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Personal Injury Law Blog

The supersized problem of distracted truckers

You may never forget the day your life changed forever. On the other hand, you may mercifully have no memory of the tractor-trailer accident that caused you catastrophic injuries and perhaps claimed the life of a loved one. While that loss may have been precious to you, your loved one was among approximately 5,000 others who died in accidents with big rigs in a single year.

Most horrifying of all may have been the news that the driver of the truck was distracted at the time of the accident. Perhaps the driver did not even apply the brakes because he or she was looking away from the road and failed to see that your vehicle and others had stopped or slowed down. This scenario plays out too often on today's fast-paced highways.

Despite your efforts, you could still be a truck accident victim

Like many Illinois residents, you may have a substantial fear of traveling the roadways alongside semi-trucks. These larger vehicles could do considerable damage to your vehicle or to you in the event that an accident takes place. Because of these potential outcomes, increased apprehension around semi-trucks often affects numerous travelers.

Because you certainly want to do your part when it comes to avoiding unnecessary risks when driving near tractor-trailers, you likely take precautions to remain safe. However, some potential errors on your part may not have crossed your mind, and therefore, you may wish to consider avoiding the following scenarios as well.

Should you seek damages for emotional duress after an accident?

If you were hurt in a serious car accident, not only are you dealing with the physical implications of what happened to you, you could also find yourself dealing with severe emotional trauma as well. A harrowing accident can be devastating. It can leave you with damages and scars that you may not be able to see but which are just as real as any physical injury you may have.

Like other Illinois accident victims, you may not be aware that, if you suffered because of the actions of another person, you have the right to seek financial compensation for not only your injuries but your emotional duress as well. Working with an experienced attorney can help you understand what your potential claim may be worth and how you should proceed. 

Is your whiplash injury really that serious?

In the few moments that it takes two cars to collide, your life could change. From extensive damage to your personal property, to lingering and painful injuries, it may not be easy for you to recover and move on after even a seemingly minor accident.

Whiplash is a common car accident injury, and it is one that can linger and cause problems for Illinois victims for months or years. If you received a diagnosis of this type of neck sprain or neck strain, you would be wise to take your injury seriously, and seek the medical and legal help necessary to fight for a full recovery.

Medical malpractice and the boundaries of informed consent

Medical professionals in Aurora carry a heavy responsibility. Not only do they hold their patient's health and well-being in their hands, but they also have a duty to reasonably inform a patient about the care they are to receive so that the patient can provide informed consent to any medical procedure. Failing to obtain informed consent can lay the foundation for a medical malpractice lawsuit should something go wrong during the operation. Yet, even defining the boundaries of informed consent can be a challenging legal issue.

Although a doctor needs to inform a patient about the potential risks of a surgical procedure to be performed, some may wonder if he or she also needs to disclose additional information such as his or her experience as a surgeon. Generally speaking, there are two standards with regard to informed consent. The first is the reasonable patient standard, which looks at the matter from the patient's perspective. Illinois does not follow this approach. The second standard, and the one recognized in Illinois, is the reasonable physician standard. Here, a doctor must disclose the risks associated with an operation as well as the likely results and any alternatives that are available, but only to the extent that another doctor in the same circumstances would make.

Field sobriety test results may help impose liability

This time of year, many Illinois residents partake in alcoholic beverages, often as part of a social gathering. Although this can be done responsibly, some in the Chicago-area, and throughout Illinois, choose to drive after drinking. These individuals may think that they aren't intoxicated, or they might erroneously think that drinking makes them a better driver because they are more attentive, but this is far from the truth. The fact remains that these drunk drivers can cause devastating accidents that leave victims with extensive damages.

Victims who suffer serious injuries may want to pursue legal action in hopes of recovering compensation for their losses. In order to succeed on these claims, though, victims must prove that the defendant was negligent, and that negligence caused the accident and their injuries. In a case of drunk driving, this may mean showing intoxication.

Mandated sleep apnea screenings could save lives.

If you have been following our blog, you are familiar with the hazards big rigs present to others riding in passenger vehicles throughout the Chicagoland area. Earlier in December, we discussed federal regulations that require the submission of daily vehicle reports. When trucks are inspected upon the completion of a shift, the proper maintenance and motorist safety are promoted. While mandating regular reviews of semi-trucks will not completely erase the chance for a truck collision with an automobile, it will limit the opportunity for defective trucks to hit the road.

Another proposal by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) aims to reduce the number of trucking accidents even further. This past June, both agencies announced their intention to require commercial truck drivers to undergo screening for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder that reduces alertness in the afflicted.

Driver vehicle inspection reports may prevent truck accidents

It is well known that semi-trucks can cause serious, even fatal, accidents. In an attempt to curtail these devastating wrecks, the federal government has implemented strict federal regulations, which truckers and the truck companies for which they work must adhere to. The failure to abide by these regulations can place a significant number of motorists in harm's way, but the sad truth is that far too many truckers and truck companies try to cut corners to save time and money.

One way corners are cut is by improperly conducting driver vehicle inspection reports. These reports must be completed at the end of each workday and submitted to the motor carrier. The inspection should include checking the trailer and its power unit. In response to these inspection reports, truck companies must repair defective or missing parts prior to the vehicle being driven again.

Chicago firm competently handling wrongful death claims

Death is a part of life, but an unexpected and preventable death is intolerable. Sadly, once a loved one is lost there is nothing that can be done to bring him or her back. Surviving family members may find it hard to go on without the comfort of their loved one's presence, but time will continue to move forward and life will go on. This means that bills will need to be paid. Those in Illinois who have lost a loved one and the wages that he or she earned may find it difficult to make ends meet.

When the death of a loved one was caused by the negligence of another, and damages resulted from the death, a wrongful death claim may be sought. In a wrongful death claim, you can pursue compensation to help you cover medical expenses, lost wages and other damages such as loss of companionship. Your likelihood of success depends on the strength of your case, though, which can vary depending on how well prepared it is.

New report highlights abuse and neglect in Illinois group homes

Our state's most vulnerable citizens need to be protected. For many Illinois families, placing their beloved elderly and disabled family members in nursing homes and group homes is their best option. These institutions, which are regulated by the state, carry the burden of having to provide safe and adequate care to their residents. Unfortunately, though, a new report has found that many of these homes, and the state, have been covering up disturbing instances of abuse and neglect.

According to the report, there were more than 1,300 instances of harm suffered in group homes for disabled individuals in Illinois since mid-2011. This number is much higher than the one reported publicly by the state. Tragically, in some of these cases residents choked on improperly prepared food, suffered bedsores and were subjected to pain and suffering due to being undiagnosed and untreated for medical conditions.

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