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Elmhurst dog bite injury attorneysIt is important to remember that dogs, while lovable and cute, are animals that may be capable of attacking someone. Dog bites can cause severe injuries that leave lasting physical and mental scars. These injuries can also incur considerable expenses. If you or a loved one were the victim of a dog attack, you may have questions about your legal options. You may wonder if the dog’s owner is responsible for your medical bills, lost income, or other costs caused by the attack.

Illinois Law Regarding Dog Bite Injuries

Some states follow a “one free bite” rule in dog attack cases. This means that an owner can avoid liability for injuries caused by his or her dog if he or she did not know that the dog was capable of biting someone. Once the dog has bitten someone, however, the owner may be held legally responsible if the dog bites again. Illinois is a “strict liability” state with regard to dog attacks which means that the “one free bite” rule does not apply. An Illinois owner is responsible for injuries caused in a dog attack when:

  • The injuries were caused by his or her dog’s behavior including biting or knocking someone down
  • The dog was not provoked
  • The injured person was on public property or lawfully on private property when the attack occurred

Damages in a Dog Attack Claim

Dog attacks can lead to severe injuries including puncture wounds, lacerations, nerve damage, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and more. Dog attack injuries, especially injuries to the face, may lead to life-changing disfiguration. Dog attack victims may also develop post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, anxiety, and other mental health issues because of the attack. If you or a loved one were hurt in a dog attack, a personal injury claim may enable you to recover financial compensation. You could be compensated for your:

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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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Will County birth injury attorneysIf you are a parent of a child who was injured or who died during birth, you may be desperate for answers. Birth injuries typically include injuries that an infant suffers in utero, during labor and delivery, or shortly after being born. Minor birth injuries such as scrapes or bruises clear up in a few days and do not affect the infant long-term. Other birth injuries lead to life-long disabilities and medical complications. While some birth injuries are unavoidable, others are the direct result of medical negligence. When determining whether a birth injury was caused by the negligent or wrongful actions of a medical professional, courts use the “applicable standard of care.”

Medical Mistakes and Birth Injuries

Medical professionals are human. They make mistakes. However, physicians and other medical professionals are held to a very high standard when it comes to patient care. If a medical mistake is egregious or results in preventable harm to a patient, the mistake may not be excusable. Many parents of children who have suffered or passed away because of a birth injury wonder if the doctor or the medical facility at which their child was born is to blame. The answer to this question is often hard to determine. Medical malpractice attorneys gather evidence from a range of sources when investigating suspected or alleged malpractice. They often consult with medical experts to determine if a doctor or hospital’s conduct deviated from the norm.

Components of a Medical Malpractice Claim

There are four components to a medical malpractice claim:

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Orland Park truck accident lawyersOne of the most common causes of truck accidents in the U.S. is fatigued truck drivers. Truckers are often expected to drive hundreds of miles a day and deal with a wildly inconsistent sleep schedule. Chronic sleep deprivation can have significant effects on a person’s ability to drive safely. Sleepiness can cause reduced reaction time, decreased awareness, and difficulty paying attention. It is estimated that being fatigued makes you three times more likely to be involved in a car accident. In fact, The National Safety Council states that driving 20 hours without sleeping is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent. However, increased demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the FMCSA to modify the rules regulating truck driver hours of service.

Updates to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours of service rules regulate how long commercial truck drivers may drive without taking a break to rest. Recent updates to these regulations include:

  • The short-haul exception has been increased from 100 to 150 miles and drivers’ maximum on‑duty period has been increased to 14 hours.
  • The 14-hour on-duty constraint has been extended by up to two hours in situations involving adverse driving conditions such as unusual traffic conditions, road problems, or heavy fog or snow.
  • The required 30-minute rest break after eight hours of driving may now be satisfied by on-duty/non-driving rest periods.
  • The mandatory 10-hour off-duty rest breaks may now be satisfied by rest periods of at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and 2 consecutive hours in or out of the sleeper berth.

Advocacy Groups File Lawsuit Against FMCSA and Department of Transportation

Some people are concerned that the new hours of service rules may increase the prevalence of accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers. Several safety advocacy groups including Parents Against Tired Truckers and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways filed a lawsuit in which they requested reconsideration of the new hours of service rules. In a press release, representatives for the groups stated that the modifications will weaken hours of service regulations and increase the threat of fatigued drivers.

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What Is Needed for a Successful Slip and Fall Injury Claim?A slip and fall accident or trip and fall accident can cause painful injuries that require considerable medical treatment. Head injuries including traumatic brain injuries, back and spine injuries, broken bones, and other injuries caused in a fall may result in thousands of dollars of medical expenses and lost income. If you or a loved one were hurt in a fall accident caused by the negligent actions of a property owner or occupier, you may be interested in pursuing compensation through a premises liability claim. To successfully obtain compensation, you and your attorney will need to prove several facts.  

Establishing The Defendant’s Negligence

The party who brings an injury claim is the plaintiff or claimant, and the party who the claim is brought against is the defendant. The defendant in a slip and fall case may be the property owner or the party who managed or occupied the property on which the injury occurred. Most slip and fall injury claims are based on the assertion that the defendant did not keep the property reasonably safe for individuals who were lawfully on the property. Spilled liquids, fractured concrete, broken stairs, and faulty handrails are all examples of hazards that may lead to a slip and fall accident.

The presence of a potential injury-causing hazard on the property is typically not enough to prove that the defendant was negligent. You will also need to show that the defendant knew or should have known about the unsafe condition. The question of foreseeability often plays a major role in premises liability claims.

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How Are Expert Witnesses Used in an Illinois Car Accident Injury Claim?Car accidents are often caused by a complex combination of numerous factors. Drunk driving, distracted driving, poor road conditions, weather, and countless other issues may all contribute to serious auto accidents. If you or your loved one were injured in a car accident, you may be interested in bringing a personal injury claim against the liable party or parties and seeking compensation. However, in order to be successful, you will need to prove that the responsible party’s negligent or wrongful actions caused the accident and that you suffered damages as a result. In complex or multifaceted car accident cases, testimony from expert witnesses can be especially useful.

Establishing the Elements of a Negligence Claim

To win your car accident claim, you and your attorneys will need to establish four main points. First, you must show that the defendant, meaning the person against whom you are bringing the lawsuit, owed you a “duty of care.” All drivers owe a duty of care to drive in a safe, lawful manner. Secondly, you must show that the defendant breached this duty. The defendant may have neglected their duty of care by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, making erratic lane changes, failing to adequately secure truck cargo, or otherwise acting negligently. Next, you must demonstrate “causation” and show that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries. Lastly, you must show that you suffered damages, or financial losses, as a result of your injuries.

Expert Witnesses Provide Testimony That May Bolster Your Case

There are many different ways that testimony from expert witnesses may be used to establish the elements needed to obtain compensation. Accident reconstructionists are professionals skilled in accident scene investigation and analysis. They use information from a variety of sources – including traffic signal phasing diagrams, event data recorders, and GPS tracking systems – to determine how an accident unfolded. They then use this information to recreate the accident and explain, in their own professional opinion, what they believe happened. Science and engineering experts may also weigh in how different factors contributed to the accident.

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Pursuing Compensation for Disabling Injuries Caused by a Truck AccidentAuto accidents happen throughout Illinois and across the United States on a daily basis. Many of the individuals involved in those accidents are able to escape with relatively minor injuries such as small cuts and bruising. They do not require significant medical treatment and are able to continue on with their lives as usual soon after the accident. However, other car accident victims are left with severe, life-altering injuries. They must endure months or years of medical treatment and are never again able to live their lives the way they could before the accident. Because commercial trucks are so massive, collisions involving semi-trucks, flatbed trucks, and other large trucks often lead to these types of catastrophic injuries.

Truck Accident Injuries Can Leave a Person Permanently Disabled

Nearly 5,000 people died in large truck accidents in the U.S. in 2017. Because the risk of death is so great, many people who wake up in the hospital after being involved in a horrific truck accident are simply grateful to be alive. However, many of these victims soon realize that the road to recovery will be long and painful. Some victims must learn to cope after losing a hand, foot, arm, or leg in an amputation. Others are left with spinal injuries that cause partial or full paralysis. They may need multiple surgeries, months of inpatient hospitalization, and expensive physical therapy. They may also need to learn how to use a wheelchair or other assistive devices and modify their home to accommodate the device.

The physical effects of a catastrophic truck accident can be devastating, but the emotional and mental consequences are often even worse. Traumatic brain injuries can cause cognitive impairment, loss of motor function, and even personality changes. Being involved in a life-threatening accident can also lead to severe anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Medication Errors During Labor and Delivery Can Cause Catastrophic Birth InjuriesPharmacological advances have made pregnancy, labor, and delivery safer and less painful than in decades past. Unfortunately, the risks associated with certain medications are not always fully understood. Improper use of medications can cause serious injury or even death to a mother or an infant. If a doctor or other medical professional’s negligence results in a preventable birth injury, the victim or the victim’s surviving loved ones may have a valid medical malpractice claim. Compensation for past medical bills, future medical care, pain and suffering, and other damages may be available.

Medication Mistakes That Often Lead to Medical Malpractice Claims

Any patient can suffer injury or death from mistakes involving medications or medical procedures; however, pregnant women are especially vulnerable to medical mistakes. The birth process is already very hard on a woman’s body. When doctors and other medical staff do not uphold their duty to provide competent medical care, they put the woman’s life and the life of her unborn child in danger. One of the most egregious types of medical negligence occurs when a pregnant woman is given the wrong type of medication. Doctors, nurses, or other staff may misread the medication label or otherwise become confused and administer the wrong drug. Another serious error occurs when a woman is given an inaccurate dose of a medication.  

Medication Errors Involving Pitocin

When labor is not progressing normally, an infant can be at risk of asphyxia and other dangerous conditions. Consequently, a doctor may choose to use medications to expedite the birth. A synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin is sometimes used to accelerate delivery despite the risks associated with this drug. This medication, often referred to by the brand names Pitocin and Syntocinon, makes the mother’s uterus contract. There is significant debate as to the effectiveness and safety of this medication. If Pitocin is administered incorrectly or at an excessive dose, the mother’s contractions may become too intense and cause a detached placenta or “placental abruption.” If the placenta becomes partially or fully separated from the uterus, the infant will be deprived of oxygen and nutrients. This could lead to fetal brain injuries, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), fetal stroke, stillbirth, and maternal hemorrhaging.

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Cook County personal injury attorney car accident

When a motorist drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), drives while distracted, or is otherwise negligent, the driver jeopardizes the lives of everyone on the road, including innocent children. In 2017, nearly 700 children died in car accidents and almost 116,000 suffered injuries. If your child was hurt in a car accident, you may justifiably feel angry, confused, and overwhelmed. You may be unsure of the steps you should take to hold the negligent diver accountable for his or her actions. You may also have concerns about how you will pay for the costs incurred by your child’s injury.

Insurance Companies Are Often Quick to Offer Inadequate Settlements

Car accidents can leave lasting physical and mental scars. A child who is severely injured by the negligent actions of another driver may suffer painful, debilitating injuries that require months if not years of medical treatment. When anyone is injured in a car accident, they may assume that the responsible party’s insurance company will reimburse them for the damages incurred in the accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies often offer compensation that only covers part of the injured party’s damages. In many cases, a personal injury claim is the best way to obtain the full compensation you and your injured child deserve. Through a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to compensation for your child’s pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, disability, disfigurement, and more.

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When Is Delayed Diagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice?Doctors are required to complete rigorous degree programs and training before becoming licensed physicians. They learn about the signs and symptoms of countless medical conditions so they can diagnose these conditions and provide the necessary treatment. However, doctors are not always able to pinpoint the exact cause of a person’s health concerns. It may take dozens of diagnostic tests and procedures before the person has an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, doctors and specialists are not able to determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms. While not every diagnostic mistake is the result of negligence, there are some situations in which a doctor’s failure to make a timely and accurate diagnosis is considered medical malpractice.  

Doctors Have a Duty to Provide Reasonably Skilled Medical Care

Doctors and other medical professionals have a legal obligation to provide reasonably proficient medical treatment. They are not expected to be perfect, but they are expected to be competent. The question of whether or not a diagnostic mistake is flagrant enough to be considered malpractice is often very difficult to answer. Medical malpractice attorneys have a variety of tools and resources at their disposal that are used to investigate doctors’ actions and inaction and determine if malpractice occurred. To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, a medical malpractice attorney must prove that:

  • A doctor-patient relationship was established.
  • The doctor provided treatment that did not meet the medical standard of care
  • The doctor’s failure to provide quality care caused the patient harm
  • The patient suffered damages as a result of this harm

The standard of medical care is a hypothetical measuring stick used to determine if a doctor’s actions deviated from what a typical doctor of similar status would have done under similar circumstances. Expert testimony from respected medical professionals is often used during a medical malpractice lawsuit to shed light on the reasonableness of a doctor’s actions.

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Birth Injuries Sustained During a Cesarean Section May Be The Result of Medical Negligence  Approximately one-third of all infants in the United States are born via Cesarean section or C-section. Some C-sections are planned because the mother or baby has certain risk factors that make vaginal delivery an unsafe option. In other cases, a mother plans to have a traditional birth but complications require an emergency Cesarean delivery. C-sections can often prevent medical complications that would have likely been caused by traditional delivery. However, when a C-section is performed incorrectly, delayed, or performed unnecessarily, preventable birth injures may occur.  

Delayed C-Sections  

Obstetricians and other medical professionals must carefully evaluate the mother’s medical history and the baby’s health in order to determine whether or not a C-section is a safe delivery method. C-sections are often ordered when the infant is in a breech or transverse position or shows signs of fetal distress. A C-section may also be ordered if the mother experiences problems such as:

  • Prolonged labor
  • Failure to progress normally during labor
  • Umbilical cord prolapse
  • Uterine rupture
  • Placental abruption
  • Placenta Previa

The decision to perform an emergency C-section is one that must be made swiftly. If a doctor waits too long to perform a C-section, the baby may suffer from oxygen deprivation, which can lead to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, cerebral palsy, and other forms of brain damage. When a doctor fails to order a necessary C-section or delays a C-section and the mother or infant is harmed as a result, the mother may have a valid medical malpractice claim.

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Orland Park personal injury lawyerMost of us drive several times on any given day. Although the act of driving may become second nature, it is important to remember how dangerous driving a vehicle actually is. Motorists should always exercise caution and constantly be on the lookout for hazards which could cause an accident. This is especially true when sharing the road with a semi-truck, flatbed truck, or tractor-trailer. Fully loaded, a tractor-trailer may weigh up to 80,000 lbs. These vehicles are not capable of maneuvering as swiftly as smaller vehicles and also take significantly longer to stop. Truck accidents can lead to catastrophic and often fatal injuries, so learning how to reduce your risk of being involved in a truck accident is essential.

Avoid Driving in The Truck Driver’s Blind Spots

Driving in a large truck is dramatically different than driving a passenger vehicle. While drivers of smaller vehicles can see most of the space around the vehicle, truck drivers must contend with large blind spots. Because of the way truck windows and mirrors are orientated, there are large spaces on all four sides of the truck that the truck driver cannot see. A truck driver cannot see up to 20 feet in front of the cab and up to 200 feet behind the truck as well as certain areas on each side of the truck. Staying out of these blind spots or “no-zones” is crucial to your safety and the safety of other drivers. If you cannot see the driver’s face in his or her mirror, that means that he or she cannot see you either.

Be Prepared for Wide Turns and Slow Acceleration and Deceleration

When a tractor-trailer turns at an intersection, the trailer portion takes up a great deal of space. Motorists should always avoid driving between a truck that is turning and the curb. You could end up colliding with the truck or being forced off of the road. This puts your life and the lives of pedestrians and cyclists in danger. It is also important to remember that trucks take a long time to speed up or slow down. When merging from an entrance ramp onto the highway, keep in mind that truck drivers cannot maneuver their vehicles the way other motorists can. It is also imperative that motorists avoid tailgating a truck driver.

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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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