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

Drivers May Consume Stimulants to Stay Awake

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

Marijuana Use Among Truck Drivers

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

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

Factors That May Increase the Risk of Neonatal Hypoxia

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

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

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

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

Defective Truck Parts May Be Responsible for Your Accident

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

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

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

Determining Whether a Successful Wrongful Death Claim Is Possible

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

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

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

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

When Is a Childcare Facility Liable for Child Injuries?

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

Damages in a Child Injury Case

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

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

Fatal Traffic Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Negligence

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

Wrongful Deaths Lawsuits

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

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When is a Doctor or Hospital Legally Responsible for a Child Developing Cerebral Palsy?Cerebral palsy is a disorder caused by the atypical development of a child’s brain often stemming from brain injury or infection. Children with cerebral palsy typically experience loss of muscle control, reduced muscle tone, impaired movement, lack of balance and coordination, involuntary movements, eye problems, and other serious symptoms. Research into the many causes of cerebral palsy is still ongoing, but in some cases, cerebral palsy is a direct result of a doctor or other medical professional’s negligence during the child’s birth. If your child has cerebral palsy, you may question whether or not medical malpractice played a role in your child’s development of this disorder.

Understanding the Medical Standard of Care

There are typically four elements needed to establish medical malpractice. Firstly, the doctor must have owned the patient a duty of care. This means that a doctor-patient relationship existed so the doctor had a duty to provide medical care to the patient. Secondly, the doctor deviated from the “medical standard of care.” The standard of care refers to the level of care that a competent doctor of similar experience and training would have provided under similar circumstances. Thirdly, the doctor’s failure to meet the medical standard of care caused the patient’s injury. Lastly, the injury led to damages such as additional medical expenses or pain and suffering.

Examples of Medical Malpractice That Can Cause Cerebral Palsy

There are countless things that can go wrong during a pregnancy or birth. This is why doctors must receive such a great deal of education and training before becoming a certified physician. If a doctor or other medical professional did not appropriately treat a medical condition during pregnancy or birth, he or she may be liable for the harm done to a child. In some situations, the liable party is the hospital as a whole. Examples of medical malpractice that often lead to the development of cerebral palsy include but are not limited to:

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Common Mistakes Made After an Auto AccidentUnderstandably, many people are in a state of shock after being hurt in a serious traffic accident. They may not realize that the actions they take immediately after being in an auto accident can mean the difference between receiving full compensation for the expenses incurred by their injuries and being saddled with burdensome medical bills and other costs related to the accident. If you or a loved one are ever involved in an accident, make sure to avoid these common mistakes.

  1. Not Calling the Police: There are many reasons that a person involved in a car wreck may not call law enforcement to the scene of an accident. Perhaps the driver has had a negative interaction with a police officer in the past or does not realize how much a formal police report will benefit him or her if he or she ends up filing a personal injury claim. In some situations, a driver does not call the police because another driver involved in the accident suggests or outright demands that the police remain uninvolved. Do not let another driver convince you not to call law enforcement. Even if you do not plan on filing a claim, calling the police and getting a police report after an accident is essential.
  2. Underestimating Your Injuries: There are many injuries such as whiplash and traumatic brain injuries that are not immediately evident. You should always get checked out by a medical professional after a major auto accident – even if you think your injuries are only minor. If you do end up being more injured than you realized, receiving compensation for medical expenses or lost income caused by the injuries can be nearly impossible without an official record of these injuries.
  3. Not Gathering Evidence and Witnesses Information: After an accident, get the names and contact information of witnesses. These witnesses can be extremely helpful if you need other people to corroborate your version of the events in the future. Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, damage to your car, damage to the other car, and the position of the vehicles.
  4. Assuming You Cannot Receive Compensation if You Were Partially At Fault: Imagine this scenario: A man is driving down the highway when he is struck by another vehicle. He sustained major injuries in the accident, incurred massive hospital bills, and is left unable to work. However, he does not pursue compensation for these damages because he was speeding at the time of the accident and assumes that he cannot win a personal injury claim. This is a common misconception about personal injury claims. Under Illinois comparative negligence law, a plaintiff may still receive partial compensation for an injury as long as he or she was less than 51 percent at fault.

Contact a Joliet Car Accident Attorney

After an auto accident, you should always call the police, get evaluated by a medical professional, and gather evidence and witness information. If you or a loved one were hurt in a car accident and you want to learn more about your options for receiving compensation, contact an Illinois personal injury lawyer from Schwartz Injury Law. Call our office at 815-723-7300 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death?The unexpected loss of a loved one can be an absolutely heartbreaking event to endure. In addition to the emotional anguish surviving loved ones feel, there are often significant financial consequences caused by an unexpected death. For example, a mother whose husband passes away does not only lose her spouse, but she also loses his income and possibly benefits such as healthcare coverage for their children. No amount of money could ever fully compensate a grieving family for the death of a loved one. However, through a wrongful death lawsuit, some surviving loved ones are able to receive the financial relief they desperately need. If you have recently lost a loved one, you may be unsure as to whether or not this death constitutes a “wrongful death.” Read on to learn about Illinois laws regarding wrongful death and how you may be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim.

Illinois Law Regarding Wrongful Deaths

The Illinois Wrongful Death Act states that wrongful death occurs when:

  • The death was caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default, and
  • If the deceased person had not died, he or she would have been entitled to maintain an action and collect damages

Consider an example in which a woman is killed in an accident caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol. In Illinois, most drunk drivers who cause serious accidents are considered “negligent per se.” This means that they are automatically presumed to have been negligent because they were breaking the law and harmed someone in the process. If the woman had survived the accident and suffered injuries instead of death, she would have had a legal right to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, because the woman passed away in the accident, a personal representative of her estate may bring a wrongful death claim.

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Falsified Log Books May Cause Truck Accidents by Sleepy DriversNo one would argue whether being a truck driver is a very tough job. Truck drivers are expected to drive for hours and hours each day and must meet strict delivery deadlines. This can often cause drivers to skip out on necessary sleep in order to meet these expectations. Sleep deprivation can significantly decrease a truck driver’s ability to safely maneuver through traffic. Many fatal truck accidents have been caused by truck drivers who fell asleep at the wheel or were too fatigued to react in time to prevent an accident. If you have been injured in a traffic accident caused by a fatigued truck driver, you may be eligible for compensation.

Laws Dictating Truck Drivers’ Sleep Schedules

In order to prevent accidents caused by sleepy truck drivers, a number of laws have been enacted that require drivers to take rest breaks. For example, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers may drive for a maximum of 11 hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours. If they were off duty for only eight consecutive hours, then they are permitted to drive for a maximum of 10 hours. Truck drivers must keep a logbook that identifies the hours that they have been on the road and when they have stopped to rest. Unfortunately, some truck drivers falsify these records in order to get their driving assignments completed sooner. An experienced lawyer can analyze the truck driver’s logbook, receipts, delivery logs, and other information to find inconsistencies that show that the driver was lying.

Who Is At Fault for an Accident Caused by a Sleepy Truck Driver?

Determining fault in a truck accident is not always straightforward. Legal liability for a truck accident may fall to the truck driver himself or herself or the trucking company. If the accident was caused by a defective truck part or inadequate truck maintenance, the company responsible for maintaining the truck or the truck part manufacturer may be to blame. In many cases, there may be more than one problem that contributed to the accident. For example, the truck driver himself or herself may have been sleepy and did not react fast enough, but the accident was also worsened because the truck’s braking mechanism was flawed in some way.

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When is a Doctor or Medical Facility Liable for an Infant’s Death?The birth of a child should be one of the greatest days of a person’s life. However, when something goes wrong during the birth and the infant passes away, it can become the worst day of the parents’ lives. Losing a child under any circumstances is heartbreaking, but when that death could have been prevented, the heartbreak is even more excruciating. If medical negligence contributed to the death of an infant, the parents may bring a medical malpractice claim against the medical staff or the facility itself.

Who Is at Fault for the Death?

Sadly, sometimes a baby dies during or shortly after birth and there is nothing that could have been done to save him or her. Not every infant death is the result of medical negligence or wrongdoing. Medical negligence occurs when a doctor or other medical professional does not fulfill his or her “duty of care.” Medical staff members have a legal obligation to provide competent medical attention that meets the “medical standard of care.” This standard of care is defined as the level of care that a reasonably skilled medical professional of similar education and training would have provided in similar circumstances. For example, consider a scenario in which an infant passes away because the delivering doctor failed to address the fact that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. If a reasonably competent doctor of similar training would have noticed the problem with the umbilical cord and taken different steps to save the infant’s life, this may mean medical negligence has occurred.

Collecting Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case Involving Wrongful Death

If medical negligence leads to the death of a baby, a wrongful death lawsuit may help the parents receive compensation. The parents may be able to receive compensation for:

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Drug and Alcohol Use Contribute to Many Serious Truck AccidentsThere is no doubt that the trucking industry is a vital part of our American way of life. Just under 70 percent of all goods in the U.S are delivered via semi-trucks. However, these trucks also present a grave danger when they are not operated properly. A fully-loaded semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or eighteen-wheeler can weigh up to a staggering 80,000 lbs. When a large truck is involved in a motor vehicle accident, the damage can be catastrophic. One contributor to major truck accidents is truck driver drug and alcohol use. If you or a loved one were involved in a major truck accident and the truck driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be eligible for compensation.

Study Shows Alcohol and Drug Use is High Among Truck Drivers

A study published in “Occupational and Environmental Medicine” analyzed the level of drug and alcohol use among truck drivers across the globe. Half of the truck drivers who participated in the study admitted to using alcohol while on the road, and 30 percent admitted to using amphetamines to stay awake on long hauls. The study also analyzed data gathered from drug and alcohol tests. The U.S. had the highest frequency of positive alcohol tests among all of the truck drivers tested. Approximately 12.5 percent of U.S. truck drivers who were tested for alcohol tested positive.

When Drug and Alcohol Use Causes an Accident

Drugs and alcohol have a significant impact on a truck driver’s ability to drive safely. Alcohol use decreases coordination, reaction time, and concentration – the very skills needed to maneuver through traffic. If you have been injured or a loved one was killed in an accident caused by an intoxicated driver, you may have a valid personal injury or wrongful death claim. Through a personal injury claim, you may be able to hold the negligent party accountable for the damage he or she has done. Furthermore, you may be able to receive compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages. You could be reimbursed for your medical bills, ongoing costs for physical therapy and rehabilitative medicine, lost wages due to time off of work, pain and suffering, and more.

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Common Birth Injuries That Can Be Caused by Medical NegligenceGiving birth to a child is one of the most miraculous experiences that a person can have. Sadly, some births do not go as planned. Research shows that about seven out of every 1000 births results in a birth injury. Some of these birth injuries are unavoidable. Others, however, are the result of negligence or wrongdoing by a doctor, nurse, or another medical professional. When medical malpractice causes an infant to be seriously injured, the results can be devastating.

Babies With Certain Risk Factors Are Most Likely to Be Injured During Birth

Infants are more likely to be injured during birth when medical devices such as a vacuum extractor or forceps are used. Some of these injuries are only superficial cuts and bruises but others, such as intracranial hemorrhages, can cause serious, long-term damage. Babies are also more likely to suffer injury if they:

  • Are born prematurely
  • Are very large
  • Have a breech presentation
  • Experience excessive traction or rotation during delivery

However, birth injuries can still occur even when no risk factors are present.

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What Signs Can Help Detect Elder Abuse?Elder abuse can be classified as the negligent or intentional actions performed by a caregiver or trusted individual that results in pain and suffering for an elderly person. Several forms of elder abuse exist, including but not limited to neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and exploitation. Although elder abuse may be difficult to detect, there are numerous signs that can help determine if a crime is taking place. If you believe that a friend or family member is being victimized by a caretaker, it is important to seek legal help.  

How Can Neglect Be Identified?

Simply put, the neglect of an elderly person happens when adequate care and attention is not given by the attendant. Lack of medical treatment, an improper diet, and unsafe living conditions all qualify as different forms of neglect. Additionally, there are various signs that point to this form of abuse taking place, such as:

  • Lack of basic hygiene
  • Weight loss or trouble sleeping
  • Not being dressed appropriately for the weather conditions       
  • Missing medical aids (walkers, hearing aids, glasses, etc.)
  • Extended periods of time in bed without supervision, resulting in bedsores
  • Lack of living necessities (refrigerator, plumbing, electricity, etc.)

Signs of Physical or Sexual Abuse

In many cases, elderly people that are being physically or sexually abused can show changes in their appearance, mood, or overall body language and condition. Depending on the form of abuse and what body parts are being affected, different markings could help detect physical or sexual misconduct. Coinciding with any unexplained injuries, the discovery of a sexually transmitted disease (STD), an inappropriate relationship with a caregiver, torn clothing, or any aggressive actions could also be a warning that these types of abuse are transpiring.  

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What Should A Victim Do After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident?Being involved in an automobile crash can be a life-altering event. Pain and suffering, serious injuries, extensive medical bills, and extreme property damage can leave a victim unsure of how to proceed. After an accident takes place, it is likely that everyone who was linked to the collision will remain at the scene, exchange information, and wait for the authorities to arrive. However, there is always the possibility that the driver at fault will flee the scene. Before reckless actions are taken, there are several “Do’s and Don’ts” that the victim of a hit-and-run accident should consider.  

Do: Gather as Much Information as Possible

Without risking injury or breaking the law, the victim of a hit-and-run car accident should look to collect any relevant information for the police. For instance, if the at-fault vehicle starts to drive away, the victim should try to remember:

  • A description of the vehicle, such as the year, make, model and color
  • The license plate number
  • A depiction of any exterior damage done to their car
  • The direction the motorist was heading
  • The time and location in which the accident occurred

In addition, any pictures or video footage taken could immensely help law enforcement catch the driver. New information can be found within the footage that might not have been originally noticed, such as the motorist’s race, age, and gender.  

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Can Cerebral Palsy Be Linked to Medical Malpractice?Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a congenital disorder that affects an individual’s muscle movement, tone, and posture. Because it hinders the body’s ability to move in a coordinated manner, people that are diagnosed with CP may need assistance with bodily functions such as breathing, eating, and motor skills. Since CP is often caused by brain damage that occurred either before or during a child’s birth, early detection can help parents establish a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you suspect that a doctor, nurse, physician, or medical staff member acted negligently during your pregnancy or at the time of birth, it is important to speak with an experienced birth injury attorney.

What Can Cause Cerebral Palsy?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CP is the most common motor disability found in children. Although the explanation of CP is not always known, there are several causes that can be linked to the disorder, such as:

  • Genetic illness
  • Low birth weight
  • Untreated jaundice
  • Premature birth
  • A stroke in the womb or after birth
  • Lack of oxygen reaching the brain
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Medical problems faced by the mother during pregnancy

The failure of medical professionals to act accordingly throughout pregnancy or the birthing process can also lead to CP. For instance, if infections or changes in heart rate go undetected, the doctor or nurse may be held liable. Furthermore, the careless actions of a medical staff member may lead to CP. Improper tool use, medication errors, or administrative mistakes can be linked to medical malpractice.

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Safety Tips to Consider When Driving Near TrucksWhether an individual is on the expressway or a city street, it is very probable that he or she will encounter a semi-truck. Although a motorist should always drive in a state of readiness, precaution levels should be further increased when a truck is nearby. Due to their size and weight, a semi-truck accident can lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. It is important for a motorist to understand the limitations that a larger vehicle is subjected to. Before getting behind the wheel, a motorist should consider these helpful suggestions:

  1. Avoid Blind Spots: The height and length of a semi-truck can create blind spots for the trucker from every angle. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), if an opposing motorist cannot see the truck driver in the vehicle side mirror, it should be assumed that the truck driver cannot see the vehicle. When driving near a truck, an individual should try their best to remain visible and never linger in a blind spot when trying to pass a truck.    
  2. Allow for Extra Room: Visibility is not the only concern an opposing motorist should think about when driving next to a truck. Considering that it takes much longer for a larger vehicle to stop, spacing should be planned. Drivers should also acknowledge the time and space needed for a truck to switch lanes. Furthermore, individuals should avoid tailgating a semi-truck. In the event of a rear-end collision, a car could slide or get pushed underneath a truck. 
  3. Expect Wide Turns: Often displayed on the back of a semi-truck is a warning that says, “this vehicle makes wide turns”. Opposing vehicles should never try to squeeze or get between a turning truck and the curb. In addition, intersection lines should never be crossed since they help trucks and other large vehicles safely navigate a turn. In many situations, a truck will have to conduct a turn from the middle lane in order to properly fit.
  4. Be Understanding: Semi-trucks are becoming more prevalent in our cites and on our expressways. It is important for fellow motorists to be patient with the setbacks that these vehicles have. Trucks take longer to accelerate and typically use speed limiters to prevent reckless behaviors. If a driver is looking at a long commute, he or she should plan to leave early. Driving aggressive and honking at trucks can lead to accidents occurring.   

Contact a Cook County Personal Injury Attorney

A traffic accident involving a semi-truck can be mentally and physically draining. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a truck driver’s negligence, financial compensation may be owed. With over $2.5 billion in verdicts and settlements in the last five years, the dedicated Orland Park, IL, truck accident lawyers at Schwartz Injury Law can help you seek restitution. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office at 708-226-9000.

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An Overview of the Wrongful Death Act in IllinoisA life cut short by carelessness can cause physical and emotional distress, potential financial disruption and depression for the surviving family members. Our attorneys understand that losing a loved one is never easy and will handle your case with care and compassion while providing representation. If you are unsure whether you can receive compensation for your loved one’s death, the following information on Illinois’ wrongful death laws should answer your most important questions.

Language of the Law

The Illinois Wrongful Death Act defines wrongful death as someone dying due to a wrongful act or neglect. Survivors of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit if the deceased would have been allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived the incident.

Causes of Wrongful Death

A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed in any situation when someone is killed because of recklessness, carelessness or negligence by another party. Situations include but are not limited to: 

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Most Common Traffic Laws Broken by Illinois DriversGetting behind the wheel means business. Abiding by Illinois driving laws, rules, and regulations is important to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road. 

Unfortunately, rules get broken, accidents happen and injury occurs. The Illinois Vehicle Code lists hundreds of transportation offenses and their matching penalties, but there are the five outstanding rules of the road drivers constantly and continuously break:

  1. Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign or Running a Red Light: Red is the universal color of traffic signs and signals meaning “stop.” Even though you are supposed to come to a complete stop at stop signs, many drivers do what is known as a rolling stop. At a stop sign or stoplight, you are required to come to a complete stop before the white line, which marks the start of the intersection and allows other cars and pedestrians to travel safely when it is their turn to do so. Penalties for improper stopping at a stop sign, failure to stop at a stop sign, and/or running a red light range from a fine to points on your driving record.
  2. Speeding: Exceeding the posted speed limit decreases your ability to control your vehicle. If you are pulled over for speeding, there are different levels of consequences you could endure depending on how fast you were going.
  3. Operating a Vehicle Without a License or Proof of Insurance: A valid driver's license and auto insurance is required to operate a vehicle. Penalties for failure to have one or both range from license suspension to revocation.
  4. Driving without Wearing a Seatbelt: Illinois law requires all drivers and passengers age 8 and older to wear a seatbelt, regardless of whether they are in the front or back seat. Passengers under age 8 must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system that complies with the Child Passenger Protection Act.
  5. Distracted Driving: The odds of getting into a car accident increases drastically if you are distracted. It is important to minimize distractions before getting in the car and stay focused on the road while you are driving. Distractions while driving include but are not limited to:
  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Smoking
  • Eating and/or drinking
  • Singing or listening to music
  • Applying makeup or shaving
  • Trying to retrieve something that fell
  • Rubbernecking
  • Trying to read a map, newspaper or book

Providing Tinley Park, Oak Lawn, and Northern Illinois with Car Accident Representation

If you have been injured in a car accident from another driver breaking the law, contact Schwartz Injury Law. We will provide you with the best legal representation to get you the compensation you deserve for your case. To schedule a free consultation with a Cook County personal injury attorney, call our law firm at 708-226-9000 or fill out a form online today. 

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Four Tips for Reducing Roadway Collision Risk this Winter SeasonIn even the most ideal conditions, venturing out onto the highways as a motorist is scary and can be downright dangerous, posing many risks to our health and safety. Car accidents happen on all kinds of roadways, for a million different reasons, and no one is immune to the hazards responsible for these collisions. Whether the source of an accident is due to road construction, a negligent driver, or inclement weather, prevention efforts on behalf of motorists nationwide can go a long way in reducing our collision risks. This is especially the case for those who live in cold-weather regions throughout the winter season, as roadways are exceptionally hazardous during these icy, snow-filled months.

Preparation is Key

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emphasizes the need to pay special attention to safe driving habits during the winter months, reminding us that preparation is key in not only the prevention of collisions but also in the event that you are involved in one. Being prepared better equips you to handle the challenges that come with the aftermath of a crash, like avoiding movement that might worsen any injuries you have incurred. As the winter months approach and you get ready to hit the roads, prepare in the following ways to lessen your chances of collision:

  1. Tune-up: Staying on top of your vehicle maintenance is crucial before and during the winter months. Be sure to inspect your tires and all of your lights, including headlights, brake lights, and emergency flashers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends having your mechanic check your battery as well to ensure you have enough amperage, voltage, and reserve capacity. Do not forget to keep your windshield wipers in proper working order, too, with enough fluid in the washer reservoir. Also, make sure your front and rear window defrosters are fully functional.
  2. Get Packing: Have a supply bag packed and stored away in your car for emergencies, should you end up stranded. This will come in handy in the event you are involved in a collision and need to wait for help. Pack blankets, food, water, medications, flashlights, jumper cables, and an abrasive material, like kitty litter. Flares, an ice scraper, and snow brush are also essentials for winter driving emergencies. 
  3. Rehearse: Carve out some time to practice driving your vehicle in winter weather conditions before you set out for longer trips. Rehearsing your movements beforehand will help you get comfortable operating your car in the ice and snow. OSHA recommends practicing in the daytime, in an empty lot. Try steering into a skid and getting familiar with your brakes by pumping non-antilock brakes or stomping on antilock brakes.
  4. Drive Defensively:  Brush up on defensive driving techniques and put them into practice the moment you hit the road. Continually scan your mirrors to keep an eye on what is happening around you, do not tailgate, and obey the rules of the road, especially speed limits. Cut out any distractions, from texting and talking on the cell phone to eating while driving. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the highway. In the wintertime, in particular, do not crowd snowplows. Give them space and pass with extreme caution.

Contact an Orland Park Car Accident Lawyer

If you find yourself in a car collision due to a negligent driver during the winter months, do not panic. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Reach out to a qualified Cook County personal injury lawyer, who can address your concerns and help protect your rights in a court of law. Call Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000 today to schedule a free consultation.

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