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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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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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Dear friends and clients,

At Winters Salzetta O’Brien & Richardson, LLC, we are doing our part to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, while continuing to work tirelessly on your behalf. We anticipate being able to perform all of our job functions and duties that we owe to our clients and loved ones without any interruption. Our goal is to continue to work as normal, although our entire staff may not be in the office at the same time. We are hopeful that the virus will be contained and that we will all be back to our normal lives soon. In the meantime, when you call us, we will answer the phone and return your messages. When you email us, we will email you back. We encourage you to continue contacting us with your legal questions as you have in the past. Our face-to-face meetings with you may be curtailed for a time, but we will continue to work towards your goals. We will make sure that we maintain appropriate health standards so as not to infect or contaminate anyone unnecessarily. Please know that the various courts throughout Illinois and most of the country have announced measures to stem the spread of the virus in courthouses. Most of these initial steps involve 30 or 60 day partial shutdowns of courts. We continue to have access to the courts for emergent matters. We also continue to monitor the status of all jurisdictions in which we represent you and continue to monitor the court status of every single case that we handle for you. This temporary partial closure of courthouses will not stop Winters Salzetta O’Brien & Richardson from ensuring that everyone gets their day in court.

If you have a specific question about your case or any legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact us at 312-236-6324.  Be safe and be happy.

Chicago personal injury lawyer for Boy Scouts sex abuse claimsOver the past decade, many victims of sexual abuse have begun to speak out against their abusers and take legal action against the organizations that allowed this abuse to occur. The Boy Scouts of America, which recently changed its name to Scouts BSA, is one such organization that has faced hundreds of lawsuits from people who have suffered sexual abuse by scout leaders and other volunteers. In February of 2020, the Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy, leaving many wondering about how this will affect current and future personal injury claims against the organization. 

Bankruptcy and Civil Lawsuits

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a company or organization to reorganize its assets and finances and work with creditors to determine how to pay off outstanding debts. One effect of the bankruptcy filing is that it automatically halts any civil lawsuits against the organization. In most cases, bankruptcy will prevent additional lawsuits against an organization based on events that occurred prior to the bankruptcy filing.

Legal experts have stated that the Boy Scouts likely began to consider bankruptcy due to changes to the laws in multiple states that extended the statutes of limitations in civil lawsuits for sex abuse. Between 2017 and 2019, the Boy Scouts paid out $150 million in settlements and other legal expenses. The organization is currently facing 275 lawsuits, and it estimates that between 1,000 and 5,000 more victims could potentially file claims seeking compensation for sex abuse. According to tax documents, the organization owns more than $1 billion in assets, and it may be able to work with insurers to ensure that victims are fairly compensated.

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