We Hear About a Lot of Auto Recalls These Days

It seems that no matter how much research you do, how much money you spend or how many auto dealers you visit in Illinois to get your favorite car, you have no guarantee that it is safe from recalls while you own it.

Forbes Magazine reports that auto makers continued to experience an increase in sales over the past three years despite the sluggish national economy. The good news is that in 2012, the industry sold around 14.5 million units for an increase of 13 percent over 2011. The bad news is that these same auto manufacturers recalled 14.3 percent of current and past models during 2012.

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Professional Negligence Can Be Costly

It’s an almost automatic response when you hear the word malpractice — a physician, hospital or medical professional in Illinois made a mistake that caused harm or injury to a patient. Most of the time, malpractice applies to a medical issue.

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You Were Exposed to Asbestos at Work

Now you have been diagnosed mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that attacks the thin layer of cells that line the body’s organs, particularly the lungs. Symptoms can include: lower back pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, weight loss and muscle weakness, to name just a few.

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Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is damage to the brain that occurs after birth and which is not hereditary, congenital or degenerative. It is an acquired brain injury that is caused by an external physical force that may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness. In other words, it is injury caused by a large smack on the outside of head or a serious medical event inside the brain.

The Brain Injury Association of Illinois says most TBIs come from:

  • Vehicle crashes
  • Falls
  • Sports injuries
  • Violent acts
  • Medical events such as loss of oxygen to the brain, aneurysms, brain infection, tumors or stroke

TBI is a complex condition that can happen at any time and manifest itself in many ways. With advances in medical treatment and speedy treatment, many more TBIs are treatable, especially if they are not severe. However, more acute TBIs can be devastating for the victim and the victim’s family having to cope with such a life-altering event.

If you have suffered TBI yourself or are responsible for providing care to someone who has TBI, contact an Illinois accident lawyer for support. An attorney experienced in TBI cases can represent your interests to help ensure that you or your loved one receives the best care possible.

Attorneys can use their extensive knowledge and resources to build an insurance claim and/or lawsuit against those responsible for an accident causing your TBI by:

  • Investigating the facts related to the event that caused the injury
  • Using accident reconstruction experts and reputable medical experts to support your case
  • With the aid of experts in finance, establishing the true dollar value for your loss of current income and future earnings, plus your ongoing care

With the myriad of issues surrounding TBIs, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Get a Chicago personal injury attorney on your side. There is too much at stake to risk going it alone.

When Recalls of Medical Devices Affect Your Health

Every year, many people in Illinois are affected by medical device and product recalls. Defective products can carry a high financial cost for manufacturers. But the physical and emotional costs for patients injured by these products far outweigh any dollar value.

Women are diagnosed with with pelvic organ prolapsed (POP) fairly often. POP occurs when the tissues that hold the pelvic organs in place become weak or stretched. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 30 to 50 percent of women may experience POP in their lifetime with two percent developing symptoms.

If you received this diagnosis, your doctor may have told you that a transvaginal mesh (TVM) implant would correct the problem. So you agreed to have an operation. You had the procedure a month ago, but now you’re experiencing complications. If after the TVM implant your pain has increased, not subsided, it is important to have your physician examine you as soon as possible.

After some research, you may have found that TVM implants for individuals with POP can cause serious problems. You learned the 2011 FDA report stated that TVM products can pose serious risks for patients who receive these permanent implants. By all means, see your doctor immediately.

From a legal perspective, how do you proceed if you are in chronic pain from a TVM implant? Do you have any recourse against the medical/pharmaceutical giants that manufacture this mesh? Yes, you do!

It is worth your while to contact an Illinois attorney who is familiar with TVM product liability lawsuits involving defective devices and products. The attorney can work with you to investigate whether your injury is a result of the mesh product itself or a health care provider’s error. Together, you can develop the best approach to ensure the best road to recovery and compensation for your damages and losses.

Hospitals: When a Resource Becomes a Danger

For most people, going to the hospital means receiving needed treatment for an illness, injury or condition that requires specialized medical care. While many people are nervous about hospital treatment, most expect to weather their situation and return to routine life. If exposed to hospital acquired infection (HAI), life may never again be normal.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of every 20 patient hospitalized will experience infection contracted during their hospital stay. HAI are among the top ten causes of death in the United States and commonly include:

  • Infections associated with intravascular or urinary catheters
  • Surgical site infections
  • Pneumonia related to use of mechanical ventilators

As personal injury attorneys, we witness the debilitating effects HAI have on our clients, especially seniors, who struggle to regain physical stability after becoming seriously ill through exposure to HAI contagion while in the hospital.

Two particularly dangerous HAI infections include:

  • Clostridium difficile (c.difficile): Contributing to the deaths of 14,000 people per year in the United States, c.difficile is commonly acquired through medical treatment in healthcare settings. Associated with antibiotic overuse, mortality related to c.difficile is estimated to have increased 400 percent between 2000 and 2007 due partially to emergence of a stronger strain of the bacteria.
  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE): CRE is a group of antibiotic resistant bacteria commonly found in the human gut including the well-known Escherichia coli (e.coli) bacteria. The carbapenem group of antibiotics are considered drugs of last resort against difficult infection. As the name implies, CRE bacteria have grown resistant to carbapenems, leaving the medical community with little to fight these ferocious infections

On a national and state level, HAI prevention is a public health priority. If you, or a loved one, are injured by a HAI, seek immediate medical care and then obtain legal advice from an experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorney.

Made in America: Construction Accidents

Every day in America, 13 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, nearly four million people have suffered a workplace injury from which some may never recover. These are often preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy.

Death comes in many ways to American workplaces. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 4,600 people were killed at work in 2011, over 700 of them in the construction trade. Charged with developing standards to protect workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies construction hazards and works to prevent jobsite injury.

Termed by OSHA as the Fatal Four, the agency predicts over 400 lives could be saved each year if the following hazards were eliminated from American worksites:

  • Falls
  • Electrocution
  • Struck-by-an-object incidents
  • Caught-between incidents

In Chicago, we represent injured workers and their families. Our cases include workers suffering falls caused by inadequately constructed scaffolding, electrical accidents, toxic exposure and other dangerous workplace conditions.

On any size construction site, workers are engaged in dangerous tasks with specialized equipment. Coordination and safety training are needed to maintain a safe jobsite. Without proper oversight, serious accidents happen, often due to the negligence of employees of other contractors and their equipment.

While OSHA creates standards and recognizes hazards, any workplace is only as safe as the procedures and policies in effect on that site. If you are injured on a construction site, speak with our workplace injury lawyers for advice and experienced representation. The call is free.

When a Roadside Argument Becomes a Legal Argument

A DuPage County criminal case was filed after a road rage incident led to the death of a Lombard man in June, 2012. A loving grandfather of 12 grandchildren and a Vietnam veteran, 63-year old Gerald Puglise was eastbound on Ogden Avenue on his 2005 Triumph Rocket III motorcycle on June 13, 2012. Approaching the intersection at River Road, Mr. Puglise had the right of way and proceeded through the intersection.

Unknown to Mr. Puglise, 31-year old Plainfield resident Michael Moreno was also quickly approaching the same intersection. Mr. Moreno had allegedly used cocaine and marijuana earlier in the afternoon before becoming embroiled in a road rage incident with a teenage girl.

In what prosecutors describe as a fog of rage Mr. Moreno, driving a silver 2006 Infiniti M45, was chasing a Honda driven by a 16-year-old girl. In pursuit of the teen, Mr. Moreno made an abrupt turn in front of Mr. Puglise in the intersection. Trying to avoid collision, Mr. Puglise laid down his bike but was struck in the head by the rear wheel of the car driven by Mr. Moreno, killing him almost instantly. Hesitating only seconds, Mr. Moreno left the scene of the accident, still pursuing the teen driver.

With a record of driving violations, Mr. Moreno faces felony and misdemeanor charges in the case. A ruling is expected in late March. When arrested, Mr. Moreno claimed the teen girl initiated a roadside argument and threatened him. Witness accounts did not support his view, instead painting Mr. Moreno as initiating the argument, the pursuit and later, the reckless, tragic death of someone not even a party to the argument, Mr. Puglise.

If you are injured, or suffer the wrongful death of a loved one through the negligent or reckless actions of another, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your right to justice and compensation for your loss.

Generic Drugs: A Closely Watched Case

In 2005, Karen Bartlett visited her doctor complaining of shoulder pain. Her doctor prescribed Sulindac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to relieve pain and address symptoms of arthritis. Ms. Bartlett was dispensed the generic form of Sulindac, manufactured by Mutual Pharmaceutical Company. Her life was never the same.

Ms. Bartlett suffered a rare but life threatening drug reaction related to Stevens-Johnson Syndrome called toxic epidermal necrolysis (TENS). TENS is diagnosed when 10 percent of the outer layer of human skin is catastrophically damaged or destroyed. Ms. Bartlett suffered burns and skin loss affecting 60 to 65 percent of her total skin area.

Spending months in a medically-induced coma, Ms. Bartlett suffered two septic shock episodes, was treated in five different hospitals, and was left with external and internal burns and disfigurement that rendered her legally blind, unable to eat normally, have sexual relations or exercise. Once active, independent and gainfully employed, Ms. Bartlett, only 53, is almost blind and unable to read or drive.

A trial court awarded Ms. Bartlett $21 million dollars in her action against Mutual Pharmaceutical and the decision was upheld by an appeals court. Mutual has requested the Supreme Court to determine if a generic drug manufacturer should be held liable for injuries caused by an exact replica of a drug as it was created by the originating company.

About 80 percent of prescriptions in the United States are filled using economical generic drugs. In a case that could have far-reaching legal consequences, the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the case and decide whether a generic drug manufacturer can be held liable for injuries caused by a defective drug.

In the past, the Court held generic drug manufacturers cannot be held liable for labeling deficiencies over which the generic manufacturer has no control — this case questions the inherent safety of the drug itself, not the labeling. The findings in this case may decide if injured patients can legally challenge generic manufacturers of dangerous, defective drugs. Time and the Supreme Court will tell.

If you have been injured by a reaction to a drug, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact a product liability lawyer at our office to find out more.

Traumatic Brain Injury a Growing Concern for Athletes

Our law firm has more than 65 years combined experience representing individuals and families injured and suffering due to the negligence or mistake of others. Other than fatal injury, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are some of the most tragic matters we handle. In recent years, the necessity of understanding and preventing these catastrophic injuries has finally gained importance on the national agenda.

Often called a head injury, traumatic brain injury is the name of acquired injuries to the brain. Minor concussion is the most common form of TBI. Leading causes of TBI include:

  • Falls
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Impact of being struck or hit
  • Assaults

In the United States, it was former National Football League (NFL) players who contributed to increasing the profile of a traumatic brain injury called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This is a degenerative neurological disease caused by repeated impacts to the head. To date, 34 former NFL players have reportedly been diagnosed post-mortem with CTE.

The NFL currently faces a class action lawsuit on behalf of about 4,000 players and their wives alleging the organization was aware early on of the devastating effects of head impacts, but failed to protect or inform players. Recently the NFL has announced funding of significant research projects to investigate brain injury and develop methods and equipment to promote brain safety while protecting against injury.

Traumatic brain injury has long been a disabling, irreversible consequence of serious accident. Well-funded research into TBI will benefit society, the military and individuals and families struggling to deal with TBI injury.

Part of handling TBI is gaining resources and compensation to manage a lifetime of care after a debilitating injury caused by the negligence of another. If you or a loved one suffers a head or brain injury, talk to our personal injury lawyers about your injury.