Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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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.

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An Illinois man died after a serious fall off the roof at Chicago’s O’Hare airport earlier this morning. According to the Chicago Tribune, the man, who was an electrician, was doing contract work at the airport as part of a contracting crew. At the time of the accident, the man was doing work on the roof of Terminal Five, when he fell from his spot thirty-five feet in the air to the ground below, landing on his back. The paramedics were called immediately following the accident, however the man was pronounced dead while still at the scene of the accident by the paramedics. At this time it is unknown exactly what type of work the victim was doing at the time of his fall or whether any safety precautions were in place at the time of the accident.

While it is unknown at this time whether or not the family of the victim will file a wrongful death lawsuit, they may choose to file a lawsuit once more is known about the accident. Once the family learns more about the accident, they may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those they believe may have acted negligently, causing the accident.

In cases where a person is killed as a result of someone else’s action, the family of the victim may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their family member that was killed by the negligent act. This option is available to family members of a victim, since the victim is no longer able to bring a claim themselves. This allows the family to hold the person accountable for their negligent actions, even though the party bringing the lawsuit was not the one injured by the negligent act.

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The family of a young teenage boy who was tragically killed earlier this summer by multiple mistakes made by hospital staff, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital employees, citing that their actions were both reckless and negligent. The young boy was in the hospital because he had just been involved in a skateboard accident and was taken in for treatment for those personal injuries. The parents of the young boy state that he was alert and talking to them while waiting in the emergency room of the initial hospital that he was taken to following the accident.

The hospital staff at the initial hospital decided that the young boy should be transferred to another hospital for further treatment. However, on the way to the second hospital, a breathing tube was inserted into the boy’s throat but because the boy was not properly sedated he woke up and pulled the tube out of this throat. The ambulance staff then attempted to reinsert the breathing tube but reinserted the tube in the wrong place in the young boy’s throat. The staff did not realize the tube was in the incorrect position and sedated the young boy, leading him to be without oxygen for the rest of the ride, approximately 35 more minutes.

According to WITN, given the amount of time the young boy was without any oxygen, he had no brain activity when he arrived at the second hospital and was taken off life support not long after arrival. The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the young boy’s family claims that the employees at the first hospital were grossly negligent and that the staff acted with reckless disregard for their son’s life.

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A woman, whose child died while she was carrying him in a shoulder sling baby carrier has recently settled her wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer of the baby carrier, prior to the case going went to trial. The terrible tragic incident occurred in the winter of 2009 when the mother of the young baby was carrying her two newborn twin babies in two separate carriers around town. She noticed that one of the babies had dripped blood onto his bib, and when she immediately checked on him he would not wake up. After performing CPR and an ambulance coming and taking him to a local hospital, the young baby was pronounced dead. While it was initially unknown what caused the baby to die, over time it appeared that it was related to the infant carrier, after it was realized that the design could possibly lead to suffocation in babies under a certain age.

The mother’s lawsuit claimed that the baby carrier manufacturer had not properly tested their product prior to placing it on the market and that the manufacturer lied about compliance with the industry standards. The manufacturer apparently ignored numerous complaints by customers that suggested that the design of the product led babies to be positioned in a way that limited breathing. In fact, the mother’s case stated that it was not until a year after the death of her tiny baby that the manufacturer issued a recall for the faulty product and finally stated that the product could present a suffocation risk for infants under the age of four months. The mother’s case also stated that the manufacturer had been linked to three other infant deaths, in addition to this young baby.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the manufacturer responded claiming that the mother was using their product improperly, The company alleged in their response that the mother did not follow proper safety directions and was improperly using the carrier and that it was not designed to have two used at the same time by the same person. They also claim that she may have been carrying both babies in one carrier, which is not how the product was supposed to be or intended to be used. The manufacturer further argued that the results of the baby’s autopsy were inconclusive, meaning that the baby may have died as a result of something other than stopping breathing while being using their carrier product.

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The family of a Springfield woman who was killed in a drunk driving accident last year has reached a monetary settlement in connection with the wrongful death lawsuit that they filed on behalf of their young daughter. The accident occurred when the young woman was driving through an intersection and was struck by a van that had run a red light. The vehicle that ran the red light was a heating and cooling van driven by a young man, who was on the job and who was apparently driving under the influence at the time of the terrible accident.

A criminal case filed against the heating and cooling van driver resulted in a sentence of eight years in prison, after he pled guilty to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol. The victim’s mother also filed the above referenced wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver who caused the accident. In addition to naming the driver as a defendant, the wrongful death lawsuit also sued an Illinois bar where the driver had been drinking for several hours prior to the accident. In Illinois, a lawsuit may be brought against the establishment where a drunk driver was drinking prior to an accident in certain situations, under the Dram Shop Act. The lawsuit also listed the driver’s employer as a defendant in the wrongful death case, as the driver was on a service call when the accident occurred, meaning he was drinking while on duty at the time of the accident. The lawsuit alleges that not only was he drinking at the bar for several hours before the accident occurred but that he was also drinking at the job site right for about an hour before the terrible accident occurred.

According to The State Journal-Register, both the bar and the employer have settled with the mother of the victim, the bar for $140,000 dollars and the employer for $1.5 million dollars. These amounts do not only account for actual damages (including medical care) incurred as a result of the accident but also for pain and suffering and other emotional damages that the family of the young victim suffered at the hands of these parties.

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A wrongful death lawsuit that was filed by the family of a Chicago man who was electrocuted and killed while working on a bridge in Elgin has settled their lawsuit with the electric company in mediation and will be receiving $3.2 million dollars. The accident occurred over five years ago when this man, as well as another man, was working on the bridge at Fox River in Elgin, Illinois and encountered an overhead power wire that electrocuted them both. The men were present because they were hired to paint the bridge and at the time of the accident, the men were riding in a lift to sandblast the bridge prior to painting when they came in contact with the power lines. The other man that was killed in the accident was driving the lift at the time of the contact with the power lines.

The lift driver’s case was settled in August f this year for $350,000, also through mediation. The lift driver was divorced and had no contact with his children in the previous five years (prior to the accident). The other victim, who just received the several million dollar settlement, was married and cared for his two children who were very young at the time of his death. The settlement amount was determined through mediation and is likely so high to not only cover actual expenses incurred by the family in connection with the tragedy but also to help account for the pain and suffering that the family has suffered through, lost wages and other damages that relate to the young man’s life being cut terribly short. According to the Daily Herald, in addition to the settlement money, the painting company that the men worked for will continue worker’s compensation benefits until the end of this year.

It is likely that the reason the family sued ComEd (the electrical company responsible for the overhead wires) was because there was evidence of wrongdoing, negligence or other liable behavior on the part of the company. It is unclear whether the wires were improperly covered or hanging in an improper way, or what other problem could have been responsible for the electrocution. When a large corporation makes a mistake that personally injures or kills someone, they need to be held liable for their negligence or misconduct.

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The family of a young boy who was killed after a large and heavy digital sign, displaying arrival and departure times at an airport, fell on him filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer of the electronic sign as well as against the contractor that installed the electronic sign at the airport. The airport is not included as a defendant in this specific lawsuit, because the state in which the accident occurred does not allow injured parties or the families of injured parties to sue airports for liability.

The tragic accident occurred earlier this year when the young boy and his family were on their way home from a family vacation. The young boy, his brother and his mom were standing underneath where the sign was hanging and when the sign unexpectedly fell they were all hit by the sign as it crashed down. The young boywas unable to recover from his severe injuries and ended up dying as a result of the accident. The boy’s brother and mother suffered serious personal injuries, however they have since recovered from their injuries.

At this time, the trial date for this case is scheduled for November of next year and according to KSHB News, the family of the young boy are happy that the courts set the trial date and allowed the case to begin moving along, hoping it will provide some closure to their terrible ordeal. While nothing will ever fix what was done to their family, the lawsuit will hopefully provide compensation for their loss.