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With many Chicagoans flouting the shelter-in-place restrictions order issued late March of this year, Mayor Lightfoot had to force compliance by closing the Lakefront Trail , the popular 606 Trail and the Riverwalk in an effort to decelerate the  Covid19 outbreak and ease the strain on the city’s healthcare system. This decision was met with dismay and eventually, resignation by both avid joggers, bikers and avid walkers alike who favored these trails for their scenic and somewhat secluded routes. Now, as part of Chicago’s re-opening phases, the Lakefront and 606 Trails are open once again for business but with constraints attached. People are not allowed to dawdle and are required to be in constant motion whether they are walking, running or biking.

All together the Chicago Lakefront trail is 19 miles of abundant beauty and easy accessibility. It begins at the south end of the South Shore Cultural Center and ends the northern Kathy Osterman Beach. It is a haven for many wanting to take a leisurely stroll or get solid exercise. Nevertheless, personal injury attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. know that it is not uncommon for accidents to happen on certain stretches of the trail where it is especially congested and where Lake Shore Drive converges with parts of the trail that have little to no guardrails installed. Last year in June, a car swerved off Lake Shore Drive close to the entrance of the Diversey Harbor, landing on the bike path. The vehicle operator was critically injured; fortunately, there were no bicyclists on the bike path. One always hear that lightning never strikes the same place twice but two months prior, a fatality occurred in the same area. The man died from injuries sustained after his vehicle collided with the guard rail and then a hitting a concrete light pole.

Amateur joggers, cyclists or walkers are probably unaware that this particular area of the trail is dangerous and now that the trail has re-opened there is always the frightening chance these accidents happen and cause fatalities. Personal injury lawyer Peter Zneimer knows that despite the long-awaited re-opening of the Lakefront trail, much of it still poses as a hazard for many and safety should be a priority no matter your role in the story.

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For those of us who live in Chicago and enjoy a scenic stroll or bike ride around the city we know that the 606 as well as the lakefront trails are the places you want to be. As many of us may know, both of these trails have been closed since March due to Covid 19 restrictions, but recent announcements from the city has given us something to look forward to.[1] Starting Monday, June 26th, both trails will officially be reopened to the public. Now, being that we are still the thick of a global pandemic we must take this good news with a grain of salt. The trails will be open to travelers and exercisers alike between the times 6AM and 7PM and social distancing will be enforced.[2]    Even with the restrictions in place, one  can expect that traffic coming in and out of the trails will boom to extraordinary levels this coming Monday. So, if you are one of the many people who are thinking of re-exploring the great trails this city has to offer when they are reopened there are some things you should keep in mind. No loitering or grouping will be allowed, which means everyone on the trails will have to continue moving forward at all times.[3] Also for the lakefront trails only certain entrances to the trail will be open and bikers as well as walkers and runners alike will have to use the same trail. Also, there will be what are called “social distancing ambassadors”[4] which are people who will be educating the public on safe distancing practices. The safety measures the city are implementing on these trails will do wonders in preventing the spread of Covid 19 but Covid 19 might not be the biggest safety concern in the reopening. With the amount of people in this city that have been on the edge of their seats watching business and parks reopen day by day, we may see a variety of accidents from people going to and from the trails. So, if you are traveling to or from or on the 606 or the Lakefront trails be sure to be careful. If by chance you or anyone you know happens to fall victim to an over enthusiastic trail goer or reckless drivers not expecting the amount of people on the trail, make sure they know their rights and get the proper representation to fight for them.  The lawyers of  Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. handle all sorts of personal injury matter including drivers, bikers and pedestrians that have been injured by others negligence. Please have fun on the trails this coming week and if things take a bad turn, give us a call at (773) 516-4100, we are here to help you.

[1] https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/6/18/21295420/606-lakefront-bloomingdale-trail-reopen-repair-ken-griffin

[2] Vida supra

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Quarantine during the pandemic saw pet adoptions and fosters skyrocket by about 43% and adoption inquiries jump by 116 percent in the second half of March. Perhaps, in an effort to fill the long hours of isolation and ward off depression (which also saw a historic rise during the pandemic), many chose our beloved canine friends as company and balm to the blues.  Dogs found homes; owners found another source of comfort. It has the makings of a happy story.

It did not come as a surprise however,  for personal injury attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., that there was a rise in dog bite incidents relative to the pandemic. Dogs misbehave or get aggressive due to many reasons such poor socialization, lack of exercise or training or any other stress-related factors. Dogs normally exhibit aggression in many forms like excessive barking, jumping, destructive behavior (inappropriate chewing etc.)  nipping and biting. As more people stayed at home and dogs are walked more daily, pet owners or walkers exacerbated the problem by irresponsibly walking dogs without a leash and creating a dangerous situation for the walker and passers-by. Another reason dogs were stressed during the pandemic and therefore were more prone to exhibit aggressive behavior was the increased human to dog interactions. New dog owners, especially ones, with little children need to educate themselves on training and other positive reinforcements while teaching children boundaries so as to give the dog space.

Depending on the severity of the dog bite, the medical bills would still be a burden to the victim. Along with permanent scarring, and the indelible trauma– the risk that the dog was not properly inoculated and might have rabies is also a huge concern. Personal injury attorney Peter Zneimer has witnessed the lasting damages one dog bite can cause to an individual and the weight of responsibility will be on the owners themselves to take care of the dog as the dog takes care of them to prevent injuries.

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Most of Illinois has been shuttered from the pandemic especially after the shelter-in-place orders Governor Pritzker has issued but it has not stopped people from hopping in their vehicles and driving recklessly and over the speed limit. Chicago which has a 30mph speed limit in most streets, have seen a spike in drivers speeding furiously above that. On April 15, 2020, a 50-car pile-up occurred on the Kennedy Expressway – the worse the city has seen in a while, even considering the wet and snowy conditions.

When the shelter-in-place order began in the middle of March this year, the city of Chicago saw a decrease in traffic as more people take fewer trips in their cars and more calculated ones for essential tasks. Similar patterns have emerged in large cities notorious for traffic congestion, such as Los Angeles and New York, where much of daily life has been grounded to a halt after the Covid19 outbreak. The streets at first were apocalyptic. But as with every crisis in history, there are people who stand to lose and people who stand to gain. That’s where the Fast and Furious wannabes come in. To these people, empty streets make for great racetracks. Motorists are treating Chicago highways as if they were Germany’s Autobahn.

The first week of March was greeted with 2,063 crashes but by mid-April the number of crashes reported went down to 803. A WGN article has noted fewer crashes since the shelter-in-place order but found an increase in the severity of the crashes. They have attributed this to motorists speeding on the streets, exceeding the speed limit by more than 75 percent above average in one week. Covid19 has lessened traffic congestion but has encouraged speeding, harming vulnerable pedestrians and bicyclists alike. It only takes one reckless driver, with a selfish disregard for bike lanes or bus lanes, whose only concern is to shave minutes getting from point A to point B for a tragedy to happen. The lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. urges drivers to slow down and calm down while driving.

 

 

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In the times of quarantine in Chicago, many of us find ourselves jumping at any chance we get to enjoy the lovely springtime weather. These opportunities seem to be too infrequent to pass up the chance to get a little exercise. If you find yourself outside on one of these wonderful spring days, take a look around you and you will notice you are far from the only one. It seems like every good day we have the streets and paths are packed with runners, walkers and bikers getting every moment they can under the sun. These outbursts of athletic enthusiasm beg the question, is our city truly able to handle the amount of people out and active on the streets? Biking is the prime example where the shortcomings our of cities infrastructure and have caused dark tragedies from our bright moments of exuberance under the sun. This is rooted in our cities failure to even come close to there stated goals for biker safety. This was not always the case with Chicago, eight years ago bikers had every reason to be excited about the way their city was progressing. At that time, the city had plans to identify and make a 645-mile network of on-street bikeways and up until 2015 real steps where taken to build and upgrade biking paths and general biker safety.[1] Also, during that time fatalities from biking accidents where going down and it had never been safer to be a biker in the city of Chicago. Sadly, after that golden age, complacency set in and our city biker safety momentum slowed to a standstill. So, this leads us back to today, where in our brief moments of freedom in a life of quarantine we may be in the more danger than ever. So for everyone who decides to take there bike outside or go for a run or walk around Chicago streets be sure to be careful, there may never be a time where more people are exposed to dangerous conditions all at one time like they are now. If  you or someone you know has been injured trying to stay active in these spring days’ you should make sure they are being treated properly and to make sure that they get the compensation they deserve. That is where we come in. The lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer are here to make sure that anyone who has been hurt while just trying to stay active in these inactive times should not be forced to face mounting bills that come with being injured in Chicago. Here we will fight for you and the ones you love to make sure that the moments you get to spend in the sun do not turn into years of financial instability and worry.

Please call the attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer  at (773) 516-4100 or visit our website at zneimerlaw.com if you or anyone you know has been injured in these troubling times.

[1] https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/11/17/20954155/chicago-bicycling-cyclist-bike-lanes-parking-trucks-traffic-deaths-vision-zero

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Illinois state officials expressed concern in early April as the weather starts to improve and people take to the city seeking fresh air outside of their homes. As COVID-19 continues to shut the country down and the warm weather entices people to go outside, Chicago police officers have conducted roadside checkpoints from April 7 to April 9 between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. in each police district, lasting for about 45 minutes per the Chicago Police Department, for drivers on the roads in the Chicago area. These checkpoints were set up to provide information to motorists about the stay-at-home order in effect until April 30, as well as to check for drivers under the influence and other traffic safety issues. Each driver that went through the roadside checkpoint was given a flyer providing information about the Illinois stay-at-home order. This is an important step by Chicago police to help educate the public on what is currently being done for them regarding COVID-19 as well as providing any useful tips to help minimize exposure and ultimately help flatten the curve.

The important thing to note with these roadside safety checkpoints, however, is that travel is not banned in the state of Illinois, and there are designated activities that residents are allowed to engage in that involve travel. In fact, there is a specific list provided by the state of Illinois that lets all people in Illinois know what the rules are when it comes to what defines an essential reason. According to state officials, essential reasons include: performing essential activities, governmental functions, business and operations; caring for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or other vulnerable people; receiving materials for distance learning, receiving meals and any other related services from an educational institution; returning to a place of residence from outside of jurisdiction; following the direction of law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement; and returning to a place of residence outside the state for non-residents. The important take away is that as the stay-at-home order continues, some travel is still allowable meaning that people are still on the roads and accidents can still happen. If you have an essential reason to be on the roads during this time period you are allowed to travel, but use extra caution as drivers attempt to return to normalcy.

As the weather gets nicer and people begin to settle into their homes for the foreseeable future, it is inevitable that people will eventually need to get behind the wheel of a vehicle for supplies and other essential activities. Even though police are cracking down on those who are engaging in non-essential travel, cars will still be on the road and accidents will still happen. Whether it’s to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or whether it’s the delivery order coming to your house, people are going to continue driving through this quarantine.  The lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C.,  know based on our experience as personal injury attorneys in the Chicago area that even with less than normal traffic accidents can still occur.

 

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As most of the nation grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent executive orders deterring individuals and groups to be outside save for when fulfilling what are considered “essential tasks”,  it is admittedly a challenge for Chicago residents to ignore a beautiful spring day. Lulled by the sun and the warmth, add to that the unmistakable signs of life and growth with flowers budding in abundance and grass an almost mocking green —  many Chicagoans have crawled out of their trenches to discard their solitude temporarily for a brief return  to normalcy. Some stroll, others take a road trip, while others dust the cobwebs off their bicycles to go out for a ride. The streets once devoid of traffic are now humming with life.

Prior to waging war with a highly transmissible virus, Chicago has long waged war on curbing congestion, especially downtown. Chicago has been successful in adopting Vision Zero in recent years, affording cyclists more room even in busy areas, as well as the construction of dedicated bus lanes for transit users. But as Martin Luther King once remarked, “All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem”. In addressing safety concerns over cyclists and pedestrians through the adoption of Vision Zero, out of the woodwork arise the ride-hail apps such as Uber, Lyft and Via, giving the city another problem to contend with. Since we are living in the age of convenience, where we can order merchandise and food on-demand, our streets are rife with delivery vehicles that park improperly on bike and bus lanes. Personal injury attorney Peter Zneimer knows the dangers posed when vehicles encroach bus and bike lanes are real. The injuries stemming from such grisly accidents are horrendous and in most cases, result in death. Far too often, scofflaws get away with not getting a ticket by driving off while the ticket is being written.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot clearly had enough already when she proposed a new ordinance last February allowing parking aides to take a photo of the insubordinate driver’s vehicle without having to hand the citation in real time. Instead, the citation will be mailed to the vehicle owner. Should this legislation pass, it can ease congestion in glutted areas, increase transit ridership and decrease accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians alike. If there is any takeaway from the onslaught of Covid-19 into our lives, it’s that whatever role we play, be it that of a motorist, a cyclist or a pedestrian, we should all look out for one another and stay safe.

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A $2 billion entered in favor of a Livermore, California couple that had contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma because of their use of  Round-Up Weed Killer produced by Monsanto.  Monsanto is appealing the verdict.

The root of the legal issue revolves around the key ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate. Bayer maintained that glyphosate is not a carcinogen, but plaintiffs offer research that shows glyphosate can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Glyphosate is the most widely-used herbicide in the United States. It is used on nearly every acre of corn, cotton, and soybeans grown in the United States and many Americans have used it to treat their lawns and gardens. Despite its common use, many jurisdictions across the country have banned or restricted the use of glyphosate until more is known about its health effects.

Roundup was first sold commercially by Monsanto in 1974, but Monsanto genetically engineered crops to tolerate glyphosate in 1996, which became known as “Roundup Ready” seeds, that furthered Roundup’s use on farms across the globe. Due to its widespread use, glyphosate can be found in water, food, and dust. However, little is known about the magnitude of human exposure because of minimal testing for glyphosate residue. While Bayer maintains that the active agent in Roundup does not pose a risk to people and the Environmental Protection Agency decided that it did “not likely” cause cancer in humans, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer called glyphosate a “probable human carcinogen.”

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Dogs are man’s best friend, but even friends make mistakes. Dog owners understand that dogs need to be trained and restrained in order to keep themselves and the public safe. However, sometimes animal instincts kick in and accidents happen. In February, a man from Plainfield, Illinois died from dog bites following an unprovoked attack by his family’s pit bull. (https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/2020/2/11/21133286/devin-white-dies-plainfield-pit-bull-attack-judith). Three other people were treated for minor injuries and, after police officers failed to get the dog under control, the dog was put down.

Under Illinois law, “If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.” (510 ILCS 5/16). In other words, for a person to successfully recover from a dog bite, she must prove that:

1) the dog attacked, attempted to attack, or otherwise injured the victim;

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More macabre numbers for pedestrians as the Governors Highway Safety Association released on Thursday disturbing statistics regarding pedestrian deaths. According to the GHSA report, a total of 6,590 pedestrian lives were lost last year – the highest number in 30 years. (https://www.ghsa.org/resources/news-releases/pedestrians20.  The numbers speak for themselves and warrant intervention from everyone involved, including pedestrians themselves and spurs the question, how can walking claim so many lives?

Interestingly enough, there has been a steady decline of traffic casualties over the last few years. We have seen improvements in vehicles equipped with the latest crash avoidance and mitigation technology. Many US jurisdictions have implemented traffic safety programs, addressing poorly designed roadways and educating motorists on basic safety practices to prevent distracted driving, especially in the smartphone age. Why then are we seeing an uptick in pedestrian deaths? To Chicago personal injury attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., this comes as no surprise. It is important to note that most pedestrian deaths occur in metropolitan areas, where there is high foot traffic, as more people are willing to commute less and walk more. Metropolitan areas normally have a profuse nightlife, with many bars and entertainment venues, thereby increasing the likelihood of alcohol impairment in individuals walking the streets at night, in the dark. There is a proliferation of SUV’s on the streets, behemoth vehicles that as studies have shown in the past, accounted for an 81 percent increase in single-vehicle pedestrian fatalities. These behemoth vehicles with their unforgiving higher front-end profile does not discriminate between walkers, joggers, the old and the young and have killed numerous, from the strong impact combined with the velocity at which the SUV was running. (https://www.chicagoaccidentlawyerblog.com/big-increase-in-pedestrian-deaths-linked-to-suvs/)

Vehicles will always win over pedestrians and cyclists, the latter of which has about a 2% share in all traffic related fatalities each year. Though the city of Chicago has embraced initiatives such as Vision Zero and recently, a proposal (https://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/2020/2/19/21143864/lori-lightfoot-bike-lanes-bus-crackdown)  to curb bad driving behaviors downtown like scofflaws parking in dedicated bus and bike lanes, the challenge to reduce pedestrian and cyclist death looms ahead.  The lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer note that we have a long way to go.

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