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Chicago dangerous product attorney e-cigarette lung illness
Over the past several years, the use of electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes or vape pens) has grown by leaps and bounds. Manufacturers of these devices have marketed them as being safer than traditional cigarettes, and “vaping” has become especially popular among teens and young adults. However, a variety of concerns have arisen regarding the harm that these devices can cause to their users. In addition to a large number of reported injuries from exploding e-cigarettes, multiple health issues have begun to make themselves known. If you have experienced a personal injury after using a vaping device, you should speak to a skilled attorney as soon as possible.

Lung Illness Related to Vaping

One of the most worrisome issues currently affecting e-cigarette users is the outbreak of vaping-related lung illness (known as “e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury,” or EVALI) that has occurred throughout the United States. People have reported serious respiratory symptoms, including chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and fatigue, after using e-cigarettes. As of November 2019, more than 2,000 cases have been reported, and 39 people have died.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been researching this outbreak, and a potential source has been identified. Vitamin E acetate, an additive that is used in some vaping products, was found to be present in samples of fluid collected from patients’ lungs. This substance is usually harmless, but when inhaled, it may interfere with the normal functions of the lungs.

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Cook County slip and fall injury attorney snow and ice
As the temperature drops in the Chicago area, people are beginning to prepare for winter conditions, including snow and ice that may be present on roads, sidewalks, and other walkways. These conditions can significantly increase the risk of a slip and fall accident, and when injuries occur, victims may be unsure about their legal options. In these cases, it is important to understand how Illinois’ premises liability laws apply to a situation, and an experienced personal injury attorney can help determine whether a property owner may be held liable.

Slip and Fall Accident Injuries

While losing one’s footing and falling down is often seen as a minor incident, these types of incidents can result in serious injuries that have long-term effects, especially when snow or ice are involved. During cold weather, surfaces are very unforgiving, and a fall can lead to injuries such as:

  • Broken bones

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Chicago winter car accident lawyer
Every year, Chicagoans brace themselves for the bitter cold, strong winds, and snowy and icy conditions that they must deal with during the winter months. As the temperature begins to drop, and we start to experience inclement weather, one concern that is on many people’s minds is the increased possibility of car accidents. Drivers will want to take additional care to protect their safety during winter weather, and those who are injured in a collision should be sure to understand the forms of driver negligence that may have led to their auto accident.

Safety Measures When Driving in the Winter

It can be very easy to lose control of one’s vehicle during winter weather. To reduce the likelihood of a collision, drivers should do the following:

  • Perform proper vehicle maintenance - Drivers should ensure that all of their car’s safety systems are in working order. If tires are worn or bald, this can reduce traction, causing a vehicle to slide out of control when stopping or turning. Burnt-out headlights can reduce a vehicle’s visibility, and if windshield wipers or defrosters are not working properly, a driver may be unable to fully see the road around them. Failure to keep a vehicle maintained may be considered a form of negligence on the part of a driver.

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Lake County landlord liability attorney
In 2017, there were nearly 18.8 million residents living in apartment complexes across the United States. These living units are supposed to be overseen by capable management teams; however, instances of carelessness by landlords occur far too frequently, putting residents at risk of serious injuries. When a property is not adequately maintained, residents may be able to hold a landlord responsible for any personal injuries or wrongful deaths suffered. Some of the most serious injuries can occur in apartment fires, and victims of these incidents may be able to pursue compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. It is crucial for victims of an apartment fire to find out if all the safety regulations and building codes were followed correctly.  

Types of Tenant Injuries

When a fire occurs in an apartment, tenants often do not have much time to make a safe exit. In a multi-floor apartment complex, residents on higher levels could become trapped inside a raging inferno for an extended duration. In these cases, people are likely to suffer injuries from smoke inhalation, as well as serious burns. These injuries can be incredibly traumatic, resulting in damage to the lungs and internal organs, significant scarring and disfigurement, and long-term pain.

When Can a Landlord Be Liable?

An apartment fire could happen at any moment, for almost any reason; when an emergency does arise, a landlord is responsible for making sure safety equipment has been tested and regulations have been met. Depending on the location, size, and number of tenants an apartment has, the fire safety requirements can change, although there are some general guidelines that should always be considered. A landlord should ensure that:

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Lake County boating accident attorney
People in the Chicago area and throughout the state of Illinois often enjoy spending time on the water in boats or other types of watercraft. While this can be a relaxing and enjoyable activity, it can also be dangerous, and boating accidents can lead to serious injuries or fatalities. If you have been involved in a boat accident, you should work with a personal injury attorney to determine your options for recovering compensation from the parties who were responsible.

Common Causes of Boat Accidents and Injuries

According to the most recent data available from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, there were 80 boating accidents throughout the state in 2017. These accidents resulted in 48 injuries and 12 fatalities. However, these numbers may not accurately reflect the actual injuries that occurred in boat accidents, since they do not include “non-reportable” accidents. For example, injuries or fatalities that occur when someone jumps or dives from an anchored or moored boat are not reportable.

Some of the reasons boating injuries may occur include:

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DuPage County work area injury attorney

It is no secret that construction work is a dangerous job. However, people may not realize just how dangerous it can be and how often construction accidents and injuries occur. In 2017, more than 20% of all work-related fatalities occurred in construction. That is, one out of every five people killed in workplace accidents were construction workers. 

Falls are the leading cause of fatalities for construction workers, accounting for over one third of all deaths. Due to the risks of falls, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put regulations in place to provide protections for workers.

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Lake County popcorn lung attorneyIn 2000, a number of workers at a Missouri facility that manufactured microwave popcorn developed a lung condition called bronchitis obliterans. This illness, which has become known as “popcorn lung,” was caused by the inhalation of a chemical used in popcorn flavoring. Despite its name, popcorn lung can have a variety of causes. Those who experience this condition may be able to hold a negligent employer or product manufacturer responsible for their injuries. 

What Causes Popcorn Lung?

A person may contract popcorn lung after being exposed to a number of different substances, including:

  • Diacetyl - This chemical was responsible for injuring the workers at the aforementioned popcorn plant, and it is often used for flavoring in food products like candy, potato chips, and dairy products. It is also commonly found in the “e-juice” used in electronic cigarettes and vape pens. While its use has been banned in e-cigarettes in Europe, it is still regularly used in the U.S.

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DuPage County work area injury attorney

Construction zones are a familiar sight on the roads in Illinois, and most people are aware of the need to take extra care when driving through work areas. However, many drivers fail to follow the proper roadway safety rules, and when car accidents occur in construction zones, workers are likely to be seriously injured. These types of accidents occur all too frequently. In fact, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reports that on average, more than 5,000 accidents occur every year in work zones throughout the state. These accidents lead to more than 1,500 injuries on an annual basis.

Construction Zone Safety Tips

Drivers can face severe penalties if they do not obey the law in a work zone. Striking a worker in a construction zone can result in fines up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 14 years. In order to avoid construction zone accidents, drivers should take the following safety precautions:

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Lake County vape pen injury lawyer“Vaping” has grown significantly in popularity in recent years, and it is often seen as a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. However, as more and more people have begun using electronic cigarettes (commonly known as e-cigarettes or vape pens), a large number of people have reported serious injuries from devices that explode or catch fire.

Exploding e-cigarettes can be incredibly dangerous, especially when these incidents occur near someone’s face. For example, in one recent case, a Nevada teen’s jaw was shattered and several of his teeth were knocked out when his device exploded in his mouth. In another case, a Florida man was killed when a vape pen exploded and sent shrapnel into his brain. Those who are injured by dangerous e-cigarettes should work with a personal injury attorney to determine their options for pursuing compensation.

What Causes E-Cigarette Explosions?

E-cigarettes use high-powered lithium-ion batteries to vaporize a liquid, and these batteries are often unstable, leading them to overheat, catch on fire, or explode. Some of the causes of these incidents include:

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Cook County electrocution injury attorney

Electric shocks can cause devastating injuries, and people in certain occupations are at a higher risk of being electrocuted. In fact, electrocution is the sixth most common cause of workplace fatalities in the United States, and 54% of the deaths caused by electrocution are suffered by workers in the construction industry. If you have experienced an electrocution injury while working, you should be sure to understand your legal options for recovering compensation.

Effects of Electrocution

The injuries that occur when electricity flows through the body can vary depending on the type and amount of electrical current and the parts of the body affected. Some  common injuries include:

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Chicago electric scooter injury lawyer

There are nearly 70 million dogs in the United States, and while many of these animals are friendly, loving pets, there are also many instances of people being injured after being attacked by a dog. Whether a dog is considered dangerous or had no previous history of aggressive behavior, its owner may be liable for injuries resulting from a dog bite. However, many people do not realize the full extent of the damage that can be caused by a dog bite, so it is important for victims to be aware of both the short-term and long-term ramifications of these types of injuries.

Short-Term Injuries

The physical injuries caused by a dog bite are often immediately evident, and they can include puncture wounds or lacerations. In most cases, medical care should be received as soon as possible, and stitches may be needed to close these wounds. In addition, a dog may knock someone down during an attack, leading to broken bones, sprained joints, and serious bruises. Elderly people and young children are especially susceptible to these types of injuries.

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Chicago electric scooter injury lawyerElectric scooters, or e-scooters, are becoming more and more popular in cities throughout the United States. These vehicles offer riders a quick and easy way to get around urban areas, and multiple companies, including Uber, Lyft, Bird, and Lime, have begun offering curbside e-scooter rentals. However, as the use of e-scooters has increased, so has the number of serious injuries in e-scooter accidents.

E-Scooter Injuries

E-scooters have become incredibly popular in a short period of time. In fact, more than 38 million people took trips on shared electric scooters in 2018. Since this is a fairly new form of transportation, many cities have not yet put laws and regulations in place for e-scooters. In addition, the rules and guidelines for the safe operation of these vehicles are not yet fully established, and a large number of injuries have occurred as a result.

Since 2017, there have been more than 1,500 injuries involving e-scooters across the United States, as well as at least four deaths. Studies have found that around half of e-scooter accidents result in severe injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injury, and injuries to tendons, ligaments, or nerves.

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Chicago personal injury attorney insurance claimA personal injury can turn your life upside down. In addition to the difficulties that come with your recovery, your injury is likely to have a major financial impact, including the cost of medical treatment and the loss of income while you are unable to work. If you are planning to file an insurance claim, you may expect to work with an insurance company to ensure that your injuries are covered. However, before doing so, it is important to consult with an attorney who can ensure that you are fully compensated for your damages.

How Can an Attorney Help With My Case?

When you are struggling in the aftermath of an injury, you may feel like you have to accept an offer made by an insurance company so that you can address your immediate financial concerns. However, an insurance company’s goal is to pay you as little as possible, and even if a settlement offer appears fair to you, it is likely that it will not fully cover your costs or meet your ongoing needs.

In reality, you should be wary of speaking to an insurance company at all before consulting with an attorney, because they may ask you to provide recorded statements, and any information you provide may lead them to reduce the amount of your claim or even deny your claim altogether. A lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure that you receive the compensation you need.

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Chicago taxi injury attorney common carrierLarge numbers of people use taxicabs for transportation throughout the Chicago area every day. Unfortunately, most people are familiar with the experience of being afraid for their safety while riding in a vehicle operated by a cab driver who has little regard for traffic laws. The desire to complete fares as quickly as possible causes many taxi drivers to put passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians at risk. Fortunately, taxi companies’ status as common carriers provides those who have been injured in taxi accidents with the ability to recover compensation for their damages.

What Is a Common Carrier?

Companies, entities, or individuals that transport people or property within or through the state of Illinois are considered common carriers. According to decisions made in Illinois courts, common carriers have a duty to provide the “highest degree of care” to their passengers while transporting them or while passengers are entering or exiting a vehicle.

Because of this duty of care, taxi companies may be held liable for passenger injuries which occur because of the negligence of taxi drivers or other employees. In addition to injuries that may occur because of negligent driving, a company may be responsible for injuries caused by equipment failure, negligent maintenance, or failure to follow the proper safety procedures.

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Lake County defective product injury attorney jogging strollerParents often assume that the products intended for use by their children are safe. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and there are many situations in which companies put profits ahead of consumer safety and release defective or dangerous products to the market. This was demonstrated recently when news stories broke about a jogging stroller that had caused injuries to parents and children.

Injuries When Using the Britax BOB Jogging Stroller

The BOB jogging stroller produced by Britax is intended to keep children safe and secure when parents are using it to run on sidewalks, streets, or even dirt paths. This three-wheeled stroller, which typically costs between $400 and $600, appears to be rugged and sturdy. However, hundreds of reports were sent to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) between 2012 and 2018 stating that the front wheel of the stroller could suddenly become detached. When moving at high speeds, the strollers could then flip over, causing serious or life-threatening injuries to both children and parents. Some of the reported injuries included broken bones and teeth, torn ligaments, and severe lacerations.

In 2017, the CPSC requested that Britax voluntarily recall these strollers, but the company refused to do so. Even though the quick-release lever used to secure the wheels to the strollers was prone to cause these wheels to detach, the company claimed that the product was completely safe when used correctly because it had passed all safety tests. While the company ultimately took steps to address the issue in later models of the stroller and put out information intended to help owners use the strollers safely, there are still nearly 500,000 strollers which may be unsafe in American homes.

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Chicago aviation accident attorney defective productsAfter two separate aviation accidents involving Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes within the past six months, the plane’s manufacturer is under a great deal of scrutiny. A Lion Air plane crashed in Indonesia on October 29, 2018, and an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed outside of Addis Ababa on March 10, 2019, with the two crashes resulting in the deaths of 346 people. Investigations have found that faulty sensors and software may be to blame for these disasters, which opens up the possibility that the families of these plane crash victims may be able to pursue product liability lawsuits against Chicago-based Boeing.

Faulty Flight Control Systems

Investigators into both crashes have noted that there are “striking similarities” between the two incidents. In both cases, it appears that a flight control system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which was meant to prevent mid-air stalls, caused the pilots to lose control of the planes. The MCAS had automatically acted to force the planes’ noses down in response to incorrect readings from the planes’ angle-of-attack (AOA) sensors, and pilots had not been properly trained in how to disengage this system. Experts believe that the combination of faulty data, automated systems, and lack of pilot training proved to be deadly in these cases, and in order to avoid similar crashes, countries around the world have grounded all 737 MAX planes.

Many people are questioning how such a system could have been put in place and how it could have passed the certification process by the FAA. Typically, planes have redundant systems in place to ensure that if one component fails, others will be able to ensure that the aircraft can be operated safely. However, the Boeing 737 MAX appears to have been designed with a single point of failure, and the reliance on sensors that were providing faulty readings likely was a major factor in these disasters.

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Chicago dangerous product injury lawyer baby powder asbestosRecently, reports that Johnson & Johnson baby powder may contain asbestos have alarmed people throughout the United States. This product has been a staple of many families for decades, and the potential dangers that it may pose has led many to worry about their safety. In March of 2019, a woman in California won a major victory against the company when a jury awarded her $29 million because she contracted mesothelioma that she claimed was caused by her use of J&J’s products.

Johnson & Johnson is currently facing around 13,000 lawsuits involving injuries allegedly caused by their baby powder. In another recent case, 22 women in Missouri were awarded $4.69 billion from J&J because they contracted ovarian cancer. Those who have experienced injuries or illnesses that may have been caused by asbestos in baby powder should be sure to understand their options for pursuing compensation through a product liability lawsuit.

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Baby powder is composed of talc, and depending on where this talc is mined, it may potentially contain asbestos fibers. When baby powder is applied, any asbestos in the product is likely to become airborne, and it may be inhaled. The inhalation of asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, a form of cancer that attacks the chest cavity.

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Chicago plane crash injury lawyerOn March 10, 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed, leading to the deaths of 157 people. This was the second major airline disaster in recent months involving a Boeing 737 MAX plane, and in response, countries around the world have ordered these planes to be grounded. Those who have been affected by these incidents or who have been injured while traveling on a plane should understand their options for pursuing compensation through a product liability lawsuit.

Legal Issues Involved in Aviation Accidents

The cause of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash has not yet been determined. However, the fact that it occurred so soon after another Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia in October 2018 indicates that these planes may have dangerous defects that threaten the safety of passengers. That crash is also still being investigated, but it may have been caused by a faulty sensor that affected pilots’ ability to control the plane.

In response to this potential danger, multiple countries, including China, Britain, Germany, France, and Australia have chosen to temporarily ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes. This is not the first time in recent history that Boeing planes have faced safety issues; in 2013, airlines grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliners because of an issue with lithium batteries.

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Lake County car accident attorney uninsured driverBeing involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, regardless of whether the collision is minor or major. Even if a car crash does not result in serious injuries, it is likely to cause damage to your vehicle, and you may experience injuries that are not immediately evident which only begin to affect you in the days or weeks after the accident. In most cases, your injuries and the damage to your vehicle will be covered by the insurance policy of the driver who was at fault. But what happens when you are involved in a collision with a driver who has no insurance?

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

All drivers are required by law to have insurance coverage on their vehicles. At minimum, a vehicle must be covered by liability insurance, which will pay for damages a driver causes to other vehicles, drivers, or passengers in a car accident. However, some drivers do not maintain their required insurance coverage. Many people who are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver may believe that they have no way to recover compensation for their injuries or vehicular damages.

In some cases, an injured driver may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, a driver who does not have insurance will likely not be able to pay damages, and even if compensation is awarded, they may be able to declare bankruptcy in order to avoid paying damages.

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Chicago VA medical malpractice lawyerVeterans make huge sacrifices to serve our country, and they deserve to be cared for in the years following their military service. Unfortunately, hospitals operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs often provide substandard care, and veterans may suffer serious injuries because of medical malpractice. In fact, investigations performed in recent years have found that hundreds of veterans have died and thousands more suffered injuries because of medical mistakes by the VA, and in many cases, the VA failed to properly address medical errors or discipline healthcare providers who harmed patients. If you are a veteran who has been injured by medical errors at a VA facility, you should be sure to understand your legal options for pursuing compensation. 

Medical Errors at VA Hospitals

Investigations have uncovered a wide variety of medical negligence resulting in injuries to veterans, including:

  • Surgical errors - In addition to failure to complete surgical procedures correctly, VA surgeons have been found to leave objects inside patients’ bodies during surgery, which can cause serious health risks.
  • Medication errors - Veterans may be harmed by the prescription of improper medications, improper doses, or failure to consider side effects or interactions between multiple medications.
  • Delayed care - VA hospitals are often plagued by lengthy wait times and delays in providing treatment. Failure to treat conditions such as cancer in a timely manner can be fatal for veterans.
  • Failure to recognize suicide risks - Many veterans experience conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and VA medical staff should be aware of the risks of suicide for these patients. Unfortunately, failure to perform risk assessments, delays in responding to mental health concerns, or failure to prescribe the proper medication has resulted in the deaths of multiple veterans.

Contact a Cook County Medical Malpractice Attorney

At Winters Salzetta O’Brien & Richardson, LLC, we work with veterans to address injuries caused by VA medical negligence, and we have obtained multiple verdicts and settlements for clients in these types of cases, including a $900,000 verdict in a case where a veteran committed suicide after being refused treatment at a VA hospital. In another notable case, we assisted a Vietnam veteran who was injured by errors made during oral surgery, and we secured a $12 million settlement to address his ongoing medical care and disability.

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