Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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monochrome ticking clockIn a recent opinion from the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court, the plaintiff appealed an order dismissing a complaint she filed in November 2013, alleging that the defendant was liable for negligence, civil battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The dismissal was based on the lower court’s finding that the plaintiff’s claim was barred by the statute of limitations.

In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged that she suffered damages as a result of sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant, beginning when she was 16 years old. The defendant alleged that the abuse occurred at overnight church camps where the defendant was a church leader and in charge of the church’s youth group program. More specifically, the plaintiff contended that in the summer of 1996, when she was 16 years of age, the plaintiff had conversations with the defendant about pursuing a mentor-mentee relationship. According to her complaint, the plaintiff was seeking spiritual guidance and mentorship in these conversations. Soon after these conversations, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant began engaging in inappropriate physical contact and other uninvited advances. The complaint lists multiple specific instances of sexual abuse and contends that the incidences ceased around 1999, when the plaintiff was 20 years of age.

The plaintiff’s complaint states that the plaintiff did not report the incidences to anyone, fearing the repercussions that might occur. The defendant had also threatened to commit suicide in the event the plaintiff reported the incidences or shared them with anyone. In 1999, the plaintiff reported experiencing anxiety, nightmares, sadness, and other emotional conditions related to the abuse.

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yellow taxi drivingAn Illinois appellate court for the Fourth Division recently rendered a holding in a dispute involving a motor vehicle collision. The facts of the case are as follows. The defendant was a cab company operating in Chicago. On the date of the accident, one of the defendant’s drivers was parked in a cabstand across the street from where the plaintiff was having dinner with a client. After dinner, the plaintiff got into the driver’s cab and instructed him to take him to his home in a southwest area of Chicago.

During the ride home, the driver lost control of the minivan on a clover leaf exit ramp. The vehicle went airborne approximately 32 feet, struck the ground, and skidded into a grassy drainage area, where it slammed into a concrete retention wall. The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that as a result of the accident that ensued, the plaintiff suffered severe traumatic brain injuries.

There was conflicting testimony offered regarding whether the driver was exceeding the speed limit at the time he lost control. The posted speed limit on the highway was 55 miles per hour, and the speed limit on the clover leaf exit was 25 miles per hour. The plaintiff’s accident reconstructionist testified that the van was traveling 60 to 70 miles per hour on the highway and decelerated to only 58 miles per hour on the clover leaf. The defendant’s expert testified that the driver was likely traveling 53 or 54 miles per hour on the clover leaf.

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