Author Archive

Charles J. Gale

Charles J. Gale

B.B.A., University of Michigan School of Business; M.A.S., University of Illinois School of Business; J.D., University of Illinois School of Law; C.P.A., Illinois; Licensed to Practice Law, Illinois Licensed to Practice Law, Arizona

$105,000 For Woman Who Slipped And Fell At A Restaurant

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Premises Liability, Slip and Falls, Trip and Falls, Uncategorized

 

wet-floor-sign-web

 

Our office obtained $105,000 for woman who slipped and fell at a restaurant.

A 61 year old woman slipped and fell at a restaurant as the result of debris left on the floor.

The restaurant was an all you can eat buffet which was busy during the holiday season.  Typically at these buffet type restaurants, the patron serves herself and the busboy clears the table of the finished dishes.  To do this, many times a rolling dish cart is used to stack the used dishes, and sometimes the dish cart is over stacked and there is some leakage of food or drink onto the floor.  And that is exactly what happened.  A dish cart used to store the used dishes was leaking liquid and food onto the floor.  When our client walked past the dish cart, she slipped and fell on the wet floor.  After the fall, the insurance carrier denied the claim, stating that the dish cart was not over-stacked and leaking or that the floor wet.  Suit was filed against the restaurant.

 

The general rule is that the owner of the restaurant has a duty to exercise “reasonable care” to see that the premises are safe for their use, namely, walking.  This duty includes the responsibility to discover defects and dangerous conditions on the property.  This duty also includes the obligation to correct the defect or to give sufficient warning of the defect.  Once the restaurant shows that it in fact did exercise “reasonable care” such as timely and repeated monitoring of the floor, the burden of proof then shifts to the patron.   To be successful in her claim, the patron must now prove that the restaurant knew or should have known of the dangerous condition, in this case, the wet and slippery floor.  Trying to prove that the restaurant knew, or should have known, of the wet and slippery fall can be very difficult, especially when they always deny any knowledge of any spills.

 

Once you are successful in proving that the restaurant knew or should have known of the wet and slippery floor, the insurance company will almost certainly try to put the blame on you for falling. That is, they will argue that you were not looking where you were going and that the wet floor was “open and obvious.”  If you had been looking where you were going, you would have seen the wet floor. Or, they will argue that you in fact did see where you were going and saw the wet floor but choose to ignore the risk.  Since you saw the wet floor prior to your fall, it is your fault. Either way, the insurance company will try to blame you for your injury.

 

If you slip and fall while walking on a wet floor at a restaurant, there are certain things you should do.  First, get the names and addresses of all witnesses to the incident. The property owner or its employees cannot be counted on to be your witness.  Second, give notice of the incident and your injury to the restaurant before you leave the grounds. Make sure a written report of the incident is made. It is crucial that the written report identifies exactly what your injury. Obtain a copy of that report.  Third, you will need to seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries from the incident. With the help of your doctor you should identify all affected areas of your body, regardless of how minor they may seem at the time. Many injuries and side effects don’t manifest themselves fully until days or weeks later and they may be more debilitating than you first assumed.  Fourth, get a camera and take pictures of the scene, focusing on what caused your injury. This of course may not be possible in every instance.  Finally, call an attorney immediately.

 

If you need help, call LAW OFFICES OF CHARLES J. GALE, PC. We have the capabilities and know-how to prosecute your claim. Don’t hesitate to call us today. There is no fee unless and until we successfully reach a settlement and there is a recovery. Our consultations are also free and are only a short phone call away. Let us help you; all you have to do is dial (312) 372-0300 now!

 

 

 

$85,000.00 For Pedestrian Struck By Vehicle With No Serious Injuries

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Auto Accidents, No Serious Injuries, Pedestrian-Auto

 

 

Pedestrian In Crosswalk

Pedestrian In Crosswalk

 

Our office recovered $85,000.00 for a pedestrian struck by vehicle with no serious injuries.  In this case, a 36 year old police officer struck by a vehicle while investigating the scene of an auto accident.

 

The police officer was on the scene of another auto accident, investigating the scene.  While the officer was out of his vehicle completing the investigation, a drunken driver came crashing into the scene of the first accident, striking the police officer and multiple vehicles.   The pedestrian struck by vehicle with no serious injuries was rushed by ambulance to the hospital where he underwent extensive tests and examinations.  Luckily, there were no broken bones, no bleeding, no loss of consciousness, no bruises.  Because of the series of negative findings at the hospital, the insurance carrier disputed the extent of the injuries to the police officer, even in this clear liability case.  We had no choice but to file suit against the drunken driver.  The only way the insurance carrier was going to accept the fact that the police officer sustained injuries was to prove it in court.  Eventually, after the expense of litigation, we were able to prove that, in fact, the pedestrian struck by vehicle with no serious injuries did in fact sustain compensable injuries despite the fact that there were no broken bones, cuts or loss of consciousness.

 

When injured in a motor vehicle accident there are some important things you must do and know.  First, you should know that the insurance company will try to convince you that you sustained little or no lasting injuries from the accident.  They will argue, like the pedestrian above, that since no bones were broken, no cuts were sustained, no head injuries incurred and no objective findings from the various tests at the hospital, that you were not really hurt.  This of course may not only be false, but insulting.

Second, you should know that the insurance carrier will try to settle your case for less than full compensation.  What you think is fair compensation and what the insurance company thinks is fair compensation is rarely the same.  The insurance carrier will remind you that your medical bills have been paid by your health insurance company so the medical bills do not need to be considered.  This is wrong.  The insurance carrier will point out to you that your wages have been paid by your employer during your time off so your wages do not need to be considered.  This is wrong.  The insurance carrier will point out that the tests taken at the hospital were negative so you had no injuries.  This is wrong.  You will have to explain to the insurance carrier that they are wrong on their assumptions and prove to them why they are wrong.

 

Third, you should know that a “simple” auto accident is never simple.  The insurance carrier may not have enough insurance to adequately compensate you for your losses.  You may have to file an uninsured or an under-insured motorist claim.  There may be multiple parties at fault, or multiple parties wanting compensation from the same insurance carrier. Your injuries might be related to a pre-existing condition.  The insurance company disputes your injuries, or your medical bills or your time off work.  The areas of dispute are unless.

 

This is what you should do.  First, you should get the names and addresses of all witnesses.  Second, seek medical treatment immediately if you are in pain.  You should report to the doctor all parts of your body that are affected, even if the pain does not seem severe.  Days later, the pain may be much worse.  Third, you should take pictures of your car, immediately at the scene if possible.   Finally, you should contact your insurance company.  When doing this, do not give your insurance company a statement or allow them to record your statement as there is always a potential claim for uninsured or under insured motorist coverage.  Finally, should retain an attorney immediately.

 

Your initial consultation with the LAW OFFICES OF CHARLES J. GALE is free and you will be under no obligation.  We will discuss with you your rights and provide you a free and comprehensive evaluation of your case. We will explain to you in detail in steps involved in prosecuting your claim.  At no time will you be charged a fee unless we collect.

 

$85,000.00 for Rear-Ender Auto Accident

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Auto Accidents, Rear-Ended

auto-one car

Our office recovered $85,000.00 for our client who was involved in the all too common “rear-ender” auto accident.

In this case, our client, a fifty-seven year old woman, was simply rear-ended while driving on the expressway. Naturally, the insurance carrier felt that our client sustained only minor injuries.

In many rear-ender auto accidents, the insurance carrier will claim that there were no injuries, or only minor injuries, sustained in the accident. And, they will support this claim on the fact that there was no ambulance involved. Or that the client did not go to the hospital the day of the accident. Or that the client did not go to the hospital at all until days later.

Even in those cases in which the client does go to the hospital immediately from the scene, the hospital record may not fully reflect the extent of the injury. Quite often the areas of pain the day after the accident will be substantially different than the pain noticed the day before. Or, sometimes severe pain to one body part may mask an injury to another body part. Very simply, how one feels immediately after an accident may be entirely different days, even weeks later.

In this case, our client went to the emergency room three days in a row complaining of headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and back pain. Seven months later, our client had an MRI of the left shoulder, confirming a rotator cuff tear. Naturally, the insurance carrier refused the claim for a left shoulder injury, stating that our client did not injure her shoulder in the accident. Specifically, the insurance carrier claimed, correctly, that our client had no left shoulder complaints the day of the accident. And that our client had no complaints of shoulder pain on the three hospital visits following the accident. Therefore, our client did not injure her shoulder from the accident.

This scenario happens quite frequently in auto accidents. That is, many times a client will sustain injuries that do not fully manifest themselves until weeks, sometimes months after the incident. This usually occurs when a person sustains other painful injuries that attract most of their attention. Other, more serious but less painful injuries, are simply not noticed or not given adequate attention. A week or so later, when the distracting and painful injury subsides, the more serious injury begins to become noticeable.

This type of injury can be seen with ligament tears, such as tears to the ligaments or tendons of the shoulders or knees. Quite often, the injury is not very painful at first. It is only when the injury does not seem to get any better that the client gives it his full attention.

In this case, our client ended up tearing the ligament in her left shoulder. She underwent shoulder arthroscopic surgery involving rotator cuff repair. The surgery was performed one year after the accident.

The insurance company refused the claim and a lawsuit was filed. It was only after extensive litigation that the insurance carrier accepted liability.

If you are involved in an auto accident, you may have injuries that you do not think are serious, but are. These injuries may require medical attention sooner or later. The longer you wait to document your injuries, the more likely that the insurance carrier will deny your claim.

Don’t wait until the insurance carrier denies your claim. Call the Law Office of Charles J. Gale.

$65,000 Dram Shop Claim for Serving Liquor to Intoxicated Person

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Liquor Liability/Dram Shop, Serving Alcohol to Intoxicated Patron

tavern-2-web

Our office obtained $65,000 Dram Shop Claim for Serving Liquor to Intoxicated Person.

Our client, a 52 year old patron of a liquor establishment or dram shop, was attacked by an intoxicated person. Our office filed a claim against the liquor establishment for injuries and damages caused by the intoxicated person.

The dram shop act is a claim against a liquor establishment that improperly serves liquor to an intoxicated person. The claim is based upon Illinois statute, which limits the amount of damages that can be recovered in a dram shop claim.  The statute also limits the time in which a claim can be filed, one year.  In addition, defenses that are normally available in most premises liability claims may not be available in a Dram Shop claim.

A dram shop claimant must first prove that the liquor establishment caused the intoxication of the intoxicated person. This is not as easy to prove as its sounds. First of all, the intoxicated person may not be known. If the intoxicated person is not known to you or anyone else in the establishment and he leaves before providing his identification, you will most likely be unable to prove your case against the liquor establishment.   Very simply, you most likely be unable to prove either he was intoxicated or that the liquor establishment was the entity that got him intoxicated.  And, if the intoxicated person is identified but not arrested, he may not cooperate in identifying which liquor establishment got him intoxicated.   To prove your case, the intoxicated person must be identified and included as a defendant so that he can explain how and when he became intoxicated.

The claim against the liquor establishment is based upon the allegation that they caused the intoxication. What if the intoxicated person had visited other liquor establishments that night? Which establishment got him intoxicated? Luckily, more than one liquor establishment can be held liable for causing the intoxication, so long at the liquor provided by the establishment was a substantial and material factor in the intoxication.  If more than one establishment caused the intoxication, you can recover from each establishment, but the amount of your recovery unfortunately will not change.

Another cause for concern is the type and the amount of damages you can recover. If you win your case, the amount of damages you can recover is limited by statute to a certain dollar amount. This is vastly different than most all other personal injury claims, which have no real dollar limitation. In addition, the type of damages you can recover is also limited.  In Illinois, if your claim is for loss of society and loss of support, you can only recover compensation for one or the other, and not both.

The liquor establishment may have violated other laws in addition to the dram shop statute.  If so, then the amount of the recovery, and the type of damages recovered, will not be limited to the dram shop statute.  Because the possibilities are virtually endless, you should consult an attorney when pursuing a dram shop claim.

If you or your loved one was injured by an intoxicated person, and a liquor establishment contributed to that intoxication, call the Law Offices of Charles J. Gale.

 

$70,000 for Auto Broadsided at Intersection

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Auto Accidents, Broadsided at Intersection

Auto Accident

Auto broadsided at intersection

Our client recovered $70,000.00 when her auto was broadsided at an intersection. The plaintiff, a 39 year old woman, was simply driving on a main street, going straight, with traffic. As she approached a green traffic light at one of many intersections she had passed, our client was broadsided by another driver who failed to stop at the red light.

This is a situation that happens all too often. Sometimes the insurance company will deny the claim entirely, saying that it was our driver who ran the red light.

Other times the insurance company will admit fault for the accident, but claim that our driver was not hurt. After all, our client had no broken bones, no bleeding, no concussion, no scars, etc.

In fact, that is exactly what the insurance company said to our client. No injuries. All x-ray reports were negative. In reality, our client did sustain injuries, except that the injuries were not visible injuries.

All too often, the victim of an auto accident will sustain severe neck and low back strains that are very painful and debilitating. These injuries will not appear on x-ray. Nevertheless, the injuries are real.

After the insurance company denied fault, then denied that our client sustained any injury, we filed suit. We won on both issues and recovered for our client the amount of $70,000.00. This was substantially better that the $0.00 that the insurance carrier offered prior to suit!

If you or your loved ones are injured in an auto accident, do not accept the insurance companies claim that you were the fault of the accident. Or that you were not injured from the accident. Call our office, Charles J. Gale, P.C.

$75,000 for Tenant who Tripped on Uneven Hallway Floor

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Landlord Tenant, Slip and Falls, Trip and Falls, Trip and Falls

Tenant who Tripped on Uneven Hallway Floor

Tenant who Tripped on Uneven Hallway Floor

Our office recovered $75,000 for Tenant who Tripped on Uneven Hallway Floor.

A thirty-five year old woman, a tenant of the building she was living in, exited her apartment and tripped on the uneven hallway floor. The landlord had not repaired the uneven hallway floor even though the uneven floor had existed in this condition for a period of time.

The law in Illinois provides that the landlord has a duty to maintain the condition of common areas of the building. Common areas are generally those areas of the building that are used by all the tenants. If the landlord fails to repair or maintain the common areas, and a tenant in injured as the result of that failure to repair, the landlord can be held liable to for the injuries sustained by the tenant.

The insurance carrier will however attempt to escape liability, even in cases where liability would seem clear. The insurance company will first claim that the tenant never told the landlord of the dangerous condition. That is, the landlord will simply claim that he was simply unaware of the uneven floor. This is not a good defense, since actual notice of the dangerous condition is not required if the landlord created the condition, or had constructive notice of the condition or should have known of the condition. The landlord has a duty to discover the defective condition and to correct or repair the defective condition.

The insurance company will next claim the tenant herself was negligent. After all, the tenant most likely knew of the dangerous condition prior to the injury. And, the tenant was able to avoid the dangerous condition for days, weeks, sometimes months prior to the incident. The landlord will simply argue that the dangerous condition was open and obvious. This is a very common defense by landlords. And, on this particular occasion, the tenant may have been further negligent by rushing or not being particularly careful. The insurance company will rely on yet another legal theory, the doctrine of comparative negligence. That is, sometimes both parties can be at fault and liability should be allocated to both parties relative to their degree of fault. Using the theory of comparative negligence, the recovery to the tenant, if any, can be reduced to half.

There is yet another legal theory that the tenant can use to his defense. That is, there is an exception to the doctrine of open and obvious if the tenant was distracted when she fell. Many times the tenant will be distracted at the time of the incident. This is a valid exception to the doctrine of open and obvious if this tenants’ distraction was reasonable.

If you are injured due to the negligence of your landlord, do not try to resolve these legal issues without an attorney. Call the Law Offices of Charles J. Gale.

$125,000 for Pedestrian Hit by Vehicle

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Auto Accidents, Pedestrian-Auto

pedestrian-victim-waiting-ambulance

Our office recovered $125,000 for Pedestrian Hit by Vehicle while standing next to his car in the parking lot.

Our client, a thirty-eight year old male, was standing next to his car in the parking lot when another vehicle struck him in the leg. There was no damage to either vehicle. Because of this, the insurance carrier denied that there was an accident, and specifically, denied any contact by their vehicle to our client. And, to complicate matters, our client had a prior knee injury. That is, the injury sustained in this accident was the same injury that our client had sustained years earlier. This is a very common scenario that takes place in many injury cases.

The pre-existing injury defense argues that our client had injuries that existed prior to the accident. In particular, the injury to our client’s knee was incurred prior to this accident by a previous incident. Furthermore, this accident did not make his prior knee injury worse. The insurance carrier will attempt to support this argument by the medical records, usually x-rays or MRI scans taken before the accident and compared to x-rays and MRI’s taken after the accident. We use the same medical records to support the argument that the accident did in fact make our clients’ injury worse. As is common in these matters, two individuals, myself and the insurance adjuster, looking at the same facts, in this case the medical records, will come to vastly different conclusions. It is our burden to prove that our view of the medical records is correct. And that the adjuster’s view of the medical records is wrong.

To prevail on this issue, other matters besides the medical records are also used to prove that the accident made our clients’ pre-existing injury worse. Our clients’ work limitations before the accident were compared to his work limitations after the accident. The need for therapy after the accident was compared to his need for therapy before the accident. In general, our clients need for medical treatment immediately after the accident, including diagnostic testing, arthroscopy and other treatment was compared to our clients need for medical treatment immediately prior to the accident.

In short, simply proving an accident caused by the insured is not sufficient to recover compensation for your injury. You must also prove that the accident made your pre-existing condition worse. If you are involved in an accident, and had a pre-existing injury to that same part of your body, proving the extent of your injury can be problematic. In short, you can expect the insurance carrier to fight you on this issue.

Our office has been recovering compensation for our clients with pre-existing injuries for over thirty years. If you or your loved one were injured in an accident, call the Law Offices of Charles J. Gale.

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Law Offices of Charles J. Gale, PC
14007 South Bell Road, Suite #254
Homer Glen, Illinois 60491

(630) 243-6409