Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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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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As Illinois personal injury attorneys, we encounter a wide variety of injuries and traumas. Although some result in temporary pain and injuries that resolve over time, others are life-altering and create devastating consequences for the victim and his or her family. Although no amount of money can truly compensate you and your family for your pain and loss, it can help you cope with the stress, suffering, and financial impact.

In a recent Illinois appellate opinion, the plaintiff filed a negligent employment action against a church based in Chicago, alleging that one of its former priests engaged in sexual abuse and molestation of the plaintiff when he attended a school associated with the church. The plaintiff asserted a claim for punitive damages, which is a distinct category of damages designed to punish a defendant for particularly egregious, wanton, and reckless conduct. During the trial, the lower court certified a question for the higher court to answer regarding this claim for damages. Specifically, the court asked whether a punitive damages claim requires proof that the employer consciously disregarded the employee’s “particular unfitness” when the underlying cause of action is negligent hiring, retention, or supervision of the employee.

In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant consciously disregarded known risks regarding the abuser and the risk that he posed to the church’s congregation and students. The plaintiff included a variety of evidence in support of this allegation. He alleged that the defendant knew that there was an ongoing and widespread scandal involving sexual misconduct at similar churches, that the defendant failed to keep adequate record-keeping policies regarding reports of abuse, and that the church had knowledge of prior misconduct involving the abuser while he was a student at a seminary school. Finally, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant did not take adequate steps to investigate reports that the abuser engaged in misconduct after he became ordained and failed to report incidents of suspicious conduct involving minors to the Department of Children and Family Services.

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stack of documentsAfter a plaintiff initiates a lawsuit, the matter typically proceeds to the discovery phase, during which the parties will request and produce information, evidence, and documents about the claim and the allegations. Although the process can be straightforward, there are often disputes and issues about whether a piece of evidence should be produced or not. As seasoned Chicago wrongful death lawyers, we have substantial experience navigating discovery issues. As a recent Illinois appellate opinion demonstrates, the resolution of discovery disputes can have serious consequences for a plaintiff’s claim.

In the case, the defendant claimed that certain documents that the plaintiff sought through discovery were confidential and should not be produced in discovery. According to the defendant, which was a hospital, the Illinois Medical Studies Act required the court to deny the plaintiff’s motion requesting that the court issue an order compelling production of the documents.

The plaintiff was admitted to the defendant’s hospital facility while she was 30 weeks pregnant. The baby was born on the same day but experienced a number of medical issues. She died shortly thereafter. The plaintiff initiated an inquiry into whether appropriate medical care was rendered, and an internal review process began. The review was coordinated by a designated liaison and involved commentary and analysis from other expert peer reviewers in the same specialty as the physician who treated the plaintiff and her baby.

bicycle against wallDangerous and defective products lead to some of the most serious injuries, often leaving a victim with life-long impacts and disabilities. In our increasingly globalized world, many of the products that we use on a daily basis come from foreign companies and manufacturers. As the following case demonstrates, bringing a product liability or negligence claim against a foreign defendant can be tricky, which is why it is critical to consult with a seasoned Chicago product liability attorney if you believe that you are owed compensation for an injury.

A plaintiff alleged that she suffered injuries as a result of using one of the defendant’s bicycles during a 468-mile ride event. According to her complaint, the front fork of the bicycle broke while the plaintiff was riding it, causing her to fall during the race in Iowa. The plaintiff alleged that the bike was manufactured by a Taiwanese company and sold throughout the United States by a Virginia-based company. The plaintiff purchased the bicycle from an authorized dealer in Illinois. Prior to the race, the plaintiff had taken the bicycle to a shop in Illinois.

The manufacturer was notified of service through the Illinois Secretary of State. The manufacturer responded to the plaintiff’s complaint, which included counts of negligence, strict liability, and breach of express warranty, by filing a motion to quash service. The defendant claimed that it was not required to register with the Illinois Secretary of State, rendering service on the Secretary ineffective. Also, the entity claimed that it had not transacted business in the state of Illinois, which it contended also invalidated the plaintiff’s attempt to effect service of process through the Illinois Secretary of State.

Empty Exam RoomMedical malpractice cases can be some of the most complex and detail-focused types of personal injury actions. As the following case illustrates, consulting with a knowledgeable Illinois medical malpractice lawyer can help you ensure that you protect your legal rights and interests throughout the course of the lawsuit.

According to the appellate court’s opinion, the plaintiff brought a lawsuit against a number of defendants, asserting causes of action for medical negligence, common law fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty. As the complaint stated, the plaintiff suffered brain damage following his attempted suicide while he was receiving inpatient care at one of the defendant’s establishments. The defendant hired a controlled medical expert pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 213(F)(3) to examine the plaintiff, and the expert determined that the injury did not occur in relation to the plaintiff’s suicide attempt at the establishment.

The medical defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the lower court granted. It concluded that a patient-physician relationship did not exist between the plaintiff and the defendants, including the controlled expert, and that as a result, the defendants did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care. The plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, and the lower court denied the motion. The plaintiff appealed. To support their argument, the defendants included an affidavit from the doctor, indicating that he was retained as an expert witness by the defendant.

yellow taxi cabsAn Illinois appellate court recently issued an opinion reviewing a lower court’s ruling in a civil action involving allegations of sexual assault. Although any type of unexpected injury can be painful, stressful, and disruptive, incidents involving sexual assault are particularly damaging. This case also demonstrates how an experienced Illinois sexual assault attorney can assist you with seeking the damages that you deserve after a devastating experience while ensuring that you navigate the legal process correctly.

In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a taxicab driver who was providing her with transportation to the airport. In her complaint, the plaintiff included the driver, the taxicab dispatch company, and the company that leased a taxicab to the driver as defendants. The plaintiff appealed the matter after the lower court granted the dispatch company’s and the leasing company’s motions for summary judgment. The plaintiff also alleged that the lower court committed a reversible error by not allowing her to offer “newly discovered” evidence, which included an application for a license filled out by the driver.

The plaintiff appealed the matter after the lower court granted the dispatch company’s and the leasing company’s motions for summary judgment. The plaintiff also alleged that the lower court committed a reversible error by not allowing her to offer “newly discovered” evidence, which included an application for a license filled out by the driver.

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