Personal Injury – Bicycle Injuries – $5M Settlement in Truck versus Bicycle Accident

April 14, 2012

The interesting thing that I keep seeing in personal injuries resulting from intersection related incidents, is that the person who is in the intersection at the time the personal injury event occurs, regardless of stop signs and who did or did not stop at the signs, controls the the intersection and therefore has the right of way.

In the personal injury case illustrated below, since the Plaintiff must have already been in the intersection, therefore was in control of the intersection, had the right of way. The truck driver did not look to his right before proceeding into the intersection and hit the biker causing him catastrophic injuries.

In other words, just because a person failed to stop at a stop sign, does not give green light for other drivers to plow them over…

A case involving an elderly bicycle rider who lost part of his leg after a truck struck him recently settled for $5 million.The case stems from an Aug. 14, 2009, accident between Paul Zanoni and a Mack truck.

On that date, Zanoni rode his bicycle home from church when a truck owned by Rossi Contractors Inc. of Northlake hit him near a Bellwood intersection, said [Plaintiff’s Lawyers].

Zanoni did not stop his bicycle at the crosswalk near the intersection of Madison Street and 25th Avenue in Bellwood, he said.The truck’s driver, John O’Shea, moved through the intersection but did not look to the right and struck Zanoni, he said. Zanoni became trapped under his bike and the truck dragged him about 40 feet before stopping.

via Chicago Daily Law Bulletin – The City’s No. 1 Source for the Law Profession.

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A World Without Lawyers

March 26, 2012

I have heard many tales about how life would be if only lawyers would not be around. You know, the joke that goes something like this: “What do you call a dozen lawyers dead at the bottom of the sea?” and the answer is something like: “a good start.” We have all heard the lawyer jokes and I always get a good chuckle out of them. But in reality, the world would be a dismal place was it not for us lawyers who are the last line of defense between those who place money and profit ahead of all else including the safety of the people around them. Lawyers are making sure your rights are preserved and those who do harm are held accountable for their action.

It is all about personal responsibility.

A World Without Lawyers
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Work Injury – Product Liability – Doctors Remove 3.5-inch Nail from Worker’s Brain

March 20, 2012

workplace injuryWhat came to my mind was a question about safety of the nail gun used. As lawnmower have what is commonly referred to as a “dead-man’s switch” which cuts of the engine to the mower if the operator lets go of the handle, I am surprised that a nail gun could still fire without anyone holding it. Here, the accident occurred when the worker let go of the nail gun and it fell on his head! I like to hear about what causes of action, aside from the obvious worker’s compensation claim resulting from the workplace injuries, an attorney looking at the facts and the details could come up with. Off the top of my head, I see a potential product liability case here.

Autullo was standing on a ladder, reaching over his head to drive nails into the top of a wall, when he lost his grip on his nail gun. The recoil swung the gun back and pressed it against his skull. From the outside, it appeared to be a minor scrape, but just below the skin was the head of a nail.

via Doctors remove 3.5-inch nail from man’s brain – chicagotribune.com.

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Criminal Law – Go to Trial – Crash the Justice System

March 19, 2012

In this era of mass incarceration — when our nation’s prison population has quintupled in a few decades partly as a result of the war on drugs and the “get tough” movement — these rights are, for the overwhelming majority of people hauled into courtrooms across America, theoretical. More than 90 percent of criminal cases are never tried before a jury. Most people charged with crimes forfeit their constitutional rights and plead guilty.

“The truth is that government officials have deliberately engineered the system to assure that the jury trial system established by the Constitution is seldom used,” said Timothy Lynch, director of the criminal justice project at the libertarian Cato Institute. In other words: the system is rigged.

In the race to incarcerate, politicians champion stiff sentences for nearly all crimes, including harsh mandatory minimum sentences and three-strikes laws; the result is a dramatic power shift, from judges to prosecutors.

via Go to Trial – Crash the Justice System – NYTimes.com.

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Wrongful Death – A Series of Mistakes Cause Girl’s Death

February 22, 2012

If not for a series of “mistakes” made by the four paramedics who treated Starks on that fateful day, attorney Brian Murphy argued that the girl would be alive today.

The first mistake was that the child was “intubated through the esophagus that leads to the stomach, instead of through the trachea that leads to her lungs,” Murphy said.

The second mistake involved ignoring a “standing medical order” issued by the Fire Department. According to Murphy, it states that, if a patient’s condition worsens, paramedics are to look into the patient’s mouth to “visually observe where the breathing tube was placed.”If the paramedics had done that, Murphy said, “They would have seen the tube was in the esophagus and not in her trachea and they would have removed it and properly placed it.”

The third mistake involved the “fender-bender” that delayed Starks’ transport to the hospital.Instead of proceeding to Trinity Hospital after determining that the driver of the other vehicle was not injured, the paramedics chose to follow, what Murphy called a “ridiculous general order” that states that, if you’re in an accident involving property damage, you remain on the scene.

via Paramedics’ alleged mistakes in girl’s death likely to cost taxpayers .

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Dog bite Injuries – Denver TV Anchor’s Is Bitten In The Face During Interview

February 16, 2012

Approximately 800,000 dog bite attacks occur each year in the United States that require medical treatment. Children account for many of these dog bite victims. Each year, thousands of children are either killed or seriously injured by dog bites injuries. Dog bites can cause serious and disfiguring injuries that may have life changing and life long effects on a person. The effects are catastrophic all the way around: the victim will have to live with the effects of his injuries and the dog, more often than not, will have to be put down.

The story below is just an all too familiar story about an all too trusting individual who simply fails to assess the real dangers of getting too close to an animal with which she is unfamiliar.

A veteran Denver television anchor was injured Wednesday after she was bitten in the face by a dog while doing a live broadcast about a dog rescued by a firefighter. Kyle Dyer was interviewing Michael Robinson — the owner of an 85-pound Argentine mastiff that fell into a lake on Tuesday while chasing a coyote in the city’s Lakewood area — and firefighter Tyler Sugaski, who put on a wetsuit and rescued the dog, when the attack occurred. According to KUSA-TV, firefighters, paramedics and animal control officials were called to the station after the attack.

The station posted a statement on its Facebook page that Dyer was “getting medical attention due to the injury” and the station was waiting to find out the extent of her injuries before issuing further information. A station spokeswoman was not available for comment. The station showed video of Dyer petting the dog, but cut off the video before the attack and said they would not show it. A station spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment. Julie Lonborg, spokeswoman for Denver Health hospital, said in a statement that Dyer was in fair condition and being evaluated by a trauma team. The hospital said she was awake and visiting with family. KUSA-TV said she may go home as soon as tonight.

Megan Hughes, spokeswoman for the Denver Environmental Health department, said no decision has been made on what will happen to the dog.

via Dog bites Denver TV anchor’s face during interview – CBS News.

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Consumer Issues – Legal Wrinkle Creates Debate Over ‘Debtors’ Prisons’ in Illinois

January 26, 2012

debtor prisonGenerally, when there are summons or a subpoena for you to appear in Court, you must do so if you have been served with those papers. Either yourself, or a legal representative on your behalf has to show up. Failure to show-up, may result is a warrant for your arrest to be issued. Now, that is a Rule of Law that is helpful in many instances in order to get those who have done harm or have important information about an incident such a witness to come to Court and help in the implementation of Justice.

What I fail to understand, is that in a collection proceeding, if the defendant has been properly served, and he or she does not show up in Court, the common sense result would be the entry of a judgment in the amount asked in favor of the plaintiff and against the missing defendant. The defendant then may begin collection activities which may include freezing bank accounts, wage garnishment, ceasing property and such. It behooves us to think that a person who owes money, and has not paid it as he or she was supposed to, would suddenly come up with funds to pay the debt holder if he or she would appear in Court. It is utterly void of any sense whatsoever, for a Judge to enter a body attachment order and issue an arrest warrant in a debt collection proceeding. It is simply void of any practical sense and/or common sense and/or legal sense.

Yet, the example below is one amongst many that I have heard taking place as of late. This causes a Court to play into the hands of low-life debt collectors who have found a new weapon to harass and harm otherwise good and law abiding citizens who are down on their luck. No one should be sent to jail because they cannot pay their debt. That is a sound principle that a Judge should be able to work through when a debt collector’s representative requests the Court to issue an arrest warrant when the defendant fails to show. Under normal circumstances, the failure should simply mean that the defendant does not have any defense nor is disputing the existence of the debt or his or her obligation to pay it. What more can be obtained by placing the person in jail, possibly causing more economic harm and making it even more difficult to pay back, even if they had such an intention.

This sort of behavior is expected of debt collectors-but it is surprising and sad to see Judge’s who are willing to go along with it.

“Robin Ebersohl left her job at a Wal-Mart in Montgomery County to drive back to her home in Livingston. During the trip, she was stopped by police. “I knew my muffler was bad, but I just kind of chanced it,” Ebersohl said. “He pulled me over, and I thought I would just get a fix-it ticket or something.” What Ebersohl didn’t know was that a warrant had been issued against her in Macoupin County for failure to appear in court on a debt collection issue. “I didn’t know what I was supposed to appear to,” said Ebersohl, who said she never got a notice that she was due in court.

Instead of going home that day, she was taken to jail. Ebersohl said she spent the night in the Montgomery County Jail and then was transferred to Macoupin County, where she spent three more days in jail.”

via Legal wrinkle creates debate over ‘debtors’ prisons’ in Illinois – Springfield, IL – The State Journal-Register.

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Wrongful Death – Father Knows Best – Son’s Death in Salt-truck Was Avoidable

January 24, 2012

When a company designs and manufactures a product, the Law requires that manufacturer and/or designer to make sure that the designed product is reasonable safe for its intended use. Too often, it is the personal injury legal battle that brings about those simple changes, that were they implemented to begin with, the injury for which the lawsuit was brought would not have happened. It was the amputated leg of a homeowner whose legs were badly mangled up under his lawnmower when he felt and it back over his legs that prompted manufacturers to put that kill switch on the mower’s handle. It was the McDonald’s case that prompted car manufacturers to equip their cars with cup-holders. It was the avoidable death of several drivers that prompted car manufacturers to use the three-point seat belts. These simple modifications added to the cost of manufacturing, but has prevented additional injuries and death.

In the example below, and the wrongful death lawsuit that has been filed, the same principle is again at play. A simple cut-off switch and/or a protective panel could have prevented the death of a young man? The Jury will make that finding in due time I suppose.

“A suburban father filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday, one month after he made a horrific discovery at the family’s business: His son had fallen on a salt-truck auger, and the younger man’s clothing had been pulled in to the mechanism, strangling him.

David Pittas filed the suit Monday in Cook County Circuit Court against the manufacturer and others tied to the sale of the salt spreader that killed his 26-year-old son Timothy Pittas. The younger Pittas would still be alive today had the salt-spreader been equipped with an emergency shut-off device or at least if the auger — the metal device that spins and spreads the salt — had a guard around it.

“The only reason we’re doing this is so no other person has to go through what I’m going through, or what my wife is going through or my [other] son is going through or my daughter is going through,” a choked up David Pittas told the Sun-Times, referring to his wife Mary and their two surviving children. “It’s wrong to bury your son, and it’s wrong that we had to. If I can save one other person’s life with this then Tim didn’t die in vain.””

via Father says son’s death in salt-truck accident didn’t have to happen – Chicago Sun-Times.

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If you or a loved one has been a victim of personal injury in Chicago or the surrounding area, contact or call us at 312-252-5252 for a free no obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.

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