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Effective Testimony in a Nursing Home Negligence CaseNursing home residents are trusting the doctors and staff of the facility with their wellbeing at a time when they are less capable of taking care of themselves. If a nursing home is negligent in its care, a resident has a right to compensation for his or her worsened physical condition. Documentation of injuries and expert testimony are important in proving that the resident’s condition is the result of improper care. Residents need people who are willing to testify on their behalf during the case.

Resident as a Witness

The plaintiff in a nursing home negligence case can serve as the primary witness because he or she was the one to experience the negligent care. However, it can be difficult to build a case on the plaintiff’s testimony alone:

  • Nursing home staff members will likely deny negligence and claim that the injuries were an unavoidable progression of the plaintiff’s condition;
  • The plaintiff may have mentally declined to the point that he or she cannot provide reliable testimony; or
  • The plaintiff may have died as a result of the injury, leaving family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Visitors

Family and friends who regularly see a nursing home resident can provide a plausible witness account in a negligence case. While not with him or her constantly, a regular visitor can see how the plaintiff’s condition worsened and testify to:

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When Can Ambulance Drivers Be Liable for Car Accidents?Ambulance drivers are mostly immune from personal injury liability if they cause an accident with another vehicle while on duty. Illinois’ Emergency Medical Services Systems Act states that the driver of a vehicle providing medical services cannot be civilly liable for his or her actions unless his or her misconduct was willful or wanton. This means that the ambulance driver must have knowingly put other drivers in danger with his or her actions. Those who are immune include:

  • Ambulance drivers who are transporting a patient for non-emergency medical treatment; and
  • Employees of a private ambulance service.

The Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling on Wilkins v. Williams established the broad immunity for ambulance drivers, but a recent Illinois appellate court case tested the boundaries of those protections.

Recent Case

In the case of Hernandez v. Lifeline Ambulance, the plaintiff is filing a personal injury lawsuit against an ambulance driver and his employer. The ambulance was on its way to pick up a patient for non-emergency medical transport when it struck the plaintiff’s vehicle. The circuit court approved the defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaints, citing the immunity under the EMS Act and the decision in Wilkins v. Williams.

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DuPage County pedestrian injury lawyerWalking is becoming an increasingly popular mode of transportation, since it provides people with a healthy and eco-friendly way to travel. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, around four million Americans reported that they walked to work in the past week.

Unfortunately, pedestrians are one of the only categories that have seen an increase in traffic fatalities in recent years, while most other categories of fatalities have decreased. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were nearly 6,000 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in 2016, and these amounted to around 16 percent of all traffic accident fatalities. Fortunately, pedestrian accidents can be prevented if both pedestrians and drivers follow certain safety tips.

If You Are a Driver

In many cases, traffic accidents involving pedestrians end with the pedestrian being severely injured and the driver emerging virtually unscathed. Here are a couple of tips to help you be a safe driver and avoid causing pedestrian injuries:

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DuPage County defective products attorney vehicle recallVehicles go through multiple safety tests and crash simulations to make sure that they are safe for consumers to drive. The scary thing is, your vehicle could be a danger to you, not by failing to protect you from impacts in a collision, but because of the internal components in the vehicle itself. Recently, Kia Motors has issued recalls for around 68,000 motor vehicles because of reports that hundreds of those vehicles have caught fire.

Company Voluntarily Recalls Vehicles for Inspection Despite Government Shutdown

Kia Motors issued a recall plan on January 11, 2019 which calls for thousands of vehicles to be taken to a Kia dealership so that high-pressure fuel pumps can be inspected. The fuel pumps were installed as a part of a previous recall for engine replacements, but Kia has found that in some cases, the fuel pumps may not have been properly installed. The company has not technically been able to issue a full recall yet due to the ongoing government shutdown. All recall plans must go through and be approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is currently only partially operating due to the shutdown.

Multiple Models Recalled Due to Fire

In the recall plan, Kia states that during some engine replacements, the high-pressure fuel pipe may have been damaged, misaligned, or improperly torqued, which could lead to fuel leakage and an increased risk of fire. Kia estimates that 50,051 Optimas, 17,024 Sorentos, and 1,052 Sportages are affected by this new recall. Owners of these vehicles will be notified by mail to bring their vehicles to their Kia dealership so that the mechanics may investigate the fuel pipe connections. Owners will be reimbursed for repair expenses.

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Wheaton car accident attorney avoiding injuriesOne of the most dangerous and unpredictable places you can be is on the road behind the wheel of your car. There are so many other drivers and outside factors around you, meaning anything could happen in a split second. Car accidents often occur out of nowhere with little to no warning signs, which makes them frightening. They can also cause extensive damage to your vehicle and serious injuries to yourself or your passengers. While some accidents are unavoidable, you can take steps to protect yourself from injury. Here are a few ways to make sure you are doing everything in your power to avoid a car accident:

1. Keep Your Car in Good, Working Order

You should always make sure your car is working well before you drive it. If you stick to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, you should have no problems. You should periodically check to make sure that your oil levels are good, the air pressure in your tires is high enough, and that you have things like windshield wiper fluid and working windshield wipers.

2. Obey All Traffic Laws

Though this may seem like common sense, it is important in preventing accidents. Traffic laws are in place for a reason. These laws were created to protect the safety of motor vehicle drivers and passengers. You should always obey speed limits and traffic signals and follow the rules of the road -- but do not assume that everyone else is doing the same.

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DuPage County hospital malpractice attorneyWhen most people think of a hospital, they think of it as a safe place to go when one needs medical help. While these places of healing are crucial to many people, they can also be an incredibly dangerous environment. According to The Leapfrog Group, an independent hospital safety advocate, nearly 440,000 people die every year due to medical mistakes made in hospitals. What is particularly unfortunate is that most of these deadly mistakes are preventable. Here are a few common medical errors that occur in U.S. hospitals and how you can protect yourself from being a victim:

Medication Errors

There are a lot of moving parts in a hospital. The person who administers your medication is not the same person who prescribed your medication, nor is it the same person who filled the prescription. Sometimes, information such as the correct dosage or the correct medication can become muddled or distorted as it gets passed from person to person. To protect yourself from medication errors, make sure you or a loved one knows exactly what medication you are to take, how much of it has been prescribed, and how often you should take it. Match this up with what the nurse is giving you, and speak up if it is not correct.

Infections

When a large number of sick people are placed together into one building, it only makes sense that there will be germs everywhere. Despite the efforts put into ensuring that these environments are kept sterile and clean, hospitals are one of the most common places that people develop infections. Make sure anyone who touches you or your things while you are in the hospital washes their hands before they do so. Doctors, nurses, and patient care attendants are supposed to wash their hands before they come into contact with you, but if you do not witness the hand washing, you are entirely within your rights to request that they do before they proceed.

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DuPage County auto accident lawyerSome of the statistics regarding auto accidents in the United States are staggering. With six million annual car accidents, more than three million people are injured each year, including 90 deaths per day. Every year, around two million individuals suffer auto accident injuries that have permanent effects.

Most accidents are caused by driver negligence, and they are the result of poor driving habits, intoxication, distraction, or a combination of those factors. If you are injured in an auto accident due to the actions of another driver, you can face costly medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering. Accident victims need a skilled personal injury attorney who can pursue and secure the compensation they deserve.  

Here is a look at some of the most frequent causes of car accidents in the greater Chicago region and throughout the U.S.: 

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Wheaton medical equipment failure attorneyAdvancements in medical devices over the past few decades are nothing short of astonishing. Many physical disabilities and injuries that once severely limited an individual’s quality of life can now be alleviated through innovative medical products, and surgeries have increased in effectiveness and efficiency because of upgrades to operating room equipment. 

Unfortunately, not every implementation of a medical device goes according to plan, and some products make a bad problem worse due to faulty design, production, or insufficient testing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recorded 5.4 million reports of “adverse events” regarding medical devices in the past decade. These reports include medical implants for knees and hips, pacemakers, IVC filters, hernia mesh, vaginal mesh, and spinal disc replacements.

Some of the leading causes of injuries involving defective medical products include:

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Wheaton nursing home fall injury attorneyWhen a senior citizen decides to move into a nursing home, they should expect professional care and a safe environment. Unfortunately, many seniors suffer serious injuries as residents of nursing facilities, including falls that often lead to disability and a decreased quality of life. 

If your loved one was injured as a result of unsafe practices at a nursing home, you should seek legal representation from a personal injury attorney skilled in nursing home injury cases. A lawyer can help you seek justified compensation and corrective action that helps prevent similar accidents.

Nursing Home Fall Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that between 50 and 70 percent of nursing home residents suffer a fall each year, which is a rate twice that of seniors who live independently. While nursing facility residents make up 5 percent of the 65-and-over population, they account for 20 percent of deaths attributed to falls, with an estimated 1,800 annual fatalities.

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Wheaton motor vehicle accident injury lawyerIt is no secret that Chicago is one of the most congested cities and metro areas in the country, with an estimated 111 hours in added travel time for the average driver each year due to traffic. With millions of vehicles traversing our roadways each day, car crashes and truck accidents occur often.

While some of these collisions can be classified as minor fender-benders, others involve impacts that result in serious injuries to vehicle occupants. If you were injured in an auto accident, after you seek medical attention, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer can investigate the circumstances of the wreck, establish liability, and seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Here are some common car accident injuries: 

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Wheaton drunk driving accident attorneyWhile the holiday season may be the most festive time of the year, holiday parties mean an uptick in drunk driving accidents on our roadways. The U.S. Department of Transportation says 781 Americans were killed in alcohol-related car accidents in December of 2016, and an average of 300 people die in DUI crashes between Christmas and New Year’s annually. 

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver, you have multiple legal options to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In order to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, you should secure representation from a skilled attorney.

Drunk Driving Accident Negligence

In any auto accident, law enforcement officers who respond at the scene typically assess who was at fault by establishing negligence. While proving negligence can sometimes offer a challenge to investigators, in drunk driving cases, determining fault becomes much clearer and quicker.

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Wheaton truck accident lawyerCollisions between commercial trucks and other vehicles often have tragic results. The most recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) data from 2016 found that 4,564 people died that year in a total of 4,079 collisions involving large trucks and buses. Commercial motor vehicle accidents accounted for 12 percent of all traffic fatalities. Illinois ranked among the 10 states with the highest average number of fatal truck crashes from 2014 to 2016. 

With interstates that wrap around the Chicago area and thousands of tractor-trailer trucks navigating them every day, danger often lurks, and drivers are regularly injured in truck accidents. Here are some of the leading causes of semi-truck accidents, as cited in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Large Truck Crash and Causation Study: 

Brake Problems

Truck drivers are already at a disadvantage when slowing down and stopping, because the air brakes on semi trucks and their vehicles’ size and weight mean that it takes much longer to come to a complete stop when compared to smaller cars and trucks. This problem is compounded when inappropriate vehicle maintenance fails to address air leaks, and improperly functioning brakes can prove fatal.

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DuPage County medication error attorneyThe American Nurses Association says that medication errors cause more than 7,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. These types of medical errors often increase the duration of a hospital stay and the amount of patient expenses, with the average error costing anywhere from $2,000 to nearly $9,000.

If your medical situation was worsened by hospital staff whose mistakes led to a negative reaction to a medication, or if a loved one lost their life due to a medication overdose, underdose, misidentification, or failure to administer, a medical malpractice attorney can help you determine your options for pursuing compensation.

Some of the most frequent medicine-related errors in healthcare facilities include:

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DuPage County legal malpractice attorneyYou trust an attorney to handle legal matters that have a significant impact on your life. In a personal injury lawsuit, this may include seeking compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and physical and emotional pain and suffering from an accident that was not your fault.

Legal malpractice occurs when a lawyer’s inappropriate or negligent actions damage a client’s case and negatively impact the outcome. If you believe this happened to you, a professional malpractice lawyer can pursue a lawsuit against your former legal representation.

Types of Legal Malpractice 

Studies from the American Bar Association Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability found that the most frequent errors related to legal malpractice cases are:

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Wheaton medical malpractice lawyersEarlier this month, a jury in Cook County returned a verdict in favor of a family whose child suffered severe injuries during his birth in 2009. The jury awarded the family more than $50 million in damages—reportedly the third-largest medical malpractice verdict on record in the state.

The lawsuit was filed in 2014 against NorthShore University Health System, Evanston Hospital, and several doctors and nurses. The health system is expected to appeal the verdict.

A Tragic Series of Events

In March 2009, a 35-year-old woman went to Evanston Hospital, part of the NorthShore University Health System, to deliver her first child. She was in labor for 12 hours, but at the end of it, she gave birth to a son. The child, however, was born with blue coloration and a dangerously low heart rate. He was also unable to breathe on his own. For the first hour after his birth, the hospital staff worked to push oxygen to the boy’s brain and organs. Ultimately, the infant was determined to have suffered a permanent, severe brain injury called hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) caused by the lack of oxygen reaching his organs. As the boy started to grow, evidence of cerebral palsy began to show. His vocabulary was limited, he struggled to walk, and he suffered from bilateral hearing loss.

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Illinois personal injury attorneysAlthough most children who suffer from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) make a full recovery, those with moderate to severe cases may experience long-term effects. This information, outlined in a recent study, is one that parents should be aware of when pursuing a personal injury case. Learn more about the lasting consequences of a head injury, and what you can do if one happens to your child during an auto accident, bicycle accident, or pedestrian accident.

Lasting Effects of Moderate TBI

The study in question examined the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury in a total of 729 children. To determine each child’s pre-injury status, researchers conducted phone interviews with parents. Children were then assessed at three months, one year, and two years after their injury to determine if the child had any issues with:

  • Depression;
  • Interacting with other children;
  • Memory;
  • Concentration;
  • Holding a conversation; and
  • Daily living activities (brushing their teeth, using the toilet, etc.).

Results of the TBI group were then compared to the results of 197 children who had suffered arm injuries over the same time period.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

DuPage County personal injury attorneyFall has arrived in the American Midwest, bringing with it the end of summer. Leaves are turning red, orange, and yellow, and animals are starting to prepare their winter retreats. Of course, autumn also means seasonal changes in the weather, including increased rain and cooler temperatures. The cooling pattern, however, is often inconsistent and rapid changes in temperature and humidity levels can lead to the development of fog around area roadways. Fog, of course, can drastically reduce driver visibility and contributes to hundreds—if not thousands—of traffic accidents each year.

Safe Driving Tips

There is little question that heavy fog requires adjustments in driving. Motorists must always operate their vehicles in ways that are appropriate for the weather conditions at that time. How you drive on a clear sunny day is different from how you should drive during rain, snow, or fog. To remain safe when driving in fog, be sure to:

  • Slow down;
  • Use fog lamps if your car has them but never your high beams. High beams actually make visibility worse in foggy conditions;
  • Try to find marked reference points like painted road lines;
  • Never stop on the roadway and only stop on the shoulder if absolutely necessary. Other drivers may not see your stopped vehicle until it is too late; and
  • Use four-ways or hazard flashers to increase visibility.

Recovering Damages Through a Personal Injury Claim

Unfortunately, not all drivers will take the necessary precautions and accidents do happen. If another driver fails to operate his or her vehicle safely and causes an accident in which you are injured, he or she may be liable for your injuries. It can sometimes be difficult to prove fault for an accident when weather is a factor, but if the other driver acted recklessly or negligently, you may still have a case for collecting compensation.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

DuPage County personal injury lawyersIf you have ever experienced a concussion, you realize how frightening they can be. A concussion, by definition, is the least serious type of traumatic brain injury. While former athletes may jocularly remember the time they “got their bell rung,” the danger was probably more real than they can recall. A concussion occurs when the brain is jolted within the skull, often from a direct blow or impact, and the effects can be severe and long-lasting.

More Than Just Knocked Out

Many people, particularly youth sport coaches and parents, assume that a concussion is always accompanied by at least a momentary lapse of consciousness. While a concussion victim can certainly be knocked out by the blow or impact, the injury itself is often much more difficult to identify. In some cases, the onset of symptoms does not occur for hours or days following the impact. Whether occurring within the context of a sporting event, a car accident, or a trip and fall, the signs of a traumatic brain injury often include:

  • Confusion and feeling dazed;
  • Uncharacteristic clumsiness;
  • Slurred speech or difficulty speaking;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Headache;
  • Balance issues or dizziness;
  • Enhanced sensitivity to light or noise;
  • Sluggishness or marked drowsiness;
  • Ringing in the ears;
  • Unusual behavior or personality; and
  • Concentration and memory difficulties.

The loss of consciousness so often considered a “typical” symptom of a concussion is actually a qualifying symptom of a grade 3 concussion, the most serious type.

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DuPage County personal injury attorneysUninsured motorist accidents are extremely common in Illinois, which places many drivers at risk for injury. Unfortunately, if and when an accident does happen, many do not really know how – or even if – they may receive compensation. Rest assured that even in an uninsured driver accident, you can (and should) seek compensation for your losses. Our attorneys can help you know how and where to start.

Your Rights and the Uninsured Driver

Most people will tell you not to even bother suing the uninsured motorist because, if they do not have insurance, then it is unlikely they have the money or assets to cover your losses. However, this is not always accurate advice. An experienced automobile accident attorney is the only one who can truly advise you on whether or not suing an uninsured motorist will be worth your time.

Regardless, always ensure that you gather as much information about the other driver as possible. The most critical information to gather is their name, phone number, address, license plate number. Of course, a large number of uninsured driver accidents are hit-and-runs. If this applies to your situation, try to at least get information on the model, make, and color of their car and a license plate number. Anything you can remember may be helpful in pursuing your case.

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Wheaton personal injury attorneysEstimates indicate that some 700 million people in America are transported by bus each year. Whether they are traveling by school bus, public transit bus, charter bus, or a tour bus, these riders count on the driver to help them safely get them from one location to the next. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Accidents do occur, and sometimes they result in serious injury or death for the passengers. If you or someone you love has been injured in a bus accident, you may be entitled to collect compensation for your injuries.

Common Causes of Bus Accidents

As with auto accidents, driver error is the most common cause of bus accidents. Other common causes include:

  • Driver fatigue;
  • Poor bus or equipment maintenance;
  • Driving while under the influence;
  • Inadequate training;
  • Improper screening of employees;
  • Improper loading; and
  • Overloading.

Of course, driver error does not always mean that it was the bus operator who made a mistake; it can also apply to other road users. For example, another road user may be intoxicated and swerve into the path of the bus. Alternatively, other drivers may cut the bus off, forcing the bus to either brake or swerve, either of which could potentially cause an accident. If an accident does happen to you or someone you love, it is crucial that an investigation is conducted to determine the exact causes behind the accident. In some cases, there may be multiple negligent parties, which could further complicate an already complex claim filing process.

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