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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November 14, 2014

Drivers Be on the Lookout For Deer As Days Grow Shorter

by Levin & Perconti

Several weeks ago we turned back the clocks to “fall behind” for Daylights Savings’ end. However, the progression of the autumn season means that it is getting darker earlier and earlier each day as we quickly approach winter. Fewer daylight hours mean less time on the road with light and more time in the dark so drivers need to use extra caution when driving in darker conditions.

In addition to darker conditions, Illinois drivers must also be on the look-out for deer who are more active from October to December due to dropping temperatures, increased hunting and mating season. Deer are easily scared and often active during darker times of the day, so drivers must be vigilant to avoid collisions with these animals. Deer commonly dart into roads in front of cars and even to stop in the middle of the road when scared, hence the colloquial phrase “a deer in the headlights.” Because of this, it is not uncommon for deer-related motor vehicle accidents to occur in Illinois.

According to an article by the Benton Evening News, about four in every five crashes occurs on rural roadways, and almost 80% occur at twilight or nighttime. Furthermore, about 40-50% of deer related accidents occur during the months of October, November, and December. Both the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have announced that crashes involving deer are thankfully on the decline in Illinois. However, even though these numbers are lower, deer-related crashes are still a frequent problem for Illinois drivers. The data has shown that motor vehicle crashes from deer have dropped from 15,495 in 2012 to 15,334 in 2013, resulting in an overall 1% decrease.

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November 13, 2014

Downtown Chicago Crash Injures Illinois State Trooper and Another Victim

by Levin & Perconti

It is always unfortunate when one person’s recklessness and negligence negatively impacts others, causing them injury or suffering. Oftentimes this happens in the case of motor vehicle accidents, which we see time and time again in the news. This week was unfortunately no different when a downtown Chicago accident injured two people including an Illinois State trooper.

According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, a man tried to leave the scene of a traffic stop and crashed into another vehicle in the River North neighborhood. A state trooper suffered from a broken finger in the process and the driver of the other vehicle was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital due to injuries from the crash. The accident occurred in the 500 block of North Franklin Street. Charges are now pending against the man who crashed and tried to flee the accident. Had the man not attempted to flee from an accident, the officer would not have been injured in the process of trying to apprehend him, nor would the other driver have suffered serious injuries. Fleeing is both a disregard for the law and for the lives and well-being of those involved in the accident.

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November 7, 2014

Fiat Chrysler Issues Recalls On Over 566,000 Vehicles For Fire & Electrical Safety Issues

by Levin & Perconti

Many Americans rely on their vehicles every day for basic needs. Our cars take us to and from work and school and picking up members of our family from Point A to Point B. Our cars are our source of transportation when we need to do our chores, like going to the grocery store and getting food for our family. When we buy a vehicle, we trust that it is safe and reliable and there to make our lives easier, not put us and our loved ones in the way of danger.

According to a recent article by Daily Finance, over 566,000 vehicles have been recalled by Fiat Chrysler for fire and electrical safety issues. There has been an issue with Fiat Chrysler trucks and SUVs where malfunctioning fuel heaters have caused fires and a software glitch has disabled the electronic stability control of the vehicle. After this recall, the company’s total recalls for the year now reach 6.4 million vehicles worldwide, and 5.1 million of these are in the United States alone.

The article further explains the defects with the engines in trucks and electrical systems in the SUVs. In trucks that have a 6.7-Liter Cummins diesel engine (such as numerous Ram models), corrosion on a fuel heater could cause overheating, fuel leaks, and resulting fires. Owners should be aware of odors of diesel fuel signifying danger. In the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, debris cover over the circuit board in the steering column could disrupt communications and disable stability control. Customers have reported seeing their stability control warning lights come on.

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November 3, 2014

Mother & Three Children Killed in Vandalia Train Crossing Accident

by Levin & Perconti

Through our blogs, we frequently remind our readers of the importance of safety around on the roads and around trains and railroad crossings. Train collisions are incredibly dangerous, especially due to the immense size of trains and the speeds at which they travel. For these reasons, train accidents can cause victims to suffer serious personal injuries or even death. Illinois is a major hub for interstate train travel and accidents are unfortunately all too common. Both passenger and freight trains pass through all of Illinois in high frequency, and for that reason, it is imperative that people practice safety and vigilance when around trains and crossings.

One recent accident reported by ABC highlights the importance of using caution and common sense around train crossings in order to protect and our passengers. According to the article, a mother and three of her children were en route to a Halloween parade in Vandalia, Illinois when the mother decided to drive her SUV around a set of railroad gates, putting the vehicle in the path of a freight train. As a result, she and the three children were kill and a fourth child suffered injury. Illinois State Police have confirmed from their investigation that that the crossing gates were down with lights flashing when the driver went around the gates. The train camera also recorded the accident, which supports that this driver was not stuck in traffic but volitionally went around the gates. The article explains that even though this is a congested area and that it was rainy, this driver still should have been able to see the train coming. The train engineer also tried to alert the driver by sounding the bell and whistle.

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October 31, 2014

Avoid Pumpkin-Carving Injuries With These Fall Safety Tips

by Levin & Perconti

All around Chicagoland neighborhoods, fall is in the air, as are the fall harvest-themed holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. With these holidays comes the popularity of decorating gourds and pumpkins and cooking many pumpkin-flavored baked goods like pies, breads, and cakes. However, to decorate pumpkins or cut them open for baking can require significant skill and dexterity with knives of the larger and sharper variety. It is for this reason that we share these safety tips with our readers so that they can be aware of the dangers associated with pumpkin-carving and utilize this knowledge to prevent personal injury or injuries to others

Consumer Reports describes how every October, pumpkin carving accidents result in hand injuries at four to five times the normal rate. Hospitals commonly see cuts, puncture wounds, and lacerations that have caused damage to nerves, tendons, and joints.

To prevent such injuries, Consumer Reports advises following some safety tips. First, never let young children carve a pumpkin. Children under the age of 14 should never be handling knives to carve the pumpkin. If they want to participate with this tradition, instead let them draw the pattern with a marker or clean out the inside of the pumpkin. Second, to prevent injury to all parties involved, make sure you are using the right tools. There are specialty tools available to purchase specifically meant for pumpkin-carving, including sawing, poking holes, and scooping. Using an instrument that is small helps for better control versus a large knife. Next, it’s always important to have a good working environment. Be sure to carve your pumpkin in a clean and well-lit area. Never carve in a rush either, and make sure you have plenty of time as this can be a time-consuming task. Lastly, do your decorative work before taking the top off of the pumpkin. In this way, you will be preventing yourself from putting your hand inside of the pumpkin while cutting it, thus reducing your vulnerability to injury.

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October 27, 2014

Baby Wipes Recalled For Possible Contamination

by Levin & Perconti

As parents and guardians know, a lot goes into childcare and parents are always working to provide their children with the best care possible. Among these many needs includes healthy nutrition, cleanliness and proper hygiene, and helping them learn and expand their minds. For all of these needs there are many children’s products available at local which caregivers need to frequently purchase for their children.

When these products are damaged, contaminated, or defective, instead of helping children, the products may put them in danger of injury or sickness. When a child suffers injury or illness from such a product because a company negligently placed a dangerous good in the marketplace, the caregiver may be able to hold the company, store, and/or manufacturer liable through a product liability lawsuit.

The Huffington Post reported that there has been a recall on a popular baby wipes brand out of concern for contamination. Nutek Disposables, Inc. issued the voluntary recall at the retail level for wipes were sold under various brand names such as Cuties, Fred’s, Diapers.com, Femtex, Member’s Mark, Kidgets, Sunny Smiles, Simply Right, Well Beginnings, and Tender Touch. These brands are commonly found at Sam’s Club, Family Dollar, and Walgreens.

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October 17, 2014

Beef Processor Recalls 90,987 Pounds of Beef for Potential Contamination

by Levin & Perconti

Every week, many Americans consume beef products. From hamburgers to soups to pot roast to sandwiches, beef is an extremely common food in many of our diets. Because it is so frequently purchased and consumed, that is all the more reason that it should be thoroughly inspected and properly handled and packaged in a way to prevent contamination and maintain safety. Under product liability law, companies have a legal duty to prevent injury to customers via defective and dangerous products, such as contaminated food, by inspecting products for dangers, removing such items from the marketplace, and warning customers about known dangers. When a company fails and breaches this duty with food products, customers may suffer illness or injury as a result of food poisoning.

According to a recent report by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, one beef processor has recalled ground beef due to possible foreign matter contamination. The processor, Sam Kane Beef Processors, is recalling 90,987 pounds of ground beef that could have been contaminated. All of the products were produced between September 9th and September 18th with sell by dates of September 29th and October 8th. The products include 3 lb. packages of ground chuck with establishment number 337, 5 lb. packages of ground beef with establishment number 337, 10 lb. packages of ground beef with establishment number 337, and 10 lb. clear film packages of formed patties also with establishment number 337. Even though these sell by dates are from 2 weeks ago, it is possible that many people could still have these products in their home freezers as meat can be frozen and used months later. If you have any of these beef products in your home, it is recommended that you dispose of them immediately.

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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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