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Beware of consumer fraud when holiday shopping online

The closer it gets to the holidays, the more frantically some Illinois residents shop. Taking advantage of online bargains and guaranteed fast delivery is incentive for consumers to spend more money. Those looking for unique gifts may stray away from known and trusted online retailers and shop at boutiques instead. However, the Better Business Bureau has issued warnings again this year to be aware of the many types of consumer fraud to which busy shoppers may be vulnerable.

More retails stores have chip readers, so brick-and-mortar shopping is much safer than in years past. However, online scams are on the rise, and fraudsters are becoming ever savvier. Some consumer advocates remind shoppers to deal only with websites that have the secure "https" and padlock icon in the address. Shoppers can also protect their bank accounts by using only credit cards and never debit cards when purchasing online.

Faulty seat belt a factor in fatal Illinois car crash

Occupants of motor vehicles are likely aware of the potential of being involved in an accident. However,  many passengers choose to protect themselves from the actions of a negligent driver by taking certain precautions, such as ensuring that their seat belts are secured. Unfortunately, a man in Illinois recently lost his life in a car crash that could ultimately result in a wrongful death personal injury claim.

The incident that led to the 26-year-old man's death reportedly happened one afternoon on a day in November. According to reports, the 18-year-old male driving the car in which the now-deceased victim was riding lost control. As a result, the car is said to have struck a utility pole before rolling several times.

Rear-end motor vehicle accidents leave victims helpless

One of the most terrifying and deadly types of accidents is the rear-end collision. An Illinois driver may be sitting still in traffic, see a vehicle coming too quickly behind and have that helpless feeling just before impact. Often there is nowhere to go and nothing the driver can do to avoid being hit. Many times, these motor vehicle accidents involve multiple vehicles when the impact of the first car sends the second car into a third.

Recently, a rear-end collision resulted in devastating injuries to an unsuspecting young driver. A 16-year-old had stopped his pickup truck to make a left turn across a rural road when another vehicle, driven by a 20-year-old, failed to stop behind him. The impact of the collision sent the pickup truck into the opposite lane where it collided head-on with a third vehicle.

Knowing when car insurance claim denials are in bad faith

Insurance companies are businesses with the purpose of making money. It is not unusual for an insurer to deny or undervalue a claim to avoid making a substantial payout. Still, Illinois drivers may seek the best deal on car insurance only to find the policy does not cover what they expected. While it may seem a claim denial is in bad faith, there may be other reasons why the insurer refused to pay.

The first action a policyholder should take after receiving a denial for a claim after an accident is to carefully review his or her possible role in the denial. Something as simple as missing a payment can quickly cancel the coverage, which may justify an insurer's decision to deny a claim. Perhaps the driver of the car was not on the insurance policy for the vehicle. Not all policies cover everyone to whom the owner turns over the keys.

A judge must find negligence in wrongful death claims

Losing a loved one constitutes a traumatizing experience. When you lose a loved one due to the careless actions of a company or an individual, you may feel especially devastated. While beginning to recover, you know that you deserve compensation for the loss of your loved one, and you want to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual(s) responsible for your family member’s death.

You have the opportunity to receive substantial damages for both monetary expenses related to your loved one’s death, as well as the emotional effects that your loss has on your future. When you file a claim related to receiving compensation, you may wish to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney, so that he or she can aid you in proving the negligent actions of the individual or company. You have a specific amount of time to file the claim, and you want to begin receiving reimbursement for expenses as soon as possible.

Trick-or-treat personal injury hazards in the neighborhood

Many Illinois parents enjoy Halloween as much as their children. There may be adult parties, costume contests and the Naperville Halloween Hop for all ages. Of course, trick-or-treating is the climax of the holiday. However, as spooky and fun as neighborhood properties may be, if property owners neglect to exercise precautions, those decorations may present a personal injury hazard for kids and chaperones.

Chances are that most of the houses children and parents visit for trick-or-treat are properties that they seldom visit. Combine that unfamiliarity with the dark of night and the gloomy decorations, and the result is an already dangerous situation. By law, if a neighbor's porch light is on, trick-or-treaters can consider it an invitation to come onto the property. If a neighbor is welcoming people onto the property, he or she has a responsibility to provide a reasonable standard of safety.

Does your employer's dress code violate your civil rights?

High schools in Illinois and across the country are dealing with many serious issues. Some administrations believe they can combat these issues through adherence to a strict dress code. In the business world, dress codes exist to promote the image of company professionalism, to make it easy for clients to distinguish employees or for safety issues. However, employers must be careful that their dress code policies do not violate the civil rights of their workers.

There are no laws to prevent employers from requiring a certain standard of dress and grooming for their employees. The issues arise when those policies discriminate against those of one gender by placing an unequal burden on them. For example, an employer may require women to wear makeup or certain hair styles but only stipulate that men appear well-groomed. Policies demanding women to wear skirts are not ideal but less problematic if similar restrictions are placed on men.

Craigslist is ripe with opportunities for consumer fraud

Shopping is not the same as it was even a generation ago. More consumers use online sites to buy clothing, household items and groceries. Even yard sale shopping has evolved since the advent of Craigslist. However, if Illinois Craigslist users are not cautious, they can become victims of consumer fraud.

Finding a bargain on Craigslist may be exciting, but it could be a scam. For example, many consumers who purchase tickets for concerts or sporting evens soon learn they have paid for fraudulent tickets or tickets that are already canceled. Consumer advocates recommend using only reputable ticket sites, especially when purchasing plane tickets.

Study ranks worst states for motor vehicle accidents

For anyone who is on the road frequently, it is not difficult to see that some areas are more dangerous than others. If one is driving across the country or within the state of Illinois, various factors can affect whether that drive is pleasant or white-knuckle all the way. A recent study examined some of those factors, including the number of motor vehicle accidents, and drivers may be surprised to learn where Illinois fits among the states with the worst motorists.

The study was conducted by advisors to auto insurance companies. The elements the researchers examined included how many drivers carried auto insurance, how DUI rates spread across the number of drivers and the ratio of miles driven to fatal accidents. Researchers also counted the number of times residents in the state used internet search terms related to moving violations.

Understanding bad faith insurance

It’s not unreasonable to expect your insurance company to pay your health claims promptly, should the need arise. In some circumstances, they don’t always do this. Health insurance providers often use tactics to avoid responsibility by denying the policy covers the claim or by delaying the investigation of the claim.

Luckily for you, state laws and regulations protect you and prohibit bad faith by insurers. You may be able to file a bad faith insurance claim if an insurance company is violating their law-abiding duty.

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