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Orland Park personal injury attorneysWhen we think about construction site injuries, we typically think about injured construction workers. When a construction worker is harmed as an employee on a construction site, he or she is typically entitled to compensation for medical bills and lost wages though workers’ compensation. You may wonder, however, what happens when a non-worker is injured at a construction site. For example, what happens if you are walking near a construction site and are injured by falling building debris? In a situation like this, you may be able to recover compensation via a personal injury claim.

Non-Employee Construction Site Injuries

Construction sites are filled with dangers. Partially-constructed buildings, suspended beams, hazardous materials, other dangers can lead to severe injuries and deaths. Construction companies and contractors are expected to follow strict safety regulations to protect the wellbeing of workers as well as non-workers. However, construction site accidents still can and do occur. A construction accident can lead to traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, internal organ damage, amputation injuries, and much more.

When Does a Non-Worker Have a Valid Legal Claim?

If you were hurt on a construction site or your loved one was killed in a construction accident, you may wonder if you have a valid damages claim. Typically, a person is only entitled to compensation for injuries caused in a construction site if he or she was on the site legally. Individuals who are trespassing often have limited rights or no right to compensation. Most construction site injury or death claims are based on the concept of negligence. You may be entitled to compensation if your injury or your loved one’s death involved the following factors:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_lawyer-law-firm-attorney-choosing.jpgA personal injury claim is a legal action that allows someone who was injured by another party’s negligence or wrongdoing to seek compensation for damages. Injury claims are often used to pursue damages after a car accident but they may also follow slip and fall accidents, injuries caused by defective products, and other types of injury-causing incidents. An experienced personal injury lawyer is a valuable asset when bringing a personal injury claim.  

Demonstrating the Elements Needed to Prove Your Entitlement to Damages

To receive financial compensation for damages after an injury, you must establish four main points. First, the defendant, meaning the party against whom you are brining a claim, owed you a duty of care. This may the duty of a driver to drive a reasonable speed, the duty of a company to design a safe consumer product, the duty of a property owner to maintain a safe premises, or another type of duty. Next, you will need to show that the defendant failed to uphold this duty of care. Proving fault for an injury is often the most pivotal part of winning an injury claim. You will also need to show that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries. Finally, you must demonstrate that you sustained damages as a result of your injuries. Damages are losses you suffered because of your injury such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Your attorney can help you demonstrate each of these elements. Your attorney may consult with medical experts, accident reconstructionists, or other professionals, gather evidence such as surveillance camera footage, review police reports, and find other sources of evidence to prove the required elements.

Advocating For Your Best Interests

Bringing an injury claim is a difficult legal undertaking. Your attorney can help you understand the legal options you have in front of you and choose the legal avenue that is the most likely to be successful. He or she can also ensure that your rights are protected throughout your case. Whether it is negotiating a settlement with the insurance company, communicating with the defendant’s legal team, or representing you in court, your lawyer’s job is to advocate for your best interests. When you retain a qualified personal injury attorney, you can rest assured that you have a strong support system who will see you though the entirety of your case.

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Joliet personal injury attorneys Personal injury claims are used to pursue compensation for injuries caused by another party’s wrongful, reckless, or negligent actions. There are four main components to a successful personal injury claim. You and your attorney will need to show that you were owed a duty of care by the defendant, the defendant breached the duty, your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty, and you sustained damages. To prove each of these elements, you and your attorney may use a variety of techniques and resources. One of these resources is testimony from witnesses. Read on to learn about the different types of witnesses that may be involved in your personal injury claim and how they may help you demonstrate the elements needed to win your case.

Eyewitnesses to the Accident

Incident witnesses or lay witnesses are people who witness your accident happen. They may be used to confirm the series of events that took place and explain what happened from their perspective. Whether your injuries were caused in a car accident, slip and fall accident, dog attack, or another type of accident, eyewitness statements may be used to corroborate your testimony. Your lawyer can help you locate and obtain testimony from eyewitnesses.  

Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses are individuals who are authorities in a particular field that offer insight and professional opinions about the facts of a case. Testimony from an expert witness can significantly strengthen your claim. Expert witnesses may provide testimony in court or they may serve as consulting experts who help clarify complex issues in your case. Some of the most common types of expert witnesses in Illinois personal injury claims include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_burden-of-proof-justice-scales.jpgThe average Illinois resident has little to no experience with the Illinois legal system. When most people sustain a serious personal injury or lose a loved one in a wrongful death accident, they may be unsure of what the civil claims process even entails. If you are interested in bringing a civil claim for damages in Illinois, it is a good idea to educate yourself about legal procedures and rules that will likely be involved in your case. One issue that many people misunderstand when it comes to civil matters such as personal injury claims is the “burden of proof.”

Establishing the Defendant’s Negligence

A personal injury claim or wrongful death claim is a legal action in which a plaintiff seeks “damages” or financial compensation for the losses caused by the injury or death. The plaintiff’s losses may have been caused by the defendant’s intentional or malicious actions or the case may be founded upon the concept of negligence. To prove that a defendant was negligent, the following main points must be proven:

  • The defendant had a “duty” or legal obligation to act a certain way. For example, drivers have a duty to obey traffic laws and drive responsibly.
  • The defendant breached this duty. The breach of duty may be based on the defendant’s actions or inaction.
  • The plaintiff’s injuries or the deceased person’s death was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
  • The plaintiff experienced damages such as lost income, property damage, or medical bills as a result of the injuries or death.

Understanding the Burden of Proof in Illinois Personal Injury Cases

If you have ever watched a legal television show such as Law and Order, you may have heard the phrase “burden of proof.” The burden of proof in a legal case determines which party has the “burden” or responsibility of proving a particular claim and how much evidence will be needed to prove the claim. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means that the jury must be exceedingly certain of a defendant’s guilt.

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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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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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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 attorneysWhen most people are involved in a negligence lawsuit, they expect at the end to receive sufficient compensation to address the harm they have suffered, and indeed, that is the aim of most proceedings. However, what many do not know is that their award will often be reduced, because it is rare that either the plaintiff or the defendant is totally blameless in an accident. This doctrine is referred to as comparative fault.

Contributory Negligence vs. Comparative Fault

In most accident cases, the first question that is asked is who is at fault. Historically, under common law, if it was determined that the plaintiff played any role in their own injuries, it acted as a complete bar to recovery. The rationale at the time was that everyone had a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent themselves from sustaining injury, and if they failed in that duty, they might be barred from recovery.

Gradually, however, the states have begun to shy away from this rule, primarily on public policy grounds. Public policy is a concept that states that a law or decision should not shock the conscience of the public, and to completely deprive an injured plaintiff of recovery based on perhaps 5 percent contributory negligence was often seen as unjust. There are very few jurisdictions nowadays that retain the pure contributory negligence standard; almost all have shifted to the comparative fault standard (including Illinois), which holds that if a plaintiff is more than 50 percent at fault for their own injuries, no recovery is possible.

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Orland Park medical malpractice attorneyWhen you are sick or injured, you trust doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers to care for you. The responsibility that medical professionals have to their patients is like no other profession. When a hospital or medical professional makes a mistake, the results can be catastrophic. Tragically, medical mistakes and negligence are increasingly prevalent problems that leave thousands injured or killed every year.

Medical Errors Now Account for a Staggering Number of Deaths

The Latin phrase “Primum non noceere” which means, “First, do no harm,” is often recited by physicians as a promise to uphold their responsibility to keep patients safe from injury. Unfortunately, this promise is not always kept. Most people are aware that there are instances when medical professionals fail to do the job they have a sworn duty to do but have no idea how prevalent the problem really is. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that medical negligence—instances when health professionals cause injury to a patients—is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer kill more Americans than medical malpractice. Many of the victims of medical negligence seek financial compensation for their injuries. The issue is so pervasive that over $3 billion was spent in medical malpractice payouts in 2012 alone. This works out to an astounding one payout every 43 minutes.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneysMost people have heard about the now-infamous McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit. It is a story which has been widely misrepresented by the media and is often misunderstood by the general public. The 79-year-old plaintiff was in the passenger seat of a car when she went through the McDonald’s drive-thru and ordered a coffee. As she was unfastening the lid of the coffee, it tipped and spilled on her. When she and her family brought a lawsuit against McDonald’s, many considered the suit to be ridiculous. After all, we have all accidentally spilled coffee or other drinks before. The public, in general, did not understand how the situation was the restaurant’s fault and assumed the plaintiff was merely greedy or looking for an easy payout.

Appalling Injuries

The actual story is much more gruesome. What many do not realize about the cup of coffee from McDonald’s was that it was served at a temperature between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit—per corporate specifications. Liquid at this temperature is so scalding that it can cause third-degree burns in two to seven seconds. Third-degree burns are the most severe type of burn a person can endure and result in skin being burned down to the muscle/fatty-tissue layer.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Will County personal injury attorneyWhile winter can be a beautiful time of year, it does come with some very unique risks. Every year, people are injured and killed in auto accidents caused by snow-covered and icy roads. We generally think of winter weather conditions being dangerous primarily for motorists, but there are risks for those who use snowmobiles during the snowy months.

Illinois Man Dies After Snowmobile Accident

Sadly, an Illinois man who was involved in a snowmobile accident on New Year’s Day has passed away due to the injuries he sustained in the accident. When the 33-year-old Coal Valley native failed to return home after going out to use his snowmobile on New Year’s Day, officers were called to the scene. When they arrived, they found the man lying underneath the machine. He was transported to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Because a snowmobile involved, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be in charge of the investigation.

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Legal Options Following a Labor Day Weekend Injury

Orland Park personal injury attorneyLabor Day, the holiday recognizing America’s workers, is intended as a day of rest and relaxation and a chance to enjoy a rare three-day weekend. Barbeques, ballgames, lakeside fun in the sun – these are hallmarks of Labor Day, so it is both unexpected and tragic when the holiday is marred by an injury or death. 

Unfortunately, with so many Americans hitting the road to visit friends and family, and with alcohol often being a feature of social get-togethers, accidents are inevitable. Personal injuries may be suffered on one of the nation’s highways, parks, sporting grounds, lakes and other swimming areas, or even unlikely places where you least expect it. Cuts, bruises, broken bones, post-traumatic stress, and even loss of life are among the consequences. 

When harm is suffered by no fault of your own, the pain and suffering are only magnified. Besides a ruined holiday and unexpected medical care and bills, there lingers the need to hold a wrongdoer accountable for the physical, emotional, and financial losses you have suffered. Fortunately, in the civil courts of the state of Illinois, procedures are in place to allow victims to seek redress from those that have caused harm, whether intentionally or negligently.

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