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  • The Liability of “Good Samaritans” In Illinois

    Good samaritans are defined as individuals who render aid and assistance to individuals in the midst of emergency situations. Illinois law provides protections for individuals who offer this assistance, however, there are exceptions to the rule and not every action is protected under the law. Emergency Room Physicians The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that emergency physicians can be held liable for negligence if they are paid for their services by either the hospital or the patient. The law only shields volunteer physicians, nurses, and other licensed medical personnel only if they do not bill or receive payment of any kind for the services they provide to an injured person. Physicians can also be held liable if they initiate inappropriate actions while rendering emergency aid at the site of an accident or catastrophe. For example, a physician who reads an injured person’s medical alert bracelet indicating an allergy to aspirin prior to administering a dose of aspirin. Such blatant disregard for the person’s safety would disqualify them from protection under the Illinois Good Samaritan Act. Willful or Wanton Misconduct Willful and wanton misconduct on the part of volunteer medical personnel or private citizen rendering aid disqualifies the individual for protection under the Illinois Good Samaritan Act. For example, if a volunteer surgeon conducts a wrong-site surgery or if a volunteer nurse deliberately fails to properly clean a wound that then becomes infected. Another example of willful or wanton misconduct includes individuals who come across accidents and whose actions cause further injuries or the death of the victim. For example, if a passerby responding to an accident was smoking a cigarette even as the smell of spilled fuel permeated the air. Should that cigarette ignite the fuel and the ensuing fire burn the injured party, the “volunteer” could be held liable for their negligence. Write Off’s & Unpaid Bills A physician cannot utilize the good samaritan defense even if the patient has failed to pay their medical bill. The fact that the physician’s office sent the bill in the first place shows that their services were contracted and not volunteered. The same is true if the physician offers the patient a discount for services, or if the physician’s office writes the medical bills off as uncollectible. Individuals injured by “good samaritans” should speak with the best personal injury attorney to discuss the merits of their claim. The law allows injured parties to[READ MORE…]

  • Playing it Safe at the Playground

    Every year, more than 200,000 children between the ages of 1 and 14 are seen in emergency rooms due to playground injuries in the United States. Many of these injuries are life-altering or even deadly. To help ensure that kids stay safe at the playground, parents and caregivers should consider the following tips. Playground Supervision Adequate supervision is essential for preventing injuries at the playground. In fact, Safe Kids Worldwide reports that approximately 45 percent of serious playground injuries are associated with the lack of proper supervision. Children cannot always identify playground hazards or foresee dangerous situations by themselves, and some children tend to test their limits or show off their abilities by taking unsafe risks. Young children should always be supervised by a competent adult when playing at the playground. Play Equipment Inspection Parents and caregivers should always conduct a thorough inspection of all equipment before allowing their children to play. They should be on the lookout for broken or damaged parts, rusted areas, missing or loose guardrails, and older equipment with unsafe designs. Well-maintained, modern playground equipment is designed for safe play. Unfortunately, not all playgrounds are designed and maintained in the safest manner possible. Inspection of the Surrounding Area Areas underneath and surrounding play equipment should be inspected as well. Ground surfaces should be covered with a soft material like wood chips, mulch, or sand. They should also be free from trash, excessive toys, and other objects. Additionally, parents should make children aware of tree stumps, rocks, or other hazards that might hinder safe play. Dressing Appropriately for the Playground Parents and caregivers should ensure that their children wear appropriate clothing and shoes when headed to the playground to prevent injuries. Items such as drawstrings, scarves, purses, and necklaces can get caught on equipment and cause falls or strangulation. Additionally, dangling shoelaces, flip flops, and shoes with slick soles should be avoided. Setting Rules and Limitations It is essential for parents and caregivers to enforce safe playground rules to keep kids safe. Pushing, shoving, our crowding should be prohibited and children should avoid playing on equipment that is not age, size and ability appropriate. Being Prepared at the Playground It is a good idea for parents, caregivers, and older children to learn how to respond in the event of a playground emergency. They should also familiarize themselves with basic first aid and CPR just in case tragedy strikes.  

  • How Truck Drivers’ Health Conditions Pose Risks to Others

    The sedentary nature of truck drivers’ jobs increases their incidence of health problems which, in turn, raises the probability of them causing a motor vehicle accident. Truck drivers are forced to sit for lengthy time periods, and the nature of their jobs also make them likelier to have poor sleeping and eating habits. The combination of these characteristics results in truck drivers developing medical problems at higher rates than others. A recent study showed that drivers who have three medical conditions are four times as likely to be involved in accidents than do healthier drivers. Accident lawyers represent victims who have been injured by truck drivers whose medical problems lead them to cause trucking accidents. The Problem Researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine noted several medical conditions that cause drivers to have poorer driving performances. These conditions include low back problems, diabetes, heart disease and others. The researchers then reviewed the records of 50,000 commercial drivers. They found that 34 percent of the drivers suffered from at least one of the conditions with some suffering from more than one. When the researchers compared the drivers’ medical histories with their accident records, they found that drivers who suffered from three of the medical conditions had up to four times greater likelihood of crash involvement than did healthier drivers. Among drivers overall, the crash rate was 39 wrecks for every one hundred million miles traveled. Among truck drivers who suffered from three or more flagged medical conditions, the crash rate was 93 wrecks for every one hundred million miles traveled. The researchers controlled for other factors that may also lead to accidents in the study, including experience and age. What Can Be Done? Accident lawyers believe that more can be done to both help prevent work-related diseases in truck drivers as well as to prevent truck accidents caused by poor health. Truck drivers should have preventative medical care available to help them avoid developing these conditions. Regulations should be passed to encourage better sleep and to provide more frequent breaks. Carriers should provide opportunities to truck drivers to participate in regular exercise and should encourage healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, the current political climate is trending towards reducing the number of trucking regulations, meaning that the causes of these accidents are unlikely to be meaningfully addressed. The Ankin Law Office represents injured plaintiffs in workers’ compensation and personal injury cases.  

  • When Pro-Athletes Become Injured

    Today’s professional athletes often spend their time performing extensive, physically demanding and dangerous activities anytime they train, practice or compete. Although their bodies are typically conditioned to withstand the demands of their sport, these athletes are not invincible. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that sports competitors and professional athletes suffer over 2,000 serious injuries per 10,000 workers each year. This places sports in the top five when it comes to occupations with the most injuries. Football: Injuries on the Field Football has long been recognized as a dangerous sport for amateurs and professional athletes alike, and despite numerous efforts to increase safety on the field, players continue to suffer catastrophic injuries every year. Official reports from the National Football League (NFL) state that within the first two weeks of the season, approximately 15 percent of professional football players have already suffered an injury. While some injuries are fairly minor and recovery is quick, others result in severe impairments, long term disabilities, and sometimes even death. Head, neck, and knee injuries are some of the most common serious injuries sustained by players, and these injuries can sometimes take victims out of the game for good. For a few, repetitive injuries sustained during years of participating in the sport can cost them their lives. A study released in 2015 revealed that out of 91 NLF players who were deceased, a disturbing 87 tested positive for a brain disease that has been linked to repetitive head trauma (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). Baseball: Diamonds in the Dust Professional baseball players often suffer severe injuries that sideline them, and sometimes their careers, as well. According to studies published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine, about 51.4 percent of Major League Baseball injuries were to the upper extremities, while 30.6 percent were to the lower extremities. Pitchers were at the highest risk of injury, accounting for about 34 percent more injuries than fielders, and they suffered a significantly higher number of injuries to the upper extremity (67 percent). Fielders, however, were more likely to suffer injuries to the lower extremity, accounting for about 47.5 percent. While professional baseball players are much less likely than football players to lose their lives while participating in practice or a game, many times their injuries are so severe that they become unable to continue their careers. Basketball: Catastrophe on the Court With teams playing demanding, 82-game[READ MORE…]

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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.