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Aurora workers compensation lawyersIn 2016, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against an Arizona pharmaceutical company for deceptive marketing of a particular opioid drug. The suit alleged that the company intentionally sold the fentanyl-based drug to doctors emphasizing off-label uses.

Opioid prescriptions are believed by many to be driving the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic. In Illinois, specifically, there is also concern about doctors repackaging and selling opioid medications to patients with workers’ compensation claims.

A Settlement Could Be Forthcoming

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Kane County personal injury lawyersThere are currently eight states—plus Washington D.C.—in which recreational marijuana has been legalized. A substantial number of other states have decriminalized low-level possession of marijuana, implemented legal medical marijuana programs, or both. Illinois is one of those that has done both. The increasingly lax laws regarding marijuana use have led many to wonder what the impact will be on public safety. Two recent studies that seem to contradict each other offer a fairly reasonable insight into the effect of legalized marijuana on the rate of car accidents.

More Accidents

The first study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and looked at insurance claims for crashes filed between 2012 and 2016. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis use for adults over the age of 21. The researchers looked at those two states along with Oregon and compared their accident claims with neighboring states that did not legalize recreational use. The study estimated that crash rates were about 3 percent above what they would have been if marijuana had not been legalized. While the increase is not dramatic, it is statistically significant, according to the study.

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Aurora personal injury attorneysThe temptation to send a quick text, answer a call, or type on a cell phone while driving affects many of us. Some drivers are even using social networking websites like Facebook and Instagram while behind the wheel. It is a habit that is proving again and again to be fatal. In the most recent, horrifying example, a young woman now faces charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol after her distracted driving cost her sister her life.

A Tragic Set of Circumstances

The 18-year-old was driving a car in Los Banos with her younger sister and a friend when the driver decided to live-stream on Instagram. The girls filmed themselves talking and laughing before the crash occurred. In the video—which has since been removed from the social media site—the driver can be seen taking her eyes off the road constantly, driving with one hand, and even juggling a phone call and a drink while driving.

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Kane County personal injury attorneysThere is nothing quite like a ride down on a water slide on a hot summer day. Of course, there are some dangers associated with water parks, but lacerations and torn ligaments should not be among them. A Chicago woman suffered these exact injuries on a waterslide at Six Flags Great America in 2011. A Lake County jury awarded her $1.5 million last year, and just last month, an Illinois appellate court upheld that verdict.

A Scary Situation

According to court documents, the woman was riding the Wahoo Racer at the Hurricane Harbor water park—a section of Six Flags Great America—when she was injured. On that particular slide, riders descend face-first on a mat, beginning in a tube and ending in an open-air segment. The woman said that “she felt a blunt force in her hands and her right ankle” as she rode down. As the woman reached the bottom, the water was red with blood, park employees testified. She realized that her hands were bleeding, and she was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors performed surgery on her hand.

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Kane County personal injury attorneyWith summer in full swing, more people are getting outdoors and enjoying life outside. Many people in Illinois belong to various sports teams, clubs, and organizations. When you join a sports club team, you may be required to sign a waiver or release of liability. A waiver is, in essence, a contract with terms that address your right to seek damages if you are injured by your participation in the sport or activity.  

Exculpatory Agreements

An exculpatory agreement is a contract where the parties agree to an express assumption of risk where a party consents to relieve another party of liability. An example would be a waiver signed by those planning to participate in club or recreational sports leagues. While most such sports are relatively safe, there is always the possibility for injury. The league and its officials are likely to require a waiver or an exculpatory agreement to ensure they are not held liable for reasonable injuries that may occur.

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Kan County workers' compensation attorneysAccording to the National Institute of Mental Health, post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, develops in some individuals who have gone through a particularly frightening, shocking, or dangerous experience. The disorder is commonly associated with members of the military who have served in a combat zone, but it is hardly limited to those in the armed forces. PTSD can affect victims of auto accidents, criminal assault, or rape, as well as those who may have witnessed a tragic or horrifying event. It can even result from accidents that occur on the job, which could make the sufferer eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Common Symptoms of PTSD

It is difficult to know for sure how many people suffer from PTSD, as many are reluctant to seek the treatment they need. Estimates, however, place the number of sufferers at around 5.2 million each year in just the United States alone. Those dealing with PTSD may show symptoms that include flashbacks to the triggering event, nightmares, severe depression, “survivor’s guilt,” difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and memory loss. The disorder can also have a serious effect on the sufferer’s family, as his or her behavior may be erratic, unpredictable, and, in some cases, violent.

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Aurora personal injury attorneyEach year, pharmaceutical companies come up with a number of new ideas for drugs, or combinations of drugs that are intended to treat, cure, or manage certain conditions. Only a relative handful, however, ever receive full approval for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. When a drug reaches the market, many patients automatically assume that the drug is completely safe; Otherwise the FDA would not have approved it. The reality is that all pharmaceuticals and drugs are known to have some possible dangers and side effects, and it is up to each manufacturer to be sure that doctors and patients know all of the risks involved.

The Dangers of Depakote

Early last month, a federal jury in East St. Louis, Illinois ruled that AbbVie, the makers of Depakote, must pay $15 million in damages to a 10-year-old California boy. The boy was born with a spina bifida after her mother chose to take the drug to help in her battle against mental illness. Depakote is intended to treat the manic phase of bipolar disorder, as well seizure disorders like epilepsy. The boy’s mother claimed that she was never made aware of the birth-defect risks associated with Depakote, mostly because officials at the manufacturer downplayed the dangers. According to the boy’s lawyer, the drugmaker knew that Depakote is “one of the most toxic drugs to a human baby.”

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Aurora personal injury attorneyAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of a fatal car wreck is highest for younger drivers. This comes as little surprise to most people, considering the overwhelming access we have to various technological devices, paired with the general inexperience most teenage drivers have when it comes to operating a vehicle. Texting while driving and lack of experience are not the only causes behind the staggering accident and injury statistics for young drivers, however. There are many other factors that put this particular age group at increased risk for injury and death on the roads.

In the year 2014 alone, over 220,000 teenagers were injured in motor vehicle crashes in the United States, and in 2015, over 2,000 teens ranging from ages 16 to 19 years of age were killed in auto accidents. These numbers represent a vast group of young drivers who experienced injury or fatality for a variety of reasons and a diverse set of risk factors.

Why Young Drivers Are More Prone to Crashes

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Kane County personal injury attorneyThe Fourth of July is one of the highlights of summer for many individuals. It is a time to get together with friends and family and celebrate our great nation’s independence. The summer festivities usually include fireworks, food, and for many gatherings, alcohol. Unfortunately, the combination of drinking and travel leads to thousands of tragedies every year.

Sobering Statistics

The Fourth of July is the second deadliest day of the entire year as a result of alcohol-related car accidents—trailing only New Years Eve. Roughly 40 percent of all traffic fatalities on Independence Day involve at least one driver with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. That percentage is even higher among younger drivers.

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Kane County workers compensation lawyers Workers’ compensation reform has been a hot topic over the past few decades, with many states deciding that lowering employer costs for insurance coverage will help encourage new job growth within state lines. The logic of many policymakers maintains that by cutting costs for employers and increasing their margins, the profits will trickle down to the employees in terms of job creation and higher wages.

However, the truth of the matter is that workers’ compensation reform only hurts employees and the local economy. It makes it more difficult for injured employees to receive the benefits they need and reduces the benefits available to each worker. Injured employees may be in danger of being evicted from their homes and being denied the medical coverage they deserve because of some these reforms, which are currently being pushed by Illinois lawmakers. If you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at once for professional assistance with your case.

Lobby Groups Intent on Cutting Workers’ Compensation Benefits

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Aurora personal injury lawyersInformation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that some 1.7 million people experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States each year. Most are treated and then released (about 1.365 million), but approximately 275,000 are hospitalized and another 52,000 suffer fatality. Early detection can sometimes mean the difference between mild and more severe injuries. Learn how to tell if you or someone you love has experienced a TBI, and what you can do after the fact to increase the chances of a full recovery.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the first ways to detect TBI is to understand how it happens. Most occur either after a strike or blow to the head, which might be experienced during a fall (the leading cause of brain injury), car crash (the third leading cause of TBI), or assault. However, contact with an object or a hit to the head is not required; some traumatic brain injuries occur because of jarring motions that force the brain to move quickly inside the skull. In fact, this is the same injury that happens to infants who suffer from shaken baby syndrome. As such, even those who have not hit their head in an accident but experience the common signs should see a doctor.

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Kane County personal injury attorneyWhen a person is attacked or injured by a dog, the results can be very serious. Some of the most terrifying attacks occur when a small child is mauled. Children tend to be attacked more often than adults; in fact, 70 percent of fatal dog attacks involve children. Tragically, the likelihood that the child will die as a result of the attack is also high.

Dog bites can end up being extremely severe and may cause a myriad of injuries, many of them potentially fatal. If your loved one has died as the result of a dog attack, speak with a dog bite attorney right away to help you in your quest to recover compensation for the death of your loved one.

Seeking Compensation

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Kane County personal injury attorneysPedestrians, in most situations, generally cross the street at specified and controlled locations, expecting that cars will obey the relevant traffic signals. When a driver fails to meet that expectation, the pedestrian is unable to move out of the way quickly enough to avoid being hit. Unprotected and vulnerable, pedestrians then become at risk for death or serious injury. Both are on the rise in Illinois, and throughout the United States. If one has happened to you or someone you love, the following can help you understand your rights, including your right to pursue fair compensation.

Understanding the Risk

The rise in pedestrian accident deaths is not a particularly new trend, but it is one that continues to trouble health and safety professionals. This past year, the national increase reached its highest number since 2005. Federal officials estimated an increase of nine percent during just the first six months of the year. In Illinois specifically, the death toll rose from 127 in 2015 to 150 deaths in 2016.

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Aurora workers compensation attorneysInjuries happen everywhere on a daily basis. They occur at home, on the roadway, at school, and even at your workplace. No matter where they occur, there is often insurance coverage available to cover such injuries. By law in Illinois, insurance is required nearly everywhere, including by your employer.  This benefit is known as workers’ compensation insurance, and it covers a wide variety of situations should you find yourself a victim of a workplace injury.

What Is Workers Compensation Insurance?

Worker’s compensation insurance is a type of coverage that employers generally carry for the benefit of their employees. Not every state currently requires employers to have this insurance, which could potentially open the employer to personal liability claims. In Illinois, an employer must carry workers’ compensation in every work situation, regardless of considerations such as:

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Kane County personal injury lawyers If you were to ask a group of people what time of the year has the most car accidents, the majority of the group would probably say during the winter months—especially in climates such as Illinois. Roads covered with snow, sleet, and ice, along with poor visibility, certainly contributes to many accidents, but statistics show that it is actually the summer months when motor vehicle accidents spike. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the month of May marks the beginning of the dangerous “summer” driving season

In 2015, the latest year for which national statistics are available, there were more than 35,000 people killed in vehicle accidents. Car crashes in the month of August claimed the most victims—over 3,300. In fact, from May through October, more than 3,000 crash-related fatalities occurred in each month.

Possible Causes

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Kane County motorcycle accident lawyerSpring has arrived in Northern Illinois, which means that the individuals and families throughout the region will be spending more time outside enjoying the warmer weather. For many, springtime also marks the beginning of another year of motorcycle riding. With that in mind, rider safety groups and state officials throughout Illinois are urging riders to protect themselves and to keep the road safer for those around them. It is the responsibility of every rider, driver, and pedestrian to do what they can to prevent motorcycle accidents and the injuries that often result.

Making a Difference

Every year hundreds of deaths are caused by motorcycle accidents in the state of Illinois. In fact, motorcycle-related deaths comprise more than 15 percent of all vehicle fatalities in the state. Tragically, many of these accidents can be prevented by following a few simple safety procedures:

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Kane County workers compensation attorneysCoal mining is an inherently dangerous job. However, recent safety measures of the last few decades have made the occupation leaps and bounds more safe and sustainable for Illinois coal miners. In 1972, for example, 114 miners died in a single disaster in Saunders, West Virginia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On a longer-term scale, the Mines Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) began tracking mining fatalities in 1978. The peak year for fatalities was 1979, a tragic year with well over 250 deaths.

Fatalities declined during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, with just 45 fatalities in 2014. The improvements have come from strong enforcement of safety rules and regulations, better equipment and increased training, education, and technical support. However, there is still a long way to go before coal mining is considered safe and the number of fatal injuries reaches zero. If you have been injured working in the coal industry, contact an attorney for assistance in recovering workers’ compensation benefits

Fatal Coal Dust Levels Fall in Line with New Standards Set by the MSHA

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Aurora personal injury attorneysSports and athleticism are encouraged within our lives and are essential parts of our education system. Our children learn a lot about life when competing in sports: how to work as part of a team, how to overcome adversity, how to accept both the wins and the losses. There is always, however, an inherent risk of injury when participating in sports. What happens if the injury is not inherent to the sport? Who is at fault?

The Assumption of Risk Doctrine

The assumption of risk doctrine in regard to participation in athletics dictates that by participating in a sport, one understands that there is a possibility of injury. A baseball player while at bat may not be surprised if he gets hit with a pitch because being hit with the ball is an acknowledged possibility and therefore the injury was foreseeable. The doctrine, as developed by case law in Illinois, determines the point where an athlete assumed the risk of injury inherent in the sport.

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Kane County personal injury attorneysSpring has finally reached the American Midwest, bringing with it the promise of new beginnings. Leaves are reemerging on trees, the grass is turning green once again, and animals are returning from their winter retreats. Of course, springtime also means seasonal changes in the weather, including increased rain and warming temperatures. The warming pattern, however, is often inconsistent and rapid changes in temperature and humidity levels can lead to the development of fog around area roadways. Fog, of course, can drastically reduce driver visibility and contributes to hundreds—if not thousands—of traffic accidents each year.

Safe Driving Tips

There is little question that heavy fog requires adjustments in driving. Motorists must always operate their vehicles in ways that are appropriate for the weather conditions at that time. How you drive on a clear sunny day is different from how you should drive during rain, snow, or fog. To remain safe when driving in fog, be sure to:

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Kane County car accident lawyersAfter your car has been towed and you have been to the doctor comes the part of an auto accident that most people hate the most: dealing with insurance. While every car accident is different, there are several common mistakes that people make when they have a car accident claim.

Not Doing Your Own Research

If the insurance company has declared your vehicle a total loss, the value of your car must be determined. The insurance company will almost always attempt to determine the value, but be wary of their estimate. The mistake many people make is to simply accept the insurance company’s value without doing their own research. An offer from the insurance company is just an offer. If you can demonstrate your car was worth more than they are offering, you may be able to get more for your car.

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