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  • Voluntary Auto Recalls on the Rise in 2010

    Image via Wikipedia 2010 was a record year for voluntary automobile recalls. Over 20.3 million cars were recalled last year. The recall statistics were obtained from a recent report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and, as explained in this New York Times blog post, 2010 was a banner year for auto recalls: It was the fourth-largest number of vehicles recalled since the safety agency began keeping track in 1966. The nadir was 2004, when 30.8 million vehicles were recalled. In contrast, about 16.6 million vehicles were recalled in 2009. About 5.4 million of the 20.3 million vehicles were recalled as the result of defect investigations initiated by the agency. That is the lowest number since 2001. The other 14.9 million vehicles were listed by the agency as being part of “voluntary” recalls. The recalls increased by 6.4 million since 2009, when 8.5 million vehicles were voluntarily recalled by automobile manufacturers. Of the top 5 car manufacturers that issued voluntary recalls, 3 were Japanese: Toyota led with 17 individual recalls in 2010…General Motors was next, with 21 recalls…Honda was third, with 15 recalls…Fourth was Nissan, with 16 recalls…The Chrysler Group was fifth, with 17 recalls… Specifically, Toyota voluntarily recalled 6.7 million cars, General Motors recalled 4 million, Honda recalled 2.4 million, Nissan recalled 2.1 million, Chrysler recalled 1.6 million, Ford Motor recalled 581,107, Volkswagon recalled 393,188, BMW recalled 288, 503 and Mazda recalled 243, 500. Hopefully, in 2011 automobile manufacturers will step up to the plate and voluntary recalls will decline as a result of better design and more stringent manufacturing procedures. Because safer cars means fewer automobile accidents–a goal that everyone can agree is worth achieving. Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles  workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com. Related articles It’s Not Just Toyota: Auto Recalls Accelerate (dailyfinance.com) NHTSA says 2010 sets record for ‘voluntary’ recalls (autoblog.com) Another Toyota Recall Shakes Confidence in the Brand (pamil-visions.net) Technology Key to Safer-Driving Push (online.wsj.com)

  • Sexting

    With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you may be thinking of a way to spice up your love life. Sexting is not going to do the trick; you really need to think twice about posting your love life online or texting it. Sending photographs of a sexual nature via electronic media is considered sexting. Technology has transformed the way we interact; unfortunately due to the ease by which we communicate with cell phones, Facebook and email it has also led to dangerous and destructive behaviors including forms of sexual harassment.

  • Legality Reading Spouse’s Email

    A husband is going to trail on Valentines Day, for going into his wife’s email account. As the electronic world evolves so does the concept of what is FRAUDULENT ACCESS TO COMPUTERS. Many states and Michigan in particular, are wrestling with how to interpret the law around marital privacy, especially when it comes to accessing a spouse’s email, social media, text or voice mail accounts without their permission.

  • Illinois Police Stop Nearly 7,800 Motorists in 2010

    Image via Wikipedia As we reported last year, Illinois banned texting while driving, effective in January 2010. The law prohibits a person from operating “a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to compose, send, or read an electronic message.” Since that time, as reported by Chicago Breaking News, Illinois State Police stopped nearly 7,800 motorists for violating that law: In January, Illinois banned the use of cell phones while driving in construction and school zones, as well as texting while driving. Through Dec. 16, the construction and school zone ban netted 4,236 citations and 2,629 warnings. The texting ban has resulted in a total of 929 citations and warnings over the same time period, state police said. And, this year, Illinois has passed yet another traffic law that will likely result in even more traffic stops by police. As we explained in an earlier blog post, effective January 1, 2011, a new Illinois law that cracks down on aggressive drivers went into effect. The new law increases the penalties for excessive speeding. So, Illinois drivers–be careful out there and do your best to avoid car accidents. Drive within the speed limit and avoid distracted driving. Don’t talk on the phone or text while driving and pay attention to the road. Other drivers–and your wallet–will thank you. Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles  workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com. Related articles State Police Pull Over Nearly 7,800 For Cell Phone Law Violations (chicagoist.com) T-Mobile Launches Service to Prevent Texting While Driving (jsyk.com) New Year, New Laws for Illinois (chicagoist.com)

  • Congress Fails to Pass “Motor Safety Vehicle Act of 2010″

    Image via Wikipedia For 9 months, proponents of the “Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010″ tried to get Congress to pass the landmark legislation which would have overhauled automobile safety. Unfortunately, because of staunch opposition from automakers and despite a last minute push to get the Act passed, Congress failed to vote on it before it adjourned for the year. As explained in this Detroit News article, the ground breaking legislation, if passed, would have enacted a number of important auto safety measures: The bills would have required NHTSA to act to upgrade numerous auto safety standards and would have given NHTSA more power to get dangerous vehicles off the roads and higher fines to deter automakers. The proposals would have allowed NHTSA to fine auto executives who submit false reports $5,000 per day or up to $5 million for a single recall and would have increased the maximum fine against automakers from $16.4 million per recall to $200 million. NHTSA would get new authority to order automakers to stop sales and order immediate recalls if it found “an imminent hazard of death or serious injury.” The failure to pass this much-needed legislation is unfortunate and will no doubt result in unnecessary automobile accidents that could have been prevented by its enactment. The safety of automobile consumers should be the primary concern, and it’s perplexing when corporate interests in the bottom line trumps the safety of our citizens. Hopefully similar legislation will be considered in 2011. Until then, consumers will have to be diligent in keeping on top of automobile recalls and will have to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of their family and loved ones, including contacting a personal injury attorney to protect their interests when an accident occurs that could have been prevented, had this Act passed. Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles  workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com.

  • Illinois Workers’ Compensation Reform Bill May Be Enacted in the Future

    Image via Wikipedia The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Reform Bill was due to be voted on last week, but fortunately, the call to vote didn’t occur before the new legislature was sworn in.That means the bill will be tabled for now, which is good news for injured Illinois workers. The bill was slanted heavily in favor of employers, rather than protecting the rights of injured workers. Among other things, the bill: Eliminated the workers’ right to choose their first doctor, instead allowing the employer to choose the first doctor, and relegating the choice of the second doctor to the injured worker Reduced the medical fee schedule by 15% overall, applying the fee schedule to both products and services, while limiting out-of-state medical charges Applied restrictions to the wage differential award and allows only the employer to the right to modification Allows for the denial of benefits in cases where there is evidence that the worker was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when the injury occurred Requires the utilization review organization to utilize the services of Illinois physicians Rather than allowing for an automatic cost of living increase, as is now the case, the bill requires that an application be made to the Rate Adjustment Fund in order to obtain an increase Although the bill was not enacted, it is quite possible that similar measures will be approved in the future. For that reason, it’s important to be aware of the proposed amendments and to keep an eye on similar legislation, should it be submitted for review and approval in the future. Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles  workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com. Related article Worker’s Rights Protected: Worker’s Compensation Bill Never Called To Vote (chicagonow.com)

  • Chicago Personal Injury Lawsuit Based on Motorized Wheelchair Collision

    Image via Wikipedia Can negligence in operating a motorized wheelchair result in liability for personal injuries? It’s an interesting question and is inspired by a pending Chicago personal injury lawsuit. Attorney Bob Kraft recently blogged about this case, noting that a motorized wheelchair collision had the potential to cause severe injuries. In this case, the elderly Chicago plaintiff suffered from a broken leg and hip, which required surgery. The Chicago Tribune recently covered this lawsuit, explaining the basis for the litigation in the article: (The plaintiff) alleges that her living center, Victory Centre of Roseland LLC, and its parent company, Pathway Senior Living LLC, failed to properly care for and supervise residents when they allowed residents to move “at a speed that was too fast and that endangered other patients.” Thus, in this case, it appears that the plaintiff is seeking to hold the senior living center liable for her injuries, rather than seeking to recover from the senior citizen who operated the wheelchair. Whether liability will be successfully established in this case remains to be seen. But, judging from reports of other recent incidents of injuries caused by motorized wheelchair collisions, as described in the article and in Bob Kraft’s blog post, it’s evident that this type of occurrence isn’t uncommon. Perhaps success in the pending lawsuit will encourage those who operate nursing homes to enact much needed and appropriate safety regulations and procedures that will help to reduce these types of incidents and ensure the safety of all senior living center residents. Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles  workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com.

  • Illinois Court Rules Personal Injury Case Can Proceed

    Image via Wikipedia The First District Appellate Court of Illinois recently addressed the issue of whether a personal injury claim against Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) could proceed. At issue in Torf v. Chicago Transit Authority, No. 1-09-1710, was whether the CTA was immune from liability. In Torf, the plaintiff was injured when she was pushed to the floor by another passenger. The train had been stopped on its tracks, the power turned off and the passengers ordered to evacuate. As the plaintiff did so, she alleged that 2 other passengers knocked her down, resulting in serious personal injuries. Her theory of liability was that the CTA: breached that duty and was negligent by: (1) failing to maintain the train so as to avoid disruption of service between platforms; (2) failing to provide a safe means of egress for Torf to exit the train once the evacuation was ordered; (3) failing to provide clear instructions dictating the safe evacuation of the train so as to avoid chaos; and (4) failing to provide assistance to Torf and other passengers as they exited the train to track level so as to minimize the risk of injury. The Court concluded that it was improper to grant judgment in favor of either party at this early stage of the case, since there were issues of fact in regard to a number of different issues, including whether the passengers who knocked the plaintiff to the ground did so intentionally or accidentally: In this case, we conclude that when viewed in the light most favorable  to plaintiff, there is insufficient evidence in the record to determine  as a matter of law the mental state of either person who made contact  with plaintiff. The Court then held that because of the outstanding issues of fact, it was too early to determine whether the CTA was immune from liability: Because we conclude that  questions of material fact exist as to whether the contact made to plaintiff  was a battery, it is premature to consider the issue of whether the  CTA is immune from liability under section 27 of the Act. Therefore, over CTA’s objections, the plaintiffs personal injury lawsuit was allowed to proceed. Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles  workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com.

  • Protecting Your Assets

    Homeowners and rental insurance not only protects your dwelling but also the contents of your home. Whether you own or rent the contents of your home can be one of your biggest assets and protecting your assets is very important. The information contained in your insurance policy defines what is protected and varies from policy to policy; you need to know what protection you have in case of a problem.

  • Consumer Products Safety Commission Outlaws Drop-side Cribs

    Image by tofslie via Flickr Drop-side cribs have been known to be problematic for some time now. In fact, in July of 2010 we reported that over 2 million drop-side cribs had been recalled by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Well now the CPSC has gone even further, announcing last month that it was banning the sale and re-sale of all drop-side cribs, effective June 2011. As explained in this USA Today article, the cribs are being recalled because of extensive reports of problems and injuries: Under federal safety rules, it’s considered a defect if products repeatedly break or otherwise malfunction during normal use — or even misuse. USA TODAY reported in August that its analysis of CPSC data found that before they recalled the cribs, 14 crib companies amassed more than 900 incident reports about drop-side cribs that were falling apart, injuring and killing infants. There have been reports of at least 30 infant deaths over the last 10 years because of the dangerous drop-side cribs. The much-needed ban will reduce infant injuries and deaths and make cribs safer for our children. It is their well being that matters more than anything else and it is our job to protect them. As we’ve said in the past, the safety of our children depends on the vigilance of parents and guardians, the oversight of governmental agencies like the CPSC and the hard work of personal injury attorneys who assist the injured and force large companies to take reasonable care to prevent future injuries from occurring. Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles  workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com. Related articles Oft-Recalled Baby Cribs Are Outlawed (online.wsj.com) Drop-Side Cribs Banned Due to Safety Issues (webmd.com) After dozens of deaths, drop-side cribs outlawed (boston.com)

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    Our firm handles workers' compensation and personal injury claims in Chicago, Berwyn, Joliet, Cicero, Waukegan, Chicago Heights, Elgin, Aurora, Oak Park, Oak Lawn, Schaumburg, Bolingbrook, Glendale Heights, Aurora, Niles, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Naperville, Plainfield and all of Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, McHenry, LaSalle, Kankakee, McLean and Peoria Counties.