Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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.

Many of our readers take prescription medications for various conditions and ailments. When a physician recommends a medication, we trust that they will be effective for the condition being treated and also safe to use. Pharmaceutical companies have a duty to provide consumers with drugs and medications that are safe for use or to warn those whom should not be taking the medication and to provide instructions for proper use. They must also inform consumers of any known risks and side effects. When drug companies fail to do this and defective medications are put on the market, they can be held liable for such negligence in a product liability lawsuit.

Additionally, patients trust that their physicians will provide them with the correct medications based on their past medical history and lifestyle. This means that not only should doctors have knowledge surrounding the medications themselves, but also enough background information on their patients to make sure they are prescribing drugs that are safe to use given this information. Just as pharmaceutical companies must warn that not every drug is right for every individual; doctors must research the risks and know their patient’s health before providing a prescription. Where doctors fail to properly research and tailor a prescription to the patient’s individual health conditions, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.

According to a recent article by ABC, one Chicago suburban woman was awarded a $14 million verdict against her doctor after suffering a stroke from taking the birth control drug, Yasmin. The report notes that as a result of the stroke she is wheelchair bound, paralyzed on the left side of her body, and unable to completely communicate. She requires 24 hours per day, 7 days per week care from her husband, which has made it difficult for him to remain employed.

Every day thousands of people in Chicago rely on public transportation to travel to work, school, and other daily activities. These passengers should be able to trust that the vehicle in which they ride is fully operational and safe and that their driver will be diligent in obeying the rules of the road and not cause them injury. However, it is all too common that injuries occur to those riding public transportation, either on the bus or train. Oftentimes, these injuries could have been prevented with exercise of the needed care and caution of the company or employee.

An article in the Cook County Record recently reported on a lawsuit filed on behalf of a CTA bus passenger. The passenger filed suit in the Cook County Circuit Court against the Chicago Transit Authority citing negligence. The plaintiff claims she was injured aboard a CTA bus near State & 87th Street when the bus accelerated suddenly. As a result of the abrupt speeding up, the passenger fell and hit a pole. Now, she seeks over $50,000 in damages, plus court costs.

Illinois, and in particular the city of Chicago, is a major hub for bus transportation. Our city roads and highways are always filled with school buses, CTA buses, or charter buses on the way to a city tourist spot. Regardless of the type of bus though, passengers ought to be able to rely on buses as a safe mode of transportation. That means that the passenger should be able to trust that the driver is properly-licensed and in an attentive, well-rested, and functional state to drive. It is the duty of the employee to protect the safety of passengers, and the duty of the employer company to hire drivers best suited for the job and ensuring this safety. Furthermore, companies also need to provide buses that are operational, inspected, and in proper working order. Where a company and employee fail in these regards and cause injury to passengers, they can be held liable for negligence in a lawsuit.

Premises liability law not only includes keeping people from danger and injuries by remedying a known injury on the land and warning invitees, but it includes knowing of potential dangers in advance. For event organizers and property owners, this can be done by devising a plan in advance by observing the likelihood of injuries based upon the organizer’s past experience and present knowledge on the probability of dangers. In this way, the property owner takes steps to prevent invitees from suffering injuries by stopping injuries before they occur. When organizers and properly owners fail to do so and patrons fall victim to injuries that could have been foreseen, the organizers and owners can be held liable for negligence under premises liability law.

According to a recent article by CBS, this was an issue with a recent Beyonce concert in Chicago, where two concertgoers suffered injuries that arguably could have been prevented with proper planning and supervision over attendees. Two Chicago women purchased general admission tickets for a Beyonce concert at Chicago’s United Center and arrived hours early to obtain their spots in advance. However, when fans were finally allowed into the venue, the women were trampled in a stampede of fans. The rushing mob left them unconscious and with broken bones, among other injuries. They have now filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against The United Center, Live Nation Entertainment, and Beyonce. The lawsuit alleges that each party contributed to the confused and disorderly crowd that gathered outside the venue before the show.

The victims described how they arrived hours before the gates would open so that they could secure a good seat. They stated that as hours passed, the crowd continued to become larger, more dense, and anxious. People were not aware of when the gates would open and where they were supposed to enter. The venue’s personnel finally opened the gates without any instruction or system to allow for an orderly entrance. As a result, the women were trampled and they argue that the parties did nothing to prevent or discourage a mob from rushing inside when the gates were opened, but instead encouraged this to occur by its lack of system, set-up, and no effort for control.

As we have discussed before, accidents involving large vehicles, such as buses and trucks, can be extremely dangerous due to their large size, both in height and weight. When a collision occurs with these vehicles, the damage is more often than not greater than a collision with a regular-sized passenger vehicle. As a result, the potential for serious personal injuries is even greater.

However, there are times when collisions with large vehicles can actually be even worse. While such collisions are already dangerous, the propensity for serious and permanent injuries, or even death, heightens when such a collision turns into a rollover accident. According to www.safecar.gov, a website by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rollover accidents are dangerous and have a higher fatality rate than other types of crashes. In fact, rollover crashes account for 33% of all motor vehicle accident passenger fatalities. More than 10,000 people are killed in rollover crashes each year. Such accidents are more likely to occur with tall and narrow vehicles.

According to recent reports by the Quincy Journal, a recent rollover bus accident sent 27 people to the hospital. Out of 30 students on the bus, 26 required immediate medical attention. As of now, 6 of them are still hospitalized. The injuries ranged from minor to so severe, that some victims had to be transported to the surgical floor, which exemplifies how serious accidents, particularly rollovers, involving large vehicles can be.

It is always extremely disheartening to hear of fatalities caused by negligent driving. The worst part of such reports is knowing that the accidents were preventable and that the death should not have occurred at all. From these crashes, it is evident how much increased caution and safe driving can really save lives. If more people avoided negligent driving and devoted their attention and energy to safety, the death toll from motor vehicle accidents would be drastically lower.

According to recent news by Crown Point a motor vehicle accident took the life of a Bourbonnais, Illinois woman, and two others were injured. This fatal crash occurred near 109th Avenue and Iowa Street near the Interstate 65 interchange. One driver was driving east on 109th street and crossed his car over the center line, and hit the car driven by the now deceased victim. The impact caused her car to leave road, where it landed on its roof in a nearby field. Police reported that the accident caused the victim to die from blunt force trauma. A third vehicle was also involved in the crash as well, but both other drivers received non-life-threatening injuries.

Investigations are still continuing around this accident. For now it is uncertain as to whether or not negligent actions such as speeding, impairment or distraction caused the driver to lose control of his vehicle and cross the center line. However, police and local authorities have said that they will be looking into the accident and calculating vehicle speeds, as well as any other potential factors that may have contributed to the crash.

As our readers know, customers have the right to be safe and free from injury when shopping at local commercial entities, such as grocery stores. Under tort law (the area of the law which covers personal injuries), customers are called invitees and are owed the highest duty of care from store owners, as they are people invited onto the property to do business and benefit the owner. For that reason, it is the duty of those who operate the store to keep it free from dangers, warn of known dangers, and immediately remedy any dangers when they discover them.

According to an article by the Cook County Record, a Frankfort, IL Jewel-Osco is being sued for negligence in a slip and fall accident. A man filed this suit after he sustained injuries when falling over an item that was left on the ground in the aisle of the Jewel-Osco. The complaint elaborates that he tripped on a broken and loose refrigerator plate on the floor, which caused him to fall and become injured. He is now seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

In court, the plaintiff in a slip and fall accident must show one or more of three factors to be successful in the lawsuit. First, the plaintiff must show that the property owners failed to maintain the property. In this way, the plaintiff would present evidence that the plate was loose and damaged and had not been maintained by the store. Second, the plaintiff could show that the property owners created unsafe conditions, which caused the injury. In this way, the plaintiff may argue that the store was the cause of a dangerous condition that caused injury. Third, the plaintiff could argue that the property owners knew about the dangerous premises but did not alert visitors to this knowledge. Here, the plaintiff would argue that this was an open and obvious hazard that the store would have known about but failed to remedy it or warn others, such as by blocking it off, closing the aisle, etc.

A lot of the time when we discuss slip and fall accidents, they occur at the site of a commercial building where the owner or manager is easily ascertained by the location. For instance, when someone falls inside of a grocery store as a result of dangerous conditions and suffers serious injuries, they may be able to hold the store’s owners accountable in a lawsuit. However, consider when someone falls outside on the pavement. Many people do not realize that in these instances there is still an entity, such as a city, who owes them a duty of care to maintain safe premises.

In a recent case discussed by the Cook County Record, a woman is suing the city of Chicago for the injuries she sustained after she fell over a partially removed parking meter. In her complaint, she alleges that she suffered injuries as the result of a poorly maintained parking meter, and thereby, that it was the duty of the city to maintain the meters and keep them hazard free. In her complaint, she describes how last March she tripped and fell over a parking meter that was partially removed near the intersection of Armitage and Western in Chicago. The plaintiff elaborates that the city did not entirely remove the meter, and with this knowledge, failed to warn people that the base was still present. The exposed base of the meter caused her to trip and she injured her head, shoulder, and teeth when she fell. She is now seeking damages over $50,000 plus court costs.

As a reminder, in slip and fall cases, the plaintiff may be able to hold a company or entity legally responsible for their injuries, but the victim must prove that the entity’s negligence led to the injury. As in this case at hand, these slip and fall cases would entail proving that an injury was foreseeable, that the entity had knowledge of the hazard, and that the hazard was under the control of the entity and not another.

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