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What to do after a dog bite

A bite from a dog in Illinois can be very frightening, especially if, as is sometimes the case, the dog is already known to you because it belongs to a family member or friend. We at the Law Office of Kerley & Associates understand that it may be very difficult to think straight and take action following the shock of a dog bite. However, there are important steps to take after such an attack in order to protect your health and defend your legal rights. 

Dog bites can have long-term negative health effects, both physically and psychologically. However, the most important concern in the immediate aftermath of an animal attack is to receive proper medical treatment. A severe bite may require reconstructive or cosmetic surgery to correct and minimize disfigurement, while complications such as infection or disease may result from even a minor bite. The trauma of the attack may lead to stress disorder symptoms requiring counseling to overcome.

What does the court look for in child custody matters?

When you began discussing your divorce and how it would affect your children, you probably began hearing the phrase, "the best interests of the children." This is the standard that the court uses when making decisions regarding custody matters.

Okay, fair enough, but how does your definition of what is in your children's best interests differ from what this standard means to the court?

How Illinois determines spousal maintenance

As someone currently involved in an Illinois divorce, or someone considering filing for an Illinois divorce, you may be wondering whether you will be able to reasonably support yourself in the absence of your spouse. More specifically, you may be wondering whether you will qualify for spousal maintenance in the aftermath of your divorce, or whether you might have other options available to you. At the Law Office of Kerley & Associates, we have a comprehensive understanding of how Illinois determines spousal maintenance, and we have helped many clients making their way through divorces navigate these and similar issues.

According to the Illinois State Bar Association, if you and your spouse’s combined gross income is less than $250,000 annually, the state will typically use a set formula to determine whether you will get spousal maintenance, and if so, how much. In more specific terms, the state will typically award you 30 percent of your spouse’s gross income minus 20 percent of your own gross income, not to exceed 40 percent of your combined gross income.

How common is substance abuse among truckers?

Given Illinois’ central location, it is understandable that the state’s roadways see plenty of activity from commercial trucks, but that does not make sharing the road with them any safer for today’s motorists. While semi-trucks present certain hazards simply because they are so large and can prove difficult to see or maneuver around, they can prove even more dangerous, and in some cases, downright deadly, when their drivers behave negligently behind the wheel. Substance abuse among truckers is of particular concern for many drivers, and if you count yourself among them, it may surprise you just how common this behavior is among today’s trucking professionals.

According to the American Addiction Centers, substance abuse among semi-truck drivers is so common nowadays that, in a series of 36 studies involving truckers, more than 90 percent of them admitted to drinking alcohol while on the job. Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of those surveyed acknowledged abusing amphetamines such as meth while behind the wheel, while more than 8 percent admitted to abusing cocaine while on the clock.

Should a forensic accountant be on your divorce team?

As you and your spouse contemplate obtaining an Illinois divorce, you may have the uneasy feeling that (s)he will hide, or already is hiding, marital assets from you so as to take unfair advantage of you when it comes time to draft a property settlement agreement. Unfortunately, asset hiding represents a not uncommon practice among greedy or vindictive spouses, especially high-asset ones.

Should your spouse choose to engage in this practice, (s)he has a number of options available to him or her to accomplish those purposes. Consequently, as FindLaw explains, you may need to add a forensic accountant to your legal team in order to find and track these hidden assets.

Will my child support spending be monitored?

You may have many questions when you are newly divorced, especially regarding visitation and child support. If you are one of the many single parents in Illinois to receive child support, you might be worried that the courts or your ex-spouse will monitor how you spend the money or ask to see receipts. Understanding how child support spending works can give you peace of mind.

According to FindLaw, child support is meant to cover the physical needs of your children as well as their emotional well-being. Therefore, you might choose to spend the money on such essentials as the following:

  • Food, medicine and clothing
  • Rent, utility payments and household necessities
  • School supplies, extracurricular activities and tuition
  • Doctor’s visits and medical insurance co-pays

Traffic safety advocates focus on teenagers in October

Perhaps there are fewer times in parents' lives that are more worrisome than when their children learn to drive. After all, a child who can't remember to pick up his socks or won't take her eyes off her phone screen can hardly be responsible enough to drive the family vehicle at highway speeds.

Nevertheless, at this moment, thousands of teens are taking driver education courses, standing in line at the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles and receiving their first cars from proud parents. As cliché as it may sound, you are not safe when teenagers are on the road.

What is respondeat superior?

The devastating potential that semi-trucks and tractor-trailers present often means that the chances of you being involved in a minor truck accident in Springfield are unlikely. Such accidents typically produce devastating results, the expense of which can often exceed what an insurance policy will pay. This may leave you needing to seek compensation from those responsible for your accident. Yet does liability end with the truck driver, or can it extend to the company that employs them? 

It depends on the circumstances of your accident. The legal principle of respondeat superior allows you to hold an employer liable for the actions of its employees. There are limitations to the application of this doctrine, however. These are evidenced in Illinois' Civil Jury Instructions. In cases where you take action against a principal (in this case, a trucking company) and an agent (the truck driver), respondeat superior only applies when the agent is acting within the scope of their employment (and they are found to be responsible for the accident). 

Pets can also be victims of dog attacks

Few things can be as terrifying to dog owners as walking their dog down the street and having an unknown and aggressive dog run up to attack their beloved pet. At the Law Office of Kerley & Associates, we understand that Illinois residents can suffer greatly from dog bites, but so can their own pets. You may want to know how to protect your dog or cat from unfriendly animals.

The Mercury News explains that the best solution to protecting your dog from attacks may be restricting your dog from contact with others. However, this is not always possible, especially if your dog enjoys daily walks or playtime in the park. It is also important to socialize your dog, which includes training him or her on how to behave around other animals and people. The following tips may protect your dog or cat from an attack by someone else’s pet:

  • Get educated on recognizing and reacting to dog body language and facial expressions, which may help you avoid an attack.
  • Keep your dog leashed during walks and in areas where leashes are required.
  • Remain vigilant when letting your dog play in a dog park or other off-leash areas.
  • Understand how your own dog reacts to unfamiliar dogs, people and situations, and seek professional training if you suspect your dog shows signs of aggression or fear.
  • If possible, keep your cats inside the home, and take measures to restrict strange dogs from your property.

What constitutes a “fair and equitable” property settlement?

As you begin your Illinois divorce process, one of the most important things you and your spouse must do is to arrive at a fair and equitable property settlement agreement. However, what may be fair and equitable in one couple’s divorce may not be so in your divorce. In other words, while guidelines exist, “fair and equitable” is unique to your own situation.

As reported by the Huffington Post, your fair and equitable property division does not necessarily mean that you and your spouse must divide your marital property on a straight 50/50 basis. Rather, many considerations come into play, such as how liquid an asset is, its cost basis and any tax implications with regard to its sale.

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Law Office of Kerley & Associates
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Springfield, IL 62703

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