A blood clot in an artery, also known as arterial thrombosis, is a serious, growing public health issue that everyone needs to be aware of. Blood clots are preventable, yet are one of the most commonly misdiagnosed affecting an estimated 900,000 Americans and ultimately resulting in nearly 100,000 deaths each year.

An Illinois man was awarded $15 million on a medical malpractice case after his lower legs were amputated when doctors failed to timely diagnose and treat his arterial blood clots.
When Corby Bell underwent blood testing at Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital in Dixon in 2015, doctors ruled out deep vein thrombosis from the venous ultrasound done. Initially, they failed to do any arterial tests. He was then simply discharged with undetermined leg pain.

Clots are classified by where they form. Venous, as you may guess, form in your veins. Arterial clots form in your arteries or the blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to the rest of the body and the heart muscle. Usually, an arterial blood clot doesn’t show symptoms until it blocks the flow of blood to part of the body. Serious problems caused by this can be a heart attack, stroke or critical limb ischaemia. In the case above, failing to have completed arterial tests forced Bell to return to the hospital the same day with pain in his lower legs and numb cold feet… a symptom of critical limb ischaemia.

These are all medical emergencies. When another failed diagnosis was given to Bell, claiming he had peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage preventing normal sensations in the arms or legs and causing pain, the hospital and staff continued to neglect Bell’s condition. Following this misdiagnosis, Bell was treated by Zeman, a physician assistant, for the following week.

It wasn’t until Bell returned to the hospital’s emergency room later in critical condition and unable to walk that the hospital finally did an arterial blood test. Arterial clots block blood and oxygen from reaching other vital organs, sometimes leading to tissue damage. This was the same results as Bell’s tests revealed blood clots from the knee down in both legs, meaning his legs were “effectively dead” as stated in the release.

It is important to understand that blood clots can happen to anyone and are often preventable. Early diagnosis is critical to prevent death. When a blood clot is misdiagnosed it can lead to a worsened condition. If not caught in the earlier stages it can cause a heart attack, stroke or even death. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a medical professional’s failure to diagnose ot treat a blood clot, you could be entitled to compensation.  Please call us any time at 312-346-5320 for a free consultation with an attorney to see if you have a case.

Why are there so many lawsuits against Illinois nursing homes?

This is a common question asked by our clients. There is no simple answer to this, but a primary factor is due to the high number of for-profit facilities putting a profit ahead of patient care.

The nursing home industry is a big business. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 15,600 nursing homes in the United States. In Illinois alone, there are more than 732 facilities caring for more than 100,000 patients.

More so, nearly 70% of these are operated as for-profit facilities. 37% of these facilities were deemed to be below average by surveyors, according to recent data by Medicare.

While there is nothing illegal about making a profit by caring for people, a conflict arises when there is an intense pressure of intense competition and desire to make a profit over the care of others.

The following cost-cutting measures by nursing home operators are putting patients at risk, impacting patient care and often causing serious injuries and death.

Reducing staffing levels:
When nursing homes are short-staffed, nurses and aides are forced to scramble when delivering patient’s meals or medications, helping bedbound residents to the restroom, notating and filing paperwork properly, and answering phones for inquiries and pain medications. Essential medical tasks such as repositioning patients to avoid bedsores and sepsis is often overlooked when nurses are overburdened, sometimes leading to avoidable hospitalizations.

Hiring inexperienced workers and failing to train them:
Unlicensed employees provide support to the ongoing care of residents. When facilities fail to meet residents needs, many facilities will combat this problem by hiring inexperienced workers and rushing them into their job roles with no proper training. All staff members must be provided with the tools and support needed to do their jobs properly and within state standards for nursing homes.

Not following industry guidelines or Illinois law:
There are several Federal and Illinois laws implemented to protect patients with skilled care and a reasonable quality of life. If a nursing home fails to abide by these standards, then it may have its license revoked. Not doing so can negatively impact a patients care.

Ignoring reports of abuse and neglect by patients:
It is estimated that at least 2.3 million seniors will become victims of nursing home abuse, yet most cases go unreported. Family members are often oblivious; victims are too afraid to come forward, or they don’t know that inadequate care is abuse under federal regulations. The American Association of Justice reported that only 1 in 14 nursing home abuse cases are reported to the proper authorities.

Not addressing issues with clients and their families:
Staff members described staff-family interactions as difficult, problematic and time consuming, but by not doing so they are not allowing for family members to become involved with in care decisions. This is important for the health and well being of patients.

When facilities choose to cut costs and practice unethically, nursing homes cannot operate safely and effectively. Patients aren’t always capable of comprehending the extent of what’s going on around them or feel unable to express it to their loved ones. It’s important for family members to be aware of any neglect, abuse or suffering and help be their voices.

We are a Chicago law firm who help people find the best attorney for their case anywhere in Illinois. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys for free, please fill out our contact form or call us at 800-517-1614.

Many of the blog posts we write are from questions that we get from readers and clients.  Some of the questions we don’t blog about, but are still worth sharing.  Here are some of the best questions we’ve received in recent months.  If you have a question fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with an Illinois attorney for free.

I am being considered for a labor job that I really want.  To help convince them to hire me, can I agree to waive my rights to workers comp if I get hurt?

By law this is not allowed and even if it was, it would be a terrible idea, especially for a laborer who is at a high risk of injury.  Fortunately, Illinois law saves you from yourself in this situation.

Do I have a right to get my medical records from my doctor?

Yes, under Illinois law you are entitled to a copy.

How long does a civil lawsuit take?

That depends on the facts of the case and whether or not you and the other party can agree to a settlement. On average it seems to be 12-18 months, but more complex cases or those with many defendants can take much longer.

I own a business.  How many people do I have to employ in order to have to have workers comp?

One. If you have any employees and don’t have workers comp insurance it’s a felony in Illinois.

How long do I have to contest a will?

The sooner the better, but in general it’s supposed to challenged in court within six months of the date that it is filed.  A failure to do that could cause you to lose your rights.

How do I know if my case will really go to trial?

Good question.  Honest answer is you never really know for sure.  Many cases seem like they are headed that way for sure only to settle at the last minute.  I can tell you that you can’t go to trial if your attorney doesn’t take all of the necessary steps required so if the case isn’t settling and seems to not be heading that way, they should absolutely proceed as if they are going to trial. Often doing that forces the other side to compromise.  Even if you start a trial, it’s not unheard of for a case to settle before it’s over.

My attorney is 80. Is that too old or should I be happy to have someone that experienced?

It probably depends on the lawyer, but I’m really suspicious in general when an attorney is working at that age and question if their heart is in it, how much vacation they take, how sharp they are, etc.

My sister died without a will, isn’t married, has no kids and told me she wants me to get everything.  My brother said that doesn’t matter.  Who is right?

Unless there are parents who are alive, verbal wishes don’t matter and the surviving siblings will split everything equally.

I caught my wife cheating on me. I confronted her and she filed for divorce.  Can I make her pay for it since it’s her fault.

Unfortunately no.  Judges don’t care who is at fault for the divorce when it comes to paying for it.  In fact, if you make a lot more than your spouse, you might have to pay for your lawyer and theirs too.

I was arrested and the charges were dismissed.  Can I sue?

Can you?  Yes.  Will you win.  That’s doubtful because the burden of proof to arrest someone is much different than that to convict someone.  So people get arrested every day of things they are innocent of and things that they are found not guilty of.  That alone doesn’t mean you have a case.  If everyone who had charges dropped could sue, we’d have no court system because it would be bankrupt.  I’m sure it sucks to have this happen to you, but it’s just the reality of how our criminal justice system works.

 

If you want to ask a lawyer a question for free, contact us any time.

We are Chicago attorneys who help people find the right law firm for their case anywhere in Illinois. If you would like our help, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with an attorney for free.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) was put in place to “serve, safeguard, and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the public by ensuring that licensure qualifications and standards for professional practice are properly evaluated, applied and enforced.”

To do this, the IDFPR governs over 100 professional licenses in Illinois imposing disciplines yearly on 3,000 licensees in the various professions and occupations it regulates.
When the IDFPR receives any source of a complaint or allegation against a licensee, the case is thoroughly investigated. After a complete evaluation of the case, the case is assigned to a prosecuting attorney in the department of the licensee. The prosecuting attorney, after review, can decide to close the case, file a formal Complaint or schedule the matter for a Disciplinary Conference.

A Disciplinary Conference is often referred to as an Informal Conference, but there is nothing informal about it. It is not mandatory, but results from an informal conference can result in very serious ramifications to your license, including censure and suspension. It is important to be properly prepared and/or represented to avoid a potentially expensive dilemma.

Howver, with proper representation, informal conferences can be an efficient and cost-effective way to resolve licensing disputes quickly and confidentially.

A Disciplinary Conference allows the opportunity for a representative of the licensee to meet on an ‘informal’ basis with a staff attorney and a board member. These conferences are confidential, and no court reporter is present. The focus during this is to resolve the matter without having the IDFPR file a formal complaint.

Because you want the case resolved without your license being affected, it’s extremely important that you have an experienced attorney in your corner at that point.  Don’t be fooled by the word “informal.”  This is all very serious business and should be taken seriously.  The longer the process plays out, the greater at risk your career is.

At the initiation of a Disciplinary Conference, the licensee will be asked a series of questions related to the complaint made against them. Following this is the time to present any pertinent information regarding the case. Customarily, the licensee and their attorney will be asked to leave while the Department attorney and board member(s) discuss the matter. Following this private discussion, all parties are welcomed back into the room to discuss next actions.

At this point the Department hasthe option to close the case completely. In some cases, the Department may issue an Administrative Warning Letter or a Letter of Concern. Neither of these letters are not reported and not kept as public record. Other cases, a settlement offer may be made.

If offered a settlement following a Disciplinary Conference, it is not an official finding of the board, no matter how it is presented by the prosecutor, and you can either accept, counter-offer or deny the offer. If accepted, a written Consent Order is drafted and presented for signature. This can take some time and it is very important that any document received relating to the settlement is carefully reviewed and is as agreed upon before consenting and signing. The Consent Order is then approved by the department board and finally by the Director of the Department’s Division of Professional Regulation for their approval. Only then can it be officially filed.

A Formal Complaint is made if the licensee rejects the settlement offer or makes no acceptable counter-offer. A Formal Complaint generally leads to a formal evidentiary hearing, which often leads to more sever actions against the licensee including larger fines, suspension or revocation of license, or other disciplinary actions.

If you have any questions about this process or need an attorney in your corner with a track record of success, contact us at any time.

All across the nation, dock-less electric scooters are available for rent in dozens of U.S. cities. This new form of transportation is not only fun, they’re cheap, convenient, earth friendly and help saves time. Yet, with all the benefits of these electric scooters there are just as many risks to them.  And now they are coming to Chicago.  Over the weekend, the City launched a pilot program that put 2,500 motorized scooters on the City streets.  The total number can go as high as 3,500.

The rise of motorized scooters also comes with much controversy. Cities everywhere are littered with scooters from Lime, Spin or Bird, causing an eyesore and a new kind of congestion to the city. More notably, is the rise of injuries.

According to recent studies, electric scooters now send more people to the hospital than bicycles or walking. Cases of broken noses, wrists and shoulders, along with facial lacerations, fractures and nerve, tendon or ligament injuries have been reported due to accidents with an electric scooter. Head trauma tops the list of severe injuries involving the use of an electric scooter
Riders are often sharing the road with fast-moving vehicular traffic, but appear to underestimate the hazards. Sure, they really can only go to a max speed of 15 mph in most cases, but speed does not correlate with lower accident risk.

Majority of the injuries were from physically riding the scooters; however, some pedestrians were injured when scooter riders crashed into them, and others tripped over scooters while simply walking.

Implementing safety fixes could take a long time. Take for example the process communities have taken for bike lanes or even sidewalks. Until we see stricter restrictions, it is important to be mindful while using electric scooters and if you haven’t been a pedestrian yet in a city where these scooters are everywhere, you are in for a surprise.

With the rise of scooters you know that lawsuits are going to follow.  The reality is that no Chicago attorney has experience with these cases because there haven’t been enough of a history yet. That said, there are plenty of lawyers in Chicago who have great experience suing dockless bike companies and ride share companies and the premise behind these lawsuits is the same.  If you are hit by a scooter, you are potentially suing the operator as well as the scooter company if you are injured.  If you are hurt while riding a scooter you may have a case against the scooter company, the person who caused the accident and potentially the City itself.

 

Bottom line is that just any old personal injury attorney wouldn’t be right for you, especially if you have a serious injury.  If you’d like to talk to one of our lawyers for free about an accident to get a recommendation to an experienced law firm who can give you the best chance of a great result, call us at 312-346-5320 any time.

For a licensed professional in Illinois, having their hard-earned professional license investigated by The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is a threat to their career, livelihood and personal life. Professional licenses can be investigated and disciplined for a variety of reasons. Federal laws, administrative regulations, new licensing board rules, statues and ordinances all regulate and control every facet of a professional practice. If you are under an investigation by the IDFPR, be careful with your behavior and actions as your license, reputation and future are at risk.

The thought of an investigation and potentially losing your professional license can be panic-inducing, but do not panic and do not get in a hurry. Remain collected through the investigation and work with your attorney immediately to dispute the complaint. During the investigation, you will still be permitted to practice in your field and continue to work with clients.

While you’re calm and collected, that doesn’t mean to put your guard down. The investigators and prosecutors are not your friends. With the guide of your attorney, protect yourself through the investigation at all times. You are entitled to seeking and asking your own questions: Which agency is conducting the investigation? Why, what and who is the investigation towards?

If you’re told that you have the right to remain silent, then do just that. Remain silent as you are clearly the subject of a criminal investigation.

Once you know more about who and what is being investigated, you have the right to decide to submit to an interview or not. By law, it is not usually required to submit to an interview. However, if opting to an interview, it is always best to have your attorneys present. During the interview, as any part of the investigative process, it is important to remain truthful and do not justify a situation. The investigators’ job is to collect evidence and information for the prosecuting attorney. Hold your explanations for a time more suited to this information, but also be aware that there will not be an opportunity to review or correct any information given in an investigators’ report. It is also important not to offer up any authorized original documents or copies without a subpoena or search warrant. Your words and actions can and will be used against you, if the investigator sees fit to.

Being investigated is not a trivial matter and can be overwhelming. Investigators have been known to be intimidating in nature often downplaying the importance of an investigation, declining information and making the interview uncomfortable. This is unreasonable for a professional and is a serious matter. You are entitled to information, professionalism and have the right to terminate an interview at any time.

Once a complaint is fully investigated the case will be either dropped or the license holder will be subjected to an informal hearing or a formal evidentiary hearing. In a typical calendar year, the IDFPR imposes discipline on 3,000+ licensees in various regulated professions, yet less than 200 are actually subjected to an evidentiary hearing. Most settlement agreements are negotiated during or as a result of an informal Disciplinary Conference.

The longer one practices, the more likely to be investigated. Stay calm and safeguard the process of your investigation with careful and precise steps with your attorney as described above.

You should not go through an investigation without a lawyer.  Very few attorneys have experience with these cases. If you want a referral to an experienced IDFPR law firm that will protect you, call us at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form.

We are Chicago attorneys who help people with legal matters throughout Illinois. If you would like our help please call us at 800-517-1614 or fill out our contact form and we will call you. All communication is free and confidential.

Workers’ Compensation laws vary by state.  Some heavily favor the insurance company and employers, others are stronger for workers. Illinois has common sense workers’ compensation laws that are very strong for workers legitimately hurt on the job.

Just like other types of employees, the threat of injury is real and pervasive for truck drivers. Truck drivers that are injured on the job, whether in an accident on the road or performing other job duties, like servicing their truck or loading and unloading, are entitled to workers’ compensation.   If you get hurt in Illinois, principally work out of Illinois or were hired out of Illinois, you can file for benefits here.  Under IL law, traveling employees are covered for most injuries even if it’s not while on the clock.

When it comes to workers’ compensation, Illinois is just better in regards in many ways. In many states, the income received from workers’ compensation is limited. Other states put a cap on the total received regardless of injury and others mandate you to use their chosen doctor and not a doctor of your choice. Some states allow nurse case managers to talk directly to your doctor or attend your appointments.  Those problems don’t exist in Illinois.

Another tricky factor when it comes to truck drivers and workers’ compensation is that many trucking companies often like to label their drivers as “independent contractors’ for various reasons. The biggest reasons are Independent contractors are responsible for their own taxes and don’t always qualify for Workman’s Compensation.

However, there are many gray areas to whether a truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor of a trucking company, and therefore whether or not qualifies for workers’ compensation when injured. These factors are applied case by case. Here are some factors courts typically look at in making a determination if someone is an employee or an Independent Contractor:

1. Is the trucking company in control of the driver’s work performance?
2. Does the driver set their own hours for work?
3. Can the driver decline certain loads or jobs?
4. Is it the company or the driver establish the given routes?
5. How is the driver paid? Weekly, hourly, mile, etc.?
6. Can the driver contract with other trucking companies?
7. Is the driver required to wear a uniform?
8. Is the driver required to adhere to company standards and/or attend safety meetings required by the company?
9. Is the driver allowed to keep the equipment on a nightly basis or is required to return the equipment?
10. How is the wording in the contracts between driver and trucking company?

The more they control you, the easier it is to show you really are an employee even if they pay you as a 1099 or you signed a document stating you don’t work for them. If you can be proven to really be an employee you can get work comp benefits.

We get that this can be confusing. If you’d like to discuss it for free with a lawyer, please contact us at any time.

If a loved one has passed, the last thing you need is an unnecessary headache.  You are grieving and trying to get the pieces of your life back in place.  People should be sensitive to you at that time and not give you any unwanted stress.

Despite all of this, people who are entitled to payouts for life insurance policies are denied payment without reason.  So the question is why does this happen so often?

The answer is a simple and sad one. It’s all business.  If you are expecting a payout on a $100,000.00 policy and need that money to pay for a funeral or mortgage, you might be desperate.  So sometimes an insurance company might offer you a partial payout on a disputed basis to take advantage of your desperation.

More often though, they will just deny the whole thing. They do this because they hope you will go away.    There are very few Illinois lawyers with experience fighting for denied life insurance benefits and if your policy is not that large, it might be hard to find one willing to take on the case at all.

So from the insurance company standpoint, they can deny you without good reason because in their best case scenario you go away or take less money and in the worst case scenario for them, they just pay out what they would have had to any way.

They look for loopholes or accuse your loved one of not telling them everything about their health history. I’ve seen that as the basis for a denial when someone died in a car accident.  It’s absurd and abusive and beyond unfair.

The good news is that we do know attorneys who handle cases when someone dies and the life insurance company won’t pay out the policy.  And these lawyers work on a contingency basis which means you won’t pay them unless they make a recovery for you.

So don’t be frustrated.  Give us a call and our attorneys will talk to you for free and refer you to an experienced law firm that should be able to help you.  Fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320.  We cover all of Illinois and can usually put to an end this terrible insurance company behavior.

We are Chicago attorneys who help people find the best law firm for their Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit. We will speak with you for free, discuss your situation and then recommend an independent firm that we feel has the best track record to succeed for you based on your unique facts.  We cover all of Illinois.  If you would like our help please call us at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.

The human brain is not only fascinating in its complexity, but is one of the most important organs in the human body. Essential to living a normal life, the brain acts as the command center for our cognition, physical abilities and emotional and psychological functions. Naturally, an injury to the brain can cripple a person for the rest of their lives.

The brain requires a constant flow of oxygen in order to perform normally. If there is a diminished amount of oxygen, brain cells can die and brain damage can occur. This is referred to as hypoxic brain injury. Although rare, medical professionals sometimes act negligently, making critical errors that can lead to oxygen deprivation and brain damage. Hypoxic brain injuries are often caused by medical negligence due to surgical errors, medication mistakes, general anesthesia complications, labor and delivery injuries, failure to monitor and treat extremely low blood pressure, intubation errors, and the poor use of heart-lung machines during coronary artery bypass graft surgeries. Depending on the part of the brain affected and how long a person was without oxygen determines if someone will be able to recover. Sadly, oxygen deprivation typically causes brain injuries that can lead to a lifetime of impairments and disabilities.

A person with a hypoxic brain injury may suffer from cognitive and behavioral changes, but also physical problems. Again, dependent on the area of the brain effected and the level of the hypoxic damage, different symptoms may appear including dyskinesia, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, chorea, athetosis, tremor and Lance-Adams Syndrome.

If you don’t recognize Lance-Adams Syndrome, or LAS, you’re not alone. In fact, there are less than 150 reported cases worldwide. LAS is an uncommon neurological disorder mostly seen in patients who have undergone a cardiorespiratory arrest, later regaining consciousness, then developing quick and involuntary muscle jerks, known as myoclonus, sometime after. As the development of emergency medicine grows and the increasing number of patients survive a hypoxic brain injury, the amount of LAS diagnosis will gradually grow.

Currently, LAS is often misdiagnosed causing inappropriate therapy and delayed treatment. Making an early diagnosis and properly managing LAS is positively related to improving the patient’s functional outcome, minimizing the patient’s disabilities and improving the prognosis.

Similar to the tremor effect of Parkinson’s disease, Lance-Adams syndrome makes even the simplest of tasks difficult. With the quick and involuntary muscle jerks, patients have lost their sense of balance and fine motor skills. Living with LAS takes a toll on one’s life physically, financially and emotionally, often leading to sever depression as their sense of identity is gone. Patients of LAS often need years of rehabilitation, counseling, ongoing medical care and financial assistance.

When there is a loss of oxygen during surgery or from another medical incident, the cause is often medical malpractice. With any medical negligence case you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney.   There are very few law firms that have LAS experience, but we can help you find one that gives you the best chance of winning a case and understands this rare complication.

If you are going through a child custody case in Illinois, your goal might be sole custody or joint custody or just reasonable visitation.  Hopefully your case can be amicable, but usually that is not the case.  We are attorneys in Chicago who help people find the best lawyer for their case.  We talked to some of the top child custody attorneys in Illinois and asked their tips for getting a great result.  Here are some of the things they said.

– Remember that custody is about the best interests of the child.  That means the child doesn’t get to pick where they live or who they want to spend time with.

– As the kids get older they have more influence on custody, but a Judge isn’t going to punish a parent who disciplines a child in favor of one that gives them free reign.

– You should keep track of what you do for your child and how often you do it.  This includes attending their events, helping them with homework, driving them to and from school, etc.

– It’s not realistic to expect sole custody when the other parent is involved in the child’s life and doesn’t have major red flags such as abusing the kids or a bad criminal record.

– You can’t move out of State with a child without the court’s permission. They don’t allow that when it isn’t in the best interests of the kids, you don’t have a realistic plan or the other parent’s rights will be adversely effected.

– Your best chance at getting the result you want comes when the facts look the strongest for you.  So if your ex got a DUI the other day, it sounds cruel, but this is likely the worst they will ever look which gives you leverage to get a better result.  You can’t come to court and pin your hopes on something awful your ex did five years ago.

– It’s a myth that women automatically get custody.  It happened that way for years because women traditionally stayed home with the kids so it made sense for them to have primary custody.  But times have changed and custody cases are truly about what is in the best interests of the child.

– Father’s rights is a marketing term used to scare people.  Men and women have the same rights under Illinois law.

– Judges aren’t stupid.  If they think you are going for custody just to avoid paying child support you will likely get a bad result.

– Unfortunate, but true, Judges tend to not listen to people who don’t have a lawyer.  These cases can be expensive and I get why people don’t want to spend the money on legal fees. But if you go at it alone and your ex has a lawyer, they will likely win. After that happens it’s really hard if not impossible for us to get things turned around.

– Unless you can show a drastic change in circumstances, most custody orders can’t be amended for at least two years.  A “drastic change” would be new information like your ex getting arrested.

 

I hope this helps, if you have questions or want an attorney referral, call us at 312-346-5320 for a free consultation.