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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

corona-4930541_1920As we now know from the tragic deaths at a Seattle area nursing home, the elderly and patients in nursing and long-term care facilities–especially those with underlying health conditions– are most at risk from the coronavirus. That is why it is so important for your loved one’s nursing home to be extra vigilant at preventing infections during this critical time. All long-term care facilities should be following the special nursing home guidelines from the CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among patients and staff.

CDC Guidelines for Nursing Homes

  • Restrict all visitors except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end of life residents. In these situations, the visitor should be limited to a specific room only.

pregnant-woman-200x300This week, a father of two filed a lawsuit against the hospital where his wife died shortly after giving birth to their new son. In the lawsuit, the father alleges that after what was supposed to be a joyous occasion, he saw his wife’s catheter turning pink with blood and asked a hospital employee for help. Her response: “Sir, your wife just isn’t a priority right now.” After being allowed to bleed internally for almost 10 hours, the hospital finally took the mother back to surgery, where she died from complications from her cesarean section.

Sadly, this mom is not alone. Tragedies like this are far too common in the United States, which has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the entire developed world. Every year, more than 50,000 women are severely injured during childbirth, and about 700 mothers per year die due to complications from childbirth. Worse, the U.S. is the only country in the developed world that has a rising maternal death rate due to pregnancy-related complications. Even more alarming is the fact that African American, Native American, and Alaskan Native women are about three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women.

The troublingly high rate of mothers dying due to pregnancy complications has led to what some are calling the Maternal Mortality Crisis. The crisis has parents (and soon-to-be parents) across the country asking: why is this happening?

car-accident-1538175_1920-1024x683When you’re injured in a car crash, medical treatment can be expensive. One of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the United States is medical debt. You shouldn’t have to worry about struggling to afford the treatment you need. The problem is that between an ambulance, emergency room and other treatment following a crash, your bills can be in the thousands, or tens of thousands, of dollars.

Before we talk about who will pay your bills, however, it’s important to talk about who is not going to pay your bills. Most people assume that the driver who caused the crash is going to pay for their medical bills. They talk with the at-fault driver’s insurance and that insurance company tells them that they will cover the bills, but at the end of the day, this could not be further from the truth. Even if the other driver is clearly at fault, the law does not require him or her to pay your medical bills as they come in. When you win your personal injury case, the other driver will have to pay your damages, including your medical bills, but in the meantime, you need to pay the bills yourself.

There are several ways to make sure that your bills are paid and you are protected when you’re in a car crash. A lawyer can guide you through this process and make sure that you are protected. The three primary ways your medical bills can be paid are through private health insurance, medical payments insurance (also called “MedPay”), or through health care provider liens. Each of these types of payments has advantages or drawbacks.

surgery-1807541_1920-1024x676The stress of a serious injury or illness can be heightened by not knowing which hospital is the best choice for your care. To make that process a little easier for people, the Leapfrog Group–in conjunction withThe Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety–publishes Hospital Safety Grades twice each year for thousands of hospitals across the country. These hospital ratings are the only ones that focus exclusively on patient safety, scoring hospitals on how safe they keep their patients from injuries, infections, accidents, and errors. The Hospital Safety Grades are a valuable tool that you can use to make sure you or a loved one is getting the safest care available when confronted with health issues.

The grades, which are peer-reviewed and published, rely on a panel of safety experts, national performance measures, and surveys to assign a grade to each hospital. The letter grades represent the hospital’s overall performance and ability to keep patients safe from preventable injuries and medical errors. The A, B, C, D, or F grades give consumers a quick way to choose the best hospital for their medical care.

Why is this so important? Because preventable hospital errors are a huge cause of death in the US. Depending on which study you look at, between 160,000 and 400,000 people die each year from preventable hospital mistakes. And patients at D and F hospitals face a 92% greater risk of dying from safety problems than patients at an A-rated hospital. While most hospitals do have a safety grade, they are not required to have one. If a hospital does not have enough safety data to supply Leapfrog with, they will not be given a grade. To find out how your safe your hospital is, see the list below.

winter-sport-1024x683Winter is upon us; bringing with it lots of holiday spirit, warm drinks, and outdoor sports. As fun as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling may be, these activities can be extremely dangerous for both beginners and those who are more advanced. When people are properly trained and are using safe practices, winter sports injuries are fairly easy to prevent. However, sometimes an accident is caused by another person’s behavior. If you are injured in an accident that is the fault of another skier or snowboarder, you may be able to sue them for negligence or recklessness and recover compensation for your injuries. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you through this stressful and often painful time and fight for your rights in the legal system.

During the 2017-2018 winter season in the United States, 14,000 injuries and 37 fatalities occurred in connection with skiing or snowboarding. These accidents can happen in a number of ways, but typically they are caused by skiing too fast in heavily populated areas, not giving another person their right of way, or stalling in areas that are designated trails. The severity of the resulting injuries can range from broken bones to brain injury, and even death.

With snowmobiling, approximately 200 deaths and 14,000 injuries occur each year. Considering that a snowmobile typically weighs around 500 pounds and can travel at a maximum speed of 200 miles per hour; these numbers are not surprising. These accidents usually happen due to intoxication, untrained drivers, poor judgment, exorbitant speed, or vehicle defects. If you are injured in a snowmobiling accident due to someone else’s fault, you may have a personal injury claim. In the saddest scenario, if your loved one is killed in one of these accidents, your family may have a wrongful death claim.

autobahn-837643_1920-300x194Some of the most deadly and dangerous accidents on the roads are caused by large commercial trucks. A shocking number of people– 4,102 total– died in large truck crashes in 2017. Many of these truck wrecks could have been prevented if drivers, shippers, and operators addressed some of the common causes of truck accidents and worked to fix them. The most common causes of truck crashes include:

Speeding and Driving too Fast for Conditions

Shippers promise fast delivery, often guaranteeing overnight or same-day delivery for packages. And consumers now expect packages to be delivered quickly, which is why Amazon Prime’s two-day delivery guarantee is so popular. With promises of fast delivery come pressure on drivers to drive faster despite road conditions or traffic conditions. This can lead to an increase in accidents.

walking-4555769_1920-225x300From the time they begin walking, children are in danger of being injured as pedestrians. According to some very sad statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, one in five children under the age of 15 killed in traffic accidents was a pedestrian. Children are less experienced with road safety, less aware of the danger that cars pose, more impulsive, and harder for drivers to see. Too many children are injured or killed every year by distracted, intoxicated, speeding or negligent drivers. When that happens, families are left reeling, devastated by the aftermath– physical, emotional and financial—of these tragic accidents.

Adults can help protect children by being aware of the scenarios that are especially dangerous for children and by knowing what to do after a child has been struck by a car or truck. The child pedestrian accident attorneys at The Collins Law Firm can guide you through the legal process after an accident with care and compassion. Knowing the most common situations that lead to pedestrian accidents can help prevent them in the first place.

How do Children Get Injured in Pedestrian Accidents?

crossing-801713_1920-2-300x198Serious pedestrian accidents in Chicago and the suburbs continue to be a problem for a number of reasons: more people walking to work, an increase in traffic on the roads, and drivers failing to look out for pedestrians. Increasing cell phone usage and distracted driving are also putting pedestrians at risk. Tragically, two pedestrians in Naperville and St. Charles have been seriously injured and pedestrians in Bloomington, Morton Grove, and Chicago have died after being struck by cars recently. Municipalities need to address this problem by analyzing where and why pedestrian accidents happen and taking measures to prevent these tragedies from occurring.

In the meantime, how can victims and families be compensated for these terrible accidents? If a pedestrian is hit by a car, the driver is usually –but not always—found to be at fault and his or her insurance compensates the pedestrian. That is because most states have laws requiring drivers to be alert to their surroundings and to hazards in the road, which would include pedestrians. If the pedestrian is following the rules of the road and is struck by a motorist who is speeding, fails to yield, is disobeying traffic signals, or is otherwise impaired or distracted, the driver is at fault and their policy must compensate the victim. Even pedestrians who are not in the crosswalk may get compensation from the driver’s insurance if they were paying attention, did not act irresponsibly and did not run into the road to try to beat traffic.

But what happens if the responsible driver is not insured?  If the at-fault driver has no insurance or very little insurance, then the pedestrian’s own uninsured and underinsured coverage in their auto policy can compensate them for injuries sustained even if they were not driving at the time. Most people are not aware of this.

vape-3677946_1920-300x200Young people are showing up at hospitals with lungs that look like those of 70-year-olds. Around the country, people of all ages are suffering from a mysterious lung illness, and vaping could be to blame. Federal health officials are looking into the cases of 450 people hospitalized with breathing illnesses after using e-cigarettes and vaping devices, and at least six deaths have been linked to a vaping-related lung illness.

And there’s not just one set of symptoms to look out for. Affected individuals present a variety of symptoms when they arrive at the hospital. For example, one 18-year-old patient complained of chest pain, nausea, fever, and shortness of breath. He was sent to the ICU within 48 hours of arriving at the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with an acute lung injury. That patient ended up being connected to a breathing tube and was placed into a medically induced coma for a week. Another patient, who was 19 years old, suffered from coughing, chest pain, extreme weight loss, and nodules in the lungs. Most patients had nausea or vomiting as well as breathing problems. A third of the confirmed cases were serious enough to need a breathing tube.

Health professionals are taking action to figure out what’s going wrong with vaping. The Center for Disease Control, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, state and local health departments, and other public health partners have mobilized to investigate a “multistate outbreak” of pulmonary diseases. The outbreak is linked to vaping and has had drastic effects on individuals’ lungs and health.

pills-1885550_1920-300x225If you are taking Zantac, you should be aware that the FDA and the European Union are investigating whether the heartburn medication, as well as generic versions of the drug, contain high enough levels of the cancer-causing agent NDMA, (N-Nitrosodimeethylamine), to pose a danger to patients.

Zantac, or Ranitidine, as it is called in generic form, is an antacid and antihistamine used by thousands of people to prevent heartburn and gastrointestinal issues. More troubling is the fact that it is sometimes given to infants suffering from reflux. Now, the medication, which is sold at major pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart, is under investigation by European and U.S. health regulators.

U.S. drug safety officials became aware of the potential problem when Valisure, a Connecticut based online pharmacy that independently tests every medication it dispenses, alerted the FDA that its testing had found high levels of NDMA, a carcinogen, in Zantac and generic versions of the drug.

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