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What Does "Kidnapping" Actually Mean in Illinois?

Posted on in Criminal Law

Orland Park Kidnapping Defense LawyerWhen you hear the term “kidnapping,” you may picture the stereotypical scenario of someone driving up in a windowless van and snatching a child from the side of the road. However, the actual legal definition of kidnapping is much broader. The victim need not be a child, and you need not move them from the location where you found them. Kidnapping can also be carried out through nonviolent means. Many people who find themselves being charged with this felony are taken by surprise at the charge due to a series of common misconceptions about what kidnapping actually means. 

If you are facing this charge, you are in great legal jeopardy. Kidnapping, without aggravating circumstances, is a second-degree felony in Illinois, punishable by three to seven years in prison. 

What is the Legal Meaning of Kidnapping?

Legally, kidnapping refers primarily to confining a person against their will. It is the confinement itself that results in the kidnapping charge. It is a misconception that kidnapping necessarily involves transporting the victim from one place to another by force. The offense of kidnapping can involve: 


What Are Punitive Damages? 

Posted on in Personal Injury

shutterstock_368589437-min.jpgWhen car accidents or truck accidents are caused by ordinary carelessness, it is usually seen as enough for the at-fault party to compensate the victim for any harm done. This usually includes paying for medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs directly related to the accident. However, sometimes an at-fault party’s conduct goes above and beyond mere negligence. In specific cases where a driver’s behavior was more egregious, punitive damages may be awarded for the purpose of punishing the defendant. This area of the law can be complicated, so you will need an attorney to assess the facts and circumstances of your accident to determine whether punitive damages may be appropriate. 

What is the Difference Between Punitive and Compensatory Damages? 

Compensatory damages are meant to compensate injured plaintiffs for the damage done to them in the accident. Even if it was simply a careless mistake, compensatory damages are awarded so that the defendant, rather than the plaintiff, will cover the costs associated with the crash. Punitive damages are used to punish the defendant for hurting someone through a complete disregard for others’ safety. 

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded? 

Punitive damages are not awarded in every negligence case. They are reserved for special circumstances where the defendant was acting with reckless indifference for the safety of others or malice. This may include things like driving an 18-wheeler while drunk or street racing at high speeds. The driver’s behavior when he caused the crash must reveal a complete lack of care for the safety of everyone else on the road. 


Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?

Posted on in Wrongful Death

shutterstock_1251541837-min.jpgLosing a loved one because of another person’s negligence is devastating. A fatal accident can bring both emotional and financial stress to an entire family that can be long-lasting. If your family member was killed due to negligence, you may be rightfully seeking to recover damages. The first step to put your family on the path to receiving compensation is determining who has standing to file the claim. If you are interested in pursuing a wrongful death claim, it is important that you consult with a qualified wrongful death lawyer. Your family deserves compensation for their loss - an experienced attorney can advocate for you to receive everything you are entitled to.

Who Has Standing to Bring a Wrongful Death Action in Illinois?

In Illinois, wrongful death actions must be brought by the “personal representative” of the deceased. The personal representative is the estate administrator or executor of the person who passed away. If your deceased family member had a will or other estate planning documents, they probably appointed a personal representative.

However, if the victim did not name someone as their personal representative, the court will need to appoint someone. Generally, the court aims to choose someone the deceased would have chosen themself - most often, this is a close family member. Spouses and adult children are common choices. However, it is not required that the personal representative be a relative. In some cases, courts or individuals will appoint a professional executor if there is a particularly complex estate involved.


cook county personal injury lawyerWalking and riding a bicycle can both be great ways to get around in a metropolitan area. These methods of transportation offer fresh air and great exercise - but they come with dangers. You may think of pedestrian accidents as strictly motor vehicle accidents that involve a pedestrian. However, serious injuries can occur when a pedestrian is struck by a bicycle. If you were injured while walking after being hit by a cyclist, contact an experienced attorney to help you recover compensation.

What Challenges Come With Pursuing Compensation from a Bicyclist?

Unlike in a motor vehicle accident, where your attorney would most likely be filing a claim against a car insurance company, pursuing compensation after being struck by a bicycle generally involves going after the cyclist himself. In some cases, this can streamline the process. An individual cyclist lacks the legal team that most insurance companies have. However, pursuing compensation from an individual can also present challenges, as they are generally not as responsive and organized as an insurance company.

Gathering evidence can also be challenging. When a car hits a pedestrian, there is generally significant damage to the car. Depending on how the cycling collision occurred and the type of bicycle involved, there may be little or no damage to the bicycle. Additionally, cyclists are more likely than drivers to handle repairs themselves at home. Your attorney may need to rely on evidence like witness testimony and traffic or security cameras to prove what happened.


orland park car accident lawyerPractically speaking, when a drunk driver is involved in a car accident, they are almost always at fault. It is rare - but not impossible - for a drunk driver to get into a crash they did not cause. In Illinois, drunk drivers are presumed to be negligent under a legal principle known as “negligence per se.” If you were hurt in a car accident involving a drunk driver, it is best to talk to an attorney sooner rather than later, and always before you give a statement to an insurance company. Even if it is abundantly clear that the drunk driver was at fault, a lawyer can represent you during settlement negotiations and ensure your rights are protected.

What is Negligence Per Se?

Negligence per se is a legal principle used to prove that a person was acting negligently simply by breaking a law that was put in place for safety reasons. The injured victim must also demonstrate that they were hurt because the negligent person broke that law. In drunk driving cases, this tends to be a straightforward analysis. Laws against drunk driving were put in place because drunk drivers risk hurting other people by crashing into them. A person who drives drunk is breaking the law. If a drunk driver injured you, you were hurt because the drunk driver broke that law, and you likely would not have been hurt if the other driver were sober or took a cab instead of driving.

Usually, this is enough to show that the drunk driver is at fault. If the at-fault driver is convicted of driving under the influence, this will likely help your case. Consequently, calling the police is particularly important when you suspect that the other driver is impaired. A police report is a valuable piece of evidence in any insurance claim or personal injury claim.

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