Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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There are many times in our life when we must place our lives and trust in the hands of medical professionals. Because they have expert knowledge, we rely on them for our healthcare needs. That being said, when we turn to a medical professional for our health, we should be able to trust that we will be taken care of and that our best interest will be in mind. We should not have to have fear that we or our loved ones’ condition will be made worse, or that a new harm or injury will be introduced, or an illness undetected. Unfortunately, it is all too common of an occurrence that medical professionals breach our trust and their legal duty to keep us safe and healthy when in their care. In these instances, victims or their family members can hold negligent parties accountable through medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuits.

An example of this comes from a recent article published by the Cook County Record, where a woman is seeking reimbursement and damages from Advocate Christ Medical Center for the alleged wrongful death of her mother. The hospital is located in the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn. According to the complaint, the woman’s mother was admitted for anemia and while in the hospital suffered various injuries. One of these injuries included development of decubitus ulcers, which the woman alleges is the result of neglect during her mother’s stay. The ulcer progressed into a stage II sacral decubitus ulcer upon her released from the hospital, which later resulted in her death. According to the report, on the basis of these ulcers, the plaintiff is citing negligence in her lawsuit, and seeks damages over $50,000.

Our lawyers have filed hundreds of pressure ulcer lawsuits similar to this case. We believe that when patients are in the care of medical professionals, that their condition should only improve, and not be worsened by unnecessary negligence and carelessness. Our attorneys represent clients who have been injured by the careless or intentional acts of healthcare providers, or who have lost family members to this type of negligence. Such lawsuits can include a missed or delayed diagnosis, lack of informed consent, birth injuries, medication and pharmaceutical errors, and neglect.
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Wrongful death lawsuits may be initiated where a death has been caused by the fault of another person, especially where the alleged wrongdoers owed a duty of care to the deceased and where the deceased was under their care and protection.

According to an article by the Chicago Sun-Times, the family of a Cook County jail inmate has filed suit against the sheriff’s office. The inmate was beaten to death last year by another inmate, and the family is arguing that this was caused by the jail’s dangerous conditions and that guards failed to take action. The victim and five other inmates had been staying in Cell 2107 in the jail’s medical facility at Cermak Hospital. All were receiving mental health treatment at the time. Even though six inmates were assigned to the cell, there were only four beds, so some detainees with mental illness had to sit, sleep, and lounge on the floor.
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When we think of summertime and pools, we envision many things. We think of kicking back on a raft relaxing, warm sunshine as we float in the cool water, having splash fights with our friends in the hot sun, or sliding down a water slide. Wrongful death lawsuits are typically not on the top of one’s mind when they think of spending summer days by the pool, but unfortunately drowning is a common occurrence every year in public and private pools in the Chicago area.

According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, a father of a teen who died last year at a public pool is suing the Chicago Park District. He alleges that officials at the pool failed to properly monitor the area and provide aid to the boy. The teen boy died last August at the McKinley Park pool on Pershing Road in Chicago. Witnesses to the drowning described that the boy dove into the deep end of the pool and didn’t come up to the surface for over a minute. They also described that they did not see a lifeguard perform CPR on the boy. The father filed the lawsuit in the Cook County Court and claims that the Chicago Park District, through its lifeguards, failed to monitor and control the premises to help the boy. The suit claims that the teen’s father and brother have suffered as a result of the death and asks for over $50,000 in damages.
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Our attorneys often remind readers about the importance of respecting emergency responders and protecting their safety. It is all too often that we read about emergency responders who are injured or killed while putting their own lives on the line to save others. However, with that being said, safety always goes both ways. Just as we are to be vigilant of and respectful of emergency responders on the job, these workers need to maintain a sense of awareness not only to the emergency they are attending to but to the rest of their surroundings. In this way, we can prevent further accidents and injuries.

According to an article by the Sun Times, a Pope County jury awarded $1.2 million to the family of a teenager who was killed by an ambulance while riding his bike. In 2007, the teenage boy was bicycling near Golconda but failed to stop at an intersection and collided with the side of an ambulance. The family’s lawsuit alleged that the ambulance was driving well over the speed limit and did not exercise the care required of them to avoid collision with the teenage boy. The ambulance was not carrying a patient at the time of the accident, nor was it on an emergency run, therefore requiring the driver to operate the vehicle according to normal traffic laws.
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Spring and summertime in Chicago are especially popular times to take young children to local parks and recreational areas. With the warm enjoyable weather, these are great spots to enjoy the sunshine and each other’s company with healthy exercise and outdoor activities. When not with families, many children are also enrolled in day camps through their local park districts, daycare facilities, and schools. In this way, they are playing with other children their age and provided with guardianship of trained professional adults. When parents entrust their children to these adults they believe that they will be cared for and watched after. However, it Is incredibly unfortunate when these caretakers breach their legal responsibility to watch after the children and intentionally or negligently cause them preventable injury, or even death, while in playtime under their supervision.

According to recent news by CBS Chicago, one mother is suing a daycare service after her five-year old son died in a playground accident. After dropping him off at daycare before work, she was contacted four hours later to learn the unfortunate news that her son died by choking from a jump rope that was hanging on outdoor play equipment.
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It is always saddening to hear of fatal motor vehicle accidents close to home in Chicago, especially when the death occurs to a young adult with a bright and promising future. Recent news has informed us that an accident took the life of a University of Chicago law student, soon to graduate and embark on her future and career. This is especially disheartening for our lawyers to learn, because we know the hard work this young person put forth to achieve her goals and the pride her family has in her. Sadly, due to another person’s negligence, her aspirations were selfishly taken away.

According to the news from Chicago Tribune, the student was killed in a wrong-way crash on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive near Randolph Street. She was getting a ride in a taxi in the northbound lanes when another car drove the wrong way south and collided with the taxi in which she was riding. One of her classmates also in the taxi was in jured and remains in critical condition.

Furthermore, according to CBS, a man has been charged in connection to the fatal crash. A Cook County judge has set the suspect’s bond at $750,000. He has been charged with one felony count of aggravated DUI causing an accident or death, two felony counts of aggravated DUI causing an accident or bodily harm, one misdemeanor count of DUI, and improper use of a controlled access highway. Prior to the collision, the suspect driver left a party, and then drove his car the wrong way up the Lake Shore Drive northbound off-ramp by Grand Avenue. He then struck the taxi, whose passengers were partially ejected from the vehicle. The suspect drank five to six beers and shots before getting behind the wheel. He claimed he was trying to drive to St. Louis. He also had a blood alcohol level of .195, which is more than twice the legal limit, and three passengers in his car.

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In the wake of the past few years’ recent elections, the legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic and significant controversial issue. Many have argued for this cause for individual liberties or for a natural remedy for symptoms in cancer treatment. However, this is an issue opening up new horizons in the law, and with brand new areas must come balance in regulation. While this may have natural medical use for some, for those who choose to use marijuana recreationally as a drug, we must consider the negative consequences this imposes on others, such as dangers to other motorists on the roadways and an increase in the likelihood of fatal motor vehicle accidents.

According to one recent article by US News, fatal car crashes in the United States involving marijuana usages have tripled all during this previous decade. This has created an overall increase in drug-related traffic deaths. Furthermore, current statistics show that one out of nine drivers would currently test positive for marijuana. This study was done by using crash statistics from six states, including Illinois, that routinely do toxicology tests after fatal motor vehicle accidents. Researchers found that “drugged driving,” particularly from marijuana, increased from 16% of fatal traffic deaths in 1999 to 28% in 2010.

What is noteworthy too, is that there are many drivers who drive not only under the influence of marijuana, but under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana simultaneously. According to the same article, when someone drives under the influence of alcohol, the risk of a fatal crash is 13 times greater than a sober driver. However, where someone is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, the risk amplifies to 24 times that of someone sober.

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Our readers may typically think of worksite accidents as happening on construction sites where employees are building and operating machinery. However, keep in mind that worksite accidents can happen anywhere, especially where employees must operate machinery and safety precautions have not been put in place.

According to recent news by WHBF-TV, a Carroll County, Illinois jury awarded a verdict of $16 million to the families of two teens who were killed in a fatal grain bin accident. The accident occurred in July 2010 in Mount Carroll, Illinois. Two teen boys had been working inside the grain bin when it collapsed and trapped them and an attempted rescuer inside. Both of the teen boys suffocated from being trapped.

The trial lasted approximately two and a half weeks and each of the victims’ families were awarded $8 million. The attempted rescuer, who suffered injuries from the accident, was awarded $875,000. The defendant grain bin company was fined over $2 million for this incident and went out of business in 2011.

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Our attorneys believe that all medical professionals ought to use the utmost care and professionalism when caring for patients. No amount of negligence is acceptable, because these actions can lead to serious personal injuries or even deaths of patients. What makes medical malpractice deaths especially tragic is that oftentimes these losses could have been prevented had a medical professional used the amount of diligence required in the profession. But for this negligence, family members could have their loved ones healthy and alive by their sides.

According to recent news by the Chicago Sun-Times, a patient fell from a gurney while being transported to an ambulance in 2009. As a result of this fall, the patient hit her head on pavement and died several days later from her fall. It was determined that she fell because the gurney was being pushed by one paramedic instead of two.

According to the report, this was a direct violation of required standards of the Chicago Fire Department whose policy states that ambulance gurneys must be pushed by two paramedics in order to guarantee stability. At the time of this accident, only one paramedic was pushing the gurney . Had two paramedics been pushing the gurney, as policy requires, the victim could have still been alive and with her family today.

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While some of our readers may already be well-versed in the legal definition of wrongful death, others may be looking for a “plain English” definition of what that legal term means. Plainly speaking, wrongful death is a death that has been caused by negligent actions of another person. These deaths can be caused by dangerous products, drunk driving, negligent medical care, etc. In these lawsuits the court determines whether the defendant in the case was so negligent as to have been the cause-in-fact of the victim’s death. The court often analyzes whether if the defendant had not acted if the victim would still be alive. For example, the court may determine that “…but for Doctor X failing to diagnose that Patient Y had this fatal disease, Patient Y would still be alive.” When the court can show that it was the defendant’s actions that did cause the death of the victim, the defendant can be held liable for wrongful death.

One technology start-up that has been positively critiqued as having revolutionized the way in which pedestrians find a taxi in major metropolitan cities is now facing its first wrongful death lawsuit following a pedestrian accident in San Francisco. According to the New York Times, on New Year’s Eve, a family was struck at a crosswalk by an Uber taxi driver, killing the family’s 6-year-old child. According PC World, the lawsuit claimed the driver was working for Uber at the time of the accident and was in travelling between fares after a drop-off. The lawsuit also alleges that the Uber model encourages and enables driver distraction because drivers must use their smartphones to receive information on the location of new fares. And finally, the suit argued that Uber did not properly train the driver.

Uber released a statement acknowledging that the driver’s account was not disabled but added that the driver was not carrying an Uber customer at the time of the accident. However, an argument that victims of these accidents might make for this wrongful death and negligence could be under the legal theory of “respondeat superior.” Under this theory, when an individual is deemed to be at work and causes injury to death to another person (a tortious action), the employer is liable for the employee’s actions. The law holds employers liable for employee’s injuries to others because the employer is viewed to have ordered the employee to carry out specific actions in the course of work for the employer.