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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

HalloweenPost_Facebook-1024x538Halloween is a time of year that many people–adults and children alike–look forward to. It’s an exciting time of year with lots of fun things to do, from Halloween parties to haunted houses to trick-or-treating. However, it’s also a dangerous time of year.

What Makes Halloween Dangerous?

 It’s hard to think of one of your favorite holidays as dangerous, but that is the unfortunate reality of Halloween. Hoards of children out walking the streets, typically at dusk or after dark, is a tricky situation. To make matters worse, these children often wear costumes that make them less visible to drivers on the road or poorly fitted masks that impede their vision. As a result, children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than at other times of the year. Then there is the added danger associated with participating in Halloween activities like costume parties or trick-or-treating during the COVID pandemic. All of this may make some people feel like abandoning Halloween entirely, but that is not necessary. There are many ways that families and neighbors can celebrate Halloween and stay safe this year:

Hand-sanitizer-225x300Washing your hands with soap and water is always the best option for keeping your hands clean, but we don’t always have access to soap and water. That’s where hand sanitizer comes in. Hand sanitizers have never been as popular or necessary as they are right now. Unfortunately, the increase in demand for hand sanitizers has led to some dangerous products being on the shelves. There has been a dramatic increase in hand sanitizers containing methanol, also referred to as wood alcohol. Methanol has no place in hand sanitizers given that it can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. To make matters worse, the methanol found in hand sanitizers is not being labeled as an ingredient on the product itself, meaning we have to be extremely careful about what products we are buying and using during this time.

What is Methanol?

 Methanol is a volatile, flammable liquid that is commonly used in antifreeze and fuel production. Exposure to methanol can cause agitation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, amnesia, seizures, and comas. If hand sanitizer containing methanol is ingested, blindness or death can occur. Under no circumstances should methanol be used in hand sanitizers.

car-commuter-driver-driving-7433-1024x682Coronavirus put a halt to the world as we know it, and it also put a stop to driving for many of us. We started working from home, getting groceries and meals delivered, avoiding gatherings, and staying home in the evening. With everything closed, there really was no need to drive. Now that states are starting to reopen, however, more people are out and about, and more drivers are getting back on the road. Some of the drivers out there, however,  haven’t driven in nearly 4 months! Given that many of us are out of practice, the roads might look a bit like they’re full of 16-year-old kids who just got their driver’s licenses. It’s important that we drive carefully and do whatever we can to make the roads safe for everyone, as we get back into the swing of things. The good news is that there are steps we can take to ensure that our roads are as safe as possible while we shake the rust off of our driving abilities.

Here are some suggestions for staying safe on the road.

  1. Possibly the most important thing we can all do is watch our speed. With fewer people out driving, roads have been less congested. This lack of traffic has led to an increase in speeding. The issue here lies with the combination of increased speed and rusty drivers on the road. Rusty drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident. Increased speed means that, if accidents do happen, they’re going to be more serious than if everyone had been following the speed limit. Take a deep breath and slow down.

car-accident-1660670_1920-300x300As Illinois moves into phase 3 of COVID-19 reopening, traffic is making a big comeback. You may have noticed that the roads are more crowded, the parking lots are a bit fuller, and the expressways feel more like they did in January and February.

If you’ve noticed an uptick in traffic, you’re not alone. Congestion, higher travel times, and traffic crashes are on the rise as Illinois resumes activities under phase 3 of the Illinois reopening plan.

After the state-wide stay-at-home order took effect in mid-March, weekly traffic volume in Chicago was cut in half. As of last week, traffic was back to 77% of 2019 levels, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

car-accident-1660670_1920-1024x1024A trio of car accidents in Naperville have caused the tragic deaths of four people in the past month.

The latest heartbreaking accident, which happened just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10th, took the lives of a 77-year-old man and a 71-year-old woman who were out walking. Preliminary investigations reveal that the pair was crossing Hobson Road at the intersection of College Road, when they were struck by a 2017 black Toyota Tundra—driven by a 64-year-old Naperville woman– turning west onto Hobson from the northbound lane of Wehrli Road. The pedestrians, who were both Naperville residents, were transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. Sadly, the man died shortly after arrival; the woman succumbed to her injuries the next day.

Only a few days prior, another terrible accident was caused by a driver under the influence on Royce Road. At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 6th, a 54-year-old Naperville man driving west on Royce Road crossed over into the eastbound lane, according to a police investigation. The man’s 2014 Dodge Ram then proceeded to hit an eastbound 2017 Ford Fiesta head-on. Naperville Fire Department responded to the crash to provide emergency medical attention, but tragically, the driver of the Fiesta, a 41-year-old man from Woodridge, was declared dead on the scene. The police charged the driver of the Dodge Ram with Aggravated Driving Under the Influence and Reckless Homicide.

COVID-19-nurseSymphony of Joliet is one of several nursing homes across Illinois that are facing shocking outbreaks of COVID-19. As of June 5th, 2020, the facility has had 132 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 25 deaths, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. To understand that in context, Symphony of Joliet only has 214 beds and an average occupancy of about 169 residents. Even given that some of the 132 infections are among staff, the sheer number of COVID-19 cases at Symphony of Joliet shows that the virus spread to an alarming number of residents at the nursing home.

Moreover, the size of the COVID-19 outbreak at Symphony of Joliet is outside the norm when compared with other nursing homes in Will County. The statistics below show the number of infections and deaths at several other nursing homes in Joliet that are faring better:

  • Joliet Terrace – Joliet: 120 beds, 3 cases, 0 deaths

elderly-hands-CeZypKDceQc-unsplash-1024x934Meadowbrook Manor–a large nursing home in Bolingbrook with 298 beds– is one of the nursing homes facing the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Illinois. As of May 29, 2020, the facility had reported 188 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents and 40 deaths–the highest reported death toll at any nursing home in the state. Considering that the average number of residents at Meadowbrook Manor is usually 244, these numbers are shocking. At this occupancy rate, as many as 77% of the residents at Meadowbrook Manor in Bolingbrook may have been infected with COVID-19. Even if every bed at Meadowbrook Manor was occupied, that would still work out to 63% of residents possibly infected. It’s hard to fathom how that could happen.

For comparison, here are the statistics on COVID-19 at some other senior facilities in Will County or in nearby DuPage County:

  • Meadowbrook Manor in Naperville, 245 beds, 37 cases, and 3 deaths

nursing-home-patientAs coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise at Illinois nursing homes, Alden Estates has emerged as the nursing home facing the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Naperville. As of June 12, 2020, the facility had reported 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents and 21 deaths. Considering that the number of residents at Alden Estates of Naperville is usually 131–according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services–these numbers are staggering. Moreover, Alden Estates accounts for 41% of Naperville’s COVID-19 cases and 62% of the city’s coronavirus deaths.

For comparison, here are the statistics on COVID-19 at similar nursing homes in Naperville that are faring much better:

  • Arista Healthcare: 153 beds, 11 cases, 0 deaths

George-Floyd-munshots-_vAC0je-hKo-unsplash-1024x683White public officials have rushed before TV cameras to proclaim that the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police was the work of “one bad apple”, or a cop “gone rogue”—a statement then typically followed by the assurance that, “the great majority of police officers are not racists.” 

 African Americans have always seen such statements for what they are:  white people letting themselves off the hook.  White people refusing to acknowledge the depth and breadth of racism in America which, while it may be manifested in one ugly act at a time by one ugly racist at a time, has been going on for centuries; and extends far further and deeper than merely how black Americans are treated by police forces.

 One bad apple”? Really?  That’s it?

football-helmet-1401350_1920-300x197The First District Appellate Court of Illinois held in Nakamura v. BRG Sports, LLC that a former NFL player’s personal injury suit against his helmet manufacturer stemming from a severe concussion the player suffered was allowed to proceed as there was an issue of fact as to when the player discovered his injury.  The trial court initially dismissed the player’s action as being time barred by Illinois’ two-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions.

In August of 2013, Haruki Nakamura was taken to the hospital after suffering a severe concussion during a preseason football game while playing for the Carolina Panthers.  Nakamura’s condition worsened following the concussion as he continued to suffer from extreme headaches, impaired cognition, and depression.  Nakamura was eventually released by the Panthers and he was forced to retire from football.  After his retirement, Nakamura filed a disability insurance claim in November of 2013 claiming that he was suffering from several post-concussive symptoms and that he was permanently disabled.  During the course of litigation involving his disability claim, Nakamura was diagnosed as having chronic post-concussion syndrome.  Nakamura then commenced a separate personal injury action in October of 2017 against the helmet manufacturer, Riddell, for negligence and strict product liability alleging that the helmet he was wearing at the time of the concussion was defective and failed to protect him from the head trauma that resulted in latent neurodegenerative disorder.

Under Illinois’ discovery rule, the statutory limitations period starts to run when a person knows or reasonably should know of his injury and also knows or reasonably should know that it was wrongfully caused.  The trial court dismissed the personal injury action finding that Nakamura’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations because Nakamura knew of his injury at least two years prior to commencing suit.  As evidence of Nakamura’s knowledge of his injury, Riddell directed the trial court to the disability claim litigation commenced in November of 2013 wherein Nakamura alleged he suffered a concussion and was permanently disabled in 2013.

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