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Chicago IL Personal Injury Blog

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hurt in a Car Accident

HOW DO I KNOW IF THE DRIVER THAT HIT ME HAS INSURANCE?

Although obtaining a copy of the police report from your accident can give you some indication, the only true way to know whether an at-fault driver has insurance coverage and the amount of that coverage, is through knowing your legal rights.

Specifically, Section 215 ILCS 5/143.24b of the Illinois Insurance Code requires an insurance company to disclose the policy limits of available insurance coverage to accident victims.  This is tremendously important for an injured party, because your ability to recover is premised not only upon fault for the accident lying with another, and upon your sustaining serious injury, but also upon the availability of insurance money to compensate your injuries.  This is almost always so as typical at-fault drivers do not have personal wealth capable of compensating catastrophic injury victims.  

Locating and ascertaining the full amount of available liability insurance is a tremendously important function of trial lawyers.  At Ryan, Ryan & Landa, we are experts in analyzing any type of accident, work-place injury, medical malpractice claim, or any manner of injury to determine what your best and fullest source of recovery is.

Let us take help you receive full compensation for your injuries by contacting us today.

 

 


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Worker's Compensation versus a Lawsuit

IF I GET HURT AT WORK, IS MY ONLY REMEDY A WORKER'S COMPENSATION CLAIM?

Not necessarily.  It is certainly true that the typical remedy for a worker that is injured on the job is through filing a worker's compensation claim.  These claims are filed and litigated with the Illinois Industrial Commission and are heard before an arbitrator.

That said, a majority of on the job injuries are attributable to third-party (non-employer) negligence.  For example, a host of injuries at construction sites are due to lack of adequate safety protection by the general contractor, unsafe staging and scheduling of work, or provision of improper equipment by a non-employer.  Similarly, individuals routinely sustain slip and fall injuries while on the job, but which are caused by a non-employer's negligence in designing, building, or maintaining their property.  

In the event a non-employer causes or contributes to cause injuries of this sort, an injured party is not limited to worker's compensation as their sole remedy, and can file a personal injury lawsuit. The above scenarios illustrate situations where injured victims need to file such a lawsuit to fully preserve their rights.  This is necessary because personal injury lawsuits allow for recovery of non-economic damages such as pain, suffering, and loss of normal life that worker's compensation claims do not allow. 

In the event that you or a loved one were victimized by a third-party's negligence while on or off the job, contact Ryan, Ryan & Landa today to handle your claim. 

 

 


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Medical Malpractice

CAN I SUE A PHYSICIAN FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IF MY LOVED ONE DIES AS A RESULT OF THE DOCTOR'S NEGLIGENCE?

Yes.  Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, the beneficiaries of a deceased person's estate can maintain a cause of action for their loved one's death.   Beneficiaries can recover for loss of financial support, grief, loss of companionship, loss of affection, and the overall loss of a loved one's presence in their lives.  These damages compensate both the monetary injuries caused by the passing of an individual that was supporting their children, grand-children, etc., and also compensates the devastating effects that losing a mother, father, brother, sister, or child far too soon have upon a family.

The ideology behind wrongful death damages is two-fold.  First, allowing these claims recognize the tremendous grief and hardship that the untimely passing of a loved one puts on that individual's family.  Second, disallowing these claims would lead to a situation where it would be better for a negligent party to kill an injured victim as opposed to severely injuring that person.  It does not take a lawyer to see the tremendous injustice in this scenario.

Medical malpractice claims against physicians require skilled legal representation to prepare and prevail upon. Medical experts must be enlisted to review a patient's chart and determine if mistakes were made in their care and treatment.  A host of common defenses (i.e. known risk of the procedure, blame the injured patient, bad outcome but no negligence) must be foreseen and overcome.  Finally, a patient must be able to substantiate the effects of the malpractice in terms of their pain, suffering, loss of normal life, and loss of income damages.   

At Ryan, Ryan & Landa, we offer free patient chart reviews by a former registered nurse as the first step to determining whether you or a loved one has a viable medical malpractice claim.  This expert knowledge also allows us to foresee and debunk defenses to your claim immediately, while also proving up your full measure of damages.

Take the first step to preserving your rights or those of a loved one by contacting us today.

 

 


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ryan, Ryan & Landa Settles Seven Figure Trucking Case

Attorney Philip Ryan recently finalized settlement of a $2.575 million dollar trucking collision case.  The lawsuit, which was filed in Cook County, IL, sought recovery for a young woman who sustained catastrophic injuries when a semi-truck jack-knifed across traffic in a snow storm and the vehicle in which she was a passenger was caused to crash into it.

Attorney Ryan was able to successfully prove that the professional truck driver deviated from industry safety standards in negligently operating his vehicle at a speed too fast for conditions, and in negligently pulling his vehicle across traffic as opposed to steering it onto the roadway shoulder.

Attorney Ryan was also able to substantiate his client's catastrophic injuries by drawing upon the expert medical opinion testimony of her treating physicians.  This was vital in illustrating the client's profound injuries and achieving a full recovery for her.

This settlement constitutes the latest trucking collision recovery for Philip Ryan, who also recently recovered $4.5 million dollars for the estate of a father of four who was killed by a truck that ran off the road in Boone County, IL.  

 

 

  


Monday, July 13, 2015

Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment of Contractor Injury Case

How does Illinois law treat a scenario involving injury to laborers working for an independent contractor? 


Construction accidents in Illinois often involve a number of parties, complex contractual applications, and a confounding determination of which party is actually at fault. As a foundational issue, there is a stark differentiation between an “employee” and an “independent contract,” the latter being truly that - independent. In other words, it is much easier for a worker classified as an employee to recover for injuries sustained on the work site than it is for an independent contractor (and its laborers) to receive compensation from the owner of the site. In sum, it depends on which entity actually exerted control and management of the project – as liability will generally fall on that party’s shoulders. 

Appellate court affirms summary judgment against demolition defendant

In a recent case out of Cook County, Illinois, two plaintiffs commenced a personal injury lawsuit for damages after the scaffolding they were working on collapsed, causing both men to fall over 20 feet to the ground below. At the time of the incident, the workers were employees of a scaffold erection company hired by a larger demolition company, which was in turn hired by a Chicago school district to demolish an existing gymnasium.  When it came time to implicate a defendant in the resulting lawsuit, the plaintiffs named both the scaffolding company and the demolition outfit as responsible for the scaffolding collapse – citing improper and negligent supervision and inspection of the scaffolding equipment. 

Prior to discovery, the demolition company asserted that it did not exercise any control over the scaffolding aspect of the demolition project whatsoever, and should not be held responsible for the negligence of its subcontractors. In agreeance, the court sided with the demolition company, holding that the demolition company needed to exert control over the situation in order to face liability, and the facts reveal that it had absolutely nothing to do with the scaffolding erection. In other words, recovering for an injury following a construction accident will generally only be possible against the employer directly responsible for the oversight and management of the project or task at hand. 

If you sustained a personal injury and would like to discuss your options with a reputable attorney in Chicago, please contact us today: 847-416-1989. 


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Concussion Injury Lawsuit Filed Against University of Illinois; Cites Improper Protocol

What are the civil ramifications for colleges and universities that fail to follow proper procedures when a concussion is suspected?

In recent years, the lifelong implications of an untreated concussion have received an unprecedented amount of attention. Until recently, concussions were relatively unheard of – and certainly did not necessarily require an athlete to leave the field or forgo practicing the next day. That is, however, until several veteran professional and collegiate athletes began to seek compensation for the permanent neurological damage that can occur if a concussion is left untreated or is aggravated by further immediate physical activity. 

In the wake of the concussion storm, groups like the NCAA and high school athletic associations implemented strict protocols that must be followed if an athlete is suspected to have sustained a concussion in practice or during competition. The regulations span virtually every sport, and are considered mandatory – not discretionary – rules designed to mitigate player injury. 

Illinois Alleged to Have Failed to Follow Protocol

In June, 2015, a 20-year old former Division I collegiate soccer player initiated a lawsuit against the University of Illinois, alleging it failed to follow proper concussion protocol when she was injured during a game. In October, 2014, the then nineteen-year-old came into contact with an opposing player from fellow Big 10 rival Northwestern University, causing her to collapse to the ground and experience difficulty returning to her feet. 

Since then, the player has had to forgo further participation on the team, suffers from post-concussion syndrome, has endured memory problems, and is in near-constant pain. At the time of the incident, she was instructed to prepare for the next weeks’ big game against Rutgers University – despite having not received medical clearance from the university’s doctors. She played for 25 minutes in that game before sitting out. The following week, she endured additional injury at a game against the University of Maryland – a game which lasted well into overtime. It was after that match that her symptoms worsened, and the university’s physician declared her unfit to continue playing soccer. The following semester, she was unable to handle a two-course workload, and eventually withdrew from the school. 

The former soccer star has initiated a personal injury lawsuit, and is seeking at least $50,000 in damages. 

If you recently experienced a personal injury and would like to speak with a reputable legal representative, please contact the experienced Chicago, Waukegan and McHenry attorneys at Ryan Ryan & Landa today by calling (847)416-1989. 


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chicago Man Files Lawsuit Against McDonald’s After Allegedly Choking on Bone Shards

Is it possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against a restaurant or food producer for injuries caused by its products? 


A Chicago man recently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the fast food chain McDonald’s after experiencing the effects of a “defective” chicken McNugget. The complainant, whose injuries are alleged to have occurred at the McDonald’s at 10 E. Chicago Ave, was taken by ambulance for treatment after ingesting a number of “bone shards” in the chicken meat and was subsequently treated for injuries to the mouth and throat. 

The complaint names both McDonald’s and its primary chicken supplier, Tyson Foods, as defendants in the lawsuit. According to the complaint, the plaintiff is seeking damages to redress his injuries caused by the “unreasonably dangerous product,” and has accused both companies of placing consumers at risk by manufacturing unsafe nuggets capable of “impaling and/or cutting the consumer in the mouth, tongue and/or throat, and potentially causing additional damage to the stomach, digestive tract and intestines of the consumer.”

How common are food-related lawsuits? 

While the underlying facts of this case may seem unbelievable, food injuries are implicated in personal injury lawsuits on a fairly regular basis. For instance, food poisoning caused by bacteria is one of the most common personal injury lawsuits filed against the agriculture and restaurant industries, prompting historic 8-figure settlements with some of the most famous American food brands.  Moreover, the most severe food injuries (i.e., salmonella, e. coli. or listeria outbreaks) have been known to cause permanent injuries or death for victims, triggering wrongful death lawsuits by surviving family members. 

Proving negligence

When it comes to a food-related personal injury lawsuit, negligence is established by proving that the defendant acted unreasonably under the circumstances, thereby causing the plaintiffs’ injuries. Practically speaking, this could involve improper sanitation procedures, outdated equipment, failure to properly inspect commodities, concealment of known problems with the goods, or inadequate training of employees and staff. While the above-referenced McNugget case is still in its infancy, proving that the manufacturer or retailer failed to properly produce or maintain the product could mean a successful settlement for the plaintiff. 


If you recently experienced food poisoning or other injuries related to a meal or groceries you purchased, we encourage you to contact a reputable personal injury attorney in Chicago today. To get started on your claim, call Ryan Ryan & Landa today: 847-416-1989. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Chicago Woman Awarded $14 Million Following Botched Surgery Resulting in Brain Damage

How are damages typically calculated in a medical malpractice case? 


Medical malpractice claims often appear to be among the most lucrative of personal injury cases. However, these high-dollar verdicts are quite often deceiving, as juries are routinely tasked with compensating the victim for his or her entire life, including the costs of lifelong medical care, lost wages, lost opportunities, and a reduced quality of life. 

In one recent case, an Indiana woman was awarded $14 million by a Chicago jury after a lengthy trial involving allegations of severely-botched medical procedures, resulting in lifelong brain damage for the 56-year old victim. According to the lawsuit filed against both the Advocate Good Samaritan hospital – located in Downers Grove, Illinois – and her physicians individually, the victim underwent a bariatric surgery resulting in permanent brain damage, conclusively due to the negligence of both doctors involved. 

In 2010, the patient sought the medical counsel of both doctors for the treatment of obesity. Accordingly, she was scheduled for a gastric bypass procedure wherein a portion of the stomach is restricted to decrease the amount of food the patient can consume. Knowing she was taking a blood thinning medication, the doctors ordered an anti-coagulant (or so they thought) to be administered prior to the procedure. In fact, the doctors negligently ordered the wrong medication and the patient suffered extensive internal bleeding, causing her to permanently lose mental cognition. 

While the hospital settled with the woman privately for $5 million, the doctors opted to take their case to trial. During the proceeding, the patient testified that she is no longer able to walk, and relies on the round-the-clock assistance of her family to provide for her daily needs. Moreover, she stated that she is no longer able to homeschool any of her four children, and that her marriage relationship has suffered irretrievably as a result of the incident. 

In order to compensate the victim for her losses, a Chicago jury awarded her another $9 million to ensure her medical care, lost wages, lost future opportunities, and pain and suffering were adequately redressed. 

As one of Chicago’s premier personal injury and medical malpractice law firms, we can help you if you are facing a situation similar to that described above. To learn more about the medical malpractice lawsuit process, please call (847) 244-1436. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Building Code Violations Not Related To Man’s Death

Is a business liable for personal injuries occurring on its property?

The Chicago Fire Department is investigating the Aragon Ballroom after a man fatally fell from the ballroom’s catwalk. This investigation is in conjunction with the Chicago Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau activities from the day after the incident.

The Chicago Department of Buildings previously determined the man’s death was not a result of any building code violations. An inspection from December 2014 showed the building had three minor code violations but none were related to the catwalk.

The man and a few of his friends were attending a concert the night of the incident. They were seated on the second floor balcony but entered another area of the Aragon Ballroom through a door leading to the catwalk area. After entering the door, the men were watching the concert when they noticed the friend was missing. The man had fallen approximately six to eight feet from the catwalk and landed on two protruding metal rods. He was taken to a nearby hospital and later died from his wounds. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The Illinois Premises Liability Act applies to these kinds of cases. Generally, property owners owe a duty of reasonable care under particular circumstances and depending on the actions of the injured person. For example, if the injured person was restricted from entering particular areas, he or she may not be able to bring suit against a property owner or the liability of the property owner might be limited. Property owners typically do not have a duty to warn people about open and obvious dangerous conditions and are not liable for misuse of the property by individuals. It is important to discuss the specific facts of your case with an attorney.

If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property, the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at Ryan Ryan & Landa can help. We have an established record of success representing clients in the Chicago and Waukegan areas. Call us today at (847)416-1989 for a consultation.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Illinois Supreme Court to Insurance Companies: Get it right, or face the consequences!

I’ve been battling with my insurance carrier for months, and I believe there was a mistake in the preparation of my policy. Can I hold my insurance provider liable?

Rest assured, insurance companies will jump on any opportunity to avoid liability or rely on the language of an exclusion to deny a claim. But how does the law treat the insurer when the shoe is on the other foot? As in, the insurer made a mistake or committed an error in preparing a policy or handling a claim? According to the Illinois Supreme Court, insurers are now under the same duty of care, caution, and reasonableness applied in any personal injury or negligence action – which should help avoid some of the difficult scenarios faced by policyholders when the insurance company itself makes a mistake. 

In Skaperdas v. Country Cas. Ins. Co., an insured motorist met with his insurance agent in order to add his fiancé’ to his policy. The agent agreed to add her, and drew up a new policy. Shortly thereafter, the fiancé’s minor child was struck by an underinsured motorist while riding his bicycle. The motorist offered only $25,000 in bodily injury coverage, and the fiancé’ made a claim under her new policy’s underinsured motorist coverage. A problem arose when it was discovered that the insurance agent forgot to actually add her name to the policy, resulting in a denial of coverage. 

The couple proceeded to sue the company, alleging that it violated the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, which requires that “[a]n insurance producer, registered firm, and limited insurance representative shall exercise ordinary care and skill in renewing, procuring, binding, or placing the coverage requested by the insured or proposed insured.”

In its defense, the insurance company argued that an insurance agent is not expressly included in the language of the statute. However, the Illinois Supreme Court opined otherwise, holding that the language of the statute – and the intent of the legislature – was to absolutely include insurance agents within the purview of the reasonableness standard, and the company was indeed liable to the couple for the coverage they would have had but for the mistake. 

If you were recently injured and would like to speak to a personal injury attorney about your options, please contact the Chicago, Waukegan and McHenry attorneys at Ryan Ryan & Landa today. We offer personal and compassionate representation for personal injury victims.  Call us at (847)416-1989.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Family Awarded $10.75 million in Product Liability Action Against Manufacturer of Sealant

I was recently injured by a caustic household cleaning product. Could I possibly recover against the manufacturer? 

Product liability actions are a sub-sect of negligence and personal injury law specifically focused on injuries occurring due to consumer goods. This can include household appliances, chemicals or medication – and successful cases often result in sizable settlements or verdicts in favor of the victim.

In one recent story out of Chicago, a suburban homeowner was awarded nearly $11 million by a jury following his lawsuit against the makers of Crystal Clear VOC, a highly-flammable concrete sealant. The product was apparently intended for use only outdoors, however its packaging did not come with any sort of label or warning stating as such. Consequently, the victim was severely burned across most of his body. Sadly, the victim permanently lost the use of his hands, and is not able to feed or care for himself without assistance. 

According to the facts of the case, the victim was using the sealant on his basement floors when the toxic vapors wafted over to the vicinity of the water heater. In an instant, an explosion ensued and the victim was immediately engulfed in flames. He has been forced to endure countless surgeries and skin grafts to treat the massive burns sustained. 

After nearly five years of legal wrangling, the makers of Crystal Clear VOC refused to settle with the victim, prompting the need for a lengthy trial before a suburban Chicago jury. The result? A $10.75 million verdict in favor of the victim, which was calculated to compensate him for the costs of his injury, plus any lost future earnings. 

Product liability cases such as this hinge on the concept of reasonableness. In this case, the jury was confronted with the question of whether it was reasonable for the victim to use the concrete sealant on his concrete floors in a poorly ventilated area. Based on testimony of experts and witnesses, the jury found that the victim was reasonable to think that a concrete sealant like Crystal Clear VOC was safe for use in a basement area.  Therefore, its manufacturer Euclid Chemical has been ordered to compensate the victim for his injuries. 

If you were recently injured by household product and would like to discuss your rights, please contact the Illinois personal injury and product liability attorneys at Ryan Ryan & Landa today by calling 847-416-1989 today. 


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Ryan Ryan & Landa represents clients in matters involving catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, medical malpractice, personal injury, insurance litigation, worker’s compensation, construction accidents, and motor vehicle accidents in the Chicagoland area and throughout Illinois.



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