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Best Grilling Tips for the Summer


“Summer is for grilling”by a.w.miller is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

July is the perfect month to invite guests over for a backyard barbecue on the grill! Coincidentally, July also has the most grill-related fires. No matter what you are grilling – brats, burgers, vegetables, fruit, or pizza –remember to grill safely to prevent a fire that could quickly get out of hand! If you live in a rental unit, a multi-family building, or if the fire spreads to your nearby neighbors’ homes, you could be liable for significant damages. Fires involving grills result in $123 million in property damages and around 100 injuries each year. Follow these steps to make sure food is the only think you are cooking this summer.

Lighting Your Grill

First, although it seems simple, to ensure safety, light your grill using these tricks:

  1. If you have a gas grill, always make sure the lid is open before lighting the flame.
  2. When using charcoal, think about using a charcoal chimney which allows you to simply use newspaper as an easy fire starter.
  3. If you choose to use starter fluid, make sure it is charcoal-specific starter fluid.

Grilling on Your Deck/Patio

Where you grill can cause property damage. If you live in a single family home, a townhouse, or an apartment complex, follow these simple rules”

  1. If you live in a rental or townhouse, check that the rules allow you to have a grill on the deck or patio at all.
  2. Keep the grill away from the exterior of your home and away from any railings.
  3. Make sure the grill is out from underneath an overhanging roof or awning, and absolutely avoid placing the grill near low-hanging tree branches.
  4. Allow the charcoal or gas grill to cool completely before covering it up or putting it away after each use.
  5. Make sure the charcoal ashes are cool before disposing of the ashes in a trashcan.

Grilling with Family, Friends, and Pets

Next, many of the injuries that occur do not happen to the person in control of the grill. In many cases, party-goers or children pass by and burn themselves. Keep these safety tricks in mind to keep everyone safe.

  1. Children under 5 years old account for roughly 38% of grill-related contact burns each year. Always keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area.
  2. Again, if you are using starter fluid, make sure to keep the starter fluid out of reach of children and pets.
  3. Never, ever leave the grill unattended.

Servicing Your Grill

Lastly, a clean grill is a safer grill. With a lot of grease, fat, and other debris near the hot coals, you can create an out-of-control fire. Below are three tricks to reduce the possibility for uncontrollable accidents.

  1. Clean the grill grates after each use.
  2. Clean the grease and fat buildup on the trays and grates below to prevent out-of-control fires.
  3. If you have a gas grill, check the propone tank and lines for any leaks before turning the gas on. The National Fire Protection Association has a great instructional video on how you can easily check for leaks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bYLWnNIwsQ

To really enjoy the summer season, you should first ensure that you are keeping yourself, your family, your friends, and your pets safe from a preventable grill-related fire. If you or someone you know has been injured or suffered property losses by a grill-related fire, contact the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer today for a free consultation. Let us fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

2018 October and November Events

As fall gets into full gear and Halloween only a few days away, there are many great events happening in the Chicago area.

If you’re near Randhurt Mall, its annual Fall Festival features special appearances by pet costume parade, real Owls from the Stillman Nature Center, activities and fun crafts. Free family fun includes free pumpkins to decorate, the Rad Hatter for keepsake hats made by you, stunning live owls, a horse-drawn wagon ride, face painting, games and crafts. Join the animals and have fun on October 20, 2018.  The family festivities kick-off in center court along Randhurst Village Drive at 1 pm and continue until 4 pm. The event will open with a costume pet parade, sponsored by the Daily Herald.

At River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook, you can join them for their Fall Festival on October 21. Experience storytelling, beekeeping demonstrations, pumpkin painting, honey, hay rides and more! Admission is free. However, there are small fees for some activities. But if you bring bring a non-perishable food item to donate to The Greater Chicago Food Depository, you can exchange it for activity tickets. 1 item = 1 ticket.

Head out to DeKalb County for the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival. On the Courthouse lawn, thousands of pumpkins will be decorated. Additionally, you can see arts and crafts shows, a house walk, a pie-eating contest, two carnivals, and a giant parade on Sunday afternoon. The festival started in 1956 and you wouldn’t want to miss it! The festival takes place from October 24 through October 28.

The annual BatFest in Batavia includes, downtown Trick-or-Treating, a great parade, a pumpkin bowl,  and many other contests and games for families to enjoy. It takes place on October 27, 2018 downtown and at the Batavia Riverwalk. And if you need any last minute homemade goodies, the last Farmers’s Market of the outdoor season in Batavia takes place.contests BatArt and games for free family fun.

And of course, to end the season and prepare for Santa, go downtown for the Magnificent Mile Festival of Lights. There you will see the tree lighting, a fantastic fireworks display, many musical performances, and have the opportunity to start your holiday shopping spree.

Put your fall coat on and have some fun from all of us at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd.


Fall Bike Safety Tips

fall bike

As the leaves change and the temperatures drop, many jump on their bikes to explore the Northwest suburbs. You can see all of the Halloween decorations in your neighborhood. And you can experience the beautiful foliage in our state and county parks. But unfortunately, the change in weather can lead to more bicycle and pedestrian accidents.

[Read more…]

Sleet, Snow, and Ice: How to Stay Safe on Slippery Roads

Sleet, Snow, and Ice: How to Stay Safe on Slippery RoadsSleet, snow, and ice are the culprits of many auto accidents in the winter. If you only drive in these conditions occasionally, it’s difficult to develop the skills and experience needed to avoid collisions on slippery winter roads. While the best way to sharpen your driving skills is getting behind the wheel to practice, here are some tips to keep in mind when heading out on slippery roads this winter.


Stay in Control


Slippery roads significantly increase braking distance. Whether on snow or ice, you can expect it to take longer to brake to a stop. Similarly, ice and snow can cause your tires to lose traction. So the first thing you should do is drive slower when the roads are slippery. This can reduce the chance your tires will lose traction and make it easier to come to a full stop if you lose control.


You should also increase your following distance. Because braking times are longer and the risk of losing control is greater on slippery roads, you need to increase your following distance, so you have a better chance of bringing your vehicle to a stop or avoiding a collision with the vehicle in front of you.


Easy Does It


In addition to driving slower and increasing your following distance, take it easy when turning or accelerating. Slippery roads are difficult to navigate, and accelerating can cause loss of traction. Similarly, executing turns on slick roads—even at very low speeds—can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Corners and intersections are dangerous points in the road to lose control because pedestrians and bicyclists are more likely to be crossing the street. To keep yourself and others safe, be gentle with the accelerator and cautious when turning.


Watch Out for Other Drivers


No matter how slow and safe you drive on slippery roads, you could still get in an accident. Other drivers on the road pose a threat to you, so watch out for them. And if you are involved in an accident, contact an attorney right away. A knowledgeable Arlington Heights car accident attorney can explain your rights and help you navigate the insurance claims process from start to finish.


Filing an auto-accident claim can be overwhelming, and Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer understands how you feel. 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.





Protecting Your Home and Preventing House Fires

house fires

If you survey a group of people and ask what season they believe house fires occur, most say “spring,” “summer,” or even “fall.” However, the American Red Cross notes otherwise.  The American Red Cross reports that while house fires can occur at any time for any reason. However, they increase during the fall and winter. December and January are the peak months. Home fires  tend to peak between 6:00 and 7:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

According to the United States Fire Administration, winter home fires cause the death of 890 people every year. Additionally, they cost $2 billion in property damage each year. In fact, “winter home fires account for only 8% of the total number of fires in the U.S., but result in 30% of all fire deaths.” How can you protect your home and prevent house fires?

By knowing a few of these quick few facts.

[Read more…]

January and February 2018 CLEs

As you start back to work in 2018 after the holidays, it’s a perfect time to think about continuing legal education. Luckily, many bar associations, including the Northwest Suburban Bar Association, and other organizations provide you with lots of opportunities.

Northwest Suburban Bar Association (NWSBA)

January 24, 2018 – Estate Planning & Probate CLE  (2340 S. Arlington Heights Road, Third Floor Conference Room, Arlington Heights, Illinois  60005, 11:45 AM)

January 30, 2018 – Civil Lit CLE (TBD)

February 1, 2018 – Law Practice Management CLE (2340 S. Arlington Heights Road, Third Floor Conference Room, Arlington Heights, IL, 4:45 PM)

February 5, 2018 – Matrimonial Law CLE (Wojcik Center, 1200 W. Algonquin, Palatine, Illinois  60067, 11:45 AM)

February 28, 2018 – Traffic Law CLE (2340 S. Arlington Heights Road, Third Floor Conference Room, Arlington Heights, Illinois  60005, 4:45 PM)

For other opportunities with the NWSBA, check out their webpage.

Chicago Bar Association

The Chicago Bar Association has 18 CLE opportunities in January 2018. Some highlights include:

  • January 4, 2018 – Technology in the Courtroom: Advice from the Bar & the Bench
  • January 10, 2018 – Use Technology to Reduce Errors & Increase Profitability
  • January 17, 2018 – Immigration Law: How to Respond When the Government Says NO
  • January 18, 2018 – Motion Practice in Cook County Circuit Court’s Law Division
  • January 23, 2018 – Real Estate Taxation: Tax Sales & Tax Deeds

Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education

In addition to subscriptions, publications, and online offerings, IICLE offers several in-person CLE seminars, including:

Other Bar Associations

Although currently not listed on their websites, also check in with the Lake County Bar Association and the DuPage County Bar Association for other CLE opportunities in 2018.

Take a Break and Enjoy the Holidays!

The Northwest suburbs provide you with so many options in 2017 to enjoy a winter day with your family and friends. With a quick ride on Metra, you can easily travel into Chicago. Or you can jump in the car and stick around in Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, and the surrounding suburbs.

Below are some great examples for activities this holiday season.


Activities with Your Kids

Join Cha! Cha! and Santa at Rainforest Cafe in Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg on Saturday December 16th, 23rd & Sunday December 17th. (Rainforest Cafe, D121 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, IL 60173)

Have a stroll at Morton Arboretum to see Illumination through January 1, 2018. (Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL RTE 53, Lisle, IL 60532)

MB Financial Park at Rosemont’s Chicago Wolves Ice Rink will host a variety of special guests on Sundays from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. throughout the month of December. Children ages 12 and under are invited to visit the rink early with their family and skate with their favorite characters including Buddy the Elf & Santa (December 3), Belle & The Beast (December 10), Cinderella & The Prince (December 17) and Frozen’s Anna & Kristoff (December 24). (5501 Park Pl, Rosemont, IL 60018)

Naper Settlement hosts the sole suburban location of the beloved outdoor German market, Christkindlmarket Naperville. (523 S Webster St, Naperville, IL 60540)

You could also take Metra and go to Daley Center for the Christkindlmarket.

[Read more…]

About the Firm

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

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