If a doctor had lost multiple medical malpractice doctor-563428_1920-300x200lawsuits, you would think that he or she would stop practicing or, at the very least, move to a new town to flee their reputation for harming patients. According to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, that is not happening.

Doctors with more than four successful malpractice claims against them are, for the most part, continuing to see patients in their home community. In fact, the study’s lead researcher, David Studdert, a professor of medicine and law at Stanford University, found that more than 90 percent of doctors who have lost 5 or more malpractice claims against them, continue to see patients as if nothing happened. That is not a comforting thought for patients who need medical care.

Now, before you say that every doctor gets sued for malpractice so this doesn’t mean much, the study did not look at physicians who had malpractice claims filed against them; it only looked at physicians who lost malpractice claims. In those cases, either the malpractice was so egregious that the insurance company settled the case, or a court of law concluded, based on solid evidence, that the doctor did commit malpractice and injured his patient as a result. This is even more significant when you understand that only about 27% of medical malpractice plaintiffs win their court case.

The Collins Law Firm is pleased to announce that Super Lawyers has once again named five attorneys at the firm to the Super Lawyers list.  Attorneys Shawn Collins, Edward Manzke, and John Sopuch have been named as 2019 Super Lawyers, and attorneys Jeffrey Cisowski and John Risvold have been named as 2019 Rising Stars.

 We would like to congratulate these attorneys for being included in the 2019 Super Lawyers list for Illinois. This honor is only granted to the top five percent of lawyers in the state based on performance and peer recognition. Attorneys are selected from over 70 practice areas after a rigorous selection process conducted through peer nomination, independent investigation and evaluation.

Shawn Collins is an accomplished trial lawyer and the founding partner of The Collins Law Firm. He represents environmental, personal injury and business clients in complex litigation. Shawn graduated summa cum laude with majors in business and accounting from the University of Notre Dame and earned a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. His environmental cases have set precedents around the country and have helped build the reputation of The Collins Law Firm as a nationally recognized environmental litigation firm. Every year since 2008, Shawn has been named as one of the “Top 100 Trial Attorneys” by The American Trial Lawyers Association. He has also been recognized by his peers as a “Leading Lawyer” in Illinois since 2017, an honor only offered to five percent of the lawyers in the state. In addition, Shawn has been included on the Super Lawyers list eleven times, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from America’s Top 100 Attorneys for Illinois. His cases have been featured in the top news outlets around the country.

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Beach-Park-300x190We are environmental personal injury lawyers with years of experience representing the victims of chemical exposure. People who are injured as a result of toxic exposure have a special kind of case: a toxic tort case which is a personal injury and environmental case blended together. The victims of the toxic spill of anhydrous ammonia in Beach Park, Illinois may have a toxic tort lawsuit against the person responsible for the spill and will need an experienced environmental lawyer to represent them. Our toxic tort attorneys can help them fight for the maximum compensation for their injuries.

What Happened in Beach Park, Illinois?

A tractor was pulling two large containers of anhydrous ammonia when they began leaking near Green Bay Road and 29th street in Beach Park. The spill created a large and dangerous chemical cloud in the area, prompting authorities to close all of the public schools in the area and to warn residents within a one mile radius to stay indoors with their windows closed. In addition, dozens of people affected by the toxic gas were taken to area hospitals. Most of the victims were treated and released, but some remain in the hospital. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board has announced they will be conducting an investigation to see how this spill happened.

If you are putting your infant to sleep in an inclined sleeper, you should stop using it and find an alternative.


Photo courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

On April 12th, Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million of their inclined Rock ‘N Play Sleepers, and advised parents to stop using the product immediately. The American Academy of Pediatrics had previously urged the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall the Fisher-Price Sleeper after a Consumer Reports investigation revealed that it was tied to 32 infant deaths.

Walking your dog or taking a stroll after dinner should not be a death sentence. Yet, more and more frequently, walking is becoming hazardous, and deadly, in America.

A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association has revealed that pedestrian deaths last year reached their highest level since 1990. In fact, an estimated 6,227 pedestrians died in 2018, 35% more than were killed just a decade ago. And these rates are rising even as overall traffic deaths have declined over the last ten years. So, why is this happening?

Experts have pointed to several factors that seem to be contributing to this increase:

basketball-1449465_1920-2-214x300As March comes to a close, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball tournament is in full swing. Brackets are about to be busted, and Cinderella stories are about to be written. College basketball is one of America’s most popular sports, and basketball is the country’s most popular youth sport, played by one million children —450,000 girls and 550,000 boys — each academic year.

With soaring popularity in youth basketball, injuries are on the rise. Basketball is not typically associated with concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, but surprisingly those injuries are more common in basketball than many other sports.

According to the Journal of Pediatrics, basketball accounted for more than 9 percent of concussions among athletes aged 8-19 who participated in youth sports, placing it in second place just behind football at 22%. Soccer ranked third, at 7.7 percent, followed by hockey and baseball, at just under 4 percent each.

semi-trailers-534577_1920-300x225Fatal truck wrecks across the United States are increasing at a rate almost three times that of deadly crashes overall. Among the most dangerous and deadly are rear-end truck crashes. While big trucks collide with cars in a variety of ways, experts say these types of wrecks are among the most devastating and yet perhaps the easiest to prevent with technology. Unfortunately, semi-trucks across the country are not equipped with the latest, and best, crash prevention technology.

In 2016 alone, more than 4,300 people were killed in collisions with semis and other large trucks. That represents a 28 percent increase over 2009, according to the federal government. To put this in perspective, this is equal to a 737 airplane crashing twice a month, killing everyone on board. In Illinois there was a 26% increase in fatal crashes involving large trucks, like semi-trucks, in 2016. So far, in 2019, 15% of all fatal crashes involved a semi or other large truck.

One of the major reasons why deadly truck crashes continue to increase, is the lack of crash avoidance technology being using in trucks. While crash avoidance systems are becoming common in new cars, they are rarely, if ever, used in big trucks.  The auto industry has promised that this safety equipment will be standard on all new passenger vehicles sold in the United States by the year 2020, but makers of heavy trucks have not made a similar commitment. The result is that only a small fraction of semis on the road today have collision avoidance technology.

brain-1845962_1920-300x227A traumatic brain injury or TBI can be caused by a blow or bump to the head. We are familiar with concussions from watching football, but traumatic brain injuries can also be caused by falls, car accidents or other violence. Similarly, many combat veterans have experienced traumatic brain injury from explosive blasts.

Every 23 seconds, on average, someone in the United States suffers a traumatic brain injury. Using 2013 data, the most comprehensive data available, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported approximately 2.5 million people were taken to the emergency room with a traumatic brain injury and 282,000 people were hospitalized with TBIs. Further, the CDC estimates that 30% of all injury related deaths are the result of traumatic brain injury.

The difficulty with a traumatic brain injury is that it is an invisible injury. Often, TBI signs do not show up on traditional CT scanning or MRI. It is common for those suffering from a TBI to “pass” commonly used testing like the Glasgow Coma Scale test, and to be misdiagnosed.

Women and girls who enter inpatient rehab facilities with serious addictions or emotional issues need help regaining control over their lives. They are in an extremely vulnerable position, and may even be suicidal. girl-3964270_1920-215x300Unfortunately, the people hired to protect and help them sometimes take advantage of their vulnerability and sexually abuse them. When this happens, the emotional toll can be huge. Women struggling with overwhelming issues now have to contend with being horribly victimized as well. The predators who commit these crimes against vulnerable women and girls deserve serious jail time. At The Collins Law Firm, we believe that the facilities who fail to properly vet staff and monitor their interactions with patients should be held accountable as well. Our sexual assault attorneys can help victims get justice from the institutions who failed to protect them when they were most vulnerable.

The recent sexual assault allegations at Timberline Knolls in Illinois give us a glimpse into how a facility can fail patients and put them at risk of sexual assault. According to news reports, Timberline Knolls waited at least three weeks to contact police after assault allegations surfaced regarding one of their counselors. In addition, the suspect was suspended and then reinstated twice. And despite Timberline’s assertions that the alleged assaults were isolated events, the facility has a reported history of prior incidents, including sex crimes, runaways and missing persons. It would appear that Timberline did not have the proper procedures in place to safeguard the patients in their care. Unfortunately, the allegations at Timberline are not isolated. Our legal experience has shown us that sexual and physical abuse are serious issues for residential treatment facilities.

At first glance many facilities like Timberline Knolls seem like safe havens for desperate families looking for help for their daughters or for women dealing with a crisis, their leafy campuses seemingly bucolic and safe,  but these outward trappings can be deceiving. Often, there is no supervision of staff-patient interactions. Male counselors may have one-on-one counseling sessions with fragile women and underage girls. Safety precautions may be lax, and when allegations surface, the administration often sides with the staff person and fails to take the victim’s complaints seriously. When victims have their allegations dismissed, ignored or flat out disbelieved, they are left without recourse. In other situations, victims are afraid to speak up and so the abuse continues. In every situation, there is an adult abusing the trust of an emotionally fragile person.

There are over 42 million teenagers in the United States.  Sadly, with dramatic increases in diagnoses of depression, girl-1822702_1920-300x200anxiety, eating disorders and addiction, many teens will require some type of residential treatment to address their struggles.  Parents desperate to find help for their kids often turn to these inpatient treatment facilities hoping their children can be helped.  These residential treatment facilities can literally be a life saver for some kids.

Despite the help that can be provided at a residential treatment facility, these vulnerable teens can be taken advantage of and abused or neglected.  For this reason, it is critically important that parents stay alert for signs of abuse or neglect of their children.  Simple things, like:  checking in frequently and at different times; observing for physical injuries; recognizing a change for the worse in your child’s behavior, mood, body language or verbal communication are all things a parent can do while their child is receiving treatment.  Any one of these can often be a red flag and signs of trouble that require immediate intervention.  This is especially true for teens with disabilities who might not be able to easily communicate abuse.  The bottom line is that while you should hope your children will receive help from a residential treatment facility, you must stay vigilant that they are being properly cared for.

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