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Three Common Medical Errors Every Patient Should be Aware OfWhile medical malpractice is nowhere near a new issue in the healthcare industry, many media reports and study findings within the last few years have surfaced among the general public, bringing attention to seemingly more medical errors in the community than ever before. In recent years, experts from John Hopkins University shared findings from data that spanned over an eight-year period, revealing that more than 250,000 deaths per year have been attributed to medical error in the U.S. Researchers emphasized that a majority of these errors point to systematic errors, such as poorly coordinated care, problems within insurance networks, and the lack of or underuse of proper protocols. Whatever the source responsible for any given medical error, however, thousands of patients have been and continue to be seriously affected by negligence in the medical community.

The Most Common Causes of Medical Malpractice

The medical community is vast, with a variety of different kinds of medical malpractice cases, but these top three forms of medical error are some of the most notorious in the news today: 

  1. Medication errors: An astounding number of reports – more than 100,000 – make their way to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) each year, suspecting pharmacy medication errors. Whether the pharmacy applies an incorrect label on your prescription bottle, fills the wrong medication, or dispenses the wrong dosage on behalf of the doctor’s instructions, medication errors frequently occur, causing all kinds of problems for unsuspecting patients. Many patients are unaware of the error and go on to take the incorrect dose or medication until long after the problem is discovered, or they experience serious side effects that alert them to the fact that something is wrong. One of the best ways to protect yourself from this risk is to research the medication you are prescribed thoroughly and to do before you even pick up your prescription at the pharmacy. Be proactive, discuss the details of your medicine with your doctor, as well as the pharmacist, and do not be afraid to ask questions.
  2. Misdiagnosis: Another error that occurs all too often is the misdiagnosis of a condition. At times, misdiagnosis may not necessarily be a matter of receiving an incorrect diagnosis directly from a doctor, but instead being attributed with an incorrect condition due to the wrong diagnosis code attributed to your record. Faulty communication, both written and verbal, can create serious discrepancies in the documentation of your health care. These kinds of errors can also trickle down into your insurance records, further complicating matters. Protect yourself from misdiagnosis by researching your symptoms, talking about them in-depth with your doctor, taking notes and asking questions, and most of all, not hesitating to seek out another opinion if something does not feel right.
  3. Missed diagnosis: A missed diagnosis all together can be just as dangerous as an incorrect diagnosis given. Whether your doctor diagnosed you with a condition too late or not at all, if you discover what was wrong later on, perhaps under the care of another provider, you may be the victim of faulty medical practice. Being an advocate for your own health is one of your best defenses against these kinds of errors. 

Contact an Orland Park Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you find you have become another medical malpractice statistic and are experiencing symptoms of injury, it is critical to speak with a skilled, knowledgeable DuPage County personal injury lawyer, who can evaluate your case, protect your rights, and advocate for your health and wellbeing. Schedule a free consultation today by calling Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000. 

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Research Shows Distracted Driving Is More Than Taking Our Eyes Off the RoadFrom the implementation of state-to-state cell phone laws and public awareness campaigns to startling news reports in the media, it seems the warnings about the dangers of distracted driving and related car accidents are everywhere we turn. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported over 3,000 deaths in 2017, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in recent years, nearly 400,000 people have been injured due to distracted driving incidents. Despite the fact that statistics such as these keep surfacing, the number of alarming accidents continues to leave trails of both fatal and non-fatal injuries across our roadways.

Distracted Driving Takes Different Forms

Cell phone use is typically the first thing most drivers think of when it comes to the subject of distracted driving, but research shows that the issue is more complex than simply using a cell phone behind the wheel. According to the CDC, distracted driving takes many different forms and can be anything that pulls our attention away from the road. The CDC tells us that our attention can be disrupted in three different ways: visually, manually, and cognitively. Here are some examples of how these distracted driving incidents can take place: 

  • Visual Distraction: Texting alone takes our eyes off the road for a minimum of five seconds, but our ability to safely operate a vehicle is instantly impaired anytime we are visually distracted, whether our eyes are peeled from the road due to sightseeing or we are engaging in a heated debate with a passenger next to us. Not only are we unable to see what is happening directly in front of us, but we are also losing sight of our speed and the proximity of other cars around us, rendering us incapable of driving defensively. 
  • Manual Distraction: Physically removing our hands from the wheel can be just as deadly as taking our eyes off the road, and usually, these two forms of distracted driving intertwine. Some common dangers that involve taking our hands off the wheel include adjusting the radio or air conditioning or eating while driving. Operating a navigation system while in motion is another common, risky activity.
  • Cognitive Distraction: One of the biggest reasons texting and talking on the phone garners so much attention and racks up the highest statistics is the cognitive factor behind the risk. A cognitive distraction is considered anything that takes our minds off the road, and replying to a message or engaging in a phone conversation is more than a simple glance out the window. Conversations redirect our thinking entirely, consuming our attention and eliminating our ability to focus. While science may prove we are able to multitask, we also know that it does not automatically mean we can divide our attention evenly. We can only devote so much focus on a particular task, especially when it comes to driving and the distractions competing for our attention.

Contact an Orland Park, Illinois, Personal Injury Attorney

Studies show that young adults and teen drivers are most at risk for crashing due to distracted driving, but victims of all ages are affected on a daily basis by the negligence of those causing these types of accidents. If you have had the unfortunate experience of becoming a victim statistic, it is important to inform yourself of your rights so you can fully advocate for your health. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The moment you are involved in a collision, speak with a knowledgeable Cook County personal injury lawyer, who can examine your case and determine the nature of the crash. Call Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000 and ask for a free consultation today.

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Motorcycle Accidents Considered a National Public Health IssueWhen it comes to any kind of car or motorcycle accident, we often tend to view the collision as an event that affects only the victim and other parties involved in the crash. While victims undoubtedly experience the greatest impact in a crash, research illuminates the fact that auto collisions have the power to affect the victim’s loved ones, passerby witnesses, and even the national public as a whole. This is especially true when it comes to motorcycle accidents, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says are actually a national public health issue. 

Everyone is Impacted by Motorcycle Accidents

Why does the CDC claim that motorcycle accident injury and death is everyone’s problem? Here are some startling facts:

  • The number of motorcycle deaths continues to increase each year. Studies show an astounding 82 percent increase in deaths between 2000 and 2016. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle fatalities occurred 28 times more frequently in traffic crashes than car passenger fatalities, and a recent report revealed that nearly 90,000 motorcyclists were injured on an annual basis.
  • Riding accidents are not only life-changing for victims. They are also expensive, and everyone technically pays the price. The CDC reports that the annual economic burden on the public due to motorcycle-related injuries and deaths totals a staggering $12 billion. How is this coming out of the public’s pockets? Studies show that a huge portion of these costs is paid by the U.S. public because these expenses actually reflect higher insurance premiums and taxes, not to mention lost tax revenue. Studies show that medical bills due to motorcyclists’ injuries are often paid for by public funds, as these injuries typically require hospitalization and rehabilitation services. Most of these charges come from Medicaid.
  • Motorcycle crashes are often linked to other public health issues, such as drunk driving. Reports from the NHTSA in 2016 showed that motorcycle riders in crashes held a higher percentage of alcohol impairment compared to all other types of motor vehicle drivers. This is merely one example of the many instances where substance abuse, intoxicated driving, and motorcycle collision intertwine and create devastating statistics. 

Contact an Orland Park, Illinois, Personal Injury Attorney

From injury, death, and emotional trauma to healthcare and prevention costs, research continues to show how motorcycle accidents really do affect everyone in the U.S. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident right here in Illinois, it is imperative that you speak with an informed, dedicated Cook County personal injury lawyer about the rights you are entitled to in a court of law. Your case may show that you are eligible for some sort of compensation for your injuries. Let our skilled attorneys protect your best interests while you focus on recovering from the collision. Call Schwartz Injury Law today at 708-226-9000 and schedule a free consultation.

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Why Drowsy Driving is Considered Just as Dangerous as Drunk DrivingAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), drowsy driving was the cause of nearly 91,000 police-reported car accidents in the year 2017, and since then, the NHTSA maintains that recent numbers grossly underestimate all of the incidents actually caused by driver fatigue. Researchers say the exact numbers can be difficult to nail down, as they are only able to identify specific evidence that confirms drowsy driving as the cause for a crash, but the estimates they are able to provide give us an alarming perspective on just how serious the issue is on our roadways today.

Drunk Driving Is Not the Only Kind of Impaired Driving

Drowsy driving as a public safety issue garners so much attention largely for the fact that it is considered just as dangerous as drunk driving. The National Safety Council has deemed it a valid form of impaired driving, backing this claim up with research that shows the signs and effects of drunk driving and drowsy driving are the same. Here is why drowsy driving is considered just as dangerous as drunk driving: 

  • Studies have found that driving without sleep for more than 20 hours is actually the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08%, the legal limit in the U.S. 
  • A driver’s ability to concentrate, pay attention, and be aware of the presence of hazards is hindered when sleep-deprived. Similarly to driving under the influence of alcohol, a drowsy driver experiences slower reflexes and reaction times, impairing their ability to react quickly enough to prevent a collision.
  • The National Safety Council reports that drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a car crash when they are fatigued. Fatigue affects both drunk drivers and sleep-deprived drivers and is a common symptom of impaired driving. Drunk and drowsy drivers alike experience the same signs of fatigue, such as frequent yawning and blinking, drifting out of their driving lane, and having trouble keeping their head up behind the wheel. 
  • Drowsy driving crashes have a tendency to happen between midnight and 6 a.m., which are the same hours that many drunk driving crashes take place.

Contact a Cook County Personal Injury Attorney

Experts recommend that drivers remain alert to possible impaired drivers around them by watching for the telltale signs of drowsiness. If you see someone drifting in and out of their lane, veering off to the side of the road, or frequently changing speed, maintain a safe driving distance from them and call the authorities the moment you believe they are at risk of hurting you, themselves, or other drivers. If you have been hit by a negligent driver, a knowledgeable DuPage County personal injury lawyer can help determine if drowsy driving played a role in the accident and inform you of your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Let the lawyers of Schwartz Injury Law address your concerns by calling 708-226-9000 and schedule a free consultation today. 

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Three Common Mistakes Drivers Make After an AccidentThe moment you are involved in a car accident, panic automatically ensues, making it difficult to think clearly. In the moments immediately following the collision, you are concerned first and foremost with your safety and the safety of any passengers in your vehicle. As your adrenaline pumps overtime and you work to assess the situation, all other details surrounding the crash are likely a blur at this time. This is especially the case when you are looking for signs of injury, which can be difficult to identify while in a state of shock. However, what you do – or do not do – directly after a car accident can completely alter the outcome of the collision and may even save your life. 

What Not to Do After a Car Accident

Protecting both your health and your rights after a car crash is the most important part of managing the aftermath of a collision. It is normal to experience a range of emotions, such as anger at the other driver, confusion over how the accident took place, and fear for your wellbeing. Although it can be difficult in the midst of these heightened emotions, it is helpful to keep things in perspective and keep your best interests in mind. Refrain from these common mistakes after the accident:

  1. Engaging in an Argument: As tempting as it may be, avoid engaging in a heated debate with the other driver. Do not play the blame game or encourage hostile interactions, as anything you say or do during this time may or may not be used against you at a later time if the situation takes a turn for the worse. Try to remain calm, exchange only what information is necessary, and wait patiently for the authorities to arrive at the scene.
  2. Making Assumptions About Your Injuries: Not all car accident injuries can be observed with the naked eye. Internal injuries are not always immediately apparent, and certain injuries can surface in the hours, days, and even weeks following the collision. Do not assume that just because you do not see or immediately feel something wrong, that you are in the free and clear. Make sure you are examined and that you note any changes to your physical and mental health in the subsequent days.
  3. Forgoing Legal Assistance: Whether you discover the other driver is uninsured or you find they are making accusations about your role in the crash, the decision to forgo legal assistance is risky, especially if you suspect you are injured. It is crucial to know the rights you are entitled to and how to proceed in a way that protects your best interests. Consider speaking with a knowledgeable attorney, who can point you in the right direction.

Contact a Cook County Personal Injury Attorney

Navigating the scene after a car crash is often scary and always overwhelming, but having proper legal representation by your side can make a significant difference in the experience and overall outcome of the incident. Take the first step in protecting your rights by speaking with a DuPage County personal injury lawyer. Call the lawyers of Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000 and schedule a free consultation today.

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Distracted Driving Is One of Illinois’ Leading Causes of Auto AccidentsA recent study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration showed that over 600,000 drivers across the country use their cell phones while driving. This type of reckless behavior leads to injury or even death of those involved in a car accident with the distracted driver.

In an effort to lower the collision rate in Illinois, the state amended the vehicle code on July 1, 2019, to consider a first offense of distracted driving as a moving violation. Previously, the law stated that only subsequent offenses would be moving violations that would appear on a driver’s record. 

Collisions that happen as a result of cell phone usage will also see the distracted driver responsible for any compensation for victim injury or wrongful death.

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Are Motorists Always Liable for Bicyclist Injuries After an Accident?In Illinois, bicyclists are permitted to share the roads with cars as long as they abide by the rules of the road. Bicycles are considered "vehicles" when they ride on the road and must obey traffic laws in order to avoid a collision. 

However, accidents can happen even if everyone involved is trying to be as safe as possible. It can happen as a result of driver distraction or ignorance of the bicyclists. Either way, Illinois is an "at-fault" state which means whoever is responsible for the accident will pay for the damages and any injuries sustained after the incident. Since bicyclists have less protection than a motorist, injuries can be catastrophic.

What is Catastrophic Injury?

An injury that is so severe that it alters a victim's way of life forever is considered "catastrophic." This can include: 

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Can Using Forceps During Childbirth Injury a Baby?While it is uncommon for babies to suffer serious birth injuries during an assisted birth, it can still happen if the doctor miscalculates or misuses a device.

If a mother is having difficulty during labor, a doctor will sometimes use forceps or a vacuum to help guide the baby through the birth canal. However, this should not be the first step to coaxing a baby through a difficult birth. It is risky to pull too hard on a baby during birth because it can lead to: 

  • Nerve damage;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Exterior eye injury;
  • Skull fracture;
  • Seizures; and
  • Bleeding within the skull.

Most of the time the injuries are minor cuts to the baby’s scalp or wherever the forceps grab the baby, but parents whose child sustained more serious injuries should file a medical malpractice lawsuit as soon as possible.

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Lane Merging Near Trucks Can Result in an AccidentIllinois is cracking down on the number of people driving in the left lane on highways. It is the law that the left lane should be used for passing only and not for idle driving. However, there are times when cars need to be in the left lane – such as a left exit ramp – and so do trucks.

The best way to avoid a truck accident while merging lanes on the highway is to make sure you are not in the truck driver’s blind spots. Most truck drivers have a sign on the back of their vehicle reading “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” Motorists should keep this in mind every time they drive near trucks to avoid going undetected while passing.

Truck drivers need to also be aware of where their left-sided exit ramp is on the highway and be prepared for smaller vehicles passing on the left before they move over. If the driver does not check their mirrors and turn on their indicator light before moving, they could be putting another driver’s life at risk.

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Orland Park birth injuries attorneysThe main concern with every birth is getting the baby out safely, but the mother’s health also must be observed carefully. According to a recent report by USA Today, the preventable deaths of mothers during childbirth are on the rise in the country.

The report notes that one of the main causes of mothers’ deaths is hemorrhaging, or rapid blood loss that would go untreated by the hospital staff. Of these cases, 90 percent were avoidable, according to report, which means they could provide the basis for medical malpractice lawsuits.

Frightening Numbers

The report concluded that approximately 700 mothers die in childbirth a year across the country (15 per 10,000 births in Illinois from 2012-16), and at least half of them could have been saved if the mothers had been given better attention. These numbers are rising from year to year while other countries continue to reduce the death rate of mothers.

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Orland Park truck accident lawyerMany jobs across the country require their workers to perform on tight deadlines. Truck drivers, especially, have their own deadlines for delivering goods to a destination. This is why sometimes drivers travel for too long and can become drowsy while still behind the wheel. Drowsy driving may be considered a negligent act by the truck operator because it can lead to serious accidents that often involve other people on the road.

The Reality of Drowsy Driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2013, drowsy driving accounted for about 72,000 crashes, 40,000 injuries, and 800 deaths. Truck drivers were included in the list of most likely to fall asleep at the wheel due to long shifts.

Truck drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours in one day so long as they had at least 10 hours of non-driving time before the shift began, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If drivers operate their vehicle for longer periods of time or just feel tired, but continue to drive, their senses and reaction time become impaired. Thus, they will be unable to react quick enough if they start to veer off the road or come into close contact with other drivers.

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Will County birth injuries lawyerEvery parent hopes for just one thing when they prepare for the birth of a child: a healthy baby. So, in cases where a baby is born with broken bones or another ailment, the special day can turn into a nightmare for the parents.

Birth injuries such as broken bones sustained during labor can leave a baby in a lot of pain and even the possibility of long-term disability. Unfortunately, the injury is commonly a result of medical negligence in which a doctor does not notice that a baby is too big to pass through the birth canal without injury. In such a case, the doctor should order for a cesarean birth to make the process easier for both mother and baby.

How do I Know if My Baby Was Born with a Broken Bone?

Babies can feel the pain of a broken bone just as easily as an adult can, but they cannot tell their parents or the doctor what is the source of their pain. According to the Birth Injury Guide, a clavicle (collarbone) break is the most common injury after a complicated delivery. It can be the result of not enough room for the baby to pass through the birth canal or too hard of a pull from the person delivering the baby.

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Will County medical malpractice lawyerWhen you go to a doctor or other medical professional, you hope that they will be able to accurately diagnosis and treat your aliment. An inaccurate diagnosis can result in a sick patient not getting essential treatment or receiving unneeded medical treatment which worsens their condition.

While no medical professional is perfect, there are some instances of misdiagnosis which are so egregious they are considered medical negligence. If you suffered due to a misdiagnosis or a loved one passed away because of complications related to a misdiagnosis, you may have a valid personal injury claim.

What Makes a Misdiagnosis an Example of Medical Malpractice?

Doctors, nurses, specialists, and other medical professionals cannot always immediately know what is wrong with a patient. The human body is unbelievably complex, and it is understandable that a doctor may consider several diagnoses before arriving at a conclusion. A diagnostic mistake by itself is therefore not enough to sustain a medical negligence claim. In order to bring a successful medical malpractice claim, patients must prove the following:

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Orland Park premises liability attorneysAny property owner, whether they own a residential home or a large-scale business, is required to keep that property reasonably safe. Any visitor to the property should not feel in danger of harm due to poor property maintenance or unorganized conditions, perhaps even a dog bite. If you have suffered an injury on someone else’s property, you may have a case under the Illinois Premises Liability Act. Premises liability law affects both property owners and those who become injured.

Invitees vs. Licensees

Prior to the 1995 amendment to the Illinois Premises Liability Act, those who would visit a property were defined separately as either invitees or licensees:

  • Invitee: a person who visits the property for the benefit of the owner of that property (e.g. guests were invited over for party)
  • Licensee: guests are visiting the property for their own amusement (e.g. patrons of an arcade)

Prior to the amendment, invitees and licensees were offered different protections when on a person’s or business’ property. After the amendment was enacted, both invitees and licensees should expect to be reasonably safe, no matter what type of property they are on, whether business or personal.

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Will County wrongful death attorneysThe US Bureau of Labor Statistics operates a program called the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, often referred to simply as CFOI. This program helps to compile statistics on the deaths that occur in the workplace such as:

  • Where the fatal injury took place;
  • What job the person was performing;
  • What industry the person worked in; and
  • Other details that can help determine new laws and regulations to make the workplace safer for all employees.

In Illinois, the CFOI program has noted a significant drop in the number of deaths in the workplace in 2017, the most recent year for which data has been compiled, from 2010. While this is a step in the right direction, any death in the workplace is a tragedy that can leave a family in an emotional and financial mess. 

Types of Injuries Sustained

Over half of the workplace fatalities in Illinois that occurred in 2017 were due to either slips, falls, and trips or those involving transportation. Slips and falls are usually, but not always, due to a dangerous work environment whether something was not cleaned up promptly or properly, or even due to equipment being left out where it can cause someone to trip. 

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Joliet Truck Accident Injury Lawyer

The number of commercial truck accidents has climbed substantially over the past few years. Could drug use among commercial truck drivers have been a contributing factor? A recent survey of truck driver applicants by the Trucking Alliance suggests that the answer to that question is, “yes.” 

The Trucking Alliance survey compared the results of urine testing alone versus a combination of urine plus hair testing, and they found a dramatic difference. Urinalysis alone failed to identify nine out of 10 illegal drug users. A combination of urine testing and hair testing was substantially more accurate in weeding out illegal drug users.

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"OrlandWhen a child is born with a brachial plexus injury, it is natural to wonder if medical errors or negligence contributed to the injury. Such injuries can happen when a baby’s shoulders are large relative to the size of the mother. When the baby gets wedged in the birth canal during the delivery process, the baby’s brachial plexus nerves can stretch or tear. 

Types of Brachial Plexus Nerve Injuries

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that control shoulder, arm, and hand movement. There are essentially four types of nerve injuries:

  • A stretching of a nerve, akin to a mild muscle strain, which usually heals on its own within a few months. 

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"Orland

When you think of someone being injured in a semi-truck accident, you probably think of the truck colliding with a car or motorcycle. However, not all trucking accidents and injuries involve vehicle-to-vehicle collisions. Trucks can also seriously injure people as a result of improperly loaded cargo that spills onto a roadway.

Toxic Chemical Exposure from Truck Accident

In April 2019 in a northern suburb of Chicago, a farm tractor pulling two 1,000-gallon tanks of fertilizer leaked significant amounts of anhydrous ammonia into the air. The tanker leak created a suffocating cloud of ammonia gas that looked like fog. Anyone who drove through it instantly felt their lungs burning. Exposure to the toxic gas sent about 40 people to the hospital, seven of whom required treatment in the intensive care unit. Injuries included chemical burns to the lungs, which could leave permanent damage, as well as vision and speech impairments. 

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Joliet Birth Injury Attorney

If your baby suffered a birth injury as a result of medical errors in treating meconium aspiration, you may want to seek malpractice compensation in order to provide proper lifetime care for your child.

What Is Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS)?

In the womb, a baby does not use its lungs to breathe in oxygen. It cannot, since the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid in the uterus. Instead, a baby receives oxygen through the umbilical cord. However, a baby in the womb will take “practice breaths” that harmlessly draw clean amniotic fluid into its lungs.

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Joliet Motor Vehicle Accident AttorneyMotorcycle accidents generally result in more severe injuries than car accidents. If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be facing a significant loss of income and expenses not covered by health insurance. Your ability to obtain compensation for those losses will depend on who was at fault for the accident. If you can point to another driver on the road whose careless, reckless, or negligent behavior led to your crash and injuries, you could file a claim for compensation against that driver and their insurance company. If a member of your immediate family was killed in a tragic crash, you could obtain compensation for your loss by filing a wrongful death claim.

Impact of Helmet Wearing on Motorcycle Accident Claims

Illinois does not have a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. However, it is common knowledge that wearing a helmet reduces your risk of head injuries. Therefore, if you are not wearing a helmet at the time of an accident, this can be held against you in a lawsuit for damages.

Illinois law follows the principle of modified comparative negligence, meaning that if you are at least 50 percent at fault for an accident, you cannot recover any damages. If you are found to be partially at fault (up to 49 percent at fault), you can recover damages, but the total amount of damages to which you would otherwise be entitled will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

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