Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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hand grabbing hand

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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empty jury boxMedical products are intended to make our lives better, to address illnesses and physical conditions, and to help medical professionals render the best medical care that they can provide. And while many medical devices are successful in helping to facilitate these goals, there are a number of devices that end up doing more harm than good. In some cases, the harm results from a manufacturer’s failure to design the device in a reasonably safe manner. In some cases, the harm is a result of a company’s negligence. In others, the harm results from a company’s desire to prioritize profits over patients’ health and safety.

One of the most discussed dangerous medical products in recent news is pelvic mesh. There are a variety of manufacturers that have developed pelvic mesh products. In general, the device is intended to support damaged or weak tissue. They’ve also been used to address stress urinary incontinence in women. The device is also often known as vaginal mesh or surgical mesh.

Recently, a jury in Pennsylvania awarded a plaintiff a $20 million verdict in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson involving one of its pelvic mesh products. The plaintiff alleged that she received the company’s product during a surgical procedure to address her stress urinary incontinence. After one month, the woman reported experiencing severe discomfort and pain. It was later determined that the mesh product began to erode. Her treating physicians performed a number of surgeries to repair the damage, but they were ultimately unable to remove all of the mesh shards.

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single use coffeemakerThere are many appliances that provide convenience and luxury in our modern lives. For those of us who have to have our morning cup of coffee, single-cup coffee makers like the Keurig coffee machine provide an excellent aid. What many consumers fail to realize, however, is that these appliances and many others, such as washing machines and pressure cookers, pose serious threats to our safety, particularly if they contain design defects or manufacturing defects.

According to a recent report, a consumer in Massachusetts experienced $100,000 worth of damage to her home after her coffee maker allegedly caught fire. After her insurance company paid the claim pursuant to her homeowner’s insurance policy, the insurer filed a lawsuit against Keurig, seeking compensation. The insurer is claiming that the machine, a Model K70 according to Keurig’s inventory, suffered from a defect that rendered the product unreasonably dangerous. There has been at least one other report indicating that a Keurig machine has caught fire.

Although this lawsuit only involves property damage, a defective coffee maker that is prone to catching fire poses serious health and safety risks to consumers. If the coffee maker catches fire during the early morning hours when people are sleeping in a home, they can suffer injuries like smoke inhalation, burns, or even death. A consumer may also suffer serious burn injuries when attempting to extinguish a spontaneous and unexpected fire within the device. And many of these single-use coffee makers are common in office buildings and other retail complexes, putting workers and shoppers in serious danger should the building catch fire.

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water park rideIn a recent case from the Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District, the plaintiff suffered a devastating hand injury while riding a waterslide located at an amusement park operated by the defendant. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in its operation of the waterslide and that it failed to provide sufficient warnings to guests about the potential hazards. She also argued that the defendant did not perform adequate maintenance of the waterslide to ensure that it was in good working order. The plaintiff also asserted a claim for res ipsa loquitur, alleging that the circumstances surrounding the incident and the way it occurred would not normally occur without negligence. In response, the defendant alleged, among other things, that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.

During the discovery phase of the litigation, the plaintiff requested the identities of certain personnel who were operating the waterslide at the time of the incident. In its initial response, the defendant indicated that the personnel could not be identified. Additional information obtained during discovery indicated that an incident report regarding the accident may have been generated, but the defendant indicated that it could not identify any such report.

The plaintiff filed a motion requesting sanctions against the defendant for failing to produce the report and failing to identify the witnesses, seeking a number of items of relief. The defendant contested the motion, stating that the court should order a mistrial, require the defendant to compensate the plaintiff for attorney fees, or set a new trial date.

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Essure Coil DeviceModern medicine provides many benefits that improve the lives of millions of people. For all of the advancements and breakthroughs in medicine, however, there are occasional instances in which a device, drug, or other product ends up causing more harm than good. Recently, many women have come forward reporting adverse health consequences associated with the Essure device, with several patients requiring revision and removal surgeries to address their conditions.  The device is marketed as a less invasive, permanent sterilization procedure for females. Developed by Conceptus, which is a company owned by Bayer AG, it features flexible coils inserted in the fallopian tubes. Roughly three months after insertion, tissue forms around the coils, which prevents sperm from reaching an egg and achieving fertilization. The device is not intended to be removed and is seen as a permanent measure.

According to some reports, over 9,000 removal procedures have occurred since 2009 as results of punctures in fallopian tubes or the uterus and shifting of the coils. Some of the adverse health events identified in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s adverse events database include reports of fetal death, miscarriages, and other issues. Other women have required hysterectomy procedures in order to remove the broken fragments from the device. So far, 15,500 adverse event reports associated with Essure have been filed.

Although the device received FDA approval, the FDA cautions women to consider permanent birth control carefully and has required the maker of Essure to revise the label to include a boxed warning and decision checklist for patients. Since 2013, at least one public interest group has pressured the FDA to revoke approval of Essure and to require it to be removed from the market. Instead, the FDA invoked a label change that now requires the packaging to state that the device can cause a number of conditions, including organ perforation, chronic pain, and allergic reactions. In the meantime, the agency has indicated that it will continue to examine the risks and dangers associated with Essure.

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