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Orland Park birth injury attorney medical expertWhen a hospital or birth center fails to adhere to obstetric standards of care, a baby can suffer severe birth injuries. One health professional’s negligence, or a combination of medical mistakes, can cause irreparable harm to both the child and mother.

Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit may be far from the minds of grieving parents. However, it is crucial to begin the evidence-gathering process as soon as possible after an infant death or injury, because memories quickly fade, and important evidence could be lost. While you have up to eight years to file a birth injury claim in Illinois, it takes months to gather the necessary evidence and prepare to file a claim.  

Medical Records Review and Analysis

Medical errors, particularly a failure to recognize danger signs, can happen at any time before, during, or after labor and delivery. Therefore, your lawyer’s first job will be to obtain complete medical records for both mother and baby. These records will be the most important factor in your case. 

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Orland Park commercial truck accident attorney insurance claimIf someone in your family has been seriously injured in a truck accident, you are part of a dangerous nationwide trend. In March 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued its latest highway crash statistics for the year 2017. From 2016 to 2017, the number of large commercial trucks involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. rose from 4,251 to 4,657, an increase of 10%. Thousands more commercial truck crashes involved serious injuries. These statistics are concerning, because while the amount of semi-truck traffic on America’s roadways has been rising, the number of crashes is rising faster.   

Of course, FMCSA requires interstate commercial trucking companies to carry large amounts of liability insurance. For non-hazardous cargo trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more, the minimum liability insurance is $750,000. Thus, anyone injured in a truck crash should be able to collect compensation for their injuries from the trucking company’s insurance policy. 

Why Do You Need an Attorney for a Truck Crash Insurance Claim? 

When someone you love is seriously injured or killed in a commercial truck accident, your family is both emotionally and financially vulnerable. When you have mounting medical bills and loss of income, why not accept the offer of a quick insurance settlement? Can you not trust the insurance company to pay you a fair amount of compensation for your injuries?

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Joliet toxic chemical exposure lawyerTo win a product liability lawsuit, you have to prove that the product caused a significant injury and financial loss. When someone is instantly injured by a defective product, as when a child is poisoned by a product with unsafe packaging, it is easy to see the causal connection between the product and the injury. However, when someone is exposed to a product over a long period of time and alleges that the product gave them cancer, the causal connection is much harder to prove. So, how do you prove causation and win compensation for a personal injury when the damage caused by a dangerous product happened over a long period of time? 

Proving Causation in a Long-Term Exposure Lawsuit

Government warnings based on scientific research. Years of research are typically required to prove how a particular chemical affects the human body. Government agencies often fund this research and issue associated warnings and regulations, including the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

For example, the EPA classifies benzene, a compound found in petroleum, as a “known human carcinogen” that affects the bone marrow; this classification makes it relatively easy to show causation between exposure to benzene and blood-based cancers such as leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” it opened the door for litigation against the maker of Roundup weedkiller, which contains glyphosate.

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Cook County chiropractor injury attorneyWhen you think about suing a doctor for medical malpractice, the specialties that first come to mind are probably surgeons, obstetricians, or other medical providers. However, any state-licensed medical or “healing arts” professional, including chiropractors, naprapaths, acupuncturists, and nurse-anesthetists, can be sued for negligence resulting in serious injury to a patient 

Examples of Chiropractic Malpractice

Because chiropractors often manipulate or adjust the spine and neck, it is possible for a patient’s existing injuries to be made significantly worse or even for new injuries to occur. Examples of malpractice by a chiropractor include:

  • Failure to obtain a thorough patient history and perform a proper examination prior to treatment, resulting in a treatment inappropriate given the patient’s pre-existing conditions that causes serious additional injury to the patient.
  • Negligence in performing manipulations, such as using too much force, which can result in a herniated disk, nerve damage leading to paralysis, or arterial damage leading to stroke.
  • Misdiagnosis of the cause of pain, resulting in delayed treatment of the patient for the true problem. 

Examples of Acupuncture Risks and Practitioner Negligence 

Negligence in the practice of acupuncture can lead to serious injury or even death. Three common ways that an acupuncturist might be found negligent include:

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Will County defective products attorneyYou have probably seen a warning label on at least one product in your house, from laundry detergent pods to hair dryers. But do you know why that warning label is there? One reason is to prevent you from winning a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. 

Product liability lawsuits are different from other personal injury lawsuits in one important way. In most personal injury cases, you must show that you suffered injury due to another party’s negligence, meaning that they failed to act with reasonable caution. In a product liability case, however, you do not have to show negligence. You only have to show that you suffered injury because a defect in the product made it dangerous or unfit for its intended use. You can argue your case based on one of three types of defects:

  • A defect in design
  • A defect in manufacturing
  • Inadequate instructions and warnings on the product

In order to win a product liability case, you must show that:

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Tinley Park truck accident lawyer excessive speedThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) points to rising speed limits as a critical factor in the increase in fatal truck accidents. Since 1995, states first increased highway speed limits from 55 to 65 mph, and then to 70 mph. Since January 1, 2014, over 80 percent of Illinois’ interstate highways have had a 70 mph speed limit. Speeds up to 80 mph are allowed on rural interstates in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, while states like Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and nine others have a 75 mph cut-off. 

When speeding, truck drivers have little room for error. A fully loaded semi traveling at 55 mph will take about 300 feet to stop, but at 65 mph, tractor-trailer trucks can take 525 feet to stop. Tailgating, driver fatigue, or even a minor distraction can lead to a collision with tragic consequences. 

Why High-Speed Truck Accidents Cause More Severe Injuries

The faster a car or truck is going, the greater the force of the crash. In addition, the energy of the crash increases exponentially relative to the speed. Imagine backing into a concrete post at 25 mph. It would not kill you, but your bumper would take a beating. Now imagine this crash at even higher speeds:

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Joliet birth injury lawyer

When you see headlines about babies weighing 10, 12, or even 14 pounds at birth, you might wonder how common this really is and whether such large babies are at a greater risk for some type of birth injury

An estimated 7 percent of babies born in the US weigh more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces at birth, qualifying them for the medical term macrosomia, which means “large for its age.” Just 1 percent of all babies weigh in at 9 ½ pounds or more, the weight at which obstetrical best practices suggest a baby should be delivered by cesarean section. 

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Oak Lawn medical malpractice lawyer prescription drug errorMedication side effects are a leading cause of injury and death in children, leading to roughly 200,000 emergency room visits per year. However, before you accuse your child’s physician of medical malpractice, remember that you play an important role in helping to avoid medication errors that could hurt your child.

14.7 Million U.S. Children Are at Risk for Medication Errors

A recent study reported that 20 percent of U.S. children take at least one prescription medication, putting them at risk for dangerous side effects. The more medications a child takes, the greater the risk of drug interactions and adverse events. An estimated 5 percent of all U.S. children regularly take two or more prescription drugs, and roughly 8 percent of them are at risk for major drug interactions that could have serious side effects. 

Teens on Antidepressants Have Greatest Risk for Drug Interactions

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), run under the auspices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), examines 5,000 people per year. A recent review of data collected by this survey found that teenage girls taking antidepressant medications are at the highest risk for drug interactions.

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Cook County car accident injury lawyerMore than 37,000 people died and over two million were seriously injured in car accidents in 2017. Sadly, most of these deaths and injuries were preventable. In its 2019–2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) identifies some of the top causes of highway accidents and ways to prevent these injuries. The ones discussed in this article are all possible factors which could support a claim of negligence or fault for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash.

Personal Injury Claims Against Alcohol and Drug Impaired Drivers

Alcohol impairment is a leading cause of car accidents. In 2016, one third of fatal car crashes involved a driver with alcohol in their system. While the current standard for DUI is a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent, the NTSB would like to see states adopt a legal limit of 0.05 percent. This is something to keep in mind if you are ever injured in an accident with a drunk driver: even if the driver is not charged with being over the 0.08 legal limit, they could well be alcohol-impaired at a level of just 0.05 percent. 

The NTSB would also like all law enforcement agencies to collect “place of last drink” data as part of any accident investigation involving an alcohol-impaired driver. This could be another valuable data point for any personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

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Joliet truck accident lawyerThere is a growing concern in the US regarding the number of fatalities resulting from rear-end semi-truck crashes and the preventability of these collisions. The NHTSA recently released the latest large truck crash statistics. 4,761 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2017, a 9 percent increase from 2016 and a 12 percent increase since 2008. 

Currently, commercial trucks in the U.S. are not required to be equipped with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems. However, this technology is being studied intensively by federal safety agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA’s primary mission is to issue and enforce regulations concerning commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). 

Two federal agencies are currently clashing over this issue. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is responsible for investigating transportation accidents and making recommendations for improving safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is in charge of setting motor vehicle and highway safety standards. 

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Tinley Park birth injury lawyer hypoxiaOxygen deprivation (hypoxia) during the labor and delivery process is a common cause of birth injuries. When an infant’s brain and other organs are deprived of oxygen, the child can end up with permanent brain damage and conditions such as cerebral palsy, a disorder characterized by muscle weakness, spasticity, and lack of coordination. In some cases, the damage may be so severe that the child will require costly, life-long care.

Oxygen Deprivation May Be Attributed to Medical Malpractice

Birth injuries due to hypoxia are often preventable. Labor and delivery staff are expected to closely monitor the baby’s heart rate and take swift action if there are signs that the baby’s health is in danger. If labor and delivery professionals are negligent and fail to meet the medical standard of care, causing significant injury and damages to a baby, they can be sued for medical malpractice.

Birth Injury Claims Are More Complicated Than Adult Injury Claims

When a child suffers oxygen deprivation during birth, the full extent of the damages may not be evident for years. This raises two important legal questions:

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Tinley Park birth injury lawyer maternal deathYou may be shocked to learn that the number of U.S. women who died while giving birth has risen over the past 15 years, from 700 deaths in 2000 to 1,063 in 2015. Over the same 15-year period, the U.S. maternal mortality ratio rose from 17.5 to 26.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. Of course, not all of those deaths are attributable to medical malpractice. But these statistics do raise questions. Why has the maternal mortality ratio in the U.S. gone up? Why are maternal death rates are so much higher in some states than others? Are some of these deaths preventable?

California, for example, has a maternal death ratio of just 4.5, while Illinois has a reported ratio of 14.7. An Illinois study published in 2014 suggested that roughly one-third of maternal deaths in Illinois could have been prevented. 

Preventable Maternal Deaths During Childbirth

Some birth injuries leading to maternal death are blamed on poverty, lack of access to health care services, and untreated chronic conditions such as obesity, smoking, substance abuse, diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and mental health disorders.

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DuPage County premises liability lawyer trampoline park injuryThe combination of entertainment and fitness offered by indoor trampoline parks has led to rapid expansion of these types of businesses over the past decade. While these facilities are typically laden with foam padding to help prevent injuries, there is a risk of injury in any athletic activity. Trampoline parks generally require each participant (or a minor’s parent or guardian) to sign a liability waiver, indicating that they understand and accept the risk of injury and agree that the facility is not liable for injuries sustained while participating. However, there are cases where the trampoline park could be held liable for injuries under premises liability law.

Safety and Injuries In Cook County Trampoline Parks

Hundreds of trampoline parks now operate in the U.S., and many have creatively expanded their offerings to include climbing walls, augmented reality games, and physical challenges such as rope ladders and warp walls popularized by TV shows like American Ninja Warrior. Most of these activities have been carefully designed to minimize the chance of injury to participants. For example, trampoline springs should be covered by foam mats that are secured in place, and padded walls or nets can be used to prevent people from flying out of a trampoline enclosure. In addition, facility employees should monitor each area of the park and “blow the whistle” on any jumpers who are not following posted rules. 

The most common trampoline injuries are sprains or strains incurred when jumpers land awkwardly. More serious injuries have also occurred, including leg fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. In most cases, customers cannot recover financial compensation from the trampoline park because they were made aware of these risks and signed a liability waiver.

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Tinley Park birth injury lawyer oxygen deprivationOxygen deprivation during the birth process is a common cause of brain damage in newborns. While some cases of oxygen deprivation are unforeseeable, invisible, and unpreventable, other cases can be attributed to medical malpractice. It is crucial that hospitals and birthing centers respond quickly to provide treatment if there is any indication that a baby is suffering or has suffered oxygen deprivation during birth.

Brain Damage Due to Oxygen Deprivation in Cook County 

One of the most common causes of brain-related birth injuries is delayed delivery of the baby. A baby that stays in the birth canal too long can suffer permanent brain damage due to lack of blood flow and oxygen. Oxygen deprivation can also result from umbilical cord problems or other complications during birth. The technical term for oxygen deprivation at or near the time of birth is birth asphyxia

As a result of oxygen deprivation during birth, two to three out of every 1,000 babies born in the US are diagnosed with a condition known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Breaking down this term: hypoxic = lack of oxygen, ischemic = restricting blood flow, and encephalopathy = affecting the brain. Children with HIE can have cognitive impairments as well as deficits in motor skills.

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Joliet semi-truck accident lawyerNational statistics on large truck and bus crashes are alarming. In 2016, 180,000 people were injured and over 4,500 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks and buses. Compared to 2011, these figures increased by over 20 percent, while the number of large trucks and buses on our roadways increased by 14 percent over the same time period. Because of the weight of these vehicles (30,000 to 80,000 pounds) relative to the weight of an average person (175 pounds) or passenger vehicle (3,000 to 6,000 pounds), a truck accident often leads to a catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death.

Negligence in Large Truck Accidents in Will County

There are many ways in which a person can be killed or injured as a result of negligence on the part of a truck owner or operator. In one 2018 incident on I-80 near Joliet, a wheel hub became detached from the rear axle of a semi-trailer and went flying through the windshield of a passenger car. The car’s driver and her unborn son were both killed in the ensuing crash. The truck driver was cited for an “unsafe equipment” violation by the Illinois State Police. If the driver and/or his employer are found to have been negligent in maintaining the vehicle properly, one or both could be held liable for significant damages for the woman’s wrongful death

A particularly dramatic crash on I-80 near Joliet in 2017 involved three tractor-trailer trucks. One FedEx truck was broken down on the shoulder, and a second FedEx truck had also parked on the shoulder to offer assistance. A third semi-truck, driving out of control, veered out of its traffic lane and onto the shoulder, striking both FedEx trucks and causing all three trucks to burst into flames. Both FedEx drivers were killed. The Illinois State Police charged the driver of the third truck with improper lane usage and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. 

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Cook County Injury Lawyers

If you or someone in your family has been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. In the wake of a serious injury, your first priority is to take care of yourself and your family. Consulting with a lawyer may be the last thing on your mind, but obtaining legal advice quickly can prove critical, especially if you face medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation, and/or pain and suffering as a result of your injuries.

Police and Insurance Company Investigations

When a severe injury occurs in an accident, an investigation will begin immediately to determine exactly what happened. The police may be involved along with insurance company investigators, but they have different objectives. The police want to determine if a crime was committed, while the insurance company is focused on who was liable. You want to speak with an attorney before giving a statement to an insurance claims agent. If you mistakenly say the wrong thing, it could affect your ability to obtain full and fair compensation for your losses. 

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Vincent CorneliusThe attorneys of Schwartz Injury Law would like to congratulate Vincent F. Cornelius on his recent election as Circuit Court Judge in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court of Will County. With his extensive legal experience and dedication to protecting people’s rights, Vince will ensure that all who enter his courtroom are treated fairly and justly.

For the past several decades, Vince Cornelius has been a pillar of the community and the legal profession in Illinois. He has represented clients in hundreds of criminal and civil cases in Will, Kane, DuPage, Cook, Grundy, DeKalb, Kendall, and Winnebago Counties. Whether defending against criminal charges or working to reach settlements in personal injury cases, he has always provided the personal touch and aggressive advocacy to help his clients achieve positive results.

Vince is not only respected for his work inside the courtroom, but he has also demonstrated dedication to the legal community. He has been highly involved in the Illinois State Bar Association, serving as President and on the Board of Governors and as a member of the Judicial Evaluations Committee and the Special Committee on Capital Punishment. He has also served as the President and on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Bar Foundation and as the Chancellor of the Illinois Academy of Lawyers. He is a founding board member of the Black Bar Association of Will County and a member of the Will County Bar Association, the DuPage County Bar Association, and the National College for DUI Defense. He was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Criminal Law Reform and has served on the Northern Illinois University College of Law Board of Visitors.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneysWith just a few short days to go before Thanksgiving, and with the winter holidays fast approaching, now is the time to consider your strategy for preventing drunk driving-related arrests or, worse, injuries. The holidays are a time for families and friends to celebrate with festive gatherings that often include delicious meals, lavish desserts, and, in many cases, beer, wine, and cocktails. If your holiday plans involve alcoholic beverages, enjoy yourself, but make a plan to get home safely and encourage your loved ones to do the same.

Seasonal Spike in Injuries

While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact percentage of increased risk, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 725 people are killed or injured in drunk-driving crashes every day during the holiday season, with more than 25,000 total accidents. On any given day during the year, drunk driving plays a role in about 30 percent of highway fatalities, Around Thanksgiving, and for the rest of the year, that number jumps to 40 percent, tragically culminating over the New Year’s holiday, during which alcohol contributes to nearly 60 percent of roadway deaths.

Make a Plan…

The most important thing you can do to avoid drunk driving this holiday season is to be prepared. “Prepared” can mean different things for different people. You may choose to drink only a very modest amount or not at all, remaining sober and unimpaired for the drive home. Similarly, you may designate a driver who is not drinking at all. In some families, one designated driver may even be willing to make several trips to ensure that everyone is safe. Finally, alternative transportation may be another solution. Call a cab, even if you will need to wait for a while, or use ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. Whatever the expense may be for a ride home, it pales in comparison to the potential costs of a DUI ticket or injury.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Will County personal injury attorneysIf an individual dies as a result of another person’s negligence or misconduct, the deceased person’s family may have an opportunity to sue. These wrongful death lawsuits are designed to help compensate surviving members of the victim’s family for their tragic loss. Of course, money could never atone for the loss of a human life, but the financial award does help victims’ families pay for things like tuition or medical expenses which would otherwise be an additional burden. If you have lost a loved one due to negligence or other “wrongful act,” you may have questions about wrongful death lawsuits.

When Is a Wrongful Death Appropriate?

Wrongful death lawsuits allow those who have lost a loved one to recover compensation for damages. A successful wrongful death lawsuit is possible when the following conditions are met:

  • A person has died;
  • The death was caused by negligence or harmful intent;
  • The surviving family members are suffering financial injury as a result of the death; and
  • A personal representative for the decedent's estate has been assigned and is willing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

There are many wrongful death situations that may necessitate a wrongful death claim, including:

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Orland Park wrongful death lawyersApproximately 30,000 fatal auto accidents occur each year. In those crashes, there are victims—lloved ones who were taken from their families. Grief, anger, resentment, financial loss, and immeasurable emotional devastation are in the aftermath of that loss. Some immediately search for justice. For others, the thought of pursuing a claim seems like an insurmountable challenge—one best avoided until after the grief and pain have subsided. Unfortunately, by then, it may be too late. If you have lost someone you love in a car crash, understand why you should pursue a wrongful death claim, and how an attorney can help to ease your burden in the difficult journey ahead.

Compensation is Not Meant to Replace Your Loved One

Often, the families of victims are put off by the idea of a lawsuit because they feel it is pointless. Money will not bring back what was taken from them, and the grief of drudging it all up seems hardly worth it. They look at it as punishing someone else when, in reality, the compensation is about easing the burden they bear, and may continue to experience, as the months and years pass.

Death experienced during an auto accident creates unpaid medical bills. It takes away an income and makes paying for even the necessities of life more difficult. Sometimes, these accidents even leave behind dependents, including young children for whom the deceased parent may have been saving, in the event that they decided to go to college, or maybe to pay for that first car. True, some of these things may not be “necessities,” but they are losses, nonetheless. They were also the wishes, hopes, and dreams of the deceased. The love cannot be given back, and the hole left by their absence cannot be filled, but the monetary losses can be recovered. That is the purpose of wrongful death compensation.

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