Workers’ Compensation: Third-Party Claims

Posted: November 18th, 2014

Lake County personal injury attorney, Noonan Perillo Ltd., personal injury claim, third-party claims, workers' compensationIn the State of Illinois, workers’ compensation allows employees to receive compensation and benefits if injured on the job. There are no requirement to prove fault. Additionally, an injury may have occurred simply as a result of an inherent risk of the job description. When digging deeper into the cause of an accident, what happens when an employee is seriously injured due to a defective piece of equipment, or because of another’s negligence associated with the employee’s daily duties?

A worker may be able to file a personal injury claim for damages against a third party. However, to ensure you have a valid case, retaining a knowledgeable attorney well versed in civil litigation, is advisable.

Reaching beyond An Immediate Employer

In the event of an injury or even death on the job, Illinois has comprehensive workers’ compensation legislation that provides for monetary benefits for workers. These benefits can cover the costs associated with permanent “partial” or “total“ disability and even death. These payments may be paid weekly, or paid as a lump sum depending on the disability. Death benefits are paid for 25 years or $500,000, whichever is greater.

If, however, a workplace injury was caused by a defective product or machine, or by someone who is not a co-worker, they are deemed to be a “third party” and can be asked to pay for the injured worker’s medical expenses. This is as long as an employee can prove that the negligence of the third party contributed to the injury.

Nearly three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2012. In Illinois, there were 172 workplace fatalities in 2013 alone. The highest incidence occurring in the transportation sector.

Several common examples why an employee may be able to file a claim against someone other than his or her direct employer include the following:

  • Construction Sites: Construction workers face a number of risky situations in their daily tasks. But, compounding that, is the substandard implementation of safety standards which creates a dangerous situation for a workers. Typical injuries include electrocution and falls from scaffolding. In these cases, the employee could bring a personal injury claim against general contractors, site supervisors, project managers or property owners.
  • Delivery/Shipping/Transportation: Often, drivers are injured on the road by another vehicle. These victims can suffer head and neck injuries and even serious internal injuries. The offending driver of the car that hit the worker (if not an employee of the worker’s company) could be subject to a claim for his or her negligent driving.
  • Manufacturing: Many employees are injured while working on a production line while using a piece of machinery, such as a power press, band saw or milling device.The manufacturer of a defective product that injures a worker could be held liable for catastrophic injuries such as compressions and crushing that lead to limb loss and vision impairment.
  • Slips, Trips and Falls: According to the National Floor Safety Institute, 22 percent of slip and fall incidents resulted in more than 31 days away from work. A fall resulting in serious injuries, including broken bones and head and spinal injuries that was neither the employer, employee, or co-worker’s fault, can be a basis for a claim against a third party. For example, another contractor on the job site may be found to have contributed to the injuries sustained.
  • Work Related Site Visits: A property owner who fails to properly maintain a safe workplace environment or an owner of an animal that bites a worker may also find themselves on the opposing side of a personal injury claim.

Contact an Experienced Lake County Personal Injury Attorney

The potential for “shared responsibility” in a workplace injury is an essential part of an employee’s recovery. Hence, it takes the legal assistance of a Lake County personal injury attorney, with the depth of knowledge, to determine if you have a case in Illinois. The team at Noonan Perillo Ltd. has a large practice area focused on workers’ compensation. We have attorneys who each have nearly 30 years of trial law experience. We understand the anguish that is suffered by workers and their families when someone is seriously hurt on the job. We also understand the types of medical costs associated with care and recovery. Our attorneys can evaluate if you have a claim for workers’ compensation AND a strong personal injury claim against a third party. Often the latter can potentially be a source of a large monetary settlement. Call our Lake County office for a complimentary consultation today.

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Eyes on the Job: Vision Impairment Caused at Work

Posted: November 11th, 2014

Lake County personal injury attorneys, Noonan Perillo Ltd, vision impairment caused at work, work injury, eye injury, workers compensation, personal injury, work safetyOur eyes are a very delicate and necessary part of our bodies. In fact, our vision is a sensory feature that we should be complacent about, especially when on the job. Many people depend on their eyesight to undertake employment duties. However, while regular vision checkups and protection from the sun are recommended, protecting the eyes while at work is crucially important. This is especially so for employees working with heavy machinery. Unfortunately, accidents can still happen even after identifying potential hazards, implementing safety procedures, and properly utilizing protective equipment.

Prevent Blindness America notes, “Eye injuries in the workplace are very common. More than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. About 1 in 10 injuries require one or more missed work days to recover from. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10-20 percent will cause temporary or permanent vision loss.” Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that “Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker compensation.”

Who Is at Risk?

Most work-related eye injuries are a result of objects striking the eye. Employees who primarily use tools and machinery with moving parts that generate debris are at an increased risk. The following are typical jobs that tend to increase the risk of eye injury, which can include partial or total vision loss:

  • Construction workers;
  • Auto repair workers;
  • Contractors;
  • Shipyard workers;
  • Welders;
  • Farm workers;
  • Miners; and
  • Landscapers.

Heavy machinery used in various industries to cut, weld, stamp, drill, and chisel materials such as metal, glass, concrete, or wood can produce shards or minute particles and dust that can cause severe lacerations to the eye. Equipment commonly used by many tradespeople such as nails, cutting tools, wire, and staples can inadvertently hit an eye and cause serious abrasions and injury.

Additionally, certain chemical splashes and fumes (chemical burns) can cause eye injuries and impaired vision. Workers who handle acids, solvents, and other corrosive solutions face a high risk of harm to their eyes. The Environmental Protection Agency guidelines relating to prompt eye wash and deluge showers are in place to try and avoid—or at least minimize—the severity of the eye injury. Prolonged exposure to intense UV radiation (thermal burns) is also known to cause tissue damage to the eyes. Finally, even a slip/trip and fall hazard present in the workplace can contribute to an employee suffering facial and eye injuries.

Workers Compensation for Injuries and Vision Loss

Total loss or compromised vision can impact your ability to drive, work, and perform simple daily tasks. If you have suffered damage to your eye(s) at work, you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits to cover the associated medical costs. In addition, depending on the severity of the injury, your convalescence, and the long term effects, workers compensation weekly benefits may also be awarded to you.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

OSHA requires the use of eye protection whenever there is a reasonable probability of injury. The eye protection to be worn depends on specific work situations and the type of hazard that a worker could potentially encounter.

Employers must assess eye safety hazards in the workplace and formulate policies and guidelines for employees to ensure their safety. Complying with government regulations for eyewear and emergency eyewash stations is vital. Employees should also be aware of the potential for eye injury and ways to protect themselves. In fact, anyone working in, or passing through, areas that pose eye hazards should wear protective gear.

Safety eyewear protection recommended by OSHA and endorsed by the Vision Council of America include:

  • Non-prescription and prescription safety glasses;
  • Goggles;
  • Face shields;
  • Welding helmets; and
  • Full-face respirators.

Although the legislation and guidelines regarding workers compensation may seem clear cut,in reality it can be a very difficult process. The opposing attorneys representing an employer’s insurance company can create a very tenuous situation. However, the Lake County personal injury attorneys at Noonan Perillo Ltd. have the depth of knowledge and legal experience to represent you. We understand that injuries suffered by one client may affect another differently. We know that there may be complications or limitations in your long term recovery. We are compassionate to your individual circumstances and how your loved ones also have to endure the worry about your injury and the anxiety of how you will recover. With that in mind, we strive to win the best care and benefits for our clients. We encourage you to call our office today and schedule a consultation.

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Behind the Wheel: Ensuring Your Car Is Safe on the Road

Posted: November 4th, 2014

car safety, Lake County personal injury attorney, Noonan Perillo Ltd., safe on the road, serious safety defect, vehicle recallToday’s headlines regarding road safety often focus on distracted or impaired drivers. However, could the vehicle you are driving pose a risk to your safety?

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970, works to ensure vehicles on our roads are safe and comply with federal standards. Since the legislation, under which the NHTSA was created and took effect, it is stated that “… more than 390 million cars, trucks, buses, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, and mopeds, as well as 46 million tires, 66 million pieces of motor vehicle equipment, and 42 million child safety seats have been recalled to correct safety defects.”

The regular monitoring of the automotive industry by this agency helps to identify potentially dangerous design defects and products. The NHTSA issues a recall if it is discovered that a particular make and model of a vehicle, or one of its components, has a serious safety defect. The purpose of a recall is so that consumers have a chance to rectify the problem before it causes harm. Unfortunately, however, the backstory to many recalls often involves someone actually being injured or killed because of the defects. Of note, car makers can be subjected to monetary fines for failure to notify NHTSA promptly of potentially dangerous flaws in their cars.

What Types of Defects Exist?

A laundry list of recalls reveal how varying factors may cause a serious situation on the road. Several recall examples include:

  • Hood latches that can corrode causing them to open while the car is being driven;
  • Wiring that can overheat and cause a fire;
  • A brake component malfunction requiring greater stopping distance and the increased chance for a crash; and
  • Faulty ignition switches which suddenly cause the engine to shut off.

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System for 2012 lists 886 crashes in Illinois that involved a contributing factor from a vehicle. Tire issues, brake systems, steering, or possible device malfunctions are all listed as contributing factors. Additionally, several of these examples simply do not allow drivers to take evasive action; Therefore, many lives have been lost in both these and other circumstances. Catastrophic injuries from accidents that could have been prevented is just cause for you to make a case for compensation.

Even though automakers are legally required to report to NHTSA any and all claims they receive from consumers blaming defects for serious injuries or deaths, vehicle owners should be proactive and check the NHTSA website for specific information regarding the make and model of their cars, and they should also view the current list of recalls. Remember, in many households, cars may be shared between family members and friends. Therefore, be conscious of the reality that a loved one may be behind the wheel of a non-roadworthy vehicle.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, retaining an experienced Lake County personal injury attorney is a step in the right direction. To discuss your case, please contact the attorneys at Noonan Perillo Ltd. today.

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Infectious Diseases Spreading in Hospitals: Should You Be Worried?

Posted: October 26th, 2014

contract infectious diseases, Lake County personal injury attorney, infectious disease, Ebola, cases of Ebola, rapid response teams, spread disease, hospital protocolWe generally associate hospitals as safe places for treatment and healing—facilities that are clean and sterile and where medical professionals take every precaution to preserve a safe environment. Despite these notions, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly 2 million people contract infectious diseases in hospitals each year.

As new and evolving diseases crop up and spread, hospitals, in conjunction with the CDC, must remain alert. Part of this awareness is taking note of how the infections are contracted. Every precaution, in terms of patient care, must be executed meticulously. Currently with cases of Ebola occurring in the U.S., a handful of hospitals have rapid response teams. These specialized teams can either treat a patient onsite or in one of their own facilities, or they can be dispatched to another hospital to treat the sick patient. In any case, early intervention is key.

Unfortunately, despite appearances that staff are abiding by rules and regulations to safeguard patients, infectious diseases can spread to other patients with very serious consequences, especially if not diagnosed in time.

Hospital-Acquired Infections

According to Reduce Infection Deaths (RID) a non-profit educational campaigning organization, “Hospital infections kill more Americans each year than AIDS, breast cancer and auto accidents combined” at a cost of over 30 billion in additional treatment expenses.

This is truly a worrying prospect when you consider that going to a hospital is commonly viewed as a safe and hygienic place.

So, how do hospital acquired infections occur? Below are examples:

  • Lack of proper screening of patients being admitted, and in turn, inadequate precautions and care that leads to the rampant spread of disease;
  • Equipment not being cleaned between patient use allowing the spread of bacterial spores; and
  • Catheters and IV’s not being administered hygienically.

These instances can lead to some of the most prevalent healthcare- associated infections such as:

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA);
  • Norovirus;
  • Hepatitis; and
  • HIV.

Ways to Protect Yourself

Being proactive is always ideal. In fact, there is a valuable resource available to prospective patients in Illinois. Patients have the ability to check the health record of hospitals throughout the State. The Illinois Department of Public Health provides a Hospital Report Card which is the result of the requirement that hospitals report data pertaining to the spread of infectious disease in their facility. This information is also reported to the Medicare National Healthcare Safety Network.

Also, RID’s 15 steps to protect yourself as a patient, to help avoid contracting an infection, is worth noting. Steps include asking staff AND visitors to hand wash frequently; having your doctor or nurse clean equipment such as the flat surface of the stethoscope before use on you; and, choosing a reputable surgeon with a known low infection rate.

Despite a patient’s preconceived notion about the cleanliness of a hospital and assurances from staff, there is still a risk that improper care, negligent handling of specimens, and failure to abide by protocol by all staff in the chain of care can lead to a patient acquiring an infection. Being admitted in a hospital already indicates that your health is vulnerable in some way. To then be exposed to more harm that was potentially preventable, is a case an experienced Lake County personal injury attorney can spearhead on your behalf. Contact Noonan Perillo Ltd. today to schedule a consultation in our Waukegan office. Your health and well-being is not something in which to be complacent. While you may consider yourself safe in a facility with all precautions in place, sadly, hospitals can indeed be a breeding ground for infections. The consequences may be dire.

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Safety on Two Wheels: Drivers Must Make a Point to See Motorcyclists

Posted: October 20th, 2014

distracted driver, Lake County personal injury attorneys, motorcycle safety, motorcyclist, safe riding, Waukegan, sharing the roads, driver negligence, fatal crashes, crashes in IllinoisWho doesn’t love a road trip along scenic highways? One of the best ways to enjoy a sightseeing journey is on a motorcycle. Unfortunately, colliding with a truck or encountering a distracted driver who has slower reaction times has become increasingly probable. When sharing the road with cars, buses, and trucks it is essential to take extra precautions since defensive driving is becoming the norm on the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in 2012. This is a 7 percent increase from 2011. Drivers in cars and trucks are routinely failing to observe other vehicles on the same roads. Not only are pedestrians and cyclists seriously injured, motorcyclists suffer the same fate, but often with catastrophic consequences.

The Highway is for Everyone

A common refrain from safety experts is the phrase “sharing our roads.” The meaning behind this, however, should not get lost in people’s preconceptions about motorcyclists. As with cars, riders take pride in their machines and reap pleasure from their performance and they place faith and trust in drivers to operate vehicles in a courteous and attentive manner. Yet, the cause for crashes is often a visibility issue.

In 2012, there were 2,317 two-vehicle fatal crashes where a motorcycle and another type of vehicle were involved. In 41 percent of these crashes, the other vehicles were turning left while the motorcycles were either going straight, passing, or overtaking other vehicles. Both vehicles were going straight 23 percent of the time. These scenarios clearly show a lack of consideration afforded to motorcycle riders on our roads and especially at intersections.

Riders have suffered serious injuries in crashes in collisions with cars or trucks that have not yielded to them. These types of injuries can include head trauma, brain injury, internal organ damage, broken bones and lacerations. Between 2001 and 2008 over half of the injuries treated at emergency rooms were head, neck, leg and foot injuries. And while helmet use (recommended in Illinois) has prevented many fatal injuries, serious internal injuries and limb damage can still occur. In fact, 29 of the 148 crashes in Illinois alone involved a motorcyclist actually wearing a helmet.

While practicing safe riding for crash avoidance is important, falling victim to another driver’s negligence is something that is unpredictable. At Noonan Perillo Ltd. we have an experienced team of litigators who will work vigorously on your case. Call our Waukegan office today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Lake County personal injury attorneys.

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Concerns about the Use of Medical Devices

Posted: October 9th, 2014

defective medical devices, Lake County Personal Injury Attorney, medical device, defective devices, device side effects, medical device failureIn today’s world of amazing technology advancements, it is promising to know that ailments may sometimes be cured or alleviated with the development of medical devices. However, when new products are available, doctors must be very cautious when recommending and using them. What happens when a patient reacts badly? Is this an inherent risk of using such a device? Is there a problem with the way the device was placed? Or, is there an issue with the device itself?

Approval and Risk

Companies that design medical devices may have the best intentions to serve patient needs and are dependent on the skilled physicians who will use them. The process to have devices approved for use, however, rests with the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). The process involves:

“a pre-marketing submission made to FDA to demonstrate that the device to be marketed is as safe and effective, that is, substantially equivalent to a legally marketed device that is not subject to premarket approval”

Yet even in cases where a company has obtained this approval, what happens when the device causes catastrophic injuries in patients? The FDA currently lists several product recalls of devices that can seriously harm patients.

Examples include:

  • A manual resuscitator valve that can get stuck preventing air flow to a patient;
  • Incorrect labeling on a metered dosage causing a patient to receive the wrong amount of medication;
  • Catheters that can separate during use and cause injury;
  • Vascular retrieval snare loops that can separate and get stuck in other organs and block blood flow; and
  • Knee replacements that do not accommodate for weight distribution effectively and can cause fractures which can, in turn, lead to the loss of a limb.

Several of the examples listed fall under “Class I” recalls. A Class 1 recall is the most serious type and involves situations in which “there is a reasonable probability that use of these products will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.”

Other harm known to be caused by defective devices, and reported by the FDA, includes infection, brain injury, strangulation (with a physical therapy device) punctured organs, nerve damage, tissue erosion, and possible link to anaplastic large cell lymphoma (as in the case of breast implants). Often, further surgery to correct the device’s serious side effects or failures is required, thus putting the patient at potentially more risk.

Categories of Liability

So, in the event of a serious injury, where do you apportion blame?

As the examples above demonstrate, a medical device that causes serious injury to a patient could be the result of any of the following:

  1. A defective design feature;
  1. An issue in the actual manufacturing process of the device; or
  1. Insufficient or incorrect labeling of a product to be dispensed.

An attorney will look to the law in Illinois that relates to products liability to investigate whether a manufacturer is liable for the injuries resulting from the medical device. Further, if a medical practitioner was negligent in the way the procedure to insert the medical device occurred, a malpractice claim could be brought against that doctor for failing to maintain a reasonable standard of care expected in these circumstances.

If you have experienced a serious injury attributable to a medical device, you are strongly encouraged to seek immediate legal advice regarding your case to explore your potential legal rights to compensation. Having the expertise of a compassionate Lake County personal injury attorney on your side can only improve your chances of success. Call Noonan Perillo Ltd. today to schedule your consultation.

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Frequent Boating Accidents in Illinois: Are You Safe on the Water?

Posted: October 2nd, 2014

boater negligence, boating accident, driver negligence, Lake County Personal Injury Attorney, maritime safety laws, Noonan Perillo Ltd., boat operators, boating injuries, safe boat practices, water safetyAlthough summer has drawn to a close, spending time on the water in boats, kayaks, jet skis, and other pleasure crafts is still quite prevalent this time of the year. In 2013, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources reported 65 boating accidents which resulted in 50 injuries and 14 fatalities. Between October 2012 and September 2013, 1, 235 citations were issued and 4,525 written warnings were given to boat operators. This unequivocally highlights the increased need for safety on the water, similarly to that required on our nation’s roads. Boat owners and operators must heed to a level of responsibility for the maintenance and use of their vessels.

Recreational Use

Boat owners, friends, and families all have several motivating interests to be out on the water. From fishing, swimming, touring, and even in the commercial sense, sharing the waterways should be undertaken with care. Often part of the recreational aspect of boating is the consumption of alcohol.

In a 2013 report, the US Coast Guard identified 236 accidents that involved the use of alcohol and resulted in 75 deaths and 187 injuries. In addition, 180 children under the age of twelve were injured in 2013 in the United States. These numbers are disheartening, especially for families with young children and considering operator inattention was the number one reason for accidents.

Other contributing factors included:

  • Excessive speed;
  • Operator inexperience;
  • Overloading of passengers;
  • Congested waters;
  • Mechanical failure or improper maintenance; and
  • Weather conditions such as strong or unexpected currents.

The presence of these scenarios can lead to collisions, capsizes, and drowning (especially in the case of people not wearing life jackets). Victims may sustain a variety of injuries ranging from lacerations, broken bones, hypothermia, and internal organ damage to catastrophic harm, such as amputations, spinal cord injuries, electric shock and burns.

Safety Regulations

The Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act outlines the requirements for safe boat practices. If you were injured in circumstances where a boat operator digressed from the reasonable care he or she should have exercised, you may have a case and you may be awarded monetary compensation for your injuries. Maritime safety laws are in place to provide safe passageway for all crafts and people sharing the waterways.

When a day of pleasure turns into a tragedy, navigating the legal system can be as difficult as navigating the waters. Retaining the services of an experienced Lake County personal injury attorney will aid you in figuring out if there was the presence of negligence. Having a compassionate and experienced attorney to work with you will help. Make it a priority to contact Noonan Perillo Ltd. today.

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Dental Malpractice: What You Should Know

Posted: September 24th, 2014

dental errors, dental malpractice, Lake County Personal Injury Attorney, Noonan Perillo Ltd, permanent injury, routine dental procedures, standard of careWhen most think of medical malpractice, horrendous injuries, wrongful deaths, faulty surgical procedures, or misdiagnosis are typically what springs to mind. The area of dentistry is no exception. In Illinois, all dentists are required maintain a standard of care. Dental malpractice occurs when a dentist’s conduct fails to meet this standard of care, and serious injury or death results.

According to The National Practitioner Data Bank, there were 17,473 medical malpractice reports against dentists between 2002 and 2013. Of those, 539 were reported in Illinois.

Types of Dental Malpractice Cases

There are times when the most routine dental procedures can lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering. The location of the body where dentists must work is a nexus of the sinus and throat area. Hence, training and experience in the medical field is crucial. Unfortunately, however, dental errors can occur in a myriad of circumstances. Examples of harm patients have experienced include:

  • Diseases, oral cancers and infections that were not identified (or improperly identified) by the dentist;
  • Substandard crowns, bridges, root canals, or extractions which may even include extractions of the incorrect tooth;
  • Not obtaining the specific patient consent for a particular procedure; and
  • Improper sedation/anesthesia.

Disturbingly, some of the most dangerous procedures involve children. Often young patients require sedation. Therefore, dentists with insufficient emergency procedures in place and minimal training create an unsafe situation for their patients. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has formulated guidelines to promote safe dental sedation procedures when it comes to children.

Types of Dental Malpractice Injuries

Both temporary and permanent injury may occur due to dental malpractice. Common dental malpractice injuries include:

  • Accelerated periodontal disease, oral cancer or other diseases;
  • Infections;
  • Loss of the wrong teeth;
  • Sinus damage and joint and nerve damage in the jaw, tongue or lips;
  • Facial paralysis; and
  • Respiratory, cardiac, brain damage or death, from improper anesthesia or sedation levels.

Consult an Experienced Lake County Attorney

A personal injury attorney, well versed in malpractice litigation, will know the intricacies of where and what documentation is required to be filed. Your case could be dismissed on the count of procedural errors if the proper steps are not taken according to current rules. Also, the prospect of taking legal action can be fought with some level of anxiety.

This, in addition to coping with the stress and pain of an injury, and the lingering sense of an impending financial burden and uncertain future, means it is important to team up with an experienced Lake County personal injury attorney who is sympathetic to your needs. The attorneys at Noonan Perillo Ltd. have the legal expertise to move forward with a meritorious malpractice case. Contact us today.

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Workplace Fatality is Still Commonplace

Posted: September 17th, 2014

Waukegan personal injury attorney, workplace fatality, worker fatalities, workplace injury, injury compensation, workers compensation, slip and fall, tragic accident, Illinois personal injury attorneyWorking hard to provide for a family or to have the ability to enjoy lifestyle choices is an advantage of employment. Certain benefits may come with a job, including health insurance, but in some instances there may also be risks. Although the incidence of death and injury occurs less often than in years past, on average, twelve workers are killed every day on the job. In fact, some of the injuries can be catastrophic and can impair workers for long periods of time. If you have lost a loved one or have been injured at work, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Location

The types of injuries workers can suffer depends on the nature of work. Different locales present different scenarios which can lead to death or serious harm to employees.

Industry sectors in which workers can be at risk include:

  • Factories and warehouses where there is heavy machinery and vehicles;
  • Construction sites;
  • Employees who drive for work;
  • Retail establishments; and
  • Offices.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics latest numbers, transportation/warehousing, and the forestry, fishing, and agricultural industries had the highest rate of fatal injuries in 2012. Illinois reported 146 fatalities in 2012 alone, and 19 percent occurred in the transportation sector.

Roadway accidents, falls, and impacts from an object or equipment were common reasons that led to fatal occupational injuries. Some of the most horrific injuries, such as the loss of limbs or death, are sustained from use of heavy machinery where workers are crushed or struck. Slips and falls also commonly result in death or can cause serious head, neck and spinal injuries. Disturbingly, electrocution, asphyxiation and severe burns have also been reported this year by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as reasons for worker fatalities.

Workers Compensation

When a workplace fatality or serious injury occurs in Illinois, there are legal remedies available pending the circumstances. The Illinois Workers Compensation Act provides benefits to injured workers or to a spouse in the event of a workplace fatality. In Illinois, recipients of the death benefit receive payments for 25 years or $500,000.00, whichever is greater. Recipients are eligible for cost of living adjustments. However, the circumstances surrounding the accident must first be fully investigated to ensure there was no horseplay or illegal activity which played a role in the accident.

The loss of a loved one in an unnecessary and tragic manner is devastating. There are, however, procedural and documentation requirements for filing a claim. The compassionate team at Noonan Perillo Ltd. can help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve. Seek the expertise of a Waukegan personal injury attorney who can advise you on the precise details to begin a case. Call today.

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Defective and Dangerous: Flawed Products Harming Our Children

Posted: September 10th, 2014

consumer product injuries, consumer safety, defective product, flawed product, Lake County Personal Injury Attorney, nationwide product recalls, product defects, product recall, recent recalls

News headlines regarding nationwide product recalls, such as an unsafe feature in a motor vehicle or a poorly designed kitchen appliance, are a common occurrence. However, it is most distressing when a recall involves an infant or toddler item. In years past, babies have died due to a defective product such as a crib, high chair, playpen or unsafe toy. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) reports thousands of injuries per year, and the most heartbreaking are those injuries of children. In fact, children under the age of five years accounted for 76,000 consumer product injuries reported between October 2010 and September 2011.

Types of Product Defects

Product defects can fall into three main categories:

  1. Manufacturing Defects: A manufacturing defect occurs in the production of a product whereby it is engineered incorrectly or its components are substandard in some way. If there was a lack in quality inspections, an unsafe product can enter the stream of commerce and land in the hands of an innocent consumer.
  2. Design Defects: A design defect or ‘flaw’ in the creation process can create a hazardous item. Again, a lack of thorough quality control testing can lead to injuries.
  3. Misleading Information: A product can cause harm when someone fails to warn of a potential danger.This occurs when misleading marketing makes consumers think the product is safer than it actually is, or the product’s operating or installation instructions are incorrect or incomplete, and is therefore insufficient.

Because of these differences, it is possible for liability to rest in various places including the product designer, the manufacturer, the retailer, or even the marketer.

Causal Connection and Establishing Recourse

Product liability lawsuits basically fall into three main areas:

Negligence: In these types of cases, it must be proven that the designer, manufacturer, or seller of a defective product should have ‘reasonably known’ that the product could result in injury and failed to take steps to prevent them.

Strict Liability: This type of case deals with the production and sale of unreasonably dangerous products even when used for their intended purposes. The two tests adopted by the Illinois Supreme Court, and can be used by plaintiffs to prove their case in strict-liability design-defect cases, are the ‘consumer-expectations test’ and the ‘risk-utility test.’ The consumer-expectations test asks whether the “product failed to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect when used in its intended manner.” The risk-utility test asks whether the “harm could have been avoided by the adoption of a reasonable alternative design.”

Breach of Warranty: This deals with the failure of a product feature under warranty. If a warranted feature fails and causes an injury, the manufacturer can be held liable.

Recalls and Injuries: What You Can Do

An extensive list of recent recalls by the CPSC highlights the ongoing concern that products are never guaranteed as failsafe until they are tested in the market and used by people in daily scenarios. Several serious injuries have occurred with children’s items and include lacerations, entrapment, suffocation, choking, and even electrical shock hazards from electronic gadgets. To lay a successful claim, a person must first prove that an injury actually occurred as a direct result of the product in question. The harm must be a result of defective product that should have been safe when used by a consumer in its intended manner.

As a means of prevention, when purchasing products for your child, always be sure to research products beforehand, complete and return consumer warranty cards, periodically check items to make sure they have not become damaged or compromised in some way, and check the CPSC website for current recalls. If your child is injured by a consumer product, your best course of action is, without question, to preserve the product as evidence.

Consult a Compassionate Illinois Personal Injury Attorney

If you or your child was injured by a flawed product, contact a Lake County personal injury attorney who can review your circumstances and give you a fair and honest assessment of the merits of your case. The legal team at Noonan Perillo Ltd. can help determine what parties may be liable for any injuries sustained. Begin the process and schedule your free consultation today.

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