BUS, TRAIN ACCIDENTS IN CHICAGO AREA

Written by James P. Nally on . Posted in Uncategorized

Each day thousands of people in the Chicago area use buses and trains to commute back and forth to work, school, medical appointments, shopping and other daily activities. Unfortunately, people are sometimes injured while traveling on a bus or a train. If it is a result of negligence, people who are hurt have a right to recover money damages to be compensated for their injuries.

Buses and trains are known as “common carriers” under the law, meaning that they transport groups of people for a fee. This may be school children in a school bus, people on their way to work on a train, senior citizens on the way to a medical appointment on the bus, or families on a shopping trip. All common carriers in the State of Illinois owe the “highest duty of care” to their passengers. This means that they must take great care to ensure that they provide safe and reliable transportation to their customers.

Many private bus companies provide transportation service for students, group outings, and shuttle service. These companies must provide employees who are well trained and licensed to operate the buses, and also insure that the equipment is properly maintained in good working order. If they fail to do this and someone is injured, the injured person or child may have a claim against them for failure to fulfill their duty to provide safe transportation.

In the Chicago area, many bus and train systems are publicly operated by METRA, PACE and the CTA. They too are common carriers under the law, and must provide the highest degree of care to their passengers. This includes maintaining safety at train stations and bus terminals, to ensure that passengers are able to safely board and exit buses and trains. If these bus and train stations and equipment are not properly maintained, it can result in injury to citizens. Sudden stops, broken equipment and poor training of drivers can result in accidents with liability. Additionally they must maintain facilities in a safe condition, so that people do not slip and fall at the train station platform or bus terminals, due to failure to maintain the premises. They must also maintain the safety of train crossings with proper lights, gates and warning signals for pedestrians and cars so that people are not hit by a train.

Injuries from bus and train accidents can include fractures, broken bones, sprains and bruises, as well as more serious life-threatening injuries, and even fatalities. People who are injured or killed and their families have a right to be compensated fairly if there is negligence by the operators of the buses and trains. If you or a family member have been injured as a result of negligence on a bus or train, you must act quickly, since there are time limits, called statutes of limitations, which limit the amount of time you have to make a claim. Particularly for publicly operated transit systems, these time limits can be very short. Goldman and Associates LLC, Attorneys at Law, is ready to help people injured in bus accidents and train accidents pursue their legal rights to fair compensation for injuries.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE HURT IN A CAR ACCIDENT

Written by James P. Nally on . Posted in Uncategorized

Here are some simple things to keep in mind if you are hurt in a car accident:

1. Try to stay calm. A car collision can be a very traumatic incident. Immediately determine if you or anyone in your car is injured. If you are in pain, bleeding etc. do not try to move. Alert your passenger or other people who may approach you who may have witnessed the accident to call the police and an ambulance right away.

2. If you are able to safely exit the car you may do so, be careful of oncoming traffic. Get information from the driver who hit you regarding insurance, driver’s license, name and address, license plate. If possible take pictures of the damage and the scene with your cell phone camera. If you are able to, get the names and telephone numbers of any witnesses.

3. Do not discuss the accident with anyone except the police. Do not talk to a representative of the other driver’s insurance company until you have legal representation. If you are feeling any pain, ask for an ambulance to take you to the hospital. Often immediately after an accident your adrenaline is flowing and you do not feel pain. If that is the case and you later leave the scene of the accident and develop pain, get to an emergency room immediately. Let them know you have been in a car accident and describe your symptoms. Make sure you get all necessary medical treatment and that you follow up with your family doctor or specialist.

If you have been hurt in a car accident, our office is available to make sure your legal rights are protected.

Bicycle Accidents, Safety, and Rules of the Road

Written by James P. Nally on . Posted in Uncategorized

Bicycles as a means of transportation are exploding in popularity. Within the last few years people have bought into the idea that they are a great way to get some exercise and leave a smaller carbon footprint. The city of Chicago in particular has been very aggressive in establishing dedicated bicycle routes. Invariably, the increased use of bicycles will also result in an increase in bicycle accidents: bicycle car collisions, bicycle pedestrian accidents, and bicycle injuries as a result of road conditions.

State law provides that bicycles are treated the same as other vehicles, and bicycles have their own section in the Illinois Vehicle Code which states “Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”

Bicyclists operating on public roadways must ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb. On one-way streets bicycles may travel on the left-hand curb side. Turns and stops must be signaled just like in a motor vehicle, by hand or mechanical signal. On a public roadway bikers cannot ride more than 2 abreast and shall not impede the normal flow of traffic. Bicycles operating at night must have a lamp emitting a white light on the front and a red reflector or light on the rear of the bicycle. A police officer on reasonable cause who believes a bicycle is unsafe may require the person riding the bicycle to stop and submit to an inspection.

Special rules apply to bicycles in dedicated bicycle lanes. The city of Chicago has established a number of dedicated bicycle lanes, including in the downtown area. These bicycle lanes are subject of their own traffic signals in many cases. Bikers must obey all traffic signals and in particular obey the bicycle traffic signals. Because these bike lanes are new the chance of pedestrians stepping out into bicycle traffic increases, along with the chance of pedestrian- bike collisions. Because bicycles and cars share the same streets, bike- car accidents occur. Bikers can also be injured by potholes or other obstructions in the roadway. Under Illinois law, intended and permitted users of a roadway may have a claim against the municipality for failure to maintain a road. However bikers on roadways not designated as bicycle routes may not be able to make claims for injuries due to road conditions.

Undoubtedly the burgeoning popularity of bicycles will result in more bike accidents. If you are injured while riding your bike, or as a pedestrian struck by a bike, our law firm is available to give you advice on your legal rights.