Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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It’s almost Independence Day, and if one thing is for sure, it’s that Chicagoans sure know how to celebrate. From backyard barbeques to parades to the Taste of Chicago and fireworks over Lake Michigan, there are celebrations, events, and festivals galore in the Windy City to celebrate our nation’s birthday. However, with celebrations also needs to come responsibility. Even though this time of year is enjoyable for people of all ages, caution needs to be taken and vigilance for safety should be high, particularly around fireworks.

While fireworks displays can be beautiful and an entertaining way to celebrate the holiday, it is important to remember that these are not toys but dangerous where not handled properly. Many times people may not remember that these are in fact are explosive devices and can cause serious personal injury if not handled properly, such as burns or facial injuries. These accidents can happen to people of all ages who do not exercise safety practices with fireworks, but particularly children who are not old enough or mentally mature to recognize and appreciate the dangers of these explosives or realize that they are not toys.

Injuries and accidents involving fireworks are not uncommon either. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, every year approximately 200 people go to the emergency room every day in the month of the Fourth of July. There are several parts of the body that are more prone to fireworks injuries than others. The most injured area of the body are the hands at fingers with 41% of injuries, with it being worthy to note that this is the part of the body that comes into contact with a firework when we light it. If we do not pull away from the firework soon enough when lighting, pick up a firework that is still lit, or use a faulty firework, this area of the body is easily prone to injury. The next most injured areas of the body are heads, faces, and ears at 19%, torsos at 15%, legs at 13%, eyes at 12%, and arms at 1%. It is also scary to think that the second most injured part of the body consists of some of our body’s most vital organs, such as our eyes and central nervous system of the brain.
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With summer weather ensuing, many Chicagoans are out and about enjoying the nice weather. During these months, many professionals opt to enjoy the sunshine and cool lakeside breeze by biking to work. However, the ongoing joke about Chicago’s two seasons – winter and construction – poses serious concerns for many Chicago bicyclists, particularly the epidemic of potholes that presents danger to many.

According to an article by the Cook County Record, a Chicago bicyclist is suing the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District to seek compensation for injuries he suffered after his bicycle tire became caught in a lakefront trail pothole. He was riding his bike on the Lakefront Trail near the Shedd Aquarim and South Lakeshore Drive, when his bike got caught on a pothole, and he fell to the ground. In the complaint, he asserts that the city and park district were aware of the dangers of the pothole and its presence on the trail but failed to warn of the danger or fix the pothole. He is seeking over $50,000 in damages in the Cook County Circuit Court.

Potholes can be a nightmare for many cyclists, and are often unavoidable. According to bicycling.com, a professional and Olympian cyclist describes how it is difficult, even for professionals, to avoid potholes. This is especially true when there is traffic or when riding in a large group. Unfortunately, due to harsh winter weather conditions and the chemicals we use to melt ice on our streets, sidewalks and trails, potholes are a common obstacle for Midwestern motorists and cyclists. Although bicyclists must do their part to remain aware of the conditions on the trails and streets on which they ride, it is important for cities and municipalities to maintain safe roadway conditions to protect the safety and wellbeing of all travelers.
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What was supposed to be an enjoyable city tour for some visitors turned into a hospital stay instead of vacation sight-seeing. According to the Seattle Times, a charter bus and three cars collided on a bridge and the Department of Transportation reports that 11 people were injured in the accident. Nine of the people injured were passengers aboard the charter bus and fortunately, no one suffered any life-threatening injuries, according to the Seattle Pi.

Bus accidents are unfortunately common throughout the country. Illinois is a major hub for bus transportation, particularly in the Chicago area. Many people rely on buses, not just for leisure and tours, but as part of their daily commutes to work or school on public transportation and school buses. What is especially serious about these accidents is that unlike normal motor vehicles, buses transport a large number of people. When a bus collision occurs, this has the likely potential to seriously injure a larger number of people.

For instance, according to the National Highway Transportation Traffic Safety Administration, between 1998 to 2008 there were 414,399 fatal motor vehicle crashes, and 1,409 of these were school transportation vehicles, like school buses. In fact, an average of 19 school-age children die each year in school-transportation related crashes.

As we know from hearing reports of preventable medical mistakes, medical malpractice is unfortunately all too common in our clinics, hospitals and doctors’ offices. It is a serious and important legal issue because patients put their trust in healthcare providers and leave themselves vulnerable to these medical experts so that they can get the care and assistance they need to continue living a healthy life. However, where healthcare providers act negligently or fail to act where necessary and cause injury or death to a patient, they have breached their legal duty as a healthcare provider to keep a patient safe and not be the source of harm. When this occurs, a patient or family member can file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

According to an article by the Cook County Record, one woman is suing a Chicago hospital after a surgeon severed her laryngeal nerves during thyroid surgery. Last month, she filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital claiming medical negligence and seeks damages over the jurisdictional limit.

Jurisdictional limits on damages that can be awarded in a lawsuit may be a new concept to some of our readers. Cook County has a limit of $100,000 but still hears cases in excess, according to the Cook County Clerk. However, according to the Illinois Hospital Association, the state of Illinois has no cap on medical malpractice cases after a landmark case from 2010, Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. Prior to this case, the state of Illinois placed a cap on damages of $500,000 for physicians and $1 million for hospitals. However, as a result of this case, medical malpractice case are no longer subject to recovery limitations.

Frequently our blogs cover incidents of negligence committed by doctors, nurses and other direct care providers. However, medical malpractice applies to all types of healthcare providers, including pharmacists, who handle the preparation of our prescription medications. Where pharmacists do not use the care and diligence required, and cause injury to a patient as a result, they too can be held liable for medical malpractice.

According to a report by the Cook County Record, one woman is suing CVS Pharmacy for allegedly providing the incorrect dosage of her prescription. Her attorneys filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court claiming that she suffered a GI bleed that required emergency medical care after the pharmacy provided her with the wrong dosage and instructions of a medication following a laparoscopic procedure. Her lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $50,000.

Every day, thousands of people in and around the Chicago area rely on local pharmacies to fill and dispense prescription medications. Pharmacy patrons trust that the medications they are diligently prepared in the correct dosage, and safe for their individual use. However, pharmaceutical medication errors occur when pharmacists or pharmacy technicians provide the wrong medications or incorrect dosages to the patient. When these mistakes occur, patients are at risk for serious injury or even death. In most cases, pharmacy customers put their full and complete trust in the pharmacist and assume that the medications they are given are safe to use. Therefore, people are often unaware of any error until after they have taken the medication.

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