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Summer Pedestrian Accidents

At some point in one’s life, everyone is a pedestrian. However, on average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashes. (Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians, April 2014). Injuries suffered in accidents include car accidents, road construction accidents and pedestrian vehicle collisions.

Pedestrian and bicycle safety has become a priority issue for the Department of Transportation. It has lead the Department to introduce initiatives to make roads safe for everyone.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) continuously work to raise awareness about the dangers to by moving vehicles. NHTSA provides some preventative measures to reduce pedestrian crashes.

Prepared Before Walking

A pedestrian should always wear clothes or materials that are visible to others whether its day or night. Bright color cloths help drivers slowdown from a distance. During the night, pedestrians should wear lights (white in front – red in the rear, just like a car). Before walking, plan a safe route. Walk near light traffics and  where vehicles move at low speeds. If possible, the pedestrians should separate themselves from traffic and use the sidewalks, paths or barriers.

Know the Rules

A driver should know all the rules and regulations of the road. Following the rules and laws not only keeps the pedestrian safe but also the driver. Laws and regulations are made to create a system so pedestrians or drivers can safely share the road without the fear of an accident.

Rules for pedestrians are:

  • To walk on the sidewalks, if there are no sidewalks, then walk as far to the left of the road and always face the traffic.
  • Look in all direction for traffic before crossing a driveway or road.
  • Cross in marked crosswalks, corners or at intersections. It can be inherently dangerous to disobey the law and walk past cars on a road.
  •  Obey pedestrian crossing signals.
  • Always look left and right for traffic while crossing and be prepared to get out of the way if a driver doesn’t see you.

Look for Traffic

When walking on the same road as cars or crossing the road with traffic, expect others not to see you. It is possible that some drivers may be distracted while driving. Do not step on the road until the driver has come to a complete stop or when the driver has acknowledged your intent to cross the road with a nod, waive or eye contact.

Walk Defensively

Pedestrians should always stay focused and alert. There is a greater chance of injury for a pedestrian then a driver in an accident. While walking and especially while crossing the road, pedestrians should avoid texting, listening to music, or anything that that may cause the pedestrians attention to divert somewhere other than the road. Drivers should be given extra time to slow down and come to a complete stop before pedestrians begin walking. During poor weather (ice, snow, rain) and during low visibility (dusk, dawn, for or night) pedestrians should be extra alert. Just because you see others doesn’t mean they see you.

Awareness

Know the causes of pedestrian-vehicle crashes. Being aware of the problem and the common types of crashes between pedestrians and vehicles can help pedestrians take causation to protect themselves.

If you or a loved one has been injured and need help with an insurance claim, 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.

Liability After an Amusement Park Accident

amusement park accident

Roller coasters, funnel cakes, and lots of laughter bring many families to amusement parks every summer. And you assume you don’t need to worry about anything. Families can have fun and stay safe. Every year families gather to go to water parks and amusement parks during the summer months all over the country. More thrilling rides attracts visitors to enter the parks with excitement and brings them back every year. Unfortunately, amusement parks can bring danger. If the rides at the parks are not maintained, they are no longer safe to ride for any age group. In fact, going on those rides could become a life-threatening event.

According to International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, approximately 375 million people visit a theme park each year in North America.  In a study done by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 92,885 children under age 18 were treated to emergency rooms due to injuries caused by rides at amusement parks. This averages to 4,423 injured per year on rides. The study also concluded that most of the injuries were head injuries due to hitting a hard floor.

Common injuries from a ride include head, neck and back injuries. Roller coasters that go in loops, backwards and sharp turns can create stress on a body which may result in the neck and back injury.

Injuries range from broken bones and concussion due to

  • Amputation
  • Electrocution
  • Paraplegia
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Wrongful death

[Read more…]

Wrongful Death Suits after a Fatal Motorcycle Accident

fatal motorcycle accident

After you have lost a loved one who was killed in a motorcycle accident, you may feel lost. You may not know what to do next. Every day, many motorcyclists and motorists share the same roads around the greater Chicago area with thousands of drivers. Many responsible people abide by local and state laws to ensure public safety on the road.  However, fatal accidents do occur. For example, on July 1, 2018, Lonie Krzywda, 57, of Des Plaines, was involved in the crash near Route 53 and Thorndale Avenue. She was taken to Lutheran General Hospital where she died from complications from injuries sustained in the crash.

During the summer months, many young and older adults residing in the greater Chicago area proudly ride their motorcycles in the roads around the city. However, many motorists driving cars and trucks apparently do not respect motorcyclists on the roads. Although motorcyclists have many safety tips and their own licensing, fatal accidents do occur often.

In many cases, a fatal motorcycle accident results from the negligence of another motorist. Although a fact based determination, if negligence played a role in the fatal motorcycle accident, you may have a civil action against the driver. These accidents can involve a car or a truck. Unfortunately, some motorcyclists, like Ms. Krzywda, have lost their lives in accidents due to an accident with a car.

Types of Compensation for Wrongful Death

The plaintiffs in motorcycle accident wrongful death claims can obtain compensation for:

  • Medical expenses that accumulated prior to death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of future income
  • Loss of support
  • Benefit Loss
  • Other monetary losses suffered as a result of the victim’s wrongful death
  • Non-monetary damages, including loss of companionship and affection

How to Find an Attorney After a Fatal Motorcycle Accident

Filing a lawsuit requires the assistance of a competent wrongful death suit attorney who specializes in:

  • Handling many complex cases in the Chicago area.
  • Helping you make sense of the untimely death of your loved one.
  • Explaining all of your options in order to receive compensation.
  • Mounting the strongest case possible on your behalf.
  • Bringing justice to the person who caused the tragic loss due to his or her misconduct or negligence.
  • Assisting you in receiving monetary damages to which you are entitled.

Consult with an experienced attorney who understands the laws pertaining to your case: the fatal motorcycle accident involving your loved one or friend.

If you or a loved one has been injured and need help with an insurance claim, 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.

Waterslide Ends with Tragedy

VerructA tragic incident of a 10-year-old boy who lost his life at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City led to state inspection finding violations on 11 rides including the ride he was on. The audit listed 160 findings with 147 considered to be immediate actions to be taken to repair the rides.

Charles Thomas Schwab, 10 years old, died riding the “Verruct” slide when the raft went airborne. The raft then hit a metal pole causing him severe injuries. Traffically, he died due to his injuries in August 2016.  Charles complied with all the rider instructions. But the ride still costed him his life regardless of him obeying the instructions. Along with Charles, two other women on the same raft as him, were also severely injured. One women suffered a broken jaw. The other a broken bone in her face.

[Read more…]

Wrongful Death

wrongful death

Wrongful death is a claim brought by a party against a defendant who caused the death of a close family member. A wrongful death action gives an opportunity to the estate of the deceased person to bring a lawsuit against the defendant who may have caused the death by intentional or negligent actions. The lawsuit gives the family the chance to seek compensation for their emotional and financial loss.

What is a Wrongful Death?

Claims for wrongful death are usually negligence cases. Negligence case is when the defendant was careless which caused an accident causing harm to the victim. For example, if the negligence of a party leads to the death of a loved one on a hunting trip, you may have a wrongful death suit. The party bringing the action must prove the four key elements:

  1. Negligence – the party must prove the defendant caused the death of the victim by carelessness or reckless actions
  2. Breach of duty – the party must prove that the defendant owed and then breached a duty to the deceased victim.
  3. Causation – the party must prove thatthe defendant negligence caused the death of the loved one.
  4. Damages – The death of the victim should have resulted in damages such as hospital fees, medical expenses and funeral/burial cost.

Wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action and is separate from the criminal prosecution. Therefore the burden of proof is set lower. Even without criminal charges, a family can bring a civil action against a defendant. Additionally, if a criminal court acquits a defendant of murder, the victim’s family may still have a cause of action in civil courtA court would take the two charges separately and one should not control the other.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit?

Usually, survivors with a relationship to the deceased brings a wrongful death claim. The relationship to the victim construe differently from state to state.

In all states, a spouse can bring a wrongful death claim because the spouse can show a financial dependence on the deceased. Others who may be eligible to bring the claim may include parents of  unmarried children and children of the deceased. In some states sibling and grandparents may have the right to bring a lawsuit. But they would have a higher burden in proving closeness to the victim. Parents of minor children can bring a claim, but debate remains whether parents of adult children can bring a claim.
Bystanders with no relationship to the victims cannot bring a claim for wrongful death.

When to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim

Survivors can bring a wrongful death claim when a defendant kills their close relative by the harmful act of an intentional or negligent act. Some instances when a wrongful death claim can be brought includewhen then the victim dies because of

  • Intentional act
  • a criminal activity,
  • medical malpractice,
  • product defect,
  • occupational exposure and hazard,
  • supervised activities (day care, adult care, field trips) or
  • car related accidents involving negligence, including manufacturing defects.

What to Prove

To bring a wrongful death claim, one must prove that the

  1. defendant owed a duty of care to the victim,
  2. defendant breached they duty,
  3. death was caused by the breach and
  4. death caused damages that plaintiff can recover.

Damages

When calculating damages for the one who has brought a wrongful death claim, the jury looks at the victim’s earnings at the time of death and potential future earnings and losses. Some damages that can result from a wrongful death can include:

  • medical cost of the deceased victim
  • deceased person’s expected income
  • cost of services provided such as funeral and burial
  • loss of consortium
  • loss of support and income
  • lost of prospect of inheritance
  • value of services the deceased would have provided if still alive
  • loss of love and companionship

A court may award punitive damages to the victim’s family for a action. Punitive damages exceed compensation. A court or jury awards punitive damages mainly to punish the defendant for the harmful actions.

Hunting Accidents: Wrongful Death and Negligence Injuries

hunting accidents

During the last week of March of this year, an Illinois juvenile suffered non-fatal injuries after being shot in a hunting accident. The accident occurred on March 30, 2018 around 8:00 A.M. near southern Davison County in South Dakota. According to Conservation Officer Brian Humphrey of the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Departments, the Illinoisan was hunting snow goose when the gun that injured him appeared to not have its safe on and was bumped causing a round to fire at the juvenile.

While this incident occurred in South Dakota to an Illinois resident, many hunting accidents happen in the State of Illinois. According to the Department of Natural Resources, also known as the IDNR, “Hunting Incidents by Year Cumulative Report,” in 2015, a total of 308,878 hunting licenses were sold, and 41 fatal and non-fatal accidents were reported. This does not account for other accidents that were not reported to the IDNR.

[Read more…]

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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