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Winnebago County wrongful death lawyersLosing a spouse, parent, child, or sibling is tragic regardless of the circumstances. However, when a person’s death is caused by the reckless or malicious actions of another party, the loss is even more heartbreaking. If you have lost a loved one in an incident involving drunk driving, medical malpractice, a defective product, nursing home neglect, or another situation involving negligence or wrongdoing, you may wonder what your legal options are. In many cases, a wrongful death claim can help hold the at-fault party accountable for the death while also recovering compensation for the losses incurred by the death.

Understanding Illinois Wrongful Death Laws

In Illinois, a wrongful death is one that is caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default. A wrongful death claim is a civil claim filed by the personal representative of the deceased person. This is often the deceased person’s spouse, parent, or adult child. Wrongful death claims can help families collect compensation for a death which was caused by intentional acts or acts of negligence. Damages are paid to the surviving spouse and next of kin. The statute of limitations for Illinois wrongful death claims is typically two years from the date of the death. However, this limit may be extended in some situations.

Types of Damages Available for a Wrongful Death

There is no amount of money that could ever truly compensation someone for the loss of his or her loved one. However, a wrongful death claim can help a grieving family reduce the financial burden caused by the death. Depending on your particular situation, you may be entitled to compensation for:

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Winnebago County personal injury attorney car accident

Living without health insurance can be a large risk to take on, but you may feel as if you have no other option. It is no secret that the United States has some of the highest medical costs in the world, with many Americans uninsured. Luckily, many companies offer health insurance to their employees so that they are not financially destitute just for going to the doctor. The level of coverage varies based on the plan offered, meaning that some medical treatments will be covered by your insurance while others may require additional out-of-pocket fees. For those without health insurance, going to the doctor may be a last resort when injuries or illnesses begin to surface. While this may be acceptable for the common cold or flu, anyone who has been involved in a vehicle collision or workplace accident should seek immediate medical attention. Such accidents can lead to serious, and potentially fatal, injuries if left untreated. The fear of ongoing medical bills may have people thinking otherwise, but luckily, there are options for those without insurance who have been injured in an accident.

Will Doctors Still Treat Me?

Uninsured Americans may not realize that they are still eligible for medical treatments even if they do not have proper healthcare coverage. Hospitals are legally required to provide all patients with the necessary treatment, even if they do not have health insurance. After receiving any required medical treatments, you should speak with the hospital’s administrators to discuss your payment options. Oftentimes, these professionals will work with you to set up a payment plan so that you can pay off the bills over time.

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Winnebago County nursing home abuse and neglect attorney

Making the decision to place your loved one in a nursing home can be a difficult, but necessary, conclusion that many children will come to as their parents advance in age. Maybe you do not have space to house your elderly parents or perhaps their conditions require medical attention around the clock. Regardless of the reasons behind the action, you are entrusting your loved one’s well-being in the hands of someone else. The staff at nursing homes are trained professionals and should be well-equipped to handle any circumstances that may arise. Unfortunately, neglect and abuse are common occurrences behind nursing home doors. Without adequate attention, your elderly parent could see his or her future taking a quick turn for the worse as a result of life-threatening conditions, including sepsis.

What Is Sepsis?

This condition is caused by the body’s response to an infection and is potentially life-threatening if it is left untreated. Normally, your body releases chemicals as soon as infections begin to manifest. When these chemicals get out of balance, damage can occur to the body’s organ systems causing them to improperly function. This condition is known as sepsis. If left untreated, sepsis can quickly escalate to septic shock, causing blood pressure to dramatically drop to fatal levels. Although sepsis can occur to anyone who has an infection, elderly people are common targets for sepsis and have a more difficult time recovering from its impact.

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Winnebago County personal injury attorney drunk driver

Have you ever been to a bar or a party and witnessed someone having too much alcohol to drink? It is a common occurrence for individuals who are underage or who have just recently turned 21 to drink a few too many. When alcohol is involved, accidents with injuries can occur. When you are the injured party, you may be able to hold multiple parties responsible. Illinois has two laws that address the danger that overconsumption can place on others. If you have been injured on account of someone’s level of alcohol consumption, you may be able to prove that the serving party is liable.

Dram Shop Laws

Illinois law provides legal protection to those who have been injured by an intoxicated party. For instance, someone who gets pushed and injured by an intoxicated person at a bar or someone who is hit by a drunk driver may wish to press charges against the intoxicated individual and the bar itself. The person who causes the injury, aka the drunk individual, cannot use Illinois’ dram shop law to his or her benefit. This law is solely for the purpose of providing compensation to the sober, injured individual to make up for any medical costs, time away from work, and emotional distress that the accident may have caused.

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Winnebago County medical negligence attorney misdiagnosis

Unfortunately, a high number of patients each year suffer from unexplained symptoms and inaccurate diagnoses. Patients often forget that despite the responsibility that medical professionals are given, they do make unintentional mistakes from time to time. While this may be acceptable in other professional fields, a seemingly minor mixup from a nurse, doctor, or other medical professionals can be deadly. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, it is pertinent that you seek legal help immediately. This timeliness will allow you to make an accurate claim and receive deserved compensation to cover any impending medical bills, time lost at work, or other financial obligations.

Which Claim Can I Pursue?

All lawsuits concerning healthcare discrepancies fall under the large legal umbrella of medical malpractice. However, you and your attorney will need to pinpoint which type of issue you are dealing with. Two common cases that legal professionals handle are victims of misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis. Although the terms are similar, the details of your case will dictate which one to pursue.

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IL crash lawyerAfter a car crash in Rockland or elsewhere in Winnebago County, it can be difficult to think about filing a claim for compensation when you are contending with the physical and emotional consequences of your injuries. Yet you may also know how important it is to file a claim in order to obtain the compensation you need. When another party was at fault for the crash, you also may be considering whether to file a lawsuit against that at-fault driver. For most people injured in car accidents, the first step is to file an auto insurance claim. But when an auto insurance claim does not result in an adequate amount of compensation, it may be time to file a lawsuit.

Many people who have been injured in car accidents caused by another driver’s negligence want to know if they should file a claim even if they might bear some responsibility for the collision. In most cases, the answer is yes. We will explain more.

Illinois Uses a Modified Comparative Fault Law

Every state has its own laws pertaining to comparative fault or contributory negligence, which are the terms used to describe a scenario in which a plaintiff files an injury claim but the defendant says the plaintiff is also at fault. Some states use a “pure” comparative fault system that allows a plaintiff to recover damages regardless of his or her percentage of fault (presuming, of course, that the plaintiff is not 100 percent at fault). In pure comparative fault systems, a plaintiff’s damages award is reduced by his or her percentage of fault. Other states use a modified comparative fault system in which a plaintiff can recover as long as the plaintiff is not 50 percent or 51 percent or more at fault. Then, as with a pure comparative fault system, the plaintiff’s recovery is reduced by his or her portion of fault. In pure contributory negligence systems, a plaintiff will be barred from recovery if that plaintiff is even 1 percent at fault.

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IL malpractice attorneyIf you recently sought medical advice or treatment and your condition worsened, or if you underwent a surgical procedure and suffered an injury, you may be wondering whether you are eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and how much your claim could be worth. Most issues pertaining to medical malpractice lawsuits, also known as medical negligence claims, are governed by  Illinois statutes. While it can be difficult to say with certainty whether you have a valid medical malpractice claim and how much it could be worth until you speak with an experienced Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyer, the following are some questions you can ask yourself to help you determine whether you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and how much compensation you could be entitled to receive.

Was Your Injury the Result of a Healthcare Provider’s Negligence?

The first question you will need to ask yourself when you are trying to determine how much your claim is worth is whether you have a legitimate medical negligence lawsuit. It is extremely important to understand that not all injuries from medical procedures are the result of negligence. To be clear, some types of procedures and surgeries come with inherent risks, and a healthcare provider must make sure that a patient understands and agrees to those risks ahead of time.

However, when a healthcare provider makes a mistake or is otherwise negligent, the patient may have a medical malpractice claim. In general, negligence means that your healthcare provider did not provide the same level of care that another provider in the same medical field and geographic region would believe was reasonable.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysIt is estimated that about 1.5 million people currently live in nursing home facilities in the United States. Nursing home staff are responsible for helping residents with medical needs as well as everyday needs such as showering, going to the bathroom, and eating meals. Most importantly, it is the nursing home staff’s responsibility to keep the residents safe. It is hard to believe that anyone would intentionally harm an elderly or disabled individual. However, nursing home resident abuse is tragically not that uncommon. When a nursing home staff member abuses a resident physically, mentally, sexually, financially, or otherwise, the facility may be liable for damages.  

Types of Resident Abuse

When we hear the word “abuse” physical violence such as hitting, pinching, or kicking may come to mind. However, this is just one of several forms of abuse to which residents may be subjected. Mental or psychological abuse involves a nursing home worker intentionally upsetting or frightening a resident. 

Working in a nursing home facility can be a stressful and frustrating occupation. Sadly, some nursing home staff use work stress as an excuse to belittle, intimidate, or mock residents. Increasingly, social media is being used to violate residents’ privacy. Workers have been caught taking and distributing humiliating photographs of residents using applications like Snapchat. This is not only an unacceptable invasion of resident privacy; it is often also a direct violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Sexual abuse is also a serious problem in U.S. nursing homes. In one horrific case, a female resident in a vegetative state became pregnant after being the victim of rape. A nurse working at the facility has been arrested and charged with sexual assault and is currently awaiting trial.  

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Winnebago County dram shop liability attorneysWhen a person considers the health risks of excessive alcohol consumption, he or she may think about problems like liver disease or high blood pressure. However, diseases like these are only some of the many ways in which alcohol use can cause injury or death. Alcohol-related injuries, including those caused by falls, car accidents, drowning, or violence, are extremely common. It is estimated that 3.2 percent of worldwide deaths are caused by alcohol.

When a person is injured in an alcohol-related accident, he or she may choose to bring a personal injury claim against the person whose intoxication caused the accident. In some cases, it is also possible to bring a personal injury claim against the establishment that served the intoxicated person alcohol. Injury claims brought against alcohol vendors fall under the umbrella of dram shop liability.

Illinois Dram Shop Laws

In certain situations, Illinois law permits an injured person or the representative of a deceased person to bring a personal injury claim against an alcohol vendor such as a restaurant or bar. In order to bring a successful personal injury claim under the state’s dram shop liability laws, you and you attorney will need to prove that:

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Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyersMany people form close, trusting relationships with their primary care doctors. They assume that their doctor is someone that they can depend upon to give them the best medical care possible. Unfortunately, some primary care doctors make mistakes that result in significant harm to their patients. Whether it is failure to accurately diagnose and treat a condition, prescribing the wrong medication, or another medical error, these mistakes can lead to preventable patient injuries and suffering. If you or a loved one have been harmed by the actions of your primary care physician, a medical malpractice attorney can help you determine whether or not you have a valid medical malpractice claim.

Mistakes Made by Primary Care Physicians

In order to become a physician, doctors must attend many year of post-high school education. Most have also undergone extensive on-the-job training. Nevertheless, doctors are not perfect and they sometimes make mistakes. Some of these mistakes are virtually harmless while others result in permanent patient injury or even death. When a physician’s mistake causes the patient to suffer new or worsened medical concerns, this may be considered medical negligence.

Typically, a doctor is considered negligent when he or she fails to meet the “medical standard of care.” This standard of care refers to the type of care that a reasonably competent physician of similar education and experience would have provided under similar circumstances.

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Rockford workplace injury attorneysFew would argue that construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs. When a construction worker is hurt on the job, they may be entitled to reimbursement for their medical expenses and missed work through worker’s compensation or insurance. In some cases, a personal injury claim against a responsible third party may also help a worker collect compensation for his or her injuries.

Laws regulating workplace injuries and worker’s compensation are often complex. It can be difficult to know exactly what you are entitled to collect after an injury. This is why it is essential for injured construction workers to consult with a skilled personal injury attorney

Common Construction Site Accidents

There are many different ways in which a worker, manager, or visitor to a construction site may be injured. Some of the most common include:

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Rockford wrongful death lawyersDriving under the influence of alcohol is a major problem in the U.S., as well as throughout the world. More than 10,000 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in the United States in 2018 alone. It is estimated that alcohol impairment is a contributing factor in nearly a third of all U.S. fatal auto accidents. Despite strict laws regulating alcohol use behind the wheel and numerous public campaigns educating drivers about the risks of driving while intoxicated, drunk driving accidents continue to occur. If you have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, you may be left in complete financial ruin. Although no amount of money could make up for your loss, you may be able to receive financial relief through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Illinois Laws Regarding Wrongful Death   

According to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, a wrongful death is defined as a death caused by “a wrongful act, neglect or default.” When someone is killed in a wrongful death accident, a representative of the deceased person, often a spouse or other relative, may bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. Through this claim, the surviving loved ones of the deceased person may be able to receive compensation for their losses.

Many wrongful death and personal injury claims are based upon the defendant’s alleged negligence. This means that in order for a claimant to receive compensation, the claimant and his or her attorney must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions caused the injury or death. However, when a claim involves a crime such as driving under the influence or reckless driving, the criteria for proving the defendant’s fault is different. Individuals who cause others to be harmed or killed as a result of unlawful activities may be considered “negligent per se,” which means that a presumption of negligence is created.

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Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyersWhether it is a minor surgical procedure or a major operation, going “under the knife” can be a frightening prospect. Most surgeries performed in the United States are completed without mistakes or complications, but this is not always the case. In fact, Medical errors are so common that they are considered to be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. today. Preventable mistakes during surgery make up a large portion of these errors. It is estimated that over 4,000 surgical mistakes occur every year and that these mistakes result in more than $1.3 billion in medical malpractice payouts. If you or a loved one have suffered due to a surgical error, you may be entitled to compensation.

Why Do Surgical Errors Occur?

Surgeons, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals often have extremely busy, stressful days. Few would dispute that working in the healthcare industry is one of the most challenging jobs there is. Sometimes, however, the stress and long hours can create serious problems, as some surgical mistakes are a result of oversight caused by fatigue. Others are due to lack of proper education or training, inadequate preoperative planning, or poor communication between medical staff. In rare cases, a surgical mistake may even be the result of a healthcare worker’s drug or alcohol use. Whatever the reason, medical workers who make negligent mistakes during surgery should be held responsible for their actions.

Common Mistakes During Surgery

It is estimated that every week in the U.S, there are 39 instances of medical staff leaving objects such as sponges and medical instruments inside of a patients’ bodies. Approximately 20 times a week, surgeons perform surgery on the wrong body part. Other surgical errors that are disturbingly common include anesthesia errors, prescription medication errors, inadequate sterilization, use of defective surgical equipment, and the use of incorrect surgical techniques. Doctors and surgeons have a legal duty to provide medical care that is reasonably competent, and mistakes like these are generally inexcusable. When a medical professional breaches this duty, the medical facility or the professional himself  may be found liable for the damages that result.

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Winnebago County car accident lawyersOn average, about 90 individuals lose their lives in car accidents every day in the United States. Even a non-fatal car accident has the potential to completely alter your life. You may be severely injured and require extensive medical care or face permanent disability. Medical bills and financial hardship caused by lost income can make recovering from a traffic accident even more difficult. Fortunately, some car accident victims are eligible for compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. In order to preserve your ability to file a claim for damages after a serious car accident, always take these steps.

Step #1: Call the Police

If you are involved in a serious car accident that causes significant property damage or injuries, you need to contact police right away. Even if you do not file an injury claim, a formal police report that describes the accident is essential. This step creates an official record that the accident took place and gives insurance companies a starting point.

Step #2: Go to the Hospital

Car accidents can be extremely traumatic. When you are hurt in an accident, you may be tempted to simply go home after the exhausting experience and put off seeking medical treatment. However, it is crucial to be evaluated by a medical professional immediately. You may be much more injured than you realize. Furthermore, proving that an accident caused a person’s injuries is very hard without documentation of the injuries that was obtained soon after the accident.

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Winnebago County product liability attorneysGuardrails are barriers that are placed along the edge of highways and other high-traffic roads. The purpose of guardrail is to minimize the damage caused by a vehicle leaving the driving lane. They may be used to divide lanes of traffic traveling in opposite directions, prevent vehicles from crashing into man-made structures such as buildings, and stop vehicles from rolling down steep hills. Although guardrails may look simple, their design and construction is the result of extensive research and innovation.

An important element of guardrails is that theys must be designed in such a way that they minimize the damage done to vehicles during a collision. Unfortunately, some guardrails actually do more harm than good. When a defective guardrail causes a person to be injured or killed, a lawsuit may help the injured person or the deceased person’s family to recover compensation.

Personal Injury Lawsuits Involving Defective Guardrails

A guardrail should be designed and manufactured in a way that prevents additional vehicle damage or personal injury during a collision. If a guardrail does not accomplish this goal, the guardrail may be considered defective.

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Rockford workplace injury attorneysIf you get hurt at work, your company most likely carries worker’s compensation insurance to cover the costs associated with your injuries, including medical expenses. What happens, though, when the benefits offered by a workers’ compensation policy fail to cover everything that you lost due to your injuries?

While workers’ compensation coverage is meant to assist injured employees with medical bills, lost wages, and in some cases, disability payments, the amount of benefits that are actually paid out can vary from person to person. Most worker’s compensation payouts are based on the company’s specific policy, as well as the nature and severity of the employee’s injury. While you cannot usually sue your employer for an injury you suffered at work, there are some situations in which you might be able to take legal action to collect additional compensation. The details, of course, depend on your unique circumstances, and a skilled personal injury lawyer can help you explore your available options.

Third-Party Liability

In most cases, workers’ compensation benefits are available and paid no matter who or what caused a workplace injury, as long as the injury occurred in the course of the employee performing his or her job. However, when a third party—as in someone other than your coworker or employer—does something negligent to cause an injury, that party could be held liable through a lawsuit. The compensation available in a third-party suit would be in addition to that paid out by workers’ compensation.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysWhile many consider dogs to be “man’s best friend,” not all dogs are friendly. If you have been bitten by someone’s dog, you may have had to pay extensive emergency room bills and missed time from work. If the injury you sustained was the fault of someone else, it is only fair that he or she should pay for your damages. However, a successful dog bite personal injury claim can be hard to accomplish without qualified legal counsel. If you have suffered a dog bite injury in Illinois, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Dog Owners Are Only Responsible in Certain Circumstances

According to Illinois law, a dog owner is legally responsible for your damages caused by a dog bite if several criteria are met. First, you must have been bitten while in a public place or while lawfully in a private place.  You would likely be able to sue a dog owner if his or her dog attacked you on a public sidewalk, for example. However, if you were walking through someone else’s back yard without their permission, this may be technically considered trespassing. In this type of situation, it can be nearly impossible to receive compensation for damages.

The other important element of a dog bite case is that you did not provoke the dog or instigate the animal into biting you. In most cases, petting a dog is not provocative, as you might expect, but throwing things or hitting the animal would be considered provocation.  

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Winnebago County Concussion LawyerA concussion is one type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) which is usually caused by a sudden impact or shake to the head. The word “concussion” comes from the Latin word “concussio” which means "to shake violently.” When a person sustains a concussion, the impact can jar the brain, sometimes causing it to literally move around inside the skull. Traumatic brain injuries such a concussion can cause brain bruising, blood vessel damage, and injury to nerves.

Concussions are commonly caused by playing sports, car accidents, bicycle and pedestrian accidents, work-related injuries, and falling. Although a concussion is usually considered a relatively minor brain injury, any brain injury can cause cognitive impairment and result in financial losses. If you or a loved one suffered a concussion after an accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries through a personal injury claim.

Symptoms of a Concussion May Not Be Immediately Obvious

One of the biggest misunderstandings about concussions is the assumption that they are immediately obvious. The majority of people who are concussed do not lose consciousness. The injured person might not even recognize that he or she has sustained a concussion. During traumatic events like traffic accidents, adrenaline can minimize the amount of pain a person experiences—or even mask pain and discomfort altogether. Many people who have been involved in serious accidents did not even realize they were severely injured until someone notifies them of their injuries.

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Rockford burn injury attorneysIn workplaces nationwide, workers are required to use various chemicals and other materials in order to perform their jobs properly. While many chemicals are fairly safe, others often present severe dangers, including the ability to cause serious burns. If you have suffered a chemical burn while on the job or while visiting an industrial or construction site, seek treatment immediately and learn about your rights to possible compensation.

Breaking Down a Chemical Burn

Chemicals that can seriously burn a person are usually strong acids or bases. Some such chemicals are found in most homes and may include ammonia, chlorine bleach, and drain cleaning liquids and gels. In manufacturing and industrial settings, however, there are many more chemicals that are often used for a wide range of applications. These chemicals are usually even more concentrated—and therefore more dangerous—than their household counterparts.

When a caustic or corrosive chemical makes contact with your skin, the substance could start to eat away at your flesh. The severity of the burn depends on several factors, including the type of chemical, its concentration, and how long it stays in contact with your skin. The least serious type of chemical burn is called a “superficial injury” as it only damages the top layer of skin. A “dermal injury” or “partial thickness” burn refers to damage to the second layer, called the dermis. The most serious type of chemical burn is a “full-thickness injury” and damages the top and second layers of skin, as well as the tissue underneath, including muscle and fat.

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Winnebago County car accident attorney burn injury

Burns are some of the most painful and debilitating injuries a person can experience. Although minor burns heal quickly and do not leave lasting damage, severe burns, especially third-degree and fourth-degree burns, can cause permanent disfiguration and nerve damage. The pain experienced by a severe burn victim is incomparable to anything else. If you or a loved one suffered a major burn injury due to the carelessness or wrongdoing of another party, you may choose to file a personal injury claim. Through an injury claim, compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages may be available.

Determining Fault for Your Injuries

In order to bring a personal injury claim and recover damages, you and your attorney will need to prove that the defendant caused your injuries. Many burn injury cases are the result of an individual or entity’s negligence. A serious burn injury can be the result of an electrical accident, house or apartment fire, construction accident, restaurant accident, car crash, or a number of other incidents. Determining who is liable for a burn-causing accident is often challenging. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you collect evidence, gather witness testimony, and consult with experts who can testify to the defendant’s role in causing your burn injuries.

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