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On October 24, 2012, the United States Chamber of Commerce held its thirteenth annual legal reform summit in Washington D.C. The purpose of this annual summit is to limit plaintiffs access to American courtrooms by proposing pro-business, anti-consumer legal reform. This year’s summit was no different. The American Association for Justice (“AAJ”) came out with a slideshow detailing the top 10 ways that the U.S. Chamber hurts Americans. Number three on the list details how the U.S. Chamber has tried to keep injured plaintiffs out of courtrooms by continually denying workers rights and defending companies who have poisoned everyday consumers with lead paint, asbestos and environmental contamination, to name a few.

The U.S. Chamber’s History with Worker’s Rights.

According to the AAJ report, the U.S. Chamber has repeatedly denied basic worker’s rights; from forcing employees to pay for their own basic safety equipment to condoning racial and disability based discrimination.

Ever since Dale Hackbart, an NFL defensive back, took the Cincinnati Bengal’s NFL franchise all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in a personal injury lawsuit, the law surrounding injuries that occur on the field of play has been pretty stagnant. But that could all change very soon.

In 1979, the United States Supreme Court created a ruling that included language establishing the fact that when a person is injured on the field of play during the normal course of an athletic competition, he or she may not have standing to bring a personal injury claim for the harm caused because he or she inherently accepted the risk of injury by participating in the game.

But recently the Baltimore Sun reported on an injury on a soccer field that has the potential to remake personal injury law in several states.

Last week it was 137. This week, after more people fell ill from the current outbreak of meningitis, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the statistic has now jumped to a total number of 205 cases across 14 states.

The pandemic came as a result of a rare fungal form of meningitis, affected patients who were injected with methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid drug commonly used to treat back pain.

Although the death toll from the unprecedented outbreak only climbed to 15 from last week’s 12, our Chicago meningitis outbreak attorneys are concerned by the fact that MSNBC reports that as many as 13,000 people may have gotten the shots, and, because symptoms of meningitis may take as long as a month to present, it is expected that both the list of infected individuals and the number of deaths related to the infection will continue to grow.

It wasn’t supposed to be a lethal injection.

Nonetheless, as of this morning, the death toll for the current outbreak of meningitis has reached twelve, in addition to the 137 sickened from the epidemic apparently caused by contaminated steroid injections.

Meningitis is an illness that is marked by inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord; because of the proximity of the swelling in relation to the brain and spine, meningitis is considered to be a life-threatening medical emergency.

Over the past several days, our Chicago personal injury lawyers have expressed enormous concern over the number of guests who have been sickened or died from a rare-but-deadly disease at Chicago’s J.W. Marriott hotel last month.

The line of J.W. Marriott hotels and resorts are the luxury division of Marriott International, a hotel chain with more than 500 hotels worldwide.

Now, however, despite the brand’s reputation for opulence, the Chicago Tribune reports that two of the eight persons who contracted Legionnaire’s Disease at the hotel located at 151 W. Adams St., have subsequently died from the infection.

In the most basic of terms, under Illinois law municipalities have an overarching responsibility to protect their residents. This includes the responsibility to enact and enforce laws to protect their constituents, as well as ensuring that government-provided utilities are safe for use by members of the community. When a particular city fails in its obligations to implement these precautionary measures, and individuals are harmed as a result, the city may be legally responsible for the harm caused.

A resident of Sauk Village, Illinois is alleging just that. According to the Chicago Tribune, recently, a man filed a Chicago personal injury lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that the Sauk Village was negligent in providing the community with water that was contaminated with the carcinogen vinyl chloride. The Illinois personal injury claim details the fact that the man was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in April 2012, and alleges that the cancer was caused by the polluted drinking water made available by the city.

An important factor in determining liability on the part of the city for the poisoned water is the fact that village officials were informed in 2009 by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) that one of the town’s wells was contaminated with vinyl chloride, reports the Chicago Tribune. The town consequently closed down that well while the IEPA tested water in the city’s two remaining wells.

Over the past several months, our Chicago personal injury attorneys have expressed concern over an epidemic of food poisoning seemingly caused by contaminated chicken jerky treats produced in China.

Now, after several humans and hundreds of dogs have been sickened or killed by the tainted food, dog owners in eight states have come together to form a class-action lawsuit against Nestle Purina, the maker of two popular brands of the canine snacks, and several mega-stores that sell them.

The pet owners are bringing suit under the concept of Illinois personal injury law that 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 individuals for pain and suffering or the loss of a family member.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers were pleased to read about the recent downturn in the number of child deaths caused by clothing getting caught on vehicles or playground equipment, resulting from voluntary measures adopted by manufacturers.

According to a recent report by MSNBC, U.S. researchers have determined that the total number of deaths has declined as a result of design restrictions that were first introduced in 1997, which limited the use of drawstrings otherwise found on clothing such as children’s jackets and sweatshirts.

From 1985 through 1995, the government-backed U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recorded 17 drawstring-related deaths and 42 non-fatal injuries in children 14 years-old and younger, reported MSNBC. Some of those devastating incidents occurred because children were strangled when their drawstrings got caught on play equipment, or on school bus handrails. As a result, this new study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that the guidelines endorsing fastenings such as buttons and Velcro have saved the lives of more than 50 children so far, based on the fact that calculations indicate a 91 percent decrease in deaths after the restrictions were put in place.

A recent devastating incident provides a unique opportunity to examine a method of achieving justice under Chicago personal injury law.

The Associated Press reports that, earlier this month, a stage collapsed just hours before a Radiohead concert, leaving one person dead and three others injured.

Radiohead was set to perform at 9:30 that evening, but other acts were scheduled to be on stage as early as 5 p.m. when doors were to open to the public. Apparently, at around four in the afternoon on the day of the concert, when setting up the stage for the show the top portion of the platform caved in and collapsed, trapping four people underneath.

A Chicago wrongful death attorney will attest that workplace accidents are not only devastating, but far too common in Illinois. In fact, according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, approximately 250,000 work-related accidents occur each year in Illinois alone.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the latest tragedy occurred at the Olmstead Locks and Dam; the work-site claimed the life of a 54 year-old man from Vienna, Illinois, this past Friday.

The Olmstead Locks and Dam Project is a concrete barrage and locks development currently under construction on the Ohio River, located near Olmstead, Illinois. Work on the dam began in December of 1995, and is scheduled to continue until 2016. When finished, the lock chambers will be 110 feet wide and 1,200 feet long. Although a spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers maintained that this incident is the first Illinois workplace death claim arising from the Olmstead Locks and Dam project, it is nonetheless of great consequence.

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