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Joliet construction accident lawyerThe city of Chicago and surrounding neighborhoods are constantly changing — new buildings are constructed while others are renovated or torn down, and highways and roads are remodeled in order to allow more efficient traffic flow. Construction projects such as these are necessary to maintain our busy way of life, but construction sites can also be extremely dangerous. If you have been injured while you were working on or visiting a construction site or your loved one was killed in a construction accident, a personal injury claim may allow you to recover compensation for your losses.

Common Causes of Construction Site Accidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that of the nearly 5,000 worker fatalities in 2018, over 20 percent were in the construction industry. Although construction projects are subject to strict regulations and safety rules, serious and often fatal injuries do occur. Just over one-third of all construction worker fatalities were caused by falling. Being struck by an object, such as dropped equipment or falling debris, was responsible for approximately 11 percent of the deaths. Electrocutions accounted for 8.5 percent of worker fatalities. Just over 5 percent of worker deaths were caused by being caught between equipment or objects or being crushed by a collapsing structure.

Damages Caused By a Construction Injury or Death

Construction site injuries are often catastrophic and may include broken bones, burns, internal organ damage, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). An individual seriously harmed in a construction site accident may be disabled or disfigured for the rest of his or her life. If a construction worker is injured while on the job, he or she will likely be entitled to worker’s compensation. However, this compensation may not be enough to cover the full extent of his or her medical bills, ongoing medical costs, lost wages, and other financial losses. When an individual is killed in a construction site accident, his or her family may be entitled to compensation for the loss of the deceased person’s financial support, funeral and burial expenses, as well as the loss of his or her companionship and guidance. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the party liable for a construction site injury may be the general contractor, subcontractors, architects, equipment suppliers, product manufacturers, or another party.

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Orland Park personal injury lawyerIf you have ever watched a news story about an airplane accident, you may have heard experts talking about the plane’s flight recorder or “black box.” Many commercial trucks are also equipped with a recording device which is often referred to as a black box. Technically called an event data recorder (EDR), this device can be an extremely valuable source of evidence in a truck accident injury case. Most personal injury claims hinge upon the question of fault and proving that the negligent actions of the truck driver, trucking company, or other party caused your truck accident is often the biggest obstacle in successfully obtaining compensation for injuries.

How Do EDRs Work?  

Most event data recorders are capable of recording vehicle and occupant information immediately before, during, and after a collision. Depending on the type of EDR installed, the device may record data about the vehicle’s engine performance, vehicle speed, whether or not the brakes were applied, steering performance, airbag deployment, seat belt usage, electronic stability control, and the force of the impact. Commercial trucking companies are not required to install EDRs in their trucks; however, more and more trucking companies are voluntarily installing these black boxes. After a truck accident, a data-retrieval technician may be able to extract data from the EDR. Because many of these devices do not permanently retain data, it is important to retrieve EDR information as soon as possible after an accident.

Proving Liability for a Truck Accident

The information contained in an EDR may be combined with other types of evidence and used to establish exactly what happened during an accident. Evidence from dash camera footage, security camera footage, the truck driver’s hours of service logs, the driver’s driving history, and the truck maintenance records may also shed light on how and why a truck accident occurred. Data from the truck driver’s personal cell phone may reveal whether or not distracted driving was a contributing factor in the accident. However, gaining access to this information is not easy. Trucking companies are usually very hesitant to release EDR data and other information and may even destroy data in an attempt to evade responsibility for an accident. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help ensure that this valuable evidence is preserved.

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Can I Sue a Pharmacy for a Prescription Medication Error?When you get a medication prescription from the doctor and have it filled at your local pharmacy, you probably trust the pharmacy staff to do their jobs accurately. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is estimated that 1.3 million people are injured by medication mistakes in the United States every year. While some of these errors are minor and do not cause harm to the patient, others result in hospitalization and death. If you or a loved one were the victim of a pharmacy error, a medical malpractice claim may help you recover compensation.

Common Pharmacy Errors

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are responsible for ensuring that patients receive the medications that their doctors have prescribed them. In addition to dispensing medications, they also review prescriptions for accuracy, check for drug interactions, and explain medication directions to patients. When a pharmacy worker makes a mistake during any of these steps, the patient can suffer serious harm. Some of the most common pharmacy errors include:

  • Dispensing the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage of the medication
  • Mislabeling medications
  • Dispensing medication with an incorrect delivery method
  • Failing to provide adequate information about the use of medication
  • Failing to warn the patient about side effects or risks of using the medication
  • Failing to account for potential drug interactions with other medications or allergies
  • Failing to ask about other medications or allergies before dispensing the medication
  • Failing to confirm prescription information with the physician if the prescription is difficult to read or contains inaccurate information

Consequences of Prescription Medication Errors

If a person receives the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medication, he or she may not realize it until he or she starts experiencing symptoms. Depending on the type of medication and the person’s medical conditions, a medication error can cause the person’s existing medical condition to worsen and may also result in new medical problems. A serious medication error may even be fatal. Pharmacy prescription errors can result in problems that require hospitalization and extensive medical care. Through a pharmacy malpractice claim, a medication error victim may be entitled to compensation for his or her medical expenses, lost income due to missed work, pain and suffering, and more.

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What Types of Birth Injuries Can Be Caused by Hypoxia?While a baby is still in the womb, oxygen is delivered to the infant via the placenta and umbilical cord. One of the most critical times during the birth process is the baby’s transition to breathing on his or her own. When problems occur during this transition, the baby may receive too little oxygen. Hypoxia, or inadequate oxygen, can lead to a number of devastating birth injuries as well as death.

What Complications Can Lead to Hypoxia?

Hypoxia is often caused when a problem with the baby’s umbilical cord reduces the oxygen available to him or her. Nuchal umbilical cord occurs when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck. A short umbilical cord or knotted umbilical cord can also cause hypoxia. Umbilical cord prolapse occurs when the cord drops through the mother’s cervix and reduces blood flow to the baby. Placental abruption occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus. This can not only deprive the baby of oxygen but may also cause dangerously heavy bleeding in the mother. The use of forceps has also been shown to sometimes cause hypoxia.

Hypoxia Can Cause Life-Altering Injuries

Doctors should be aware of the risk factors associated with hypoxia as well as the warning signs that a baby is not receiving enough oxygen. If swift action to correct low oxygen is not taken, the baby may develop:

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How Do Building Code Violations Influence Illinois Premises Liability Claims?premises liability claim is one involving an injury on another party’s property. Property owners and managers cannot be expected to prevent every injury on their property, but they do have a legal obligation to keep their premises free of dangers that they could reasonably prevent. If the negligent actions or inaction of a property owner or property manager lead to someone’s injury or death, the property owner or manager may be liable for damages. In many cases, unsafe conditions on a property are the result of building code violations. Read on to learn about how violating building codes can influence your premises liability claim.

What Are Building Codes?

Local, state and federal laws referred to as building codes regulate the design and construction of buildings. These codes typically describe the minimum standards that must be met regarding the building’s materials and how those materials are assembled.  Building codes regulate structural components of the building as well as electrical wiring, plumbing, and more. Safety features such as smoke detectors, fire sprinklers, emergency escapes, proper lighting, and exit signs are also typically required. Buildings must also meet standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Equipment like handrails, railings, and grab bars are just some of the accessibility features that buildings may be required to have.

Building Code Noncompliance Can Lead to Injury or Death

A local building inspector is typically the party responsible for ensuring that a building meets applicable building codes. Failure to comply with building codes can result in fines and other penalties. Even worse, a building that is not up to code creates a risk of harm to customers or other people invited onto the property. For example, if a building’s electrical systems are not properly installed, this can cause a fire. Broken stairways or missing handrails can result in an individual falling down the stairs and becoming severely injured. Leaky plumbing can cause wet floors that present a slip and fall risk.

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Understanding Illinois Law Regarding Shared Fault in Personal Injury CasesIn the majority of injury-causing accidents, determining why an accident occurred is not simple and straightforward. There may be many variables that combined to cause a “perfect storm” of circumstances. For example, in a drunk driving accident, the driver’s intoxication may not be the only reason the accident occurred. It may also have been raining, the road may have been in poor condition, or the other driver involved in the collision may have glanced down at his or her phone moments before the crash. In situations involving shared fault, who is deemed legally responsible for the harm caused in the accident? Illinois follows a legal doctrine called modified comparative negligence when a person’s injury was partially his or her fault and partially the fault of another party.

Understanding Modified Comparative Negligence

There are two main ways that states handle personal injury cases involving shared liability: comparative negligence or contributory negligence. In states that follow the doctrine of contributory negligence, if an injured person contributed to his or her own injury, he or she cannot collect compensation. This is considered an unreasonable rule in many people’s eyes because a person who is only one percent at fault for an injury is barred from collecting compensation from a party who was 99 percent responsible. Fortunately, Illinois is a comparative negligence state. This means that an injured person can still collect damages even if he or she is partially at fault for the injury-causing accident.

Illinois followed a slightly modified version of comparative negligence which is sometimes referred to as the “51-Percent Bar.” According to the rules of modified comparative negligence, an injured party may be eligible for compensation as long as he or she was not 51 percent or more responsible for his or her injuries. However, the amount of compensation he or she can receive will be reduced according to his or her percentage of fault. For example, if an injured party requested $50,000 in a lawsuit for a slip and fall accident but the court found him to be 20 percent responsible for the accident, he would receive $40,000.   

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What Types of Brain Injuries Can Occur During Birth?Your baby’s birth is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. Unfortunately, for many parents, an unexpected birth injury fills the day with uncertainty and fear. Brain injuries during birth can be especially frightening. When an infant suffers brain damage during birth, he or she may develop problems that last the rest of his or her life. If the injury is the result of medical malpractice, the child’s parents may be entitled to compensation for the losses they have suffered because of the brain injury.

Brain Injuries Caused by Problems During Birth

There are numerous medical complications that can arise during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Asphyxia, or lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain, is one of the most concerning birth injuries that a baby can experience. Brain injuries can also be caused by physical trauma during delivery or infections that travel through the bloodstream and enter the baby’s brain.

  • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) – When a baby’s brain receives too little oxygen before, during, or after birth, brain tissue may start to die. Once oxygenated blood flow returns to normal, a “reperfusion injury” is caused by the toxins that are released by the dying brain cells. HIE can be caused by umbilical cord problems, uterine rupture, placental abruption, feto-maternal hemorrhage, trauma during delivery, shoulder dystocia, and other conditions that reduce blood flow to the baby’s brain.
  • Neonatal Stroke – The most common type of fetal stroke, an arterial ischemic stroke, often occurs when blood flow within a baby's brain or spinal cord is blocked by a blood clot. Fetal strokes are more common when the baby or mother suffers from a cardiac disorder, a genetic condition affecting blood clotting, or sickle cell anemia.
  • Cystic Encephalomalacia Infections, physical trauma, or inflammation may result in the softening or death of brain matter. Cystic encephalomalacia can lead to intellectual disabilities, seizures, coma, and, in some cases, even death.
  • Microcephaly – When a baby is born with a much smaller head than is normal, the baby can develop problems learning to walk and talk, intellectual disabilities, feeding problems, hearing and vision loss, seizures, and other significant symptoms.
  • Skull Fractures – Usually, skull fractures are the result of the use of instruments like forceps and vacuum extractors during birth. Skull fractures can cause bleeding, brain damage, and ruptures in the membranes enveloping the brain.
  • Cerebral Palsy – Injuries to the brain during labor and delivery are some of the most common causes of cerebral palsy. A child with cerebral palsy may suffer from spastic muscles, problems with movement and coordination, difficulty swallowing, and a number of other debilitating symptoms.

Contact an Illinois Birth Injury Lawyer

Brain injuries during birth or pregnancy are sometimes caused by a doctor’s negligence. If a child develops a condition such as cerebral palsy or other health problems after being the victim of medical negligence, the parents may be entitled to compensation. To learn more, contact Schwartz Injury Law at 815-723-7300 and schedule a free consultation with a skilled Joliet personal injury attorney.

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Could Your Truck Accident Have Been Caused by Inadequate Truck Maintenance?In previous blogs, we have discussed the numerous problems within the trucking industry that lead to accidents. Many truck drivers are expected to work extremely long hours away from their families and tolerate erratic sleep schedules. Drivers may even turn to drugs and alcohol to help them cope with difficult working conditions. Truck accidents can be caused by driver inattention, alcohol and drug use, traffic violations, and more. However, it is important to note that a truck driver is not always the at-fault party in a trucking accident. A number of catastrophic truck accidents are the result of the truck being improperly maintained. Truck companies who do not keep up with truck maintenance may be liable for accidents caused by a malfunctioning truck.

Maintenance Failures Put Lives at Risk

Auto accidents involving commercial trucks such as tractor-trailers and semi-trucks often cause significantly more damage than auto accidents involving only cars. Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries that result in permanent disability or death. For these reasons, it is essential for truck companies to ensure that their vehicles are regularly inspected and properly maintained. Some of the most common maintenance failures that lead to truck accidents include:

  1. Brake Problems: A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. Even in good weather, a loaded truck can take 200 yards to come to a complete stop. Large trucks typically rely on airbrakes to stop the massive vehicles. When there are issues with brake shoes, air valves, or another part of the braking system, the truck may take even longer to stop. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), problems with the truck’s braking system were a factor in just under 30 percent of truck crashes.
  2. Steering System Failure: Large trucks may have hydraulic steering systems or electric steering systems. When the power steering fails on a truck, the driver will have an extremely difficult time maneuvering the vehicle. This means that the driver will have a much harder time reacting to dangerous situations and avoiding a collision.
  3. Tire Blowouts: Truck tires must be regularly inspected for signs of wear and should be rotated and/or replaced when necessary. Tires that are overinflated, underinflated, or worn down can be a major hazard. Tire blowouts can cause a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle and collide into traffic. In some cases, a truck accident is caused by a defective tire. This means that the company that manufactured or designed the tire may be the at-fault party.
  4. Broken Suspension: The collection of parts that cushion the driver and truck cargo from bumps is called the suspension system. The suspension includes shocks, springs, wheels, linkages and joints, and the steering system. Damaged suspension components can lead to catastrophic truck crashes.

Contact an Illinois Truck Accident Lawyer

A truck accident can be caused by almost countless factors. For help determining fault for your truck accident and pursuing compensation for your damages, contact Schwartz Injury Law. Call us at 815-723-7300 today and schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable Joliet personal injury attorney from our firm.

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Can I Bring a Medical Malpractice Claim Against My Chiropractor?Chiropractic medicine primarily concerns the diagnosis and treatment of disorders involving the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors may use a variety of techniques including manual manipulation of the spine and soft tissues to relieve pain, restore mobility, and promote wellness. This particular field of medicine is often the subject of controversy and debate. Some people swear by the relief chiropractic treatment gives them while others believe the practice to be little more than pseudoscience. If you or a loved one were injured by a chiropractor, you may wonder whether or not you have a valid medical malpractice claim.

Injuries That May Be Caused by Negligent Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic treatment often involves the chiropractor using his or her hands or instruments to apply force to joints and muscle tissue. These treatments, called “adjustments,” are typically intended to relieve back pain and stiffness, neck pain, headaches, and other physical ailments. However, some patients find that chiropractic care actually worsens their conditions or creates new health problems. In fact, one study suggested 30 to 61 percent of all chiropractic patients experience some type of adverse effects from the treatment. Chiropractic adjustment may cause problems including but not limited to:

  • Vertebral artery dissection that can lead to a stroke
  • Herniated disc or worsening of an existing herniated disc
  • Compression of the nerves in the lower spine (cauda equina syndrome)

When is a Chiropractor Liable for a Patient’s Injury?

Although they are not medical doctors, chiropractors still have a legal obligation to provide competent medical treatment to patients. Most medical malpractice claims are based upon professional negligence. A chiropractor may be considered negligent if he or she:

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Nursing Home Neglect May Lead to Recurrent BedsoresResidents in a nursing home may have physical and mental disabilities that make them dependent on nursing home staff for help with daily living tasks like showering, eating, and taking medication. Some residents may also have significantly reduced mobility. They may be unable to get in and out of bed on their own or need help changing positions in their bed or wheelchair. Staying in one position for too long puts pressure on the skin and can cause painful bedsores. If a resident is experiencing frequent bedsores or bedsores that are not properly addressed, this may be a sign that he or she is suffering from nursing home neglect.

Causes and Treatment of Bedsores

Bedridden or immobile nursing home residents are very susceptible to bedsores. Also called pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, bedsores are caused by unrelenting pressure that cuts off circulation to the skin. Bedsores can be very painful and may lead to serious infections or even sepsis. Nursing home staff must periodically reposition residents so that a body area does not receive long periods of pressure. If a bedsore does develop, staff should ensure that the wound is kept clean and protected by gauze or other appropriate dressings. The staff should carefully monitor the resident for signs that the bedsore is worsening or has become infected. In some cases, the wound may require debridement, skin grafts, or other major medical intervention.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (NHCA) protects the rights of individuals living in nursing homes. The act asserts that nursing home residents have all of the rights that any other individual would have under state and federal law. It also gives residents the right to be free from physical and chemical restraints except under very specific circumstances, the right to manage their own financial affairs, the right to privacy, and many other rights. Most importantly, nursing home residents have the right to be free from neglect and abuse. The NHCA states that an owner and licensee are liable for any negligent or intentional act or failure to act that injures a resident. When nursing home staff fail to provide reasonable care to residents and the resident is injured or killed as a result, the nursing home may be legally responsible for the harm caused. The injured resident or his or her family may be entitled to damages. They may receive compensation for medical expenses caused by the injury, pain and suffering, and more.

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Erb’s Palsy Is Sometimes the Result of Medical NegligenceThe birth of a child is a joyous occasion, but for some parents, this joy is tarnished by a birth injury. Injuries to a baby during pregnancy, labor, or delivery may result in serious health concerns for both the mother and the child. In some cases, birth injuries cause a child to suffer from health concerns for the rest of his or her life. Erb’s Palsy is a condition that most often results from injury to a baby’s brachial plexus nerves during birth. A baby suffering from Erb’s Palsy may experience weakness, loss of feeling, and partial or total paralysis of the arm. He or she may need several surgeries and years of physical therapy to reduce the harm caused by the injury.

Causes of Erb’s Palsy

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that allows movement of the arms, shoulders, and hands. Damage to these nerves can be caused by any type of trauma, however, most brachial plexus injuries are the result of injury during birth. Often, this nerve damage occurs as a result of attempts to move the baby through the birth canal. A condition called shoulder dystocia can occur if the baby’s shoulder becomes lodged on the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. This is a very dangerous condition because it may deprive the baby of oxygen and cause brain damage or death. Consequently, doctors must work quickly to fix the condition and allow the baby to exit the birth canal. Some brachial plexus injuries occur when a doctor uses force to pull the baby through the birth canal and the baby’s neck is stretched to the point of injury. Other times, the use of vacuum extraction or forceps during birth causes an infant to suffer from a brachial plexus injury.

Receiving Compensation for Your Damages

Erb’s Palsy is often preventable. If a doctor acts negligently during an infant’s birth and this negligence causes the child to suffer from Erb’s Palsy, the doctor or the medical facility at which the child was born may be liable for the injury. Medical negligence typically involves the doctor deviating from the accepted medical standard of care. This standard of care refers to the proficiency of care that would be reasonably expected of someone with comparable medical training and experience in a similar situation.  

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Can I Collect Compensation Even If I Was Partially Responsible for a Truck Accident?Imagine the following scenario: A man is driving down the freeway traveling about 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. Suddenly, a large metal container falls off of a flatbed truck and onto the road in front of him. He slams on the brakes but still ends up colliding with the container. His car is totaled and he suffers a head injury and two broken bones in the truck accident. He wants to recover compensation for his damages but assumes that he cannot bring a successful injury claim because he was speeding at the time of the accident. However, according to Illinois’ modified comparative negligence law, he may still be entitled to compensation.

Modified Comparative Negligence in an Auto Accident Case

Rarely are injury lawsuits black and white, and determining who is at fault for a truck accident is almost never straightforward. It is possible that several different factors led to your accident, including your own actions. In the previous example, it could be argued that the driver’s speeding exacerbated the damages caused in the accident. Perhaps if the driver was driving the speed limit, his injuries and the damage to his car would not have been as severe.

Fortunately, in Illinois, you are still permitted to bring an injury claim against a negligent party as long as you are not more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. If your contributory fault, meaning your portion of the blame, is found to be 50 percent or less of the proximate cause of your injuries, you may still recover compensation. However, the amount of compensation you recover will be reduced in proportion to your portion of fault. 

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How Can I Get Compensation For Medical Bills Caused by a Dog Bite?There are more than 76 million dogs living in homes across the United States. While the majority of these animals will never harm a human, dog attacks do happen. Dog bites can cause considerable damage, both physically and mentally. A person who is bitten by a dog may suffer deep puncture wounds and lacerations, torn ligaments, broken bones, and more. Because of the high level of bacteria in dogs’ mouths, these wounds may also become infected. Medical bills can quickly add up after a dog bite, but a personal injury lawsuit may help a dog bite victim recover compensation for these and other expenses.

When Is an Owner Responsible for a Dog Attack?

If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, you may wonder whether or not the owner is legally responsible for the damage caused by the attack. According to Illinois law, a dog owner is liable for bite-related injuries if the injured person was in a public place or lawfully on private property when the bite occurred and the dog was not provoked. If you were bitten while you were walking on a public sidewalk, for example, the owner would most likely be considered liable for the injury. However, if you were bitten while taking a shortcut through someone else’s backyard and you did not have permission to be on the property, the dog owner would likely avoid liability.

Illinois Is a Strict Liability State

In some states, a dog owner is not responsible for injuries caused by a dog attack if the owner had no reason to believe that the dog was aggressive. However, Illinois follows “strict liability” when it comes to injuries caused by a dog. This means that even if a dog has never bitten someone before, the owner may still be liable. The theory of strict liability applies to injuries caused by a dog bite as well as non-bite injuries. For example, if you were knocked to the pavement by a dog and suffered a concussion, the owner may still be legally responsible. You may be entitled to damages including but not limited to:

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How Do Helmets Influence Personal Injury Lawsuits Involving a Motorcycle Accident?For motorcycle enthusiasts, nothing compares to the feeling of the first motorcycle ride of spring. Illinois winters can be especially dreary, so many motorcyclists are eager to get back on the road as soon as warmer weather arrives. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are not uncommon, and many result in serious injuries or death. Experts estimate that motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than motorists driving a car. A person who is hurt in a motorcycle accident may be left with substantial expenses that are not covered by health insurance. If another party’s negligence led to the accident, it is very possible that the injured person will be entitled to compensation. If negligence led to a motorcyclist’s death, his or her surviving family may also be entitled to compensation.

What If I Was Not Wearing a Helmet?

Wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is similar to wearing a seatbelt in a car. Everyone knows that these precautions help prevent injuries in the event of an accident, but they may not always remember to take these precautions. Motorcyclists hurt in an accident often wonder if they can still collect compensation for an accident even if they were not wearing a helmet. While helmets are not required by Illinois law, failure to wear a helmet can impact Illinois personal injury claims involving motorcycle accidents.

It is important for motorcyclists to know that they can pursue compensation via an injury claim even if they were not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident. Illinois personal injury claims are subject to “modified comparative negligence.” This means that an injured party can still bring an injury lawsuit even if he or she partially contributed to his or her own injuries. As long as the injured party is not found to be more than 50 percent responsible for his or her injuries and property damage, he or she may still be eligible for partial compensation. If the injured party is found to be partially responsible for his or her injuries, the compensation he or she receives may be reduced according to his or her percentage of fault. For example, if a motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet when he or she was struck by a drunk driver, it could be argued that his or her head injuries would have been reduced if he or she was wearing a helmet. However, the drunk driver still holds the majority of fault for the accident. If the motorcyclist was found to be 25 percent at-fault for his or her injuries, the compensation he or she receives is reduced by 25 percent.

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Truck Accidents Involving Drug Use Often Lead to LawsuitsFew would argue that being a long-range truck driver is a challenging job both mentally and physically. Spending hours and hours on the road can be lonely and tedious. Additionally, truck drivers often have very erratic sleep schedules. These issues can lead some truck drivers to use drugs or alcohol to cope. When a truck driver is impaired by drugs and causes a traffic accident, it is likely that the driver or the company that the driver works for will be held legally responsible for the damages caused. However, proving that a truck driver’s drug use led to an accident is often challenging. If you or a loved one were hurt in a truck accident and you suspect drug use played a role in the crash, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for help.

Drivers May Consume Stimulants to Stay Awake

Because fatigued truck drivers who are too sleepy to drive safely pose a major threat to other motorists and themselves, federal law regulates how many consecutive hours drivers can be on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires truck drivers to stop for rest periods after a certain amount of time driving. For example, if a driver has been off duty for 10 hours, he or she is limited to a maximum of 11 hours driving. If the time off duty was only eight hours, the driver is limited to 10 hours of driving. Unfortunately, these rules do not totally prevent truck drivers from becoming dangerously fatigued. Drivers may consume stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines in an attempt to stay awake and alert. Unfortunately, these drugs do more harm than good and can lead drivers to make critical driving errors.

Marijuana Use Among Truck Drivers

In one survey published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, approximately 20 percent of truck drivers admitted to using marijuana behind the wheel. Although many states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, it is still explicitly against the law to drive under the influence of marijuana. Employers often use random drug testing as a means of deterring drivers from consuming marijuana or other mind-altering substances, but this is not always enough to prevent drug use behind the wheel. Marijuana can cause reduced reaction time, disorientation, sleepiness, and other physical and psychological effects that make safe driving nearly impossible.

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What Causes a Baby To Suffer From Hypoxia?The birth of a new child should be one of the happiest moments of a person’s life. Sadly, many babies suffer from birth injuries that cause serious, often permanent problems. One issue that can happen during birth is hypoxia, which is inadequate oxygen. When a baby does not receive enough oxygen to his or her brain, there can be debilitating brain damage that causes severe impairment. In some cases, hypoxia-related injuries are a result of medical malpractice. If you have reason to believe that medical negligence played a role in your child’s birth injury, contact an experienced attorney to learn about your legal options.

Factors That May Increase the Risk of Neonatal Hypoxia

The human brain needs a steady flow of oxygen in order to function properly. When an infant’s brain does not receive enough oxygen before, during, or after delivery, the brain can become severely damaged. Doctors and nurses should be aware of the risk factors for hypoxia and the warning signs that a baby may be suffering from hypoxia so that swift corrective action can be taken to prevent brain damage. Some of the most common risk factors for hypoxia include:

  • Prolonged or traumatic delivery
  • Umbilical cord injuries
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Placental insufficiency and placental abruption
  • Excessive hemorrhaging during pregnancy or delivery
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Infection

Even if an infant is deprived of oxygen, brain damage and other permanent effects may be avoided through medical treatments such as hypo-or-hyperthermia management, cooling therapy, fluid management, and ventilation. If hypoxia progresses into brain injury, the infant may develop cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, cognitive impairment, and other serious disorders.

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Can I Collect Compensation After a Truck Accident Caused by Defective Equipment?Truck accidents can cause catastrophic damage to both property and human life. In 2017, almost 5,000 trucks and buses were involved in fatal auto accidents in the U.S. Truck accident liability could fall to a number of different parties. Some truck accidents are caused by truck drivers themselves. The driver may have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving while extremely fatigued or have been violating traffic laws. However, truck accident liability does not always fall to the driver. The trucking company, the company responsible for truck maintenance, or another party may be responsible for a serious truck accident. In some cases, a truck accident is caused by faulty equipment or auto parts. If malfunctioning equipment was the root of the accident, the company that manufactured, designed, or distributed the equipment may be liable for damages caused by the accident.

Defective Truck Parts May Be Responsible for Your Accident

In 2014, General Motors issued massive recalls after it was revealed that faulty ignition switches could cause some vehicles’ engines to suddenly shut off without warning. More than 124 deaths and hundreds of injuries were linked to the defective ignition switches. General Motors was eventually forced to pay approximately $870 million in personal injury and wrongful death claims.

Defective auto parts like the faulty ignition switches are more common than many people think. Problems with the truck’s tires, braking system, hydraulics, steering mechanism, or another defect can cause the truck to dangerously malfunction. Defective securing equipment such as faulty tie-downs, chains, clamps, latches, D-rings, or other equipment used to secure cargo can also cause catastrophic truck accidents. Falling cargo can strike another vehicle or fall onto the road and create a deadly obstacle. Cargo that is not properly secured can shift inside of a trailer and cause the truck to become dangerously unbalanced or even tip over. Proving that a truck accident was the result of defective truck equipment is often challenging and will require help from an experienced truck accident lawyer.

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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Illinois?Wrongful death is defined as a death that occurred due to the negligent or wrongful actions of another party. Wrongful death lawsuits may follow a death caused by a drunk driver accident, workplace accident, construction accident, assault, medical malpractice, and more. Through a wrongful death claim, a surviving loved one may receive compensation for the expenses and losses incurred by the death. This may include compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, mental anguish, and the loss of companionship. If you have recently lost a loved one, you may wonder who is entitled to bring a wrongful death claim in Illinois.

Determining Whether a Successful Wrongful Death Claim Is Possible

Not every unexpected death qualifies as wrongful death. The Illinois Wrongful Death Act states that a party may be liable to an action for damages if:

  • The death of a person was caused by the party’s neglect, wrongful act, or default; and
  • If the person had not died, he or she would have been entitled to recover damages for his or her injuries

Most wrongful death claims involve a party who was negligent. A successful wrongful death claim based on negligence is possible when the responsible party has a duty of care, the party breached that duty, an individual dies as a result of the breach of duty, and damages are incurred.

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Suing a Negligent Childcare Facility For Injuries to a ChildIf you are a parent, you know just how difficult it can be to leave your child in someone else’s care. Whether you are dropping your child off at school, a babysitter’s house, or a daycare facility, you may worry about the level of supervision and care your child is receiving. While many childcare organizations provide safe, loving environments for children, some childcare staff do not take their responsibilities seriously. Children can be seriously injured or even killed due to unsafe conditions and lack of supervision. If your child has been hurt while at daycare, you may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.

When Is a Childcare Facility Liable for Child Injuries?

Children who are playing often trip, fall down, bump their heads, or sustain other minor injuries. Some injuries are not preventable, but daycares should be organized so that there is as little risk of injury as possible. This includes installing child-proof locks on cupboards, keeping hazardous material such as cleaning agents out of children’s reach, and ensuring that small children are not left alone. The building itself should also be properly maintained so that issues like loose floorboards, wobbly handrails, broken playground equipment, or other hazards do not present a danger to children. Lastly, the facility should ensure that the staff hired to care for children are properly trained, do not have a history of violence or abuse, and can fulfill their jobs properly. If a childcare facility’s failure to maintain a safe environment for children leads to a child’s injuries, it is possible that the facility will be considered liable.  

Damages in a Child Injury Case

Negligent childcare workers can result in children being seriously hurt. Some children have even passed away due to negligent daycare facilities. If a facility is found to be liable for a child’s injuries, the facility may be required to pay damages. These may include medical expenses such as hospital bills and the costs of the child’s ongoing medical care as well as the child’s pain and suffering, disability, or disfigurement. It is often difficult to prove that a child’s injuries were caused by negligent staff. A lawyer experienced in premises liability cases involving childcare injuries can help you find evidence, witnesses, and other information that may prove the facility’s fault.

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Seeking Compensation for a Wrongful Death Caused by a Distracted Truck DriverBy now, most people have heard about the dangers of distracted driving. Unfortunately, despite dozens of public awareness campaigns and increased consequences for distracted drivers, cell phone use and other forms of distracted driving continue to be a major problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that accidents caused by distracted driving take the lives of nine people every day in the U.S. If you have lost a loved one in a car crash involving a distracted truck driver, you may be eligible for compensation.

Fatal Traffic Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Negligence

Motorists of all kinds should keep their eyes and attention on the road while driving, but for drivers of semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, careful attention to the road is even more crucial. A fully-loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 lbs and takes 40 percent longer to stop than a medium-sized car. Truck drivers taking their eyes off of the road for even just a few seconds can cause devastating accidents. In January of this year, two adults and a one-year-old child were killed on I-65 when a semi-truck collided with a line of slowing vehicles. The truck driver told police that at the time of the accident, he was looking down to put his coffee cup away. Another fatal truck accident that occurred last April involved a truck driver who was allegedly watching pornography on his cell phone at the time of the crash. The parents of an 18-year-old boy killed in the accident have filed a lawsuit against the company that owned the truck.

Wrongful Deaths Lawsuits

There is no amount of compensation that could ever fully make up for the tragic loss of a loved one. However, a wrongful death claim may help families receive financial compensation that lessens the financial burden caused by loss. A personal representative of the deceased person may bring a wrongful death claim against a party when that party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing caused the person’s death. Compensation for the deceased person’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and funeral and burial expenses may be available. In cases involving especially egregious conduct, the court may also award punitive damages, which is additional compensation intended to punish the wrongdoer.

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