January 20, 2015

Ikea Recalls Crib Mattresses Due to Entrapment Dangers

by Levin & Perconti

One of the most exciting times for families is preparing for the arrival of a newborn baby. Welcoming a little one into the home is a very important time for families because they are getting a new family member to love and take care of. Before the arrival of the baby, families go through a lot of organization and preparation to make everything is ready for when the baby is born. This can often include redoing a room into a nursery and purchasing furniture to suit the baby’s needs, such as a changing table, rocking chair, and crib. Families go through a lot of hard work to make sure that the infant will be cared for and protected, so it can be healthy and grow.

What should parents do when the items they have purchased to make their baby’s life better, are in fact dangerous and can cause injury? A recent recall covers just that issue. According to a recent article by the The Leaf Chronicle, there is a recall of Ikea crib mattresses. The reason for this recall is the potential for an entrapment hazard to infants. The crib mattresses consisted of the Vackert, Vinka, Spelevink, Sloa, and Slummer models. They were made on May 4, 2014 or earlier, and a consumer can verify if they have one of these mattresses by referring to the label attached to the mattress bearing the manufacturing date and model name. The problem lies in the fact that the gap between the mattress and crib is larger than two finger widths, which is larger than allowed by federal regulations. There have been two reports of infants who were entrapped between the mattress and the end of the crib.

Instances like this show why product liability litigation is such an important part of the law. Consumers deserve to trust that the products they are buying are suited for their purpose and free from danger. This is especially alarming because this dangerous product at issue concerns the lives of defenseless infants who are so new to the world that there is no way to comprehend they are in any sort of danger. They rely solely on their families and caregivers, who have trusted that the products they purchase for their babies are safe.

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January 9, 2015

Medical Malpractice Suit Filed against University of Illinois Medical Center

by Levin & Perconti

Many of us know how scary it is to be sick or injured and not understand what is wrong, how to fix your ailment, and if it can be remedied at all. That is why we turn to medical experts who can help us heal through surgery, treatment, therapy, and the correct medications. However, when these medical professionals make mistakes through carelessness or a misjudgment where they should have known better, patients can suffer or be in a worse state as a result.

According to a recent article by the Cook County Record a mother has filed suit against the University of Illinois for failure to timely diagnose and treat her son’s MRSA infection. She alleges that through the failure of the medical staff, her son was not timely diagnosed and treated for an MRSA infection and necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria. She alleges that as a result of this failure in time, her son has suffered permanent and disfiguring injuries that he would not have otherwise suffered except for their negligence. In her suit the mother seeks damages and medical costs.

As a patient, healthcare providers, such as doctors and nurses, owe you a legal duty of care when you are receiving medical treatment. Because you are relying on their medical experience and knowledge, you are vulnerable by placing your trust and well-being in their hands. That is why it is the duty of healthcare providers to act with the utmost care. Where they fail to diagnose or cause you further injury or illness, a court may find them liable for medical malpractice.

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January 2, 2015

BMW Expands Air Bag Recall

by Levin & Perconti

Reports of present dangers in our vehicles and recalls from major manufacturers have been frequent in the news as of lately. A variety of parts have been reported as faulty or in need of recall for posing a danger to the driver and passengers. According to a recent report by NBC Chicago, BMW has joined other automakers in a recall. The automobile manufacturer has announced an expansion of its air bag recall. After demands from the U.S. government, BMW has agreed to replace the driver’s side air bags. The decision to do this recall affects 140,000 BMW 3 Series cars that were made between January 2004 and August 2006. Earlier in the year, the company also took 574,000 cars off of the market in the United States.

According to the same article, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been urging companies to recall their older cars with air bag inflators made by Takata Corp. These air bags can explode with too much force and then spew shrapnel at drivers and passengers. There have been at least five deaths due to Takata air bag inflators. In total across all automakers, 15 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States. Initially, recalls were only done in states with high humidity because the air bag inflator propellant could burn faster than designed when exposed to prolonged airborne moisture. What that occurred, the propellant would blow apart a metal canister meant to contain the explosion.

Furthermore, the article explains that Takata has refused a request for a nationwide recall of driver’s side inflators, which are about 8 million in total. There are 10 automakers in total that use Takata driver and passenger air bags. There could be as many as 30 million vehicles nationwide with these air bags.

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December 31, 2014

Pedestrian Deaths Up 15% Since 2009

by Levin & Perconti

The close of the year gives rise to some interesting statistics and facts, as the media compares data with recent previous years. From gathering such data, we can learn about many trends in our communities, state, and across the nation ranging from weather, societal preferences and fashions, and safety related to traffic. Unfortunately, these studies do not always yield positive findings, but do indicate areas in which we all need to improve collectively and can suggest ways in which to do so.

According to a recent data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analyzed by the Wall Street Journal, pedestrian deaths overall have increased by 15% since 2009. In 2013, there were 4,735 pedestrian deaths nationwide, according to data released by the NHTSA this month. Overall, there were 32,719 traffic deaths in the country.

In many major metropolitan cities, officials are taking steps to try to battle this rising statistic, according to the same article. Some of these initiatives include shortening crosswalks, creating pedestrian safety islands, lower speed limits, creating bike lanes, and getting harsher with enforcement of rules. Transportation officials realize they may need to analyze current urban landscapes to make them safer for pedestrians. These efforts are also supported by the national government, which granted $1.6 million to various cities to promote pedestrian safety. The National Association of City Transportation Officials has recognized that many city streets were not designed with pedestrians in mind, only automobiles, and that needs a change.

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December 19, 2014

Nordstrom Recalls Sweaters Over Burn Hazard

by Levin & Perconti

When we buy products, we expect that they are free from danger and safe for the use which they were intended for. That is why product liability laws and federal statutes exist. Such laws are meant to protect consumers by requiring sellers and makers of goods to adhere to safety standards. Where they fail to do so and customers suffer injury as a result, they may be found liable.

According to a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Nordstrom has recalled a line of sweaters due to a burn hazard and violation of federal law. The name of the product is the Open Vest Sweater by Leith. The report describes that the sweaters fail to meet the federal flammability standard for such apparel, and poses a burn hazard to consumers who wear it. The sweaters were sold in stores and online from August 2014 through September 2014 for around $70. Consumers are urged to immediately stop wearing the sweaters and to contact Nordstrom for a full refund. The sweaters are said to be in violation of the Federal Flammability Standard.

The Flammable Fabrics Act regulates the manufacturing of highly flammable clothing. Originally passed in 1953, the Act aimed to regulate clothing and protect consumers in regards to highly flammable clothing, including brushed rayon sweaters and children’s cowboy chaps, popular products of the time. Then, in 1967, Congress amended the Act to expand it to include interior furnishings, paper, plastic, foam, and other materials that are used in apparel and home furnishings. Then, in 1972, the administration of this Act was giving to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC now regulates standards under the Act for clothing textiles, vinyl plastic film, carpets and rugs, children’s sleepwear, and mattresses and mattress pads.

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December 12, 2014

Take Steps To Prevent Food Poisoning At Your Holiday Office Party

by Levin & Perconti

In this “most wonderful time of the year,” our lives are filled with celebration and frequent parties with friends, loved ones, and colleagues. It’s also extremely popular to celebrate the end of a successful year with your co-workers at the office. One popular way to do so is through an office-wide potluck, catered event, or party where co-workers can gather together and take a break from work to relax with one another. It’s important to keep such occasions a time of merriment, so be sure to keep your co-workers safe from food poisoning by following these safety tips.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are several ways you can keep your office party safe and food poisoning free. First, it is important to keep hot the dishes that are supposed to be served hot. These dishes are always best served immediately after cooking or reheating. If serving a hot dish at an office party, take the food straight from the oven and place it in an insulated bag or hot food carrier. Also, if you cannot serve this hot dish as soon as you arrive to the party, return it to the oven. You can also chill the item and heat it later using a microwave or oven. Second, just as hot dishes need to be kept hot, cold food needs to be kept cold. These dishes should remain in a refrigerator for as long as possible. When transporting these dishes, place them in a cooler with plenty of ice keeping them at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Third, it can also help to use several smaller platters. When you have a large dish, you can take a portion of it to a smaller platter that is ready to be consumed, and keep the remainder of the larger dish hot or cold as needed. Lastly, is it always important to keep track of the time. Know how long items have been sitting out, and discard whatever has been out for over two hours. This is especially important to follow for perishable foods like meat, eggs, and casseroles. After two hours, bacteria can grow in food in a high enough quantity to make your co-workers ill.

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December 11, 2014

Northwestern Hospital Sued for Injuries in a Premises Liability Lawsuit

by Levin & Perconti

When we visit a a restaurant, retail store, supermarket, drugstore, etc., we have a special legal status under tort law known as an “invitee.” Under this status, owners and operators of premises owe us a duty of care to prevent injury to visitors by maintaining the premises in a safe condition, not creating hazards, and timely remedying any known hazards. Failure to do so that results in injury can give rise to a victim bringing a premises liability lawsuit. In fact, a visitor to a business is owed this duty of care regardless of whether or not they make a purchase, but are owed this duty because they have the potential to make a purchase.

According to an article by the Cook County Record, a woman is suing Northwestern Hospital and Au Bon Pain in a premises liability lawsuit for injuries she sustained while in the Au Bon Pain restaurant located inside the hospital. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff was hit by a woman’s motor scooter while visiting the hospital. The lawsuit alleged that a hospital staff member was negligent for guiding the woman’s scooter into her leg. She further alleges that the hospital and Au Bon Pain violated the safe capacity number of persons allowed inside the café at a time. The plaintiff filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court and seeks damages in excess of $50,000.

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December 8, 2014

Daikin Air Purifiers Recalled For Fire Hazard

by Levin & Perconti

The winter months have those of us in the Midwest with our homes shut up and sealed off from the cold. During this time of year, gone are the days of the cool fall where we could leave our windows open and enjoy the breeze. Instead, now that freezing temperatures and snow approach, the windows and doors must be sealed tight to keep out the cold. Because of little air circulation, accumulation of dust, and dry heat from furnaces, many people choose to use various forms of air purifiers, humidifiers and vaporizers to aid with the air quality and their breathing in their homes during these cold months.

However, according to a recent report by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, consumers need to be aware of a recent recall of Daikin Streamer air purifiers. According to the report, these air purifiers have been recalled for posing a fire hazard, which of course not only completely defeats the purpose of what the product should do for your air, but also puts consumers directly in danger of serious personal injuries. The report describes how the circuit board can overheat and cause the air purifier to catch on fire. These air purifiers have been sold from December 2010 through October 2014 for around $540 at various retailers including Goodman Manufacturing and Amazon. Consumers are urged to immediately unplug their air purifiers and discontinue use. They can also contact the Daikin company for a full refund or free replacement purifier.

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December 3, 2014

Consumer Parents: Be Aware of These Potentially Dangerous Toys

by Levin & Perconti

With the holiday season in full swing, local retail stores are especially busy. Crowds are large in this busiest shopping season of the year, especially for all the latest trends in fashion, technology, and the always popular toys for the little ones. In the time-old tradition of wrapping up new toys in shiny paper and bows under the tree, the youngest members of the family look forward to Christmas morning where they run to the tree in their pajamas and tear open the paper to discover new toys they have been gifted for being good little girls and boys. Year after year families look forward to this morning where they can sit around the tree and enjoy this time with their child loved ones in the family.

While we buy these toys for our youngest loved ones to bring them fun and joy, it is also important to know whether these toys will instead do the exact opposite and put these little ones in harm’s way instead. Unfortunately, there are many toys on the market currently that could actually bring danger to children and cause them injury, instead of providing the amusement and joy we intended to bring them. This is especially disheartening because these young people do not know to look out for dangers nor do they have the mental maturity to grasp a danger when one is before them. Instead, they trust that the toys they play with will not harm them.

Our lawyers care about keeping children safe from harm and in aiding parent/guardian consumers in protecting their young ones. That is why we choose to blog about potentially dangerous toys that are currently on the market and dangers to look out for. Under product liability law, it is the legal responsibility of a store and manufacturer to provide safe goods to consumers. This means that they must inspect products for defects and dangers, remove dangerous goods from the market, and warn consumers of discovered dangers. Where consumers are injured as a result of a store or manufacturer failing to do any of the above, the consumer can hold the store and manufacturer accountable for their injuries and suffering in a product liability lawsuit.

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November 27, 2014

Two Injured in Chicago Building Collapse

by Levin & Perconti

There are times we see news articles about local tragedies and wonder how in the world such an incident could have happened. The simple answer is that many of these incidents, tragedies, and accidents should never happen and they could be preventable. Many of these troubling situations would never occurred but for the negligence of someone who owes a legal duty to others to prevent the exact type of accident that occurred.

One type of accident commonly associated with preventable negligence falls under the umbrella of premises liability law. To elaborate, when a tenant or visitor is seriously injured in an accident on another person’s property, the owner can be held legally responsible if proven in a lawsuit that it was the owner’s negligence that led to the injury. For example, some common injuries occurring on property can include slip and fall accidents, dog bites, swimming pool drownings, and exposure to hazardous substances like lead or mold. In such lawsuits, the plaintiff must prove that the landowner knew the conditions on the land were unsafe and did not alert others to these dangers, failed to maintain the property and let it decline into a dangerous state, or created a hazard that caused injury.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that two women were injured in a building collapse in Chicago’s Washington Park neighborhood. The three-story condominium apartment building collapsed, entrapping the two women and a dog. One of the victims was on the third floor, and the other was on the second floor at the time of the collapse. Both victims were in serious to critical condition and transported to local hospitals. The building, built in 2005, received a citation for building code violations last year, but none were related to explosion hazards.

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November 21, 2014

Child Fingertip Amputations Leads to a Recall of 5 Million Graco Strollers

by Levin & Perconti

We frequently blog on the topic of product liability law, because we believe it is important that consumers are provided safe products and should be able to trust that the good they are purchasing in the marketplace are free from dangerous defects. So many of our everyday products are often recalled for defects in them that should have been discovered before they were placed in the stream of commerce and now pose injury to the consumer. Common categories of products that fall under product liability law include machinery and tools, automobiles and parts, household products and appliances, clothing, food, medicine, and toys.

It’s an unnerving thought to consider that an item a family uses on an almost daily basis could cause serious injury, especially to young children who should have no reason to fear they are in harm’s way. It is especially heartbreaking to a parent for an injury to occur to their child, especially when the parent had no knowledge that the child was in a dangerous situation and therefore could not prevent an accident from occurring. However, that does not mean that the accident was not preventable, because it in fact was – the company and manufacturer should have never placed the dangerous product in the market to begin with, thereby making such accidents completely preventable. It is the manufacturer and seller’s duty to inspect all goods for defects, remove those from the market that are defective, and warn consumers about known dangers.

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November 19, 2014

Child Killed in Chicago Apartment Building Fire

by Levin & Perconti

It is always heartbreaking to hear that a child has been put in the way of danger and suffered injuries. However, it’s especially hard to learn about the death of the child, especially when the death was preventable but for negligent actions of another party. Unfortunately, our attorneys read all too often about these incidents involving the negligence of in hospitals, on roadways and by property owners and managers. Under premises liability law, a property owner may be held liable for one’s injury or death if it is found that the injuries were a result of owner negligence.

Common injuries on properties include slip and fall accidents, building fire injuries, dog bites, drownings, and exposure to toxic or hazardous substances like mold or lead. When a victim holds the landowner responsible in a premises liability lawsuit, the victim must prove that the property owner failed to maintain the property or created unsafe conditions that caused injury, knew about a hazard but did not alert those in the building or on the land, created unsafe hazards that attracted children, or neglected conditions that caused damage to the property and neighboring property.

According to recent news by the Chicago Tribune, a 10-year-old boy died in a fire in Chicago’s northwest side. The fire took place in an apartment building on North Kimball Avenue where the boy lived on the third floor with his family. In addition to the death of this boy, eleven other people were injured, five of whom were children. Two are now in critical condition at local hospitals. One resident awoke to someone breaking her kitchen window, smoke, and screams. She and her family had to jump out of the building. They never remembered the fire alarms going off in the building. According to the report, his is not the first fire that has occurred at this building either; another occurred just a few years ago.

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