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Shay & Associates Blog

Motorcycle Accidents: Some Thoughts from a Trial Attorney

Friends, summer is now upon us and many of you enjoy riding your motorcycles. I would like to share my experiences as a trial attorney involved in the litigation of cases where my clients have sustained severe and permanent injuries or death in motorcycle accidents. I have been practicing law for over 33 years and have found unfortunate commonalities with litigating these claims.

First, Illinois is only 1 of 3 states that does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet. In 2017, the Illinois Department of Transportation Bureau of Safety Programs and Engineering Evaluation Section conducted a survey on motorcycle helmet usage in Illinois. During the survey period, a total of 1,692 motorcyclists were observed. Of those, 44.6% were observed wearing helmets. The City of Chicago had the highest helmet usage rate, at 51.1%. Unfortunately, downstate counties had the lowest usage rate, at 39.9%. Helmet usage on interstates and highways was 50.4%. On residential roads, the helmet usage rate was only 38.8%.

Although various motorcycle groups in Illinois continue to challenge any legislation requiring the use of a helmet while operating a motorcycle, the facts demonstrate that motorcyclists and/or their passengers who were involved in accidents and were not wearing a helmet were at significantly higher risk of incurring serious or fatal injuries. From my own experiences as a Plaintiff’s attorney who litigates these claims, I have witnessed the long-term effects of closed head injuries suffered by motorcyclists, due to no fault of their own. These motorcycle accidents leave a profound effect on those who are injured, as well as their families.

When I litigate these claims, I am forced to confront the issue of helmet usage with potential jurors. Potential jurors remain consistently negative toward Plaintiffs, whether motorcycle operators or passengers, who were not wearing helmets and sustained injuries. In fact, in a recent case, a mistrial was declared because of the bias of the potential jurors toward my client who sustained a closed head injury while not wearing a helmet. The responses from potential jurors were overwhelmingly negative, including the suggestion that any operator of a motorcycle that was not wearing a helmet was “crazy”.

In May 2017, the Illinois Department of Transportation issued Crash Facts and Statistics for calendar year 2015. Again, the statistics were alarming. During 2015, motorcycle accidents accounted for only 1.1% of total crashes, but accounted for 15.8% of fatal crashes. Not surprisingly, the statistics showed the greatest number of motorcycle crashes occurred on Saturdays. 2,643 motorcyclists were injured in 2015. More importantly, 905 of those motorcyclists suffered severe injuries, and 147 of them were killed. There were also 4 passenger deaths.

Alcohol inevitably played a role in the fatal crash statistics. As stated earlier, motorcycle operators accounted for 15.8% of motor vehicle collision fatalities. Of those fatalities, 113 were tested for alcohol consumption, and 50.4% were positive with a BAC of .01 or greater. 141 motorcycle passengers were killed in 2015, and 815 of those passengers sustained severe and permanent injuries.

On a personal note, I find that most motorcyclists possess insufficient insurance due to the high cost of insuring a motorcycle. These low limit motorcycle insurance policies are glaringly insufficient when a motorcyclist is injured by another driver who has little or no insurance to cover the motorcyclist’s injuries. Due to the fact that motorcycle operators and their passengers have virtually no protection from an impact with a car or truck, it is almost certain they will sustain severe and permanent injuries. In my 33 years in practice, I have encountered only 1 case where the insurance policy was sufficient to cover the sustained injuries to my client. In all other cases, the insurance policies of the at-fault parties, coupled with limited underinsured motorist benefits for the motorcycle operator, were insufficient to compensate my clients for the severe and life-altering injuries they sustained.

Please be careful when operating motorcycles. I urge you to wear all personal protective gear available to you, including a helmet. Please make sure to also contact your insurance agent and verify you have sufficient automobile coverage of no less than $250,000.00 in uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits.

Always feel free to contact my office at 217-523-5900 in Springfield or 217-425-5900 in Decatur for a free consultation or if you prefer, use the contact form found here.

When Nursing Home Injuries are the Fault of Caregivers

Every week we see headlines about nursing home abuse and neglect throughout the nation. Some of us have personal stories of how family members were neglected or injured in a nursing home. A recent case was documented in an article about three Central Illinois nursing homes cited with violations and fined $25,000.00 each by the State of Illinois.

The article states that at least one resident in each facility required hospitalization as a result of preventable injuries or illnesses. These violations were classified by the state as Type A violations, which are the second most serious category of violation, one resulting in serious harm or death.

Type A injuries often result from falls, infections, or lack of timely medical care. When a serious injury like this happens to your loved ones, it is important to take the following steps:

  1. If immediate emergency services are required, call 911
  2. Document all evidence of the abuse or injury with photos, written notes, or witness accounts
  3. Advise the director of the nursing home in writing of the incident and your concerns
  4. File a complaint about the nursing home with the local health department and/or the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation
  5. If you feel it necessary, move your loved one to another location
  6. Don’t hesitate to contact an attorney to discuss the situation

If nursing home neglect or abuse results in serious injury, hospitalization, or death to a family member, please contact an attorney who specializes in nursing home neglect or personal injury claims. At Shay & Associates Law Firm we provide you with an expert and compassionate team to assist your family when the need arises.

Drunk Driving Accident in Decatur

On Saturday February 16, 2019, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a drunk driver in the early morning hours in Decatur, Illinois. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

The drunk driving accident in itself is emotionally devastating to the family members left behind. Once the shock wears off and reality sets in, family members may continue to experience the obvious adverse effects in terms of monetary losses such as funeral expenses, medical bills, lost income, or additional expenses resulting from the loss of life. In a case such as this there may be economic damages to be recovered from the drunk driver’s auto insurance company.

Between the police, hospitals, funeral homes, and grief itself, dealing with a loss is often very overwhelming. Understanding the steps to take and finding the time and energy to undertake those tasks can be difficult. It is important, however, to stay on top of things after a devastating drunk driving accident such as this one.

If you, or someone you know has lost a loved one in an drunk driving accident, we hope you will contact a competent attorney for representation. Shay & Associates Law Firm has a great deal of experience in obtaining justice for victims in vehicle accidents. Please call our office today at 217-523-5900 (Springfield) or 217-425-5900 (Decatur) if you require legal assistance regarding an auto accident or other injury, or click here to use contact form.

A BLOG FROM PARIS TRAVELS

Yesterday, I was fortunate to wake up to a beautiful, sunny day in one of the most fascinating and historical cities in the world. In the afternoon, I took a river cruise on the Seine River that traveled throughout the waterways of Paris, eventually passing by and circling the island on which the Cathedral of Notre Dame is located. I have included photographs taken from the river cruise, a mere three hours before the Cathedral was engulfed in flames.
Later in the day, when walking out of a store, I noticed a strange-colored plume of smoke coming from the direction of the Cathedral. At first, I thought it was a typical fire but was concerned of a potential terrorist threat. Moments later, I heard continuous emergency police, fire, and ambulance sirens. Walking to a bridge across the Seine River and only a short distance away from Notre Dame, I saw a shocking vision of the Cathedral engulfed in flames. On this bridge, were hundreds of Parisians and visitors such as myself. All were in shock at what we were observing. It became evident this was a fire that would be unlikely to be controlled until major damage had taken place. As a raised Catholic, I was especially stunned at this historic, religious 12th Century monument falling before my very eyes.
This morning I woke up to front page news stories of this event from around the world. Thankfully, this fire does not appear to be the work of any terrorist organization. Nevertheless, in spite of what President Macron has promised the French; that the Cathedral will be rebuilt, I am skeptical that any rebuild of the Cathedral will match its former beauty and contained history.
As you can tell, this event has left an enduring impression upon me. Thank you for reading this blog.
Timothy Shay

Damages to consider after a car accident.

On Monday evening of June 4, 2018 there was a collision between a 2005 GMC Envoy and a 2017 Ford Focus which caused three casualties. An article about the particulars can be viewed by clicking here (https://www.wandtv.com/news/dead-in-two-car-illinois-crash/article_faf76c53-76d0-53b9-b14d-eef98b725529.html). After the accident, a 19-year-old female had to be airlifted to Memorial Hospital in Springfield for treatment.

The damages that are available after a car accident can be far more wide-ranging than many drivers may initially believe. There are the obvious things such as the damage to your car or medical bills, but damages can also include things like pain and suffering resulting from the accident and loss of income while you recover. The simplest way to think about the damages available to you after an auto accident are (1) physical damages and (2) other non-physical damages. Physical damage can include damage to your car or other assets as well as damage to your body. If you are hit by a driver who loses control, you may suffer serious damage to your vehicle, possibly even to the extent that the car is considered a total loss. This is known as property damage, and most car insurance policies will have limits for coverage of such property damage. Additionally, because many injuries do not resolve immediately after an accident, plaintiffs seeking to recover from bodily injury will typically be entitled to both the medical expenses they’ve already incurred and those they will reasonably incur in the future.

If you, or someone you know has been injured, we hope you will contact a competent attorney for representation. Tim Shay has a great deal of experience in obtaining justice for victims in vehicle accidents. Please call Shay & Associates today at 217-523-5900 (Springfield) or 217-425-5900 (Decatur) if you require legal assistance regarding an auto accident or other injury, or use the contact form found here: https://wrsp109657.wpengine.com/contact-us-springfield-decatur/.

Bowel Injury Caused by Hernia Repair Surgery

Hernia repairs, as well as other abdominal surgeries, require pinpoint surgical dissection. A common side effect is an injury to the bowels caused by the inadvertent nicking or laceration of the bowels. These risks of surgery are usually addresses in a consent form prior to surgery, signed by the patient either at the physician’s office or hospital prior to surgery. As such, a bowel injury is not necessarily a claim for medical malpractice . A claim for malpractice usually arises from the failure of the physician or the hospital to recognize a bowel injury has occurred that allows for a permanent and sometimes deadly injury due to the untreated bowel perforation.

If you, or someone you know is suffering from an injury as a result of an accident or error caused by negligence of another, then we hope you will contact a competent attorney for representation. Tim Shay has a great deal of experience in fighting for the full compensation that you deserve. Please call Shay & Associates today at 217-523-5900 (Springfield) or 217-425-5900 (Decatur) if you require legal assistance regarding medical malpractice, or use the contact form found here: https://wrsp109657.wpengine.com/contact-us-springfield-decatur/.

 

Recognize the signs of elder abuse in nursing homes.

In November, the Champaign County Board approved to release all claims for 2 residents who died at nursing home located in Champaign County. You can watch the video story by clicking here: (https://foxillinois.com/news/local/claims-released-for-two-seniors-who-died-at-champaign-nursing-home).

Unfortunately, many nursing homes are inadequately staffed to address the medical and psychiatry needs of their residents. Shay & Associates represent elderly persons who have either been abused or neglected in nursing homes, or their families following the death of a loved one who suffered abuse or neglect. If you suspect any abuse or neglect in a nursing home, it is important to contact the Illinois Department of Public Health and file a complaint requesting an investigation. Further, a demand for a transfer to a hospital emergency room will allow for immediate care and reporting of abuse or neglect by a medical professional at the hospital, if such abuse or neglect is suspected. Be vigilant with your elderly loved ones.

If you, or someone you know has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, we hope you will contact a competent attorney for representation. Tim Shay has a great deal of experience in obtaining justice for victims of elder abuse in nursing homes. Please call Shay & Associates today at 217-523-5900 (Springfield) or 217-425-5900 (Decatur) if you require legal assistance regarding a elder abuse in nursing homes, or use the contact form found here: https://wrsp109657.wpengine.com/contact-us-springfield-decatur/.

 

What types of damages are available after an auto accident.

On Wednesday evening of January 23, 2019, there was a collision between a semi-truck and a pickup truck on I-55. An article about the particulars can be viewed by clicking here (https://foxillinois.com/news/local/two-vehicle-crash-on-i-55-sends-one-to-hospital). After the accident, the driver of the pickup truck was taken to the local hospital with serious injuries. The semi-truck driver was not reported injured.

The aftermath of an automobile accident can be incredibly overwhelming. Between dealing with the police, another driver, and your insurance company, it can be difficult to keep track of what is going on and to make sure that you are preserving all of your potential claims for damages. The damages available after an auto accident fall into two categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages include payment for the repair or loss of the motor vehicle, medical expenses incurred as a result of injuries arising from the accident, and loss of wages or profits. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of a normal life. The loss of enjoyment of a normal life has been defined by law as the temporary or permanent diminished ability to enjoy life, including a person’s inability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of life.

If you, or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, we hope you will contact a competent attorney for representation. Tim Shay has a great deal of experience in obtaining justice for victims in vehicle accidents. Please call Shay & Associates today at 217-523-5900 (Springfield) or 217-425-5900 (Decatur) if you require legal assistance regarding an auto accident or other injury, or use the contact form found here: https://wrsp109657.wpengine.com/contact-us-springfield-decatur/.

 

Responsibility for an Accident Involving a Semi Truck and a School Bus

On Wednesday evening of December 5, 2018 there was a collision between a semi-truck and a school bus which was carrying a high school junior varsity volleyball team. An article about the particulars can be viewed by clicking here (https://newschannel20.com/news/local/school-bus-crashes-with-semi-truck-on-i-74-wednesday). During and after the accident, an adult volunteer on the school bus, and the truck driver died, and several passengers on the bus were injured.

Shay & Associates has represented many clients over the years that have been injured due to the fault of a semi-truck driver. Most people do not realize the trucking industry is subject to several laws, both federal and state, that address on-the-road safety. For instance, the trucking company is responsible for periodic inspections of their fleet. Further, the driver is required to make daily vehicle inspections, including the brakes and tire tread depth. Following a motor vehicle collision involving a semi-truck driver, the police officer called to the scene usually undertakes a detailed inspection of the vehicle to verify compliance with the required laws.

Our hearts go out to the injured and grieving. If you, or someone you know has been injured, we hope you will contact a competent attorney for representation. Tim Shay has a great deal of experience in obtaining justice for victims in truck accidents. Please call Shay & Associates today at 217-523-5900 (Springfield) or 217-425-5900 (Decatur) if you require legal assistance regarding a truck accident or other injury, or use the contact form found here: https://wrsp109657.wpengine.com/contact-us-springfield-decatur/.

Not Sure You Have a Personal Injury Case? 5 Questions to Ask

Many people have heard the term personal injury but do not know what a personal injury case really is. Knowing when a personal injury has occurred, when you have a case to make, and how to create a strong case can help you if you are ever injured in an accident. Ask yourself these questions if you believe that you may have a personal injury case. 

  1. Did Injuries Occur?

Personal injury cases start with injuries. The more serious the injury, the stronger the case and the more compensation you are likely to win in court. Often, people who win personal injury cases suffer from disabling and disfiguring injuries. If you have been injured and you think you might have a personal injury claim, see a physician as soon as possible.

Shay & Associates Law Firm

With locations in Springfield and Decatur, we’re ready and waiting to fight for you. Reach out to us for a free consultation on your case.

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