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b2ap3_thumbnail_gavel-justice-personal-injury-courtroom.jpgWhen you or someone you love is injured in a car crash, or any other situation caused by another party’s negligence, you may be able to collect compensation for your injuries. This compensation is meant to reimburse you for medical expenses, lost wages, damage to your property, and other types of losses that can be measured financially. Your recovery may also include damages for non-economic considerations like pain, suffering, scarring, and disfigurement. Unfortunately, collecting the compensation you deserve is not always easy, and it is important for you the steps that could be necessary.

Filing Your Claim

In most personal injury matters, the first step is file a claim for damages with the insurance company of the person or entity you believe was at fault for the accident. This process usually includes an exchange of relevant information, in addition to reports filed by the police and witness statements. At this stage of the game, you will probably need to have some type of proof to show the insurance company that their client is responsible for your actions. Most insurance companies are not likely to admit responsibility without convincing evidence.

Depending on the details of your case, the insurer might offer a settlement. It is critically important to remember that accepting a settlement almost always limits your ability to take legal action in the future. You should never agree to a settlement offer without first consulting with your lawyer.

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Rockford car accident attorneysIf you have ever been in a car accident, you know that the moments after impact can be confusing and overwhelming. After realizing they have just been in an accident, most people have several thoughts racing through their heads. One of these thoughts is usually about if anyone was hurt during the accident. However, it can be very difficult to assess your own injuries after an accident accurately.

Common Car Accident Injuries

One of the tricky things about car accident injuries is that some injuries are not outwardly visible. For example, a person may have experienced whiplash during a sudden stop but have no immediate signs of this internal neck injury. Whiplash, also called a neck sprain or strain, can cause severe pain, stiffness, headaches, numbness, and fatigue. However, these symptoms may take up to 24 hours to develop. Soft tissue damage, spinal injuries, concussions, broken bones, herniated discs, internal bleeding, and traumatic brain injuries can all be caused by a car accident.

Delaying Treatment Can Exacerbate Medical Issues

Imagine this scenario: a driver is rear-ended by another vehicle. The driver feels a pain in his back but ignores it. The driver who was hit is so consumed by exchanging insurance information and taking care of his vehicle that he does not get checked out by a medical professional. A few days later, the back pain has dramatically worsened, and the man finally goes to a doctor. The doctor explains that the man will need expensive back surgery to correct the problem. 

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Rockford personal injury attorneysThe weather has been warming up in Northern Illinois, and that means that people are out picnicking, swimming, and walking their dogs. Although many consider dogs to be “man’s best friend,” the reality is that dogs are still animals, and their behavior is not always predictable. Sometimes, a dog who has never shown signs of belligerence suddenly becomes aggressive. If you have been bitten by a dog in Illinois, it is important to know that you might be able to receive financial compensation for your injuries.

Illinois Dog Bite Laws

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximate about 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States every year. Illinois has traditionally been a state in which a higher-than-average number of dog bite lawsuits are filed. This is partially due to how the law is written. In some states, a dog owner is not responsible for damages caused by a dog bite if the dog had never bitten anyone before. For example, if someone owned a dog who was usually friendly and non-aggressive, but then one day the dog suddenly bit someone, the dog owner may not be held liable because he or she did not know the dog was capable of violence. However, Illinois does not have this law in place. Instead, a dog owner can be held liable for damages caused by his or her dog biting someone even if the dog has never shown signs of aggressiveness in the past.

The Illinois Animal Control Act dictates when a dog owner is liable for injuries caused by his or her dog. According to the act, “If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.”

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Winnebago County nursing home abuse attorneysAs the Baby Boomer generation ages, more and more individuals are seeking the 24/7 care that nursing homes offer. One study suggests that over half of the current U.S population will need to stay in a nursing home, at least temporarily, at one point in their lives or another. Unfortunately, some nursing homes are not able to manage the increasing number of residents. Understaffed nursing homes or staff who are not properly trained can leave residents without the help and resources they need. When left unchecked, nursing home neglect and abuse can be deadly.

Nursing Home Abuse and Mistreatment Shockingly Common

The most vulnerable among us deserve to be cared for and respected by nursing home staff. Sadly, many nursing home residents find themselves in facilities that do not make residents’ needs the staff’s top priority. Some nursing home staff even purposely harm the residents. A congressional report found that almost a third of all U.S nursing homes were guilty of safety and regulatory violations which put residents at increased risk of harm. Surveys show that almost half of nursing home residents have reported being mistreated at some point in their stay. Even more concerning, an astounding 95 percent of nursing home residents claim to have personally witnessed staff neglecting other residents.

Warning Signs of Abuse and Neglect

One of the most tragic realities about nursing home abuse and neglect is that many residents are unable to communicate what is happening to them. Residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be especially vulnerable to mistreatment. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, be on the lookout for signs of neglect or abuse such as:

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Rockford motorcycle crash lawyersAs spring turns into summer over the next few weeks, more and more motorcycles will be out on Illinois roadways. Helmet laws have long been a topic of intense debate for motorcycle riders across the country, as each state has the freedom to make its own laws—or not—regarding helmet use. In Illinois, there are no helmet laws for motorcycle riders, which means that each rider must decide for himself or herself whether or not to wear one.

Advocates of mandatory helmet laws believe that wearing a helmet decreases the likelihood of serious injury in a crash—an outcome that serves the public interest. Those who oppose helmet laws maintain that because it is the rider who is at risk, the rider should have the freedom to go helmetless. Some riders even go so far as to suggest that while helmets may protect the head from impacts, they can actually cause neck injuries.

Added Weight

The basis for the claim is that a helmet adds weight to the riders head and neck. When the motorcycle is moving, the head and helmet combination is moving at the same speed. If the motorcycle stops quickly—such as during a crash—the head and helmet will continue moving forward. The theory holds that in many cases, the inertia of the head and helmet is too much for the rider’s neck, which can cause broken vertebrae or even a severed spinal cord.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_childrens-products-safety-recall.jpgWhen consumer products are aimed at children—or the care and well-being of children—the manufacturers and distributors of such products may be absolutely sure that children are not being placed in danger by using the products. Unfortunately, dozens are children’s products are recalled each year, and consumer advocacy groups suggest that there has been little, if any, progress made in recent years toward improving children’s product safety.

A New Report

Kids in Danger (KID) is a children’s advocacy group based in Chicago. Earlier this month, KID held press conference, alongside Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and representatives from other groups, to announce the release of a new report that looked at children’s product recalls in 2017. The report also outlined the effectiveness of recalls issued in 2016.

The annual report is an effort to educate the public and product manufacturers regarding dangerous children’s products. Despite releasing the report every year since 2002, KID officials say there is still a long way to go. “It is disheartening [that] we don’t appear to be much closer to effective recalls now despite enormous leaps in communication resources to reach consumers,” said KID executive director Nancy Cowles.

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Winnebago County car accident lawyersThere is little argument against the fact that smartphones and other hand-held technology has dramatically changed Americans’ lives in the last few decades. We use our phones for everything from texting and calling to GPS navigation, social media, “Googling” information, and even streaming video. Unfortunately, some people choose to do these things while driving. Even though some mistakenly believe that they can “multitask” while driving, the reality is that doing anything other than driving while behind the wheel greatly decreases a person’s ability to safely operate the vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed in car accidents caused by a distracted driver in 2015. During the same year, a shocking 391,000 people were injured in these types of accidents. A countless number of public service announcements and campaigns have attempted to decrease the number of people killed or injured by distracted driving incidents each. Many states have enacted laws to make using a cellphone while driving illegal or to require the use of hands-free devices. Unfortunately, some people continue to endanger others by using their phone at the wheel.

Cell Phones Are Not the Only Dangerous Distraction

The tricky thing about cell phone use legislation is that many everyday occurrences can be even more distracting while driving. For example, studies show that talking on a hands-free phone or through a Bluetooth connection may be just as distracting as using a handheld phone. In fact, the simple act of talking to another person inside the car can be distracting. Australian researchers found that the presence of children in a vehicle is 12 times more distracting to a driver than using a cell phone. Startlingly, the research also showed that people driving with children in the car take their eyes off of the road for more than three minutes of a 16-minute trip on average.

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Rockford medical malpractice attorneyWhen you place yourself under the care of a hospital and a team of medical professionals, you expect everyone involved to do their best to meet your needs. Doctors and medical staff members, however, are human, and they sometimes make mistakes. In some cases, medical professionals can be blatantly negligent, and when this happens, the patients who suffer harm as a result may be entitled to collect compensation for their injuries.

The amount compensation a victim of medical malpractice can receive depends on a large number of factors, including the seriousness of the injury and how it will affect the rest of their lives. A recent appeals court ruling in Illinois indicates that if the circumstances of a case change during trial, the verdict can be directly affected.

A Quick Recap

The case in question involved a 42-year-old Illinois woman who sought treatment at a Cook County hospital in 2005 for a soft tissue infection in her neck. Due to swelling in her throat, doctors installed a tracheostomy tube but failed to properly account for the effects of a blood-thinning medication that the woman was already taking. The combination of the medication and the trach tube led to several incidents of bleeding, including a serious event where the patient went into respiratory arrest. Before proper action was taken, the patient suffered serious brain damage and partial paralysis.

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