We are experienced Chicago based injury attorneys for cases throughout Illinois. If you would like a free consultation, please call us at (312) 346-5320.

As an expecting parent, you have so much hope for your unborn son or daughter.  It’s a terrible shock when they are injured at birth.  If it’s possibly due to negligence from the doctor or hospital, it’s important that you know what to look for.  We put together a list of things you should know.

– There are all sorts of birth injuries that we see.  The most common is when they keep the baby inside the mother too long.  This can result in a brain injury.

– To determine if there is a brain injury, we look at the cord gas (blood taken from the umbilical cord).

– In most brain injury birth cases, the child will have a seizure and abnormal MRI within the first 48 hours after delivery.

– It’s typical, when a brain injury is suspected, for the doctors to apply a cooling process as this can potentially reverse or limit brain damage.

– When a baby shows distress through the fetal monitoring system they should be removed from the mother within 30 minutes.

– Another big warning sign is when the baby’s heartbeat drops after a contraction. Typically being squeezed would raise the heartbeat.

– The other big birth related injury is to the arm and shoulder.  Brachial plexus and Erb’s Palsy are the two most common ones, usually from the child being too big for the birth canal or the doctor making an error while pulling the baby out.  If the baby has a permanent injury it could be worth filing a lawsuit.  Shoulder dystocia happens when a baby’s head gets trapped behind the mother’s pelvis during delivery.  It can lead to terrible outcomes including difficulties when breathing, a collarbone fracture, cerebral palsy, a brachial plexus fracture, and in some instances, death.

– The time limit to sue for most birth injury cases is eight years from the delivery.  Note if you treated at a Government run hospital, the time limit could be as little as one year.  And if your pediatrician is employed by a Federally funded clinic, the time limit to sue is no more than two years from delivery and must be done under the Federal Tort Claims Act. So even if you delivered at a hospital like Rush or Northwestern, if the doctor is actually an employee of the Federally funded clinic, the time limit to sue them is only two years.

– In most cases you have to wait a couple of years to see what the ultimate outcome of the baby is before proceeding with a lawsuit because otherwise you can’t fully assess their damages and the case value.  In other words, don’t be stressed if your case is taking many years.

– The most important point you should know is that there are really only a handful of attorneys who have a great track record of success with these cases.  In a case with a really serious injury, the right law firm isn’t only the difference between winning and losing, but it can also be the difference of many millions of dollars.

If you want to discuss your case and/or find out who the best law firm is for you, call us for a free consultation.  We will give honest, blunt advice and recommend a firm with an incredible track record.  This doesn’t guarantee a win, but gives you the best chance at a good result.

 

Rehabilitation centers can be integral to the treatment and rehabilitation of a patient suffering from functional limitations or loss resulting from a stroke, injury, disability, disease or recent surgery. While rehabilitation centers may help you to improve your body’s functions, a recent government study found they sometimes can go wrong and even make things worse.

The office of the inspector general of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services published a report in 2016 stating that 29 percent of patients in a rehabilitation center sustained an injury or other type of harm because of the care received leading to prolonged stays, hospital transfers, life-sustaining interventions or death. The study found 46 percent of these cases were likely to be preventable.

The injuries following rehab care identified in the study ranged in severity. From a temporary injury to something that required a longer stay at the facility or that led to permanent disability or death.
Harm can occur in any type of an inpatient setting, but rehabilitation facilities are underestimated in terms of what type of harm can occur. Some of the most common injuries from rehabilitation facilities are here.

• Medical Errors – The study suggests that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. Many of these rehab centers are staffed inadequately causing substandard treatment, insufficient patient monitoring and failure to provide needed treatments to patients. These are the key reasons harm occurs at rehab facilities. These failures lead to one in three patients receiving a medication error. The harm from medication errors range from dizziness and unbalance to bleeding from gastric ulcers due to blood thinners and a loss of consciousness linked to narcotic painkillers.

• Bed Sores – Bed sores occur when there is unrelieved pressure to the skin, occurring most frequently to areas of the body where bone and skin are very close to contact. Patients most at risk are those immobilized from medical conditions such as joint replacements, hip, pelvis or leg fractures, paralysis or coma. Staff in a rehabilitation center needs to remain aware that rehab patients, of all ages and health, are at risk and need to be diligent with their preventive programs. If not treated they can cause serious health problems like infections and other life-threatening injuries.

• Infections – Infections can occur not only by bed sores, but also after a surgery. Various types of organisms can develop at the site of the surgical wound or any type of line or catheter inserted into the patient. Unfortunately, rehabilitation centers are frequently not set up to treat serious infections.

• Falling – Falls are a common patient injury in a rehabilitation center, and while some are unavoidable, others are due to the staff’s negligence. During a physical rehabilitation session, staff may become distracted allowing a patient to fall. Clean floors usually mean slippery floors and are a common cause for a fall. Countless medical conditions and medications can lead to dizziness and a loss of balance causing a patient to fall. For the injured, a fall can have serious consequences.

• Dropped by Staff – Facility staff are often required to transfer a patient. Staff should be experts at transferring patients safely and effectively while minimizing pain and injury. However, if done negligently, it can lead to accident or fall resulting in injury.

These cases are very much like nursing home abuse claims, but they are different and certainly require experience.  Beware general personal injury attorneys who try to handle these cases without a true track record of success.  We work with the best firms in Chicago and throughout the state on this very niche area of law.  If you would like a referral please call us at 312-346-5320.

We are experienced Illinois lawyers who will help you find the best attorney for your case.  If you would like a free consultation, call us at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form.  We are based in Chicago, but cover all of Illinois.  For more information on strokes in surgery, please read on.

Anytime you go in for surgery, it can be frightening. Even a small every day procedure can turn into something unexpected very quickly. One of those things is a stroke. For the majority of people, the chance you may have a stroke during or after surgery is as low as 1%. However, this can go up to 10% depending on your age, overall health and what exactly your surgery is for. Heart patients have the highest risk of stroke during or after surgery.

In one case in Cook County, Illinois, a patient was awarded $4.6 million dollars after having a stroke during surgery. In her specific case, the cause was the anesthesiologist using a technique that caused the patients’ blood pressure to drop below the normal range. In this case, the woman was 70 years old with a history of blood pressure issues and diabetes. The stroke left her unable to move part of body, which eventually improved, however she didn’t regain full strength on the left side of her body.

One of the most common reasons people have strokes during or after surgery is a blood clot. This of course causes a problem because one way to avoid blood clots is administering blood thinners. Having blood thinners in your system during surgery could seriously increase the risk of bleeding, however some research shows a simple dose of aspirin may be enough to help decrease the risks of bleeding and blood clots at the same time.

With an ischemic stroke, there is a problem with blood flow to the brain during or after surgery. The anesthesiologist has to monitor this during the entire surgery as the results can be catastrophic if a problem occurs.  Time is of the essence when this happens as within minutes brain cells begin to die.

All surgeries carry some risk. Not all surgeries carry catastrophic risks. Stroke being one of those catastrophic risks. If you or a loved one had a stroke during or after your surgery, you may have a medical malpractice or negligence case. Contact us to discuss your situation and get a free review to see if you have a claim.

We are experienced Chicago attorneys who will talk to you for free and help you find the right Illinois malpractice law firm.  If you would like our help, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320 for a no cost, confidential consultation. Have a lawyer help you find the best lawyer for you.

One of the biggest myths of the legal industry is that suing a doctor, nurse or hospital and winning is easy.  Unfortunately it’s not.  Even in Cook County, about 80% of the cases which go to trial are won by the defense.  As a result the concern of many of my callers that “they will just get away with it” sadly often comes true.  It’s unfortunate, but the truth is that to win a medical negligence lawsuit you need a bad screw up and a bad injury.

When you do have a good case or the potential for one, two goals can be met.  Both of the goals are to make the responsible party be accountable.

The first goal in bringing any medical malpractice lawsuit is to bring awareness to the doctor’s mistake in an attempt to stop it from happening to other patients. Unfortunately because doctors are “practicing” medicine, there are times when they are simply in over their heads, or they make absolute mistakes. Other times hospitals have bad policies that are put in place carelessly or to save money.  These mistakes can have catastrophic consequences and the only way to make sure they never happen to anyone else in the future is to make sure the medical provider is fully aware of their error. Your medical malpractice lawsuit may save someone else’s life because it can force a change in how they behave.

The second goal in a medical malpractice lawsuit is to ensure you and/or your loved ones are compensated for the error.  Your medical expenses, both current and future, need to be taken care of as well as compensation for your loss of income due to the malpractice, and for any pain and suffering the malpractice caused.  The worry about having to pay out money causes medical groups to do the right thing for future patients.

These two goals go hand in hand, one helping the other. For instance, hospitals do not want to work with doctors who have made catastrophic mistakes. It isn’t in their financial best interest to keep these doctors on staff. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit brings the mistake to the forefront and is reported for the rest of the time that doctor is in practice. Hospitals have to keep their profit and loss in mind when they are hiring doctors and if one has several documented mistakes on his or her record, they will probably not allow them to have practicing privileges.

Medical Malpractice lawsuits are not just about punishing doctors who make human errors or “paying out” those who had a bad experience with a doctor or hospital. Medical malpractice lawsuits are meant specifically to point out and acknowledge a medical providers error as well as to make sure the patient is cared for in a quality fashion moving forward. Also, to make sure no one else has to endure a catastrophic medical error.

If you think you might have a medical malpractice situation, call us today to review your case history. We will let you know if you do have a case, and put you in touch with a qualified attorney in your area.

I received a call from a very nice senior citizen.  She was in a car accident in Chicago where the other side was clearly at fault and she sustained numerous injuries.

It seemed like good news to her that the person who hit her was insured by State Farm.  They are a reputable insurance company so she felt confident just as she would if the other party had someone like Geico or All State.  She trusted that they would be fair with her.

A few days after the accident they called her up, convinced her to let them record a call and tried to get her to settle for around $2,000 plus $3,000 for future medical needs.  This happened despite her having some really serious injuries.  Their hope was that if they got it on recording and then sent her a check that they cashed that they could close the case for much less than they likely would have had to pay.

This is shady and unfortunately it’s how insurance companies make money when you are injured in a car accident.  If the insurance policy was for $100,000 and they get away with only paying around $5,000, that’s a huge win for them.  Do that to 100 people and you’ve saved nearly $10 million. Do it to 1,000 people and it’s a bottom line savings of around $100 million.  It’s a really big deal.

So if an insurance company wants to record you, say no.

If an insurance company wants to offer you a settlement for anything other than your car damage and you are still receiving medical care, don’t talk to them about it.

If they send you a settlement check and you are still treating, don’t cash it.

If they try to tell you that you are partially at fault when you are rear ended while sitting at a stop light, don’t believe them.

In general, no matter how nice they are, no matter their reputation, no matter if they tell you that this is just how it is, remember that the insurance company is not there to look out for you.  Their employees get compensated, in part, based on how little they pay you as compared to how much they should pay you under the law.  Nobody who cares about you would tell you to settle a case days after you are injured when you have no idea what the ultimate outcome of your injury will be.

If you have questions on this or would like our help in finding the best attorney for your case, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320 to speak with an experienced attorney for free.

The Warning on Statute of Limitations for Birth Injuries: Is it 8 years or is it 2 years?

Childbirth is a very exciting time for a mother and her family. It can also be a very scary time if there are any signs of potential birth complications such as breech birth, preterm labor, preeclampsia, brain injury occurring due to oxygen deprivation and more.

Generally speaking, when there is a birth injury in Illinois due to the negligence of a doctor, hospital or other medical professional, you have eight years from when it happened to file a lawsuit.  This law exists because with infants it can take many years to determine what the actual injury is.  You can’t prove that the baby will have difficulty speaking or learning when they are born.  If they hurt their shoulder in the delivery, there’s no way to tell how that will impact them in five years.

There is a HUGE exception to this rule though.  And if your lawyer doesn’t realize this it can end your malpractice case and leave you with no option other than suing your attorney.

If a patient experiences negligence or malpractice at a federally funded clinic or hospital or by a federal employee, the statute is actually only 2 years under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The trap for these patients is that they think they have 8 years, but in truth, they only have 2 years and are losing their right to sue.

The trick is that you could be at a regular hospital such as Rush, Swedish Covenant, Northwestern, etc., but the doctor who makes the delivery error could actually work for a Federally funded medical clinic.  In those cases while they have privileges at the hospital, their true employer is the Federal Government.  As a result, you only have two years from the malpractice date to sue, not eight.

We’ve seen examples of prestigious, successful law firms failing to discover the true employer of these doctors.  It’s somewhat laziness in that when these cases come in you have to be able to verify where the OBGYN or other doctors involved actually work.  When the lawyer hears a hospital name, some don’t think to dig deeper.  Their failure could cost you millions if it’s a catastrophic injury.

Federally funded medical clinics are national and doctors can be employed at several locations. Unfortunately, many patients are not even aware if their doctor or clinic is government funded.

So how can you tell if a clinic/hospital or doctor is federally funded? You may need to do a little research and investigating to find out if you’re going to a federal funded clinic/hospital or seeking treatment from federally employed doctors. Some options include:

• Looking at the Clinic or Facility’s website.
• Call and ask the clinic directly.
• Visit the Health and Human Services (HHS) website at HHS.gov for more information.

There are literally hundreds of these clinics in Illinois with names like Heartland Health Center, Aunt Martha’s, Access and Shawnee Health Care.  In other words, it’s not always obvious and you have to do some digging.

Some law firms take an approach with birth injuries that they will do nothing until the child turns three.  If that is your child and the doctor who screwed up is employed by one of these clinics, you’d have no case to pursue because it would be too late.  So the bottom line is that you need to be diligent and confirm who your doctor actually works for.

Is this confusing? It can be.  We are experienced Chicago attorneys who would be happy to talk to you about a potential case for free.  Fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5320 for a free consultation.

We were recently involved in a case where an older man died after his doctor failed to diagnose a pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.  The doctor who committed the error had an insurance policy for $1 million, but the negligence happened at a hospital so they were sued too.

After some wrangling, the defense attorney offered to settle the case for $1 million.  The top Chicago malpractice lawyer we referred this client to said no.  The defense then offered to kick in an extra $100,000.00 from the hospital to end the case.  The attorney, with approval from his client of course, again said no.

Fast forward and right before the trial the case settled for $2,500,000.00.  There wasn’t much of a defense and while no amount of money can compensate the widow for her loss, this money will make her life much easier.

The point of all of this is that most firms would have taken the policy limit offers and wouldn’t have the guts to say no.  It would be the easy move for them because it would put money in their pocket without having to take the time and expense of getting the case ready for trial.  But the best move for the client was to say no and get ready for trial.

The simple fact is that medical malpractice lawsuits in Illinois are expensive, time intensive and difficult to win.  So the reality is that while many lawyers want these cases, there are really only 7-10 that deliver consistently great results and have a true track record of success.

A one man law firm will have challenges in handling all the work. A newer firm can have trouble funding these cases which can cost $100,000 or more to get to trial.  A firm without a track record doesn’t get the attention of insurance companies which makes them dig in more.

Getting one of these firms doesn’t guarantee a result, but it certainly gives you the best chance for a good result.  If you would like our help in finding the best malpractice attorney in Illinois for you, call us any time at 312-346-5320.  You can speak for our lawyers for free and we will answer any questions you have and guide you in the right direction.

Most of the attorneys I know are great, but truth be told, some are just awful.  The worst ones usually are the attorneys who put their own bottom line above a potential client and try to take on a case in an area of law they either just dabble in or know nothing about.  They usually do it because they think they are smart, wrongly believe the case will be easy and most of all want to make money.  We see this the most with attorneys who pretend they are Chicago personal injury lawyers.

Usually what happens is an attorney handles basic stuff like traffic tickets.  They help out a client who then says, “My cousin was hurt in a car accident as a passenger.  Can you help him?”  What the lawyer should do is say, “I don’t handle those cases” or “I don’t handle those cases, but know someone who does and can refer you.”  Instead in their mind they think, “I’m not making a ton of money and since they were the passenger, how hard can it be?”

The truth is that it’s a lot harder than they think.  First off, it takes skill and experience to identify all the proper insurance available, especially when a commercial vehicle is involved.  Second, there’s the matter of making sure the client is treating with a proper doctor and getting the care they need.  Third is having the experience needed to investigate an accident scene and/or document an accident properly.  Most of all though, the first thing an insurance company does when they get a new case is look up the lawyer.  If they realize the attorney is inexperienced, they will play hard ball and if they make an offer it will usually be a low ball one.

On the other hand, if your attorney has a track record of success and experience in dealing with that insurance company as well as a history of taking cases to trial when needed, the insurance company is more likely to be fair.

The other issue we see is that some lawyers who take these cases really need money.  You might think that most attorneys are rich, but the truth is that many are struggling.  A recent caller to my office needed a surgery from a car accident and her lawyer was trying to get her to settle the case for a low dollar amount. He wanted money now and didn’t care that the case would be worth more to him and the client by waiting.  He didn’t care that it was best for the client to do nothing now.  Fortunately she sought a second opinion.

So when you get an attorney who dabbles in personal injury, the client gets screwed.  These lawyers are frauds.  Do not hire the first lawyer you can hire.  Get the best one you can hire. You wouldn’t have a doctor who delivers babies operate on your back.  You don’t want a general practice lawyer for a serious injury case.  Any attorney who takes this case without a track record of success is looking out for themselves, not you.

If you need help finding the right personal injury attorney or just have questions, call us any time at 312-346-5320 to speak with one of our lawyers for free.  We cover all of Illinois and tell it like it is.  We don’t promise a result, but do guarantee we will look out for what is best for you and you alone.

Note, we are Chicago lawyers who since 2001 have been providing free legal advice and attorney referrals for people with legal matters anywhere in Illinois.  We have a state wide network of great, experienced attorneys who have a track record of success.  If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys for free, contact us at (312) 346-5320.  For more information about lawyer fees in car accident cases, read on.

There is an awful injury law firm in Chicago that has the worst commercials ever.  That’s not what makes them awful though.  They suck because I get about five calls a week from their unhappy clients and they usually all have similar stories.  Their complaints are either A. They promised me things that aren’t true. B. I have a new lawyer on my case every month. C. They don’t return my phone calls. D.  They don’t answer my questions.  E. All of the above.

Essentially this firm markets themselves like crazy, but doesn’t care about their clients.  They lose a lot of staff because people don’t want to work for unethical attorneys.

A recent caller to my office had hired this shady firm for a car accident case.  What’s crazy is that this firm is really a work injury firm, but apparently is trying to get injury cases too.  The caller had the similar concerns as their other unhappy clients do, but also questioned their attorney fee.  This firm was asking for 37.5% fee just to take the case, 40% if a lawsuit is filed, more if it goes to trial and 50% if there is an appeal!

That fee request is nuts.  Basically they are robbing their clients who accept it.  There’s no law for attorney fees, but except for very difficult cases you should be able to get an outstanding attorney whose fee fill be 1/3 of what they recover.  Many lawyers charge 40% on every case because they can get away with it, but if I was you I wouldn’t ever pay more than 1/3 and in some major injury cases you can get that down tow 25-30%.

To make matters worse in this case, the firm, after the surgeon discharged the client from medical care, forced him to go to a doctor buddy of theirs for physical therapy.  Of course that was done to try and inflate the bills to make the case worth more, but what’s really going to happen is it will make the case worth less because the insurance company won’t pay for it.  Ultimately, since this is a big injury case, the doctor will get paid, but it will come out of money that should have gone to the client.

It’s a pretty shady operation all around.

Bottom line is that you should not pay more than 1/3 to any injury attorney and you should never give them money up front.  If they are asking for that it’s a bad sign for them.  If you want help finding the best lawyer for your case, contact us for an unbiased opinion.

Police officers in Chicago and most places are for the most part great.  But when you have tens of thousands of them, there are bound to be some bad actors who do bad things.  Given that police have tremendous authority and power, they can do a lot of damage to innocent people.

In the past few months we’ve read a lot about officers in many cities/states who have been accused of sexually abusing people they have arrested and we’ve actively helped people in Chicago and other parts of Illinois who have made similar claims.

The challenge in these cases is that it can be a he said/she said situation and the cops who are scummy enough to do this do it because they believe nobody will believe a “criminal” over a cop.  That’s the mentality we are dealing with. So what should you do if an unethical cop, sheriff or any other officer makes you perform a sex act on them?

  1. Even if you committed a crime that put you in this position, you are still a victim and this officer is a criminal.  File a police report against them as soon as you can.
  2. Go to the hospital as soon as you are able to.  This can help prove what you are saying and enhances your credibility.  There is no such thing as consensual sex between an arresting officer and a defendant.
  3. Preserve any evidence that you can.  In one case, to be graphic, a client spit evidence in to a bottle. A DNA test will lead to an arrest and substantially increase the value of the case because it will take away any ability to deny that it happened.
  4. Remember the body cams.  Some really stupid cops have committed this rape while a body cam was on and/or turned it off without good explanation.

In the big picture, if this happens to you it can seem like an uphill battle, but if you are telling the truth your chances of prevailing both with criminal charges against the scum bag as well as in suing to win a lot of money.  What’s shocking in these cases is how often the person who abuses their authority has a track record of having done terrible things yet still gets to be alone with people to do it again.

If you would like a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL consultation about getting help with one of these cases or anything else, call us any time at (312) 346-5320 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.  You can speak with an experienced lawyer for free, ask questions and get pointed in the right direction.  We help everywhere in Illinois and with sexual assault cases by law enforcement officers we will often help any where in the US.