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

Articles Posted in Uncategorized

IMG_6930-300x225

 

Helsinki, Finland has made strides in pedestrian safety with zero pedestrian fatalities in 2019. Despite designing crosswalks with the safety of pedestrians in mind, 500 people in America are killed each year using them according to a Smart Cities World article. Though America is larger than Helsinki and more populated, 500 is disturbingly high for a country that has pledged to decrease that number. Perhaps, the commitment and the fervor for pedestrian safety needs to be restored?

Locally, the city of Chicago has rallied for crosswalk safety for the pedestrians who are the most vulnerable when road safety is not prioritized or overlooked. Areas considered high crash corridors such as Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square would benefit in the formation of more protected bike lanes, bus boarding islands, a reduction of parking spots. Personal injury attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., believe the installation of more crosswalks in these areas would help save lives and prevent lessen accidents. Milwaukee from Western to Sacramento saw 446 crashes from 2014 to 2018. Zneimer& Zneimer PC see the need for an empathetic street design that will prioritize car-free modes, hence the implementation of adequate infrastructures like protected bike lanes and crosswalks. Dongho Chang of Curbed argues that, “More people feeling comfortable crossing will encourage more use and meet the federal guidelines for additional treatments like crosswalks and stop control.

Intelligent transportation infrastructure technology provider, Applied Information, is introducing a configurable Pedestrian Crossing Safety System (PCSS) to improve safety at midblock crossings, which if utilized might just help reduce the fatalities and crashes drastically in half or more for the entire nation. This technology, coupled with public awareness and the addition of more improvements such as bump outs and crosswalks make the streets and public spaces in general, more inviting and safer for pedestrians, cyclist and drivers, as well. Even as the pandemic rages, and people are suffering, it is essential not to lose sight of efforts to make our streets safer and aim for zero fatalities as  our European counterparts in Finland.

 

IMG_3809-e1602715469384-207x300

Calls for more accommodations towards cyclists are growing as more people commute from one point to another using their bikes. To simply assign blame to reckless motorists is myopic and inadequate; revamping the city of Chicago’s streets will not only improve safety for cyclists, but will also induce people to drive less and bike more. Both Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Emmanuel Rahm have committed to supplementing the streets with 100 miles of protected bike lanes. A very noble goal that has yet to be fully realized.

Last November, Chicago bore witness to two fatal crashes involving cyclists. One occurred at a designated high crash corridor in Stony Island Avenue, involving 40 year old Lee Luellen and the other one killed 37-year old Carla Aiello who was struck by a right-turning motorist in Old Irving Park. Carla Aiello was biking on the heavily faded bike lane in Milwaukee Avenue, when the truck made an unlawful right turn and crushed her under his wheels. Personal injury attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer P.C., know that these tragic deaths could have been prevented with the installation of protected bike lanes and safety bollards and even as simple as refreshing bikeway markings. Instead, the lack of funding, capable staff such as engineers at CDOT and the lack of cooperation between communities and IDOT have led to inaction and ultimately the deaths of Lee and Carla.

It is obvious that Chicago can and should do better. After all, a well-designed biking infrastructure if implemented properly. will promote equity, helping the neighborhoods that need it the most such as the communities on the South and West side. The Active Transportation Alliance has offered strategies to advocate for sustainable transportation will benefit these neighborhoods that are home to many designated high crash corridors. If the city acts now, families and loved ones would not have to bear such heartbreaking loss like that of Lee and Carla’s.

IMG_6426-225x300

 

Shared streets, for many pedestrians and cyclists, were a real boon to some Chicago neighborhoods in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic and the shutdown that ensued. The concept of shared streets prioritizes the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, above all, forcing vehicles to slow down and yield to them instead. When the 606 and Lakefront trails closed, many took to the sidewalks to exercise or roam around leisurely, posing a challenge to social distancing rules. Shared streets, as an answer to this problem, provided a wider space for different activities and for community members to engage in a safe manner.

As Americans continue to adjust through the pandemic, the city has also adopted measures to make the adjustment easier. One such measure is the selection of temporary shared streets. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) conducted a survey to evaluate which feature people enjoyed the most about shared streets. The results showed Chicagoan’s enthusiasm for car-free travel the most as well as the chance to be outdoors and practice social distancing at the same time. Personal injury attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. agree that shared streets increase mobility with safety and social distancing in mind, therefore meeting a lot of the community’s multiple concerns and decreasing the likelihood of accidents or crashes to occur.

It is unclear whether or not Covid19 is ever going away. As it takes its toll on the nation and the economy, and on a molecular level, the mental health of individuals, many have conceded to the fact that the virus and the pandemic is here to stay. However, strategically implemented shared streets, give people more freedom to roam around and not be limited to crowded sidewalks. Shared streets enable  the most vulnerable individuals on Chicago streets such as pedestrians, cyclists, and scooter users to enjoy more green space without fear of getting struck by an irresponsible motorist or contracting Covid19.

 

 

 

IMG_6309-e1596145280390-161x300

 

As the country continues to adapt to COVID-19 and Americans begin to return to the roads, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that drivers refrain from wearing N95 masks, a mask typically reserved for medical professionals, while behind the wheel. While masks have been recommended for situations in which a person is in public and unable to socially distance from others, a driver in New Jersey was found passed out behind the wheel with his N95 mask on. Police believe that wearing the N95 mask for several hours behind the wheel resulted in the incident. While the police say that they cannot be certain the mask was the primary cause of the driver losing consciousness behind the wheel, they have recommended drivers follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s warnings and refrain from wearing N95 masks while driving a vehicle. Dangers on the road have not gone away with COVID-19 and now more than ever it is imperative that drivers are safe and understand how best to protect themselves both on and off the road.

At Zneimer & Zneimer, our attorneys understand that even in the current circumstances around the world, safety on the roads is more important than ever. If you or a loved one are traveling on the road in a vehicle, it is imperative that you not wear an N95 mask due to the potential for disaster. While wearing a mask is an important public health concern, it is important to remember safety in all other aspects of our lives. Even during these times, accidents on the road are still taking place all over Chicago so it is important that drivers do everything in their power to continue safe driving practices and to take care on the roadways.

 

https://pittsburgh.legalexaminer.com/transportation/cdc-drivers-should-not-wear-masks-while-driving/?fbclid=IwAR3tpHjSfpZZw56sgRDO2U201bhwq0gPNqiLYRAbtj_GPmtiVNdcuAdRd_A

IMG_3959-e1595627629553-300x250

Electric scooters are making a comeback this year, returning to Chicago streets by the end of July or early August, despite pandemic constraints. These e-scooters were popular for the entire duration of its first pilot program last summer which basically saw the City of Chicago conducting its own trial on the merits of these emerging mobility alternatives. Competing companies include Lime and a newer vendor offering seated models, Veo will be appearing on the scene to give the top companies a run for their money. While there are polarizing results on Chicago’s assessment on scooters based on equity and safety, there are real numbers as to injuries; of the 821, 615 rides taken in the course of four months in Chicago, 192 resulted in injuries.

While there were several reasons for giving e-scooters a second chance this summer such as to ease traffic congestion and encourage public transit ridership, the influx of e-scooters also produced a marked rise in injuries. Chicago Sun Times article reported the scooter injury rate among the general U.S. population climbed from 6 per 100,000 to 19 per 100,000. Dr. Adam Black of Amita Health Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center has witnessed “some really ugly fractures” from e-scooter related crashes, even going so far as to estimate that the hospital was treating at least one scooter rider a day. This has not deterred many riders, but the danger e-scooters pose as well as dealing with the aftermath of injuries are real. It is after all not news that most e-scooters require riders to sign a waiver of sorts as delineated on their rental agreements in respective phone apps before they can fully access the e-scooter, practically relieving the companies of liability. This leaves a great deal of risk to be absorbed by the riders themselves.  Most insurance companies do not recognize e-scooters as vehicles because they have less than four wheels.   “State Farm offers a personal liability umbrella policy that the company said may cover an electric scooter driver’s liability for damages they cause, but all claims are investigated based on their own merits. Allstate offers an umbrella policy to customers that have a qualifying auto or property insurance policy. The umbrella policy doesn’t specifically state that it covers electric scooters in promotional materials, but there is a “recreational vehicles” category”.  The lawyers of Zneimer and Zneimer P.C. note that it remains to be seen whether or not more insurance companies would offer coverage to minimize the burden on riders who will have to pay medical bills on their own.

There is a lot left to improve on in the safety side but the convenience of e-scooters definitely contribute to their popularity.

 

 

 

IMG_4921-2-300x141

There have been many changes to our city and state during the past several months as a result of coronavirus, including travel on the roads. While most stayed home during the lockdown beginning in March, causing fewer cars to be on the road, a study conducted by the Northwestern University Transportation Center found an increase in incapacitating or fatal crashes in Chicago. Specifically, the Center found that there was a 14% increase in speeding around the city. In fact, there was an increase in all categories of crashes except for those involving pedestrians. As our city and state begin to re-open, more and more drivers will return to the roads as well as more pedestrians making the likelihood of a crash even greater. When this happens, it is important for people to stay cautious and to pay attention to the other vehicles around them in order to avoid serious injury from a crash. Unfortunately, as these figures emphasize, it is impossible to truly eliminate reckless drivers and it is something we as the general public must always be ready to face.

The fact that there was an increase in incapacitating and fatal crashes around Chicago comes as no surprise to the lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., as we deal with personal injury matters related to car crashes daily. It is clear that even with fewer cars on the road, there will always be drivers who speed and drive recklessly regardless of the circumstances. No matter where and no matter when, the attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., know that crashes can happen in any situation and that drivers should stay vigilant in exercising safety precautions while on the road. As the restrictions around Chicago begin to lift and life begins to return to some normalcy, keep safe on the roads and continue to watch for reckless drivers.

IMG_6112-scaled-e1594662525179-300x295

Even as the city of Chicago has taken a multitude of steps to ensure the safety of non-vehicle participants on its streets such as cyclists and pedestrians, the city still sees a great deal of pedestrian deaths. Vision Zero has improved on a great number of aspects to Chicago’s walking culture but this year alone, but pedestrian fatalities went down from 41 in 2018 to 40 in 2019. Now after being cooped up for three months during the height of the pandemic in Chicago, individuals are out and about biking and walking. It is still too early to say whether this increase in individual behavioral patterns especially during a much-cherished season will dramatically affect the statistics. The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C.  a compelling reason for the government and communities to invest in Vision Zero to reduce injuries and deaths.

The usual suspects related to pedestrian deaths are the popularity of SUV’s (70 percent of the 35 pedestrians who were killed in traffic were hit by the driver of an SUV or a large vehicle) distracted driving, speeding and driving while intoxicated. Personal injury attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer P.C., foresee a rise in pedestrian deaths this year with more “angry driving” taking place due to the unfortunate repercussions of the pandemic such as unemployment, as well as the fact that the nation is embroiled in deep political turmoil. A newer suspect, the legalization of cannabis, and subsequent irresponsible usage might also negatively affect vulnerable pedestrians on Chicago streets.

These causes named above are to be clear, nothing new. Although the ambitious Vision Zero has improved on many things such as building more sidewalks or the addition of medians or pedestrian islands in high-crash corridors and busy highways, there is still a great deal of work left to so Chicago can aspire and get to zero pedestrian deaths.

IMG_5923-scaled-e1593372849595-247x300

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.

IMG_5871-3-281x300
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

IMG_5529-2-300x236
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.

Contact Information