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chicago medical malpractice lawyerEvery year, between 75-100 women die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth injuries in Illinois alone. Even worse, the 2016-17 Illinois Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report estimated that 83% of pregnancy-related deaths could have been prevented and the problem is serious enough nationally that around 11% of medical malpractice lawsuits each year are filed against OBGYNs for medical malpractice during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  

Mental health conditions, substance abuse, and pre-existing medical conditions can all significantly complicate the process of giving birth, but they should not be a death sentence. Women giving birth in Illinois are entitled to expect a standard of care that takes into account complicating factors and comorbidities, and when doctors and nurses fail to provide the appropriate standard of care, the consequences can be tragic. 

What Factors Contribute to Maternal Mortality? 

Many people are surprised to learn that only one in five maternal deaths occurs during childbirth. The majority of maternal deaths happen in the time following the birth, when the mother and child are no longer at the hospital. Although there are many reasons that women die during or following childbirth, they are often due to one or more of the following: 

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chicago medical malpractice lawyerHaving to decide whether or not to get an abortion is one of the toughest positions in which a woman can find herself. The emotional complexities of abortion are sometimes complicated by the fact that abortions do not always go according to plan. Sometimes women suffer serious and even fatal injuries due to medical malpractice on the part of their abortion provider. 

If you have been injured during an abortion, an experienced Illinois medical malpractice attorney may be able to help. Seeking justice, protecting your rights, and pursuing compensation cannot undo the suffering you have experienced, but it can be a step on the road to emotional and physical recovery. 

Medical Malpractice and Abortion

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional causes a patient harm by failing to provide the appropriate standard of care. Unfortunately, sometimes women who seek abortions are the victims of negligence or incompetence from their abortion provider. Common types of abortion medical malpractice include: 

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chicago medical malpractice lawyerThe number of licensed midwives in Illinois is set to expand as the state prepares to widen the criteria for allowing midwives to apply for licensure. Currently, only midwives with nursing degrees are allowed to practice in Illinois, but some professional midwives who are trained and certified would be allowed to practice with the change in the law that Governor Pritzker is expected to sign. 

Midwives are important health professionals who help women before, during, and after childbirth. Many midwives work in hospitals along with other medical staff, but some midwives help women who want to give birth at home. Unfortunately, not all midwives are properly prepared to help women safely give birth. When midwives fail to see and address potential complications during birth or attempt to handle cases where substantial medical risk is present, they place the health of the mother and child in jeopardy. In some cases, a midwife may be held responsible for birth injuries due to medical malpractice

Common Types of Midwife Medical Malpractice 

There are several common types of medical malpractice specific to midwifery, including but not limited to: 

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chicago birth injury lawyerThe United States is a world leader in medical research and best practices. Unfortunately, even with such an elevated level of healthcare, medical professionals sometimes fail to serve their patients with the highest standard of care, with tragic consequences. 

Medical negligence can turn giving birth from one of the most memorable, intimate times in a parent’s life into a nightmare scenario. Even when they are not fatal, birth injuries can have a devastating long-term effect on a family’s emotions and finances. If you suspect you were the victim of medical malpractice during childbirth, an experienced Illinois medical malpractice attorney may be able to help. 

Common Types of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can occur before, during, and after delivering an infant, and although they most commonly affect the child, the mother can suffer serious harm as well. Common birth injuries include, but are not limited to: 

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Chicago medical malpractice lawyerBreast cancer is a pernicious, all-too-common type of cancer that primarily affects women later in midlife. Amazing progress in medical research has made it so that, when properly detected and diagnosed in its early stages, victims of breast cancer have overwhelmingly positive odds of survival - in some instances, up to a 99 percent five-year survival rate. 

But a misdiagnosis and or delayed diagnosis can seriously harm the chances of effective treatment. Left untreated, breast cancer often spreads and metastasizes, causing serious harm and even death. Failure to diagnose breast cancer can happen when a doctor does not order appropriate tests or misinterprets the results. If you have suffered as a result of a breast cancer misdiagnosis, a qualified medical malpractice attorney can help you understand your options. 

How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed? 

Breast cancer diagnoses frequently take place after a routine mammogram screening. Routine mammogram screenings are scheduled without any symptoms or signs of breast cancer - they are done preventatively and the science about how often they should take place is still evolving. 

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chicago injury lawyerConstruction workers face some of the most dangerous work conditions in the United States. Every year, around 20% of fatal workplace accidents happen on a construction site, and many thousands of workers sustain serious or permanent injuries.

One of the most common ways that construction workers are injured or killed is through a fall. Falling from scaffolding, unfinished balconies, and other unprotected heights can cause brain trauma, paralysis, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and even death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has instituted construction site regulations to protect workers from falling. 

What are OSHA Fall Protection Standards? 

Employees have the right to a safe workplace. If a construction worker or other employee is working at least six feet above the ground or a lower level, fall protection systems must be in place. Employers are required to provide these protections and are responsible for ensuring they are properly utilized. Some of the fall protection systems include: 

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chicago construction worker injury lawyerScaffolding is essential at many construction sites for building and renovation. Well-constructed scaffolding allows painters, maintenance workers, window cleaners, and construction workers to reach high places safely and do their jobs on a stable walkway. In any given year, the Department of Labor has estimated that over 2 million workers use scaffolds, an enormous number that makes proper scaffolding use extremely important. 

Unfortunately, scaffolding mistakes can lead to severe injuries and even death. Scaffold use or erection errors cause thousands of injuries every year, and approximately 25 percent of fatal falls happen on scaffolding. Accidents involving scaffolds take an incalculable toll on the victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a scaffolding construction accident, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you obtain financial compensation. 

What Are Common Causes of Scaffolding Injuries? 

The vast majority of scaffolding accidents are caused by one of the following circumstances: 

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ironworker injury lawyerIronworkers in Illinois perform many thankless tasks as part of their everyday job responsibilities. Some of these tasks, like reading blueprints, are fairly harmless. Others, like loading and stacking iron and steel, pose moderate dangers. But there are certain responsibilities ironworkers have that can be extremely dangerous. Putting together the steel skeleton of skyscrapers, reinforcing bridges and highways with rebar, and using heavy metalworking equipment can result in serious and even fatal injuries. 

To add to these difficulties, ironworkers are often exposed to hazardous weather conditions during Chicago’s infamous winters. Job sites may contain toxic chemicals or dangerous physical obstacles. Equipment is hot, heavy, and very powerful. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates ironwork to be one of the most deadly jobs in the country. If you have experienced an ironworker accident, it is important to understand your options under Illinois law and speak with a personal injury as soon as possible. 

Common Ironworker Injuries

Due to the nature of the job, ironworkers face many common injuries. These are just a few examples of the more serious situations ironworkers may face: 

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chicago dental malpractice lawyerGoing to the dentist is an unpleasant experience for many people. The general discomfort is often compounded by legitimate concerns about a dentist’s competence and ability to fix a situation, rather than make it worse. 

Unfortunately, visits to the dentist can result in treatment that does not meet an appropriate level of care. Physical pain and great financial expense can result from substandard dental treatment, to say nothing of the emotional turmoil patients experience. Sometimes, poor dental treatment can rise to the level of medical malpractice. When this happens, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a case for damages. 

Common Types of Dental Malpractice 

Dental malpractice can cause harmful consequences, especially during more complex procedures like surgeries and extractions. Common types of dental malpractice include, but are not limited to: 

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chicago medical malpractice lawyerMedical malpractice cases are often appropriate when a medical professional causes harm to a patient by providing substandard care. A significant subset of medical malpractice cases results from anesthesiologist errors during general anesthesia (anesthesia that makes the patient completely unconscious). 

Anesthesia is inherently risky and requires extensive training and expertise on the part of the anesthesiologist. Sometimes adverse effects take place that are out of the control of the anesthesiologist. However, errors are often caused by negligence by an anesthesiologist who fails to provide a proper standard of care. When this happens, the victim may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit. 

What Are Common Anesthesia Errors? 

Anesthesia malpractice can occur during a medical preview before the operation, during the procedure itself, or following the procedure with improper follow-up care. Some of the most common anesthesia errors include: 

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chicago car crash lawyerIt is still early in the fall, but the Midwest’s famous weather events will begin happening more frequently, and Illinois drivers should be prepared. Rain, snow, and sleet reduce visibility and make road conditions much more hazardous, increasing weather-related car accidents. All this may leave Illinois drivers wondering: If a car accident happens that is directly or indirectly caused by bad weather conditions, who is responsible? 

Negligence and Bad Weather Conditions

Whether or not a driver is responsible (or “liable,” in legal terms) for causing an accident is largely dependent on whether the driver acted negligently. Negligence occurs when someone fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do - or when someone does something that a reasonably careful person would not do - under similar circumstances. If a driver does not act reasonably in bad weather, they could be held liable for causing a car accident. 

But what exactly does “reasonable” mean in this context? Most people would agree that a driver is not obligated to creep along the main thoroughfare at three miles per hour just because the temperature is below freezing, and there may be a small chance of black ice. Despite the inherent difficulty in setting a strict definition as to what might be considered reasonable, courts and juries can make fair decisions based on the relevant facts. 

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chicago nursing home abuse lawyerIn January of this year, an 81-year-old woman with dementia left her Illinois nursing home residence and wandered away, eventually slipping on ice and falling. Police found her after a neighbor heard her calling for help. She was not wearing winter clothing in 25-degree weather, and her pants were soaked through with water. 

Fortunately, this woman’s life was saved due to the help of a watchful neighbor, but stories like hers do not always end well. This incident illustrates one of the most dangerous risks inherent in inadequate nursing home care: Residents wandering into unsafe areas or eloping from the facility and getting hurt. 

Negligence Can Lead to Residents Wandering Into Danger

One of the most common behaviors of individuals with dementia or other memory-related illness is that of wandering or elopement. Wandering refers to when residents walk around the nursing home facility itself; elopement is when residents leave the premises altogether. 

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cook county injury lawyerIn July, several brands owned by pharmaceutical and consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson issued recalls of sunscreen products over concerns that the products contain low levels of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical. These brands included products from Neutrogena and Aveeno. Johnson & Johnson’s actions were not required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but rather were voluntary and done “out of an abundance of caution.”

Researchers have asked the FDA to issue recalls for more brands after they found evidence suggesting octocrylene, another carcinogenic chemical, may be present in sunscreens produced by major companies. The researchers are concerned that octocrylene degrades to benzophenone, which can interfere with important hormones such as estrogen. These recent developments raise important questions of product liability on the part of companies producing these products. 

What are Carcinogens? 

A carcinogen is a substance that makes the formation of cancer more likely, either by disrupting metabolic processes or by damaging a person’s genome. Smoking cigarettes is a well-known source of many carcinogens, and the effects of tobacco’s carcinogens and their contribution to rates of lung cancer have been well-researched and documented. 

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chicago birth injury lawyerPitocin is a prescription version of the naturally occurring hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is famously known as the “love hormone” for its important role in helping people bond with each other. Oxytocin also plays a major role during childbirth. When a woman’s body is getting ready for delivery, it produces oxytocin to induce contractions, the major muscle spasms that help push the baby out. 

Unfortunately, Pitocin is not always properly administered and its effects are not always sufficiently supervised in hospitals. This can lead to serious birth injuries for the mother and baby, up to and including neonatal death. This article discusses the uses of Pitocin, the risks of Pitocin, and what potential victims of Pitocin misuse birth injuries can do. 

When is Pitocin Used During Childbirth? 

Doctors sometimes give women Pitocin as part of the labor-inducing process. If a baby is likely to be too large when it reaches full gestational age, or if a woman has certain risk factors like preeclampsia or a stalled labor, a doctor may use Pitocin to begin or speed up labor and delivery. If used correctly, Pitocin will trigger the body to begin contractions or to increase the rate of contractions. 

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chicago injury lawyerSmoking cigarettes used to be ubiquitous. Virtually everybody smoked - even in places we now find ridiculous, like hospitals and airplanes. Then research proved the seriously detrimental effects of smoking tobacco, and although some people still smoke cigarettes today, the risks are well established. 

However, in recent years, electronic cigarettes (also known as vape pens or e-cigarettes) have skyrocketed in popularity. With the advent of legal recreational marijuana in states like Illinois, the use of vaping products is a large part of marijuana culture. Many people believe that vape pens are safer than traditional methods of smoking marijuana and that they face little or no risks from vaping. New research shows this is not the case and that consumers may face serious risks from the contents of vape pens, as well as from defective products

Vaping Causes Lung Illness

Corresponding with the increased use of vaping products, a new phenomenon known as “e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury,” or EVALI, has arisen. Victims of this health problem report symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, coughing, and other concerning respiratory issues. Thousands of cases have been reported, and people have even died. Most reported EVALI cases come from people who vape marijuana products. 

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illinois construction lawyerConstruction workers in Illinois are a large part of the underappreciated workforce that makes our world go round. Every day, rain or shine, they show up to do the difficult work of building the places we work and live. Unfortunately, construction workers are exposed to the inherent risks of the job. Serious injuries and fatal construction accidents due to falls, slips, and contact with objects or equipment occur every year. In 2019 in Illinois alone, 30 fatalities and many more injuries occurred in the private construction industry. 

Who is Responsible for Construction Site Accidents? 

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the employers to provide a safe worksite. Budgetary concerns and time constraints often pressure employers to cut corners, and workers face increased hazards as a result. Injured construction workers in Illinois are generally able to recover compensation for injuries and loss of income through workers’ compensation benefits. Illinois has a no-fault workers’ compensation system, meaning that a worker is eligible for benefits from the employer’s insurance whether the injury was the fault of the worker, a co-worker, or the employer. 

Additionally, when a third party is fully or partially responsible for the injury or death (such as other companies working on the same site or manufacturers of defective equipment), injured workers or the families of workers who died in an accident may be able to pursue damages through a personal injury claim. 

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IL injury lawyerAs we age, certain functions become more difficult. The elderly population is at an increased risk for falls and with decreased bone density, those falls are much more likely to cause injuries or death as a result. With nursing homes catering to the elderly population, it is important for Illinois nursing homes and those around the country to employ safety measures to help protect their residents from these incidents. Unfortunately, falls are a common occurrence. Each year, approximately half of all nursing home residents will experience a fall. The question when a resident does fall is what level of liability, if any, does the nursing home facility and staff have.

Factors for Establishing Liability

When a nursing home resident experiences a fall, the nursing home owner or person in charge of the facility can be found liable if they were negligent. Negligence can be proven if the owner or individual in charge:

  • Owed a duty to the person who was injured - The owner or individual in charge of the nursing home owed a duty to the resident who fell.
  • Breached their duty - The owner or individual in charge must have either taken action they should not have taken or failed to take action they should have.
  • Caused injuries because of the breach - The actions or inactions of the owner or individual in charge led to the resident’s injuries.
  • The injuries of the person who fell resulted in damages - The resident’s injuries resulted in damages (e.g. medical bills).

Situational Proof of Negligence

In some cases, the circumstances surrounding the accident demonstrate the negligence of the nursing home. For example, if the resident fell and suffered injuries due to water that had spilled and was left on the floor for an extended period of time, the nursing home could be found negligent for those injuries if any of the following applied:

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IL malpractice lawyerPatients put a great deal of trust in doctors and medical professionals. They expect to receive quality care, including proper evaluation of their symptoms and effective treatment to address any concerns that may affect their health. Unfortunately, doctors can make mistakes, and when medical malpractice occurs, patients can suffer serious injuries that impact their health and well-being. Diagnostic errors are some of the most common forms of medical negligence, and a failure to diagnose a disease, illness, or health condition can result in a patient not receiving the necessary treatment. In these cases, patients will need to work with an attorney to determine their options for receiving compensation for the damages they have suffered due to these diagnostic errors.

Reasons Doctors May Fail to Diagnose an Illness

Diagnostic errors are among the most common forms of medical negligence, affecting more than 12 million people in the United States every year. Around four million patients per year suffer serious injuries due to diagnostic errors, and these cases result in over 40,000 wrongful deaths. There are many reasons why a medical professional may fail to diagnose a serious illness that could affect a patient, including:

  • Lack of experience - A doctor may not be familiar with the unique issues that affect a patient, or they may not have received the proper training to identify certain symptoms or address some types of conditions. To avoid these issues, a doctor should consult with other professionals or refer a patient to a specialist who will be able to provide the proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Testing errors - Medical tests are often necessary to properly diagnose an illness, but if these tests are not performed correctly, a person’s condition may go undiagnosed. In some cases, a doctor may fail to order the proper tests, or they may misinterpret the test results or fail to recognize that results indicate a certain illness. Errors may also occur during the testing process, such as accidentally switching samples from different patients or incorrect reporting of test results.
  • Dismissing or minimizing patient-reported symptoms - In some cases, a doctor may believe that a patient is exaggerating their symptoms, or they may fail to fully consider how an illness has affected a person. This is a major concern for patients who are minorities, who are more likely to have doctors fail to take their self-reported symptoms seriously. When a doctor does not properly respond to a person’s symptoms, a serious illness may not be diagnosed in time to receive the proper treatment.

Contact Our Cook County Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you have suffered harm because a doctor failed to diagnose a serious medical condition, you may be able to receive financial compensation that addresses the ways you and your family have been affected by these issues. At Winters Salzetta O’Brien & Richardson, LLC, we can help you demonstrate that you suffered harm due to medical negligence, and we will fight to make sure you will be properly compensated. Contact our Chicago misdiagnosis injury attorneys at 312-236-6324 to set up your free consultation today.

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IL accident lawyerChicago is a great city for bicyclists, and it provides many people with the opportunity to use bikes to travel to and from work or for personal purposes. However, the city also sees quite a bit of heavy traffic, especially during busy times of the day. Even though many of the city’s streets have bike lanes and other features meant to protect bicyclists, collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles still occur. In many cases, bicycle accidents take place because drivers act negligently and fail to operate their vehicles safely, and injured bicycles will want to understand how they can pursue financial compensation from a negligent driver.

Bike Accidents Caused by Driver Negligence

Drivers are required to treat bicycles the same as other vehicles. When drivers fail to respect bicyclists’ rights to share the road, they are more likely to strike a bicycle or cause collisions that can seriously injure others. Some forms of driver negligence that are likely to lead to bicycle accidents include:

  • Illegal turns - Drivers should always check for bicycles before turning at intersections or into alleys or driveways. When making a left turn, drivers should yield the right of way to bicycles approaching from the opposite direction. Drivers should also avoid making a right turn in front of a bicycle. Failure to follow these rules could cause a driver to strike a bicyclist or cause a collision by blocking a bicycle’s path.
  • Illegal passing - Drivers should always make sure there is at least three feet of space between their vehicle and a bicycle when passing a bicyclist on the left. Passing too closely or attempting to pass a bicycle within the same lane may cause a collision or force a bicycle off the road.
  • Following too closely - Tailgating can be dangerous in any situation, and following closely behind a bicycle may make it impossible for a driver to stop in time if a bicyclist needs to brake suddenly. Striking a bicycle from behind can lead to serious bodily harm, especially if the bicyclist is thrown forward into an intersection and struck by other vehicles.
  • Distracted driving - Drivers who take their attention away from the road are more likely to fail to notice the movements of bicycles near their vehicle. Actions such as texting while driving or looking away from the road to adjust the radio may cause a driver to strike a bicycle when making a turn, changing lanes, or proceeding through an intersection.
  • Dooring - After parking near a bike lane or a road where bicycles are traveling, a driver or another person in a vehicle may open their door into the path of a bicycle. When a bicyclist collides with a car door, they can be thrown to the ground, or they may even be pushed into traffic, leading to dangerous collisions with other vehicles.

Contact Our Cook County Bike Accident Lawyers

The lawyers of Winters Salzetta O’Brien & Richardson, LLC provide legal help and representation for bicyclists who have been injured in collisions with motor vehicles. We work to ensure that negligent drivers are held liable for the injuries they have inflicted and that victims are fully compensated for their damages. Contact our Chicago bicycle accident attorneys by calling 312-236-6324 to arrange a complimentary consultation.

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IL injury lawyerRecently, people throughout the United States were horrified by the collapse of a 12-story condo building in Miami, Florida. The 40-year-old building had shown signs of deterioration due to the salty climate and regular storms in the area, but its owners had not taken action to perform repairs or address the risks of a collapse. The rubble of the building is still being searched for survivors, but at least 54 people have been confirmed dead, and it is likely that the death toll will be over 100.

This disaster demonstrates the importance of following building codes and ensuring that a structure is safe for its occupants. Unfortunately, far too many building owners, including many in the Chicago area, fail to regularly inspect their buildings and perform repairs to ensure that they are in compliance with safety regulations. When people are injured because of the negligence of a building’s owner, they may be able to pursue a premises liability lawsuit and recover compensation for their injuries and damages.

Injuries Due to Building Code Violations

There are many ways that failure to follow building codes can threaten people’s safety, including:

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