Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

On average, semi truck drivers travel more roads each year than other types of drivers and log more hours on the road. Despite the increase in time of the roads, semi truck drivers are involved in a relatively low percentage of crashes. However, when an accident with a semi occurs, the accident is much more likely to be severe and more likely to cause serious or even fatal injuries.

If a truck accident occurs due to the negligence of the driver, the driver may face traffic or criminal charges following the crash. Yet in many cases, these charges are just the beginning of the legal trouble that may result from a negligence crash. Under the laws of Chicago, the victims of truck accidents may be entitled to seek compensation against all negligent parties, whether they are the driver, the owner, or a maintenance worker employee who performed work on the truck. An injury lawyer can help you understand whether you may have a valid claim after your crash and whether you may be entitled to relief.

Local authorities recently announced the conclusion of criminal charges stemming from a 2009 crash that was blamed on a Chicago semi truck driver. According to court records, the 37-year-old truck driver was operating his semi in August of 2009 near Interstate 90 and Highway 53. Traffic was stopped in the area of an exit ramp as the truck driver approached, unable to control his vehicle. He struck the rear of a passenger car with significant force. After the collision, the female driver of the car became a quadriplegic from her injuries, which continued to deteriorate and later claimed her life in 2010, just over one year from the date of the accident.

Officials at the scene of the crash performed an initial investigation into the accident. The truck driver was taken to an area hospital where blood tests later found the presence of marijuana in his system. Armed with the new information, the truck driver was charged with operating under the influence of drugs in violation of state law. Recently, he received a four year prison sentence for the charges.
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The population across the nation is aging, and with an aging population comes a greater demand on the medical services directed at the elderly population. This may include hospice care, nursing homes, extended medical stay facilities, or even hospitals because older individuals are likely to have medical issues, whether acute or chronic.

The families of these elderly Chicago residents want to believe that their loved ones are getting the care and attention they deserve and need, one of the reasons many families say they make the decision to place their loved one in a nursing home. In some instances, the desired care is provided and the family can rest assured. Too often, though, nursing homes fail to provide quality care to their residents, leaving the residents to suffer. Injuries may occur to the elderly or even worse, death.

Reports out of Washington indicate that negligence may have been a factor in the death of an 88-year-old nursing home resident’s death. On Friday morning, employees of the home noticed that the woman had been left outside for some time, leading the woman to freeze to death. Nursing home doors leading outside were not locked at night, leaving the family of the victim to wonder why the doors were open, allowing the woman to exit the home. It is also not clear why no employees noticed that the woman was not in her room or why they failed to notice her just outside of the building’s doors.

The victim was found outside shortly after 1:00 a.m. when temperatures were at just 28 degrees. She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease which is characterized by disorientation, memory loss, confusion, and poor decision making skills. When caring for patients with Alzheimer’s, additional care needs to be taken to make sure that these individuals are not a danger to themselves.

The employees of a nursing home are responsible for the care provided to the residents and must comply with local and federal laws. Failing to abide by the proper governing principals of a nursing home can lead to injuries that may spur a civil claim for damages brought by a victim or a victim’s family and against the home. These claims are a legal means for an injury victim to seek proper compensation against those who were negligent in causing harm, whether the negligent party is an employee, a physician, an owner or a nursing home, or another individual.
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A suspect in a shooting in the East Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago was reportedly fleeing from police when he caused a four vehicle crash on Saturday. The shooting occurred in the 100 block of Springfield Avenue and the driver reportedly took off in a vehicle headed north. When he got to the intersection of Pulaski Road and Chicago Avenue, he crashed into two separate cars.

A 35-year-old female in one of the two cars hit by the alleged shooter died in the crash. The driver of one of the two cars lost control of the vehicle, which struck a CTA bus near the intersection. The shooting suspect and four others were taken to area hospitals for examination and treatment. The CTA driver did not appear to be among the injured. The victim in the shooting has also received medical care for a gunshot wound to the leg; he is expected to survive.

At the time of the crash, the alleged shooter was being pursued by police officers who responded to the shooting. It is not yet clear how close the officers were to the suspect as he approached the intersection.

The fleeing suspect in this case acted recklessly by putting his own safety and the safety of every other driver on the road in danger. His reckless driving did not even pay off because in the end, he was apprehended by police. He received medical treatment and then was released into police custody where authorities will determine what crimes, if any, he will face.

In addition to the shooting, the suspect may also face traffic or criminal charges related to his driving. These charges may be very serious since an innocent woman lost her life in the crash.

Car accidents can happen in a moment’s time. All it takes is a distracted driver or a driver in a rush to act negligently and to cause a crash. On average, there are over 750 automobile collisions every day in the state of Illinois. Many of those result in injuries and some even deaths.
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A distraught Barrington family has reportedly filed a wrongful death case in Cook County Court against a furniture manufacturer and a now-closed children’s furniture store. According to the lawsuit, a two-year-old child was crushed and sustained serious head trauma when a children’s dresser tipped over onto him in 2011. The child then allegedly suffocated beneath the weight of the toppled dresser. The family’s lawsuit alleges that the dresser was sold without proper warnings regarding the item’s potential for tipping over. In addition, the complaint claims the dresser should have come equipped with an anchor or other safety device as well as instructions regarding how to keep the dresser from falling over.

Following the child’s death, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reportedly issued a recall for approximately 300 of the same model of children’s dressers sold between January 2005 and December 2010. In response, the Canadian manufacturer of the dresser, Gemme Juvenile Inc., purportedly offered parents a free safety strap to secure the furniture to a wall. Despite that voluntary industry standards now require safety restraints to be provided with all new children’s dressers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that the dresser at issue met current safety standards when it was manufactured.

In the State of Illinois, the parents of a minor child who died as a result of an unsafe product or another person’s negligent act may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The Illinois Wrongful Death Act states the personal representative of a deceased individual may seek monetary compensation for the grief and pain endured by the victim’s family, any medical costs incurred prior to his or her death, loss of consortium, lost wages, funeral expenses, and punitive damages where appropriate. In general, punitive damages are only available in situations where the party who caused your loved one’s untimely death acted outrageously or intentionally. Losing a child in a preventable accident can be devastating. If your minor child was hurt or killed by an unsafe product, you are advised to contact a quality wrongful death lawyer to discuss your right to recovery.
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A nineteen-year-old freshman at Northern Illinois University died last fall after a Pi Kappa Alpha pledge party. He and other pledges were quizzed about fraternity history and told to drink plastic cups of liquor. By ten p.m. some had consumed around 20 drinks. The nineteen-year-old student’s family claimed that the fraternity members made him consume a dangerous amount of alcohol while hazing him and then did not help him when he passed out. Like many other states, Illinois has strict anti-hazing laws. Across the nation, more than 1,800 college-age students (ages 18 to 24) die every year because of an alcohol-related event.

Found dead at the frat house the following morning, the nineteen-year-old student’s cause of death was a fatal heart arrhythmia caused by alcohol intoxication. The coroner said that his blood alcohol level was more than four times the legal driving limit at 0.351. Earlier in the evening, his blood alcohol level would have been 0.431.
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According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), 957 people died in a traffic accident in Illinois in 2012. If you travel on one of the freeways or tollways located throughout the state, you likely already knew that. As part of a statewide safety campaign, IDOT message boards across the State of Illinois have alerted drivers to the overall traffic accident fatality rate as it steadily climbed since last summer. According to IDOT’s Director of Traffic Safety, John Weber, the safety campaign is planned to continue throughout 2013.

The decision to use highway message boards to publish traffic death numbers was reportedly made last May. At that time, accident fatality rates were up by 65 over the same time in 2011. Weber stated although only 39 more individuals died in an Illinois crash in 2012 than in 2011, it is currently unclear whether the signs had an effect on the car accident death rate during the last half of the year. Still, Weber reportedly remains optimistic that the safety campaign may be beneficial to Illinois motorists. He added that most drivers approve of using the signs in an effort to increase both motorist and passenger safety.

According to Weber, during the first week of 2013, there were only three traffic deaths throughout Illinois. In 2012, that number was at least 12. IDOT data shows that as of the end of February, however, crash deaths are up over 2012. 17 of those traffic deaths reportedly occurred in Chicago and 31 people were killed in a Cook County collision.

Fatal traffic crashes may be caused by any number of factors including speeding, driver impairment, carelessness, or simple negligence. In addition, many vehicle accident deaths allegedly result from a driver or passenger’s failure to utilize a seat belt. All individuals traveling in an automobile in Illinois are required to wear a safety belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims more than 12,000 lives were saved by safety belt use across the country in 2009. Using a seat belt also allegedly decreases the risk of catastrophic injury and death for passengers riding in the front seat of a vehicle by almost half.

In 2011, approximately 84 percent of Americans reportedly fastened their safety belt when riding in a passenger vehicle. Seat belt use is supposedly higher in primary enforcement states like Illinois. Primary enforcement means a law enforcement official may stop a motorist based solely on a violation of the seat belt law. For unexplained reasons, motorists and passengers are allegedly more likely to travel in a car without utilizing a safety restraint at night. The NHTSA also found that fatal automobile crashes are three times more likely to occur at night than during the day. If you lost a family member in a Chicago car accident, you may be entitled to recover funeral expenses and other damages. If you have questions about your right to recovery, you should contact a quality wrongful death attorney to discuss your case.
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Data compiled by the Illinois Department of Transportation states traffic fatalities throughout the state declined in the second half of 2012. According to Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider, an electronic highway message board and social media campaign aimed at alerting drivers to the number of crash deaths helped raise public awareness and may have encouraged drivers to be more careful. Schneider stated it is unclear whether the safety campaign had a direct effect on the rate of Illinois traffic deaths. Still, she believes it may have contributed to a seven month trend in fewer motor vehicle accident fatalities that purportedly began in the latter half of 2012.

Although traffic deaths increased over the previous year by 17 percent from January through July 2012, fatality rates reportedly decreased after the message board campaign began on July 5th. Between July 5th and December 31st, 478 people died on Illinois roadways. Meanwhile, 500 individuals were killed during the same period in 2011.

Despite the campaign, overall accident fatalities in Illinois in 2012 reportedly increased by four percent over the previous year. In 2011, 918 people were killed in 835 Illinois traffic collisions. In 2012, that number rose to 957 dead in 887 separate crashes. In addition, motorcycle driver deaths allegedly increased by more than 15 percent in 2012. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 243 of the 887 fatal accidents in the state last year occurred in Cook County. That number rose from 213 in 2011.

Illinois officials stated the traffic fatality warning messages would continue throughout 2013. Sadly, three people were killed in an Illinois collision during the first week of the New Year. In 2012, however, 15 traffic fatalities occurred across the state during the same time period.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that fatal motor vehicle crashes are three times more likely to occur at night than during the day. About half of all traffic deaths across the country happen when it is dark outside despite that only about one-fourth of all vehicle miles are driven at night. Speeding, alcohol-related, and single-vehicle wrecks are also reportedly more likely to take place at night. If you lost a loved one in a Chicago motor vehicle crash, you may be entitled to recover funeral and other expenses by filing a wrongful death claim. Contact a skilled car accident lawyer to discuss your case.
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A wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed in Cook County Circuit Court against the owners of a Marriott hotel and Marriott International. According to the complaint, a 66-year-old man allegedly contracted the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease while dining at Chicago’s JW Marriott hotel in late July. The Irish tourist reportedly died as a result of the disease in August.

Legionella bacterium was reportedly found in a decorative fountain inside the lobby of the hotel. The fountain was allegedly removed from the building after at least ten hotel visitors became infected with the disease. Unfortunately, three of those infected died as a result of contracting the illness. According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, the same strain of bacteria was also found in the hotel’s pool, whirlpool, and both men’s and women’s locker rooms.

The lawsuit claims the deceased man somehow inhaled contaminated water vapor because the hotel failed to implement adequate measures to ensure the fountain remained free of Legionella bacteria. In addition, the complaint alleges that the hotel failed to ensure water used in the fountain was properly treated and kept at an appropriate temperature in order to combat bacteria growth. The lawsuit also states the hotel negligently failed to warn visitors of health and safety concerns associated with the contaminated fountain. A representative for the deceased man’s estate reportedly seeks compensation for his pain and suffering prior to his death. Additionally, the lawsuit asks for financial compensation to cover the costs associated with his medical expenses.

In Illinois, the family of someone who was killed due to another person’s negligent act may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Pursuant to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, the personal representative of a deceased person may seek financial compensation for the grief and pain endured by the victim’s family, funeral expenses, any medical costs incurred prior to death, loss of consortium, lost wages, and punitive damages where appropriate. Normally, punitive damages are only available when the party who caused the untimely death acted intentionally or outrageously. If you lost a close relative due to someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you should contact a skilled wrongful death attorney to discuss your right to recovery.
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Illinois motorcycle crash attorneys at Abels & Annes are currently representing the family of an accident victim who was tragically killed in a September, 2011 collision.

The motorcyclist, a wife and mother of two small children, was driving her bike eastbound on Montrose approaching its intersection with Kostner in Chicago, Illinois. At that time the defendant was driving a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee westbound on Montrose approaching its intersection with Kostner. There was plenty of light, the road was straight and flat and visibility was good. The driver intended to make a left hand turn at the intersection to proceed southbound on Kostner. Both vehicles entered the intersection on a green light and the defendant proceeded to make a left turn into the motorcyclist’s lane of travel when it was not safe to do so.

After the crash, the at fault driver told the investigating Chicago police officers that he did not see a motorcycle rider until the last moment prior to the collision. The driver of the Jeep was issued traffic citations for failing to yield when making a left turn and for failing to reduce speed to avoid a collision.

Police interviewed an independent witness who was eastbound on Montrose waiting to make a left turn to go northbound on Kostner. He saw the defendant approaching westbound and initiated a left turn without yielding to oncoming traffic. He stated the driver of the Jeep started his left turn before reaching the actual intersection. To his right the witness saw a motorcycle pass by traveling with the flow of traffic and not speeding. He then observed the motorcyclist have to lay the bike down in an attempt to avoid the collision and strike the passenger side of the left turning SUV.

The defendant failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to yield to oncoming traffic when making a left turn, was driving at an excessive rate of speed, failed to reduce speed to avoid a collision, and failed to exercise due care for the safety of those in the area, including the plaintiff. Based upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the occurrence at issue, it is clear that the sole proximate cause of the collision was the negligent conduct of the SUV driver.

Following the crash it was obvious that the motorcyclist had suffered severe, life threatening injuries. She was rushed to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s Emergency Department. While extraordinary efforts were made to save her life, they were ultimately unsuccessful. She had suffered severe head injuries, a severed spine, a lacerated liver and other injuries. She was pronounced dead later that day.

A postmortem examination was performed shortly after the accident. The medical examiner found that the victim had died as a result of multiple injuries suffered in the collision at issue.

This case demonstrates the importance of following the rules of the road and paying attention while you drive. Here, the simple act of a left turn had tragic consequences. In my experience as a Chicago accident lawyer, too often drivers keep a proper lookout for other automobiles, but then fail to care for the safety of more vulnerable users of the roadway, such as motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
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A resident’s death in a Chicago highrise fire is being blamed on the antiquated structure and an apartment door left open so a pet could escape. The resident died in the Chicago elevator accident, the Chicago Tribune reported. Fires are just one type of premises liability accident that can become more prevalent during the winter months.

In this case, the city did not require the older high-rise building to install automatic fire alarms or sensors that would have prevented the elevators from operating. The Tribune reports aldermen have delayed enforcement of fire reforms. But, in the wake of the accident, city officials are scrambling to push high-rise owners to speed up fire-safety improvements.Letters are going out to landlords urging them to become compliant with the city’s life safety evaluation ordinance in advance of the 2015 deadline. The ordinance had been scheduled to take effect to start the year, however City Council voted last month 49-0 to give high rise owners three more years to install the fire-safety systems in their buildings.

Owners have been complaining about the expense.

The fire department was alerted to the fire shortly after 2 a.m. Surveillance video shows the victim boarded the elevator in the lobby about the same time the 12th floor fire was reported. The 32-year-old victim died when the doors opened and she was hit with 1,500 degree temperatures.

The couple who owned the apartment that caught fire told investigators they propped their door open with a rug so their pets could escape. Firefighters say the open door prevented the fire from being contained to that unit. While the fire did not spread to other apartments, it filled the hallway with heat, gas and smoke.

The 35-year-old, 21-story building was built before 1975, and so did not have a sprinkler system installed. Nor was it required by law to have automatic fire alarms or elevator sensors. The city passed new regulations after a 2003 fire at the Cook County Administrative Building, which killed six people. However, high rises built before 1975 were exempt from the regulations.

Still the building in question is one of hundreds of vintage high rises that had been mandated to make improvements by the start of this year.

Other common causes of winter premises liability accidents in Chicago include slip & fall accidents due to unnatural accumulations of ice and negligent snow removal. Fires are obviously a serious hazard. Whether because an apartment resident does not follow the proper safety precautions with supplemental heaters, or because landlords fail to address unsafe, dangerous or antiquated building conditions.

Our Chicago premises liability attorneys have recently won compensation in several injury cases that occurred on private property. In one case, a homeowner hosed down his porch, creating a solid sheet of ice. The Chicago slip and fall accident resulted in a $100,000 settlement.
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