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Chicago Wrongful Death Law Blog

Abuse in nursing homes

Residents of poorly staffed nursing homes in Illinois could become victims of abuse. In general, abuse occurs when someone is mistreated and harmed by another person. When an elderly or disabled person in a nursing home is abused, the ill treatment could lead to a life-threatening situation.

There are different types of nursing home abuse that can occur. In addition to physical abuse that could cause immediate physical injuries, an elderly person could be the victim of emotional abuse or neglect. Emotional abuse in a nursing home occurs when a resident is threatened, humiliated or insulted by their caregivers. Even nonverbal acts of intimidation like glaring could be considered emotional abuse. Neglect occurs when a nursing home resident is not provided with the basic care that they need for their physical and emotional well-being.

Motor vehicle statutes primary factor in car accident liability

Due to lobbying from insurance companies, Illinois and other states has enacted motor vehicle statutes through the legislature meant to determine fault in car accidents. This codification gives insurance companies precise ways to challenge or limit the assignment of liability when parties seek payment for property damage or injuries.

Traditionally, common law defined notions of fault in situations in which someone or something was harmed. Negligence, recklessness, intentional misconduct and strict liability no matter who caused the harm, come from common law. However, when liability is determined in car accidents, motor vehicle laws also influence the outcome of actions. This may lead to some questions for liability. For example if a car fails to yield the right of way to another vehicle, it would appear to be the cause of the accident. However, if the car that hit it was speeding, then that second driver could also be labeled as negligent and bear a portion of the responsibility for damages.

How unsafe trucking practices put other drivers at risk

Motorists from Illinois may be surprised to hear about the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board's findings about insufficient highway regulations as they pertain to truck safety. According to the national agency, priorities to improve traffic safety must change this year. Areas of focus are the implementation of more anti-collision applications, more effective limits on the hours truck drivers operate and stricter regulations on trucking companies that have higher rates of accidents.

The NTSB states that regulators have neglected more than 100 different suggestions about roadway safety and is encouraging trucking companies to install sensors on their trucks that can alert the driver if they are about to strike another vehicle. The agency is honing in on their efforts even further by announcing a 'Most Wanted List" of improvements they intend to make during the year and details topics such as drinking and driving and rail tank car safety.

Unsteralized intravenous fluids given to patients in 7 states

Residents of Illinois may be surprised that according to a Jan. 4 report, 40 hospital patients were given unsterilized IV fluids in the U.S. The incident caused several to be ill and may have contributed to the death of one individual. The California company that produced the intravenous fluid bags regularly make products for medical training only. It is unclear how the bags ended up in over seven different hospitals.

Typically, medical professionals in training like nurses or students use bags like these for practice purposes only. Since the fluids were accidentally administered to actual patients, however, many of them reported instant symptoms like fevers and tremors. The Food and Drug Administration announced that employees should always check to ensure that bags are correctly labeled and sterilized for patient use.

OSHA cites MFG Chemical Inc. over death, injury

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to a chemical company this week over an incident in which one worker died and another was injured when chemical vapors escaped an over-pressurized reactor. According to a news release from OSHA, the MFG Chemical company employee died after the hazardous vapors burned his respiratory system. The second employee involved received treatment at a local hospital and was later released.

OSHA inspected the Dalton, Georgia, chemical company in 2014 and cited it for 17 safety and health violations. In 2012, it issued 19 serious citations to the company related to safety management standards. Repeatedly, the administration has cited MFG for failing to train employees about the dangers of working in confined spaces, not setting up a reactor system alarm that would allow enough time for workers to evacuate and problems with equipment design.

Countermeasures to reduce impairment-related car accidents

Residents of Illinois may not realize that alcohol-related car accidents account for 30 percent of all fatal car accidents. There are still key areas that continued research is necessary in order to effectively reduce impaired driving fatalities, including whether a reduction in the legal blood-alcohol concentration should be lowered to .05 percent and whether enforcing blood-alcohol testing whenever an accident causes an injury would help to reduce the overall numbers.

Some countermeasures when dealing with impaired driving have shown to be effective. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the requirement of an ignition interlock after an individual has been convicted of an alcohol-related incident while driving has proven to reduce a reduction in arrests to around 70 percent. In addition, routine sobriety checkpoints where officers determine whether a driver is intoxicated while behind the wheel have shown to reduce alcohol-related accidents by around 9 percent.

1 dead, 1 seriously injured in two-car Illinois car crash

Police say that a 28-year-old man was killed in a Southern Illinois accident that took place at about 6 a.m. on Jan. 3. The accident reportedly occurred at the intersection of US 45 and Locust Street in Vienna, and the man was pronounced dead at the scene. While it was unclear what caused the deadly collision, authorities did say that the two cars involved in the crash collided head-on.

The 18-year-old female driver of the second vehicle involved in the crash had to be taken to Marion Heartland Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. She was then transported to another hospital in St. Louis, Mo., for further treatment. The crash is still being investigated pending autopsy results and other information. There was no information given as to who may have been responsible for causing the crash.

Should doctors or hospitals be held liable in malpractice cases?

When somebody suffers an injury during a medical procedure such as surgery in Illinois, is the attending physician at fault or the hospital that employs them? The answer typically lies in the specific circumstances that gave rise to the injury.

The legal principle respondeat superior, or "let the master answer," holds that the employer is liable for acts committed by employees when they're acting within the scope of said employment. Though the employer may not have been directly involved in the incident, they may still be held accountable for its consequences in some circumstances, such as if the injury was caused by an employee doing what they were hired to perform and acting in a capacity that would presumably benefit the employer.

Alcohol played a part in fatal 11-vehicle Illinois crash

The Cook County Medical Examiner reported that the 81-year-old man who ran a red light and crashed his Ford F150 pickup into a line of vehicles on Oct. 5, 2014, measured a blood alcohol level of .179 percent at the time of the wreck. Toxicology results ruled out the presence of drugs in the man's system and carbon monoxide poisoning. He died from injuries suffered in the accident.

Two nuns, ages 81 and 48, also died from injuries suffered in the wreck. They were in the first vehicle hit that was waiting for the traffic light to change. A third sister suffered serious injuries, but she survived. In all, 23 people experienced injuries because of this accident.

Seatbelts help prevent serious injuries in car crashes

Many Illinois residents will be in a car accident at some point in their lifetime, as either a driver or a passenger. Chances are they'll suffer some type of injury in this accident. There are ways, however, to lessen the severity of or even prevent these injuries.

First, the driver and all vehicle passengers should wear seatbelts. Seatbelts can reduce injuries because they hold the person in their car seat, preventing them from flying around the car, perhaps hitting their head on the windshield. Accidents may also be prevented when drivers remain alert at all times. They should not let themselves be distracted by eating or texting and driving; they should obey all traffic laws.

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Seidman Law Offices | Personal Injury Attorney | Chicago, IL

The Chicago personal injury and workers compensation attorneys at Seidman Law Offices handle car and truck accident claims, medical malpractice, and workers’ compensation. Call us at 312-781-1977 or visit http://www.seidmanlaw.net.

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