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Winnebago County bicycle accident attorneyIllinois’ flat landscape and beautiful scenery make it an ideal location for bicyclists who ride their bike for commuting or recreational purposes. And while Illinois is making great strides in bicycle safety lanes and trying to increase motor vehicle operators’ awareness of bikes on the road, great risks still exist to bicyclists. Bicycles are much smaller and lighter than motor vehicles, making them hard to see and susceptible to serious injury and death in even minor car accidents. If you have been injured by a car or truck while riding your bike in Rockford, a personal injury attorney can help you decide whether you want to pursue a lawsuit. 

Common Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

Life-threatening injuries and death are regrettably common in accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles. Frequent injuries include, but are not limited to: 

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck and spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Internal bleeding, bruising, and hemorrhaging 
  • Road rash 

Recovering from these injuries can take months or years and extensive surgeries, physical therapy, and other expensive medical treatment. Successful lawsuits often deliver compensation for loss of mobility, pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and decreased life quality. While money cannot give you back your health, it can make managing life after a serious accident a little easier. 

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Rockford dog bite injury lawyerWhile dog attacks are relatively rare, they can be a scary and dangerous experience, especially for young children. Dogs are often much larger and stronger than a child, and because of their similar height, children are at greater risk of sustaining serious and even life-threatening head and neck injuries in a dog attack. Winnebago County does not have any restrictions against owning pit bulls, but parents of young children should know that pit bulls are, statistically speaking, the most dangerous breed of dog when it comes to dog attacks on children and exercise particular caution around an unfamiliar pit bull. If your child has been attacked by a pit bull or any breed of dog and sustained injuries, you may be able to sue the owner to recover the cost of your child’s medical expenses and emotional trauma.  

Are Dog Owners Responsible for Injuries Caused By Their Dogs? 

As with most legal issues, the answer is, “It depends.” If a child wandered onto someone else’s property and accidentally or intentionally provoked a dog attack, the dog owner is probably not liable for any injuries the child sustained. However, if a dog is allowed to wander off private property and it attacks a child at a park or on your family’s property, the owner will likely be responsible. Likewise, if you are invited to a friend’s house and their dog attacks your child unprovoked, especially if the dog has a history of aggression or biting people, your friend may be responsible. 

What is Considered a Vicious Dog?  

Children are often bitten by dogs because they tend not to understand a dog’s warning signs. A child’s behavior that seems playful or harmless to an adult human may seem irritating or threatening to a dog; pulling a dog’s tail or ears, chasing a dog, or taking something from a dog’s mouth may all provoke an attack. A dog who has attacked a child when the child was abusing, assaulting, or physically threatening the dog will likely not be considered vicious and the owner will not be held responsible for the attack. However, if a dog has a history of attacking people unprovoked and the owner does not take the necessary steps to confine a vicious animal, he or she may be held responsible for that dog’s actions. 

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Rockford nursing home neglect lawyerAs our parents and loved ones grow older, moving independently and making everyday decisions about finances or healthcare can become extremely difficult. Physical illness, intellectual degeneration, and other ailments of aging can make caring for a family member at home impossible and the decision to place someone in a nursing home, while difficult, may be the best option. 

We should all be able to trust a nursing home to provide the best care for our aging parents. Unfortunately, understaffing, poor training, and efforts to cut corners all happen sometimes in nursing homes. When nursing home abuse and neglect takes place, residents can suffer - and one of the first signs that residents are getting inadequate care is the appearance of bedsores

What Causes Bedsores? 

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are injuries that appear when skin is damaged because of prolonged pressure on one or more areas of the body. Bedsores are particularly prone to developing on protruding areas like hips, ankles, heels, the back of the head, and the tailbone when someone has difficulty moving and spends most of their time in bed or in a chair. 

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Rockford personal injury attorneyParents who live in Winnebago County, Illinois, send their children all over the state and country to attend college. As university attendance levels continue to rise and more young adults seek to obtain a higher education, exposure to certain behaviors and risks also increases. One well-known risk of university attendance is the binge drinking that often occurs at campus parties. 

Unfortunately, binge drinking is often a mandatory part of joining a fraternity or sorority, and young adults with little experience can suffer serious injuries and even death in campus hazing incidents or university house parties. If your child was attending college and was injured, assaulted, or killed after being provided alcohol by another adult, you may be able to take legal action. 

Common Injuries From College Binge Drinking 

Research suggests that college students drink substantially more than their peers who do not attend college. Binge drinking, or drinking to the point of getting drunk, is especially common at universities with fraternities, sororities, and prominent sporting programs. Binge drinking places young students, who are often without parental supervision for the first time in their lives, at significant risk of catastrophic injury, including: 

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Winnebago County Nursing Home Abuse LawyerAfter a family has made the difficult, often heartbreaking decision to move a loved one into an Illinois nursing home, the family members of the nursing home resident may continue to face additional stress because they worry their loved one is not being properly cared for. Stories of nursing home neglect and abuse are widespread, and, unfortunately, incidents are common. Although accidents and injuries tend to happen more often to elderly people, if your loved one has suffered a broken bone or fracture in their nursing home, you may rightfully wonder if it was an accident or whether something like neglect or even physical abuse is going on. 

What Causes Broken Bones and Fractures in Nursing Home Residents? 

In addition to the clear dangers of physical abuse, more mundane behavior on the part of nursing home staff and supervisors may be responsible for residents’ injuries. Nursing home residents often suffer from weakness, frailty, and difficulty with independent movement. This places them at increased risk of falling and getting injured, especially if nursing home staff are not properly monitoring residents and offering support when necessary. Even minor accidents can result in serious injuries, and not every injury is a consequence of nursing home neglect. However, many behaviors can contribute to an increased rate of resident injuries, including: 

Winnebago County Personal Injury LawyerDrug companies in the United States often have significant incentives to market drugs without making potential users aware of the complete list of possible side effects. Because new drugs can be lucrative and often promise significant results, drug manufacturers may not do the necessary research to discover dangerous side effects or may attempt to hide them. Even drugs approved by the Federal Drug Administration frequently have serious side effects that are not discovered until after they are widely available. Other times, patients are victimized by drugs that are wrongly prescribed or administered. If you have suffered an injury because of a defective drug, consider speaking with an experienced Illinois drug injuries attorney. 

Defective Drugs Can Cause Serious, Long-Lasting Injuries 

When patients take drugs, they expect them to help manage injuries, pain, or other suffering. Unfortunately, however, sometimes defective drugs can worsen symptoms or present new ones. While side effects can vary widely, common serious side effects of defective drugs include: 

Winnebago County Catastrophic Injury LawyerThose who seek the aid of emergency room staff are in need of urgent, competent treatment from doctors and nurses who take the utmost care to ensure a patient gets treated and diagnosed according to the standard of care. 

Unfortunately, medical practitioners do not always meet their duty in this regard, and patients often suffer tremendously when an illness is misdiagnosed or poorly treated because of an emergency room mistake. Because emergency rooms are often hectic places with stressed, overworked staff who do not have ongoing relationships with patients, failure to diagnose and improper treatment may be more common than in traditional doctors’ offices. In some cases, this may rise to the level of medical malpractice

Common Emergency Room Errors

Medical mistakes have been pinpointed as the third leading cause of death in the United States, and research suggests that errors in emergency rooms are particularly common and occur in nearly every aspect of emergency care. Because staff are often switching between patients and changing shifts, small mistakes can quickly be exacerbated by poor communication or incorrect information. Other common mistakes include: 

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Rockford Personal Injury LawyerChemicals are everywhere in our environment. Even things that we use every day, like vinegar and baking soda, are chemicals or chemical compounds. Most of the chemicals in our environment pose no risk to us, even with daily exposure. Sometimes, however, we are exposed to dangerous chemicals without even knowing it. 

Certain workplaces are known to carry the risk of exposure to toxic chemicals, but even places like your home, streets, and grocery stores may have strong chemicals present that are not always managed correctly. We may unintentionally ingest them, get them on our skin or eyes, or breathe them in. While certain chemical exposures are unavoidable, other times a chemical can get into inappropriate areas due to negligence, serious accidents, or poor management. If you have been injured by exposure to chemicals in the Winnebago County area, a skilled personal injury attorney may be able to help. 

Signs of Toxic Chemical Exposure

While the specific signs of chemical exposure can vary according to the chemical in question, certain symptoms are common. Short-term effects include, but are not limited to: 

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Winnebago County Personal Injury LawyerChildren in Illinois daycares frequently have severe food allergies. Daycare staff must be made aware of these allergies and adequately train staff to recognize and respond to signs of an allergic reaction. Because allergic reactions can be life-threateningly severe, daycare staff and managers need to track, plan, and carefully prepare meals to avoid giving children foods to which they are allergic. But when a daycare is careless or understaffed, the risk of accidentally exposing a child to a dangerous allergen increases. If your child was given food to which they are allergic at their daycare, the daycare may be liable for any food allergy injury that resulted. 

Inadequate Staffing Increases Risk of Allergen Exposure

A new 2021 law requires daycare and school employees to recognize and treat signs of anaphylactic shock. Ideally, a child in daycare will never be exposed to anything to which she is allergic, but this law is intended to save lives if a child is accidentally given unsafe food. 

However, if a daycare is understaffed and employees have to manage more children than they can reasonably care for, a child’s risk of allergic food exposure increases, along with the risk of overworked staff who might miss signs of an allergic reaction. Parents should be aware of the staff-child ratios required in Illinois daycares so they can be on the alert for signs of understaffing: 

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Winnebago County Personal Injury LawyerVehicle airbags are often subject to conditions that have the potential to deteriorate the condition of the airbags long before they are ever deployed in a car accident. Extreme temperature fluctuations, humidity, and other environmental conditions have the potential to degrade airbags and make them defective, less effective, or even dangerous. 

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a major recall several years ago that involved tens of millions of vehicles that had airbags that could potentially explode and cause serious injury or death. While lives were undoubtedly saved by the recall, other lives in Illinois continue to be prematurely shortened or diminished in quality when a defective airbag deploys improperly. 

How Should an Effective Airbag Work? 

While airbags are not a foolproof method for preventing serious injury or death in a car accident, they are often effective in keeping a car accident victim’s face away from the steering column and dashboard. When a car is involved in a crash, a special sensor detects the impact and a carefully controlled system fills an airbag with gas that rapidly inflates the airbag at over 200 miles per hour, cushioning the impact of the crash and reducing damage to the head and body. 

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Winnebago County Personal Injury LawyerHundreds of thousands of people in Illinois go grocery shopping every day without incident. But sometimes, what should have been a fast and easy trip to buy milk can turn into a nightmare scenario. Grocery stores that are not properly maintained and kept clean can quickly present a variety of hazards to unsuspecting customers, including slippery floors, loose electric wires, broken glass, and heavy falling objects. 

The consequences of these conditions can leave customers with serious and long-lasting injuries that require extensive and ongoing medical care. If you have been injured in a Winnebago County retail store and want to know whether you may be able to pursue compensation under Illinois’ premises liability laws, read on. 

When Can Someone Sue a Store for an Injury? 

Illinois law has specific sections discussing the responsibility that store owners have to visitors, shoppers, and even just someone stopping in to use the bathroom. Store owners and managers are legally responsible for keeping their stores free of hazards. While this means that a grocery store owner may not be responsible for every injury (such as if the customer’s own behavior was the proximate cause of the injury), certain conditions in the store that are caused by neglect or carelessness could cause injuries for which the grocery store is responsible. 

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Rockford Personal Injury LawyerAn Illinois mother may not be able to give birth vaginally to her infant for many reasons. The infant’s head may be too large, the infant may be in breech position, or the mother may suffer from serious health complications. Whatever the reason, a cesarean section or “c-section” can save the lives of the mother and the infant.

C-sections are on the rise, and many of them appear to have no necessary medical reason. C-section deliveries can be very risky because they involve complex surgical maneuvers in critical areas of a mother’s body. Even a seemingly minor surgical error or mistake can put the life of a mother or her infant at risk. If you have been injured because of a poorly conducted c-section, this blog may be helpful to you. 

Is a C-Section Mistake Medical Negligence? 

Doctors have a serious responsibility to practice medicine according to an established legal standard of care. Medicine is not always exact, and unavoidable mistakes can happen. But when a mistake is the result of a surgeon who fails to act reasonably or carefully and a patient is injured or killed, that surgeon may have committed medical malpractice

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Winnebago County Surgical Error Injury LawyerAnyone going into surgery is understandably nervous. While the majority of surgeries are completed successfully, surgical errors do occur. Some surgical mistakes are so terrible, they should never happen. Unfortunately, these so-called “never events” can and do occur. One study reported that approximately 4000 never events occur each year in the United States. Often, these egregious surgical mistakes lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. If you or a loved one were a victim of a severe surgical error, contact a medical malpractice lawyer for help.

Surgical Mistakes Can Lead to Profound Suffering

No one expects surgeons, doctors, and other medical staff to be perfect, but we do expect a certain degree of competency. Unfortunately, medical professionals do not always meet these expectations.

In 2001, the term “never event” was first used in reference to extreme surgical mistakes. These types of mistakes are unacceptable and should never happen. Some examples of never events include:

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Winnebago Car Crash LawyerApproximately 4.5 million people were injured in car accidents in 2019. Car accident victims are often faced with significant financial losses, including vehicle repair costs and medical bills. Many are unable to work while they recover from their injuries. Some suffer catastrophic injuries that leave them permanently disabled. Car accident victims may be able to recover financial compensation for their losses through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

However, not all car accident injury claims are the same. When a car accident is caused by a government employee, a government entity may ultimately be responsible for compensating the victim. Unfortunately, bringing a successful claim against the government can be even more challenging than bringing a claim against an insurance company. Claims against the local, state or federal government are subject to special rules and tight deadlines. If you or a loved one were injured in a wreck and a government worker is at fault, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for help.

Sovereign Immunity in Illinois Car Accident Claims

Being hurt in a car crash is always a surprise, but you may be even more surprised if the crash was caused by a government employee. If you have found yourself in this situation, you may wonder if you have the same rights as other crash victims.

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Winnebago County Defective Product AttorneyThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is the government agency tasked with ensuring consumer products are safe. The agency frequently issues product recalls, but tragically, recalls are often not enough to prevent injuries and deaths caused by dangerous or defective products.

If your baby died and you suspect that a defective product was the cause, you may be looking for answers. You may wonder if there is anything you can do to seek justice on behalf of your child and hold the at-fault company responsible for this tragedy.

Unsafe Infant Products and Wrongful Death

Parents trust that products designed for infants are safe for infants. Unfortunately, baby and child products are frequently recalled due to safety hazards. Often, these recalls do not occur fast enough to prevent children from being hurt or killed by the products. Just recently, over 3 million infant loungers were recalled after eight reports of infant suffocation were associated with the lounger.

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Rockford Catastrophic Injury AttorneyMost of us take our ability to use our arms and legs for granted. Someone who has suffered paralysis after an accident knows just how precious this ability is. Paraplegia, quadriplegia, and other forms of paralysis are often the result of spine injuries suffered in a collision, slip and fall accident, or other type of accident. Some paralysis victims can still retain some control over the affected body parts, others are completely paralyzed. Their muscles may become flaccid and unusable or tight with painful spasms. Whatever the specifics of the condition, paralysis affects every aspect of a person’s life.

Legal Options for Paralysis Victims in Winnebago County

Per Illinois law, individuals who are injured by the actions of another party may be able to bring a personal injury claim and seek financial compensation. Money could never make up for the loss of your hand, foot, arm, or leg, however, it may relieve some of the financial burden caused by the accident. Many paralysis victims are left with massive medical bills and other expenses. They may be unable to work either temporarily or permanently. Many are never able to enjoy the same hobbies and activities they could before the accident.

If you or a loved one suffered temporary or permanent paralysis in an accident, you may be able to take legal action and recover financial compensation.  The liable party may be an individual such as a drunk driver, a commercial business such as a trucking company, a property owner, or another party. For car accidents, the party who is ultimately responsible for compensating the victim is a car insurance company. Unfortunately, insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with. The insurance company or other at-fault party may try to avoid taking responsibility for the accident or offer an unreasonably low payout. A personal injury lawyer can help you gather the evidence needed to build a compelling claim and act as your legal advocate during settlement negotiations, communications with the at-fault party, or any legal proceedings.  

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rockford wrongful death lawyerWhen a person dies unexpectedly, their family members may struggle financially while also dealing with grief and emotional trauma. Picking up the pieces after the loss of a loved one can be especially difficult when the person’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence. In these situations, a family may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the person or parties who were responsible. While the damages available in these cases may provide compensation for the financial losses a family has experienced, they may also address the ways family members have been personally affected. By understanding how loss of companionship is addressed in these cases, a family can make sure they will be able to receive the compensation they deserve.

What Is Loss of Companionship?

A wrongful death case will often focus on “pecuniary” losses. These are also known as economic damages, and they will address the ways a family has been affected financially by a person’s death. Family members may be compensated for the loss of the income that their loved one would have earned, as well as other financial benefits they would have provided. In addition to these pecuniary losses, family members may also be compensated for non-economic damages, including their loss of a relationship with their loved one.

Loss of companionship, which may also be referred to as loss of consortium or loss of society, addresses the harm suffered by family members because they no longer have their loved one in their lives. A person’s spouse and children will suffer from the loss of a loving relationship in which the person would have provided them with comfort, affection, and attention. Children will not be able to receive guidance, instruction, and protection from a parent who was killed. A spouse will be deprived of partnership and sexual intimacy. A family may also experience a loss of services that their loved one would have provided, such as caring for children, providing transportation, assistance with education and activities, and performing work around the home.

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rockford medical malpractice lawyerWhen patients receive substandard care from doctors or other medical professionals, they can suffer serious harm. While medical malpractice can take many forms, misdiagnosis is one of the most common issues that affect patients in the United States. An incorrect diagnosis, a delayed diagnosis, or a failure to diagnose a serious medical condition can result in a patient not receiving the proper medical care within the right time frame. In cases involving misdiagnosis of cancer or other serious illnesses, the failure to receive timely treatment may result in a person’s wrongful death. By understanding the reasons that misdiagnoses may occur, victims of medical negligence can ensure that their injuries and damages will be addressed properly.

Causes of Misdiagnosis

There are many issues that can increase the likelihood that a patient will not receive the correct diagnosis. When medical providers do not follow standard practices or otherwise fail to provide patients with adequate care and consideration, a misdiagnosis may be considered to be medical negligence. Some common ways that negligence by doctors or staff members can lead to an incorrect diagnosis include:

  • Lack of experience - While doctors may rely on their experience providing treatment for patients as they recognize different symptoms and make a diagnosis, they should also be aware of gaps in their knowledge and cases where they may need assistance from other professionals. A doctor’s failure to refer a patient to another provider that would provide a better understanding of their condition may lead to an incorrect or delayed diagnosis.

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rockford personal injury lawyerWhile the brain is one of the most important organs in the body, it is also one of the most sensitive. Even though the skull provides protection for the brain, there are many ways that serious brain injuries can occur, and they can drastically affect a person’s health and well-being. A person who suffers from a brain injury may experience issues such as memory loss, sleep disorders, sensory issues, problems with balance and coordination, mood disorders, personality changes, seizures, or intellectual disabilities. By understanding the causes of brain injuries, victims can determine their legal options for receiving compensation that will allow them to address their symptoms and make a full recovery.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Many of the most serious brain injuries involve trauma such as a blow to the head. These traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, can occur in situations such as:

  • Car accidents - While motor vehicles have safety features such as airbags that are meant to protect against brain injuries, drivers and passengers may still be injured by striking their head on a steering wheel, dashboard, the frame of a vehicle, or other objects. These injuries are more likely to occur in high-speed collisions, rollover accidents, or collisions involving large vehicles such as commercial trucks or buses. Motorcyclists or pedestrians who are involved in collisions are also likely to experience serious brain injuries.

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Rockford personal injury attorneys

Originally published: October 24, 2018 -- Updated: December 6, 2021

UPDATE: While punitive damages, as described below, may be available in some cases, these types of damages are generally only awarded in situations where a person committed an egregious violation of the law or knowingly acted in a way that put others at risk of serious harm. While punitive damages may be available in some car accident cases involving distracted driving, they may also be awarded in cases where a drunk driver caused injuries to others, since all drivers should be aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated.

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