Articles Posted in Levin & Perconti in the Community

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Many Chicagoans dread winter for its bitter temperatures, slippery sidewalks, the need to bundle up extensively, and the dangerous roads and backed up traffic from inclement weather. However, to others, especially our youngest members of the community, winter can be a lot of fun and a time for recreation. As you may remember from your own childhood days, children look forward to snowfall for fun and play, especially for activities like building snowmen, snowball fights, and sledding.

While winter games and activities can be a lot of fun, people sometimes do not consider the dangers and legal consequences. Our attorneys make an effort to always keep on top of local issues and safety concerns, and to relay that knowledge back to our community. That is why the media recently turned to one of our attorneys to discuss the dangers and legal repercussions associated with sledding accidents.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Mike Bonamarte, discussed sledding accidents. In recent months many local governments, including those in Illinois, have banned sledding in public parks and properties due to the dangers and risk for injuries, such as when a child’s sled collides with a tree, street sign, hidden obstacle or vehicle on municipal property. However, the report notes that the City of Chicago is unlikely to join in on this ban and representatives continually echo the warning that sledding is at one’s own risk. Additionally, state immunity laws protect local governments from liability on most public property.
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Our Chicago attorneys make it our priority to stay on top of important issues regarding the law and safety of our community and to educate the public on legal issues relevant to them in their daily lives. Recently, Fox News reached out to us to tackle questions related to snow and ice removal related to potential premises liability litigation.

Snowy and bitter cold winters come as no surprise to Chicagoans. Our city is notorious for its harsh winters and large accumulation of snow. With so much snow, residents have a duty to shovel their driveways and sidewalks to keep the snow cleared. What many residents may not consider though, are the legal considerations regarding snow removal and shoveling.

In the report featuring attorney Marvet Sweis from our office, MyFoxChicago discussed how residents risk getting a fine or getting sued for failing to remove snow and ice from their premises in a timely manner. Many people think not shoveling their sidewalks will save them from liability if someone slips and falls in front of their home. However, Ms. Sweis relayed that isn’t the case due in part to Illinois law. She explained how the law protects residents when they shovel their driveway and sidewalk because the law recognizes that people want to be able to get in and out of their own property. Instead, homeowners can be sued only where negligent.
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An elderly woman passed away shortly after she was a patient at Applewood Nursing Home in Matteson, Illinois and her family has recently filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against the facility. Levin & Perconti is representing the family in their lawsuit against the nursing home, and the lawsuit claims that the nursing home staff was negligence in their care towards the woman, leading her to develop bed sores so severe that she was unable to recover from these personal injuries.

The family of the victim believed that the nursing home was taking proper care of their mother, since the nursing home knew that the woman was at risk for developing pressure sores which require a certain level of care to avoid. The woman had previously suffered a stroke and since stroke victims often lose at least part of their mobility, they are at a higher risk of developing bed sores. However, the nursing home did not properly monitor and reposition the woman in order to keep the bed sores from developing. In addition to the severe and life threatening bed sores, the hospital staff also allowed the patient to become severely dehydrated while she was a patient at the nursing home. Proper monitoring and taking appropriate and necessary care of the woman would have kept the bed sores from becoming so severe, would have kept her from becoming so dehydrated and likely would have kept her from passing away when she did. Many nursing homes are extremely understaffed, leading patients to not get the necessary level of care that they need to remain healthy.

The families of patients in nursing homes should be able to trust that the nursing home staff will take complete and total care of their loved ones, and that if a situation develops beyond the nursing home staff’s control, that the nursing home will contact the patient’s doctor or get the patient to a hospital immediately. The purpose of having a patient in a nursing home is so they will have complete care available to them at all times and to ensure the patient’s safety. Understaffing and busy staff members are not an excuse for the nursing homes to be negligent in their treatment of their patients. If a nursing home does not have the appropriate staff and time to care for the number of patients they have at the nursing home and are unable to afford to hire more, then they should not take in as many patients.

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The husband of an Illinois woman who died after receiving an incorrect diagnosis from Passavant Area Hospital has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in connection with her death. Our personal injury law firm, Levin & Perconti, represents the husband of the victim of wrongful death in his action against the hospital. The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that because of the hospital staff’s failure to diagnose the victim properly she was unable to timely get the treatment she needed which resulted in her death at the young age of 39 years old.

The victim went to the emergency room in November of 2011 complaining of chest pains and light-headedness. The emergency room doctor at Passavant Hospital told the victim and her husband that she was sufferinig from a minor heart condition and sent her home immediately. The symptoms did not get better by the next day and the victim went to a different emergency room the following day with the same complaints. The next hospital realized immediately that the heart problem was much more severe than what the Passavant emergency room doctor said, but unfortunately it was too late and the woman died while in transport and before the necessary surgery could be performed. Her rather immediate death was caused by a buildup of fluid in her heart, which likely had caused the symptoms she had been suffering.

The heart condition that the victim suffered from was an aortic dissection, which is a condition that when diagnosed and treated in a timely manner is typically very manageable and the person suffering from the condition is usually always okay following surgery. In addition to the fact that given the same symptoms, the second emergency room was able to determine that the condition was much more serious, the first emergency room was not only negligent in misdiagnosing the problem, but by sending the victim home without further observation, there was no time left to help her once the problem was discovered.

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A Chicago medical malpractice lawsuit involving a former police officer against the nurses who treated them has been settled for $17.7 million by a Cook County judge. Represented through his brother by Chicago personal injury lawyers Steven M. Levin and Margaret P. Battersby, the settlement marks the end of a five year road after the Illinois police officer plaintiff suffered an injury that put him in the neurosurgical intensive care unit at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago. The victim was taken to the UIC Medical Center after suffering a personal injury he received while on the job. He had hit his head on a curb after being thrown over a car while responding to a disturbance call outside of a local bar. Later, the victim suffered a stroke and was taken to the hospital. To drain excess fluid from the victim’s brain, physicians inserted an external ventricular drain. The nursing staff, however, failed to properly monitor the victim’s intracranial pressure during this period. The victim’s brain pressure rose to a dangerous level overnight and the staff failed to notify the physician on duty until the plaintiff victim had already suffered a major brain injury.

The plaintiff, a former police officer in Stone Park, Illinois, is now a quadriplegic and cannot communicate. He filed Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits against several nurses and a health-care staffing company alleging that their negligence caused the Illinois medical malpractice victim’s quadriplegia. It is a tragic fact that the former Stone Park police officer will never be the same again. While money will not make the victim whole by reversing his injuries of brain damage and quadriplegia, it will help to afford his care. Chicago medical malpractice lawyer Steve Levin reported that he was happy that the adverse parties were able to reach a medical malpractice settlement with the assistance of Cook County Circuit Court Judge. He stated, “I think it’s a very sad and tragic case that could have easily been avoided had basic nursing functions been performed properly.”

Read more about the Illinois medical malpractice settlement, visit the Chicago Law Bulletin.

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The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) recently honored our Levin & Perconti Chicago personal injury attorney Michael F. Bonamarte IV with a volunteer award. In a press release, ITLA announced Mr. Bonamarte as a recipient of the William J. Harte Amicus Volunteer Award for 2011.

The award is given to recognition of “dedicated volunteer service and professional efforts on behalf of the ITLA Amicus Curiae Committee in preparing legal briefs before the Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts during the past twelve months.” This includes legal work done on behalf of important principles in the Illinois justice system.

For example, blog readers know that both Michael Bonamarte and Steve Levin wrote and submitted an amicus brief to the Illinois Supreme Court in the case of Vincent v. Alden-Park Strathmoor, Inc. The case involved what legal rule would apply to damages that a family could receive following the wrongful death of their loved one from poor nursing home care.

Our attorneys argued in support of the nursing home victims in that case who suggested that the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act did not preclude them from recovering punitive damages if their loved one died from the poor care that they received. The position was logical in that it preserved the purpose of the punitive damages (punishment) in the cases when their conduct was the most egregious-leading to the death of the resident. Finding otherwise meant that negligent nursing homes actually stood to financially benefit from their conduct if a resident was killed instead of merely injured.
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Our Illinois personal injury attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of Stephen Dewart yesterday. Mr. Dewart is a 27-year old area man who was seriously injured after he was run down on the sidewalk in the River North neighborhood by a drunk city worker. The accident occurred last month as Mr. Dewart was participating in a photo shoot for his wife’s company. An intoxicated City of Chicago worker lost control of his truck and ran it off the road into a crowd on the corner of Rush and Cedar streets. Steven M. Levin and Susan L. Novosad officially filed the Chicago pedestrian accident lawsuit this week in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

In total eight people were struck as the Chicago Streets and Sanitation worker egregiously left the road and drove his truck into the unsuspecting crowd. After the accident it was discovered that the reckless driver had a blood alcohol level over the legal limit and an open brandy bottle was found in his vehicle.

Mr. Dewart suffered significant injuries in the accident. Steve Levin explained, “Stephen suffered several spinal fractures, a broken fibula and a broken tibia, and was hospitalized for six days. He had a rod surgically placed in his lower right leg and is presently wheelchair bound. He is home now, but will require a lengthy and arduous period of physical therapy and rehabilitation.”

But not only that, Mr. Dewart’s future plans had to be changed following the devastating tragedy. Levin reports that, “Stephen was supposed to start law school last week, but had to defer his admission for a year in order to recover from his injuries. […] We hope that this lawsuit will bring them [the Dewart family] fair and reasonable compensation. We also hope that it will prompt the City to create more effective drug and alcohol screening processes for employees, especially those operating large vehicles and heavy machinery.”
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The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin recently asked experienced Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys Steven M. Levin and Michael F. Bonamarte IV of Levin & Perconti to weigh in on a punitive damages case before the Illinois Supreme Court. The issue before the Illinois Supreme Court involves whether punitive damages are available under Illinois’s Nursing Home Care Act and follows the filing of a complaint in Winnebago County against Alden Park Strathmoore, Inc. for damages arising out of the plaintiff’s mother’s care at the Illinois nursing home prior to the elder woman’s death.

The first two counts of the Illinois nursing home abuse complaint sought compensatory damages under Illinois’s Nursing Home Care and Wrongful Death acts, but the third count is the one that has incited debate. The third count was a survival action under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and included a request to reserve the right to seek punitive damages for the defendant’s alleged willful and wanton conduct. The legal argument countered by the nursing home defendant was that the plaintiff’s reservation of the right to seek punitive damages did not survive the elder woman’s death.

The question, that faces is the Supreme Court of Illinois, is whether common law punitive damages are available in an action brought by the personal representative of the estate of a deceased nursing home resident based on the Survival Act for willful and wanton violations of the Nursing Home Care Act which caused injuries that ultimately claimed her life. Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys Steven M. Levin and Michael F. Bonamarte IV, on behalf of the Ilinois Trial Lawyers Association, filed an amicus brief in support of the nursing home abuse lawsuit plaintiff. Steve Levin, who has advocated for nursing home abuse victims for more than 25 years, stated that this is a crucial safety rule and it is “an important principle that our most vulnerable citizens need.”

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A voluntary product recall that was all over the news from DePuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, involved two of its DePuy hip replacement implants. Its website states that data received by the company shows that more people than expected who received the ASR Hip System experienced pain or other problems. The two recalled hip replacement systems are the ASR XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System.
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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care recently announced the results of its 2010 election at the 35th Annual Meeting and Conference. The new leadership elected to the Leadership Council included Chicago injury attorney Steven Levin of Levin & Perconti. The Leadership Council is responsible primarily for providing input on long-term care issues related to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care organization’s policy and programmatic agendas. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, originally founded as the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform in 1975 by Elma Holder. The long-term care rights organization represents the consumer voice at the national level for quality long-term care, services, and supports. They work to advocate for public policies that support quality care and quality of life responsive to consumers’ needs in all long-term care settings. They also empower and educate consumers and families with the knowledge and tools they need to advocate for themselves. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care also trains and supports individuals and groups that empower and advocate for consumers of long-term care. Additionally, they promote the critical role of direct-care workers and best practices in quality-care delivery.
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