Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Winter is here and accidents are already on the rise. Here are a few basic tips as we navigate the busiest time of year for auto accidents.car-3013041_1920-thumb-300x192-107996-thumb-300x192-107997-300x192

If you’re involved in an accident during a snow storm, you may be asked to file a report at a later time since police may be unable to respond to every auto accident. Do file a report with the police right away and be sure to notify your insurance carrier immediately. In addition, it is important that you seek medical help right away if you’ve been injured. Having a gap or lapse in your medical treatment will prolong your recovery time and make insurance carriers wary of your claim.

If you have been injured and you have group health insurance coverage, you need to use it to pay your medical bills. Your group health insurance has contracts with the medical providers and typically obtains reductions of about 50% from the medical providers. Use your auto insurance med-pay coverage to cover anything your health insurance does not cover!

elderly-1461424_1920-thumb-350x233-90117-thumb-350x233-97162-300x200When you place your loved one in the care of trained staff at a nursing home, the last thing you think about is the possibility that your relative may succumb to a fatal infection. But that is what is happening around the country, as elderly patients in overcrowded nursing homes fall victim to severe infections–called sepsis–as a result of bedsores, according to an investigation by Kaiser Health News and The Chicago Tribune.

A federal report recently revealed that sepsis is the most common reason for transferring patients from a nursing home to a hospital, and death occurs much more often in sepsis cases than in hospitalizations for other reasons. Sadly, as many as 25,000 patients a year are transferred to hospitals suffering from sepsis, according to a report by a private health care data firm. And the statistics in Illinois are similarly bleak: every year about 6,000 nursing home residents are hospitalized for sepsis, and 1 in 5 pass away.

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of a serious infection in the bloodstream that can develop in bedridden patients. These serious infections are often the result of bedsores–also called pressure sores–that go untreated in nursing homes. Fully 60% of nursing homes in Illinois have been cited for failing to properly treat bedsores. Elderly residents, who may be in fragile health already, can have difficulty recovering from sepsis, and that is why it is so deadly.

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A few years back one of my daughters got her finger seriously mangled in a slammed door. The nail was loose and her finger was bleeding profusely. So, my wife rushed her to the immediate care center near our house. After waiting for a half hour, they were ushered in to see a doctor who wrapped our daughter’s finger in a gauze bandage and told my wife to call an orthopedic doctor. That was it.

The next day, fortunately, they were able to squeeze in to an orthopedic doctor’s schedule, who stitched our daughter’s nail back on, took an x-ray (the finger was fractured), and wrapped her finger up in gauze and vet tape. Not only was the visit to the urgent care clinic a waste of time and money, but it delayed any actual treatment for our very anxious daughter.

Now, I’m not suggesting that this is what always happens at urgent care clinics, but it does raise the question: what should you do if your child gets injured in an accident this summer, the most busy trauma season of the year?

The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 30% of birth injuries are preventable. Sadly, medical negligence is one of the leading causes of birth injuries in the United States. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), determined the following to be the most common types of birth injuries due to medical negligence:

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Brachial palsy injuries involve damage to the bundle of nerves responsible for moving the arms and hands (brachial plexus). The result of this damage can be mild and temporary, or severe and permanent (in about 10% of cases the damage is permanent). The most serious injuries can even cause complete paralysis. A common cause of brachial plexus injuries is shoulder dystocia, which occurs when a baby’s shoulders are trapped in the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. If a doctor pulls too hard while attempting to deliver a baby who is stuck, the brachial plexus can be damaged. Brachial palsy injuries include Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy.

FireworksFourth of July typically means barbecues, picnics, parades and fireworks, but every year amateur fireworks do more than just entertain. According to the National Fire Protection Association, they cause thousands of serious injuries and fires every year. In fact, in recent years, fireworks have been one of the leading causes of injuries serious enough to require a trip to the hospital, resulting in 12,900 emergency room visits in 2017 alone.

Fireworks can result in severe burns, fractures, scars, loss of vision, disfigurement and even death. In addition, fireworks related fires are responsible for an average of $43,000,000 in property loss annually, with many of these fires involving bottle rockets or other fireworks rockets. Even sparklers can reach temperatures of 1000 degrees or more.

Unfortunately, our personal injury attorneys at The Collins Law Firm see the results of the careless use of fireworks. We recently settled a case for a woman who suffered burns and a serious head injury when she was hit by a neighbor’s bottle rocket, an accident which could easily have been avoided.

Keep Motorcyclists-Safe.jpgNow that the warm, summer weather is here, more and more people are on the roads, taking a ride on their motorcycles. However, this enjoyable summer pastime is not without danger.

Because motorcycles are less stable and visible than cars or trucks, they are-unfortunately–more likely to be involved in a crash. And when motorcycles crash, riders are more likely to be injured or killed. In fact, the federal government estimates that per miles travelled, motorcycles are 29 times more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident than a car. According to the NHTSA, 5,286 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2016 alone.

Because of their lack of protection, motorcyclists are also more likely to be severely injured in a crash. At The Collins Law Firm , we see first-hand the devastation that these motorcycle accidents can cause. We are currently representing a man who was seriously injured when his motorcycle was struck by a pickup truck. 

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for headache-1540220_1920.jpgPatients undergoing major surgery or those dealing with chronic pain are often prescribed opioid medications. These opioids have given rise to a crisis of massive proportions. Opioid addiction and overdose deaths are increasing dramatically. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of all fatal opioid overdoses involve a prescription. Furthermore, for every one of these opioid overdose death, experts estimate nearly 130 people abuse or have a dependency on these drugs.

In Illinois, opioid use is rampant. According to Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) data, there were 1,826 opioid-related deaths in the state in 2016. This represents an increase of over 70 percent from the number of opioid-related deaths reported in 2013 and a 32.1 percent increase over the 1,382 opioid-related deaths reported by IDPH in 2015.

Once people begin taking opioids, many of them become hooked on these highly addictive drugs. Often it is the result of patients obtaining prescriptions from “pill mills”, where doctors perfunctorily write opioid prescriptions without first examining the patient.

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If you need another reason why Scott Pruitt should be removed from his position at the EPA, just look at the recent news about some paint strippers that contain a deadly chemical called methylene chloride.

Methylene chloride can kill within minutes and long-term exposure has been linked to liver cancer and lung cancer. Over 60 families have lost loved ones because of this chemical. In the last days of the Obama administration, the EPA proposed banning methylene chloride, but after Scott Pruitt took over at the EPA, the agency reversed course and pulled back from that position. Now apparently, it plans to lightly regulate the chemical instead of banning it.

Meanwhile, unsuspecting consumers are dying after buying and using paint strippers. The solvent in the paint strippers, methylene chloride, can cause heart attacks and turn to carbon monoxide in the body. It is supposed to be used with a respirator and special gloves, but even these precautions did not protect Drew Wynne, a 31 year old from South Carolina who died last October after being overcome by fumes while refinishing a floor. He is not alone. Since 1980 more than 50 accidental deaths have been linked to methylene chloride exposure.

Darcy at football game 1.jpgCheerleading has long been a popular sport for girls, with football games and cheerleading being a Friday night staple in this country. Recently, a lot of focus has been put on the dangers of concussions in football, but very little attention has been paid to the concussion dangers involved with cheerleading. And that may be putting our children in danger.

Today’s cheerleading is very different from that traditional image of sideline cheering on a Friday night under the lights. As competitive cheer grows in popularity, it is changing the face of the sport. More and more, cheerleading is becoming a serious athletic sport, combining expert level gymnastics, dance, high-flying jumps and technically difficult stunting and basket tosses. And that is making cheerleading more dangerous.

Just how Dangerous is Cheerleading?

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that results from damage to the brain. CP can lead to problems with movement, posture and muscle coordination. Additionally, CP can shorten the lifespan of a child and require that the child have around the clock care.

Thumbnail image for little-girl-1381471_1920.jpgCerebral palsy is often caused by insufficient oxygen to the brain, also known as hypoxia, or insufficient oxygen to the body, known as asphyxia. Premature delivery or trauma during birth have also been known to cause CP. This life-altering condition can be caused by medical malpractice. If a doctor, nurse or hospital fails to properly monitor or treat a mother and her fetus, significant damage can occur.

However, just because a baby is born with cerebral palsy, it doesn’t always mean that medical mistakes have been made. There are times when doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals act with the greatest care while attending to mother and baby, and there are still negative outcomes.

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