We can provide online consultations or phone consultations
Please click here for more information on Zneimer & Zneimer’s Coronavirus policies.

Glass-in-Car-300x179

Injury Lawyer Chicago IL

Physical injury has a domino effect on our ordered lives. After an injury, first comes the pain, then the need for medical care, and later come medical bills.  Hiring a good personal injury lawyer is an important step to discover and secure evidence and to ensure that medical debt does not negatively impact creditworthiness.

The torrent of medical bills begins very soon after medical treatment for personal injury. A visit to the ER typically results in at least two bills: one from the ER and another from the ER physician.  If the ER doctor orders X-rays, the radiologists will send a third bill for reading the films. If the ER doctor needs a consultation with a specialist, the specialist will send the fourth bill for the consultation.  If an ambulance took the personal injury victim to the ER, the ambulance ride will generate a fifth bill for the day.  Further treatment for the injuries brings more and more bills, loss of wages, decrease in credit score, and loss of the peace of mind.  At some point people start feeling helpless and lost and start asking around how to find a good personal injury lawyer to help them sort out the bills, the property damage, the loss of wages.  They search for “injury lawyer near me” and rely on search engines or referral of friends or family to find the best personal injury lawyer.  We often receive referrals from former clients who send us their friends or family to help.

When the Chicago personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer meet with injury clients for the first time, we often receive folders or large envelopes stuffed with unpaid medical bills.  We organize the bills chronologically by date of service to determine whether we have a comprehensive picture of the medical treatment to date.  We also start investigating the facts of the accident to determine whether there are witnesses, cameras, or other facts that can help to identify all responsible parties. We research the applicable law, and the responsible parties’ insurance to determine whether there is insurance coverage for the personal injury accident.  Sometimes, insurance companies may have exclusions and finding insurance coverage may become a challenge. Continue reading

Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer

What does a normal dog do in Chicago?

Dog in a costume

A normal Chicago dog

The Chicago personal injuries attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer follow all published court decisions discussing the Animal Control Act because we have many dog bite injuries victims.  Under the Illinois Animal Control Act, one can recover damages for personal injuries from a dog attack only if the dog acted out without provocation. Provocation is measured through the eyes of a “reasonable dog” and the question is whether a normal dog would have attacked the plaintiff.  Kirkham v. Will, 311 Ill. App. 3d 787 (2nd Dist. 2003).  It does not matter whether a person believes that their behavior was not provocative.  The question is whether a normal dog would find such conduct provocative.   In the end, humans decide what a normal dog’s reaction would be, and thus the question is whether a reasonable person should know that a normal dog would react to the precipitating event.

The burden to prove lack of provocation is on the dog bite victim. The law does not distinguish between intentional or unintentional provocation: unintentional provocation can provoke a dog.

For example, in one dog bite case, a child accidentally stepped on the tail of the dog.  The court decided that the child provoked the dog.  Nelson v. Lewis, 36 Ill. App. 3d 130 (1976).  The law does not give carte blanche to the dog whenever a normal dog is provoked.  The dog is Continue reading

Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys

Dog looking at people

 

The Chicago personal injury attorneys with Zneimer & Zneimer note yet another tragic story involving a family pet resulting in the death of two small children.  This tragedy should remind us that dogs are animals with their own whims, needs, and moods.  Most dogs also have significant physical advantage over children, especially strong breeds like Pitt Bull, Doberman, Mastiff, Cane Corso, Rottweiler, and others.   Keeping a strong dog as a family pet where small children live comes with risks to the household of the dog’s owner.  Risks include not just dog bite injuries, but death.  A lot of the fatalities include children.

Dogsbite.org, keeps track of dog bite fatalities and their victims.  According to the 2022 data,  the roster of victims is heartbreaking.  It includes a 3-month old baby (family pet, French mastiff-mix), 7-year old girl (Rottweiler), 1-year old girl (Pitt bull),  4-year old boy (Pitt bull), 7-month old baby (American bulldog-mix) , a 4-year old girl (Pitt bull), and many other children and adults whose encounter with a dog became a fatality.

People love and anthropomorphize their dogs and often forget that dogs are not human, do not follow the law, and do not abide by any commandments not to attack, bite, or kill.  Anthropomorphizing dogs can have detrimental effects   on the dog and the relationship between the owner and the dog.  Attributing human mental and emotional states to a dog may lead to misinterpretation of the dog’s behavior, resulting in a negative effect on the animal’s welfare and behavior. As the sad examples and heartbreaking obituaries of children reveal, wishing that a dog shares the human love for children, in no way means that the dog shares such love or is always safe around kids.  The numerous examples DogBites.org has collected show kids dying at the jaws of family dogs. Continue reading

IMG_1123-225x300IMG_1168-225x300IMG_1164-225x300

The Chicago personal injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer have seen an increase in serious car crashes that involve the use of pot. Recently the Chicago Sun Times reported that Illinois traffic deaths increased by 24%.  According to the organization Parents Opposed to Pot, since 2016, when Illinois legalized marijuana, traffic deaths increased from 1078 to 1091 in 2017, to 1038 in 2018. This increase has some people wondering if there is a correlation between the decriminalization of marijuana and the state rising the authorized limit of THC from 0 to 5 ng of THC.

Even though under Illinois law use of marijuana may be legal, driving stoned at any level is not safe.  From young age we learn that drinking and driving is a lethal combination.  We hear commercials and radio advertisements, and see signs deterring us from sitting behind the wheel when under the influence of alcohol.  Yet there is a paucity of advertisements or signs or warnings discouraging smoking pot and driving.

The fact is that pot-related driving under the influence represents a threat to the citizens of Illinois.  Driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous.  Research shows that marijuana impairs reactions just like alcohol does.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction delay. Several meta-analyses of studies found that the risk of being involved in a crash significantly increased after marijuana use and in some cases, the risk doubled or more than doubled. Continue reading

IMG_0089-225x300IMG_5488-225x300IMG_9265-225x300

An estimated 9,560 people died in motor vehicle crashes nationwide during the first three months of 2022.  This number represents a 20% jump from the same period in 2021 according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  This number also represents a 20 year high in deaths.  The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. sadly note that the NHTSA has reported the increase in motor vehicle fatalities was  even higher in Illinois.  Illinois has had 280 fatalities during the first 3 months of 2022 which represents a shocking 24% increase in deaths over 2021.  According to the National Safety Council there has been a long term trend of rising traffic deaths in Illinois.  In 2010 there were 927 traffic deaths in Illinois compared with 1,194 deaths in Illinois in 2020.

The personal injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. have observed that the blame for these increases have been placed on the usual suspects of drunken driving and speeding.  On top of these two causes and quickly becoming the top cause of traffic fatalities is distracted driving.  Almost everyone today has a cell phone and is constantly receiving text messages and e-mails.   Many drivers cannot resist  talking on their phones or checking in coming text or e-mails that ping on their phones.  Just a moment of distraction that takes a drivers eyes off the road is all it takes to cause a driver not to  see a pedestrian crossing the road or see a red light that has just turned or see a car that has made a sudden stop in front of their car.  It only takes a moment’s distraction to cause a life changing and tragic injury causing crash.  The lawyers of Zneimer and Zneimer P.C. urge all drivers to not use their cell phones when driving.

 

IMG_0162-225x300IMG_0164-225x300IMG_8367-225x300

The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer often meet with people who had suffered severe dog bite injuries from a dog that lives in a rental place.  Many times a dog had jumped over a low fence or squeezed through a broken door and attacked a passerby. Although blameless for the dog attack, injury victims often find themselves dealing with a dog owner who has neither insurance nor money to pay for the injured person’s mountain of medical bills, disfigurement, pain, lost wages.  In our experience it is rare for a renter to have liability insurance, and most renters do not enjoy wealth sufficient enough to compensate their dog’s victim.

The question then is whether a landlord, a roommate, a property manager can be held responsible when a renter’s dog jumps onto the street because the property was insufficiently secure.  Their liability will depend on the facts.

The Animal Care Act imposes penalties against both the owner of the animal and anyone who places themselves in a position of control akin to an owner.  Under Illinois law merely permitting a dog to be on the rented property is insufficient to establish ownership pursuant to the Act. If a landlord, a roommate, or a property manager cares for the dog, feeds the dog, or otherwise controls the dog at the time of the attack, it is possible to attach liability to them as “owners” under the definition of the Act and reach any insurance they have.  They must be harboring or keeping the animal, which amounts to undertaking to manage, control, or care for the dog as dog owners, in general, are accustomed to doing. Therefore, it is very important to document the instances when third parties cared for the dog because such instances may provide enough support to attach liability. However, if they cannot be held as owners, they cannot be held responsible under the Animal Care Act.

Can they be held liable under a negligence theory if they knew that the dog lived on the property if they knew that the fence was too low or the door insecure, and they had a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition?  Continue reading

IMG_0584-225x300

The new Chicago public spot Ainslie Arts Plaza near the Lincoln Avenue McDonald’s where Ainslie, Western, and Lincoln cross, featured picnic areas with colorful tables, vibrantly painted planters, and mosaic street mural.  It was opened on May 21, 2021, and was designed to be an open public space where people can connect in person.  According to the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce’s announcement, the Ainslie Arts Plaza is a “tactical urbanism at work,” and turned an underused location into “a pedestrian plaza with seating, newly installed landscaping and lights, and a street mural painted by artist Andrea Jablonski.”  Although it seems a lot of planning had gone into its décor, one thing that was lacking was planning for pedestrian safety.   The plaza did not have any protection for  pedestrians from errant vehicles.

Recently a woman speeding southeast on Lincoln Avenue at around 11:30 pm jumped the curb along Lincoln Avenue near the Ainslie Arts Plaza, lost control, crashed into the plaza, and demolished the furniture.  Thankfully, at that time people were not in the Plaza and only the driver suffered minor injuries.  Looking at the destruction caused by the crash, if there were pedestrians in the Plaza, people would have been seriously injured.   While comments from  Chicago officials show that they are sad and surprised at the turn of events, they should not be surprised.  It is foreseeable that an automobile driver may miss a curb, miss a turn, speed, and drive negligently.  The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer PC have seen many accidents where a driver drove negligently, jumped a curb, and crashed into a pedestrian, and are surprised that the design for this public plaza did not include pedestrian protection, since such lack of protection from out of control automobiles was previously litigated to the Illinois Supreme Court.

In 2006, in the case Marshall v. Burger King,222 Ill. 2d 422, 432 (2006), the Illinois Supreme Court was faced with the issue whether a Burger King  restaurant was liable for injuries as a result of a negligent driver who jumped the curb and crashed into the restaurant injuring its patrons.  The case arose when a driver in Rockford, Illinois, trying to drive out of a Burger King parking lot, backed into a lamppost, then drove forward, lost control of the car, hit the sidewalk near the Burger King, became airborne, and crashed through the brick wall and windows of the restaurant, fatally injuring a patron eating in the restaurant.  The estate of the decedent sued several parties, including Burger King.  The plaintiff argued that “no protective poles were built around the restaurant, the restaurant was “ bricked up” only a few feet from the ground, the restaurant was located in an area with heavy traffic, and the restaurant’s parking lot was located directly adjacent to its entrance and dining area,” and that such precautions would have been a “minimal undertaking” for the restaurant.  Marshall v. Burger King Corp., 222 Ill. 2d 422, 432 (2006)

Burger King argued that it had no liability because such automobile accident was not foreseeable.  Burger King suggested that it “owed no duty to the decedent to protect him against the possibility of an out-of-control car penetrating the restaurant and injuring him,” characterizing the incident as “highly extraordinary” and “tragically bizarre” and, “therefore, not reasonably foreseeable.” Marshall v. Burger King Corp., 222 Ill. 2d at 431.

The Illinois Supreme Court disagreed, noting:  “Initially, we note that it is reasonably foreseeable, given the pervasiveness of automobiles, roadways, and parking lots, that business invitees will, from time to time, be placed at risk by automobile-related accidents.” Marshall v. Burger King Corp., 222 Ill. 2d at 442.  Citing to the Restatement (Second) of Torts §344, the Illinois Supreme Court stated that the “plaintiff’s complaint clearly falls within its purview, as it alleges that, based on the place and character of defendants’ business, defendants had reason to know that the negligent conduct of third persons was likely to endanger defendants’ customers.”  Marshall v. Burger King Corp., 222 Ill. 2d at 445–46.  The Court specifically noted that the plaintiff’s complaint alleged that the restaurant was located in an area with a “high traffic count”; that various aspects of its design, including its “brick half wall,” and its sidewalk, render it susceptible to penetration by out-of-control automobiles; that defendants took no precautions, such as installing “vertical concrete pillars or poles,” to prevent automobiles from entering the restaurant; and that defendants had knowledge of all of the foregoing.”  Marshall v. Burger King Corp., 222 Ill. 2d at 445–46. Continue reading

IMG_E0562-188x300IMG_0571-225x300
Chicago Andre Vasquez has proposed streamlining the process to have cars and trucks towed that are blocking a bike lane.  Alderman Vasquez commented that: “cars just don’t care.  They’re parking there, waiting there. double-parking there.  Even when we had the Department of Finance ticket them, they weren’t moving.  By giving the Department of Finance the ability to tow them, it would incentivize people not to do it so they don’t get their towed.”

Additionally, the proposed ordinance would require signs to be posted that a bike lane will be closed 24 hours in advance whenever a permit is issued to do work that would close a bike lane.

The Alderman’s proposal was in response to a tragic accident that occurred on June 9, 2022 where a mother on a bicycle with a toddler named Lily seated in a carrier was riding down Leland Avenue bike lane.  Lily’s mother came upon a ComEd truck that was parked in the bike lane doing work.  Lily’s mother attempted to steer around the truck parked in the bike lane and was forced to maneuver by a semi-truck.  The semi-truck began to move causing Lily’s mother to lose her balance which caused Lily to be thrown to the roadway under the wheels of the semi.  Alderman Vasquez stated that he firmly believes that Lily would still be alive if his proposed ordinance were in affect at the time this incident occurred.

 

IMG_0119-225x300IMG_0107-225x300IMG_8527-225x300IMG_0070-225x300

On May 18th, Chicagoans joined cyclists worldwide in the Ride of Silence to honor those who have been killed in bike crashes. In 2021 and 2022, at least eleven cyclists have been killed locally, including notable figures such as School of Rock star Kevin Clark and architect Helmut Jahn. Cycling-related deaths have been getting more attention lately, and not just because of the fame of some victims. The problem is getting worse, with a spike in deaths over the past few years. It is also increasingly being viewed as an avoidable problem, one that could be mitigated with infrastructural changes that protect cyclists.

Groups like the Active Transportation Alliance are pushing for things like protected bike lanes to be expanded so that cyclists are less vulnerable to vehicles on city streets. Specifically, they are asking for more safety measures on the busiest of cycling streets, such as Milwaukee Avenue, where accidents are more frequent. Advocates highlight the urgency of such measures by pointing to the growth in cycling and the expansion of services like Divvy bikes. More bicycles on the road means more accidents, some of them fatal, if cities do not take extra precautions. Continue reading

IMG_0082-1-225x300IMG_0042-225x300 IMG_0039-225x300
The Chicago personal injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer encounter personal injury victims with serious injuries as a result of being involved in accidents against larger vehicles.  While newer vehicles are becoming safer for the people inside them, they are becoming larger, heavier, and more dangerous for the people outside that may collide with the larger vehicles.  The increase of safety for occupants inside the newer vehicles is a result of increased safety features such as warning systems, crumple zones, and airbags. Crumple zones are areas of a vehicle that are expected to deform and crumple in a collision, absorbing some of the impact’s energy and stopping it from getting transferred to the car’s occupants.  The crumple zones require room to collapse and dissipate force, warning systems require sensors, and airbags require 10 inches of clearance between storage sight and a human body. One example of this increased size is that since 2000 the weight of pickups has increased by 11% and the height by 25%.

Vehicle design is not the main cause for more large vehicles being on the roads. The shift in consumer taste towards SUVs and pickup trucks has made the streets of the US less safe for pedestrians. SUVs and pickup trucks now account for 60% of vehicle sales in the US. However, as SUVs and Trucks get taller and more common, they become more deadly for pedestrians. Traffic fatalities have declined since the 1980s, while pedestrian fatalities have increased by 50%. One out of every five vehicles sold in America is a pickup, and full-size pickups comprise a growing share of that fifth. For example, in 2021, Ford stopped selling passenger sedans, and the Mustang is the only vehicle Ford sells in the US that is not an SUV, truck, or van.

Higher vehicles are more dangerous than lower vehicles for multiple reasons. One reason is that bigger cars have more mass and therefore impact with more force than a smaller vehicle going the same speed. Another reason is that the direct impact is on the upper bodies of pedestrians. SUVs and pickups are more likely to have squared-off hoods than passenger cars. The vulnerability of pedestrians when struck by an SUV is a geometry problem. SUVs and pickups tend to be tall compared with pedestrians and have a blunter front end. That positioning is more likely to put someone’s head or chest in line to be struck during the initial impact. The sloped angles of passenger cars allow pedestrians to fall on top of the vehicle. High and squared fronts throw pedestrians to the ground, directly into the vehicle’s path, causing them to be run over.

Contact Information