March 11, 2016

Malpractice Lawsuit Settles for $30 Million Against Chicago Doctor

by Levin & Perconti

Chicago has a reputation for its phenomenal hospital system and top tier medical universities. Patients go to Chicago area hospitals trusting that they will receive the most expert care. Families bring their seriously ill loved ones to Chicago hospitals with the hope that bringing them to the best facilities with top notch doctors will help them heal and their conditions improve.

Not only should doctors live up to this reputation to represent their city and place of work, but because it is their legal duty to do so. When patients see a doctor, they are literally putting their life in the hands of the doctor. Because patients entrust themselves to a doctor, a doctor must use the utmost care and responsibility when providing healthcare to a patient. When a doctor fails in this regard, they can be held liable in a lawsuit for medical malpractice. A doctor commits malpractice when their actions or lack of actions cause a patient to suffer injury or their condition to worsen, and this would not have occurred but for the action or inaction of the medical provider.

According to a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, a family that filed a lawsuit in regards to their 6-year-old son settled a medical malpractice lawsuit for $30 million against a doctor who allegedly performed experimental surgeries on the patient. The Chicago doctor performed 25 surgeries in all on the child, and the final surgery left the boy with an irreversible brain injury and cerebral palsy. These 25 surgeries took place over a mere 17 months. The doctor utilized unproven methods to treat non-life-threatening conditions. The doctor was a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a staff member at Rush University Medical Center. The child will now require lifelong medical care.

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February 19, 2016

Keeping an Eye on Chicago Public Transportation Safety:

by Levin & Perconti

Our team of lawyers is dedicated to keeping Chicago a safe place for the members of our community, and part of that job is alerting our readers to recent events, safety concerns, and local area legal knowledge. One important issue that should be consistently on all of our minds is public transportation safety. Chicagoans, and those who live in the surrounding suburban greater metropolitan area, rely on Chicago public transportation a great deal.

Every day in the Windy City, thousands of people utilize public transportation, including our CTA buses and el system, and Metra commuter trains. When riding Chicago public transportation, riders should be able to trust that they are on a vehicle that is safe, in fully operational and functioning condition, and that they are in the hands of a fully capable and competent driver. Riders should not have to distrust the public transportation system or fear that their safety may be compromised.

Not only should riders feel comfortable on the city’s public transportation system, but employees should be kept safe as well. For instance, according to a recent article by CBS Chicago, a CTA Yellow Line derailed. The train was southbound and derailed close to the Dempster-Skokie station in the evening time. Service was not restored until the next day’s morning. The worst part about this instance though, is not the loss of service, but that two CTA employees required medical attention for injuries. Not only are passengers owed a legal duty of care while riding public transportation, but the city of Chicago and the management of CTA owe a legal duty to their employees to keep them safe in their line of work and while on duty. Employees are legally required to provide their employees with a safe working environment, warn them of known dangers, and to prevent dangerous situations from occurring.

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February 5, 2016

Britax Recalls 71,000 Car Seats Due to Dangers Posed to Infants

by Levin & Perconti

Our attorneys cannot stress enough the importance of product safety. We have frequently discussed how imperative it is that manufacturers and sellers comply with product liability laws. This might be of the greatest importance though in regards to creating and selling safe children’s products. Children and babies are at an even greater risk than adults when exposed to danger and brought in harm’s way due to a dangerous product. Where adults may have some awareness of the situation and may be able to defend themselves from danger, children are completely innocent and have no reason to expect that they are in danger. In addition, with being so small and undeveloped, they are much more easily harmed than grown and strong adults.

Product safety in regards to children’s products has been in the spotlight in the news. According to a recent report by ABC, nearly 71,000 Britax brand infant car seats are being recalled. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced this recall in wake of the knowledge of the great danger these defective seats pose. According to the CPSC, there have been over 74 reports of car seat handles breaking while in use. The handles have reported to easily develop fractures and cracks while they are used. These cases of broken handles have been so serious that they have caused infants to fall from their carrier to the ground. In one instance, an infant fell to the ground and suffered an injury to the head.

Our attorneys urge our readers to please take note of the models at issue in this recall. The car seats involved in this recall are the Britax B-Safe 35 and B-Safe 35 Elite infant car seats. Consumers are advised to immediately cease use of these car seats, and to especially not use them by the handle. Reports indicate that right now these seats are only safe to use when secured in a vehicle or stroller, but that they should never be used by the handle until further notice is relayed of repairs or new parts.

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January 15, 2016

Coffee Stand Explosion Kills Barista

by Levin & Perconti

Workplace accidents, especially those that occur in work environments that are not inherently dangerous, are all too common and tragic. They are particularly tragic because there is a common theme among these accidents of preventability. Oftentimes, these accidents occur because of the negligence of a party in charge or with some authority. In these instances, but for the negligence, the danger would have never been present and the accident never would have occurred.

Common forms of negligence in the workplace can widely vary. One example is when business operators fail to perform proper inspections of the premises. Such inspections can make business owners and operators aware of unsafe conditions and put them on notice to fix these dangers. However, a business owner cannot be willfully blind to the fact that dangerous conditions could exist but fail to attempt to discover these conditions by not having an inspection performed. Another example is when a business owner is fully aware of safe procedures to implement in the workplace but fails to require that these guidelines be followed. Lastly, a business owner may be fully aware of a dangerous condition on the premises, but neglect to attend to and fix the danger, ignore it, and continue to allow it to pose harm to others.

According to an article by Komo News, a barista died in a coffee shop explosion. The article reports that the flames overtook the shop so quickly that the barista had no chance to escape. She suffered extensive burns, which were ultimately the cause of her death. The victim had two children, who unfortunately lost their mother as a result of the accident.

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January 8, 2016

Suburban Train Accident Takes the Life of Two Vehicle Occupants

by Levin & Perconti

We have all, for the most part, been there before. We have all been in a rush to get somewhere important. We have all been running late before. We have all been in that situation where you are trying to travel somewhere as quickly as you can, and every obstacle seems to be thrown your way. However, while inconveniences and running late are a huge annoyance and can greatly damper plans, in perspective, they are never worth risking your life for.

Far too often, people are reckless in common traffic situations due to being behind in time or being impatient. Too often though, the actions people take in order to save time and beat the clock put them in “life or death” situations. It is important people realize that a few saved minutes or being exactly on time is not worth the same value as being alive.

It is also far too often that people do not appreciate the risk of the situation or the recklessness of their actions. People too often feel invincible or that the scary stories they hear in the news are not likely to happen to them. The truth of the matter is though, that negligent and reckless driving, especially around large vehicles like semis, buses, and trains, puts a driver and passengers in serious danger.

According to a recent article by CBS, a southwest suburban train accident caused the death of two vehicle occupants. Four others were injured.

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December 29, 2015

Chicago Christmas Eve Hit-and-Run Kills Pregnant Woman

by Levin & Perconti

The Christmas season is meant to be a happy and joyous time of year. It is meant to be a time for family, friends, and loved ones to gather together and celebrate time together inside from the cold with delicious drinks and food. It is meant to be a time to reminisce over the past year and look forward to the upcoming year ahead. It is meant to be a time to exchange gifts to show appreciation to those you care about. Unfortunately, this is also a time of year where many people are traveling, and when drivers are negligent and reckless, they put a stop to all of the things this time of year is meant to be.

A recent article by the Chicago Tribune relayed some tragic news that on Christmas Eve a hit-and-run pedestrian accident killed a pregnant woman. The young woman was walking across the street in the 4200 block of West Ogden Avenue on the evening of Christmas Eve. She was hit by a westbound motor vehicle, which then failed to stop and fled the scene of the accident. The victim, a resident of the 3000 block of South Keeler Avenue, was taken to the local hospital and then pronounced dead. Miraculously, after the crash, medical personnel successfully delivered the baby, who is in stable condition and expected to survive.

The driver at fault was a resident of the 2700 block of South Harding Avenue and has now been charged with the death of the victim as a felony count of aggravated driving under the influence in a fatal accident, a felony count of leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence. In addition, he was cited for driving with an open container of alcohol and a defective windshield. After appearing in court, the judge ordered that he be held in lieu of $750,000 bail at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

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December 18, 2015

Chipotle: A Case of Food Poisoning That Seems to Never Find an End

by Levin & Perconti

One of the most popular casual restaurants in the country has recently been in the spotlight in recent news over the past few weeks. However, the spotlight has not been a positive one. Chipotle Mexican Grill has been the focus of attention for a case of food poisoning that has not only affected a high volume of people, but has also been extended in length with no solution as of yet.

An article by Forbes discusses the recent outbreak of food poisoning and the popular restaurant’s negative criticisms. For instance, this past month, approximately 140 people mainly from Boston College, were recovering from a serious case of norovirus-caused gastroenteritis. The foodborne illness stemmed from eating Chipotle’s meat and produce.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been tracking this outbreak, which has shown to be widespread throughout the country. There have been incidents of Chipotle food poisoning in California, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. While we have previously blogged about how in many instances those most vulnerable to foodborne illnesses are the very young, very old, or those with weakened immune systems, this outbreak has been so significant that it has impacted people all across the board in age. According to the same article, the victims have ranged in age from one year old through 94.

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December 11, 2015

Chicago Man Dies Chasing CTA Bus

by Levin & Perconti

Often we discuss the responsibility of private and commercial drivers to be safe and respect pedestrians crossing the roads or walking on the sidewalks. However, at times it is also important to stress how important it is for pedestrians to appreciate the danger that large vehicles like cars and buses inherently present. Based on speed and size difference, motor vehicles are immensely larger than pedestrians.

For instance, per calculations available by Rush, a 5’ 10” person should be between 132 to 173 pounds. However, the average weight of a new car in 2010 is 4009 pounds, according to Slate. A bus, on the other hand, weighs up to 33,000 pounds, not including the weight of passengers, per a report by the American Public Transportation Association. This extreme difference in mass is inherently dangerous to a person, and is why we as pedestrians must be cautious around motor vehicles and buses, just as they need to be vigilant of us.

A prime example of this was reported in the Chicago Tribune. According to the article, a man was struck and killed by an eastbound 72 CTA bus in the Chicago neighborhood of Austin. He chased after it and banged on the side of it when he was unable to board in time. A witness, who watched the incident from across the street at a local fast food restaurant, reported that the man and his girlfriend went to the bus stop where the woman was able to get on the bus, but the doors closed before the man was able to board. It began to head east toward Pulaski Road, and the man chased the bus while hitting on the side of it, yelling to the bus driver to stop. The man then slipped and fell, and the bus ran him over.

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November 20, 2015

I-94 Wrong Way Crash Injures Six

by Levin & Perconti

People living and working near Chicago are well aware of how busy our interstates and highways are. These roads are more often than not very congested with cars and trucks en route to their place of work, driving family members to school, or on the road traveling for business. With how busy these roads are, they are already dangerous and high-risk accident areas. When we add negligent or reckless driving to these naturally present factors, then these roadways are a place of high risk for accidents, injury, or even death.

For instance, in a recent article by the Chicago Sun Times, a wrong-way driver has been charged in a crash that resulted in injuries to six people. The accident occurred on I-94 in south suburban South Holland. The crash occurred in the early morning when one car was traveling north in the southbound lanes of I-94 at 159th Street. Illinois State Police reported that three other vehicles were also involved in this accident.

Reports have revealed that the driver that was traveling in the wrong direction was a 22-year-old, who has been charged with an aggravated DUI. As a result of the crash six people were transported to local hospitals. Some of the injured passengers in the involved vehicles included young people, such as teens, who were taken to the hospital in critical condition. Lanes in both directions were closed, as crews needed to clear the scene for almost five hours.

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October 30, 2015

Chicago Bicyclist Struck at Lincoln Park Street Crossing

by Levin & Perconti

It’s becoming more and more common in the city of Chicago to use bicycles not just as a means for exercise or recreation, but as a method of transportation and a means to get from Point A to Point B. More frequently, Chicagoans are using bicycles for commuting to work and school or to travel for their chores and errands. The city has even recently seen the addition of bicycle lanes throughout major downtown streets. However, with more and more cyclists on the road, drivers and cyclists alike need to work together to learn to share the road and watch out for one another. When parties are negligent, accidents are almost always extremely serious, especially considering the difference is size and speed between a motor vehicle and a bicycle.

A recent article by the Chicagoist relayed some most unfortunate news about a Chicago bicyclist. An individual on a bicycle was struck by a car at a three-way intersection in the neighborhood of Lincoln Park. According to the original report, authorities believed that upon collision the cyclist died. Now, however, police are reporting that the cyclist survived the collision. Police stated that the individual is talking and in stable condition.

When the accident occurred, the cyclist was near the intersections of Lincoln Avenue, Fullerton Parkway, and Halsted Street around 12:30 in the afternoon – a busy lunch hour time in the city, where many leave work to grab a bite to eat. It is not uncommon for roads to be busy at this time, and all the more reason that everyone on the road needs to be vigilant drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike. At this time, the cyclist was hit by a car that was turning right on to Fullerton Avenue.

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October 16, 2015

General Motors Ignition Switch Flaw Linked to 169 Deaths

by Levin & Perconti

It is fairly easy to observe how much Americans rely on cars. Vehicles are so important to our way of life that we utilize them on a daily basis for work, school, errands, and leisure. Because they are so necessary in our lives, it is especially important that vehicles are safe to drive. This means it absolutely vital that manufacturers of vehicle use the utmost care in the design, assembly, and inspection of our vehicles. With vehicles being so high in volume throughout our country, when manufacturers are negligent in providing safe vehicles, this can easily lead to serious harm, such as death and injuries.

The International Business Times reported that a switch flaw in General Motors ignitions has caused 169 deaths. Recent personal injury settlements in civil class action lawsuits surrounding the flaw totaled over $575 million.

The report indicates that the switch flaw was in regards to small-car ignitions in particular, such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and other small cars. The flaw causes the ignition to slip out of the “on” position, which cuts power to the vehicle’s engine, steering, brakes, and air bags. In addition to the 169 deaths, several hundred other people have suffered injuries due to this flaw. This resulted in a class-action lawsuit consisting of 1,385 clients.

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October 8, 2015

Charter Bus and Tourist Vehicle Bridge Collision Results in the Death of Four People

by Levin & Perconti

When visiting a major city as a tourist, or even being a tourist in your own city, one of the most popular activities to do are taking a guided tour. Chicago has many varieties of tours, both on land and water. People can choose between architecture tours on boats, Segway tours, double-decker bus tours, and more. Because these activities are so popular and receive the patronage of so many paying customers, it is extremely important that these companies have fully operational and safe vehicles that are frequently inspected for flaws and problems.

A recent story by CNN exemplifies how serious a situation can become when popular tourism companies fail to keep their vehicles in properly working order, and as a result, fail to keep their customers and others on the road safe. A Seattle land and water vehicle, known as a “duck,” collided with a charter tour bus filled with international college students. The accident killed four and left others in critical condition. According to emergency responders, after the accident 44 people were hospitalized, with 12 in critical condition. The popular tourism land and water vehicles, the “Ride the Ducks of Seattle” is now closed until further notice, due to this accident.

According to a follow-up article also by CNN, federal investigators discovered that the amphibious tour vehicle had an axle that had been sheared off. The axle broke, which likely could have been a cause of the crash. Investigators found red fluid, likely from the transmission, splattered on the front left wheel well. One duck passenger described how it felt like the vehicle lost control, and she saw them heading toward the charter bus headed towards them. The accident occurred as the duck was crossing a six-lane bridge off of the downtown area.

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