Personal Injury Law

Women Face More Injury in Car Accidents

When litigating car accident lawsuits, we have always found that women seem to consistently sustain more serious injuries than males. Predominantly, back and brain injuries. We began to wonder if this was just the experience of Grazian and Volpe or if it was a statistical fact.

We began to do some research and came upon a study done by the University of Virginia in October of 2011. Interested readers can access the full report at
ajph.aphapublications.org/.

Researchers reviewed information on 45,445 crash victims gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over 11 years. Compared with male drivers studied, women were 5 1/2 inches shorter and 35 pounds lighter; fewer were overweight; and more were driving passengers cars at the time of the crash(carpools, ferrying children and elderly parents and family members). After controlling for these factors and others, the study found that women were 47 percent more likely to suffer severe injuries, most notably brain and spinal injuries.

The study concludes that females are more susceptible to brain injury and spinal injury because of differences in neck strength and musculature. In addition, the positioning of head restraints and seating positions are not configured for the shorter female stature. The study posited that car safety devices have been designed with a male template and car manufacturers may need to consider designing safety features which can accommodate gender differences.

Dipan Bose, lead author of the study cautions female drivers “ensure that their safety systems perform optimally, including maintaining a good belt fit and correct seating posture.”

We have not seen any accommodations made by car manufacturers so it seems incumbent upon female drivers to take it upon themselves to provide for a more secure interior driving environment by assuring their necks and backs are secure and well-supported and their seat belts fit firmly.

Remember, it is always better to stay safe and avoid an accident and a lawyer. But if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicago’s experienced car accident attorneys for over 30 years.

Indoor vs Outdoor Slip and Fall Claims

Slip and Fall claims are based on negligence and premise liability theories. An owner of a premises has a duty to maintain the premises in a manner that is safe for visitors. If the owner fails to maintain the premises in a safe condition, he or she may be liable for injuries that are the result of the unsafe property conditions.

Indoor and outdoor slip and fall accidents often rest on different factors for liability. Knowledge of the law that applies to each accident is crucial to obtaining an excellent result in litigation. Lawyers who are not experienced in slip and fall accidents may often fail in obtaining good settlements because they pursue an incorrect theory of liability.

When a claim involves a slip and fall that occurred outdoors, the following factors may be considered:

1) Weather conditions: Rain, snow, ice, and freezing conditions may create situations where slip and falls may occur. Not all conditions are the stuff of lawsuits. Mother Nature is never liable but human intervention and Mother Nature may present another picture. For example, fresh snowfall creating slippery conditions is not actionable but commercial snow shoveling that creates a dangerous walking hazard does present liability. A natural accumulation of ice does not create premises liability but an accumulation created by a faulty gutter or leaky spigot does
2) Lighting conditions: a premises owner may be liable for a slip and fall caused by inadequate or broken lighting
3) Parking garages and parking lots: Oil and grease from cars may collect and create unsafe pedestrian conditions
4) Stairs: Improperly designed stairs which include rises and railings out of code can cause serious injury and are the duty of a premises owner to correct and maintain

In the case of outdoor claims, the owner is usually liable only for the property they own and control. Sidewalks and streets are normally maintained by the city or local municipal government. A premises owner may be liable if he shovels the sidewalk or has part of his property extending over the public access point, such as a tree or roof.

When a claim involves and indoor slip and fall in either a public or private space liability can be broader:

1) Floors, stairs, elevators and escalators must be well-maintained and kept free of debris. Warning signs should be posted where hazardous conditions exist. Mechanicals must be in working order and clear of protruding parts that may cause injuries.
2) Rushing employees who cause a slip and fall accident with a patron may also result in premises liability for the owner as well as a workers’ compensation suit if the employee is injured
3) Business establishments must be handicap accessible at all levels

Premises liability and slip and fall accidents can be a complicated area of law subject to many nuances. Injured victims should interview lawyers to assure that they have experience and success in litigating these cases. Grazian and Volpe has a proven, successful track record in slip and fall litigation. Visit us on Facebook and at our website for more informative articles designed to help the public protect its legal rights.

When is a Slip and Fall Not Worth Money?

There are two questions that are very important in analyzing the monetary value of personal injuries suffered in any type of accident. The questions are as follows:

1) Is there any liability for the accident meaning can fault be attributed to another party and can that party be sued? and;

2) Were injuries suffered and are those injuries of a serious enough nature to warrant the emotional and financial cost of pursuing compensation through the legal system?

The answer to the first question depends on whether their exists a person or entity that caused the accident or was responsible for preventing the circumstances causing the accident. For example, was the driver of a car texting on her phone which caused her to hit another driver or pedestrian or; did the landlord fail to provide adequate lighting or comply with the building code in such a manner has to cause a person to fall and sustain an injury? Liability can be a complex subject and will always require the scrutiny of an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine whether there exists sufficient liability to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit.

The answer to the second question as to whether there had been a injury directly attributable to the slip and fall or any accident depends on the seriousness of the injury and whether the person injured suffered the injury as a direct result of the accident or whether the injury existed before the accident. For example, a person who has been treated for back pain in the years before an accident will have a difficult time proving that their back pain was caused by a recent accident. Again, these issues demand a careful evaluation by a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney.

However, one thing is definitive. If the injury was not serious enough to demand medical attention it is not serious enough to warrant compensation. It is almost impossible for the most experienced personal injury attorney to prove you are entitled to compensation for personal injuries when there is no proof of a personal injury. This proof may only be provided by a medical professional. Grazian and Volpe has served injury victims in Chicago for over 30 years obtaining verdicts in the thousands and millions. It is always disheartening to explain to a person suffering from injury that we cannot take their case because they did not seek medical attention. Going to a doctor or hospital days or weeks later calls into question whether the injury was actually caused by the accident or slip and fall and/or seriousness enough to warrant the monetary and emotional drain required to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. We will always attempt to do what we can to make recovery possible for any client where it is justified but insurance companies are always on the prowl for reasons not to compensate an injured party. It is important that anyone suffering personal injury in any accident attempt to document the accident and accident site through any means available, i.e., witnesses, photos, and police reports. It is of utmost important that immediate medical attention is sought. Obviously that is easy in the case of broken bones and other serious injuries. However injury victims need to know that brain, neck and back injuries may not be obvious and it is better to error on the side of caution and obtain immediate medical attention. It may mean the difference between recovering and not recovering money damages for personal injuries suffered.

Boy’s tragic accident calls attention to elevator hazards

Many Chicago parents are not aware of how often children are injured in elevator accidents. Most people assume that if an elevator is available for public use in a commercial or public building, it must be safe. In fact, property owners and elevator manufacturers are required by law to ensure elevators are safe, but they often fail to do this.

A news report recently shined a spotlight on one particular type of elevator that is hazardous to children. Swing door elevators – those with an exterior door on the landing and an interior door attached to the elevator car – are particularly dangerous. These elevators are found mostly in older buildings, but a number of families are also now installing these for home use.

Swing-door elevators have been around for more than a century, and they have posed serious risks to children since those early days. This is because children can fit into the space between the two doors; when a child is in the gap and the outer door closes, the elevator is live and the child may not be able to get out without assistance.

While it is not clear exactly how many children have been injured in such accidents, it was recently reported that 34 children were maimed or killed in swing-door accidents in a 10-year period in southern New York and New Jersey alone.

In a recent incident, a boy was seriously injured in an elevator accident in his own home. The swing-door elevator had been installed in the home to accommodate the boy’s elderly grandmother. On Christmas Eve 2010, the 3-year-old managed to open the outer elevator door, and it closed behind him. The boy was trapped between the outer and inner doors when his mother happened to call the elevator. The boy was dragged and pushed by the elevator car, and although he survived, he suffered brain damage and quadriplegia.

His parents were not aware of the hazards associated with swing-door elevators when they purchased theirs. In the aftermath of this tragedy, they have sued the manufacturer of the elevator and are calling for changes in the elevator industry to prevent additional accidents.

Companies should be held accountable to the fullest extent when their products injure children.

Source: The Modesto Bee, “‘Swing-door’ elevators blamed for child injuries,” Shawn Hubler, Dec. 18, 2013

Wrongful Death of Pedestrian Caused by Texting Driver

The family of a 15-year-od boy has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a man who, while texting and driving, struck and killed the boy while the victim and a friend were walking on the shoulder of a street. The man’s vehicle left the road and struck the victim who died the next day in the hospital.

The man has a long history of traffic violation and has been charged in criminal offense, automobile homicide involving the use of a hand-held wireless communication device while driving which is a felony.

Utah, where the accident occurred had just passed an amendment to its’ texting-while-driving law making it illegal to be doing anything on a hand-held wireless communication device except making or receiving a call, or using GPS navigation. Before the amendment, the driver had to be sending a text at the instant the accident occurred. Merely looking at a text or screen of a cell phone was not illegal.

Grazian and Volpe applauds the broadening of Utah’s texting-while-driving laws. As we have pointed out in numerous article texting-while-driving causes more accidents that driving and drinking. We cannot be too tough on this practice.

It is always better to stay safe and avoid accidents – but if you can’t stay safe – stay with Grazian and Volpe – Chicagoland’s Injury Lawyers for over 30 years.

Injured at Work- Don’t be Bullied-You Can Still Choose Your Own Doctor!

If you are injured at work, do not be bullied by your employer into choosing the company doctor. Doctors are hired by companies to put you back to work and the horror stories abound where employees are sent back to work before they are fully healed.

Don’t be bullied.

When you are injured in the workplace your employer may compel you to see the company doctor or industrial clinic. However, you may and should see the doctor of your choice. The doctor chosen by your employer was chosen because he or she renders treatment and diagnosis that are most favorable to your employer. This means they may advise less beneficial, cheaper treatments and are focused on getting you back to your employer’s workplace as soon as possible. In addition and most disturbing is that the doctor recommended by your employer is not liable for any malpractice that they commit during the course of treating you! Your employer can compel you to see the company doctor or industrial clinic of their choice. However, if you are not satisfied with that treatment, you can and should insist on seeing the doctor of your choice.

Your employer won’t tell you that you can choose your own doctor and will encourage you to remain with the company doctor or preferred industrial clinic. Remember, you have the choice! Choose the doctor that will work for your best interest and not your employers. Many employees worry that insisting on their rights may result in losing their job however this is retaliatory discharged and not permitted under the law. If your employer fires you because you insist upon your rights, they will face additional liability and you will be entitled to additional compensation (see blog, Grazian and Volpe, July 27, 2011 Workers’ Compensation and Machine Guarding).

We have been writing about the effect of the new changes to worker’s compensation on our Chicago Injury Attorney and South Chicago Accident Lawyer blogs since the Illinois Legislature finalized the rules. It is not more important then ever that an injured worker confer with their worker’s compensation attorney, most beneficially with a law firm that combines the expertise of workers’ compensation and personal injury(See Grazian and Volpe Blog dated 8/3/2011 Workers’ Compensation May Not Be All).

Grazian and Volpe has been Chicago’s Injury Lawyers for over 30 years and we are dedicated to advocating on the behalf of all injured plaintiffs whether the accident occurred in or outside the workplace. Remember to call Grazian and Volpe as soon as you are able. When injured in the workplace look for a firm that combines expertise in workers compensation and personal injury.

Avoid Traumatic Brain Injury and Wear a Helmet When Hitting the Slopes!

In recent years, there have been countless stories involving celebrities who have fallen or collided while skiing and been killed or seriously injured by severe brain trauma. These are the stories that make headline news. Emergency room physicians have more reports of the common folk sustaining concussions or other serious head trauma while skiing- in fact, according to the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma the number of ski-related brain trauma injuries is “alarming. So the question became whether or not it was better to wear a helmet for head protection while skiing or snowboarding.

Researchers from the department of sport science at the University of Innsbruck set out to determine whether wearing a helmet while skiing increased people’s willingness to take risks, in which helmets could actually decrease safety on the slopes.

They found no correlation between wearing a helmet and increased risk taking behavior. In fact, the more experienced the skier, the more likely they were to wear a helmet. In addition they found that helmets reduce the risk of serious head injury by as much as 60 percent but a surprising number of safety experts and snow sports enthusiasts remain convinced that helmets reduce overall risk.

A survey of ski patrollers from across the country found that 77 percent did not wear helmets because they worried that it would reduce peripheral vision, hearing and response times.

However, researchers brought snowboarders and skiers into the lab in 2011 to test this theory. What they found was that peripheral vision and reaction times were virtually unchanged when they wore a helmet, compared with wearing a hat. Goggles slightly reduced peripheral vision and increased response times but helmets had no significant effect.

Dr. Adil H. Haider, a trauma surgeon and associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore states that the take-away form the growing body of science is unequivocal, “Helmets are safe. They don’t increase risk taking. And they protect against serious, even fatal head injuries. The Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma has issued a recommendation that “all recreational skiers and snowboarders should wear safety helmets,” making them the first medical group to on record advocation universal helmet use.

The lawyers at Grazian and Volpe have represented hundreds of clients who have sustained serious injury due to a head trauma. We advise all our clients to wear protective head gear whenever engaged in an activity that presents the potential of a fall or collision. We now add skiers and snowboarders to that list.

Remember, it is always better to remain safe and avoid injury, but if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicago’s Leading Trauma Injury Lawyers for over 30 years.

General Electric Joins Forces with N.F.L. in Effort to Detect Brain Injuries

The N.F.L. has been plagued by a rash of litigation involving thousands of former players alleging that the N.F.L. knew of connection between head injuries sustained on the field and long-term cognitive impairment.

In response, the N.F.L has altered rules and fined and suspended players who hit opponents in the head. The N.F.L. has also contributed millions of dollars fort he study of head and traumatic brain injuries.

The league recently announced that independent neurological consultants will be on the sidelines at every game to help detect head injuries and concussions.

In addition, the new initiative with General Electric represents the N.F.L.’s most aggressive collaboration in pursuit of resolutions to some vexing player safety issues: determining if some players are predisposed to head and brain trauma; diagnosing and gauging the extent of brain injury and detecting the chronic effects of concussion; as well as improving equipment to insulate the brain during play.

These efforts will benefit the public at larger by determining those most vulnerable to brain trauma and diagnosing the trauma and long term effects. These tools will help doctors recognize brain trauma earlier and provide treatment that may prevent long term cognitive impairment. The improvement in helmets will aid bikers, skiers, construction workers and all persons engaged in activities that may threaten a head injury.

The lawyers at Grazian and Volpe caution all their clients to wear protective head gear where ever appropriate. We know that prevention of injury is always the best course, but it you can’t prevent an injury and accident, call Grazian and Volpe, Chicagoland’s Leading Injury Lawyers for over 30 years.

$13 Million Verdict For Elevator Fall in Highrise: How You Can Survive a Fall

Who doesn’t have at least a slight fear of an elevator fall anytime one enters an elevator in a high rise premises?  Fortunately, this plaintiff lived to tell her story and the jury awarded her $13 million for her multiple physical and mental injuries. The verdict was entered against the building premises manager and and Schindler Elevator Corporation, the building’s on-site elevator maintenance firm.

The plaintiff was injured in a highrise when she experienced a series of falls in the elevator between the 23rd floor and the basement.  Plaintiff had placed a call on the elevator intercom indicating that the elevator was acting erratically. Rather than take the plaintiff off the elevator and then repair the malfunction. The maintenance operator sent her to the basement causing a series of violent falls on the way down. It was shown at trial that Schindler grossly mishandled the malfunction and failed to consider Plaintiff’s safety as a priority. Plaintiff suffered post traumatic stress disorder, chronic depression, partial paralysis of left leg, pseudo seizures and was wheel chair bound for several years.

According to the website of the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois, the only chance of surviving a fall is to lie spread-eagle on the floor. That will distribute the force of impact across a wider area, which may cause internal injures but lessen the chance of breaking bones.

Remember elevator accidents are rare and elevator falls rarer. You are most likely to get injured by the elevator door so just be alert when entering and exiting. Remember, it is always better to stay safe but if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicagoland’s Injury Lawyers for over 30 years!

New Study Shows Why Personal Injury Lawyers Are So Smart

Ok, maybe the study doesn’t single out personal injury lawyers as the only smart lawyers. However, the South Chicago Personal Injury lawyers at Grazian and Volpe want to crow about this study anyways.

According to neuroscientists at the University of California at Berkeley intensive study for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) reinforces circuits in the brain and can bridge the gap between the right and left hemisphere. Those changes can improve reasoning ability and may increase a person’s IQ score.

The research team performed brain scans on 24 college students and recent graduates, bothe before and after they spent 100 hours studying for the LSAT over a three-month period. The researchers also scanned 23 young adults who didn’t study for the test. For those who studied, the results showed increased connectivity between the frontal lobes of the brain, as well as between frontal and parietal lobes, which are parts of the brain associated with reasoning and thinking.

Apparently, in simple English, this connection allows the lawyers to tackle novel problems with fluid and flexible reasoning abilities.

So when an accident or serious personal injury causes you serious problems please take advantage of Grazian and Volpe’s 30 years of personal injury law experience to help you solve your problems and obtain just and full compensation for your injuries