm


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

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