Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Earlier this month, a woman was awarded $500K by a Georgia jury who found that the homeowner was liable for a deck collapse that caused the woman to break her leg in two places. The woman, Monica Conover, was a party guest at the rented property in 2014. The homeowner, Tyson Martin, was found 85% responsible, while the tenants hosting the party were found to be 15% liable.

The deck was said to be over 30 years old and photos taken prior to Mr. Martin purchasing the home showed that he had since repaired certain parts of the deck, indicating that he was aware of the deck’s structural problems. A contractor who came in after the collapse to repair the damage said that the deck was not properly secured to the house and that much of the wood was rotten. Ms. Conover’s attorney quoted the contractor’s testimony, saying that “He said that deck was completely unsafe and that, had a qualified person… inspected it, there’s no way he would’ve let anybody go out there. No way.” Conover’s attorney also asked the jury “Is it reasonable for a landlord to inspect a deck that is 35 years old before they rent it out? And you all get to make that decision.”

Deck and Porch Collapses – Do You Have a Reason to Sue?

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Late last year, stories began flooding the news about Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 phone, a device that bears more resemblance to a small tablet than a smartphone. Released just last August, by October so many complaints of spontaneously exploding phones had been thrown at the company that they decided to stop all sales of the Galaxy Note7 until they could determine the cause of the fires. In the same press release, Samsung implored all users to immediately turn off their phone and send back for either a refund or for an entirely different model. What many Galaxy Note7 users likely didn’t notice was that buried at the bottom of the phone’s box was a small 16 page booklet containing a paragraph stating that users could not sue Samsung. Instead, they were agreeing to binding arbitration as a means to settle any claim of injury or death arising from use of their product.

Teen Among Many Injured By Galaxy Note7

In Illinois, Michael Taylor, 19, went to sleep with his Samsung Galaxy Note7 on the charger next to his bedside. He woke up hours later to excruciating pain in his leg and to his smartphone on fire. The phone had exploded while charging, causing severe burns to the teen’s leg. When he consulted with an attorney in an attempt to sue Samsung for his injuries, it was discovered that hidden deep in a booklet seldom read by users, Taylor had unknowingly agreed to arbitration. Without knowing it, Taylor had waived his right to a jury trial, agreed to use an arbitrator chosen by Samsung to settle his dispute, and to pay Samsung’s legal fees if the arbitrator determined Samsung was not at fault. While that same part of the booklet also states that consumers can opt out within 30 days of purchase, it is hardly likely that most consumers would read a 16 page booklet of terms and conditions. Users assume that the products they purchase are safe and that they are protected by law should an injury occur from its use.  Instead of taking true ownership for the burns suffered by Mr. Taylor, Samsung hid behind the agreement they placed in the product packaging, stating that he agreed to abide by their arbitration process to settle any grievances.

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The elderly and veterans are valuable members of our society. They have contributed a lifetime to the area and years of service and defense to the country and our liberties. For that reason, they need to be protected and cared for, as they have done for us. Oftentimes, these individuals have conditions that require a great amount of care in which they no longer live independently but in cared facilities. Because they are under the care of a facility, they are owed a legal duty of care to be protected and kept safe from harm and neglect.

According to a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, two residents of an Illinois veterans’ home recently died of Legionnaires’ Disease. The home is located in Quincy, Illinois – approximately 300 miles southwest of Chicago. The two residents were among 23 others who had been diagnosed with the disease at this facility.

For those unfamiliar, Legionnaires’ Disease is a severe form of pneumonia. It consists of lung inflammation usually caused by an infection. It is not transmitted from person to person, and many people contract the disease by inhaling the Legionella bacteria.

This instance is now considered so severe that the Adams County Health Department Director of Clinical and Environmental Services has iterated that the state health department is recommending that elderly people, anyone sick, and anyone who has immunity problems should not visit this home. These people would be extremely vulnerable to the disease and could easily catch it, as the Legionella bacteria is now very prevalent. The official also stated that normally this bacteria is found in such small doses that people do not become ill. However, when a cluster of people become ill, there is likely one source point. The health department is confident the disease is contained to this single veterans’ home.
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Having children is a joy to families. These youngest members of families are a lot of fun, especially in helping them learn and grow. Part of being a kid is having a fun and educational environment that helps you learn about the world around you, grow physically, and expand your mind. Families should not have to worry about kids being harmed by products and toys aimed at helping children do so.

Retailers have a legal duty under product liability law to provide safe goods that will not cause harm or injury to the users. Even though children may not be the ones purchasing the product, they are the foreseeable users and recipients of toys and other children’s goods. This means that companies have a duty to inspect all products for defects, warn of known defects, and remove dangerous products from the marketplace. Where they fail in this regard and do not abide by this standard of care and injury results to a child, they can be held liable in a product liability lawsuit for injuries they have caused.
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We all have products that we use on a daily basis in our homes, such as cleaning supplies, appliances, and tools. These every day goods and products should be ones that we can purchase and use without fear that they will harm them, especially because they are so common and not inherently dangerous items. However, when a manufacturer fails to create a safe product and negligently places it in the marketplace, consumers can suffer injury as a result of this negligence from an unsuspecting product.

According to a recent report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there has been a recall of an accessory for the Dirt Devil hand vacuum. The official name of the product is the Dirt Devil Turbo Tool attachment, and it was sold as a vacuum accessory with the corded Dirt Devil Scorpion Turbo Quick Flip Hand Vac. To identify the product accessory, be aware that it is a clear yellow/green attachment with a black turbine fan and black brush roll with white bristles. The model number is “08225” and has a manufacturing date ending in 12A U, 13 A U, 13B U, or 14B U on the bottom of the hand vacuum. Consumers are advised that they can continue to use the vacuum safely but should cease use of the accessory attachment.

The report relays that the accessory has been recalled because it poses a laceration hazard. The interior fan of the accessory can break and eject from the tool’s housing. This poses a laceration hazard to the user or nearby bystanders. This accessory was sold at stores nationwide and online at Amazon and Walmart. They were sold between January 2012 and February 2015. There have been six reports of the accessory breaking in the manner described.
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Most of our readers are aware that Chicago has had a lot of snow this winter in a short period of time. With so much snowfall at once, our neighborhoods have a high accumulation of snow sitting on the ground surrounding our homes, businesses, and sidewalks. As the snow melts, sitting water can accumulate or even refreeze into ice. This can occur whether from weathering increase in temperature or when accumulated snow and water is brought inside stores from consumers.

Business owners have a legal duty to keep their patrons safe from hazards and dangers under premises liability law. As consumers who enter stores with the intention to potentially do business with a store, they have the ability to benefit the store through their purchases. This is why under tort law, customers are referred to as invitees and are afforded the highest protection on commercial premises. Landowners of these premises owe invitees a duty of care to inspect premises for dangers, warn of these dangers, and remedy these dangers as quickly as possible. Where an invitee suffers injury from a hazard on a business owner’s property, the injured person can hold the business and owner liable in a personal injury lawsuit.

According to a recent article by the Cook County Record, a customer has filed suit against a Cook County Walmart for a slip and fall accident suffered last January. The plaintiff claims that Walmart failed to maintain the store premises, which caused her to slip and fall over a weather mat. The victim filed suit a few weeks ago in Cook County Circuit Court against the Walmart at 167th Street in Country Club Hills. The plaintiff slipped and fell on wet weather mats, causing her injury. She argues that Walmart and its employees failed to maintain the premises by not ensuring the mats were in a reasonably safe condition and failed to warn her about the dangerous condition. She is seeking over $50,000 in damages.
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When we visit a a restaurant, retail store, supermarket, drugstore, etc., we have a special legal status under tort law known as an “invitee.” Under this status, owners and operators of premises owe us a duty of care to prevent injury to visitors by maintaining the premises in a safe condition, not creating hazards, and timely remedying any known hazards. Failure to do so that results in injury can give rise to a victim bringing a premises liability lawsuit. In fact, a visitor to a business is owed this duty of care regardless of whether or not they make a purchase, but are owed this duty because they have the potential to make a purchase.

According to an article by the Cook County Record, a woman is suing Northwestern Hospital and Au Bon Pain in a premises liability lawsuit for injuries she sustained while in the Au Bon Pain restaurant located inside the hospital. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff was hit by a woman’s motor scooter while visiting the hospital. The lawsuit alleged that a hospital staff member was negligent for guiding the woman’s scooter into her leg. She further alleges that the hospital and Au Bon Pain violated the safe capacity number of persons allowed inside the café at a time. The plaintiff filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court and seeks damages in excess of $50,000.
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There are times we see news articles about local tragedies and wonder how in the world such an incident could have happened. The simple answer is that many of these incidents, tragedies, and accidents should never happen and they could be preventable. Many of these troubling situations would never occurred but for the negligence of someone who owes a legal duty to others to prevent the exact type of accident that occurred.

One type of accident commonly associated with preventable negligence falls under the umbrella of premises liability law. To elaborate, when a tenant or visitor is seriously injured in an accident on another person’s property, the owner can be held legally responsible if proven in a lawsuit that it was the owner’s negligence that led to the injury. For example, some common injuries occurring on property can include slip and fall accidents, dog bites, swimming pool drownings, and exposure to hazardous substances like lead or mold. In such lawsuits, the plaintiff must prove that the landowner knew the conditions on the land were unsafe and did not alert others to these dangers, failed to maintain the property and let it decline into a dangerous state, or created a hazard that caused injury.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that two women were injured in a building collapse in Chicago’s Washington Park neighborhood. The three-story condominium apartment building collapsed, entrapping the two women and a dog. One of the victims was on the third floor, and the other was on the second floor at the time of the collapse. Both victims were in serious to critical condition and transported to local hospitals. The building, built in 2005, received a citation for building code violations last year, but none were related to explosion hazards.
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All around Chicagoland neighborhoods, fall is in the air, as are the fall harvest-themed holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. With these holidays comes the popularity of decorating gourds and pumpkins and cooking many pumpkin-flavored baked goods like pies, breads, and cakes. However, to decorate pumpkins or cut them open for baking can require significant skill and dexterity with knives of the larger and sharper variety. It is for this reason that we share these safety tips with our readers so that they can be aware of the dangers associated with pumpkin-carving and utilize this knowledge to prevent personal injury or injuries to others
Consumer Reports describes how every October, pumpkin carving accidents result in hand injuries at four to five times the normal rate. Hospitals commonly see cuts, puncture wounds, and lacerations that have caused damage to nerves, tendons, and joints.

To prevent such injuries, Consumer Reports advises following some safety tips. First, never let young children carve a pumpkin. Children under the age of 14 should never be handling knives to carve the pumpkin. If they want to participate with this tradition, instead let them draw the pattern with a marker or clean out the inside of the pumpkin. Second, to prevent injury to all parties involved, make sure you are using the right tools. There are specialty tools available to purchase specifically meant for pumpkin-carving, including sawing, poking holes, and scooping. Using an instrument that is small helps for better control versus a large knife. Next, it’s always important to have a good working environment. Be sure to carve your pumpkin in a clean and well-lit area. Never carve in a rush either, and make sure you have plenty of time as this can be a time-consuming task. Lastly, do your decorative work before taking the top off of the pumpkin. In this way, you will be preventing yourself from putting your hand inside of the pumpkin while cutting it, thus reducing your vulnerability to injury.
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It is easy for Chicagoans to observe that the holidays are a popular time to get together and celebrate with family and friends, and with these celebrations we see an increase in traffic. With having so many plans and events during the holidays, Chicagoans are often on the roads to get to their destinations for summertime fun. The 4th of July is an especially busy time too, with festivals and celebrations going on in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. From the Taste of Chicago, to Naperville’s Rib Fest, to even crossing the border to Milwaukee’s Summerfest, citizens of Chicagoland are on the go for holiday fun.

However, the 4th of July is a holiday season in which we see motor vehicle accidents rise. According to recent statistics from the Illinois Department of Transportation, there is a trend of crashes increasing during holidays in Illinois, including Independence Day. From 2006 through 2012, there were a total of 15,187 accidents during the 4th of July Holiday period in Illinois alone. From these accidents, 5,174 people suffered personal injuries, and 80 people died. Of the 74 fatal crashes, 40 were alcohol related.
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