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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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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