Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Uber has been mired with scandals since its inception in 2009, although its popularity has not waned much, even in light of more competition such as Lyft and Via. Even as lawsuits pile up, and stories of drivers accosting passengers and vice-versa abound, notwithstanding lawsuits alleging sexual assaults, Uber has remained at the top. The constant scrutiny regarding safety has always been present but it appears Uber, and its new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, are taking steps towards making both passengers and drivers safer when using this ride hailing platform.

A Chicago Suntimes article has reported Uber hiring a company called Checkr to conduct background checks on its employed drivers, a move that Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale (9th) has called an act of “self-preservation” on the part of Uber. Personal injury attorney, Peter Zneimer, finds it reassuring that a company as large and popular as Uber is addressing the growing safety concerns the general public and its consumers believe are pressing issues. Though, Uber is increasingly pressured to subject its drivers through more rigorous background checks, including fingerprinting, as cab drivers have to undergo, they do not intend to do so. Nevertheless, hiring Checkr to perform annual background checks is a start.

Chicago as a busy city uses these on-demand mobile apps heavily especially during the weekends, when ridership is at its highest and when the city is at its rowdiest. Consumers use these for the convenience but safety is of the utmost importance at the end of the day. The lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. believe that in the long run, it will benefit Uber to perform background checks as consumers can at least rely they’re not being driven around by a sex offender or someone with a long, violent criminal history.

 

DSCF0089-300x225Your teenager just got a drivers license and is bugging you for a car.   Eventually you agree and begin looking for an old used car, a training vehicle bound to get scratched and bent here and there until your teenager gets more experience.  You settle on an old 1994 Chevrolet Camaro for less than two hundred dollars.  A car-mechanic friend inspects the Camaro and thinks it’s in good shape and will do as a learning vehicle.  You get the key and can’t wait to see the happy face of your teenager.

Chicago personal injury attorney Peter Zneimer warns:  you just put your child in a death trap.

According to CDC,  “six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.”

When choosing a car for an inexperienced driver, safety should be the primary concern.  Budget limitations aside, a newer car usually incorporates updated or newer safety technologies.  The best buy would be the newest model that has the best safety features available on the market your money can buy.  The most important features include curtain airbags, electronic stability control, forward-collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.  Having these key safety features may make a difference between life and death.

Older cars have fewer safety features, and some older cars are just too dangerous to drive.  For example, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, the Chevrolet Camaro has the highest on-road death, three-times higher than average.  The Chevrloet Camaro is not alone.  Several other cars are just as dangerous.

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The first section of the Lakefront Trail separation project has been completed from 31st Street to 41st.  The separation project will provide separate paths for bikers and pedestrians along the 18 mile trail.  The Chicago Tribune reports that the  two-year project will stretch from Ardmore street to 71st Street and will cost $12 million dollars with money provided by billionaire Ken Griffin.

Personal injury lawyer, Peter Zneimer who is a frequent user of the trail notes that a safety upgrade was badly needed.  Bikers, traveling at all speeds negotiate the trail around joggers, walkers, baby-strollers, roller bladders, along with many people just crossing the path to get to the lake front.   In fact, according the Active Transportation Alliance, an estimated 100,000 people use the trail on weekends during the summer.

It is no surprise that there have been many collisions on the Lakefront Trail between bikers and pedestrians and between bikers and other bikers.  Many of these collisions have resulted in serious injuries and even fatalities.  People even bring small children just learning to ride a bike onto the trail seemly oblivious to the dangers on the trail.  Perhaps one of the greatest dangers on the trial are bicyclists who insist on pedaling at recklessly high speeds totally heedless to the fact that there are a large number of inattentive children and adults present who may wander into their path at any time. The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. hope that the separated lanes may reduce injuries from collisions on the trail.

 

 

 

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A Chicago Tribune article from September 5, 2016 points out that no statistics are kept by the city of Chicago regarding how many rideshare drivers for Uber and Lyft are involved in crashes every year.  The Chicago personal injury lawyers of  Zneimer & Zneimer are surprised by the lack of safety data given the large number of Uber and Lyft drivers on the road.  Attorney, Peter Zneimer is currently handling many accident cases involving Uber and Lyft drivers involved in traffic accidents that have caused serious injuries due to the negligence of the rideshare driver.  Police crash reports do not have any box to check if a Lyft or Uber driver was involved in the crash.  Chicago Police officer and spokesman Jose Estrada was quoted in the article, pointed out that “Taxicabs are easier to identify and document on the traffic crash report because of their specially issued Illinois license plates and medallion numbers,” “For Uber or Lyft, there is no designation because they are regular vehicles with no special municipal or state licensing. It may be designated as an Uber or Lyft if the reporting officer writes that in the narrative portion, but that’s left up to the discretion of the officer.”

Illinois Department of Transportation uses this information to track the number of taxi accidents.  From this data, it was revealed that there were 4,129 crashes taxi crashes in Chicago.  830 of these crashes caused injuries and 3 of these crashes caused fatalities.  It would be useful to have accident data for Uber and Lyft drivers to make a safety comparison  between rideshare drivers and taxi drivers to see if there is a difference in frequency of crashes. Given the popularity of ridesharing services these days it would be nice to know if there is any greater risk of accident by using a rideshare service versus using a taxi service.

Uber passengers and Lyft passengers can have some reassurance that if they are injured due to the negligence of their driver, Uber and Lyft drivers are covered by a one million dollar insurance policy while they are “on the clock”  meaning from the time they are picked up until the time they are dropped off.  Other drivers on the road that may be injured by an Uber or Lyft driver can also make a claim against the one million dollar policy when the rideshare driver is “on the clock”.  If the driver is not “on the clock” then that driver’s own insurance policy  has to provide coverage.

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The Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s plan to make city trucks safer has been advanced in the Chicago City Council.  Chicago lawyer, Peter Zneimer observes that many fatal bike accidents that have occurred in the last few years in Chicago have involved trucks.  Visibility for bicyclist riding in traffic is always a major problem even for people driving automobiles.  The visibility of bicyclists is a much greater problem for truckers.  Almost all of the bicyclist accident cases handled by the attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer involve a motorist not seeing the bicyclist  prior to the crash either due to distraction, lack of attention or the bicyclist was in a blind spot.  Guarded bike lanes are the best solution but they are cost prohibitive to construct everywhere.

The Mayor’s proposes to require city trucks to install side guards, which cover the area between the front and rear wheels of a truck to make it harder for pedestrians or bicyclists to be caught under the wheels of the truck after a crash.  The ordinance would also require trucks to have additional convex mirrors.  The law would also mandate additional training for city employee truck drivers and contractors to improve safety awareness.

The one downside of the proposed law is that the ordinance would give the city almost ten years to make the changes on city trucks.  Contractors who do business with the city would get four years to make the safety changes on their trucks.

More and more Chicago bicyclists each year are getting severely hurt in dooring accidents, but there is a simple solution that can prevent numerous people from getting hurt.

According to a recent report put forth by the Illinois Department of Transportation, “doorings,” or traffic accidents where a cyclist is struck by a car door, have increased by 33% between 2014 and 2015.  While the number of reported crashes in Chicago involving bicycles remained relatively the same, the percentage of dooring accidents has jumped up from 10% in 2014 to 17.5%.  Jim Merrell, advocacy director of the Active Transportation Alliance, said these numbers represent “a step backward for safety in the city.”  Moreover, the City also saw a bump in fatalities from 6 in 2014 to 8 in 2015.   This presents a problem for Chicago, which sees an average of 125,000 daily bike trips and over 45,400,000 bike trips per year. 

The lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. has seen an uptick in bicycle accidents and, more specifically, dooring cases in the past few years.  Attorney Peter A. Zneimer, name partner and personal injury attorney in Chicago for over twenty years, remarked on the subject that, “our firm has seen an increased number of accidents involving bicyclists to the point where they have become a cornerstone of our business.  Many times, bicyclists are severely hurt and need our zealous representation to get compensation for their injuries.”

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Sport-related head injuries amongst school athletes is an issue that has gained increasing attention in the media in recent years, and justifiably so. Over the past decade, ER visits for concussions have doubled for youths between 8 and 13, and nearly tripled for teens between 14 and 19. This alarming data has led to much discussion over how the problem can be remedied and the trend reversed. More specifically, what can be done to ensure the safety of school athletes without threatening our nation’s youth sport programs?

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The Chicago Products Liability attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of a lawsuit filed in Cook County extending from the use a medical device alleged to have caused the wrongful death of a patient. As reported by the Tribune, the lawsuit claims that 82-year-old Renate Winkler died after a contaminated duodenoscope used in a procedure performed at Park Ridge’s Advocate Lutheran General Hospital caused her to contract an antibiotic-resistant bacteria called carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE). The lawsuit alleges negligence on behalf of both the device manufacturer (Pentax) as well as the hospital (Advocate). This incident was not isolated, though. In fact, the spread of deadly superbugs linked to duodenoscope contamination has been the subject of several claims, not only against this particular hospital and/or this particular manufacturer, but in hospitals nationwide and against other duodenoscope manufacturers. What’s more, the FDA is now examining the role of duodenoscope infections, including potential reporting, tracking, and regulatory enforcement issues.

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In Illinois, the law has long recognized limitations in premise liability claims that fall under what has come to be known as the ‘open and obvious doctrine.’ The basic idea behind this doctrine is that landowners should not be required to foresee or protect against injury when the openness and obviousness of a dangerous condition is so clear that an entrant should be to prevent their own harm through the exercise of ordinary care.

Essentially the rule allows landowners to defend claims by asserting that the duty of reasonable care does not extend to open and obvious hazards. As a result, property owners have often escaped liability, while premise liability claimants have been presented with obstacles to obtaining financial compensation. A bill introduced this year, though, seeks to amend Illinois’ Premises Liability Act by altering the manners in which duty of care issues are evaluated in open and obvious hazard cases. By increasing landowners’ exposure to liability, and decreasing preclusions and limitations on recovery for victims, we find that HB 1441 provides a more equal balance between the rights of each parties.

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Since their introduction in the 1980s, airbags have been identified as proven, effective safety devices that drastically reduce the risk of fatality and serious injury to vehicle occupants involved in automobile collisions. The protection offered by airbags is a factor that many car buyers take into consideration when purchasing a vehicle. What many fail to consider, though, is the potential for airbag safety issues associated with the purchase of a used vehicle. After all, airbags are only useful if they are correctly installed, properly functioning, and deploy in the manner in which they are intended to. The Chicago Injury Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. discuss some important tips for consumers to keep in mind when purchasing a used vehicle equipped with airbags.

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