The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

May 2010 Archives

CNN reported on a recent study finding that more than half of those who suffer a traumatic brain injury will develop depression in the year following the injury. Results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

That means it might be a good idea to ask your Illinois injury attorney whether you should also undergo a psychological screening if another party is liable for your brain injury.

Only 45 percent of those who do become depressed after a traumatic brain injury receive adequate treatment. Charles Bombardier, professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and lead author of the study, discusses the seriousness of the study's findings:

"We're not talking about normal day-to-day changes in mood, but symptoms that last for more than two weeks."

The 2009 Johnny Depp movie "Public Enemies" chronicles the life of notorious gangster John Dillinger, as IMBD explains, focusing on the federal government's attempt to take them down during the tumultuous 1930s. The film was shot in Chicago's North Side by NBC Universal.

What was also tumultuous (besides the time period the movie was set in) was a slip and fall that occurred on set.

As part of the set, the producers covered North Lincoln Ave. with a fake cobblestone cover made of a foam-like substance. The plaintiff was not part of the film crew or an extra but said he and other pedestrians were allowed to walk across the set one day after shooting.

John McManus claims he wasn't warned about the surface and subsequently fell, causing injury. He claims his foot sank into the surface and then got stuck under a fake trolley rail. 

Public News Service reported on the recall of 1.8 million toy dart guns due to a choking hazard, which already has claimed the lives of a 9-year-old Chicago boy and a 10-year-old from Milwaukee. The gun sets are sold throughout the US at Family Dollar stores.

The federal Consumer Protection Safety Commission announced the mandatory recall after Plainfield, N.J. importer Henry Gordy International refused to do recall the toys itself. Illinois injury attorney Pete Flowers, president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, said he believes the recall comes way too late:

"The controls on those toys are clearly lacking. So, what they did was right, but it would have been better if they had done it sooner."

When the topic of sports injuries comes up, most people think of NFL quarterbacks' concussions, torn rotator cuffs on major league pitchers and the ravaged knees of professional basketball players. But those little people who straddle the backs of thoroughbreds? Not so much.

An injury that left horse-racing jockey Rene Douglas paralyzed and unable to walk may change that perception. The jockey filed a negligence suit against Arlington Park for what he claims was a dangerous track surface, the Chicago Daily Herald reported.

The Chicago accident attorney representing veteran jockey Rene Douglas was not quoted or named in the article. The Cook County suit names Arlington Park, corporate owner Churchill Downs and the makers of its Polytrack surface, Martin Collins Surfaces, as defendants. 

Pro sport physicians claim that fear of malpractice suits make it harder for them to practice medicine.

Former Chicago Bears running back Merril Hoge was awarded a $1.55 million jury verdict after suing Bears team physician Dr. John Munsell, according to the New York Times. He suffered a concussion, as is common in pro football, but blamed the doctor for mistreatment that led to more serious injuries.

Merril Hoge's Chicago accident attorney may have done wonders for his client, but critics say an uptick in malpractice suits are driving qualified physicians away from the once-prestigious job.

In fact, a whole slew of concussion-related lawsuits are being filed against team doctors of professional football teams. In many of the cases, though, the doctors claim they often warn against playing in games or practicing until after symptoms have cleared.

Even the king sometimes has his grievances.

Frank Kaszycki, a Deer Park man who was hired to play King Philippe at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament Show in Schaumberg, is aiming his litigious lance at the company after the horse he was riding allegedly threw him, according to the Chicago Tribune.

His job was to ride a horse and speak in character during the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament Show, which features actors who play various medieval characters. Paying customers feast on a four-course meal while watching choreographed combat, jousting, horsemanship and other medieval activities.

Rhom & Haas and Dow Chemical are the targets of a class action cancer lawsuit brought by at least 31 plaintiffs who acquired brain cancer they claim is the fault of the companies' operations at McCullom Lake, according to a press release by the Pennsylvania law firm Layser & Freiwald, P.C. The lawyers claim it is the largest brain cancer cluster case in the United States.

While the incidents of brain cancer allegedly developed in Illinois, the corporate defendants are headquartered in Philadelphia; which means the Illinois-based plaintiffs will not be represented by Illinois injury attorneys.

The Northwest Herald provides extensive coverage of the brain cancer cases thought to be linked to the chemical plant at its website; along with videos of the victims, investigations, court documents pertaining to the lawsuit and other information.

A 35-year-old man was choked to death by a CVS store employee after shoplifting a couple tubes of toothpaste, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Anthony Kyser's death was ruled a homicide but police said they're treating it as "accidental" and won't charge the employee with a crime.

An off-duty Cook County sheriff's officer, who was armed, reportedly witnessed the strangulation and told Anthony Kyser to "stop resisting," a sheriff's spokesman told reporters for a Sun-Times update.

He was chased out of the store around 11 a.m. on May 8 carrying an unspecified number of stolen tubes of toothpaste and stopped by the unnamed employee in an alley.

This is not the first time so-called "drop-side" baby cribs have been recalled, but the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced a voluntary recall of Graco-branded cribs manufactured by LaJobi. The cribs have been cited as entrapment and suffocation hazards.

Roughly 217,000 of the units have been sold in the U.S. between Feb. 2007 and March 2010, priced from $140 to $200. The agency urges parents with the recalled cribs to stop using them and contact LaJobi for a free retrofit kit, either through the company's web site or by calling (888) 842-2215.

CPSC describes the safety hazard as follows:

The drop side hardware can break or fail, allowing the drop side to detach from the crib. When the drop side detaches, a hazardous gap is created between the drop side and the crib mattress in which infants and toddlers can become wedged or entrapped, posing a risk of suffocation and strangulation.

A physician identified only as "Janice Doe" is suing the owners of a Lake View hospital for a serious breach of duty she claims led to a vicious attack and attempted rape last summer, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. 

The woman regularly worked late-night shifts and claims the facility did not provide adequate security. In fact, video footage was used to identify the attacker but there were no security guards on duty at the time. The attacker reportedly wandered around the hospital before attacking the physician.

Janice Doe's Illinois injury attorney was not cited or named by the media and it's also not clear how much the victim is seeking in damages.

Downstate in Belleville, the Associated Press reported on a $46 million wrongful death suit against ex-trooper Matt Mitchell for allegedly texting while driving 126 mph before hitting and killing two people. The 2007 wreck claimed the lives of 18-year-old Jessica Uhl and 13-year-old Kelli Uhl.

Illinois injury attorney Tom Keefe, representing the family of the victims, said the amount was justified because of the magnitude of the trooper's alleged negligence. Matt Mitchell pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and aggravate reckless driving and received probation, and then said he only pleaded guilty for fear he wouldn't get a fair trial.

This infuriated Tom Keefe, who was not involved with the criminal case:

"When are my clients going to get some justice? When?" "This case is surreal. You'd think at some point somebody would step up and take some responsibility."

The Chicago Daily Herald reported on a truly surreal lawsuit filed by a Libertyville woman who claims the attachment hose on her Kirby vacuum cleaner sucked the hair right off her scalp last August. At least she knows the machine isn't lacking for power, but according to her complaint it sounds like the ordeal must have really sucked.

Plaintiff Terry Washburn Gattone was cleaning the carpet under her bed when the appliance broke, Illinois injury lawyer Thomas A. Reed told reporters. He said the attachment tube broke apart before causing injury to his client:

"As soon as it did, there was a tremendous sucking that took her hair right into the machine. Her hair was ripped right out by the roots."