snow-thrower-951149_1920-300x200Chicago winters can be brutal. Between the frigid temperatures, snow, and ice, sometimes it seems like spring may never arrive. While the Polar Vortex has gone, the dangers of snow and ice linger on. Chicago sees the majority of its snowfall from New Year’s Day until February, averaging 10 inches of snow per month. Ice and snow can cause falls and other serious injuries. A fall on ice is not uncommon in Chicago winters. But who is liable if you fall on icy sidewalks, driveways or walkways?

With icy conditions on our streets, roads, and sidewalks, falls and serious injuries can become more common. Falls on snow or ice can cause you to break bones, suffer a traumatic brain injury or worse. Illinois law, however, protects property owners and managers in the event of a slip and fall caused by a natural accumulation of ice and snow.

The Snow and Ice Removal Act does not require property owners or managers to clear ice and snow from sidewalks or remove a “natural accumulation” of snow from their property.  The Act also provides immunity to property owners who do shovel but don’t do a great job of removing the snow and ice. Because of this, the Act protects landowners and landlords from liability in many slip-and-fall cases. This can prevent you from recovering compensation for your injuries. So what should you do if you fall and are injured as a result of snow and ice accumulation?

Many accidents on the road involve more than one car, especially accidents that occur in hazardous winter conditions or on the highway.  Multi-car accidents often involve more serious injuries and bigger liability than two car crashes. In addition, autobahn-837643_1920-300x199once the accident has happened, the danger has not necessarily passed. Moreover, liability—or who is responsible—can be especially difficult to determine. So, how can you figure out who is at fault, and what should you do if you have been involved in a multi-car accident?

Consider Your Safety First

If you have been in a multi-car crash, your first priority should be staying safe. Stay in your car with your seat belt fastened until the police or EMTs tell you it is safe to exit. The biggest risk at this point is getting hit by another car after leaving your vehicle.

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!

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Have you recently seen the news that the Vantage Specialty Chemicals facility in Gurnee, IL has been emitting a cancer causing chemical, called ethylene oxide, into the air for years? Are you questioning whether that toxin may have caused your cancer? Our experienced environmental cancer attorneys can help you answer that question. The Collins Law Firm is now investigating toxic tort lawsuits for people living or working within 1 mile of the Vantage Chemical Specialties plant at 3938 Porett Dr., in Gurnee, IL who have been diagnosed with one of the cancers linked to ethylene oxide exposure.

The Collins Law Firm Can Help You Investigate a Possible Cancer Lawsuit

We are a trusted, environmental personal injury law firm, and we have been representing clients diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to toxic chemicals for years. We are unique among personal injury firms, because we have decades of experience dealing with the complex science that is a part of these “toxic tort” cancer cases. These lawsuits are not typical personal injury cases, like the car crashes or slip and falls, which most personal injury firms handle. They are an environmental lawsuit and a personal injury case blended into one complex case and require the right kind of scientific experts and legal experience.

Last week, Governor Rauner finally joined the group of elected officials calling for the shutdown of the Sterigenics facility in Willowbrook. Officials had pressured Rauner to take action to protect the community after weeks of public outcry following the recent release of a report about cancer causing emissions coming from the plant.

Bruce_rauner_cropped-thumb-356x519-106443-thumb-250x364-106444-205x300That report, written by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, detailed a three decades long contamination of the Willowbrook area with a toxic carcinogen, ethylene oxide, by Sterigenics. The authors of the report came to the conclusion–after evaluating ethylene oxide testing done near the facility last May–that the emissions from Sterigenics posed “a public health hazard” and an elevated cancer risk for the community. In fact, the report estimated the cancer risk of exposed residents in the area to be 64 times the EPA’s acceptable lifetime risk.

Understandably, residents, many of whom already had cancer or who had lost a family member to cancer, were outraged. How could this have happened and how could any elected official allow it to continue happening?

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.

Willowbrook has been in the news recently because of a federal government report which revealed that Sterigenics has been contaminating the community with a carcinogen known as ethylene oxide for decades, resulting in a significantly elevated cancer risk for nearby residents. This situation reminds me of some similar cases I was involved in: the Lockformer lawsuits in Lisle, IL.

My name is Shawn Collins. I’m the lawyer whose firm–The Collins Law Firm in Naperville– represented a community of families in those cases. In three separate cases, we successfully won from the polluter (Lockformer, in Lisle) $27 million in property damage; a generous settlement (the precise amount remains confidential) for a young woman who had contracted cancer from exposure to the chemical; tens of millions more for a fund for future cancer victims; and a safe, clean water supply for hundreds of area families.

The saddest but most meaningful case was the one for the young cancer victim. Her illness is why we are right to take so seriously toxic contamination in our communities. We don’t want devastating illness to happen to anyone we love.

Are you looking for an experienced attorney for your Willowbrook, IL cancer case? The Collins Law Firm is now investigating toxic tort lawsuits for people living or working within 2 miles of the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook, IL who have been diagnosed with cancer.

The Collins Law Firm Can Help You Investigate a Possible Cancer Lawsuit

woman-3602245_1920-thumb-300x200-106626-thumb-300x200-106627-thumb-300x200-106632-300x200We are a trusted, environmental personal injury law firm, and we have been representing clients diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to toxic chemicals for years. We are unique among personal injury firms, because we have decades of experience dealing with the complex science that is a part of these “toxic tort” cancer cases. These lawsuits are not typical personal injury cases, like the car crashes or slip and falls, which most personal injury firms handle. They are an environmental lawsuit and a personal injury case blended into one complex case and require the right kind of scientific experts and legal experience.

Hundreds of Willowbrook residents filled a standing-room-only meeting last night. They came to hear their government explain whether their health is in danger due to the ethylene oxide pollution that a local company, Sterigenics, has been belching into their neighborhood for the last 30 years.

Ethylene oxide is a nasty carcinogen. But the people of Willowbrook had no idea that such a chemical even existed, let alone that it had been in their neighborhood for decades. Until last week.

Sterigenics has known–probably since the 1980’s–that it was causing ethylene oxide pollution in Willowbrook. So did government, or at least it should have known. Its job was to know. Hard to say what is worse: the government knowing about the ethylene oxide pollution for many years and doing nothing to protect the people of Willowbrook, or the government not knowing anything about the problem until just now.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported on a new federal study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) – released just last week – that highlights a danger to Willowbrook residents who live near Sterigenics International, at 830 Midway Drive and 7775 S. Quincy St., in Willowbrook, IL. According to the report, the people living near this facility face a higher cancer risk from toxic air pollution than much of the rest of the country.

Why? Apparently, Sterigenics uses and stores a toxic gas called “ethylene oxide” to sterilize medical equipment, and has been releasing that cancer causing chemical into the air since at least 1995.

Ethylene oxide has been listed on the federal list of carcinogens as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” since 1985. In 2000, that listing was revised to “known to be a human carcinogen”. Finally, in 2016, the US EPA – after much delay – released a new assessment of the toxic gas that concluded that ethylene oxide was even more dangerous than originally thought.

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