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Rockford personal injury attorneysImagine this scenario: You are at a friend’s house enjoying a party. While walking upstairs, you experience a horrible slip and fall. You are taken to the hospital where you learn you have significant injuries that will require thousands of dollars’ worth of medical care, corrective surgery, and physical therapy. Even worse, you will be out of work for months, so you will lose money this way as well. You may be asking yourself, “Would my friend’s homeowner’s insurance cover any of these expenses?”

Does the Property Owner Have Insurance?

The first question to consider if you have been injured at a friend or neighbor’s house is if the property owner even has homeowner’s insurance. Fortunately, most homeowners do. Mortgage companies require homeowner’s insurance, so if a person has a mortgage and is still paying off their house, they should have homeowner’s insurance. However, there is still the chance that a person who owns their home free and clear and has no mortgage might not have homeowner’s insurance.

Report the Incident to the Insurer Immediately

If the owner of the property on which you were injured does have homeowner’s insurance, you should report the incident to the insurer as soon as possible. Waiting too long to report the claim can make you lose credibility in the eyes of the insurer. There is no register of homeowner’s insurance information, so the only way you will be able to know the name of the insurer is to ask the property owner.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysIf you have been injured in a car crash or any other accident caused by another party’s actions or negligence, you might be able to pursue compensation for the injuries you have sustained. Compensation is generally available to cover medical expenses, time away from work, and damage to property, as well as more subjective losses such as pain, suffering, and permanent scarring. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to collect compensation after an accident, especially if a lawsuit is necessary.

Filing Your Claim

In most situations, the first step toward recovering compensation after an accident is filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Depending on the situation, you might do so by going through your own insurance company first or you could file directly with the other party’s carrier. Your claim will almost certainly include the police report and any other evidence that might help prove that the other party was to blame for your injuries.

At this stage, the insurance company might offer a settlement that seems like it will cover all of your losses. Keep in mind that initial offers often do not take long-term considerations into account. For example, the first offer might come before you have even received a prognosis for making a full physical recovery from your doctor. If you accept a settlement offer, you will waive your right to taking legal action in the future, so you should discuss the matter with a qualified personal injury lawyer before making a decision.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_comparative-fault-balance-negligence.jpgImagine this scenario: You are cruising down the highway at about 10 miles over the speed limit when you are hit by a drunk driver. You suffer significant injuries to your back and neck that leave you unable to work and drowning in medical bills. The drunk driver’s insurance company offers you a settlement which does not even come close to compensating you for your damages. Is there a way that you can sue to recover compensation? The answer in Illinois is “yes.”

Illinois’ comparative fault law allows those injured by another’s negligence to sue even if they were partially responsible for the injury or accident. In this example, the original driver may have contributed to the accident by speeding, but if the other driver was more to blame, a personal injury suit is still possible.

Defining Negligence Under Illinois Law

The word “negligence” is used to describe a situation when a person or entity owes a duty of care, or responsibility, to another person and fails to uphold that duty. For example, doctors have a duty to their patients to maintain the prevailing standard of care within their area of practice. A doctor who significantly deviates from this standard of care and causes injury to his or her patient may be considered negligent. Similarly, drivers using public roadways have a duty to the other motorists on the road to drive with care and attention. Driving drunk is certainly not upholding this duty. Therefore, many drunk drivers are held liable when an accident they cause results in injuries.

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Rockford product liability lawyersThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the government agency responsible for ensuring that the products Americans use everyday are not unreasonably dangerous. When it comes to infant and child products, the need for strict safety guidelines and regulations is especially great. Millions of child and baby products are recalled every year after evidence is discovered that the products carry a defect which increases the risk of injury or death. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics requested that the CPSC issue a recall for the popular Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper after the sleeper was linked to several infant deaths.

American Academy of Pediatrics Says Inclined Sleeper is Deadly

There has long been debate regarding the safest way for infants to sleep. Fears about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other fatal conditions can cause new parents to be nervous about how they lay their child down for sleep. Although we generally assume that the baby products sold in retail stores are safe for our children, the sad case is that some products do carry risks. More than 30 infants have died while sleeping in Rock ‘n Play sleepers since the product was introduced in 2009. Frighteningly, new evidence shows that a great deal of these recalled sleepers are still being used in homes and daycares across the country.

Child Care Providers May Be Using Unsafe Products

The American Academy of Pediatrics formally recommends that babies should be placed on a flat surface that is free of blankets and other items when they sleep. The recalled sleepers place infants in an inclined position which some believe is the cause of the fatalities. One parent was shocked to discover that one the sleepers linked to infant death was being used in his own son’s daycare. The Philadelphia father is a consumer watchdog for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, so he recognized the recalled sleeper right away. Research suggests that approximately one out of ten daycares are still using the dangerous sleeper. Child care organizations which use unsafe products or otherwise put children and babies at risk can be held legally responsible for any injuries or deaths caused by their negligence. 

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Rockford medical malpractice lawyersWhile most doctors, nurses, surgeons, and other healthcare providers are competent to provide quality medical care, medical mistakes do happen. In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that medical negligence is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. In 2012 alone, over $3 billion dollars was spent in payouts for medical malpractice lawsuits.

Medical errors can affect all types of patients. In fact, the family of acclaimed astronaut Neil Armstrong believes that the 82-year-old’s death was a result of medical negligence. Until recently, this information had been kept secret, but now details about the case are emerging.

Family Says Hospital Caused Armstrong’s Death

Astronaut Neil Armstrong has had an incredible life to say the least. In addition to being the first man to walk on the moon, he also fought in the Korean War, won the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and had three children. Armstrong’s family, however, says that his incredible life came to an end too soon. Armstrong developed coronary disease and required bypass surgery in 2012. He made it through the surgery but then developed complications which eventually caused his death.

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Rockford personal injury attorneyIf you are a parent, you know how difficult it can be to leave your child in the care of someone else. Whether you are dropping the child off at school, daycare, or extracurricular activities, you likely worry about the quality of care and supervision that your child will receive. While the majority of childcare workers take pride in keeping children’s safety their top priority, some facilities employ staff who do not take the steps necessary to ensure the safety of the children left in their care. When childcare staff, bus drivers, teachers, nannies, and other individuals tasked with caring for children fail to properly do their job, the results can be deadly.

Three-Year-Old Boy Passes Away After Being Left in Hot Bus

A Houston bus driver has recently been indicted for “injury to a child by recklessly causing serious bodily injury or death” almost exactly a year after he allegedly left a young boy in a scorching hot bus. The horrific incident was first discovered when the boy’s father came to pick up his child from a Houston area daycare. When workers could not locate the child, the father started searching for his son. That is when he found his three-year-old unresponsive in the 113-degree daycare bus. The children had taken a field trip to a park, but not every child had disembarked the bus upon their return. Despite efforts to save the young boy’s life, he passed away.

Prosecutors Say Bus Driver’s Negligence Caused the Child’s Tragic Death

The issue of children being left in hot cars or buses is sadly not unheard of. According to Kids and Cars, a safety organization working to prevent incidents such as this, an average of 37 children die every year after being left in hot vehicles. Because of the heartbreaking frequency of child deaths related to hot cars, some buses are equipped with special safety measures to prevent children from being left unattended. Prosecutors say that although this bus had a passenger safety alarm designed to prevent passengers from being left behind, the bus driver had disengaged this alarm. The parents of the boy killed in the hot bus have filed a lawsuit against the daycare.

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Winnebago County distracted driving accident lawyersBy now, most people have heard about the dangers of texting while driving or other types of distracted driving. However, studies show that a significant number of motorists are still dangerously distracted while operating a vehicle. In 2017, over 3,000 people nationwide lost their lives in accidents involving distracted drivers, and countless more were injured. If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be able to receive compensation for your damages.

Types of Distracted Driving

Although we often hear about the dangers of texting and driving, this is not the only form of distracted driving which causes serious auto accidents. Some motorists have actually admitted to checking social media or using other phone applications while driving too. GPS devices are also a major cause of distracted driving. However, electronic devices are not the only thing that takes our attention off of the road. Studies have shown that activities like eating, changing the radio station, searching through a purse or wallet, and smoking while driving also increase the chances of being involved in an injury-causing motor vehicle accident.

Perhaps the most under-recognized type of distracted driving occurs when a driver is distracted by his or her passengers. A study conducted by Monash University found that children are an astounding 12 times more distracting than cell phone use while driving. In fact, researchers found that parents take their eyes off the road for an average of over three minutes per every 16-minute trip.

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Winnebago County medical malpractice attorneysWhen couples cannot conceive a child traditionally, they often turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF). Through this process, an egg and sperm are combined in the laboratory and then the resulting embryo is implanted in the woman’s uterus. This option can be a wonderful solution for many couples. However, the IVF process does not always go according to plan. One couple who turned to IVF was recently horrified to learn that a mix up led to their embryo being implanted in another woman and that they were carrying children from another couple. The couple says they plan to sue the fertility clinic who made the grievous medical error.

Embryo’s from Three Couples Were Implanted in the Wrong Women

When a couple chooses to use IVF to have a baby, they are likely to have many concerns. Will the procedure result in a viable embryo? Will the pregnancy go smoothly? Will the child be healthy? Most couples, however, would not even dream that medical negligence could lead to something as outrageous as what several IVF couples are now facing.

The mistake was first discovered after a Korean-American woman gave birth to twins who were not the gender she expected nor were they of Asian descent. In fact, the babies were not even genetically related to one another. The woman had actually given birth to babies belonging to two other couples. The other couples were equally devastated to learn that another woman had carried their children.

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Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyersThe medical advances our society has achieved in the last few decades have allowed people to overcome injuries and illnesses that would have certainly been fatal in the past. Many of these advancements involve invasive surgical procedures. Getting surgery almost always involves certain risks, but some of these risks are avoidable and completely unacceptable. When an avoidable surgical error is made during an operation, the results can be catastrophic. Surgeons, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals can be held legally responsible when these types of medical mistakes result in the death or injury of a patient. 

Understanding When a Medical Professional Has Committed Medical Negligence

Sometimes problems and complications occur during surgery due to no fault of the medical staff conducting the operation. Just because a surgical procedure fails to produce the desired result does not mean medical negligence has occurred. Generally, medical negligence is defined as when substandard medical care leads to some type of harm to the patient.

Some surgical errors are so preventable that they are called “never events” meaning that these particular mistakes should never happen. Never events include mistakes like leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient's body, performing surgery on the wrong body part, and performing the wrong surgical procedure on a patient. These types of mistakes often lead to medical malpractice claims. 

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Winnebago County product liability attorneysThe Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays. The day is most often celebrated with backyard cookouts, children swimming in swimming pools, and of course, fireworks. While watching fireworks light up the sky can be a delightful experience for children and adults alike, fireworks can also present serious risks. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that last year’s Independence Day celebrations resulted in approximately 9,100 fireworks-related injuries which required emergency room treatment. Sadly, the USCPC also reports that five individuals lost their lives due to fireworks incidents in 2018. There are several ways you and your loved ones can enjoy an injury-free Independence Day celebration this year, including making sure that the fireworks you plan to enjoy are safe and free of any defects.   

Fireworks Which Have Been Recalled Should Not Be Ignited or Kept

Nearly 38,000 fireworks sold in the United States which contained inaccurate levels of pyrotechnic material have been recalled. The fireworks were recalled because the defect cause an explosion much greater than what the firework is intended to produce. This defect puts consumers at risk for serious injuries—especially burns. For a complete list of the recalled fireworks, see the CPSC website. If you currently have any of the recalled fireworks, it is very important that you do not use them.

The CPSC also implores the public to follow safe firework handling procedures this Fourth of July. This includes only using legal fireworks sold by reputable sources, never pointing a firework at a person or crowd, moving away from fireworks immediately after they are ignited, and keeping a bucket of water around in case of an emergency.

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Rockford wrongful death attorneysMore and more Americans are requiring the long-term intensive care that a nursing home, assisted living, or rehabilitation facility offers. Unfortunately, many of these facilities are struggling to keep up with the influx of residents. Thousands of nursing homes across the country are understaffed or are staffed by employees who are not adequately trained. Sometimes these inadequacies lead to nursing home resident neglect and abuse. In extreme cases, these instances of neglect and abuse can be deadly.

Nursing Homes Have a Duty of Care

In personal injury law, the phrase “duty of care” refers to a responsibility that a party has to another party. Nursing home facilities and staff have an obligation to provide residents with a reasonable level of care which includes protecting residents from harm and maintaining a safe environment in the facility. When a nursing home fails to uphold this duty of care, the facility and/or staff may be legally accountable for injuries or deaths that result from this negligence.

Determining When a Death is a Wrongful Death

Nursing home residents are often elderly and suffer from many different cognitive and physical ailments. Because of this, deaths within a nursing home are not rare. Sometimes a nursing home resident passes away because it was simply his or her time. However, poor care can also lead to residents’ deaths. Many wrongful death suits are a result of negligent care or major nursing home staff mistakes.

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Rockford playground injuries attorneySummer can be a wonderful time for adults and children alike to enjoy a break from school and spend more outside. The last thing a family enjoying a public park or playground needs to worry about is whether or not the equipment the children are playing on is safe. While most playground injuries are only small bruises and cuts, sadly, much more serious injuries and even deaths have occurred due to playground accidents. If your child has been hurt or has passed away because of a playground accident, you may have a valid personal injury or wrongful death claim.

Top Causes of Playground Accidents

Of course, sometimes playground accidents occur and are not caused by carelessness on anyone’s part, the accident is just bad luck. However, many serious or fatal playground accidents are caused by negligence. Improperly constructed or installed playground equipment can have pieces which are broken, unsecured, or are otherwise unsafe. Equipment which is not properly maintained can rust away and break, exposing children to hazards which can seriously injure them. Sometimes, a playground injury is caused by inadequate supervision of children.

Injuries Which Can Be Caused by Playground Negligence    

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emergency room departments treat over 200,000 children under age 14 for injuries sustained on a playground every year. While some of these injuries are minor cuts and bruises, the CDC estimates that nearly a half of these injuries include serious internal injuries, fractures and broken bones, dislocations, concussions, and amputations. Some playground injuries can leave a child permanently disabled or disfigured. When negligence is the cause of a serious or fatal playground accident, the parents of the child injured or killed may be able to collect compensation through a personal injury claim.

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Winnebago County motorcycle accident lawyerSummer is just around the corner and throughout the greater Chicago area, motorcycle enthusiasts are excited to get on the road. Riding a motorcycle can be an efficient and enjoyable means of transportation, but it is not without its risks. Motorcyclist deaths happen 28 times more often than fatal traffic accidents involving other vehicles. As with many personal injury claims, some motorcycle accidents are completely the fault of another driver, and other times, the blame must be shared. Fortunately, Illinois liability laws allow an individual to seek compensation for damages caused by an accident even if he or she was partially responsible.

Contributory Negligence Laws

The term “contributory negligence” refers to a situation in which a claimant (person bringing the negligence or personal injury claim) in some way contributes to the injury-causing accident. The exact definition of contributory negligence depends on state law.

In Illinois, a claimant can still pursue compensation for damages if he or she was less than 50% percent responsible for the incident. If the claimant’s contributory negligence is 51% or more, he or she is not entitled to compensation. When the blame assigned to a claimant is decided to be more than zero but less than 50%, the compensation he or she is eligible for will be reduced in proportion to the blame assigned to them.

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Rockford product liability attorneyWhen a product is thought to be unsafe or numerous reports are made regarding injuries sustained from a product, that product is sometimes recalled. Individuals who own recalled products are encouraged to immediately stop using the product and return it to the store they bought it from. According to Consumer Reports, an astounding 34 million products were recalled last year alone. Recalled products can include anything from faulty automobile parts to unsafe children’s’ toys. Individuals who are injured by a defective or malfunctioning product may choose to seek compensation for their injuries through a product liability claim.

Some Target Brand iPhone Chargers May Pose a Risk to Users

Electronic products like appliances, computers, smartphones, and electrical cords can be especially dangerous when they are defective. In 2016, consumers were horrified to learn of reports that Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cell phones were bursting into flames. Samsung recalled an astounding 1 million phones after learning about the dangerous risk of ignition. They provided consumers with refunds and exchanges, but it was not enough to fully solve the problem. Consumers reported that the replacement phones also caught fire, so Samsung had to recall those as well. We now know that the spontaneous ignition problem was caused by a design failure in the original Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and a manufacturing defect in the replacement phones.

Now, another product is being recalled after reports of spontaneous smoking and ignition. Target was forced to recall their “Heyday” brand iPhone chargers after 14 reports were filed about chargers which sparked, caught on fire, or began smoking. Anyone with this brand of charger is asked to cease use of the device and return it to Target for a refund. Some people have sustained burns to their fingers after using the product, but fortunately there have not been any serious injuries or deaths associated with this particular faulty product.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysFor some, the thought of riding a huge rollercoaster at a theme park is exhilarating. Others avoid amusement park rides entirely. One reason people may hesitate before getting on an amusement park attraction is because they have seen footage of deadly amusement park accidents on the news. While major injuries and deaths at amusement parks are rare, these types of accidents can happen. Most theme park injuries are not related to malfunctioning rides but instead are caused by more mundane issues like uneven walkways and spilled liquids. When an amusement park is not adequately maintained and this negligence leads to a guest’s injury or death, the park and its ownership can be held liable.

Amusement Park Attractions Must Be Inspected

In Illinois, the Carnival and Amusement Rides Safety Act requires theme park attractions to be inspected before they are opened to the public and to be re-inspected annually. Every year, operators must obtain a permit from the Illinois Department of Labor that serves as proof of the inspection. If a ride or another theme park attraction is operated without a permit or inspection, the operator may face criminal charges. If someone is injured on a ride which was not properly inspected, this could give rise to a negligence claim and, in fact, a presumption of negligence on the part of the park operator.

An Environmental Hazard Can Lead to an Injury Claim

Most of the amusement park injuries we hear about on the news are catastrophic injuries or deaths caused by a malfunctioning ride or attraction. Many remember the tragic events which took place at the Ohio State Fair in July of 2017 when a piece of the “Fireball” ride broke off and sent riders plummeting to the ground. A young man was killed and several others were injured during this accident. It was eventually discovered that excessive corrosion had caused the ride to break apart.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysHead injuries are tricky. Sometimes a person falls and bumps their head and all they are left with is a small bruise or mild headache. However, sometimes life-threatening brain injuries can be caused by just a simple accident. Slipping on a wet floor can cause someone to fall backwards and hit the back of their head which causes a brain bleed. A fall from an electric scooter onto concrete could also cause a serious brain injury.

Brain injuries can happen for almost any reason. When these injuries are caused by negligence, the injured person or his or her loved ones may be able to receive compensation for their damages.

When Are Damages Awarded?

If an injury-causing accident was the result of another party’s reckless or negligent behavior, the injured person may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. In order to bring a successful civil suit, the injured person and his or her attorney will need to prove several things. Firstly, they must show that the negligent party had a duty to the person harmed and that this duty was not upheld. For example, anyone driving a motor vehicle has a duty to obey traffic laws. A drunk driver who causes an accident is not fulfilling this duty. Next, they must prove that the negligent party’s action was the cause of the harm. Lastly, they must prove that the victim suffered calculable damages.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_emergency-room-mistakes-malpractice.jpgShockingly, studies show that medical errors are now considered the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that between 250,000 and 440,000 people in the U.S. lose their lives every year because of medical mistakes. One place where medical errors often occur is the emergency room. If you have ever had to visit an emergency room, you probably already know that they can be chaotic environments. People go to an emergency room for a variety of ailments, some life-threatening and some not. If you or a loved one suffered because of a mistake an ER doctor or technician made, you may have grounds for a successful personal injury claim.

Mistakes Made in the Emergency Room Can Be Deadly

Emergency room errors are appallingly common. In fact, some sources report that about 5-10% of all ER visits involve mistakes. Because there are approximately 100 million ER visits in the United States each year, this means 5-10 million emergency room errors are committed every year. Of course, not every mistake is life-threatening or even harmful, but many of these mistakes have the ability to kill a patient. Emergency room doctors and nurses cannot always immediately know what is wrong with a patient or how to treat him or her. However, when emergency room mistakes are egregious or caused by medical negligence, the mistake may become an issue of medical malpractice.

Most Common Errors Made in the ER

When it comes to emergency medicine, even the smallest mistake can cause significant damage. The most common types of medical mistakes that occur in American emergency rooms include:

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Rockford defective products attorneysParents usually trust that the toys and other child or infant products their young ones enjoy are safe. While this is generally the case, sometimes defective or malfunctioning children’s products can make it into the hands of the most vulnerable among us. In fact, the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital estimates that a child suffers a toy-related injury every three minutes in the United States. In 2014 alone, 251,000 children needed emergency room treatment for toy-related injuries. If you have a child who was injured by a toy, you may be able to receive compensation for your damages.

Assigning Blame for Defective Toys

Defective and dangerous toys are often recalled. However, it can be hard to know exactly who is to blame when a defective toy injures a child. It is possible that responsibility in a toy-related product liability lawsuit lies with the manufacturer of the toy or its components, the company that that sold the toy; the company that assembled the toy, or another party. Toy deficiencies often involve a manufacturing defect which damages an entire product line or a flawed toy design which was unsafe to begin with. If poor manufacturing or unsafe design can be shown to be the cause of injuries, then the toy manufacturer or designer may be held liable for damages. Lack of adequate warnings can also cause injuries. If it can be proved that practical instructions or warnings would have reduced or prevented the injuries your child sustained, you may have a valid personal injury case. However, if the danger that the toy posed was generally known, you may have a harder time making a successful injury claim.

Injuries Caused By Faulty Children’s Toys

There are many ways in which a child can be injured by a defective toy. These include but are not limited to:

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Winnebago County nursing home injury attorneysPlacing a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility can be an incredibly difficult thing to do. Most people make this decision because they do not have the ability to provide the round-the-clock care that their loved one requires – especially if they have a career or family of their own to care for. We trust that nursing home staff will provide competent medical care and treat our loved ones with dignity and respect, but tragically, this does not always happen. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, make sure you are vigilant for signs of neglect and abuse.

Staffing Issues Can Lead to Neglect

Many nursing homes are understaffed. Others have high staff turnover which means that staff often do not have time to form personal relationships with residents. Inadequate training can also be a major problem which leads to poor care in a nursing home. When staff are not properly trained or are overworked, they can make serious mistakes which endanger residents. Nursing home residents with compromised immune systems, ongoing medical issues, and elderly residents are most at risk of dying from neglect.

Signs That Your Loved One is Not Being Properly Cared For

Often, nursing home residents suffer from cognitive decline in addition to physical conditions. Residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may not be able to understand or remember that they are being mistreated. In situations like this, it is up to the loved ones to look for red flags that something is not right. Signs that your loved one may be neglected in a nursing home include:

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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysMost people never expect to suffer an injury while they are enjoying a nice meal in a restaurant. Fortunately, restaurant patrons in Illinois who have been injured due to negligence are often able to recover compensation for damages. Read on to learn about premises liability suits for injuries that occur in restaurants and what you should do if you were injured due to another party’s carelessness.

Slip and Fall Injuries Sustained at Restaurants

There are several different ways that a person could be injured while out to eat. One of the most common injuries sustained by restaurant patrons is a slip and fall injury. For example, when staff neglect to clean up spills, they create an environmental hazard that could cause a customer to slip and fall. Sometimes falls result in nothing but a bruise or two. However, if the injured person hit their head or spine when they fell, the resulting physical damage could be much worse.

Slip and fall accidents are especially concerning for elderly or disabled individuals. A fall which would only result in minor injuries to a healthy person could result in broken bones or worse in an elderly, sick, or disabled person. Poor lighting, uneven surfaces, icy walkways, and broken stairs contribute to falls as well.

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