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Chicago, IL Personal Injury Law Firm Blog

Toxic chemicals in consumer products should inspire reform

If you were asked, “What are the earth’s most ubiquitous environmental contaminants?” what would you answer? Unless you have a very specific set of knowledge, you would like not choose triclosan and triclocarban. However, according to a piece recently published in The New York Times, these two chemicals are indeed the correct answer to the question posed above.

According to the Times, the Food and Drug Administration has been struggling to properly regulate these chemicals for nearly four decades. Despite widespread and longstanding concerns that these chemicals negatively impact both humans and the environment in disturbing ways, these chemicals remain present in a host of consumer products, including cosmetics and antibacterial soaps.

Are you regularly replacing the batteries in your home alarms?

Nearly every corner of the United States recently experienced “Fall Back.” This autumn ritual insists that individuals alter the time on their clocks by one hour in such a way that they “gain” one hour of sleep. It can take some individuals weeks to adjust to the change, while others barely notice it. However, “Fall Back” serves an important purpose beyond altering daylight hours. Both “Fall Back” and its counterpart “Spring Forward” mark the two dates on which Americans are generally urged to change the batteries in their home smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

This alarms and detectors are critical to ensuring that you, your loved ones and guests in your home remain safe. Failure to change these batteries on a regular basis could not only lead your guests to sue you in a premises liability lawsuit for harm caused during a fire or carbon monoxide leak, this failure could cause you and your loved ones injurious or even fatal harm.

What are 'never events' and how can they affect medical care?

Going to the hospital for a surgical procedure can be very frightening, whether the procedure is routine or not. Any operation can come with the risk of complications, but many are completed without any cause for concern, thanks to the trained doctors and nurses performing the operation.

Unfortunately, there are times when a preventable error is made during surgery. Surgical staff members are human and they do make mistakes, but there are some mistakes that are so shocking and preventable that there is no reason for them to ever happen. These are referred to as "never events."

Preparing for a safe Halloween

Only a few hours remain before this year’s crop of trick-or-treaters descend upon neighborhoods all over America. Have you done a final safety check yet? It is vitally important that you ensure that any visitors to your property remain reasonably safe or you may be hit with a premises liability lawsuit.

You may be wondering what kinds of potential hazards you should be looking for during your final safety check before neighborhood children begin traveling up and down your walkway. First, make sure that none of your decorations are potential fire hazards or tripping hazards. It can be helpful to crouch down to a small child’s height and survey your property from that angle when looking for potential hazards.

A complete lack of maintenance makes vacant homes very dangerous

Vacant homes; with the recent recession, they are more common than ever. They are also "a huge safety issue for police and the public" said Sgt. Thomas Decanter from the Gary police department. The dangers are very real, ranging from stepping on a nail to inviting criminal activity.

Officers told the Chicago Sun-Times staff that the typical scene includes "buckling floors, wobbly staircases, broken glass and mounds of trash." These homes are an invitation for children with an adventurous spirit, but they don't know about all of the dangerous conditions that put them at risk for serious injury.

Megabus crash: a good driver never blames his tools

"The accident wasn't my fault. I couldn't see out of the windows," is not a viable excuse to avoid liability in an automobile accident. The truth is that the saying "a good craftsman never blames his tools" is fairly accurate in motor vehicle collisions as well. A driver does have a duty to properly maintain their vehicle, an issue that has come up in a recent lawsuit against a Megabus company.

The accident occurred on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. The Chicago Bears had taken on the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. With the unyielding loyalty that many Bears fans have, it was no surprise that many traveled down to watch the game in person. On the return trip, several passengers were delayed -- and seriously injured -- when the Megabus they are chartered slammed into the back of a vehicle that had stalled due to an unrelated accident

Do not 'voice activate' and drive

Over the past several years, much of the American public has become familiar with Siri. If you are not familiar with Siri, you may be interested to learn that “she” is not a person but is rather a voice designed to respond to Apple smart phone users’ vocalized prompts. When a smart phone user wants to obtain directions, to learn the answer to a trivia question or wants to know where the nearest coffee shop is, he or she simply asks Siri and Siri responds.

One might initially think that this kind of voice activated response program is the answer to distracted driving. After all, if a motorist is speaking questions into a phone and receiving a vocalized response, that motorist has no need to take his or her eyes off the road. However, a recent study suggests that voice activation programs are basically just as distracting as texting while driving.

How can children's clothing items possibly be dangerous?

Take a moment to think about all the items in your house that could possibly harm your children. You are likely envisioning sharp kitchen utensils, hazardous tools and sharp-edged furniture, just to name a few items. Chances are that you are not thinking about your children’s clothes. However, it turns out that children’s clothing items can be truly dangerous products if they are not manufactured according to the latest set of federal product safety standards.

Any number of factors can turn seemingly harmless clothing into a hazardous product. Take, for example, children’s pajamas. You may have noticed that infant, toddler and child pajamas often come with notices that these items conform to federal safety standards concerning potential fire hazards. In the past, many kinds of pajamas were manufactured in such ways that they increased the risk that children would be harmed should they be exposed to open flames. Now children’s pajamas are strictly regulated to ensure that these items do not make fire-related injuries more common than they might otherwise be.

Thinking about pedestrian safety hazards

Midwestern autumns tend to be bright, cool and lovely. In these months before winter grips The Windy City and the rest of the Midwest, adults and children alike are taking advantage of the outdoors before they become largely inaccessible due to bitter cold, ice and snow. As a result, you and your family may be walking outdoors more frequently than you usually do. It is important that you understand the risks that you are taking if you choose to walk anywhere near where motor vehicles venture as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70,000 pedestrians were injured and an additional 4,280 were killed in accidents during 2010 alone. As healthy and enjoyable as walking outdoors may be, it is also dangerous in the U.S. simply because so many roadways have been built primarily for the use of motorists as opposed to pedestrians and cyclists.

Senate questions NHTSA's response to GM defect scandal

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the federal agency most directly tasked with ensuring that American roads remain safe for travelers. This agency concerns itself with preventing motor vehicle accidents and with ensuring that those which do occur are neither fatal nor devastatingly injurious. One of the ways in which the NHTSA acts in furtherance of this mission is by investigating consumer-related safety complaints. If these complaints meet certain criteria and it seems that a given model or part could potentially cause harm to the public, the NHTSA may insist that the model or part’s manufacturer initiate a safety recall.

We have previously written about the recent defect scandal involving General Motors. Essentially, individuals employed by the auto giant were aware that a defective ignition switch was being installed in models for a full decade. At no point during these ten years did GM notify the public, notify federal regulators or replace the potentially deadly switches. Instead, it continued to install the switches in newer models.