Articles Posted in Injuries to Minors and Children

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Our attorneys are always saddened to hear of tragic loss of young people in our community. It is all too often that young people are entrusted in the care of others, and even though these people or entities are aware they owe a legal duty to care for these young people, they breach that legal duty with negligence or disregard for the young person’s safety, resulting in wrongful death.

In 2008, according to a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, a young man member of the community and Oswego High School student, died after he suffered an asthma attack and collapsed in his English class. He was rushed to the emergency room, but unfortunately did not regain his breath and had no pulse. According to the hospital autopsy, the cause of death was bronchial asthma. Being only months from high school graduation, his mother then had to bury her son with the money she had set aside for his graduation party and college tuition.

Several months later, the victim’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Oswego-based District 308 and the teacher who was instructing the class at the time of her son’s collapse. In the lawsuit, the victim’s family argued that the district and teacher failed to get quick and appropriate medical care after he suffered an asthma attack, which resulted in his death. Both the district and the teacher denied these allegations. While the teacher was eventually dropped from the lawsuit, just this last month this case went to trial. After four days of deliberation, the jury found that the school district “acted with utter indifference or conscious disregard for the safety” of the victim.
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A new baby is a joy for families. There’s a brand new member of the family and a tiny life to take care of and protect. Babies require different care than grown people too, such as different sleeping schedules, different entertainment, and different food and drink. As not being fully grown and so young, they need special diets in order to receive the right nutrients and in a consistency that their tiny bodies can chew and digest. That is why there are specially made baby foods and formulas on the market and available at our local grocers. Because companies specialize in producing foods particular to the diet of a baby, we grown adults trust that the company is providing a proper nutritious and safe food since they are selling a product and calling themselves experts in that field. Unfortunately, just as instances of negligence occur in our everyday adult foods, manufacturers of baby food have been found to be negligent in their production as well. What is most unfortunate about this though is that a baby is so young and fragile that this negligence can impact them far worse than it would to an adult, and a baby is unable to communicate with language when something is wrong like an adult can.

Unfortunately, recent reports relay that Beech-Nut baby food has been recalled for glass contamination. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that Beech-Nut Nutrition is recalling approximately 1,920 pounds of baby food that may be contaminated with small pieces of glass. The food was produced on December 12, 2014, and are 4-oz. glass jars labeled as “Stage 2 Beech-Nut CLASSICS sweet potato & chicken.” The product also has the establishment number “P-68A” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products expire in December of 2016 with product numbers “12395750815” through “12395750821.”
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Companies have a legal duty to provide safe products to consumers. This includes inspecting all products for dangers, removing dangerous products from the market, and warning consumers of known dangers. These dangers can manifest in everyday products. It takes only the slightest negligence or lack of attention to details for a product to be unsafe and dangerous. These dangers can be even more hazardous to the youngest members of our families too, like children and babies. That is why it is especially important that companies and manufacturers thoroughly inspect all consumer goods they produce and sell.

According to a recent report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Blinds To Go has recalled window shades due to a strangulation hazard. The report states that the custom-made window shades’ chain or cord loop can slip out of the hold-down device, which poses a strangulation hazard for small children. The hold-down device for the cord is a clear P-shaped plastic hook, and the cord or chain loops of the shades clips into this device. The plastic hook is screwed to the side of the wall or window when the shades are installed. It was shipped with the Blinds To Go custom-made roller shades, including Sidewinders Smartlift pleated and cellular shades, Panel Tracks shades, and Serenity Shades.

The shades at issue were sold in Blinds To Go showrooms and online from January 2009 through November 2014. Consumers should stop utilizing the shades with the hook to avoid the strangulation hazard and contact the company for a retrofit kit and new hold down device.
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When we walk around the city of Chicago, we expect that we are reasonably safe. We definitely don’t expect to suddenly fall into a manhole, a piano to be dropped from a forklift, or for things to fall from the sky like a scene from a cartoon or movie. However, when people are negligent or reckless, strange and dangerous things do happen.

A recent post by the Cook County Record for instance, explains how a father is suing a Chicago landlord after an air conditioning unit cover fell and struck his daughter. The father argues that the landlord was negligent by failing to fix and repair the air conditioning unit cover or warn him of the dangerous condition.

Our attorneys stress that under premises liability law, a landowner or landlord owes a legal duty of care to those on the land or premises, such as tenants. This legal duty includes the duty to inspect the land for dangers, remedy known dangers, and to warn those on the land of known dangers. When such an accident occurs to someone living on the property, the landowner may be liable if the plaintiff can prove that the landowner’s negligence led to the injury. Often the plaintiff must show that the landowner failed to maintain the property or created the unsafe condition that was the cause of the injury.
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One of the most exciting times for families is preparing for the arrival of a newborn baby. Welcoming a little one into the home is a very important time for families because they are getting a new family member to love and take care of. Before the arrival of the baby, families go through a lot of organization and preparation to make everything is ready for when the baby is born. This can often include redoing a room into a nursery and purchasing furniture to suit the baby’s needs, such as a changing table, rocking chair, and crib. Families go through a lot of hard work to make sure that the infant will be cared for and protected, so it can be healthy and grow.

What should parents do when the items they have purchased to make their baby’s life better, are in fact dangerous and can cause injury? A recent recall covers just that issue. According to a recent article by the The Leaf Chronicle, there is a recall of Ikea crib mattresses. The reason for this recall is the potential for an entrapment hazard to infants. The crib mattresses consisted of the Vackert, Vinka, Spelevink, Sloa, and Slummer models. They were made on May 4, 2014 or earlier, and a consumer can verify if they have one of these mattresses by referring to the label attached to the mattress bearing the manufacturing date and model name. The problem lies in the fact that the gap between the mattress and crib is larger than two finger widths, which is larger than allowed by federal regulations. There have been two reports of infants who were entrapped between the mattress and the end of the crib.

Instances like this show why product liability litigation is such an important part of the law. Consumers deserve to trust that the products they are buying are suited for their purpose and free from danger. This is especially alarming because this dangerous product at issue concerns the lives of defenseless infants who are so new to the world that there is no way to comprehend they are in any sort of danger. They rely solely on their families and caregivers, who have trusted that the products they purchase for their babies are safe.
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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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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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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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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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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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