Happy New Year 2012!!!

December 31, 2011

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New Law – Failure to Shovel Snow From Your Sidewalk Could Prove Costly

November 12, 2011

shoveling-snow

Shoveling Snow To Avoid a Ticket

It used to be that an owners and occupiers of a property had a duty to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition to prevent personal injury to occur. That is, the owner of the property had the duty to exercise reasonable care in making sure that conditions on his property where such that a reasonable person would not find them to be dangerous and would not end up harming and causing injuries to persons and property of those who would venture onto the property. That responsibility translated for example for the owner to make sure that a water well is fenced off, or that animals were properly fenced in and caged and such things to make sure people who are on the property would not be injured. Failure to follow the standard of care of course would be a civil offense and the owner would be open to a lawsuit should a person be victim of a personal injury as the result of the owner’s failure.

An exception however was carved in this duty for those who owned property and lived in a place, like Chicago, where the snow is a series problem. This exception provided for an immunity for the owners of a property from lawsuits in a case where they attempted to clean up the snow from their property–but they did so in a less than ideal manner. The philosophy was that it was better for the owners to clean up the sidewalks and driveways–albeit not perfectly–than not doing it at all.

Things are now being taken up a notch or two:

Chicagoans who neglect to shovel their snow-covered sidewalks this winter could be in for a big surprise — a warning notice, followed by a ticket — if an influential alderman has his way.After watching the Department of Streets and Sanitation showcase its “mobile electronic ticketing,” Ald. Tom Tunney 44th, chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development, suggested Wednesday that the Blackberry technology be used to crack down on a chronic winter violation that endangers and infuriates pedestrians.

SO now we have a shift from a civil offense to a criminal offense where the State will fine you if you do not clean up. What will this do the exception provided under the law is unclear.

via Failure to shovel snow from your sidewalk could prove costly – Chicago Sun-Times.

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Safety Tip – American Academy of Pediatrics: "Don't Put Bumper Pads in Cribs"

November 10, 2011

bumper pads

American Academy of Pediatrics Says Do Not Put Bumber Pads on Cribs

One would wonder why it took so long to come to the conclusion that bumper pads in cribs were dangerous and should not be used. The American Academy of Pediatrics has finally issued a warning that bumper pads should not be used in cribs because they can cause personal injury and/or death by causing suffocation of the baby in the crib–and it turns out that there is no solid evidence that they prevent any sort of injuries anyhow.

“We weighed the pros and cons and the evidence, and felt that the safest thing would be to keep bumpers out of the crib altogether,” said Dr. Fern R. Hauck, a member of the academy’s SIDS task force and a professor of family medicine at the University of Virginia. Investigations by the Tribune this year and last year found that federal regulators with the Consumer Product Safety Commission have gotten reports for years of babies suffocating against bumper pads, yet they have failed to warn parents or investigate all the deaths.

The regulators have hesitated to take a stance on the safety of bumper pads, saying they are trying to determine if there is a scientific link between bumper pads and suffocation, or if blankets, pillows or medical issues played a primary role in the babies’ deaths.

In response to the Tribune’s stories, the city of Chicago and state of Maryland recently prohibited sales of crib bumpers, often packaged as part of bedding sets.

via Don’t put bumper pads in cribs, says American Academy of Pediatrics – Chicago Tribune.

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The Story of Citizens United v. FEC: The Simple Version

November 9, 2011

I know–I don’t usually get into politics on this blog but this, I thought, was important on many levels and so I am passing it on. Take from it what you feel like and if it does motivate you wither way, all the better. We are in it together!

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Tort Reform – Tort Reform Has Not Delivered On Its Promise in Texas – Tort Deform

November 8, 2011

In 2006, Dr. Howard Marcus wrote that Texas’ 2003 tort reform statute sparked an “amazing turnaround” in which doctors came to Texas in droves, instead of leaving the state as they had before. He was doubly wrong. Texas neither lost doctors before 2003 nor gained them especially quickly in subsequent years. In fact, according to statistics published by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), the supply of active, direct patient care (DPC) doctors per capita grew faster from 1996 to 2002 than at any time after 2003. If the pre-reform growth rate had simply continued, Texas would have seven more DPC doctors per 100,000 residents than it does today.

Not only did pre-reform Texas outpace post-reform Texas; in the post-reform period Texas fell farther behind the average U.S. state. In 2002, Texas had 61 fewer DPC physicians per 100,000 residents than the average state. In 2010, Texas lagged the average state by a whopping 76.5 doctors per 100,000 residents, according to data published by the American Medical Association (AMA). Texas’ downward slide is also accelerating, meaning that Texas is falling behind the average state both farther and faster each year.

via No Better Care, Thanks to Tort Reform | The Health Care Blog.

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Daylight Saving: Turn Your Clocks Back

November 6, 2011

 

Daylight Saving: Turn Your Clocks Back!!!

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Information – Some Frequently Asked Question About Personal Injury Cases – FAQ

November 2, 2011

1. In Case Of An Accident Why Would You Need an Auto Accident Attorney?
Contrary to some people’s belief, accidents do not happen absent someone’s negligence or carelessness, or absent a defective part in a vehicle or absent dangerous practices of industry or entities. This accidents or better incidents may, and have on many occasions caused personal injury to people who happen to be around when things start going wrong. Why should these people who have suffered personal injury through no fault of their own be made to pay for the consequences, medical bills, past, current and future treatments, wage loss, and other losses and a damages they have made to incur? When the person who has caused the incident that has resulted in these damages refuses to take responsibility for the loss he or she has caused (or he does take responsibility but grossly under-value the loss incurred) your best option is to contact a Chicago and Evanston personal injury attorney to help you recover what you deserve.

2. Yes, but Do I Need An Attorney For All Accidents?
No. Sometimes the loss is too small or, on rare occasions, the person or entity who has caused the damages is responsible and reasonable enough that you do not need the help of a Chicago and Evanston personal injury attorney.

3. How The Lawyer Charges His Fees?
Generally, personal injury attorneys will not charge you to meet you or to talk to you over the phone to consult with you and evaluate your case cases. Once the personal injury lawyer decides, based on the facts you have given, that do have a case and damages warrants taking on the case, then personal injury cases are generally taken on a contingency basis. That is, you do not pay any fees until the cases is ended (either via settlement or a verdict) and moneys collected from the responsible party.

5. What About The Cost of Litigation – Who Pays For Them and When?
In most cases, the attorney will advance you the cost of litigation which may include the cost of ordering your medical records and bills, filling fees, cost of service of process upon the defendant(s), deposition costs and such. The attorney will get reimbursed when the case is settled and distribution is taking place.

6. What If The Accident Is ‘My Fault’?
Fault is often a combination of things that has happened and often cannot be readily be ascertained absent some fact finding process. In Illinois, unless you are 51% or more at fault for the incident in which you have been injured, you are still entitled to recover a percentage of the loss you have incurred. A Chicago or Evanston personal injury attorney can determine, based on his experience, what is likely the percentage of fault that can be attributed to you, if any.

7. Am I Supposed To Speak With The Other Side’s Insurance Company?
No. Generally, I recommend that you do not speak with the other side’s insurance adjuster absent having first spoken with an attorney and having been prepared as to what to expect in that interview. Aside from that, we never recommend that you agree to a recorded statement. There are no laws that force you to have your voice be recorded during that interview. If the other side’s insurance company tells you that they will not consider your case unless you give a recorded statement, you should speak with an Chicago Evanston personal injury attorney immediately.

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Closing Statement – George Graham Vest On Man's Best Friend

October 31, 2011

While surfing the net, occasionally I come across interesting and sometimes fascinating information that does not have much to do with personal injury law but is worth the time to read and upon which to contemplate. As lawyers, we are to put into words our client’s case and sense of loss. We need to convey the core of the case in concise, clear and in words that describe the loss in its full impact to twelve strangers seated in the jury box.

George Graham Vest

George Graham Vest

George Graham Vest gave the following closing argument in 1870 in a lawsuit about a dog named Old Drum, which was shot by a neighbor. It has nothing to do with personal injury cases, but illustrates the point:

“Gentlemen of the jury, the best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter whom he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us — those whom we trust with our happiness and good name — may become traitors in their faith. The money that a man has he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world — the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous –is his dog.”

“Gentlemen of the jury, a man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow, and the snow drives fiercely, if only he can be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.”

“If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace, and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.”

Each time I read this aloud, it makes me cry. This is what a truly amazing final closing argument should do–it is timeless and it goes to the core issues. Notice, George Vest did not even mention anything about damages–yet, it is all there.

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