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Protect Yourself with Proper Motorcycle Gear

motorcycle gear

“harley”by Hungarian Snow is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

With the warmer weather, you may want to dust off your motorcycle for a nice summer ride. But did you know that most motorcycle accidents happen on short trips of five miles or less? Additionally, most accidents happen with the motorcycle traveling slower than 30 miles per hour. In addition to riding safely, remember to dress safely. Wearing the proper motorcycle gear can protect you and your passengers from potential significant injury if an accident occurs. So, let us review what you should wear to stay safe on the roads.

Motorcycle Helmets

Motorcycle helmets are one of the most obvious ways to protect yourself while on a motorcycle. In Wisconsin, both passengers and riders 17 years or younger must wear a helmet on any motorcycle with an engine greater than 50ccs or on motorcycles capable of exceeding 30mph. And even though there is no mandated helmet law in Illinois, you should still always wear a helmet when riding on your motorcycle. Whether you wear a full-face helmet, or a three-quarter helmet is up to your own personal preferences. Whichever helmet you choose, you should check for a few things:

  1. Make sure the helmet meets U.S. Department of Transportation and state safety standards.
  2. Be sure that the helmet fits snuggly, all around your head.
  3. Check to make sure that the helmet is free from defects like cracks on the outer shell, loose padding on the inside, or frayed, weakened chin straps.

Eyewear

Regardless of the helmet laws, both Illinois and Wisconsin require eye protection while on your motorcycle. Illinois requires eye protection during day and night rides, unless the motorcycle has a windscreen. Wisconsin also requires eye protection during day and night rides, unless the motorcycle has a state-approved windscreen that rises 15 or more inches from the handlebars. Before you hit the road, quickly verify the condition of the eyewear by checking the following:

  • Eye protections should be free from scratches, and resistant to penetration.
  • Eye protection should give a clear view on either side of the eyes for increased visibility.
  • Eye protection fit snugly and comfortably to the face, leaving room for eyeglasses or sunglasses, if needed.

Other Motorcycle Gear and Clothing

The less exposed skin you have while riding, the safer you are from injury in an accident. Wear jackets and pants that cover your arms and legs completely. Wear boots with a hard, slip-resistant sole that rise above the ankle. Wear full-finger gloves to protect your hands and get a good grip on the handles.

By wearing the proper motorcycle safety gear, you can better protect yourself from severe injury in the event of an accident. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer today for a free consultation. With considerable experience representing people involved in motorcycle accidents, let R.F. Wittmeyer fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Car Accidents Caused By Mechanical Failure

mechanical failure

“Under the hood”by cbowns is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Mechanical failure can lead to serious car accidents. Additionally, they can act as a contributing factor that may lead minor accidents into major disastrous events. Examples of mechanical malfunctions include

  • brake failure,
  • broken airbags,
  • airbags that injure,
  • defective tires,
  • defective accelerators or
  • seat belts that don’t work.

For example, seat belts that doesn’t work can be dangerous to everyone. It can affect the driver and the passengers in the car. Defective seat belt may fail to tighten appropriately or could unlatch unexpectedly.

If you are hurt in a car accident due to a mechanical malfunction, you have the option to sue the manufacture or the seller of your vehicle to recover for damages. Generally, if it is a design defect, then it may affect the entire line of products. However, if a manufacturing defect occurred during the construction or production, then that usually effects just one your car.

Determining the Cause of a Mechanical Failure Accident

Each state has specific rules for how to determine the cause of an accident. However, generally, an experienced personal injury lawyer, like the attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. will look at how the owner has treated the car and if the manufacturer knows of any issues.

First, the vehicle owner may know about underlying problems that involved repairs by a mechanic. Drivers may know of issues beforehand but either cannot afford to fix them, cannot restore them or refuse to repair the issue. Due to knowledge and action that directly result in traffic incidences, the driver or owner can be held at fault. If an owner or mechanic fails to fully repair a car, liability may lie with the owner and the mechanic. However, if the defect affects the vehicle, the manufacturer could be at fault. An attorney will look into the recall history for the vehicle and also investigate unknown defects. In these instances, the driver or mechanic may not know about the problems.

Depending on the state, strict liability may apply for mechanical failure accidents. Under the strict liability theory, a plaintiff must prove that a defective part left by the manufacturer or seller was created an unreasonably dangerous condition. Unreasonably dangerous means that the product presents more danger that expected by the ordinary consumer. The plaintiff must also prove that the defendant caused the accident.

In other cases, an accident victim may need to show negligence. Under the negligence theory, the injured victim must show that

  • the defendant owed a duty of care,
  • the defendant breached its duty of care,
  • actual and proximate causation, and
  • that the victim suffered from actual damages due to the breach.

Generally, negligence theory may be harder to prove then strict liability.

What Are Mechanical Failures You Should Watch For?

Examples of mechanical failures that you can solve for your own vehicle can include:

1. Brakes
When brake pads begin making noises or no longer function at full value, replace  them.

2. Tires
Experts recommend getting new tires every six years. If you hit curbs or potholes or have bumpier roads, have professional inspect them on a regular basis.

3. Windshield Wipers
Replace your windshield wipers every six months to a year. If they begin to streak or leave areas full of water, you may need to replace them!

4. Head Lights
Foggy head lights can lead to dangerous driving . Many cars have sensors to detect out lights. But also check them once a week for your own safety.

5. Steering
If you steering wheel appears to vibrate or lock, report this during your maintenance checkup. A professional can diagnose the problems.

By carefully maintaining your vehicle, you can help your car remain safe.

Why Should I Hire An Attorney?

If you have been injured by a car accident caused by mechanical failures, you may need to hire an attorney. The attorney will most probably retain an expert to investigate. The expert could testify about the design defect or manufacturing defect that may have caused the accident. Also, they would present to the court the alternatives to that design that could make the vehicle safer. This could involve forensic evidence of the vehicle and the accident.

Experienced personal injury lawyers like the attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. have knowledge in motor vehicle accidents and product liability. When you meet with an attorney, an injured victim should share information about the case. This would include the suspected cause of the accident, any acts leading up to the accident and the injuries you sustained in the accident. For a free consultation, call the attorneys today at (847) 357-0403

How Dull Headlights Affect Safe Driving

headlights

When you’re driving down the road and see another car coming from the opposite directions, sometimes you wish you could wear your sunglasses at night to stop the blinding light. However, those lights can save your life. With half of all fatal accidents occurring after dark, headlight safety is an important factor in accident avoidance. One of the issues leading to these car accidents is the quality of the headlights. New research from AAA reveals that clouded or yellowed headlights generate only 20% of the amount of light that new headlights do. This leads to dangerous nighttime driving conditions.

The decrease caused by sunlight damage leads to discoloration. The fogginess then diminishes the headlight’s ability to provide adequate lights. When you drive down the the dark roadways, you want the best light possible. In fact, the AAA urges drivers to check their headlights for signs of deterioration. Finally, if you check them, invest in new headlights or a service to boost the safety of driving after dark.

[Read more…]

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…]

Scaffolding Accidents

Scaffolding

Workers understand the risks of construction sites. They understand the risks of falling from great heights. As they work on scaffoldings, Construction crew members are at a high risk of death due to falls from great heights. One reason for the falls among construction workers is scaffoldings that collapse.

Injuries Caused By Scaffoldings Collapsing

Some major injuries that can result from the fall of a construction worker due to scaffolding collapse are:

  • Broken or shattered bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ damage or bleeding
  • Serious lacerations

Many workers who fall due to scaffolding dangerously collapsing result in major injuries if not death. Usually, the victims needs extensive medial treatment and may be left with permanent disabilities.

Injuries, disabilities and death can become costly, with medical bills and loss of work. Attorneys provide services that helps the innocence victims combat the situation and be provided with what they deserve.

Disney Scaffoldings Accident

Such accidents happen every day. For example, a horrible accident involving the collapse of scaffolding took place at a Disney park.

On August 29 around 4:15 a.m., two construction workers worked on the 6th and 7th floor of a construction site, pouring concrete for the new hotel. The scaffolding collapsed. Subsequently, they fell 80 feet to their death. The third worker managed to hang on to the scaffolding and climbed to safety. He suffered minor injuries but refused transport to the hospital. A fourth worker escaped uninjured. At the time of the incident, a dozen workers worked, pouring concrete. Reports identified the deceased as Jerry Bell, 46, and Lorenzo Zavala, 34.

This accident took place near the Disney World resort in central Florida. The workers worked on site on the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort, a $282 million project for a 16-story venture with 516 rooms from Marriott International. Although not a Disney property, other Disney resorts surround the new hotel. Marriott plans to complete the project in 2019.

The sheriff’s office and federal investigators examined the scene for the cause of the accident. The examination looked into why the scaffolding gave away.

As the family mourns the deaths of their beloved, the workers are shocked and confused by the incident wondering how the scaffolding can collapse. Lastly, the Marriott International spokesperson stated deep sadness by the tragic incident that took place.

If you or someone you know were involved in an accident with construction site, contact the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today for a free consultation.

New Distracted Driving Law in Illinois

distracted driving

Using electronic devices while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. Recently, texting has become the most common cause of distracted driving accidents. A U.S Department of Transportation 2015 report shows the danger. Distracted driving crashes caused 3,5000 fatalities and about 400,000 injuries.

According to the CDC, 1/3 of drivers from the age of 18 and 64 read emails and text while in traffic. From 2011 to 2015 the electronic device related accident spiked from 50,000 to 70,000.

Unlike increased DUI penalties, the number of car accidents has not dropped. Official believe that distracted driving accidents have filled the gap.

Distracted Drivers in Illinois

The Illinois Department of transportation observed 33,666 drivers in a recent study. The study showed 3.9% of female drivers used a hand-held electronic device. Additionally, men used their devices more often (10.2%).

The study also showed, that the city of Chicago at 17.6% had the highest diver electronic device use compared to upstate counties such as DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will and Winnebago at 12.6%. The downstate counties had the lowest amount of usage.

Comparing Distracted Driving to DUIs

In an experiment conducted by Car and Driver magazine, sober drivers who text or read emails while driving take longer to react to an alert than drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08. In some instances, device-distracted driving is more dangerous than DUI.

Increased Penalties in Illinois

Illinois has imposed stricter penalties starting in July 2019. Drivers caught texting and driving will face stricter penalties for violating the law. The penalty could lead up to judge’s suspension of the violators license. This puts Illinois in line with other states taking this danger seriously. For example, in California, they ban all talking, texting and the use of any handheld phones while driving.

The new law goes in effect on July 1, 2019. The law states that anyone who illegally uses a handheld electronic device while driving will get a ticket for a moving violation.  Cristina Castro, Elgin Democrat, says the penalties under the old law has not done enough to deter the drivers from using electronic devices while driving. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, in 2017, 9% of Illinois drivers were observed to be using electronic devices while driving. In the same year, police issued 35,036 tickets for texting or talking while driving.

The new law plans on only changing the penalty under the old law. The old law implemented in 2014 is still intact. The ban under the old law is:

  • Using the speakerphone while holding a cellphone is a violation of the law
  • Use of hands-free devices or Bluetooth technology is allowed only for people older than 18.
  • Drivers may use handheld cell phones only to report an emergency, while parked on the shoulder of a road or if the vehicle is in park or neutral while normal traffic is obstructed — such as at a stoplight or train crossing.
  • Headsets — other than a single-sided headset or earpiece — are prohibited.

It is legal to press a single button to start or end a phone call.

Mount Prospect Pedestrians Crossing Study

Improvements at various crossings along Central Road in Mount Prospect could come to fruition. After several years of studies, the village wants to increase safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. The village’s Strategic Plan has identified top priorities for pedestrian and bicyclist safety in high volume areas. The plans come two years after a Mount Prospect mother of five died after being hit in a Central Road crosswalk at Weller Lane. Since then, her husband launched a campaign focusing on crosswalk safety and design.

Last year, village staff participated in two safety engineering evaluations of the Central Road corridor from Arthur Avenue to Rand Road.

  1. One study was initiated by the village. It included an in-depth pedestrian safety analysis of the corridor by outside firm the Ciorba Group.
  2. The second study was a “Road Safety Review” of Central Road. The study was conducted by the Illinois Dept. of Transportation (IDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). They analyzed roadway safety with an emphasis on pedestrian crossings.

[Read more…]

Pedestrian Car Accidents in Illinois

pedestrian accidents

Pedestrian accidents take place everyday in Chicago and the northwest suburbs. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the major urban areas in Illinois see the most accidents. In 2012, there were 4,930 pedestrian crashes. According to the Chicago’s Transpiration Department, pedestrian deaths have risen over the last five years. Experts say several reasons could be the rise of vehicles on the roads, high speed vehicles, and distractions from electronic devices from both the drivers and the pedestrians. The Center for Disease Control focuses on preventative measures to decrease these numbers. CDC has introduced programs pedestrians can use to keep themselves safe from injury in a pedestrian accident.

Age Statistics

In Illinois, the majority of the pedestrians involved in accidents are children or high school age children. In Chicago, it was reported in 2011, children’s ages 5 to 14 were the second highest group for pedestrian crashes in the city. From 2005 through 2009 the number of crashes involving children (ages 8-18 years old) decreased by 28%, from 964 to 698.

Gender Statistics

Also, mens are 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a crash then females. In Chicago,  52% of all pedestrian crashes and 54% of fatal and serious injury crashes involve men. Lastly, the main age group for males in accidents are 0-14 years, which makes up the largest population to be involved in pedestrian crashes.

When Do Pedestrian Accidents Take Place?

As reported in the City of Chicago 2011 pedestrian crash analysis, 17% of all crashes occurred on a Thursday, which according to several studies is the worst traffic day. The crashes include fatal and serious injury crashes. However, Saturday showed to have the fewest accidents. Crashes that take place in the late evenings on weekends typically involve age groups 19 to 29-year-old.

For example, most crashes occur from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for all age groups except for seniors. Seniors are most likely to be in an accident mid-day.

Where Do Pedestrian Accidents Take Place?

With this in mind, the Chicago Tribune states that the city has put out “Vision Zero” to decrease the chances of traffic deaths and crashes. The city plans to push for safety education mainly focusing on high-crash areas such as low-income neighborhoods on the south and west sides.

At any rate, pedestrian accidents lead to the most fatal to a pedestrian. A distracted driver or a distracted pedestrian could both lead to accidents causing injury to both parties. Some actions that may lead to collisions between vehicles and pedestrians include:

  • Speeding
  • Talking or texting on a cell phone
  • Running a red light
  • A distracted pedestrian stepping in front of a vehicle
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign

Such accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death. For example, some of the injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Scrapes and bruise
  • Head injury
  • Dislocated joints
  • Back and neck injuries

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 a pedestrian involved 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.

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…]

Have a Safe Spring on Your Motorcycles

We have had a short spring. Although spring officially began on March 20, the thermometer remained in winter mode. What happened to the April showers, green landscape, and blossoming flowers? And now, it seems like summer will begin!

For example, on April 9th, 2018, the Chicago Cubs opening day was postponed due to snow covering Wrigley Field. But two days later, sunshine and the 60s greeted the Chicagoland area.

Houses and cars could finally begin to turn the heat off and open the windows. Bikers uncover their motorcycles and hit the road. According to Statista’s 2016 survey, there are a total of 314,807 motorcycles registered and traveling on Illinois roads. While enjoying this weather with a fun, relaxing ride may seem like the most logical thing to do. But avoid having a motorcycle accident. Remember these important safety tips when hitting the road. [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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