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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August 28, 2014

Premises Liability Issue: Illinois Recycling Plant Explosion Kills Two

by Levin & Perconti

When going to our place of employment, we have the right to expect and trust that our work environment is a safe place to conduct business. Whether in a manual labor job or a desk job, all workers deserve to work in safe place where they will be free from harm or injury. This means employers are to inspect premises for dangers and repair them, provide necessary equipment to keep employees safe, have standards of safety that those in the organization are to adhere to, and warn employees of any known dangers. When an employer fails to provide a safe work environment and injury results to an employee, that individual may be able to hold the employer liable for the worksite accident in a premises liability lawsuit.

In the southern Illinois town of Granite City, two people are dead and several have been injured in a recycling plant explosion where over 160 people work, according to news by CBS. At Totall Metal Recycling a mortar shell exploded causing injuries and death. Authorities are not allowing anyone near the scene of the explosion at this time for risk of another explosion if more mortar shells happen to be inside the plant. According to the website of the plant, they recycle all types of metals from computers to even motor vehicles. They also frequently deal with the ammunition industry.

As premises liability law dictates, a landowner must prevent injury to others by inspecting the premises for dangers, fixing any discovered and known dangers, and warning those on the premises of known dangers and hazards. Because the website stated that they frequently deal with the ammunition industry, this begs the question of whether the company should have had the knowledge to know that active explosives could enter the plant, detonate, and harm employees. If so, perhaps the company should have inspected for such dangers and remedied the danger upon inspection. While the explosion is still under investigation, it worth deliberating that if inspection for such a hazard had been conducted, that death and injury to employees would not have occurred.

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August 22, 2014

Brita Recalls Water Bottles That Pose a Risk for Injuries to Children

by Levin & Perconti

As consumers we trust that the products we buy are safe for our use and free from any defects that may pose us harm. Under products liability law, it is the duty of companies and manufacturers to provide safe goods to consumers by inspecting goods for dangers, removing dangerous goods from the marketplace, or warning consumers of known dangers. Although it is the legal duty of companies to not cause injury through dangerous products, at least as adult people we can be aware of these dangers and receive warnings from companies.

However, consider children who do not know to be on the lookout for dangers in the things they use in their daily lives and trust that they are not in harm's way. Children are often not emotionally mature enough to understand dangers that are commonly around us, particularly if the dangers exist in something that is ordinarily not dangerous, like their food and toys. It is understandably a hard concept for such a young mind to grasp that an everyday item could cause them harm, particularly if the same item of another brand is safe. Without this differentiation or knowledge, children can easily be in harm's way from dangerous products. Nevertheless, it is the legal duty of companies to provide safe products for consumers, especially to children who require more protection than adults.

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August 20, 2014

Train Collision Results in Toxic Spill and Mass Evacuation

by Levin & Perconti

Trains are a popular mode of transportation throughout the country, both locally and across states. Frequently, commuters and travelers use trains such as the CTA el, the Metra, and the Amtrak. However, it is not just people who rely on trains to get to their destinations, but companies use trains, like freight trains, to transport goods for their businesses. These long distance trains often carry cargo across over long distances across state lines. Due to its central location and being home to a number of large corporations, Illinois is a national hub for commercial train transportation. As a result, we frequently read about train accidents that occur and the devastation these incidents can bring to individuals and communities.

Because these trains are large vehicles with many cars that carry a large amount of people and/or a great deal of cargo at one time, when trains get in an accident, the collisions can be extremely serious. This was the case as reported by WREG News Channel 3. Two people were injured and two were killed when two trains collided head on near Highway67 in Arkansas. In addition to the human lives lost, families were evacuated from their homes nearby the accident due to toxic chemicals being spilled from one train. Currently the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the collision, but authorities currently have no idea how two trains could have collided head on.

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August 15, 2014

McCormick Spices Recalls Oregano Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination

by Levin & Perconti

Who doesn’t love the smell of spices simmering on the stove in a freshly made pasta sauce? Or the smell of Italian seasons wafting from the oven as a pizza bakes inside? The first bite of freshly made spices with an eclectic variety is the best taste too. We anticipate that dish that we spent a great deal of time and preparation on to be exquisite too, with its delicious aroma and bouquet of seasonings. However, with all the work and preparation people put into gourmet foods, chances are that they did not prepare these entrees with a side of salmonella and food poisoning.

As many food-lovers know, oregano is a popular spice for many loved dishes. It’s commonly found in pastas, sauces, and as a seasoning for meats. It’s a staple in many home spice cabinets as is the popular brand McCormick. However, recent news from Baltimore Business Journal has relayed that McCormick spice company has recalled their oregano for salmonella contamination. Under a voluntary recall, the company is recalling 74,000 bottles of ground oregano. The bottles at issue will be the 0.75 ounce bottles with Universal Product Code of 0-52365106 and contain best-buy dates of August 21st and August 22nd. The potentially contaminated bottles were shipped to 41 states across the country and internationally between April 4th and August 5th. McCormick became aware of the contamination after a routine inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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August 14, 2014

Amusement Park Attendees Trapped on Roller Coaster For Over Five Hours

by Levin & Perconti

Imagine that you’ve done it. You’ve seen all of the commercials and heard all of the hype. You are finally going to face your fears. You travel to your nearest amusement park and get in line for that notorious crazy adrenaline-inducing coaster you’ve been hearing about for months. Finally, it’s your turn, and you board the coaster, take off for your ride, and become stuck upside down.

This is extremely frightening to think about happening, but it unfortunately occurred to patrons of Six Flags, according to a recent article by Slate. Two dozen patrons of the amusement park were stranded on the ride “Joker’s Jinx” 75 feet in the air for five hours. Firefighters had to put up a 105-foot tower ladder in order to reach the track of the ride. They then removed some fencing around the ride in order to access the cars in which the people were trapped. The firefighters then had to remove people from the cars via buckets by placing harnesses on each rider and lowering them one at a time. The first responders also had to bring those stranded on the ride water, umbrellas, and sunblock to prevent sun-stricken and heat injuries. Authorities are still investigating the cause as to why the ride stopped.

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August 7, 2014

Lawsuit Against Pepe’s in Chicago Echoes Precedent of Famous McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit

by Levin & Perconti

The next time you order a hot beverage from your favorite fast food restaurant or coffee establishment, examine your cup for words cautioning you about the beverage you are going to consume being hot. In case you have never noticed these words before, they are actually a legal warning by the company to the consumer regarding a known danger of the product. By placing these words on the container, the company is warning the consumer about the temperature of the beverage. However, when temperatures of beverages and food are so hot as to become an inherent danger to the consumer by the very degree of temperature, they can be deemed more hot than reasonable, a danger to the customer, and a breach of a legal duty by the company.

According to a recent article by the Cook County Record, a lawsuit has been filed against Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant in Cook County Circuit Court for injuries caused by their chili con queso which the legal claim calls unreasonably hot. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff picked up a carry-out order from a local Pepe’s restaurant and placed the order of chili con queso between her legs as to prevent it from tipping over. The chili con queso was inside a plastic container inside of a white paper bag. However, during the drive the queso spilled from the container, which caused the paper bag between her legs to dissolve and the hot food to soak through her jeans, burning her legs. The suit claims that the queso was so hot as to cause “redness, blistering, and bilateral partial and full thickness second and third degree burns to her right and left anterior thighs.” The burns in total covered 9.5% of her body and led to hyponatremia and significant infection, which required her to undergo surgical debridement and remedial skin graft procedures. The plaintiff claims that Pepe’s “carelessly, negligently, and recklessly,” improperly secured the container, and failed to warn her that the queso was hot enough to cause severe burns.

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August 1, 2014

Chicago Father Files Lawsuit After Son Drowns in McKinley Park Pool

by Levin & Perconti

When we think of summertime and pools, we envision many things. We think of kicking back on a raft relaxing, warm sunshine as we float in the cool water, having splash fights with our friends in the hot sun, or sliding down a water slide. Wrongful death lawsuits are typically not on the top of one’s mind when they think of spending summer days by the pool, but unfortunately drowning is a common occurrence every year in public and private pools in the Chicago area.

According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, a father of a teen who died last year at a public pool is suing the Chicago Park District. He alleges that officials at the pool failed to properly monitor the area and provide aid to the boy. The teen boy died last August at the McKinley Park pool on Pershing Road in Chicago. Witnesses to the drowning described that the boy dove into the deep end of the pool and didn’t come up to the surface for over a minute. They also described that they did not see a lifeguard perform CPR on the boy. The father filed the lawsuit in the Cook County Court and claims that the Chicago Park District, through its lifeguards, failed to monitor and control the premises to help the boy. The suit claims that the teen’s father and brother have suffered as a result of the death and asks for over $50,000 in damages.

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July 30, 2014

Ingestion Hazard to Children Sparks Toy Recall

by Levin & Perconti

While children are young and still learning about the world around them, their adult parents and guardians must look after their well-being and teach them safe habits. It is common for a parent to teach their child important safety lesson such as to stay away from the stove to avoid being burned from the hot surface, to not run by a pool for risk of falling and being hurt, or not to put certain toys and other objects near their mouth or eyes for risk of choking or poking their eyes. However, sometimes these warnings may fall on deaf ears and children are young and cannot appreciate the severity of dangers around them, or like other humans, learn from experiences.

This is common knowledge to most everyone that children learn by physically, visually, and tactilely experiencing their environment. With this knowledge, manufacturers of toys, clothes, and other products are aware of children’s common behaviors, such as putting objects in their mouths. By having this knowledge, companies have a legal duty to not manufacture products for children that could cause them harm through their everyday behaviors and habits. When companies fail to take measures to protect children, and children are injured as a result of this neglect to properly manufacture a product accordingly, the company can be held liable in a product liability lawsuit.

According to recent news by the Columbus CEO, Maxfield & Oberton Holdings, the maker of Buckyballs, has been ordered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall their product. This is following a two-year effort to get Buckyballs off of the market. For those unfamiliar with Buckyballs, they are sets of tiny yet powerful magnetic sticking balls. The commission argues that the high-powered magnets pose an ingestion hazard to children. Because the balls are significantly stronger than most magnets, they could pose a greater danger if they are swallowed.

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July 25, 2014

Nationwide Fruit Recall From Major Grocers Due to Listeria

by Levin & Perconti

From the time we are kids, we are told how important it is to eat our fruits and vegetables to be conscious of our health. These foods are generally very nutritious and full of the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. However, when these foods are not properly handled by grocers or producers, they can become contaminated and cause food poisoning or even fatal disease in unknowing consumers. Because we trust that the foods we purchase are safe for consumption and rely on producers and growers to provide healthy and safe foods, it is the legal duty of commercial food producers and merchants under the law to inspect foods, remove those that are unsafe or contaminated, and to warn consumers of known dangers.

According to CBS News, fruit is being recalled from major grocers for due to possible listeria contamination. Wawona, a fruit-packing company based out of California, announced a recall of their peaches, plums, nectarines, and pluots. Some of the fruit has tested positive for listeria. The fruit at issue was packed between June 1, 2014 through July 12, 2014 and was shipped to major grocers, such as Trader Joe’s and Costco. As our readers know, under products liability law, it is the job of producers and stores to inspect products for damage and contamination, remove the dangerous products from the stream of commerce, and to warn consumers about the known dangers. Where a company fails to do this and a consumer suffers injury as a result of their failing to do so, they have breached their legal duty and can be held liable in a lawsuit.

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