Why You Should Always Report a Slip and Fall Accident?

Why You Should Always Report a Slip and Fall Accident?

In this blog article we will explain why you should always report a slip and fall accident attorneys. If you were injured after a slip or trip and fall accident, contact Slip and Fall Injury Attorneysour Glenview law office for a free consultation at 847-305-4105. We have handled many of these cases and are happy to speak with you to assist you in any way we can.

Why You Should Always Report a Slip and Fall Accident?

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it’s critical that you report the accident as soon as possible after it happens. Reporting the accident is the strongest evidence you have that the accident took place (as well as independent witness testimony).

According to the CDC, one out of five slip and falls result in a serious injury such as a concussion or fractured bone. CDC

I’ve had calls with many victims of slip and fall accidents who did not report the accident after it occurred. They fell in a parking lot or on a sidewalk, didn’t think they were that injured so they went home and took no action.

A day or two later when their arm continued hurting, they finally go to the doctor and find out they had a fractured arm or torn cartilage in their shoulder. They call and want to file a claim or lawsuit against the owner of the property.

The first question I ask callers is whether they filed a report after the accident happened. Most of the time they did not. Not filing a report is a huge obstacle to prevailing in this type of case. You should always report a slip and fall accident.

If you don’t, the owner of the property will likely argue that your accident could have occurred anywhere and at any time. The burden is on the victim to prove that the accident occurred where he/she says it did.

However, you may be able to overcome this objection through eyewitness testimony or perhaps the paramedics who picked you up from the scene documented where the accident took place.

Who do you report the accident to?

If you are able, call 911/contact the local police department to report the accident. If you don’t think that you are hurt, it is likely they will not send a unit to investigate the incident. However, at least you have reported the accident and it will be recorded in the 911 call log. You can also go to the local police station and file a report. But don’t delay.

If the accident occurred on private property, at an apartment complex or shopping mall, or at a public store, call building or store management immediately. Make sure they document the existence of the fall in a written report. Get the name of the security officer or store manager filling out the report and try to get a copy of the report as well.

If there are witnesses to the accident, obtain their name and number. They could have witnessed the accident or perhaps they saw you for the first time laying on the ground. Regardless, call for help.

Finally, when you obtain medical treatment, report the slip and fall accident to the nurse or physician who interviews you. They will put in the records the location and nature of the accident.

As an aside, if you fell on city property like a public street or city sidewalk, you may have a governmental claim which is governed by different rules. The most important being that you have a shorter timeline in which to file a claim and then a subsequent lawsuit.

Elements of a slip and fall accident

I have documented in prior blog articles the elements of a slip and fall action. However, one critical element is that there be a “dangerous condition.” If you just slipped and fell as a result of losing your balance, there is no cause of action.

Rather, you have to demonstrate that the owner of the property allowed there to be a dangerous condition (like water, a banana, a hole in the concrete etc.) that they knew or should have known about. Without a dangerous condition, there is no case. That is why it is critical to document what you fell on at the time of the accident.

If you are able, take photos of the dangerous condition immediately. I have worked on a few cases where there were no photos of what the victim fell on.

Example cases with different results

I had a client who fell on a slippery patch of ice and fractured her arm. Ice related slip and falls are a different type of case. But in short, in most of these cases you have to demonstrate that there is an unnatural accumulation of water/ice that formed and caused the accident.

My client didn’t contact me until months after the incident. The weather had warmed and the ice had melted. She did not take photos of what she fell on. After a rainstorm, I drove to the location of the incident and took photographs of puddles of water that had formed and told the insurance adjuster that this was evidence of the unnatural condition. He disagreed and due to the fact that we didn’t have photographs of the condition (and there was no report of the incident) we were forced to drop the case.

In a different case we had the opposite result. In that case, an elderly client fell on the walkway in front of a chain restaurant. The pads of concrete were not level – one pad rose up two inches above the other. He didn’t see the rise, tripped and fell and suffered an injury to his arm.

Immediately after the incident, the client took photos and went into the restaurant and reported it to the store manager. The manager filled out a report on the scene and gave a copy to our client. She documented the varying levels of the concrete in the report. To our amazement, the manager even admitted that others had fallen before and that she had previously notified her superiors of the condition. The case was over at that point and we were able to recover significantly for his injuries.

So, make sure you always report a slip and fall accident to the police or building or store management after it occurs. If you were involved in a slip and fall, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Are Auto Accident Attorneys out of Business? A Look into the Future.

While planning for the future of my law practice, I’m contemplating Auto Accident Attorneyswhether auto accident attorneys are out of business in the future. In a nutshell, I think we might be – at least the cases we’ve worked on to this point.

Artificial Intelligence

There is so much hype about A.I. these days and I don’t want to get in the weeds in an analysis of it. However, it’s worth mentioning all the various aspects of the upcoming “transportation revolution” that we are currently undergoing and its effect on auto accident cases.

The future?

It is in self-driving cars. Maybe not in five or seven years, but ten and fifteen years from now, we will not be driving our own cars. Don’t let the Uber self-driving car fatality in Arizona fool you into thinking that this is not happening. It’s just a matter of time.

The reality is that technology is already significantly impacting transportation safety. For example, federal regulation requires that all new cars come with rear view cameras. This could dramatically reduce the number of back-over crashes that are so common in parking lots. Eliminating or reducing back-over crashes will also greatly impact the safety of children.

Other features now come standard in most new cars including extensive sensor systems that warn when a car is in front, back or to the side of you.

In the future, vehicle to vehicle communication will enable my car to talk to your car and advise each other of the other’s behavior so as to avoid a collision.

Other Areas

A.I. and automation will affect auto accident and motorcycle lawyers in other ways as well. Auto insurance will be different in the future as well. Do you remember going to the airport and buying life insurance before you boarded the plane?

Companies like Allstate owned Arity are already working on auto insurance products for people who will not own cars but rather use ridesharing entirely to get around. You will be able to buy insurance for a single ride, or only when you ride in a certain type of vehicle.

Auto accident claims processing will also be impacted. Insurance companies have already automated the claims process and use technology/software to evaluate auto accident claims. Computers are thus evaluating and making determinations as to the value of auto accident attorney clients’ injuries. Who knows how far A.I. will take the claims process but you can be assured insurers will use technology to reduce payouts and increase profits.

How we document the occurrence of accidents is also evolving as a result of technology. I have represented several clients in the past few years who were wearing GoPro cameras on their motorcycle helmets or positioned on their dashboard. Videotape of the facts of an accident can greatly assist in determining fault for the accident.

Finally, insurance companies like Progressive Insurance have developed apps that monitor your driving habits and reward you for safe-driving.

In short, the entire transportation claims and litigation process is changing. The number of accidents, severe injuries and fatalities will drop significantly in the future. And as such, the number of cases for auto accident attorneys to pursue will also diminish. This will drive many out of the personal injury realm entirely.

Guess I should start planning for a second career. If you would like to discuss this or any other legal related topic, feel free to reach out to me at 847-305-4105.

Chicagoland Traffic Accidents: North Suburbs

If you or your loved ones have been impacted by a Chicagoland traffic accidents, contact an Chicagoland traffic accidentsexperienced Chicago auto accident lawyer today so that we can focus on protecting your rights while you recover. Ensure that you and your family are protected from the lingering damages of medical bills, insurance costs, and property damage.

This year alone, Chicago has already experienced over 500 fatal crashes. This follows a trend of traffic accidents and related injuries and fatalities rising in Chicago. Read below for updated coverage on Chicagoland traffic accidents in the North Suburbs covering July and August.


Car crashes into Evanston Dunkin’ Donuts Injuring 4: On July 30, a man accidentally drove into a local Dunkin’ Donuts. Three patrons had minor glass-related injuries. Another customer was hospitalized with an ankle injury.

Semi truck crashes into car: On Dempster and Dodge in Evanston, a car and a semi truck collided. Although no other vehicles were involved, initial injuries were reported.

Multiple Rollover Crashes: No major injuries were report in two rollover crashes on August 7 and August 8. Each accident closed down Dempster and Ridge respectively.

Lake Forest

Semi tire crashes into car: No injuries reported after a semi tire slammed into a car windshield on I-94 near Lake Forest. The tire shattered the windshield. The origin of the tire is unclear.


Stolen car hits tree: Wilmette police and Kenilworth Police were in pursuit of a stolen vehicle on Hibbard Road on July 2, when the driver lost control of the car and struck a tree. Five people fled the scene and four people were arrested.

Fatal accident July 11: A 21-year-old driver hit a pedestrian who may have been crossing against traffic. The victim died in the hospital from severe blunt trauma. While officers do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident, they are waiting toxicology reports.


Car crashes into Best Buy: During the Fourth of July, thieves drove a car through a Skokie Best Buy’s window. Police found the vehicle at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning with no driver at the scene. Another vehicle belonging to the thieves struck a police car at Niles Center Road while fleeing.

If you were involved in a crash, contact our Skokie car accident lawyer now.

Highland Park

DUI on Skokie Valley Road: On July 20, a man driving under the influence was in a two-car accident near Skokie Valley Road. No injuries were reported.

Accident on Half Day Road: A driver was arrested for driving under the influence on July 21 after police responded to an accident on Half Day Road. No injuries were reported.


Driver strikes woman in parking lot:  A man struck an elderly woman in a Glenview parking lot on July 26. The driver fled the scene while the 85-year-old woman was taken to the hospital for treatment of her injuries.

Have you or a loved one been injured in an auto accident? Suffered loss of wages, property damage, or emotional distress? Contact Chicago Legal Group today at 847-305-4105 to speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer.

We will help you with pursuing compensation from the defendant’s and your own insurance company. Learn more about our experience with auto accidents and what you can immediately do in my YouTube video. Let our team of auto accident lawyers help you during this difficult period. Call for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Should you file a police report after an auto accident

Should you file a police report after an auto accident? The answer is almost always YES. My name is Barry Zlotowicz and I am a personal injury lawyer in Glenview, Illinois.  If you are involved in an auto accident and are unsure if you should file a police report, contact us at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.

The Rule

The law in Illinois is that any driver involved in an Illinois traffic crash must file a traffic crash report with the State of Illinois within 10 days of the accident if the accident resulted in a death, injury, or more than $1,500 in property damage – 625 ILCS 5/11-408. You can fill the form out the police give you at the scene of the accident or you can file a report online.

There is no law however, that requires you to call the police after an accident. However, as a Glenview personal injury lawyer, I can tell you that it is extremely important to call the police after you are involved in almost any auto accident, from a minor fender bender to a severe accident which resulted in injury.

Why file a police report?

It is extremely important to document the existence of and facts surrounding your accident. If the police do not file a police report after investigating the accident, then it is your word against the word of the driver who caused the accident.

Unfortunately, two drivers in the same accident often see the facts very differently. Therefore, it’s important to have a neutral third party like the police investigate and document what happened. This could include measuring skid marks, talking to witnesses and looking at the damage to your vehicle to try and piece together what happened.

In addition, after an accident you want to obtain the other driver’s auto insurance information. Often the other party does not want to give you their information. The police can do that for you.

Many people don’t call the police after an accident because their vehicle suffered minor property damage or they did not feel they were injured at the scene. Often however, property damage and/or injuries arise later. If you did not document the existence of the accident through a police report, it may be difficult to obtain compensation for your damages.

I have seen several cases where a vehicle involved in an accident started making a strange sound several weeks after an accident. Likewise, injuries often don’t manifest for some time after the accident. If you didn’t document the accident through a police report (and get treatment shortly after the accident) it may be difficult to obtain compensation for your injuries.

You want your vehicle repaired as quickly after an accident as possible. However, the defendant’s auto insurance company may want to see a police report to establish liability or responsibility for the accident before they pay for your property damage. Having the police report will expedite the process.

What if the police won’t come to the scene?

Often you will call the police after an auto accident and they either refuse to come to the scene of the accident or they take forever to show up. Should you file a police report after an auto accident in this situation? Absolutely.

Police are very busy and as such, they often won’t come to an accident scene if there is minor property damage, no injury or they are just too busy at that moment. They also might not file a report if the accident occurred on private property like in a department store parking lot.

I’ve seen cases where there is no police report and a person to tries to file an insurance claim. The driver who was friendly at the scene of the accident suddenly denies that they were at the scene of an accident at all or that an accident even occurred.

If you call 911 after the accident, there will at least be a transcript of your call. You can order that transcript to prove to your insurance company the existence of an accident.

File a report

Should you file a police report after an auto accident if the police do not come to the scene of the accident? Yes. As soon as you are able, go to the closest police precinct and file the police report yourself. Document what time, where, and how the accident happened. Also, be sure to document if you suffered any injuries.

The police may provide you a copy of your police report right at that moment. You can use that to provide to your insurance company to obtain coverage.

However, you may have to wait to obtain your police report. If you are injured in the city of Chicago for example, the police will take a police report, but it is likely that the police report will not be available for several weeks after the accident.

You can order the Chicago police report online and the Illinois State Police now offers you the ability to e-pay for their reports as well.

Call today

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, around 37,000 people die and 2.35 million people are injured or disabled in auto accidents in the United States every year. Police reports are obviously not filed for all of those accidents. But if you ask me as a Glenview personal injury lawyer should you file a police report after an auto accident? My answer will always be yes, you should. Call me today at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation on how to file a police report or for any of your legal needs.

Chicago Property Damage Attorney

Call Barry Zlotowicz of the Chicago Legal Group today at 847-305-4105 if you are searching for a property damage lawyer automobile property damage attorney chicagoin Chicago. We have handled countless property damage claims on behalf of victims of automobile, motorcycle, bicycle and other accidents.

What type of property damage can you recover for?

If you are involved in an auto or other motor vehicle accident, you likely suffered some form of property damage. That could include damage to your vehicle, damage to personal items like your iPhone or GPS, and you will also be forced to pay for a replacement vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired. To obtain help, call an Illinois Accident Lawyer today or continue reading below.

The most common claim is for the damage to your vehicle. Each type of accident is different and raises a different type of issue. If you were hit in your car, there might be damage to your bumper that can’t be seen by an auto insurance appraiser without taking the bumper off. Perhaps you got hit on a $5,000.00 road bicycle. If the bike has a carbon fiber frame, it may require an x-ray to determine if it is cracked. If you were on a motorcycle, you may have many aftermarket parts on the bike. As a property damage attorney in Chicago, I have seen nearly every issue that can arise.

Common property damage issues

How do you prove your property damage? In a word, documentation. Check out my blog on this topic or check out my YouTube page LawFull for more information on documentation. But in short, obtain photographs of all the property damage as soon as possible. If you are seeking reimbursement for a phone, a pair of riding pants or a leather jacket, find your receipts for the items or provide your Illinois accident lawyer links on Amazon.com or another site so that you can establish the value of your damaged property.

How many estimates do you have to obtain?

In Illinois, there is no specific law regarding how many estimates you have to obtain. It may behoove you to obtain more than one, however. Insurance companies often require more than one and it is not worth fighting them about it. You may not have to get an estimate at all as the auto insurance company may send an appraiser out to inspect your vehicle.

Can I choose where I get my vehicle fixed?

In short, yes you can. However, it may be a good idea to work with the insurance company to get your vehicle fixed with one of their contracted/approved shops. The reason being is that the insurance company will come up with an estimated value of your vehicle. If you take your vehicle to a different shop, the insurance company might refuse to pay more than their own appraiser’s estimate. That could lead to a dispute which may have to be settled in court.

Rental Car and Loss of Use

You are entitled to a rental car for a certain period of time. I’ve had insurance companies come down on all sides of this issue. Some give you a car of comparable quality to the car you were driving. Others pay for a compact. There are also limitations on the amount of time you can be in a rental car. If the insurance adjuster is pressuring you on this, ask them to prove to you that there are limits and/or restrictions on rental car compensation in their insured’s auto policy.

You may also be able to recover from the loss of use of your vehicle. In short, if you have a motorcycle and you can’t ride it for 30 days because of the damage to the vehicle, you can try to seek compensation for that. Insurance companies will frequently pay you the amount it would have cost for you to rent a car during that time period.

Diminished Value

I’ve had clients who were hit shortly after they purchased their cars. There is no Illinois law that dictates that an insurance company has to pay you for the diminished value of your vehicle. However, it’s worth the effort to try and recover for diminished value. You do so through, once again, documentation. You need an expert to document that the value of the car as it sits after being repaired is less than a comparable car that has not been in an accident.

Why Won’t an Illinois Accident Lawyer take my case?

Illinois accident lawyers are compensated for recovering from an injured person’s medical bills, pain, and suffering, lost wages, loss of enjoyment etc. I do not and never will take money from my clients’ property damage settlements. As a result, if a case only involves property damage, there’s not a lot an accident lawyer can do for you.

If you are involved in a property damage only accident, you may have to file in small claims court on your own and/or settle your dispute with the insurance company. If that’s the case, feel free to contact me to discuss your case. I’m happy to be a resource for you.

Should I use my own insurance to pay for my property damage?

I always recommend my clients use their own insurance company to pay for their property damage if they have collision coverage. Yes, you will have to front your deductible. But you will probably get it back (depending on a few factors). This is the quickest way for you to get your car back quickly and set you on the course to returning to your pre-accident status.

Your auto insurance company will then “subrogate” or go after the other insurance company on your behalf, to recover for the costs to your vehicle. Your insurance rates should not increase just because you used your own insurance unless you were at fault for the accident.

Comparative negligence

In Illinois, an accident victim can still recover their damages even if they are partially at fault for the accident. The concept is called comparative negligence. Often an insurance company will try and place a small percentage of fault on you for the accident even if it is not warranted. You are not obligated to accept this if you do not want to. However, be aware that if you do accept partial fault, that your recovery for your property damage will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Thank you for reading my Illinois Accident Lawyer blog article on property damage. If you would like a free consultation on this or any other injury-related issue, please feel free to contact me at 847-305-4105.

Chicago Pedestrian Accident Deaths Increasing

Involved in a Chicago pedestrian accident? According to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, in 2016, 15% of all deaths caused by vehicle collisions were pedestrians, which is an 11% increase from just a decade ago.

Chicago Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Chicago pedestrian accident

Possible factors that contribute to this increase include increased use of smartphones, which can cause distraction, improved safety features in automobiles, which may help in reducing the risk of serious injury to the occupants, but do not offer any benefits to pedestrians who are struck by vehicles, and an increase in the US population walking for environmental, health, or economic reasons.

In February 2017, the National Safety Council reported that there was a 6% increase in traffic deaths overall across the nation in 2016.

According to the council, the increase was spurred by “a perfect storm” of factors. A stronger economy and low prices of gas have resulted in more cars on the road and people driving more often. However, it says, this is only a small part of the story, and that there is something else at play in the increase of pedestrian deaths.

Distractions Caused by Mobile Devices

Experts say that if you look at both the drivers of the countless cars as they inch their way through traffic AND the scores of pedestrians crossing busy intersections, there is a common thing you will notice in both – their eyes are down, busy with their phones. This has been the cause of many a Chicago pedestrian accident.

For pedestrians, this is called “distracted walking!”

It is without a doubt that people, whether inside vehicles or walking on the street, are distracted. The Active Transportation Alliance reports that distractions, particularly by electronic devices, are the third most common cause of pedestrian deaths, after speeding and failure to yield.

Distracted driving and distracted walking are both a major cause of motor vehicle-related injuries and fatalities. But vehicle speeds and drunk driving are also significant factors. Safety advocates say that better road designs, more sidewalks, and lower speed limits can help reduce fatalities.

If you have been the victim of a Chicago pedestrian accident, contact attorney Barry Zlotowicz at 312-848-9783.

Increase in Cyclists Injured in Chicago by Car Doors

There were over 300 cases of cyclists injured in Chicago by crashing right into open car doors in the year 2015, which is almost a 50% increase from 2014.

The Illinois Department of Transportation stated the 302 dooring cases that were reported that year rose from 270 in 2013 and 203 in 2014 butChicago Bicycle Accident Lawyer dipped from the reported 336 in 2011 and 334 in 2012.

Reasons for Cyclists Injured in Chicago and Improving Safety

The growing number of cyclists in the Windy City should be concerned about the number of people getting hit by doors of parked cars. A bike rider and president of the online networking site for cyclists in Chicago, Chainlink, Yasmeen Schuller, said that all cyclists actively worry about getting doored by people exiting their parked cars and keep an eye out.

She said that she has had to ride closer to traffic in order to avoid open car doors, adding that while it is not the safest feeling to ride so close to traffic, it is still better than getting doored and potentially suffering a serious injury.

Bicycling Magazine gave Chicago the name of “America’s Best Bike City” for 2016 in September, citing the city’s investment in infrastructure that is specifically designed for improved cyclist safety and its bike accessibility initiatives like the bike-sharing membership plan meant for low-income residents rolled out by Divvy.

However, with the growing number of cyclists injured in Chicago, the city has launched a plan called Vision Zero Action Plan in an effort to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. The plan’s focus is on education, infrastructure, and enforcement.

Recently, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation, the Windy City distributed flyers to ride-hailing and taxi companies and at bike safety events with information on pedestrian and bike laws as well as tips for motorists on the different ways to avoid collisions with bikes.

These tips include opening the door on the driver’s side by reaching for the handle with the right hand so that the driver is forced to turn and look behind to see if there are any oncoming bicycles, cyclists passing parked cars at a safe distance of a minimum of 3 to 5 feet and avoiding driving or parking in bike lanes.

The main problem lies in the fact that dooring crashes haven’t been integrated with main crash data. However, a number of measures are being taken to reduce these accidents. Since 2011, Chicago has added more than 100 miles of bike lanes that are protected with barriers like bollards and concrete curbs, or extra space that provides a buffer between the parked cars and bike pathway.

Additionally, the Windy City provides window decals to taxis so that passengers are reminded to check the road before exiting the cabs. The fine for opening a vehicle door in a cyclist’s path has been increased to $1,000.

Cyclists in the city say that they think Chicago is doing a great job when it comes to getting more bike lanes out, providing more protection on bike lanes, and putting down bike paint. Despite all the bad things you hear about Chicago these days (high taxes, city financial issues, extreme violence), this is a much needed bright spot! And the Cubs won the World Series!

However, they say that the city should do more in educating both cyclists and motorists on how to share the road. With the rise in cyclists injured in Chicago due to dooring, it is certainly vital to spread more awareness about safety on the road for drivers and cyclists.

The Dangers Of Driving While On The Phone

The digital age has brought with it a new menace on the roads.

That menace is drivers who use their cell phone while driving. A study by Cambridge Mobile Telematics has shown that about one-quarter of drivers involved in accidents, were on their phones within a moment of crashing. It was also shown that more than half of the accidents in the study were the result of distracted driving due to cell phone use.Auto Accident Attorneys Chicago

When you are driving in Chicago, dealing with distracted drivers is an unavoidable reality.
Areas to be particularly wary of include:

• The drop-off areas at both airports
• Solidarity Drive between the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium
• King Drive
• Grand Avenue
• The Stevenson Expressway
• Lake Shore Drive

As the economy has improved and gas prices have gone down, more cars have gone on the road. When you throw distracted driving into the mix, traffic fatalities tend to rise.

The Cambridge study shows that despite the ban on using hand held devices while driving, places like Illinois are not seeing a dramatic reduction in the average amount of time drivers spend on the phone.

Enforcement of the ban is very difficult. There are far more drivers on the road than the police can keep track of and almost all of them have cell phones. For this reason, police only catch about one in ten violators of this ban.
In Illinois, if you are caught using your phone while driving, you can expect to pay a $75 fine for the first offense and up to $150 for any subsequent offenses.

With all these drivers looking at their phones instead of the road, no one is safe. Even the most alert drivers are at risk of being involved in an auto accident. Having a good auto accident attorney on your side has never been more important than it is today.

If you spot a driver texting while driving, call the attorneys at Chicago Legal Group at 847-305-4105.

Glenview Dog Bite Attorney

Experienced Glenview dog bite attorneys have an understanding of the price a dog attack can take on Glenview victims.  In addition to physical harm, dog attacks could potentially cause a considerable amount of emotional distress for their victims.  If a dog has hurt you, a dog bite attorney can assist you with obtaining fair compensation for your injuries.Glenview dog bite lawyer

Personal injury dog bite attorney, Barry Zlotowicz of the Chicago Legal Group can take care of legal actions relevant to dog bite cases.  Our expert Glenview attorneys are competent in dog bite incidents and can assist you with making the most of your particular case.  Our team has effectively represented numerous clients in lawsuits relating to dog attacks, and we can handle your case successfully, too.

The laws pertaining to dog and animal bites in Illinois are continually changing, and tend to be perplexing for the victim of a dog bite.  The initial step in knowing your rights is to understand where those rights come from and the laws that have an impact on you.  If you decide to pursue a legal claim, you need to contact an Illinois dog bite attorney who not only knows about those laws, but also how to navigate your case through complex insurance policies and exclusions to make certain someone is held liable for your injuries.

The Illinois Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/) describes the legal rights and solutions available to people all over the State of Illinois that have been injured by an animal.

If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.

The language of the law is equivalent to strict liability requirements, which implies there is pretty much no excuse to permit your dog to bite someone.  Under the Act, you can recover damages against the owner of the dog if:

the person actually owned the animal;

you did not provoke the dog;

you were acting “peaceably”; and

you were standing in a place where you are legally entitled to be.

If you can prove all four of these things, then you may be eligible to recover money from the dog’s owner for your medical bills, any future medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering and disfigurement for any scars you may have after the dog attack.

Let’s dive deeper and answer important F.A.Q.’s that you will find helpful:

As an experienced Glenview dog bite lawyer, I know better than most how devastating and traumatic a dog bite injury can be for the victim. Despite the prevalence of the dog-bite epidemic, I am often surprised how little the public knows about dog bite law.

Dog bite law is not something most people think about until they or someone they love become victims. I have previously written a post on some of the more frequently asked questions concerning Illinois dog bite law. In this article, I discuss some of the more practical aspects of dog bite cases, including, important safety precautions, first aid and procedures following an attack.

How Many Dog Bites are there Per Year?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are more than 4.5 million people bitten by dogs each year in the United States. Of these victims, more than 800,000 require medical attention. Worse, at least half of all dog bite victims are children. In fact, Between 2003 and 2012, dog bites were the 11th leading cause of nonfatal injuries to children ages 1 to 4, 9th for children ages 5 to 9 and 10th for children ages 10 to 14. The American Humane Association reports that 66 percent of dog bites to children occur on the neck and head.

The annual amount paid out by insurance companies to dog bite victims is staggering.  The Insurance Information Institute estimates that in 2013 U.S. insurers paid out approximately $500 million in dog bite claims. Moreover, the average cost per claim increased by 5.3 percent in 2018 to $39,017. Between 2003 and 2018, the average cost per claim has risen by more than 103 percent.

Why Dogs Bite Humans

As the American Veterinary Medical Association points out, “Big or small, male or female, young or old, any dog can bite.” While it is true that some breeds are more prone to aggression than others, any dog is capable of biting at any time. Dogs typically bite in reaction to fear or surprise. It is for this reason that children are the most common dog bite victims. Children are more likely than adults to do something to provoke or frighten dogs (e.g., hugging the dog or trying to take away its toy). To be sure, there are many reasons why dogs attack humans without being provoked. Some of these reasons include:

  • The dog is protecting a possession, food or even a puppy
  • The dog is protecting its territory
  • The dog is protecting its owner
  • The dog is injured or ill
  • The dog perceives you as a threat

It is helpful to be aware of the reasons why dogs bite humans so that we can attempt to avoid certain high-risk situations. More importantly, however, are telltale signs that a dog is preparing to attack. If we can recognize warning signs, we can act appropriately to protect both ourselves and our loved ones.

How Dogs Warn Us

I am often asked why dogs bite without warning. This is a common perception, that we have no way of knowing when a dog will attack. While this may be true in some limited circumstances, more commonly a dog will exhibit telltale warning signs that they are about to attack. Some of the more easily read warning signs include:

  • Barking or Growling
  • Raising a lip to show its teeth
  • Raised fur on the dog’s back and neck
  • A curved tongue (curved means tension while flat means relaxed)
  • The dog’s ears are flat or suddenly prick up
  • Salivating at the mouth (for some dogs this is a sign they are stressed)
  • Staring
  • Lifting a paw (a sign that the dog believes something negative is about to happen)

There are some other warning signs that are not as easily read. It is helpful to be aware of these less obvious warning signs and to proceed with caution. One of the least understood is when a dog is wagging its tail. We commonly associate tail wagging with excitement. This is true most of the time. However, where the tail is up and wagging stiffly it can be a warning sign that a dog is feeling threatened and/or is about to exhibit aggression.

Another difficult to read warning sign is the placement of a dog’s paws and posture. If a dog is standing with its legs spread wider than normal and is puffing its chest out, this can be a sign of aggression. Moreover, if the dog appears tense it could be a sign that it feels threatened and is preparing to attack.

Precautions to Take to Avoid a Dog Bite

If you encounter a dog exhibiting any of the above behaviors, there are several precautions you can take to minimize the risk of an attack. These precautions include:

  • Avoid making direct eye contact. If a dog is staring at you gradually avert your gaze to avoid startling it
  • Remain calm. Avoid yelling or making loud noises. Rather, say “No” or “Go Home” in a deep voice. Do not hit the dog. If the dog sees you are calm it could cause it to back down
  • Protect your neck by slowly raising your hands and keeping your elbows in
  • If the dog does not leave, then slowly back away. Avoid turning around or running. If you run the dog will likely chase you

Sometimes, regardless of the precautions that you take an attack cannot be avoided. If you are attacked it is important to act defensively and to seek proper medical care as soon as possible following the incident.

What to Do if You are Bitten by a Dog

If you are attacked by a dog the most important thing is to defend yourself. While it is understandable that you do not want to hurt the dog, it is more important that you protect yourself. If the dog starts to bite you then hit or kick it in the throat, nose, ribs and/or back of the head.

Dogs have very thick skulls so hitting it on the top of the head will likely only make it angrier.

The goal is to temporarily stun the dog to allow you time to get away. If you carry mace or pepper spray use it. Both are very effective in defending against a dog attack.

Another effective method is to place an object between you and the dog. For instance, if you are carrying a bag use it to shield yourself and/or push the dog away. If you have a jacket or shirt use it to cover the dog’s eyes. When dogs cannot see they will panic and open their mouths. This could cause the dog to release its grip allowing you to escape. If the dog knocks you onto the ground, curl up into a ball with your head tucked in. Make fists to protect your fingers. Protect your ears and neck with your forearms and fists.

If you are coming to the aid of someone being attacked by a dog avoid pulling the dog off. Pulling the dog off can cause a wound to become deeper and larger. Rather, try one of the above techniques of striking the dog or covering its eyes.

Eventually the dog will lose interest in you or hopefully someone will come to your aid. Slowly leave the scene of the attack when safe to do so.

When a Dog Bites What is the Treatment?

As soon as you are safe, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Tend to any wounds until you can receive professional medical assistance. Perform the following basic first aid procedures:

  • Apply gentle pressure to stop bleeding. Use a clean cloth or a gauze pad
  • Wash the wound with warm water and soap
  • Apply an antibiotic cream
  • Once you have stopped bleeding apply a band-aid or bandages for larger cuts

If you are unable to stop the bleeding or feel faint call 911. If you successfully treat the wound at home but notice signs of infection (e.g., redness, warmth or pus) seek immediate medical attention.

Typical Dog Bite Injuries

The most common injuries are abrasions, punctures or lacerations resulting from the bite itself. It is also possible to suffer internal injuries such as nerve damage, muscle or ligament damage, or even broken bones. Infection following a dog bite is fairly common. According to the CDC, approximately 18% of dog bites become infected. Experts have found over 60 different types of bacteria can live in a dog’s mouth. The following diseases can be caused by dog bites:

  • Rabies – one of the most serious diseases people can get from dog bites. Rabies can be fatal.
  • Capnocytophaga – can result in heart attack, kidney failure or even gangrene
  • Pasteurella – typically results in a painful, red infection at the site of the bite
  • MRSA – a form of staph infection that can cause skin, lung and urinary tract infections
  • Tetanus – can result in paralysis

Should You Get Stitches After a Dog Bite?

Whether or not you should get stitches after a dog bite primarily depends on two factors:

  • The size and location of the bite
  • Time amount of time that has passed since the bite occurred

Bite marks located on the hands or feet are generally not stitched unless absolutely necessary. The hands and feet are more prone to infection than other areas of the body. Closing the wounds with stitches substantially increases the likelihood of infection.

Wounds should generally be stitched within 6 to 8 hours following the bite. If you are unable to stop the bleeding on your own or you are not sure whether you require stitches seek treatment from a health professional.

Should You Report a Dog Bite?

If you can it is important to use your smartphone to take photos of the dog. If the dog is with its owner take his or her photo as well. The owner will often attempt to flee the scene to avoid liability. Finally, take photographs of the surrounding area, including, but not limited to, street signs, houses, cars and any important landmarks. These photos will be important in demonstrating where the attack occurred.

If you are not severely injured it is often a good idea to take the photos before contacting the police. If the dog or owner run off you may lose your only opportunity to identify them. It is a good idea to contact the police following any dog bite. Not only can the officer help you to receive medical attention and to obtain the owner’s information, but he or she will file a report about the attack. The police report will be essential for insurance purposes, as well as animal control.

Much like you would following a car accident, if the dog’s owner has not disappeared, obtain his or her information. You should attempt to collect:

  • The owner’s name, address, phone number and email address
  • The dog’s name, age, breed and veterinarian info (to obtain the vaccination record)
  • The owner’s homeowner or renter’s insurance information

In addition to contacting the police, be sure to contact animal control to report the attack. Animal control serves many important functions, including verifying the dog’s vaccination records and biting history, as well as preventing the dog from attacking other victims in the future.

Dog Bite Law Illinois

Dog bite law in Illinois is covered by 510 ILCS 5/16. That statute provides that in order to prove a dog owner is liable for an attack, the victim must show that:

  • The dog attacked, attempted to attack or injured the victim;
  • The victim had the lawful right to be in the place where he or she was attacked; and
  • The victim did not provoke the dog

Note that the statute also applies to situations other than dog bites. For instance, if you are hurt when a dog excitedly jumps on you, the owner can be liable for the resulting injuries. The second and third of these elements highlight the two most common owner defenses: that the dog was provoked, and that the victim was trespassing. In addition to the Illinois dog bite statute, an owner may be found liable under theories of negligence, landlord liability and even for emotional distress.

Strict Liability Dog Bite Law in Illinois

The Illinois dog bite statute is based on a theory of strict liability. In the U.S., there are typically two legal theories under which a dog owner may be found liable for a dog bite. Under a theory of strict liability, an Illinois dog owner cannot argue that he or she was unaware of a dog’s aggressive tendencies. If a dog injures another person (and the victim was not trespassing and did not provoke the dog) the owner is liable. This theory may seem overly harsh. However, the Illinois legislature has identified the serious public threat of dog attacks and has placed the burden on owners to ensure that adequate precautions are taken.

Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer

As an experienced Glenview dog bite lawyer, I have witnessed firsthand how truly devastating dog bites are for victims and their families. I have assisted countless Illinois dog bite victims to recover damages for their injuries. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a dog bite in Illinois, please contact us today for a free consultation.

Niles Automobile Accident And Handling Property Damage

You were fortunate and didn’t have any serious injuries after your auto accident, but what about your car?  If the accident was not your fault and your car was damaged, you can get your car repaired and personal property recovered.  Feel free to consult with Niles car accident attorney, Barry Zlotowicz of the Chicago Legal Group.property damage from car accident

When in an automobile accident, you are entitled to payment for damage done to your car and personal property.  Personal belongings that were inside the vehicle at the time of the accident, if the accident was someone else’s fault includes: computer, iPods, tablets, clothing, eye wear and other personal belongings.

Based upon on your specific auto coverage and who is found at fault of the auto accident, an insurance company, by contract, may be required to pay for the damages to your property.  The insurance contract will often show that the company is obligated to repair or even replace your car.

In the case of repairs, some companies will do their own estimates, although others may ask that obtain your own estimates.  You are typically free to decide which body shop you prefer to use.  On the other hand, some insurance companies may have a list of recommended body shops for you to go through.  If you select one of the recommended shops, and later there is a problem with their repairs, the insurance company may be able to help with handling the issue with the shop.

Additionally, you may be entitled to be compensated for the “loss of use” of your vehicle while it is being repaired.  This payment may be used to rent a replacement vehicle.  The amount in which you may be entitled to may differ under the conditions of your particular case and with the insurance company.

Often your car will be “totaled.”  Generally, a vehicle is “totaled” when the cost of repairs surpasses 80% or more of the value of the vehicle.  The challenges occur when it comes time to figure out the true value of the vehicle.

You may be able to recover your losses from the following sources:

Collision Coverage under Your Insurance – This is normally the fastest and simplest way to get your car repaired.  Your car repairs will be paid under your own insurance policy no matter who is at fault in the accident.

Liability Coverage under the Defendant’s Insurance – If the other person’s insurance company accepts fault in your accident, they will generally pay to have your car repaired. Regrettably, insurance companies usually take days or even weeks to make a decision as to whether or not to accept fault in the accident.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage under Your Insurance – If the person who caused the accident doesn’t have any insurance or is unable to be identified, you are protected under the uninsured motorist coverage of your own policy.

If you are a resident and had a car accident in Niles, we can help you get your car repaired and your personal property recovered.  Our office is equipped to assist you with recouping from the damages. Get in touch right now for a free consultation with Barry Zlotowicz, a Niles personal injury attorney at 847-305-4105 or 877-LAW-4312.

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