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people in crosswalkCar accidents and truck accidents are always devastating for the victims, even when the injuries and property damage are minor. When a driver’s negligence results in a fatality, however, the outcome is a nightmare. At Therman Law Offices, our team of Chicago fatal truck accident lawyers has handled numerous claims on behalf of grieving survivors. We know exactly what you are going through during this time and will fight to ensure that you bring a careless driver to justice. Recently, an Illinois trial court considered a lawsuit involving a fatal truck accident.

The victim, age 15, was walking home from school with his older brother prior to the accident. As he and his brother entered a crosswalk, a truck driver initiated a right-hand turn into the intersection. The truck struck the victim, and its rear wheels ran over the victim, causing her to die at the scene.

The victim’s surviving family members filed a lawsuit against the truck driver and the trucking company that employed the driver, alleging that the driver was negligent in failing to yield the right of way to the victim and her sibling as they crossed the street. The plaintiffs’ complaint stated that the crosswalk signal was green for the pedestrians and that the victim and her sibling had proceeded well into the crosswalk at the time the truck struck the victim. The parties agreed that the driver was acting within the course and scope of his employment at the time of the crash. A surveillance video from one of the corners where the accident took place was offered into evidence. Although the video had poor quality, the plaintiffs alleged that it showed that the victim and her sibling had been walking across the crosswalk for at least 30 seconds before the truck arrived at the intersection.

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empty city crosswalkMost people are aware that they may face criminal charges for assault and battery incidents. What fewer people understand is that if you are a victim of an assault and battery, you can bring a negligence claim against the person who harmed you to seek compensation for your injuries. As seasoned Chicago personal injury lawyers, the dedicated attorneys at Therman Law Offices have assisted victims in asserting their right to compensation after an unjustified attack. One of the biggest issues that this type of case presents is whether evidence from the criminal action can be used in the civil action.

In a recent appellate opinion, an Illinois court discussed this issue. The defendant was found guilty in a criminal trial for aggravated battery for beating the victim with a briefcase on the side of the highway. Evidence at trial showed that the victim was driving his taxicab in downtown Chicago when he stopped in the middle of a crosswalk. The defendant then approached the taxicab and smashed the front windshield with his briefcase. The victim confronted the defendant, at which point the defendant struck the plaintiff with the briefcase. The victim required hospitalization and stitches.

The victim also filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. After a civil jury trial, the defendant was found liable for acting negligently and willfully when he beat the plaintiff with his briefcase.  The trial judge entered an order stating that as a result of the defendant’s criminal conviction, there was no issue regarding whether the defendant was liable or whether his conduct was wanton and willful. The court also rejected the defendant’s request to offer evidence regarding his affirmative defenses. As a result, the jury was only asked to determine whether the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries and the value of the plaintiff’s damages. The jury concluded that the defendant was liable for the plaintiff’s medical bills, disfigurement, and pain and suffering. The jury did not hear any evidence regarding the defendant’s criminal conviction.

Illinois Appellate Court Upholds $1,000 Judgment in Cervical Injury Car Accident Claim Involving Pre-Existing InjuryThe facts of a recent and relevant case involving an Illinois car accident illustrate how courts address the question of pre-existing injuries in personal injury claims. The plaintiff was driving her vehicle in rush hour traffic when the car behind her struck her vehicle. This caused the plaintiff’s vehicle to strike the car immediately ahead of his vehicle. The plaintiff reported that the impact caused her knee to strike the dashboard and that the impact jerked her backward and forward. The plaintiff was taken to a nearby hospital in an ambulance where she indicated neck, arm, and back pain. During the proceeding months, the plaintiff received treatment for her injuries. Her treating doctor concluded that she suffered a cervical strain, forearm strain, back strain, and arm strain. The plaintiff was prescribed painkillers and physical therapy for her treatment.

Several months later, the plaintiff was diagnosed with a pinched nerve in the cervical region that was attributed to the crash. The plaintiff saw a specialist next who conducted an MRI and ordered specialized physical therapy to treat the plaintiff’s multiple cervical abnormalities.

The plaintiff filed a civil action against the driver who struck her vehicle seeking reimbursement for her medical bills as well as damages for her pain and suffering. The plaintiff’s expert witnesses at trial testified regarding the plaintiff’s course of treatment and diagnoses. The defendant’s expert witnesses testified that the plaintiff had reported experiencing pain the affected region of her body prior to the accident and that the treatments that she received were, in their opinion, not necessary.

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Picture of ClockOne of the biggest considerations that accident victims need to keep in mind is ensuring that they assert their claim for compensation within the designated statute of limitations. Knowing when your statute of limitations may expire can be complicated. As seasoned Chicago personal injury lawyers, we have counseled numerous victims regarding the procedural aspects of their claims. A recent Illinois appellate opinion illustrates the importance of filing before the statute of limitations expires.

The plaintiff consulted two physicians in 2010 regarding low back pain and pain in her left buttock and leg region. A neurosurgeon then diagnosed her with left lumbar radiculopathy and multilevel spinal stenosis. He recommended a lumbar laminectomy to treat these conditions. In 2010, one of the original treating physicians performed this operation, and the plaintiff experienced relief for roughly four months, but the pain eventually returned. The treating physician then recommended an additional course of treatment that provides temporary relief, but she ultimately recommended another surgical procedure when the plaintiff’s symptoms persisted.

The physician performed a lumbar spinal fusion procedure using two plates. The plaintiff suffered serious complications following the surgery, requiring hospitalization and a displaced spinal fusion plate. The physician recommended a revision surgery. A few hours after the surgery, the plaintiff reported numbness in her left foot. Eventually, the plaintiff underwent emergency surgery to address a number of conditions and complications. The plaintiff was eventually discharged and prescribed rehabilitative treatment.

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bankruptcy judgment pageThere are countless procedural rules that must be followed when asserting a claim for injuries. Although certain legal matters from your past may not seem like they have a bearing on your current claim, disclosing them or providing information related to those prior claims may be essential. As dedicated Chicago personal injury lawyers, we have assisted many accident victims with ensuring that they follow all of the applicable procedural rules so that they don’t jeopardize their right to recovery.

A recent appellate case demonstrates how complicated this issue can be. The facts of the underlying case are as follows. The plaintiff sustained injuries in 2010 when he slipped and fell down a stairwell while at work. He worked as a patrolman, which required him to frequent various places on his assigned station, including what he described in his complaint as a negligently maintained stairwell. The plaintiff filed a workers’ compensation claim against his employer and was awarded benefits.

In 2012, the plaintiff filed a civil complaint against the defendants, alleging that they owned, operated, and maintained the premises in a negligent manner. The plaintiff sought compensation for his injuries, and his wife filed a claim for loss of consortium. Six months before filing the personal injury action, the plaintiff had filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. Among the disclosures filed with the bankruptcy, the plaintiffs signed a document listing the workers’ compensation claim as an asset. During a hearing about their assets, the plaintiffs testified about the workers’ compensation claim. Two months before filing the civil lawsuit, the plaintiffs received a discharge in the bankruptcy proceeding, and the case was closed.

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medical record pageOne of the most critical aspects of any car accident case is the discovery phase, in which the parties request information about the accident and each other’s background. Although it is clear that certain types of information are discoverable, there are frequent disputes regarding whether other categories of information and documents must be produced, including medical records. As seasoned Chicago car accident lawyers, we are experienced in handling discovery and know how to ensure that the other side plays by the rules. A recent appellate case demonstrates a common dispute regarding medical records in auto accident cases.

The facts of the case are as follows. The plaintiff filed a negligence action against the defendant in 2015, alleging that the defendant struck the plaintiff with his vehicle while she was crossing the street in a crosswalk. The defendant asserted an affirmative defense to the complaint allegations, arguing that the plaintiff failed to keep a proper lookout and failed to cross the street properly. The defendant also alleged that the plaintiff was intoxicated at the time of impact and that the plaintiff’s negligence rendered her at least 50% or more at fault for the accident.

During discovery, the plaintiff sent interrogatories to the defendant, which included a request regarding any medical or physical conditions that required a letter of physician’s approval for the defendant to drive. In response, the defendant indicated that he required a letter of approval involving a diabetic reason and identified the doctor who provided the letter. The plaintiff had also requested the identity of any eye doctor or general practitioner who had treated the defendant in the last 10 years. The defendant claimed that these requests sought information that would violate HIPAA and the doctor-patient privilege. He also asserted that his medical health at the time of the accident was not an issue in the litigation.

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money and gavelWhether in an Illinois workers’ compensation order or in a civil claim, the court has the power to award attorneys’ fees to different parties based on different procedural rules. Understanding when an award of attorneys’ fees is appropriate is essential to ensuring that you are treated fairly. A recent appellate opinion discusses this procedural rule.

The case arose from an injury that the plaintiff sustained as a construction worker. The plaintiff sought workers’ compensation benefits and filed a civil claim against the employer and a third-party defendant. The parties eventually reached a settlement in the civil action, which seemed to settle the civil claim as well as the workers’ compensation claim. The arbitrator assigned to the workers’ compensation claim approved the settlement and ordered the plaintiff to pay attorneys’ fees to the lawyers who provided him with counsel during the hearings. The claimant appealed the attorneys’ fees award, which was unanimously affirmed on review.

Next, the plaintiff appealed the decision to the civil court. He did not post an appeal bond at the time he filed his petition for review. One of the attorneys provided with attorneys’ fees in the original decision filed a request to quash the appeal on the basis that the failure to post an appeal bond rendered the appeal improperly filed. The circuit court agreed with the attorney and dismissed the worker’s claim for review.

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empty conference tableAny type of accident is traumatizing and painful for the victim and his or her family, but there are few things more devastating than losing a loved one as a result of someone else’s carelessness. At Therman Law Offices, our seasoned Chicago wrongful death lawyers have assisted grieving families with bringing wrongful death claims in a variety of accident types. There are many procedural issues that can arise in a wrongful death claim. A recent wrongful death action demonstrates some of these legal and procedural difficulties.

In the action, a woman signed a residency agreement with a nursing home facility. The agreement included a term stating that any disputes arising from the agreement must be resolved through binding arbitration instead of in a civil action. The woman eventually experienced a number of medical events, including diabetic shock that led to a diabetic coma. The woman was later transferred to a nearby hospital, where she tragically died.

The administrator of the woman’s estate filed a wrongful death action against the facility, alleging that the facility was negligent in its treatment and care of the woman and that her estate was entitled to damages as a result. The plaintiff sought damages pursuant to Illinois’ wrongful death statute in addition to the Rights of Married Persons Act and the Survival Act. In response to the complaint, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, stating that the residence agreement that the decedent signed required the court to dismiss the complaint and to direct the parties to binding arbitration. The plaintiff argued that the arbitration clause was unenforceable, but should the court enforce it, the wrongful death claim should be allowed to proceed in civil court concurrently with the arbitration proceeding on the other claims. In response, the defendant requested a stay of the wrongful death claim, pending the outcome of the arbitration procedure. The lower court denied the defendant’s request and entered an order allowing the wrongful death claim to proceed alongside the arbitration proceeding.

gavel and papersThere are many things to consider when determining whether to bring a lawsuit to recover compensation after a serious accident. In addition to having a strong legal claim, ensuring that you follow all of the applicable procedural rules and deadlines is essential. Without complying with certain filing deadlines, appeal requirements, or procedural aspects, you may lose your right to compensation, regardless of how strong the legal basis for your claim may be. As seasoned Chicago premises liability lawyers, we are deeply familiar with these rules and ensure that our clients’ interests are protected at every juncture.

A recent appellate opinion highlights not only the seriousness of these rules but courts’ tendency to enforce them strictly as well. The facts of the case are as follows. Two minors were waiting outside a library for a ride home after the library closed. The minors were standing on top of ventilation shafts, using the warm air from the grates to warm their hands due to the cold winter weather. One of the grates gave way while the boys were standing on top of them, sending one of the boys plunging 20 feet down onto the concrete below. The boy suffered a fractured scapula, three fractured ribs, and lung punctures. He required two weeks of hospitalization and a series of rehabilitative treatments.

The injured boy’s parents sued the city and the library, seeking damages for the injuries that their son sustained. The defendants both filed motions for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration, stating that the court erred in granting the motions for summary judgment and requesting leave to file an amended complaint. The trial court denied both motions.

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potholes in roadOne of the most common types of injuries that Chicago residents experience are slip and fall accidents. As seasoned Illinois slip and fall lawyers, we have reviewed many cases involving these accidents and know exactly what it takes to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you are owed. One of the most difficult aspects of any trip and fall case is determining whether the defect that caused your injury was a defect that the defendant should have either addressed or warned against.

A recent lawsuit highlights the importance of this issue. The plaintiff alleged that she suffered injuries after stepping into a pothole located in a parking lot, resulting in a fall. The plaintiff brought a lawsuit against the purported owners of the parking lot, an LLC and a Corporation. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants failed to maintain the parking lot and failed to provide a warning against the pothole. Both defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which asks the court to conclude that there are no factual disputes and that the party bringing the motion is entitled to judgment in its favor.

In their motion, the defendants argued that the pothole was de minimis and that it did not rise to the level of a defect for the plaintiff’s claim. More specifically, the defendants stated that any defect that is under two inches tall cannot be considered an actionable defect in a premises liability case. The defendants offered testimony from the owner of both the LLC and the Corporation. In his testimony, he alleged that the pothole was roughly half an inch. The trial court took this statement of fact as uncontroverted.

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