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Springfield Illinois Personal Injury Law Blog

Tesla's 'autopilot': A car safety feature in need of a rebrand?

Ask a commercial airline pilot about using autopilot and you will likely get a thumbs up sign. What's not to like? It's like cruise control in your car, only better. You don't even have stay at the wheel of the plane's controls.

That's the dream many carmakers are striving to make come true, but as we noted in one previous post, fully autonomous vehicles remain something of a bridge too far for now in Illinois and elsewhere. As that post related, questions of safety remain unanswered. 

Who says sleep apnea is a trucking safety issue?

If you listen to the radio or scan online news services, you probably came across advertising about the health problem of sleep apnea. Many in Illinois might think this is really a non-issue. But anyone who has had to sleep in close proximity to someone who suffers from this condition knows that it's a serious matter.

Loud snoring is one of the most notable symptoms that sleep apnea may be a problem. Other signs that someone might have sleep apnea include gasping or choking during sleep or disturbed sleep. The problem, of course, is that the sufferer often doesn't know he or she has any of the symptoms. They're asleep.

Might the federal government step in on workers’ comp?

Currently, here in America, the general workers’ compensation system is state-based. There are no federal standards in place for state workers’ comp regimes.

So, each state has its own particular rules regarding workers’ comp benefits and the process for applying for such benefits. This is why, when a worker here in Central Illinois suffers a workplace injury, they may want guidance from a legal professional with deep knowledge of Illinois’ workers’ compensation system.

Providing broad scope of personal injury legal experience

We live in an era of specialization. Football teams have special squads. In health care, there are insurance plans that seek to manage the care process in hopes that costs can be kept under control. Just what the level of management should be and how well it works remains the subject of a lot of debate here in Central Illinois and across the country.

In general terms, if an attorney graduates from law school and passes the bar, he or she is deemed qualified to practice. But the law has its areas of specialty, as well. One attorney might focus on estate planning; another on family law. Yet another might provide criminal defense services. Personal injury law encompasses such a broad range of potential issues that protection of client rights warrants special commitment.

Does new rule make suing for nursing home negligence easier?

Forced arbitration is a term many people might not be too familiar with, but it is something that anyone in central Illinois who might have a beef with a business entity needs to be aware of. The reason is simple. Even if you have a legitimate legal claim that you feel entitles you to your day in court, it might not be possible to obtain if your agreement with the offending entity includes a clause requiring going to arbitration.

The move toward mandatory arbitration agreements is one that has been underway for about 30 years. Many observers trace the origin back to the 1980s. That's when the U.S. Supreme Court reinterpreted a 1925 federal law in a way that granted corporations to shift possible legal claims by employees and consumers from civil court to forced arbitration.

Employer safety obligations start before work injuries happen

Anyone with a measure of experience with construction knows it can be dangerous. On-the-job injury may be common across the central Illinois region, though regulators would argue that wouldn't be the case if employers fulfilled safety obligations to their workers from the outset of every project.

Unfortunately, that doesn't occur all the time. In some cases, it's not a matter of a one-time oversight. Sometimes, the problem can be chronic. That's the allegation the Occupational Safety and Health Administration makes against one Belleville roofing company.

Crashes due to drowsy drivers can't be called accidents

The way we talk about collisions on the road is misleading. We discussed this in a post back in June. The position we offered then is that, in most cases, what we call accidents are really disasters caused by someone's negligence or reckless behavior. As such, seeking compensation for victims and holding someone accountable isn't merely justified. It's demanded.

Vehicle crashes are major causes of catastrophic injury and death in central Illinois. Contributing factors can be many. Agriculture is big business here and large machines lumbering slowly along are common. Their presence can lead drivers to get antsy at the wheel and make deadly decisions. Speeding, drunk driving, texting and other forms of distraction are problems, too.

Why should we in Illinois care what happens in another state?

The concept of interstate commerce might not be something most people around Springfield give much thought to. Routines might be restricted to waking up, getting the children to school, getting to work and getting everyone home safely at the end of the day. It's only when extraordinary events occur that we might have to confront broader issues.

Truck accidents involving interstate haulers certainly would seem to fall into that category. Crashes with semitrailer trucks typically injure or kill individuals in the smaller vehicle. And the process required to hold all the possible liable parties to account can be complicated if there are multiple entities from many different states involved. Recovery of due compensation could take the skills of an experienced attorney.

How common are work deaths among truck drivers?

When a car and a tractor-trailer truck collide, one generally expects the car and its driver to come out on the wrong end of the stick in terms of injuries or death. Statistics suggest that expectation is reasonable. And when you think about workers dying on the job, most in Illinois probably don't put truck drivers high on the list.

That is not how the U.S. Department of Labor sees things. While many might see firefighting, police work or even construction as the leaders in terms of risky businesses, officials say truck drivers deserve to be counted. By the DOL's numbers, truckers account for one in six of all deaths among U.S. workers every year, and the rate of trucker fatalities is generally on the rise.

Nursing home abuse is abuse, no matter the source

Controlled environment -- if ever there is a phrase that ought to describe what we should find in an Illinois assisted living or nursing home setting that would probably be it. These are places we depend on to provide care for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. When that trust is violated and a loved one suffers neglect or abuse, seeking remedy is a right. It can sometimes be a challenge to obtain.

Unfortunately, the abuse in nursing homes isn't as uncommon as we would like it to be. Home employees can be one source of the problem. But what if the source of the abuse is not home employees? What if the perpetrators of the abuse are other residents?

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