Articles Posted in Personal Injury

funeral

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In addition to substantive rules that determine when someone is entitled to compensation, there are countless evidentiary and procedural rules that apply to legal proceedings. If a party fails to abide by these evidentiary and procedural rules, it can serve as the basis for a new trial. If a jury is exposed to evidence that it was not supposed to hear, it can unfairly prejudice the jury and skew its ability to apply the law to the facts of the case. As dedicated Chicago personal injury lawyers, we have substantial knowledge regarding the evidentiary and procedural rules that apply during legal proceedings and we will ensure that they are applied fairly in your case.

A recent Illinois appellate opinion provides an example of how an evidentiary rule can impact the outcome of litigation. The decedent’s wife, who was designated the independent administrator of her husband’s estate, brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the medical persons who cared for her husband up until his death, which resulted from a pulmonary embolism. A jury trial was conducted and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff moved for a new trial, arguing that the defendant’s lawyer ignored a pretrial motion in limine order that barred any mention of her husband’s refusal to be transferred to another hospital on the day that he died. The court found that the comments made by defense counsel in closing violated the motion in limine and were sufficiently prejudicial to warrant a new trial.

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Some personal injury accidents can be incredibly complex, especially when they involve government entities or first responders. The seasoned team of Chicago personal injury lawyers at Therman Law Offices have handled a wide variety of cases involving many different categories of defendants. We have the experience and knowledge it takes to ensure that you receive the settlement or judgment that you deserve.

A recent opinion from the Illinois Supreme Court illustrates how complex cases can become when they involve first responders. In the action, a wrongful death and survival action was filed on behalf of a deceased woman against several first responders, including various fire protection districts, ambulance crew, a 911 operator, and emergency medical dispatchers. The complaint alleged that the defendants acted negligently in rendering care to the decedent and that as a result of their negligence she lost her life.

According to the record, the decedent called 911 because she was unable to breathe and she was connected to a 911 operator. She provided her address and the 911 operator transferred her to a dispatch line. An emergency medical dispatch received the transferred call. Written procedures required the 911 operator to communicate the nature of the emergency matter to the dispatcher, but the 911 operator hung up as soon as the call was transferred. The medical dispatcher asked the decedent some questions but she did not respond, so he hung up the phone and called the number twice receiving a busy signal each time. He placed the call in line for emergency medical dispatch and listed the cause as unknown.

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hazardous materials

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One of the most dangerous types of injuries that an individual can face is a toxic tort. These involve exposure to harmful chemicals or substances. Because of the complexity involved in these types of cases, it is critical to consult an attorney who has experience handling cases involving dangerous substances. Our seasoned Illinois personal injury lawyers have the experience and tenacity it takes to help you and your family cope after this traumatic injury.In a recent Illinois appellate opinion, the plaintiffs were children who were born with birth defects that they asserted were caused in utero as a result of their fathers’ exposure to dangerous substances while they worked for a major auto manufacturer.  The children filed complaints against the carmaker, alleging multiple causes of action, including negligence, breach of assumed duty, strict liability, willful and wanton conduct, and loss of consortium relating to their birth defects and the resulting impairment to the parent-child relationship. The defendant moved to dismiss the action on the basis that they failed to show that they would be entitled to relief on any set of facts, and the trial court granted the motion.

The plaintiffs appealed, alleging that the lower court made a number of reversible errors. First, they alleged that the lower court was wrong in finding that workers’ compensation was the exclusive remedy for their stated harms. They also alleged that the court was wrong in finding that the defendant did not owe a duty to a not-yet-conceived baby, and in finding that the plaintiffs could not establish proximate causation because the fathers did not suffer an injury.

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armed robbery

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Personal injury actions can arise in many different scenarios. Regardless of the circumstances, it is essential to consult with a seasoned Illinois personal injury lawyer to ensure that you are asserting your rights to the fullest extent possible. In a recent appellate decision, the court considered whether surviving relatives could recover compensation from a public entity based on allegations that the public entity failed to dispatch a 911 call in a timely manner.

In the case, the decedent was working at a convenience store that he owned located in an apartment building in Chicago. A number of individuals wearing ski masks and brandishing weapons entered the store. A pedestrian outside the store called 911. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) received the first call at 7:12 p.m. and a second call from the same pedestrian at 7:17 p.m. At 7:20 p.m., OEMC dispatched a police unit and two minutes later, additional units were dispatched. Upon arrival, the police found the decedent tied to a chair with a gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The plaintiffs filed a wrongful death action that proceeded through discovery until the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the claim on the eve of trial. They refiled some years later alleging that the decedent was shot and killed two minutes before the officers arrived and that OEMC’s failure to dispatch police to an armed robbery in progress until eight minutes after receiving the first 911 call was willful and wonton and showed a reckless disregard for the decedent’s safety. The defendants moved for summary judgment on several grounds. Some of the public entity defendants claimed immunity under the Tort Immunity Act. One of the defendants argued that it did not owe the decedent a duty to protect him from a third party attack and that the decedent’s death was the proximate cause of a third party’s actions. It also argued that the earlier dispatch of a police unit would have prevented his death was entirely speculative. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment and the plaintiffs appealed.

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Some personal injury lawsuits give rise to several causes of action. This can create major complexities and procedural issues that are best handled by a seasoned Illinois personal injury lawyer. A recent wrongful death case and malicious prosecution case demonstrates the wide variety of legal actions that can arise from one incident.

A licensed physician was married to the plaintiff’s son. The son died in 2008 when he fell off a ladder outside of his residence. The wife was appointed as administrator of the estate because the son died intestate. A dispute arose between the wife and plaintiffs regarding the son’s assets. While that dispute was pending, the plaintiffs filed a wrongful death action against the wife, claiming that she prescribed the son Ambien even though a side effect of the medication was sleepwalking and the wife knew of the son’s existing propensity for sleepwalking. In sum, the complaint alleged that it was negligent and careless to prescribe the son Ambien and that doing so was the proximate cause of his death.

The wife claimed she never received service of the wrongful death complaint and only learned about its existence in 2010 when reading a newspaper article. She alleged that she was contacted to appear on the television show Dr. Phil to discuss Ambien. She also alleged that the claim was reported to her malpractice insurance carrier and other public entities. The probate dispute later resolved and the plaintiffs dismissed their wrongful death lawsuit.

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There are many procedural and evidentiary rules that are specific to medical malpractice cases. If you were injured as the result of a physician’s lack of appropriate care, having a seasoned Illinois medical malpractice lawyer on your side can make all the difference. A recent appellate decision discusses how the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 impacts a litigant’s ability to seek evidence from a medical provider defendant in a lawsuit.

This statute was established for the purpose of creating a voluntary reporting system regarding patient safety information by medical providers. It is designed to compile and review data to improve patient safety and the overall quality of healthcare in Illinois. The law encourages reporting by providing a privilege and confidentiality protection for patient safety information, which is referred to as patient safety work product. If one of the services that analyzes the data that medical providers report discloses patient safety work product, that provider can face a fine of up to $10,000 per disclosure.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to sufficiently monitor and treat blood glucose levels of the decedent and that the decedent lost her life as a result of this failure. The medical providers named as defendants in the action denied any negligence and filed a motion to dismiss, stating that they were not involved in the decedent’s care. During discovery, the plaintiff served discovery requests on one of the defendants, seeking information regarding whether the defendant was reported to or investigated by any agency or committee. The defendant objected on the basis that this was privileged information and provided a privilege log listing six reports. Additional discovery requests from the plaintiff sought information regarding any conversations or discussions the defendants had with any individuals regarding the incident. The defendant again refused to produce information on the basis of privilege.

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Understanding the role that insurance policies may have in your claim can be critically important to ensuring that you receive the compensation that you deserve. Accidents can lead to considerable damages and expenses, especially when long-term injuries and permanent disabilities are involved. As Illinois personal injury lawyers, we have substantial experience dealing with insurance companies.

In a recent appellate decision, an employee filed a lawsuit against its former employer for injuries that the employee sustained as a result of long-term exposure to asbestos. The employee notified every insurance company that had sold policies to the employer during the relevant time period. One of the insurance companies contended that the policies it provided to the employer for the relevant time period should be viewed as excess insurance because the employer had agreed to a self-insured retention program as opposed to a deductible for that period of time. The employer asserted a counterclaim, seeking a judgment declaring that the insurer’s policies should be viewed as primary coverage for the relevant time period. The lower court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment on this issue.

The insurer appealed, arguing that any policy that refers to a self-insured retention must be viewed as an excess policy according to Illinois case precedent. The appellate court rejected this, finding that Illinois courts have detailed other characteristics that will help distinguish between primary and excess insurance policies. For example, courts have ruled that excess policies do not typically require immediate notice of an accident or event, as primary policies typically do. Insurers that provide excess insurance are not concerned with every accident that happens, but only those that are severe enough to warrant excess coverage. Also, excess coverage is contingent on the insured exhausting his or her primary coverage. As a result, excess coverage providers typically do not require notification until there is a reasonable likelihood that the excess insurance policy will be necessary. As a result, courts have concluded that excess insurance policies provide the insured with some amount of discretion.

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When it comes to personal injury law, there are many different kinds of conduct and harm that render a victim eligible for compensation. As experienced and knowledgeable Illinois personal injury lawyers, we have handled a wide variety of cases including unique and complex types of injuries. In a recent case, the plaintiff gave birth to a daughter who was stillborn. The plaintiff signed a form provided by the hospital authorizing it to dispose of the daughter’s remains. The plaintiff alleged in her complaint that the defendant’s employees told her verbally that the daughter would be buried in a short period of time. Roughly one year later, the plaintiff learned that her daughter’s remains were still in a cooler at a morgue facility that the defendant operated. She also learned that the remains were in a container that contained many other fetal remains.

In her complaint, the plaintiff also contended that the defendant voluntarily undertook burial of the deceased baby and that this created a duty to provide the child with a timely burial as promised. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant breached this duty by failing to make arrangements for the burial, by placing the baby’s remains in a container with multiple other fetal remains, by failing to report the baby’s death to the local registrar, by using the wrong burial consent form, and by failing to maintain or to follow any appropriate burial protocols. Finally, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in supervising and monitoring its employees.

As for damages, the plaintiff alleged that she suffered severe emotional distress and depression as well as incurring burial and autopsy fees.

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Few things are more devastating than suffering intentional abuse, especially at the hands of someone you trust. There are many claims involving adults sexually abusing minors. What many victims fail to realize is that in addition to facing criminal liability, the defendant also can face civil liability for the pain and suffering that he or she caused. Our seasoned team of Illinois personal injury lawyers has handled numerous cases involving sexual assault. As a result, we understand just how serious and sensitive this matter is for you and your family.

In a recent appellate opinion, the Illinois Court of Appeals was asked to consider whether a complaint alleging that a director of youth ministries sexually groomed and raped a minor was properly dismissed. In their complaint, the plaintiffs named several persons and entities as defendants, including the congregation that employed the director and the pastor involved. The trial court eventually dismissed the claims against the pastor and one of the congregations involved. The plaintiffs later amended their complaint, alleging negligent retention, negligent supervision, willful and wanton failure to protect, and willful and wanton failure to supervise against the various remaining defendants.

At its core, the complaint allegations referred to a two-year period of time in which the plaintiff was allegedly subjected to various types of abuse and sexual misconduct by the director. The complaint included allegations involving other minors who were allegedly victims of similar conduct. Ultimately, the director and other defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, which the lower court granted. After another series of motions, all claims against all defendants were dismissed. The plaintiffs filed a motion to reconsider, but the lower court only granted it regarding the negligence claims against the pastor.

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There are few things more devastating in life than losing a child due to an unnecessary and avoidable incident. At Therman Law Offices, our seasoned team of Illinois wrongful death lawyers has guided numerous families through the legal process. We know that no amount of money will ever truly compensate you for your loss, but it can help cope with the financial impact of the event.

In a recent appellate decision, an Illinois court considered whether a lower court appropriately allocated the proceeds of a wrongful death action between the parties to the case. The facts of the case are as follows. The parents of two daughters participated in the Intact Family Services program administered by the defendant. The parents had two daughters who were 10 months apart in age. In July 2010, the daughters were placed in a bath tote while unsupervised. The younger daughter, who was seven months old, drowned in the bath tote. The mother was participating in the program at the time the death occurred.

An independent administrator was named for the deceased infant’s estate, and he filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The lower court approved a $750,000 settlement from the program and its employee to the estate, and it was also approved in probate court. Sometime thereafter, the father filed a petition seeking a determination of the relative dependencies of the decedent’s family members according to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. He sought a 90% allocation for himself, a 10% allocation for the surviving sibling, and a 0% allocation for the mother.

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