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Il injury lawyerWhen people choose to go live in a skilled nursing facility - or are placed there by a guardian - it is because they are no longer able to care for themselves at home. Nursing home residents are frequently completely dependent on staff for all their personal care and health care. When there are not enough caregivers there to give the care that residents need, harm can quickly come to people in this vulnerable population. The physical harm caused by understaffing can come on very quickly and lead to fatalities, like if someone’s call light is not answered while they are choking. Or, it can happen slowly. Bedsores can develop over time if there is not enough staff to turn immobilized patients at regular intervals. If your loved one was harmed due to understaffing in their skilled nursing facility, they may be entitled to compensation.

Skilled Nursing Facility Understaffing Can Injure Vulnerable Seniors in Many Ways

Understaffing is rampant in nursing homes right now. Like almost every other business, they are struggling to find the staff they need to stay on top of their responsibilities. Sadly, nursing homes that are operating with too many patients and not enough staff are putting our vulnerable elderly people in danger. Some ways that understaffing can lead to residents being harmed include:

  • Delayed emergency response - Call lights cannot be answered promptly if there are not enough staff members around to respond. Quick response times are the key to protecting seniors who are experiencing an emergency, such as a fall or chest pains. This delayed response can be the difference between life and death, or between minor injuries and severe harm.
  • Lack of routine care - Hygiene is very important, as many residents are immunocompromised. Seniors also have thinner skin, more prone to infection and issues like bedsores. If residents are not routinely helped with bathing and other hygiene care, they can quickly suffer skin breakdown or severe infections, particularly UTIs.
  • Unaddressed issues - When a resident or one of their family members has a concern, it should be addressed thoroughly and promptly. A complaint that would be minor for a young and healthy person can be a serious threat to someone who is elderly and frail. When staff is constantly being rushed, they may not address potential problems promptly or at all. This can allow a health issue that should have been nipped in the bud to escalate.

Senior citizens in nursing homes deserve quality care. You may have recourse if your loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home. An attorney can help.

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IL injury lawyerLittle kids complain about a lot of things. Small children have very low distress tolerance and can become very upset about things that seem very minor to an adult. A toddler may cry because no one will turn the sun off for them. An early elementary-aged child may come home in tears because they did not get a turn to play on the swings at recess. Some of the complaints your child comes home from daycare with may be rather silly. Others, however, could be quite serious. It is important for a parent to keep their ears open for potential red flags when a child talks about their time in daycare. Children may lack the language and comprehension skills needed to plainly alert you to a safety hazard or an act of abuse. You may need an attorney’s help if your child has been injured or harmed.

Red Flags You Should Never Ignore When Talking to Your Kids

Some children have “the gift of gab” and can ramble endlessly about their day. Others are quieter and only respond to direct questions. Wherever your child falls along that spectrum, it is important to seek more information and take prompt action if your child mentions:

  • Secrets - One thing children should not bring home from daycare is a “secret,” especially if the secret has to do with a “game” they played or is between them and an adult. It could turn out to be harmless, like a surprise Mother's Day gift, but it could also be a sign of sexual abuse.
  • Missing adults - If your child complains that they could not find an adult when they needed one, this is a big issue. It likely indicates that your child is not being adequately supervised or that the daycare does not have enough caregivers for the number of children in its care.
  • Odd punishments - A child who misbehaves may be put in time out, made to sit out a fun activity, or have you spoken to. If your child mentions any type of “creative” or unusual punishment, press for details. Some types of “discipline” amount to physical or emotional abuse. Not being allowed to eat at mealtime, being hit, being yelled at, or being shamed in front of others may rise to the level of abuse.
  • Ignored bullying - Caregivers are responsible for keeping children safe, including from other children. Bullying should be addressed swiftly.
  • Injuries - While accidents happen, if your child often reports that other children are getting hurt, it may be a sign that the daycare is not a safe place.

You know your child best. If they bring up any of these red flags, you should seek more information. If you suspect that your child has been harmed, it may be time to talk to a lawyer.

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IL accident lawyerYou probably hear a lot about serious car wrecks caused by drunk drivers. It is very true that drunk drivers are startlingly common and incredibly dangerous. Drunk drivers are ten to fifteen times more likely than sober drivers to cause an accident. Drivers who are high on cannabis are less dangerous than drivers who are drunk, but they are still twice as likely to crash as sober drivers. Sometimes it is abundantly clear that the driver who just hit you is under the influence of marijuana. A disturbing amount of drivers are willing to risk actively smoking cannabis while they are behind the wheel. In other cases, it may be less clear that cannabis use was a factor in the crash. While cannabis itself may be perfectly legal in Illinois, driving while high is not. An attorney may be able to help you further investigate to determine whether the driver who hit you was high.

The Negligence Per Se Rule in Illinois

When a law is enacted for safety reasons, and a person breaks that law and causes exactly the type of harm the law was trying to prevent, they are automatically liable for the harm they caused. Driving while intoxicated is illegal because intoxicated drivers tend to cause car crashes and hurt people. If a person who is high on marijuana decides to drive anyway and hits you, they are automatically declared negligent. This rule is called “negligence per se,” and it serves as a shortcut to establishing liability.

Is There a Way to Measure Cannabis Intoxication?

Measuring whether a driver is under the influence of cannabis is not as easy as determining whether they are legally drunk. The rule in Illinois is that a driver is under the influence if they have more than ten nanograms of THC per milliliter of a bodily fluid such as urine or saliva, or more than five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. However, this test is designed for the purpose of issuing DUIs, not proving liability in a car accident.

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IL accident lawyerAccidents on the highway can happen very quickly. Highway crashes often involve multiple vehicles due to traffic. All it takes is for one careless driver to make a mistake and suddenly, I-294 is at a standstill after a pile-up. If one person loses control of their vehicle after getting hit, they may swerve into another lane, causing repeat impacts. These accidents can be very dangerous or even deadly. Most highway accidents are the direct result of someone’s negligence. Drivers always have a duty to use reasonable care to prevent a car accident and avoid hurting others. Yet, many drivers do make common and completely avoidable errors while driving out of carelessness. If you have been injured in a highway accident, an attorney may be able to help you identify the liable party and recover compensation.

Forms of Driver Negligence on the Interstate

Safely driving at highway speeds requires care and attention. A lot of mistakes that drivers make have to do with being overly comfortable on the highway, particularly for those who commute into Chicago for work. Common causes of highway accidents include:

  • Cell phone use - Even sending a quick text or checking a work email while en route to the office can take a driver’s attention off the road long enough for them to cause an accident. A driver only needs to look down for a few seconds to miss the fact that traffic ahead is slowing down.
  • Road rage - Sitting in traffic can be very frustrating, especially when someone is already running late. Common occurrences, like briefly being stuck behind two semi-trucks slowly passing each other while going under the speed limit, can send an impatient driver into road rage mode. Drivers with road rage tend to unpredictably speed up and change lanes with no warning, sometimes intentionally cutting others off or even deliberately running others off the road.
  • Being lost - Missing an exit or split can be frustrating. It means that you will need to double back, which can take some time. Some drivers will panic when they realize that they are in the wrong lane and attempt to cut across several lanes of traffic to get where they need to be. This endangers everyone and often leads to sideswipe accidents.
  • Excessive speeding - There are two major problems with excessive speed on the interstate. The first is that the speeding driver will have to dodge others who are going at a more reasonable speed and may make a mistake. The other is that people who are driving at wild speeds can easily lose control, particularly around tight turns.

The aftermath of a highway accident can be confusing. In pile-ups, it can be tricky to figure out who started the crash, and how. An attorney can help investigate.

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IL injury lawyerYou have probably mostly heard the words “assault” and “battery” used in the context of criminal law. Both terms can apply to criminal offenses or civil causes of action. You may be less familiar with the concepts of civil assault and civil battery. The term “civil” here refers to the type of court overseeing a given legal action. It does not mean that anything about an assault or battery was what you would normally describe as “civil.” You should also know that after an assault and/or battery, the perpetrator may be criminally prosecuted and also sued in civil court by the victim. Assaults and batteries very commonly take place in bars and clubs, where people have been drinking and a minor dispute is more likely to escalate into violence. If you were injured after being intentionally attacked, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation from the person who hurt you.

What is a Civil Assault?

Assault means causing another person to believe that they are about to be physically harmed. Even if the assailant never makes physical contact with the victim and no physical harm occurs, an assault may still have taken place. For example, if you are in a verbal dispute at a bar and the other person dramatically breaks a beer bottle, then aims the sharp end at you as if preparing to stab you, that is typically an assault. It remains an assault even if the other individual then puts the broken bottle down and walks away without actually hurting you.

What is a Civil Battery?

A battery takes place when the attacker actually makes contact and causes physical harm. If, in the above example, the assailant actually does go on to strike you with the broken beer bottle, that would be a battery. You do not need to suffer serious bodily harm, but you will likely have a much easier time proving your case if your injury required medical attention.

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