Auto Accident Lawyer and DUI, Chicago, IL

Need a DUI or Auto Accident Lawyer?

The privilege of driving a motor vehicle comes with a huge amount of liability for the person behind the wheel because that driver assumes responsibility for his or her own safety, the safety of the occupants of the vehicle they’re driving, as well as the safety of occupants of other vehicles on or near the road.  This responsibility necessarily extends to pedestrians, motorcycle and bicycle riders and even animals that may cross your path because all are potential contributors to accidents and consequential personal injuries and property damages.

Rollover Vehicle Accident in ChicagoThe Illinois Department of Transportation reported that 886 people were killed and over 60,000 individuals were injured in 2012 because of auto accidents on Illinois roadways, many of which were caused by carelessness or negligence.

Accidents of every nature do happen, including auto accidents but when those accidents are the result of someone’s negligence or carelessness, the responsible individual must be held accountable in order to make Illinois roadways safer and deter future negligent activities of everyone utilizing Illinois roadways.

Unfortunately, drunk driving is one of the most common examples of negligent behavior that results in auto accidents, property damage, personal injuries and wrongful death.  Drinking alcohol is a popular activity in the United States and is associated with dining, sporting events, holidays and weekends away from work and many people who drink believe they can drive safely while under the influence.  These folks very often do not carry sufficient car insurance because of previous DUI or other incidents and risk losing their lives or killing someone else because of their own negligent drinking and driving behavior.  They also risk losing the privilege of driving an automobile due to a DUI conviction that results in driver’s license suspension or complete revocation.

In the State of Illinois, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 0.08%, you are considered too drunk to drive.  For BACs between 0.05% and 0.08%, you can still be cited for a DUI if you appear to be impaired, at the discretion of the law enforcement official, but even with a BAC below the legal limit, if you’ve been drinking alcohol at all, you are much more likely to become involved in an auto accident that results in property damage, personal injury or death to yourself or others.

If you are pulled over and determined to have a BAC over the legal limit or if you refuse to take a BAC test, the arresting officer can immediately suspend your driving privileges.  A first time offense for failing a chemical test is punishable by license suspension for 6 months and a first time offense for refusal to be tested results in driver’s license suspension for a full year.  Penalties for drivers with commercial licenses are more severe.

When a drunk driver causes an accident, the victim(s) can request punitive damages as part of their lawsuit, which are intended to punish the drunk driver and make an example of that person due to their reckless behavior.  This also applies to accidents involving uninsured or under-insured motorists and hit-and-run accidents

If you or a member of your family has suffered injury or wrongful death as the result of the negligent behavior of another driver, it is imperative that you consult an experienced auto accident attorney or DUI lawyer as soon as possible.  With regard to accidents and injuries caused by a drunk driver, the evidence gathered by the police is crucial to a subsequent lawsuit for property damage, personal injury or death.  In addition to the evidence gathered by law enforcement, your lawyer will want to access the drunk driver’s driving record and make other determinations such as where the drunk driver was drinking before he or she caused the accident.

Because gathering the evidence is so important and time consuming, it is essential to immediately hire an attorney experienced with DUI and auto accident cases to preserve your rights under the law when you’ve been harmed by the negligence of another driver.

Personal Injury Lawyer, Chicago, IL

Personal Injury Lawyer, Chicago, IL

general-piPersonal injury lawsuits are filed to protect the rights of those who have suffered injuries as the result of the accidental or intentional carelessness or negligence of another person or when use of a defective product causes injuries to be sustained.

These types of lawsuits are filed in a variety of situations, including medical malpractice, product liability, nursing home neglect or abuse, construction and workplace accidents, slip and falls and roadway accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles and pedestrians.

It is crucial that gathering evidence and interviewing involved parties be done as soon as possible in order to properly protect the legal rights of those who have been injured.  Statutes of limitation dictate how much time after an accident you have to file a personal injury lawsuit and those statutes vary from state to state, so it is imperative that you contact a personal injury lawyer in your area as soon as possible after an accident in order to meet those time constraints and assemble the evidence your lawyer will need to try a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.

When someone is determined to be legally responsible for an accident or incident that caused injuries to be sustained by another person, they are also responsible for medical and other costs incurred as a result of those injuries in the form of “compensatory damages” that seek to reimburse the injured party for all costs related to the injury and return an injured person to the status that person was in prior to the accident.  Courts also award “punitive damages” in personal injury lawsuits that are designed to punish and make an example of the person whose negligence caused injuries to be sustained.

If you have been injured by the negligence of another person, it is important to protect yourself by immediately hiring a personal injury lawyer who will work tirelessly on your behalf to make sure that you do not suffer further loss in the way of employment, wages, medical bills and/or future pain and suffering.

Chicago Illinois Slip and Fall Lawyer

Illinois Slip and Fall Laws.

slip-n-fallIn the State of Illinois, injuries that result from slipping and falling at another person or company’s premises fall under the area of law known as “personal injury” tort law.

If you have been injured by slipping falling and are contemplating filing a lawsuit to collect compensation for your injuries and payment of expenses, you should familiarize yourself with the issues of liability involved in such a lawsuit, which will require the assistance of a properly licensed personal injury lawyer.

Although most personal injury lawsuits are filed against the property owner or entity charged with maintaining the property on which you were injured, the property owner doesn’t automatically bear all fault and responsibility, or even partial fault and responsibility, because of issues of negligence, the laws of which vary from state to state.

In the State of Illinois, you have to establish that the property owner (or manager) had a duty to “not cause you injury” and failed to do so, which dereliction of duty resulted in damages being suffered by you, such as physical or mental injuries and the medical expenses incurred to treat them.

In Illinois, there are different types of negligence that apply to slip and fall lawsuits, the first of which is “contributory negligence.”  Contributory negligence applies to lawsuits involving injuries sustained in accidents or incidents that were caused more than 50% by your own carelessness or negligence, which reduces the amount you will be entitled to collect in a personal injury lawsuit by the proportion of your own negligence.

“Comparative negligence” applies in instances where you were less than 50% responsible for the accident or incident and results in collecting amounts that are reduced proportionally to reflect your own carelessness in the incident.

In the State of Illinois, joint and several liability laws apply which entitle you to sue every person or entity that contributed to your injuries and you can sue them for the full amount of damages sustained by you, no matter what percentages of fault are shared by each party.  These lawsuits are subject to a two-year statute of limitations so it is important that you consult a lawyer about your slip and fall injuries and a possible lawsuit as soon as possible to determine which negligence law applies to your particular incident and the damages you can collect.

Chicago DUI Lawyer

Motorcycles and DUI

 

There’s nothing quite like the freedom of riding a motorcycle and the exhilaration that doing so provides.  One of the best things about motorcycle riding is the comradery that develops between a group of bikers who regularly meet somewhere on a certain day, at a certain time, to share the thrill of riding motorcycles in a group with other riders.

ridersA group of motorcycles quickly catches the attention of everyone nearby because of the spectacle caused by the power of the bikes and the noise that power creates, not to mention the variety of predominantly leather clothing (and patches) that bikers wear, which provides an entertaining “biker fashion show” for all to enjoy.

Motorcycle riders like to wear leather clothing and, unbeknownst to many, they wear those durable leather duds, not to create a “bad boy” (or girl) image, but to protect themselves from personal injuries that can result from a motorcycle accident.  Unfortunately, many accidents are caused by the negligence of other drivers who fail to see motorcycles with which they share the road, which is a major component of arguments used by bikers to justify the noise their machines create (which is illegal in some places)  – to make them much more noticeable to other drivers.

Motorcycle riders come from all walks of life, but generally share the enthusiasm of a group ride along the most scenic route in your area and popular resting stops along the way that very often include bars.  Most bars that cater to bikers offer not only drinks, but also food, for motorcycle riders who come in completely exhausted, parched and hungry.  Bike riders may not even be aware of their level of exhaustion and it’s very easyMC riders to get caught up in the fun at a bar, which results in tired riders imbibing more alcohol than they may have intended and then getting back on that motorcycle for the continuation of a ride.  That’s the point at which a motorcycle ride becomes a serious proposition because of the possibility of being pulled over and arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or becoming involved in an accident on the road that could result in personal injuries or death for yourself or others with whom you share Chicago roadways.

Chicago DUI laws make it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level over .08, or eight one-hundredths of a percent of alcohol in your bloodstream.  For a first offense, you are subject to fines of up to $2,500, license suspension for at least a year and imprisonment for up to a year.  You can be charged with additional penalties if your blood alcohol level is over .16 or if you have a child under the age of 16 in your vehicle (or on your motorcycle).

A second DUI charge in Chicago can result in fines of up to $2,500, driver’s license suspension for at least five years and imprisonment for five days up to a year.

A third DUI offense in Chicago will result in being charged with a Class 2 felony, punishable by fines up to $2,500, license suspension for a minimum of 10 years and 3 to 7 years of imprisonment.

As you can see, getting caught driving a motorcycle under the influence can quickly bring an end to your motorcycle riding days and may even result in being incarcerated in a jail for a lengthy amount of time.

Don’t risk losing one of your favorite pastimes by indulging in alcoholic beverages while on a motorcycle ride.  You may find yourself sitting in prison instead of joining your friends for that scenic weekend ride. Read More

Illinois Marijuana Laws

Need a Drug Lawyer in Illinois?

The States of Colorado and Washington recently enacted new laws legalizing the personal, recreational use of marijuana (cannabis).  Prior to legalization, both states had existing laws that enabled the use of marijuana for people with qualified medical problems.  Medical marijuana laws have been enacted in twenty states and the District of Columbia and many states are poised to enact similar laws, while others are contemplating outright legalization of marijuana.

MMJ-IllinoisThe reasons behind legalization in Colorado and Washington are numerous and include saving law enforcement, court and penal institutions time and money for prosecuting cases and incarcerating prisoners for possession or use of marijuana.  Maybe more importantly, legalizing the substance enables the states to impose taxes on sales of marijuana, thereby creating revenue where there were previously only expenses.  Both states intend to use the newfound tax revenue to benefit their public school systems.

Although the State of Illinois is one of the twenty states that allows for the medical use of marijuana, possession and use of cannabis by people who are not “licensed” by the state to do so remains illegal and punishments imposed by courts after conviction for such behavior depends on the amount of the substance in a person’s personal possession and whether or not any prior offenses or convictions exist.

The following is a synopsis of penalties imposed for possession and use of any substance that contains marijuana in the State of Illinois:

  • 2.5 grams or less is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,500 and incarceration for up to 30 days.
  • 2.5 grams to 10 grams is a Class B misdemeanor, publishable by a fine of up to $1,500 and incarceration for up to 6 months.
  • Over 10 grams but not more than 30 grams is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and incarceration for less than 1 year.
  • Over 30 grams but not more than 500 grams is a Class 4 felony, punishable by incarceration for 1 to 3 years.
  • Over 500 grams but not more than 2,000 grams is a Class 3 felony, punishable by incarceration for 2 to 5 years.
  • Over 2,000 grams but not more than 5,000 grams is a Class 2 felony, punishable by incarceration for 7 to 14 years.
  • Over 5,000 grams is a Class 1 felony, punishable by incarceration for 4 to 15 years.

Many people consider marijuana to be a fairly benevolent drug, unlike the others that are included with it on the federal government’s “Controlled Substances in Schedule I,” which applies to drugs that 1) have a high potential for abuse, 2) have no currently accepted medical use and 3) lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.

Although much more research needs to be done, marijuana has been proven to possess medical benefits and this fact is the driving force behind legalization, along with the financial savings realized by government agencies that no longer have to pursue users of marijuana and the tax revenue that legalizing the substance generates.

While the states are reexamining their stance on the use and possession of marijuana, it seems the federal government has no intention of reclassifying the drug or decriminalizing or legalizing it, although the Department of Justice has vowed to allow (or ignore) the new laws in Colorado and Washington.

In fact, in cases where mandatory minimum sentences (MMS) apply, anyone convicted of an offense punishable by mandatory sentencing must receive at least the minimum punishment and no judge has the power to impose less time.  This means that anyone sentenced for marijuana possession and/or use under the MMS guidelines for federal or state charges will never be eligible for parole and any person sentenced to life imprisonment must serve that life sentence, with no chance of parole.

Since America’s “war on drugs” has repeatedly proven itself to be ineffective, after billions of dollars have been spent to eradicate a relatively harmless substance, the time has come for not only all of the states, but the federal government, as well, to reclassify the natural substance that is marijuana and put an end to prosecution and incarceration for a drug that has been proven to be fairly benign compared to others that are perfectly legal, including many prescription drugs.