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joliet personal injury lawyerIn 2018, the news broke that a company in the Chicago suburbs had been releasing ethylene oxide, a toxic gas, into the community, potentially putting residents at risk. Sterigenics, which operated a medical device sterilization facility located in Willowbrook, was accused of failing to take the proper measures to protect public safety, and it has faced a large number of personal injury lawsuits by people who claimed that they contracted cancer or other conditions after living or working near the facility. Recently, Sotera Health, the parent company of Sterigenics, reached a settlement agreement that would allow it to resolve nearly all of these lawsuits.

What Is Ethylene Oxide?

Ethylene oxide is a colorless gas that has been used for decades as a sterilizing and fumigation agent in a variety of industries. It is used in the medical device industry to sterilize single-use instruments, surgical gowns and drapes, endoscopes, and other medical items. While ethylene oxide can be an effective sterilization agent, it is also highly toxic. Some studies have found that ethylene oxide can cause cancer and other serious health conditions if people are exposed to it over long periods of time. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared that ethylene oxide is a hazardous air pollutant.

$408 Million Settlement Following $363 Million Verdict

Since 2018, over 800 lawsuits have been filed against Sterigenics and Sotera Health. In September of 2022, a verdict was reached in the first lawsuit, and a jury ruled in favor of a woman who had contracted breast cancer after living near the Willowbrook facility. She was awarded $363 million. However, in the second lawsuit, a jury found in favor of Sterigenics and did not award any compensation to the plaintiff.

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elmhurst distracted driver accident injury lawyerIn the 1980s and 90s, the primary safety messages for drivers were aimed at lowering the number of people killed by drunk drivers. In today’s world, drinking and driving is still something we educate drivers about, but another danger that may not be as obvious lurks in the shadows: distracted driving. According to federal estimates, more than 3,000 motorists and passengers are killed in distracted driving accidents in average year in the United States. If you have been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, understanding what caused the accident may help you obtain compensation.

Common Types of Driving Distractions

When you think of a driving distraction, your mind likely jumps to a cell phone or other electronic device. While these are some of the most common distractions for drivers, there are many different types of distractions that a variety of things can cause. For example, things both inside and outside of the vehicle can pose as distractions.

There are three main types of distractions that a driver can face:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_284767511-min.jpgConstruction workers have incredibly important and incredibly dangerous jobs. Building and repairing structures and roads often requires workers to use dangerous equipment, climb to great heights, or work in deep trenches. Safety precautions can prevent most accidents, but construction site injuries and deaths can still occur. In fact, about 20 percent of worker fatalities in the United States occur in the construction industry.  

If you were injured while working in construction, it is important to understand your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your lost income and medical bills. Depending on the circumstances of the injury, you may also be able to pursue a third-party claim and seek further damages.

Injuries From Construction Accidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established strict safety regulations for the construction industry. Unfortunately, these standards are not always followed. Mistakes and carelessness can lead to preventable accidents in which workers and bystanders are severely injured.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1362532229-min.jpgMore than five million people in the United States have some form of paralysis. People’s lives are forever changed when they lose the ability to move part or all of their body. A car crash is one of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis which can be physically difficult. Adapting to your new way of life can also be challenging psychologically. If you or a loved one was paralyzed due to a car crash, and the injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver.

Recognizing Paralysis

Paralysis occurs when someone is unable to make voluntary muscle movements. The ability to control your body after a spinal cord injury hinges on the severity of the injury and what part of the spinal cord sustains the injury. The impact of a car crash often injures the spinal cord and although you may not feel the pain right away you should see a doctor right away. These are some signs and symptoms that something is not right:

  • Loss of movement

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elmhurst pacemaker injury lawyerIf you have an abnormal heart rhythm you may need a pacemaker to maintain a consistent heart rate. You trust that the device implanted into your body is safe and efficient. However, if a pacemaker is not properly manufactured or tested, it can cause serious injuries or even death. At Schwartz Injury Law we represent the interests of our clients who have suffered injuries due to a defective medical device.

Defective Medical Products Can Cause Irreparable Damage

Doctors will implant pacemakers near the heart so that they deliver electrical shocks and impulses. This is designed to maintain a normal heart rate. Despite strict regulations by the Food and Drug Administration, time pressures and tight budgets can force a manufacturer to rush a device to market before it is thoroughly tested.

Unfortunately, it usually takes several reports of injuries or harmful effects before a recall is issued. That can lead a defective medical product to injure hundreds or thousands of people before something is done to address the problem.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_626631452-1-min.jpgNew research has found that colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer are now the leading three health conditions that are most commonly missed by physicians. This stands to be extremely detrimental for cancer patients. Often, when cancer is not quickly caught it spreads throughout the body. Early detection is still the key to saving lives but unfortunately, 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed every year. These medical errors result in various health complications and in some cases death. If you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed you could have a medical malpractice lawsuit on your hands.

Misdiagnosis Pitfalls

It can be difficult for physicians to diagnose complicated health conditions and we acknowledge that not every missed diagnosis can be considered a medical malpractice claim. However, new research found at least 21 pitfalls when it comes to making the right diagnosis. These are some of the top reasons why a diagnosis can be delayed or incorrectly made:

  • Mistaking one disease for another

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joliet birth injury lawyerThe birth of a child is a time of joy and hope. It is hard to imagine that the leading cause of illness and death for newborns is their inability to breathe when they first come into this world. This health problem occurs when the baby’s first stool or meconium passes into the amniotic fluid during labor and delivery. Unfortunately, meconium aspiration birth injuries occur in about five to ten percent of all births.

Detecting the Problem  

Meconium is the stool passed by a newborn after birth before they begin feeding. Sometimes, the baby passes meconium while inside the womb. When the baby inhales or aspirates this fluid into the lungs it makes breathing very difficult. It is known as meconium aspiration syndrome. The meconium can block the infant's airways because the baby’s lungs swell up. Low-birth babies or those delivered past their term face the greatest risk. The birth and delivery team should also know that if the mother has diabetes or high blood pressure the risk factors are even greater. Here are some ways medical staff can look for meconium aspiration: 

  • Spot greenish or dark streaks in the amniotic fluid.
  • Use a fetal monitor to keep an eye on a slow heart rate.
  • A chest x-ray can show patchy areas on the lungs.
  • A laryngoscope can check for meconium stains on the vocal cords
  • Abnormal breathing including coarse sounds can be heard through a stethoscope.
  • A blood gas analysis is to check for low oxygen and acidity in the blood.

 The baby should be placed in intensive care. Antibiotics to fight infection and machines that keep the baby’s lungs inflated are often necessary.

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orland park personal injury attorneyEarlier this month, United States Armed Forces servicemembers and activists celebrated a major milestone: Legislation was finally signed into law that will help veterans exposed to different kinds of toxic substances during their service recover damages for their injuries. An important part of this legislation aims to help servicemembers, their families, and employees who were living at Camp Lejeune from 1953 through 1987, when leaking toxic substances from a nearby dry cleaning factory tainted the drinking water with dangerous chemicals. Exposure to these chemicals resulted in many long-term and even fatal illnesses for many people and now, thanks to this legislation, they can now pursue compensation for their injuries. 

How Can I Prove I Lived at Camp Lejeune? 

Unfortunately, getting benefits for injuries sustained at Camp Lejeune is not an instant guarantee. Victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination will need to prove that they were at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987. They will also need to show evidence that they were injured by the water at Camp Lejeune. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can help servicemembers obtain records of their military service. Personnel Files can be requested online using the VA’s website or by mailing or faxing requests to the National Personnel Records Center. Family members of deceased servicemembers can get records for their loved ones as well. 

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orland park car accident lawyerTexting while driving is illegal in Illinois, but thousands of people still do it every day. In 2020, distracted driving lead to nearly 200 people losing their lives in car accidents in Illinois alone. Even more financial and physical damage was caused by the many distracted driving accidents that were not fatal. 

The primary cause of distracted driving accidents is the use of cell phones while driving. While eating, talking, and adjusting the radio can all cause accidents as well, it is the ubiquitous need to be constantly checking text messages and app notifications that causes the most distracted driving traffic fatalities. 

How Do Distracted Driving Accidents Happen? 

When someone is talking on the phone or texting, they are unable to pay attention or respond quickly to the flow of traffic or changing road conditions. Distracted driving accidents can occur when a driver: 

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chicago Camp Lejeune Water Injury AttorneyOn August 10th, President Joe Biden signed a bill called the PACT Act, making it law. The PACT Act, or The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxic Act, expands benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their military service. This includes burn pit victims from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, veterans harmed by Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, and servicemembers, their families, and employees of Camp Lejeune who were seriously harmed by the toxic drinking water that was present there for several decades. 

Camp Lejeune Water Contaminated by Dry Cleaning Chemicals

Located in Jacksonville Carolina, Camp Lejeune is a Marine Corps base camp that was established in 1942. In 1982, Camp Lejeune realized that volatile organic compounds existed in the potable water from two of the base’s eight water treatment plants that exceeded the maximum safe levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency. These chemicals came from a nearby dry cleaning facility that was improperly disposing of waste chemicals. Despite the discovery happening in 1982, the contaminated sources of water were not shut down for another three years. 

Which Chemicals Were In Camp Lejeune Water?

Several dangerous chemical contaminants were discovered in the water, including: 

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orland park injury lawyerMost of us take our vision for granted. Without giving it a second thought, we drive, work, and spend time with our loved ones, never dreaming of how full or partial vision loss would meaningfully change our lives forever. But when an accident or someone else’s negligent or malicious behavior causes eye damage, a victim’s future can be changed in a split second. If you have suffered from a serious eye injury, seek advice from a personal injury attorney before you agree to a settlement or compensation from an individual, business, or insurance company.  

Vision Loss From Accidents or Attacks

Eye injuries and vision loss often happen when people are being careless, negligent, or malicious. Frequent accidents that involve vision loss include, but are not limited to: 

  • Vehicle accidents

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elmhurst birth injury lawyerThe birth of a new baby is an exciting, if not unnerving, experience to go through. Every parent hopes that their baby will be born healthy. Sadly, many parents are devastated to learn that their baby suffered a birth injury before, during, or shortly after delivery. The devastation is compounded when a baby’s injury is preventable.

Brain damage during pregnancy, labor, or delivery is almost always caused by reduced oxygen to the baby’s brain. The causes of infant brain damage are nearly countless, so determining exactly what happened can be a long, complex process. If your baby suffered brain damage due to a birth injury, contact a medical malpractice lawyer experienced in infant injuries and deaths for help taking the next steps.

Oxygen Deprivation During Labor and Delivery

When a baby transitions from life inside the womb to the outside world, he or she takes his or her first breath of air. Any delay or disruption in the birth process can lead to oxygen deprivation. Brain tissue that does not receive enough oxygen begins to die within a few minutes. Consequently, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation is often permanent.

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orland park truck crash lawyerNearly three-fourths of the freight shipped across the United States is carried via large commercial trucks. Trucks carry everything from consumer goods to hazardous materials such as combustible liquids and gases. When truck cargo is not secured on or in the truck correctly, the cargo can become loose. Sometimes, freight falls off of the truck and onto the road below. Other times, cargo moves around within the truck’s trailer, causing the truck to tip or veer out of control.  

Auto accidents caused by loose or fallen truck freight are often catastrophic. Severe and fatal injuries are not uncommon – especially if the freight was flammable. If you or a loved one were involved in a truck crash caused by improperly secured cargo, you may be able to file an injury claim against the at-fault party and collect damages.

Negligent Loading and Securement of Cargo Leading to a Crash

Loading cargo in a large commercial truck requires great precision. Trucks that are off balance due to uneven distribution of freight will not handle correctly. The driver will have a much harder time avoiding collisions. Overloaded or overweight trucks are also much more likely to be involved in a crash. The more weight on the truck, the longer it takes for the truck to come to a stop. Overloading a commercial truck can also wear out the tires, brakes, and other truck components much more quickly than would be expected.

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elmhurst-personal-injury-lawyer.jpgMost people are nervous before a surgical procedure, and this anxiety is understandable. While many surgeries are performed successfully, medical mistakes do sometimes occur. One such mistake has been making national headlines because the error is so egregious, it is almost unbelievable.

A 55-year-old woman underwent surgery in June 2021 to have one of her kidneys removed. When pathologists examined the removed organ, they were shocked to discover that the organ was not a kidney. Surgeons had removed the woman’s spleen instead of her kidney by accident.

It is important for victims of a surgical error to know their rights. You may be able to hold the negligent medical provider accountable and recover financial compensation for your damages.

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Cook County Personal Injury AttorneyMarijuana products are now commercially available in Illinois and many other states. Adults aged 21 and over are permitted to smoke or otherwise consume marijuana without fear of criminal consequences. However, the right to consume marijuana is not without limits and driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal.

Drivers who are intoxicated by cannabis flower or THC products are more likely to make dangerous mistakes behind the wheel. Consequently, “drugged driving” is prohibited by Illinois law.

If you or a loved one were injured in a crash caused by a drugged driver, you may have question about your legal rights. Can I file an injury claim against the driver? Do I have to prove that the driver was intoxicated to recover compensation? How much financial compensation can I receive? Read on to learn more.

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cook-county-personal-injury-lawyer.jpgAs compared to individuals in a passenger vehicle, motorcyclists are significantly more likely to suffer severe and fatal injuries in a crash. Motorcycles do not protect crash victims the way that closed vehicles protect victims. Motorcycles are also smaller and less visible to other drivers, making them more likely to be involved in a collision. For these and other reasons, motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to be killed in a crash than other motorists. Sadly, motorcycle crash victims who do survive are often left with catastrophic injuries resulting in long-term disabilities.

Motorcycle Crash Injuries

Even the most responsible motorcyclist can be involved in a crash. Wearing a helmet and other protective gear can reduce the extent of injuries sustained in a crash, but protective equipment does not prevent every injury.

Some of the most common catastrophic injuries sustained in motorcycle wrecks include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_orland-park-truck-crash-lawyer.jpgThe forces placed on a human body in a severe truck collision often cause catastrophic injuries. Injuries to vital organs can be especially dangerous and are often deadly. Extensive, long-term medical care is usually needed in order for people with vital organ injuries to survive. Those who do survive their injuries may suffer from medical complications and reduced function for the rest of their lives.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury to a vital organ or another catastrophic injury in a commercial truck crash, speak to a truck accident injury attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be able to recover financial compensation.

Injuries to Organs Can Result in Disability or Death

Commercial truck crashes may be caused by driver error, issues with the truck, or almost countless other factors. In an instant, a large truck crash can change the course of a person’s life. Internal organ injuries usually require surgery and substantial follow-up care. Vital organs are those organs that are essential to life. They include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_orland-park-personal-injury-attorney_20220617-150908_1.jpgWhen having a conversation with someone, we automatically look at the person’s face. Our faces are a crucial aspect of our identity. They allow us to express joy, apprehension, excitement, anger, and other emotions.

Severe injuries to the face are not only painful physically but can also result in deep psychological pain. Many facial injury sufferers struggle with body image issues, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress long after the injury-causing accident. Some suffer permanent vision or hearing loss.

If you or a loved one sustained facial lacerations, puncture wounds, burns, or broken bones in the face, you are probably well aware of how impactful these types of injuries can be. Individuals who suffer face injuries in a car accident, dog attack, or another incident caused by another party’s negligence may be entitled to compensation for damages.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_cook-county-medical-negligence-lawyer.jpgFew things in life are as tragic and heart wrenching as the death of a newborn baby. If you or a loved one suffered the death of an infant recently, you may be evaluating your options. When an infant’s death is caused or contributed to by medical negligence, the parents may be able to sue the doctor, nurse, or medical facility that caused the untimely death.

Liability for a Baby’s Death

Sometimes, the death of a newborn is unavoidable. The baby may have been born with a genetic condition or another health ailment that made him or her unable to survive outside the womb. However, some infant deaths are directly caused by negligent medical care.

Wrongful death of an infant may be caused by:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_orland-park-catastrophic-injury-attorney.jpgIn a split second, an accident can irreversibly change the course of someone's life. Whether an injury is caused in a car crash, work accident, sudden fall, or another type of accident, it is likely to have a profound impact on the victim. This is especially true of catastrophic injuries that result in permanent disability. Someone who is permanently disabled in an accident may be unable to fulfill the career plans he or she intended.

Individuals who suffer severe injuries that impact their ability to earn a living may be entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity. Read on to learn more.

Reduced Earning Capacity Caused by a Catastrophic Injury

Personal injury claims are used to pursue financial reimbursement for damages. Lost income and lost earning capacity are two categories of damages that are common in catastrophic injury cases. Lost income or lost wages refers to the income a person misses out on while he or she is recovering from an injury. Lost earning capacity, on the other hand, refers to the loss of a person's ability to earn an income.

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