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Cook County’s attempts to mitigate the black hole debt it is in has at times, taken dark turns, such as the 321 layoffs announced last month, to somewhat comical, as in the new proposal to fine pedestrians for “distracted walking”.  Aldermen Ed Burke (14th ward) and Anthony Beale (9th ward) justify this proposed ordinance on deficient grounds by citing 27 pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2017.  While these figures are tragic, there is scant data to prove that distracted walking caused these deaths. Mimicking the successful passing of a similar law in Honolulu, this proposal came guised as concern for general public safety, but ultimately, fails to see the bigger picture.

Chicago personal injury attorney, Peter Zneimer, knows that distracted pedestrians, though problematic, are the least of this city’s worries and fining them is not the answer. All focus should be directed instead to promoting street safety for everyone on the street – motorists, bikers and pedestrians alike. Sustainable initiatives such as Vision Zero are already underway to reduce the occurrence of serious injuries and fatalities.  It is a more prudent, long-term approach as compared to issuing fines of up to $500 to a “distracted” pedestrian. The plan is broad in scope and calls on ordinary citizens, law enforcers and the government to act more responsibly. It involves adding more pedestrian islands or refuges and bike paths and the implementation of policies geared towards the creation of safer vehicles and safer professional drivers.

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The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer and Zneimer P.C. have handled many dog bite cases and most are governed by the Illinois Animal Control Act.  Historically, under common law,  a dog was allowed “one free bite;” which meant that a dog owner was not liable for injuries caused by a bite if that dog had never bit anyone else.  More recently, the law has evolved so that a dog owner will only be liable if he if his negligence caused the injury.  The “one free bite” rule and negligence standard are common in many jurisdictions throughout the country, but not in Illinois.  Illinois is one of the few states that have passed laws that apply strict liability to dog owners whose dog bites a victim.  The Illinois law is helpful to victims of dog bites and now Illinois ranks second to California, in the number of dog bite claims brought per year.

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As the city of Chicago’s way of advancing its commitment to prioritizing traffic safety, it created a comprehensive plan called Vision Zero. It is spearheaded by Mayor  Rahm Emanuel and was modeled after a road traffic safety project that began in Sweden and has since influenced many U.S cities, many of which have adopted it.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation 2010-2014, someone dies every three days as a result of a traffic crash. Personal injury attorney, Peter Zneimer believes that Vision Zero will help in reducing traffic-related deaths and serious injuries.  This city has seen an alarming increase of bicycle crashes by 67% last year, based on data from the Chicago Police Department. Vision Zero seeks to lessen this number, while encouraging more people to walk, bike and take public transit.

Chicago is already the national leader on Complete Streets that largely focuses on pedestrian safety, designing streets that are intended to promote a culture of safety especially for the most vulnerable roadway users.  Vision Zero will take it further by studying how the design process can be integrated into determining the correct speed limits for each street in every community. It calls on law enforcement to focus on so-called high-crash areas.  The Mayor is seeking funding to carry out these goals.

Jay Caldwell, a physician living in Tucson, Arizona, and his wife, Diana, a retired professor of English, were flying first-class from Chicago to Tucson on American Airlines Flight 1521 on June 13.

On the flight, they were fed well. He said his meal was amazing, consisting of four courses: a salad, an appetizer, a choice of entree and a dessert. The dessert was an ice cream sundae with cheesecake crumbles and raspberry syrup.

While he was eating his delicious dessert, he had a crunchy feeling in his mouth, but he did not know what it was at first. “I couldn’t have broken a tooth,” he thought. “I’m not chewing anything.”

As previously mentioned in our last post, the pit bull attack on Chicago resident Joseph Finley has caused quite the controversy. Per the Chicago Red Eye, it has sparked a conflict between Chicago dog owners, and residents who feel attacks such as this are reason enough to ban dog breeds such as pit bulls from the city limits. It has left our city divided. Everywhere you go, someone has an opinion on the matter. Even users of the popular social networking site facebook.com have begun circulating a petition not to ban pit bulls in Chicago. It is targeted toward Ward 2 Alderman Robert W. Fioretti and has a goal of 1000 signatures, but is already nearly 3000 strong.

already has several ordinances in effect to impose penalties on irresponsible dog owners. Some of which include the leash ordinance, the dangerous animal ordinance, and the bite ordinance. A little more about the leash ordinance after the jump.

According to The Anti-Cruelty Society, in Chicago and many of its’ surrounding suburbs, the owner of a dog must restrain his or her animal by a leash, crate, cage or vehicle, or keep it confined on the owner’s premises. In other words, it is illegal for the animal to be outside the owners property lines without the proper confinement (leash), unless the animal is at a dog park.

Illinois motorists are required by Illinois law to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. However, the Chicago injury lawyers of Zneimer and Zneimer have handled many cases for pedestrians who were hit and injured in a crosswalk in Chicago by motorists that did not stop. Most Chicago residents are probably aware that cars do not stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk in Chicago. Be that as it may, the law on the books in Illinois states as follows:

Pedestrians’ right-of-way at crosswalks

(a) When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be a danger.

Chicago motorists pulled over for talking on a cell phone will now be able to hang on to their driver’s license and avoid traffic court by paying the ticket by mail or contesting the citation at an administrative hearing. The citation will now be treated more like a parking ticket and drivers will be able to avoid the hassle of not having their driver’s license and having to drive “on a ticket”.

Car Accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the United States. Nearly 2,000 children ages 14 and under are killed in vehicle crashes and another 280,000 are injured each year.

However, child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% for infants (less than 1 year old), and by 54% for toddlers (1-4 years old).

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