October 16, 2014

26 Injured in Chicago-Bound Megabus Accident

by Levin & Perconti

Being a major metropolitan city, Chicago is a hub of transportation of all types. Chicago also acts as an epicenter for statewide and interstate with its two major airports and large train and bus terminals. Bus transportation is widely used by commuters and travelers alike, and these groups have many options including CTA, Pace bus system for local travel and commercial buses like Greyhound and Megabus. Because these transportations systems service large volumes of passengers frequently, it is important that these vehicles of transportation are in their best working order and that they are operated by drivers who practice caution and safety and avoid negligent and reckless driving behaviors. Since these services are so widely used, it is imperative that these companies abide by their legal duty to their patrons by being safe and keeping their passengers free from danger and injury.

When mass transportation operators act with negligence, passengers’ lives are put at risk and crashes can occur, endangering the safety of passengers who placed their trust in these companies and drivers. So was the case early Tuesday when a Chicago-bound Megabus flipped over and caused injuries to dozens of passengers, according to recent articles by the Chicagoist and the Chicago Tribune. The accident occurred as the bus was traveling on Interstate 65 near Indianapolis en route to Chicago. According to reports, the two-level bus flipped on its side. The driver explained that he tried to swerve to avoid colliding with another vehicle that had crashed early, and this overcorrection caused the bus to flip over. One state police sergeant explained that the driver could not see the oncoming accident because of rain or another factor and swerved to avoid.

Many of the passengers suffered injuries from this crash. At least six passengers were seriously injured, and 20 more sustained minor to moderate injuries from the rollover crash. One passenger described how the man next to him was cut and bleeding and that another woman was trapped between seats. Another individual’s hand was pinned underneath the bus. There were approximately 56 people total on the bus, according to the state police. At this time, at least six had to be taken to hospitals for emergency care.

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October 13, 2014

Consumer Reports Reveals New Information About Child Car Seats

by Levin & Perconti

It is no doubt that motor vehicle accidents are extremely dangerous and can cause serious personal injuries or death. For that reason it is important that we take steps to best protect ourselves and passengers, and that cars are equipped with safety devices and that products can be purchased to increase the safety of our vehicles. This means protecting passengers of all ages and sizes, especially those who are very young and vulnerable.

A recent study by Consumer Reports has informed parents and guardians of some of the best features to look for when purchasing a child safety seat. The article by ABC 7 elaborates on the report stating that children are safest when seated in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the age of two. With a newborn, start out with an infant car seat which provide the best fit. Many children will outgrow these seats early though, so then you will need to upgrade to a larger size to continue to keep your child safest. Infant seats will display the height and weight limits on their labeling, so it is very important that parents and guardians pay attention to these labels to know if the child is still in the appropriate height and weight limits. If they are too tall and/or heavy, the seat no longer protects them as it should, and the child needs a larger seat to keep safe.

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October 10, 2014

Safety Inquiry Arises to Investigate FitBit Wristbands

by Levin & Perconti

Health and fitness has been on the rise in popularity, and many people are taking steps to become their better and healthier selves. With the increase in working out and nutrition, the market for health and fitness products has also expanded. It is not uncommon these days to see advertising and promotions for unique fitness apparel, equipment, and high-end digital scales and gadgets that we even wear to track our progress. However, with the wider availability of products have come concerns for safety as well.

Under product liability law, companies and manufacturers have a legal duty to provide safe products to consumers. Under this legal duty they must inspect products for dangers and defects, remove dangerous or defective products from the marketplace, and warn consumers about known dangers. Where they fail to discover a danger that should have been found and a consumer is injured, the company can be held liable in a product liability lawsuit. A company cannot claim that they simply did not know about a danger because it is their duty to inspect, look for, and discover these dangers. To act otherwise is negligence, or “willful blindness.”

Other products can be dangerous unless handled properly and used with specific instructions. With these products, companies must adhere warning labels and instructions to the product so that users do not sustain injury from improper use. Common examples of products that come with warnings and instructions are foods that must be stored at certain temperatures and heated to proper temperatures before consumptions, appliances that get extremely and are potential burn hazards, and electronics.

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October 7, 2014

Six Flags Roller Coaster Catches Fire and Collapses

by Levin & Perconti

There are many favorite American pastimes, and one that has seemed to continually gain popularity is visiting amusement parks. While the ferris wheels of yester year still exist and are an enjoyable tradition, the amusement parks of today often consist of thrilling rides to quench the thirst of the adrenaline seeker. However, as American amusement park rides get bigger and better, so must the safety standards that go with them. These two things – a terrifying coaster and adhering to safety – must coincide.

The law of premises liability includes amusement and theme parks. Because the guests of these parks are paying patrons, known under tort law as invitees, they must be afforded the utmost care by the landowners and operators. Under the legal duty owed to invitees, landowners and operators must routinely inspect the grounds for known dangers, remedy any discovered dangers in a timely manner, and make invitees aware of any known dangers. Where an invitee is injured on the ground due to a danger that should have been known of or already fixed, then the amusement park can be held liable for negligence in a lawsuit. The plaintiff must then prove that their injuries and suffering were the result of negligence by the park where as a patron they should have been warned about the danger, or the danger should have been discovered by the park and fixed.

According to recent news by KTLA 5 a Six Flags Magic Mountain rollercoaster, known as Colossus, caught fire and collapsed. The roller coaster had been closed for renovation and was being worked on by crews at the time of the fire who were using heat equipment. No injuries from smoke and falling debris have yet been reported, and the accident is still under investigation. Photos from the accident show a pillar of smoke rising from the peak, the highest point in the ride. Portions of the rollercoaster were charred black, and planks of began to fall to the ground below, and then eventually part of the track collapsed.

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October 3, 2014

Keep Halloween Full of the Right Kind of Fright, Not Personal Injuries

by Levin & Perconti

Fall is getting into full swing in Chicagoland, and it’s a favorite time of year for many. With the summer heat winding down and giving us enjoyable 70 degree days, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy the weather and observe the changing Midwest foliage. With the arrival of autumn, that means a favorite holiday of many is soon arriving: Halloween.

Halloween is a fun holiday for people of all ages, both children and adults. However, because the day of the actual holiday is a fun celebration for our youth, it is important to know and understand safety practices to keep everyone free from dangers and injuries. With so much celebrating, activities, and parties going on at the same time with people out and about outdoors, accidents can easily happen, especially if people are not being as vigilant as they should be. Such a busy and exciting time is no time for negligence, but with extra attention to safety, accidents and injuries can be avoided.

According to a report by the website Emergency Care For You by the American College of Emergency Physicians, many dangers and injuries can be prevented or avoided with the knowledge of safety practices. It is estimated that 41 million children go trick-or-treating in the United States, and the risk of a child being hit by a car is about four times higher on Halloween than any other night of the year. In addition to motor vehicle accidents, other common child injuries include eye injuries from sharp objects and burns from flammable costumes. It is advised that children have constant adult supervision while trick-or-treating and that these adults act as good role models by acting safely and promote that the children act in safe manners. Adult supervisors should make sure that the children stay on sidewalks, keep off streets, and obey all traffic signals. Furthermore, adults should encourage the importance of group safety and keep children and adults together in a group. Because costumes can also be hazardous, costumes that can cause children to trip should be avoided. This means avoiding costumes with baggy pants, long hems, high heels, etc., or costumes that obstruct vision. It is also helpful to avoid dark-colored costumes to increase visibility or by adding reflective tape to costumes and taking a flashlight along. Also, all candy should be inspected before consumption, and avoid all candy that is not in an original wrapper.

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September 29, 2014

Peanut Allergy Scare Spurs Recall of Mislabeled M&M’s Milk Chocolate Candies

by Levin & Perconti

When we purchase food products it is important for our health and safety that these products are properly labeled listing all ingredients. By knowing what is found in our foods, we as consumers can make an informed choice about what we eat. Knowing what is in our foods is also extremely important because many of us suffer from allergies or medical complications that can be triggered by the foods we ingest.

For that reason, it is the legal duty of manufacturers under products liability law to properly and adequately label food products with ingredients and warnings so as to keep consumers safe from avoidable dangers. By doing so, companies are abiding by their legal duty to inform customers of any known dangers. However, when companies negligently mislabel or fail to label their foods and injuries occur, they have breached this legal duty and are liable to injured customers. For that reason, it is also the duty of these businesses to inspect their foods for any known dangers and remove dangerous or defective goods from the marketplace so that consumers cannot be harmed.

According to a recent article by the Hamlet Hub, the well known candy brand M&M’s is recalling their milk chocolate theater box candies for mislabeling and improperly putting peanut M&M’s within the packaging. In this recall, these candies may contain peanut butter, but this was not listed on the ingredient label on the outside box. This problem came to the attention of the company after a consumer notified them of a package containing peanut butter candies inside a Milk Chocolate Theater Box.

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September 19, 2014

Customer Brings Suit Against Walgreens for Slip and Fall From Bad Lighting

by Levin & Perconti

Your local drugstore or pharmacy is more likely than not often busy. That is because these establishments are venues that provide vital needs of all sorts for the majority of people. Chances are that you have visited a drugstore establishment recently. Whether to have a prescription filled, purchase vitamins, or get a bottle of shampoo, drugstores fulfill needs by providing products and medicines that we all need at some point or another.

Because these stores are frequent stops for many people, they should be safe and free from dangers when we visit them. As you may know, the law of premises liability law tells us that when a store fails to keep its store safe for customers and an injury results, they can be held liable for personal injuries in a premises liability lawsuit. Landowners, especially commercial entities whose visitors make purchases on their property, are liable to their visitors and have a legal duty to keep them safe from harm. Under this duty, the owners and operators must consistently maintain the premises and routinely check for dangers, remedy all known dangers in a timely manner, and warn the customers of any known dangers. Where the business fails in any of these regards and a customer is injured, that business is responsible.

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September 17, 2014

Attention Brought to Choking Hazard Posed by Bean Bag Chairs in Light of Recent Deaths

by Levin & Perconti

There are all sorts of fun and entertaining products made specifically for children. However, when products made for children are dangerous and defective and pose a risk for injury or death, that fun is quickly diminished and replaced with fear. Our attorneys believe that parents and children should not have to live with a fear of whether or not the products they use are safe or will cause them serious harm. For that reason we both bring our readers news about product recalls and continue to fight for these dangerous products to be removed from the marketplace through product liability lawsuits.

In product liability cases, companies and manufacturers can be held liable if their dangerous or defective product was the cause of injury or death. In order to hold a commercial entity liable, a plaintiff must prove that the company knew about the defect but failed to remove the item from the marketplace, failed to properly inspect the product for defects they would have otherwise discovered, and/or failed to warn consumers about known dangers. If a plaintiff can establish these factors, they can recover compensation for their injuries or for the wrongful death of a loved one.

Imagine back to when you were little. As a small child you often looked forward to Saturday morning to wake up and grab a bowl of your favorite cereal and watch Saturday morning cartoons. Oftentimes you probably did this in a bean bag chair to be cozy and close to the television.

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September 12, 2014

Risks of Burns from Hewlett-Packard Power Cords Prompts Recall

by Levin & Perconti

Whether for work, studying, or leisure, most of us use a computer on a daily basis. Computers are everywhere in our lives: in our offices, in our cars on the dashboard and GPS system, and in our phones. In this modern day, computers have become entwined with how we function day to day as a community. With computers being such a significant facet of our society, they should also be safe products to use.

However, as recent news relays, that is not always the case. A recent article by the International Business Times reports that there has been a recall over a risk of burns from Hewlett-Packard power cords. The article states that there have been concerns that not only could these power cords overheat and cause burns but that the overheating also poses a fire hazard as well. As a result, Hewlett-Packard has recalled over six million power cords from the United States and Canada. This voluntary recall occurred after 29 people reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that their power cords had caused burns or melted. In total there have been two claims of minor burns and 13 claims of minor property damage. The recall is specifically for the power cords named “LS-15,” which was sold with Hewlett-Packard and Compaq notebooks and mini notebooks and with AC adapter-powered accessories like docking stations. Customers have been advised to immediately stop using these cords. It is estimated that approximately 5.6 million cords will be recalled in the United States and 446,700 in Canada.

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September 5, 2014

Pedestrian Hit-and-Run Accident in Chicago Suburb

by Levin & Perconti

It is always very upsetting to learn of hit-and-run accidents in the news. When such accidents occur, the wrongdoer responsible for the accident fails to take accountability out of their own volition. Not only are they breaching their legal duty of care to those they cause injury, but they are abandoning a moral duty and lacking the compassion to care for a person hurt and in need.

These accidents can be even worse to hear of when they involve a collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian. As you know, pedestrian accidents are extremely dangerous and can cause victims to suffer significant personal injuries and death. Unfortunately these types of accidents are all too common through Illinois, particularly the Chicagoland area where a number of people rely upon city sidewalks on a daily basis. Because vehicles are so much larger in height and weight than a person, these accidents often leave victims with permanent and life altering injuries. Since these accidents are so severe, victims can undergo injuries to vital areas of their bodies, like the head and neck, resulting in nerve damage or spinal chord paralysis. Other permanent injuries could also even include broken bones, dislocated limbs, or complete loss of a limb.

Recent news by the Chicago Tribune discusses a recent accident in the Chicago suburb of West Chicago where a motorist fled the scene after colliding with a pedestrian. Around 11:40 p.m. at the intersection of Fair Oaks Road and Trieste Lane, a driver struck the victim who had just exited a vehicle, according to police. The driver, hailing from the Chicago suburb of Carol Stream, then left the scene. She was later arrested for having struck a pedestrian and feeling the scene of the accident. She was also charged with failure to report an accident involving an injury - a Class 2 felony.

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September 4, 2014

Bicyclist killed in Chicago Bridgeport Neighborhood

by Levin & Perconti

Bicycling has greatly increased as a method of transportation in Chicago, both for commuting and leisure. However, when there is a lack of safety, whether on the part of motorists or the cyclists, serious bicycling accidents can and do occur. By reporting on and discussing such accidents with our readers, our attorneys hope to raise awareness of bicycle safety to both motorists and cyclists so that accidents can be avoided and prevented.

According to a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, a bicyclist was killed in an accident in the Chicago neighborhood of Bridgeport. The report indicates that the bicylist was struck by an SUV while riding through a red light. Around11 p.m., the cyclist was riding west on 33rd Street and failed to stop at a red light at the intersection on Emerald Avenue. This occurred about four blocks from the cyclist's home in Bridgeport.

Even though the driver of the SUV was cited for not having a driver's license, it appears from the report that the collision with the cyclist was not the fault of the motorist, exemplifying the notion that in addition to motorists safely sharing the roads with cyclists, cyclists need to ride safely and defensively and follow the same rules of the road that motor vehicles must follow. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, by law, bicycles are vehicles and therefore share the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles. That is why cyclists must also obey the rules of the road, such as stopping at red lights and stop signs. Cyclists can also take steps to keep themselves safer while driving, such as wearing a helmet to protect the most vital area of their body from injury. Also, bicyclists should use extra caution when riding their bicycle at night since they are more difficult to see. Reflective clothing and bicycle lights help make cyclists more visible.

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August 29, 2014

Wrigley Field Fall Leads to Premises Liability Lawsuit Against Chicago Cubs

by Levin & Perconti

While growing up, chances are that you saw a cartoon where a character was walking along and slipped on a banana peel. However you may have not realized that these cartoons were comically presenting a real issue of the law: premises liability. The banana peel that you saw your favorite character slip on was actually a hazard that a landowner should have known about, fixed, or warned visitors about. While these accidents appear funny in cartoon, unfortunately in real life slip and fall accidents can leave victims with serious personal injuries.

According to a recent article by the Cook County Record, a woman is suing the Chicago Cubs after she experienced a slip and fall accident in a Wrigley Field bathroom. She filed a premises liability lawsuit this month in Cook County Circuit Court. The complaint describes how she was in a bathroom on the main level when she slipped in a puddle of water that was on the floor and became injured. The complaint accuses the Chicago Cubs Baseball Club LLC of failing to maintain the premises in a safe condition. The plaintiff seeks over $50,000 in damages.

Slip and fall accidents are common claims in premises liability lawsuits. Landowners, particularly in this instance owners and operators of commercial property, have a legal duty of care to those on the premises to keep them safe and not cause injury. When a visitor to commercial property suffers injury, such as through a slip and fall accident, the property owner may be held liable through a premises liability lawsuit. In a premises liability lawsuit the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that injury was caused by the property owner failing to maintain property, that the property owner caused an unsafe condition, or that the property owner knew about the hazard on the premises but failed to warn those on the property. If the landowner's negligence in remedying or inspecting for the dangers led to injuries, they can be held liable as it was their duty to provide safe premises and keep invitees free from danger and injury.

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