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An Interesting Twist on Personal Injury Law: A New Type of Plaintiff

Illinois personal injury law allows people to make claims based on the loss of companionship of a loved one. Monetary damages attempt to put people back in the position they were in prior to an injury or accident; sometimes this happens by compensating people for pain and suffering or the loss of a family member.

More specifically, Chicago product liability lawsuits allow people the potential to achieve justice when loved ones are harmed by dangerous, flawed, or infected products. But what happens when our loved ones aren’t persons?

According to recent reports by MSNBC, American government health officials are increasing port-inspections for dangerous toxins for shipments of chicken jerky pet treats from China.

To date, more than 500 dogs have been sickened in the past six months – some fatally so – because the jerky treats contain traces of melamine and melamine analogs and diethylene glycol, chemicals used in plastics and resins. These chemicals can be extremely dangerous for pets; in fact, in 2007, melamine-tainted imported pet food sickened and killed thousands of dogs and cats in the United States. This is the agency’s third alert in the past four years about the treats.

As a result of ingesting these chemicals, the U.S. FDA reports that common effects in dogs are serious problems such as kidney failure and Fanconi syndrome, a condition marked by low blood sugar.

When corporations manufacture products that are marketed to consumers, those companies are responsibility for ensuring that the merchandise meets all safety requirements; companies are expected to test their products before distributing them to the public, and when those products are unsafe and cause harm to customers, the corporation may be held legally responsible for the injuries caused. In this case, it was the responsibility of the companies who produced the chicken treats to ensure they were safe for pets to consume.

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not released the names of any specific brands linked to the defective dog treats, the illness appear to be tied to imported Chinese chicken jerky products, also sold as chicken tenders, chicken strips or chicken treats, reported MSNBC.

Another important concern in Illinois personal injury law is the concept that a person or business has a legal duty to use reasonable care to avoid causing emotional distress to another person. If a company’s negligent actions – such as failing to ensure that the dog treats were safe for pets – cause emotional distress to a person, the business may be made to pay damages to the injured person. For many Illinoisans, dogs are considered an important part of the family, and their deaths, as a result of a corporation’s negligent may constitute a tort.

If you’ve lost a loved one – either person or pet – in a situation which you believe may be a result of the negligence of corporation, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover the costs involved to pay for medical and funeral expenses, and suffering or mental anguish suffered by the survivors of the decedent. Contact an attorney to understand your rights under the law.

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