Articles Posted in Personal Injury

still-life-1460067_1920-1024x683Each morning, before going about your day, do you spritz on your favorite perfume? Next time you do, look at the ingredient list. You’ll probably see the word “Fragrance.” Seems appropriate for a perfume, but what exactly is it? Turns out, a whole bunch of chemicals that could be toxic.

The word “Fragrance” on any product’s ingredient list refers to the mixture of natural and synthetic chemicals that give your products that pleasant smell. Even unscented products may list “Fragrance” as an ingredient, because chemical companies may need it to counteract foul-smelling ingredients to give the product a neutral odor. A 2010 study on perfumes and colognes found that, on average, there were 14 secret chemical ingredients in the fragrance cocktail that consumers do not see listed on the product label. Compared to the average 15 listed ingredients, almost half of the ingredients in your perfume are a secret.

Smells fishy, but why is that so bad? Well, to start, many of those secret ingredients are associated with allergic reactions. Fragrance is among the top five allergens in the world! The study discovered over 24 chemicals that could act as allergy triggers, possibly causing a variety of symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, rashes, coughing, vomiting, and skin irritation. Keeping in mind that these chemicals could trigger you and those around you, fragrances can pose a serious risk to a large number of people.

lipstick-791761_1920-1024x683Since ingredients in cosmetic products present numerous health risks, you have to wonder: how are cosmetic companies regulated? Well, the unfortunate truth is that they really aren’t.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for cosmetics under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), which has not been updated since 1938. The FDCA is concerned with “adulterated” or “misbranded” products. “Adulterated” products are those that contain any poisonous, deleterious, putrid, or decomposed substances, or those that have been prepared in unsanitary conditions. “Misbranded” products are those that are false or misleading or whose label does not contain the name and place of the manufacturer and the quantity of the contents. All that sounds good, so what’s the problem?

Well, the problem is what the FDA doesn’t have any meaningful way to regulate cosmetics. For instance, ingredients in cosmetic products do not need FDA approval before going on the market. Additionally, federal law does not require cosmetic companies to register or test their products for safety. In fact, the law doesn’t even require cosmetics companies to share any safety information with the FDA. As a result, the FDA has only restricted nine cosmetic chemicals for safety reasons.  That’s not many, considering cosmetics manufacturers use at least 88 chemicals that have been linked to cancer. The FDA also lacks authority to mandate a recall, as evidenced by its inability to force Claire’s to recall products that tested positive for asbestos.

39201856305_40c4b98c8a_k-1024x768So, you bought a car with the five-star safety rating for your family. But, is the entire family actually safe? A new study has determined that a woman has a 73% higher chance of being seriously injured or killed in a car crash than a man, and crash-test dummies are to blame.

A quick history on crash-test dummies: Dummies were first introduced in the 1950s and, unsurprisingly, were based on the average man, who is about 5’10” and 168 pounds. That average-man dummy represented the entire human population until 2003 when a female crash-test dummy was created. However, regulators did not require automakers to test vehicles with the female dummy until the 2011 model-year vehicles. (By the way, regulators have still not required a pregnant test dummy, even though one was created in 1996)

When manufacturers started to use the female dummy more regularly, they discovered that smaller female drivers and passengers suffer more head, abdominal, and pelvic injuries. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. Men and women have different body structures. For instance, women generally have wider, shallower pelvises. They also have different fat distribution and tissue concentration. These differences come into play with seatbelts and other safety features.

surgery-1807541_1920-1024x676About one in every twenty patients is harmed by a medical mistake that could have been prevented. That is the finding of a recent report published in the medical journal, The BMJ.

Understand, we are not talking about medical mistakes that sometimes just happen during medical care. We are talking about medical mistakes that should not have happened. Worse still, 12% of these preventable errors lead to permanent disability or death.

And this is not new information. The medical community has known for twenty years that medical errors cause the deaths of as many as 98,000 Americans every year. Yet, twenty years later, the rate of preventable medical mistakes continues to be unacceptably high.

Chicago recently began a pilot program allowing electric scooters on city streets. Within a mere six days, at least ten couple-4244576_1920-204x300people were sent to emergency rooms, including one bicyclist who was left unconscious and badly injured after being struck by a scooter.

The city’s e-scooter program launched June 15th on the west side of Chicago, bringing 2500 scooters to Chicago streets. Ten scooter companies—Bird, Lyme, Jump, Sherpa, Gruv, Lyft, Spin, Wheels, Bolt and VeoRide– are providing the scooters for the next few months. In October, the city will evaluate the program and decide whether to permit the scooters permanently and whether to expand into the lakefront area and the Loop, the city’s busiest traffic and pedestrian areas. I can just imagine the nightmare of inexperienced or potentially intoxicated riders zipping around on electric scooters in Chicago’s already chaotic Loop.

Chicago might do well to heed the experiences of other cities who have tried out e-scooter programs. Hospitals in these cities have noted frequent, serious scooter injuries, and police forces have admitted that enforcing the rules is difficult. Scooter riders often ride without helmets; endanger pedestrians by riding on sidewalks despite it being against city ordinances, and litter the streets with abandoned scooters.

Throughout Naperville, there are miles and miles of trails and bike paths, perfect for a cruise on a summer day or training for your next triathlon.  While many of Naperville’s bike paths are located within forest preserves or secluded trails, some of them cross over major roadways and through busy intersections.bicyclist-569279_1920-1024x692

As the city grows, so does the amount of traffic, and, unfortunately, with that growth comes an increase in bicycle crashes. Naperville police report there are between 20-40 crashes involving automobiles and bicycles in the city on an annual basis. Many of these crashes occur in just five of the most dangerous intersections in Naperville. These intersections have seen at least two crashes per year for the last three years.

According to Naperville Police data, the five most dangerous intersections for bicyclists are:

When you think about what’s in your makeup bag, you probably think foundation, mascara, eyeliner, etc. But let’s make-up-1209798_1920-1024x700delve a little deeper. What ingredients are in your makeup bag? The answer may surprise you.

Since 2009, 595 cosmetics manufacturers have disclosed that they’ve used 88 chemicals that are connected to cancer, birth defects, and/or reproductive harm in over 73,000 products. How is this possible? The answer lies in the fact that the beauty industry is virtually unregulated, so manufacturers are free to use chemicals in their products without any meaningful government oversight.

Though most chemicals are not causes for concern, some chemicals in cosmetics have been linked to serious health problems. For example, diethylhexyl phthalate harms the reproductive system, can affect a developing fetus and is a potential endocrine disruptor. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has also classified it as a possible carcinogenic. Where can you find it? Eyelash glue. Dibutyl phthalate, a similar chemical with similar health effects, can be found in perfumes and nail polishes.

Senators Reveal Names of 22 Illinois Nursing Homes with Seriously Poor Care

Placing a loved one in a nursing home can be a difficult, heartbreaking and confusing decision. As nursing home attorneys, we see why thisaging-2379003_1920-1024x819 can be so painful for families. They want the best care for their loved one, but often don’t know how to distinguish between great facilities and ones that may be dangerous for their family member.

Two Pennsylvania Senators recently made that job a little bit easier.

On June 12, 2019, attorney Maggie Galka and law clerk Dayna Smith attended a seminar hosted by the U.S. District girl-690327_1920-285x300Court for the Northern District of Illinois entitled “Helping Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Seek Justice.” They heard from the Honorable Ruben Castillo, Chief Judge, and staff attorneys from Ascend Justice and the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE). The speakers focused on how attorneys from various fields could help individuals impacted by gender-based violence access client-defined justice. Client-defined justice can take many forms such as criminal punishment, civil remedies, or simply having someone there to advocate on the client’s behalf.

Ascend Justice (previously the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic) operates two clinic programs that focus on achieving their mission to “empower individuals and families impacted by gender-based violence or the child welfare system to achieve safety and stability through holistic legal advocacy and systematic reform.” Ascend’s Domestic Violence Division Pro Bono Project pairs volunteer attorneys with domestic violence survivors seeking Orders of Protection. The volunteer attorney takes on the client’s entire case, representing them until the matter is completely resolved, which can involve multiple court appearances. In the Emergency OP Clinic Volunteer Project, legal professionals and law students provide brief services for litigants, which include helping them draft pleadings and affidavits and explaining the court process. The staff attorneys noted that individuals with help or representation from an attorney were significantly more likely to receive an Order of Protection than those who did not have representation.

CAASE focuses its services on survivors of sexual exploitation, including sexual assault and the commercial sex trade. Its mission is to address “the culture, institutions, and individuals that perpetrate, profit from, or support sexual exploitation.” Their work includes prevention, policy reform, legal services, and community engagement. In the legal services section, CAASE staff attorneys and volunteers work in a variety of legal fields to achieve client-centered justice for survivors. Those legal fields can include criminal law, civil no-contact orders, workplace complaints, civil personal injury law, and criminal record expungement. And, because of CAASE’s policy initiatives, the variety of legal and administrative avenues available to survivors continues to grow.

Starting July 1st, Illinois is taking a tougher stance on motorists who use their cell phones while driving.

Drivers will no longer get a free pass for their first offense. melissa-mjoen-399641-unsplash-300x200Unlike the current law, where a first offense is a non-moving violation which does not affect your driving record, under the new law, you will get you a ticket for a moving violation if you are caught using a hand-held cell phone for any reason, even if it’s your first time. The ticket will have a fine of $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense and $125 for a third, however, this does not include fees and costs which can make the total much higher. Receiving three tickets in a 12 month period will mean a license suspension.

According to the new law, you are only allowed to push one button to activate GPS or answer or make a call. So, unless you are using technology such as Bluetooth to access your phone hands-free, the following offenses will get you a ticket:

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