Chicago IL Personal Injury Blog

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. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence in Illinois: What You Need to Know

How prevalent is nursing home negligence in Illinois? And what signs should I look for? 

Nursing home abuse and neglect is sadly emerging as one of the more common personal injury scenarios in the United States. Unfortunately, experts believe that the phenomenon may be even more prevalent than is actually reported – as many victims are simply too frightened or unsure of the scenario to alert authorities or their family members. 

In Oak Forest, Illinois, the surviving family members of an alleged victim of nursing home abuse filed a wrongful death action against Symphony of Crestwood, a nursing home located in Crestwood, Illinois. According to allegations, the victim – a 53 year-old woman suffering from extreme multiple sclerosis – was left untended to, resulting in falls, bedsores, and immobility. Due to her physical limitations, she was administered a feeding tube for nutrition. In the spring of 2013, her feeding tube became dislodged – at which point staff reinserted the tube without the use of medical imaging. As a result, the survivors allege, the feeding tube was improperly placed and liquid nutrition spread throughout her body – killing her 11 days later. 

In March, 2015, three suspicious deaths occurred at the South Holland nursing home, with one being ruled a homicide. As a result, several staff members were terminated, and police are investigating the facts surrounding the deaths of each elderly resident. With regard to one already ruled a homicide, a 98-year old was administered a fatal dose of pain killers in violation of her prescription and care plan. So far, the causes of death for the other two are listed as “unknown causes,” which could change pending the outcome of the forensic review. 

Nursing home abuse and neglect can manifest any number of ways, and could involve any combination of physical, sexual, mental or financial abuse. Unexplained bruising, genital infections, or misplaced fear of facility workers could be a sign that abuse is occurring. Likewise, sudden changes to an estate plan or large asset transfers to a caretaker could indicate undue influence, also known as elder financial abuse. 

If you suspect abuse or neglect against your loved one, do not delay – contact authorities immediately. From there, contact the Chicago, Waukegan and McHenry, Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys at Ryan Ryan & Landa, to get started on a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the victim. You can reach our office by calling (847)416-1989 today. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rauner Attack on Trial Lawyers, Supreme Court Unwarranted

Illinois news has recently been littered with incendiary comments from our newly elected Governor aimed at trial lawyers, injury victims, and the Illinois Supreme Court.  It seems that Governor Rauner feels personal injury lawyers as well as the innocent victims they represent our clogging our court system, causing businesses to leave the state, and harming our economy.  With respect to the Supreme Court, Governor Rauner is extremely blunt in stating that its justices simply cannot be trusted.

What truly cannot be trusted is our Governor's version of reality.  

The facts are as follows.  Fact 1: the overwhelming majority of lawsuits filed in this state are by businesses suing other businesses.  Fact 2: decreasing citizens' access to the court system and ability to recover for severe injuries benefits big business and insurance companies, and no one else.  Fact 3: Illinois Supreme Court justices are elected. Therefore, the check on their ability to be "trusted", is your ability to vote them off the bench if their integrity comes into question.

Anyone who has ever been victim of serious injury, medical malpractice, or a workplace accident knows that our court system and injury lawyers are vital to obtaining justice.  It would be absurd to suggest that a corporation should be ensured complete access to the justice system but an injured person should be faced with caps on the damages they can recover, immunities that bar them from filing suit, or a plethora of other obstacles.  However, this scenario is exactly what the head of the Illinois executive branch is peddling.  

Don't be fooled by empty rhetoric void of facts.  The right to pursue justice in court is vital to all of us and need be protected at all costs.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians injured in collisions with automobiles oftentimes suffer devastating, permanent injuries.  The consequences of these injuries can be lifelong and create expensive medical bills, lost wages, and profound pain and suffering.  If you or a loved one has been victimized in a pedestrian accident, contact Ryan, Ryan & Landa today for a free consultation on your case and to begin preserving your rights. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tractor Trailer Accidents in Illinois

Can Truck Accident Victims Sue for Negligence When Truck Drivers Fail to Follow Safety Mandates?

When a car, pick up or SUV driver hits the road, ensuring that he or she is well rested before getting behind the wheel is common sense. When a semi truck driver hits the road, being well rested is the law.

Yet, each year, thousands of commercial truck drivers who are involved in truck accidents are charged with failing to obtain adequate sleep prior to operating their rigs. In some cases, drivers even face charges of falsifying drivers’ logs and destroying receipt evidence to hide their lack of compliance with safety regulations. In rare instances, drivers will even admit to regular “cheating” with regard to laws governing rest-to-drive ratios. Such was the case in a recent, fatal truck collision occurring on I-88 near Aurora.

On the evening of January 27, 2014, Hanover Park resident and commercial truck driver Renato Valaquez had just completed a delivery job that paid almost $1,300. Allegedly already fatigued and having failed to meet federal rest-to-road time limits, Valaquez decided to make additional money by picking up an on-the-spot job to deliver 42,000 pounds of steel. As he approached a parked squad car and disabled semitrailer surrounded by flares on I-88, prosecutors attest that Valaquez’s truck struck the vehicles from behind at 63 miles per hour, killing a toll operator and severely injuring a police officer. Valaquez also allegedly:

  • Admitted to exceeding rest-to-road mandates “all the time”;
  • Rested for only 3.5 hours during the 37.5-hour time period preceding the fatal accident; and
  • Falsified his driving record to cover up his infractions.

In addition to being charged with operating a commercial motor vehicle while fatigued or impaired and making a false report of his record and duty status, Valaquez faces charges of failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failing to yield to stationary emergency vehicles.

If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident in Chicago, Waukegan, McHenry or any other city in Illinois, it is essential that a full investigation be conducted to determine whether negligence on the part of the driver or transportation company contributed to the incident. For experienced assistance following an Illinois truck accident, contact Ryan, Ryan & Landa. Call (847)416-1989.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ryan, Ryan & Landa Settles Slip and Fall Accident

Ryan, Ryan & Landa attorneys Kathy Ryan and Michael Viglione recently finalized settlement of a slip and fall accident stemming from injuries sustained in a grocery store.  The plaintiff alleged that he slipped and fell due to a leaking flower pot in the front of the defendant's store.  Attorneys Ryan and Viglione were able to preserve security camera footage of the slip and fall accident as well as the defendant's employees'  mopping up the area and fixing a defective, leaking flower pot after the fall.  The plaintiff suffered a fractured right medial, tibial plateau as a result of the fall.  Ryan and Viglione were able to secure him compensation for both his past medical expenses and anticipated future knee replacement surgery, in addition to compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of normal life damages.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, please contact Ryan, Ryan & Landa today for a free case consultation and to begin preserving necessary evidence and your right to recovery. 


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Utilizing Video Cameras to Check for Nursing Home Abuse

Is There Any Way to Monitor What Goes on in a Nursing Home?

Due to the widespread neglect and abuse of nursing home residents, more and more families are demanding a way to monitor the safety and care of their loved ones. One way this monitoring might take place is through Internet-connected cameras. A bill supported by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago was introduced in February and would allow that to happen under certain circumstances.

Camera monitoring would be permitted in nursing homes in Illinois if residents want the cameras and can pay for them under the bill. Under the proposal, the resident would need to approve the use of cameras. If a resident is not competent to make such a decision, legal guardians and family members would be able to give consent. The bill would also create a $50,000 fund for those who want a camera in their room but cannot afford one.

The proposal is sparking a debate, and supporters claim that such a system may reduce the chances of abuse or neglect. They also claim that if abuse or neglect does happen, it would be much easier to prove and to hold employees and nursing home operators responsible. These claims are being challenged due to concerns that residents, workers and visitors would lose privacy should camera monitoring be allowed.

The bill does contain some measures to address privacy concerns. For example, a sign would be posted at main entrances stating that rooms could be electronically monitored. All those living in a particular room would need to agree to a camera being installed, and if one resident wants a camera but the other does not, the nursing home would need to move the resident wanting the camera to another room.

If this bill is enacted, it could be a powerful tool for residents and the attorneys that represent them. The recorded video could be used as evidence in legal proceedings involving abuse or neglect claims. Similar camera laws are in place in four states, including New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington. Reportedly, the Illinois Department of Public Health gets about 19,000 calls claiming nursing home neglect or abuse each year, but it only investigates about 5,000 of them.

If you believe your loved one has been subjected to abuse or neglect at a nursing home, contact the Chicago, Waukegan and McHenry, Illinois personal injury attorneys at Ryan, Ryan & Landa at (847)416-1989 for a consultation today.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Recreational Drone Use Might Lead to Injuries

Am I responsible for injuries caused by my flyaway drone?

Each day, you encounter numerous risks just walking down the street. You can be struck by a vehicle, slip on a poorly maintained sidewalk or be bitten by a passing dog. With the increasing popularity of drone use by the public, a new threat to your health and safety can come from above.

Drones -- remotely controlled unmanned aircrafts -- can be difficult to control, especially if the user is inexperienced, the drone is defective or damaged or the weather is not good.. A wayward drone could potentially land anywhere (one recently did on the grounds of the White House). It could fall on you or a loved one, possibly causing injuries.

According to one teacher of classes about unmanned aerial systems, an object flying at 400 feet, going about 140 miles per hour, would hit the ground with 2,200 pounds of force. That can be twice the force delivered in a punch from a top level boxer (studies show ranges of 447 to 1,300 pounds of force depending on weight class and skill level).

People using drones recreationally sometimes lose control of them, and the drones fly away never to be seen again. The Federal Aviation Administration has urged novice operators to avoid flying too close to planes and crowds.

There is a Chicago Area Drone User Group, and its organizer suggests keeping your drone under 400 feet. He mentioned Bluetooth devices that can help locate a drone within 100 yards, and a programming feature that would send the drone back to where it took off.

Accidents involving drones have been reported around the country, including crashes into buildings. Their frequency certainly might increase as more people become interested in drone use as a hobby.

Ryan, Ryan & Landa is a premier personal injury law firm for those in Chicago and the surrounding area. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury because of the negligence of another, call our attorneys today at (847)416-1989 for a consultation.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Highway Accidents

Highway accidents that take place at high speeds can involve terrific collisions that cause permanent, catastrophic injuries.  Frequently, such accidents involve semi-trucks that are traveling too fast for conditions, are improperly maintained, and/or are driven by individuals logging too many hours that lose focus on the roadway.  

Following a highway accident, it is vital that you and your loved ones immediately protect your rights.  Preservation of physical evidence is an absolute necessity to proving liability in any potential claim you have.  Additionally, location of witnesses is a vital step that must be taken immediately.   Discerning insurance funds that will compensate your injuries is similarly important.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a highway accident, please contact Ryan, Ryan & Landa today for a free consultation concerning your case.     

Friday, January 30, 2015

Wheelchair Accident

Ryan, Ryan & Landa attorney Michael Viglione recently finalized confidential settlement of a wheelchair accident injury claim.  The case involved an impalement injury that a terminally ill patient sustained in a hospital while being transferred from her bed to a wheelchair.   A protruding steel rod on one of the chair's legs stabbed through the back of the plaintiff's left leg and went all the way through the front of her leg.  The injury significantly affected the plaintiff's quality of life and caused profound pain and suffering over the final 6 months of her life.

Wheelchair accident injuries are commonplace and can have devastating consequences.  If you or a loved one have been harmed by a faulty wheelchair, or sustained injury while using a wheelchair, contact Ryan, Ryan & Landa today. We are skilled in litigating handicap accessibility accident claims and will provide a case consultation for free. 



Monday, January 19, 2015

Arbitration in Nursing Home Disputes

Can a Nursing Home Force My Family to go to Arbitration with Our Legal Claim?

Nursing home contracts often include forced or mandatory arbitration clauses. These clauses require any legal dispute between the parties to go to arbitration instead of to the court system. One 2011 study found that in some areas anywhere from half to all of the nursing homes included these types of clauses in their contracts.

Arbitration is an alternate dispute resolution method. It is a private trial of sorts, with an arbitrator (normally an attorney or retired magistrate) sitting as a judge, making rulings of fact and law and making a final decision in the case (unless it settles). This method is not necessarily bad for plaintiffs, but in these contracts the rules are such that it can stack the deck against them.  Some things plaintiffs should be concerned about are:

  • Access to evidence may be limited.
  • The losing party (there is a good chance that will be the plaintiff) may be responsible for the costs and legal fees of the successful party.
  • These decisions are very difficult to appeal to the court system.
  • Arbitrators are normally chosen and paid by the nursing homes. There is a built in incentive for the arbitrator to find for the nursing home in hopes of getting more cases to work on and earn more fees.
  • Proceedings are confidential, unlike trials, so there is no fear by the nursing home of any bad publicity.
  • It may be the arbitrator, not a judge, who decides whether or not the claim should go to arbitration.

Given how common these clauses have become it may be difficult to find a nursing home for a loved one that will consent to a contract without this type of language. If you or a loved one need to quickly find an open space in a nursing home, there may be little or no time to “shop around” and find a nursing home that will allow legal claims to go to court.

If you or a loved one have a potential legal claim against a nursing home because of injuries suffered due to neglect or abuse, whether you signed a contract with an arbitration clause or not, you still may be able to get your day in court.  Call the Chicago, Waukegan and McHenry personal injury attorneys at Ryan, Ryan & Landa at (847) 416-1989 for a consultation today.  We handle all types of nursing home negligence cases.

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