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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 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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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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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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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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Rockford personal injury attorneysNews reports of fatal drunk driving accidents are sadly common. Poor road conditions and winter weather only increase the risk of alcohol-related traffic accidents. On average, approximately 30 people in the U.S. die as the result of drunk driving accidents each day. This adds up to over 10,000 lost lives per year. Monetary damages from accidents involving a drunk driver are estimated to be more than $44 billion annually. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a car accident involving an intoxicated driver, you may be able to receive compensation.

Winter Weather and Poor Road Conditions Add to Danger of Intoxicated Drivers

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is always a reckless move, but it is especially dangerous during winter road conditions. Icy roads can lead to rear-end collisions when a driver fails to stop their vehicle in time. Multiple car pile-ups may be more likely to occur during adverse weather as well. The combination of an intoxicated driver and slippery roads can also increase the likelihood of a pedestrian being struck and killed.

Negligent Drivers Can Be Held Liable for Damages

Everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car has an obligation to everyone else around him or her to drive with care and attention. When a driver chooses to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit or while otherwise intoxicated, he or she is not fulfilling his duty to act with reasonable care.

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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysElectric scooters can be a fun and efficient way to get around town. From New York to Chicago to Los Angeles, more and more people are using electric scooters for transportation. Unfortunately, these vehicles are not without risk. Because the rider stands on top of the scooter, it can be easy to fall off. Keeping your balance on a scooter may also be harder than it looks, especially in crowded or obstacle-filled streets. Until recently, there was almost formal data regarding electric scooter safety. Now, a new study shows that scooter injuries are quite common and can range in severity from bruises to serious head injuries.

Research Suggests Scooter Falls Are on the Rise

The study, which was recently published in the journal JAMA Network Open, analyzed data from 249 patients who visited the emergency room for scooter-related injuries in the Los Angeles area. Although scooters are thought of as nearly risk-free, injuries resulting from scooter falls or crashes are being more prevalent. Of the patients studied, about 40 percent suffered head injuries and roughly a third had broken bones. A noteworthy number of scooter-related injuries occurred in patients younger than 18. Simply falling off the scooter accounted for over 80 percent of the injuries studied while about 11 percent of injured scooter riders ran into an obstacle. Although most electric scooters only reach speeds of about 15 miles per hour, falling off a scooter, colliding with an obstacle, or being struck by a car while riding a scooter can cause serious injuries or even death. Dr. Joann Elmore, professor of medicine at UCLA and senior author of the study, says that scooter riders are underestimating the potential danger of these vehicles.  

Lawsuits Arising from Scooter Injuries

Some people who were involved in scooter-related injuries have filed lawsuits in order to recover compensation for medical bills or missed work. As with any personal injury lawsuit, the issue of negligence is the central concern when it comes to electric scooter lawsuits. Claimants must prove that their injury was caused by negligence in order to collect reimbursement through a civil suit of this kind. For example, if negligent design led to the injuries, the designer of the scooter may be held liable. Likewise, a scooter with faulty parts may have been manufactured carelessly which would make the manufacturer responsible for any injuries sustained. Assigning blame for defective products can be an intricate and demanding task. This is why it is critical for any person pursuing a defective product personal injury suit to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysThanks to television procedural dramas and other dramatic depictions, you are probably familiar with the common legal phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt.” While the concept predates American law, it has become a cornerstone principle in criminal courtrooms around the country, providing a basis for protecting the rights of the accused. Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of entertainment, it is easy to assume that the same standard applies in any type of court proceeding. Reasonable doubt, however, does not play a specific role in civil court or personal injury claims, as the standard used in such cases is much different and much easier to attain. In civil court, a claimant must only show that his or her version of the event in question is more likely than not based on the “preponderance of the evidence.”

Burden of Proof Is on the Claimant

As you might expect, the party that files a car accident, slip and fall, or other personal injury claim has the burden of proof. This means that, in order to collect compensation as requested in claim, he or she must present a case that shows several distinct elements. The claimant must demonstrate and support with evidence that:

  • The defendant owed him or her a duty of care;
  • The defendant breached that duty by negligence or willful act;
  • The claimant suffered actual injuries or losses; and
  • The defendant’s breach was the cause of the claimant’s injuries or losses.

In most cases, the defendant’s duty of care is based on the standard of reasonable care, meaning that he or she must take the same steps that a reasonable person would take to prevent foreseeable injuries.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysCell phone use—particularly texting while driving—has become a serious problem in America. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 1.2 million accidents are caused by texting and driving each year. Those numbers, however, may be far lower than the reality because the police rarely investigate to determine whether or not an accident was caused by cell phone use. However, skilled auto accident attorneys can help to uncover this information and may even be able to help their clients seek punitive damages for their injuries.

Why Texting and Driving Accidents Are So Serious

Studies that have been conducted on distracted drivers have suggested that cell phone use one of the most dangerous forms of distraction. In fact, one study found that, while the body tries to compensate for other forms of distraction through a flight or fight reaction, that same compensation is not present when using a cell phone and driving. This is because the brain relies heavily on hand-eye coordination to activate this defense mechanism, and texting takes that coordination away. As a result, the accidents that occur due to texting and driving often cause serious injuries.

Your Injuries and Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not often seen in auto accident cases. However, when a driver “willfully and wantonly” causes harm to another person, such as in accidents with drinking and driving or the use of a cell phone, victims may be due added punitive damages. Unfortunately, obtaining such damages is not an easy task. Knowledge of the law and of penal codes is required. This is why every victim who suspects that texting or talking on the phone while driving may have been a factor in their accident should seek skilled and experienced legal assistance.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysAggressive driving is a common factor in traffic accidents across America. In fact, a 2009 study from the American Automobile Association (AAA), which used information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatal Accident Report System (FARS), had found aggressive driving to be a factor in as many as 56 percent of all U.S. car crashes between the years 2003 and 2007. What does these statistics mean for non-aggressive drivers, and what can victims do after an accident has occurred?

What Constitutes Aggressive Driving?

Most people see the terms “aggressive driving” and “road rage” as synonymous, but road rage is actually a form of aggressive driving—certainly one of the more concerning displays of it. Other forms of aggressive driving include:

  • Speeding;
  • Following too closely, or “tailgating;”
  • Racing;
  • Improper lane changes;
  • Driving on the shoulder;
  • Driving in the median;
  • Passing where prohibited;
  • Failure to yield the right of way;
  • Failure to signal;
  • Driving too fast for road conditions;
  • Improper turns;
  • Reckless or erratic handling of a vehicle;
  • Failure to obey traffic signs or controls; and
  • Failure to observe warnings or instructions.

All these maneuvers and behaviors may place the driver and other road users at risk for an accident. If a crash does occur, aggressive drivers may be held liable for the injuries or damages experienced by victims.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Rockford car accident attorneyOf all the car accident injuries, whiplash is, by far, the most commonly reported in the United States. In fact, recent statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicate that some 66 percent of all claimants file an injury related to the neck, and over 800,000 whiplash injuries have been reported over the last 12 years. What can accident victims with whiplash expect after a crash, and what kind of compensation might they be entitled to receive? It is important to understand the dangers of this condition and what can be done about it.

What is Whiplash?

A soft tissue injury that involves the tendons, ligaments, and surrounding tissues of the neck, whiplash occurs when the head is suddenly and violently thrust backward, and then forward. It might sound as though it takes a high-speed crash to create this type of motion. However, whiplash is often seen in even low-speed crashes (perhaps as little as six miles per hour, if going by the cut-off limits in the UK). There is also a common misconception that whiplash occurs only in rear-end crashes, but front-on collision victims are also at risk.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Though the pain of whiplash may not show up immediately after the accident, victims are likely to notice symptoms in the coming hours, days, or weeks after an accident. Often hard to ignore, and typically far more painful than just a simple ache, these symptoms can include:

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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysIf you were to ask a random person on the street to think of a personal injury lawsuit that did not involve a member of their family, that person might name any number of cases. If you were to ask that same person to think of a frivolous lawsuit, he or she will almost certainly bring up the idea of suing over a cup of coffee and being awarded millions of dollars.

In 1994, an elderly New Mexico woman named Stella Liebeck did, in fact, sue McDonald’s over a cup of hot coffee. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury did decide that she should receive nearly $3 million in damages. A closer look, however, reveals that labeling the lawsuit as “frivolous” is, at best, unfair to the woman who suffered gruesome injuries from coffee that was far too hot.

The Facts

Ms. Liebeck was 79 years old when her grandson took her to McDonald’s in 1992. As she sat in the passenger seat of the car, she started to remove the lid of her coffee so that she could add cream and sugar. The cup tipped over and spilled the coffee onto her lap. The spilled coffee was so hot that Ms. Liebeck suffered third-degree burns on her legs and genitals in a matter of a few seconds. Her injuries were so severe that she required skin grafts and extensive surgeries.

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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysThe House Veterans Affairs Committee has begun an intensive investigation into the quality of care at 133 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing homes after it was revealed that the VA itself ranks most of its facilities as seriously lacking. The agency’s internal rankings of its nursing homes had been kept secret for years, but they are now available for the public to view. The data is grim. Almost half of all VA nursing homes have been assigned the lowest possible score with regards to cleanliness, safety, and quality of patient care.

VA Facilities at Greater Risk for Pain and Medical Complications

Tragically, studies show that care for American war veterans is shockingly insufficient. An investigation headed by USA Today and The Boston Globe found that 60 VA nursing homes were given a score of one star out of five. In over two-thirds of VA nursing homes, patients were found to have higher rates of pain and a higher incidence of bedsores than nursing homes in the private sector. Residents in VA nursing homes show a greater decline in their quality of life than nursing home residents in private facilities.

Illinois nursing homes did not fare particularly well on quality-of-care rankings. The facility in Danville, IL, scored one out of five stars in part due to a resident who had a catheter left in their bladder. The lowest possible score for nursing home quality is one star. Other two-star nursing home facilities had high rates of bedsores and residents slipping and falling. The best-rated home in Illinois was in North Chicago and earned three stars out of five.

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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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