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Your Guide to Understanding Daycare Negligence

Every parent’s worse nightmare is to receive a call from your child’s daycare facility, that there has been an accident or emergency, and your child is hurt. This has been a reality for many families. While injuries at daycare centers can vary from minor accidents through to severe or fatal injuries. Unfortunately, in a significant number of cases, there is an underlying issue of daycare negligence.

Small Errors of Daycare Negligence:

Even a small error has the potential for serious consequences and reflect an issue of daycare negligence. For example, the case of a three year old dying at a preschool after he swallowed a pushpin. The incident occurred in 2011 when the child was permitted an unsupervised use of the bathroom, where he obtained a pushpin. The child swallowed the sharp object, and he choked.
The preschool facility was cited for the failure to monitor the young child properly and for creating a situation where the child had access to a pushpin. However, despite these severe and dangerous violations, the state could only impose a fine of $150 on the facility. Fortunately, civil law does provide an avenue to pursue accountability for the family of the child.

Signs of Daycare Negligence:

Both federal and state laws aim to ensure that standards of care are met by all facilities. These provisions include providing proper supervision, removing known dangers and maintaining the necessary caregiving items for emergencies. However, it is still important for parents or guardians to ensure that their childcare provider is offering a high standard of care.
The signs of daycare negligence include a poor caregiver to child ratio, inadequate access to water or proper bathroom facilities, improper safety standards, lack of access to first aid materials and lack of safety measures to prevent children from wandering off the premises.

If you are concerned that your child has been injured or hurt at a daycare facility and may have been the victim of daycare negligence, it is important to seek professional, legal advice. An experienced personal injury attorney will advise you about whether you have a case for monetary compensation.


Federal Agency Urged to Recall Tipping Ikea Furniture by Consumer Groups

There have been three fatal accidents involving toddlers and tipping Ikea furniture. Four consumer groups are pushing the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a formal recall of the Ikea Malm dresser involved in the incidents. In a letter to the CPSC, Consumer Federation of America, National Center for Health Research, Consumers Union and Kids in Danger have urged the agency to take immediate and strong action to prevent further injuries from tipping Ikea furniture.

The CPSC Response:

Elliot Kaye, CPSC Chairman, has issued a statement that he agrees that quick action needs to be taken to protect children from tipping furniture. Mr. Kaye would not comment on a specific case, such as the Ikea tipping furniture. However, he did say that companies should be on notice that they need to prevent further harm, even if a public announcement has been made about a dangerous product. He said that he expects companies to put safety first, working with the CPSC quickly to develop a plan to offer customers necessary measures to ensure safety.

The Malm Tipping Ikea Furniture:

The tipping Ikea furniture still presents a great potential danger. In February, a 22 month old child in Minnesota was killed when the Malm dresser unit in his room tipped on him.
Ikea has issued a statement, saying that it was a priority for the company to raise awareness about the tip over incidents and increase prevention. The company states that the best way to prevent tipping Ikea furniture is to attach the units to a wall using the restraints provided with the product.
The death of the Minnesota toddler marked the third confirmed fatal accident involving tipping over Malm dresser units. While Ikea and the CPSC launched an education and repair campaign, there was no product recall. However, consumer groups are highlighting that since there has been a further death, the lack of a recall is unacceptable.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury caused by an unsafe product, speak to us. Our team are here to discuss the circumstances of your case and advise you if you have a claim.


Is the Meatpacking Industry Hiding Safety Hazards?

While the reported injuries in the meat and poultry industry have decreased, Personal injury lawyers in Chicago would like to highlight that plant workers are still in danger while on the job. Government Accountability Office has stated that safety hazards within the industry are worse than they appear.

The Potential Safety Hazards:

According to a Government Accountability Office report, many workers may be reluctant to speak out about any health and safety hazards for fear of losing their job. Additionally, meat companies could be under reporting workplace injuries to OSHA in order to avoid scrutiny and higher costs.
Congressional Democrats asked the GAO to perform the study to assist OSHA in assessing the safety hazards within the slaughtering and processing facilities in the U.S. The GAO has determined that regulators face many challenges, including the lack of reliability in injury data.
Recent inspections conducted by OSHA suggest that many injuries are unreported. However, it is difficult to gauge the extent of under reporting as vulnerable workers may fear for their livelihood and be under pressure not to report any injuries.

The Extent of the Problem:

Workplace safety watchdogs have highlighted that the report creates a need for heavier industry policing. They point to findings that some workers are not provided with appropriate medical treatment and are instructed to return straight back to work. Researchers interviewing workers were told that first aid treatments such as over the counter medications or compresses were often substituted for proper medical treatment. Some in house health facilities would often try to persuade the worker not to report injuries.
The 2013 figures show that 39 out of each 10,000 workers reported missing a minimum of one day of work due to a musculoskeletal issue. However, a CDC analysis of one plant found over a third of workers were showing signs of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Since OSHA use injury reporting data to assess safety hazards, despite the decrease in reported injuries, the industry obviously has some way to go.


Your Guide to Deck and Porch Collapse Accidents

A deck, balcony or porch can be a very enjoyable place to socialize outdoors. However, GWC advises that if something goes wrong and there is a deck or porch collapse, there is the potential for severe injuries. Property owners or managers must have responsibility to ensure that decks, porches, and balconies are up to code and structurally sound. If the structure wasn’t properly maintained or corners were cut during the build, you may be found negligent.

The Duty of the Property Occupier or Owner:

If you have been injured in a balcony, deck or porch collapse, there may be grounds for a premises liability claim. In the state of Illinois, property occupiers or owners have the duty to ensure reasonable care that their property is safe for any visitors. The 740 IILCS 130 Premises Liability Act, states that in cases where property occupiers or owners are negligent in warning people about dangerous conditions or are negligent about defect repairs, they may be liable for foreseeable injuries occurring on the premises.

Circumstances Negating Liability:

There are several circumstances in which the property occupier or owner may not be liable. These include if the visitor was aware of the dangerous conditions before the injury, the conditions were open and obviously dangerous, you created dangerous conditions through premises misuse or the conditions were hidden and the occupier or owner was unaware of them.

Common Causes of a Deck, Balcony or Porch Collapse:

There are numerous ways in which a property owner may fail to keep a property safe and give rise to a claim of negligence. These include too much weight on the structure, design or structural flaws, decaying materials such as rusted metal or rotten wood, inadequate supports or failing or inadequate foundations.

If you have suffered an injury in an accident involving a deck, balcony or porch collapse, you may have a claim for the medical bill, lost wages, pain and suffering compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney would be able to advise whether you may have a successful compensation claim.


Cancer Lawsuit: Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $55M

In a second talcum powder cancer lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson has been ordered by a St Louis jury to pay $55 million. The jury deliberated for eight hours on the case where a South Dakota woman blamed her ovarian cancer on using talcum powder for years. Gloria Ristesund was awarded $5 million damages and $50 million for punitive damages. Knowledgeable personal injury lawyers will be quick to note that this follows soon after the company was ordered to pay $72 million in damages to the family of a deceased Alabama woman who allegedly developed ovarian cancer because of using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder.

The Case for the Cancer Lawsuit:

As with the earlier claim, Ristesund had used the company’s baby powder and other talcum products for feminine hygiene. Although she is now in remission, Ristesund claimed that years of talcum use caused her ovarian cancer.
Ristesund is one of many women who have filed a cancer lawsuit, alleging the company failed to inform consumers of the risks of using talc, a primary ingredient in baby powder. In an internal memo in 1997, a company medical consultant stated that denying the risk of developing ovarian cancer from using hygienic talc is denying the obvious despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The Scientific Evidence:

According to Director of Clinical Cancer Services and chief of Gynecologic Oncology at Winthrop University Hospital, Eva Chalas, it is difficult to link the use of talc with ovarian cancer. The information about talcum powder was released years ago when talc was incorporated into tissue samples of women with ovarian cancer. This concern led to many medical professionals advising mothers to stop using talc on their babies and to discontinue using it for feminine hygiene. However, as the jury award on this second cancer lawsuit suggests, there is still a case that the company failed to adequately inform their customers of the potential dangers of using their talcum products.


Dogs Involved in Dallas Fatal Attack Had Prior History of Complaints

The dogs though to be responsible for the fatal attack on a woman in Dallas came from a home with a detailed history of past complaints to Animal Services. If you have been involved in such a case, your Chicago personal injury law firm will have pointed out that this is an important factor in the claim. The details issued by the City of Dallas suggest prior owner knowledge and that the injuries could have been avoided.

The Dallas Fatal Attack:

52-year-old Antoinette Brown lingered in a coma at the Dallas Baylor Medical Center following the severe mauling. The Dallas fatal attack occurred on Rutledge Street at 4.45 am and following the attack, the Dallas Animal Services issued 16 citations and seized seven dogs from a nearby home. The name of the dog’s owner was not released.

The History of Complaints:

The records state that in a 13 month period between July 13 and August 14, neighbors made ten calls about the location. After repeated Animal Services violation notices, the owner surrendered ten dogs.
In September 2015, there were reports of an attack in progress. Animal Services issued five citations and three more dogs needed to be euthanized.
Dallas police are trying to determine scientifically using test samples to confirm that the seized dogs were responsible for Antoinette Brown’s death.

The Legal Case:

If there is proof of a negligent lack of restraint, there could be a case for second-degree felony charges of attack by a dog. This is feasible where a dog which is known to be dangerous causes a fatality. If the dog’s owner is convicted of this offense, the court could order any dogs owned by this person to be destroyed.
Animal Services have stated that the neighborhood where the Dallas fatal attack took place is a routine patrol route for stray dogs. According to Lavenia Perry, a neighbor in the area many people walk in the neighborhood with a stick to protect themselves against vicious dogs.


Local Letter Carrier Dog Attacks On the Rise

If you are a mail carrier, Goldberg Weisman Cairo advises that you should be on the alert. In Columbus, the number of dog attacks on local letter carriers has almost doubled, from 22 to 43 between 2014 and 2015. These figures secure Columbus a place in the top ten of cities where mail carriers suffer from dog attacks.

The Dangers to Letter Carriers:

While the weather can’t stop the mail, vicious dog attacks can cause severe delays. According to mail carrier Jessica Powell, dog attacks can be a life changing event. While Powell was used to the sound of dogs barking as she delivered her route, in December 2010 a dog was in the backyard with its owner and immediately attacked her as she was putting the mail in the box. As she was wrestled to the ground, she suffered a dog bite on the face. With three rows of facial stitches spanning her jaw bone to cheek, Powell has left her carrier days behind and now supervises at the post office.
On his Grandview route, Shawn Carter uses orange cards rubber banded on mail for homes where there are potentially dangerous dogs. This is needed to give the carrier a warning so that they can be cautious.

Advice to Avoid Dog Attacks:

For dog owners, there are some necessary precautions to avoid being responsible for dog attack injuries. You should ensure that your dog is contained, especially when your mail carrier is due. Even if the dog is in the yard, it may need to be put on a leash.
Should your letter carrier suffer an attack by your dog, your mail will be delayed and could even be suspended.
Nationwide, there was a total of 6,549 dog attacks on postal employees in 2015. If your carrier is delivering a package to your door, secure your dog in another room before you open the door. A very protective dog may burst through a screen door to get to a strange.
Children should not take mail from a letter carrier directly, as a family dog may see this as a threat. If the letter carrier is concerned about dog attacks on your property, you may be asked to collect mail from the Post Office.


Report Highlights Increasing Numbers of Pedestrian Deaths

Walking on the streets of America is becoming increasingly risky. Highway Safety Association figures show that cars and trucks along with other motor vehicles were the cause of 10% more pedestrian deaths a year compared to 2014.

The Increase in Pedestrian Deaths:

More worrying than the overall increase in pedestrian deaths is the trend that between 2009 and 2014 the number of fatalities increased by 19%. The Spotlight on Highway Safety annual report highlighted that pedestrian deaths increased from 4,109 in 2009 to 4,884 in 2014. Pedestrians are now the largest share of traffic deaths as figures reach a 25 year high.
According to traffic engineer and co-writer of the report, Richard Retting, pedestrian safety has become a growing problem throughout the country. The report is projecting the greatest year on year increase in pedestrian deaths since national records started being kept.
Additionally, the percentage of pedestrian deaths for motor vehicle crash deaths has increased from 11 percent between 2005 and 2007 up to 15 percent in 2014. The last time pedestrians accounted for this level of total traffic fatalities was back in 1990. Preliminary data suggests that the figure will remain steady in 2015.

The Safety on American Streets:

While there has been a rise in pedestrian deaths, now it is the safest time to drive on the streets. The number of total traffic fatalities has decreased over this same period. The numbers have dropped from 33,883 to 32,675 between 2009 and 2014. This is attributed to declining fatalities in vehicle occupants as auto manufacturers have improved crash avoidance technology and vehicle crashworthiness. However, pedestrians remain susceptible to injuries when they are hit by a vehicle.
Although vehicles in the European Union require vehicles to protect pedestrians in the event of an accident, the United States has yet to implement any significant protection for pedestrians. EU regulations stipulate that fenders and hoods on vehicles are designed to absorb more collision impact to protect pedestrians.
The report also cited that distracted walking and driving, such as people texting or using their smartphones has also contributed to the increase in pedestrian fatalities and injuries.


Safety Equipment Could Have Prevented 2015 Amtrak Derailment

The horrific 2015 Amtrak derailment which caused 8 fatal injuries and 159 other injuries in Philadelphia could have been avoided. According to crash investigators, if the installed hardware on the train had been turned on, the derailment may not have occurred. GWC law firm clients may be interested to know that the investigators also speculated that the engineer could have been preoccupied by radio reports about a SEPTA train being hit by thrown rocks. These issues will be discussed after the year-long investigation when the National Transportation Safety Board is convened.

How PTC Could Have Prevented the 2015 Amtrak Derailment:

Amtrak made the decision to activate the PTC system just seven months after the 2015 Amtrak derailment. This technology could have decelerated the speeding train when Brandon Bostian, the engineer on board permitted the train to move into a sharp bend at twice the speed limit.

The NTSB investigation team determined that the engineer was drug-free, sober and not using his cell phone when the train was allowed to speed into that fatal turn.  Regardless of the reason, PTC would have automatically reduced the speed of the train and thereby prevented the derailment.

The Reasons for the Crash:

While the NTSB investigation team has yet to release a confirmed report, there are many theories for the 2015 Amtrak derailment. Bostian did tell investigators that he was concerned about radio reports of a SEPTA commuter train being hit by rocks. The report of rocks or it was speculated that bullets had been fired at a commuter train operating on an adjacent track could have been a major distraction. Bostian had heard the conversation between the dispatcher and the other train operator on the radio before he contacted the operator directly. In a May 2015 interview, Bostian told the investigators that he was “really concerned” for the engineers on the SEPTA train, but since he had heard reports about rocks being thrown many times, he felt it was unlikely it would directly impact him.

Until the NTSB meet, it is unlikely that we will be told of the reason for the 2015 Amtrak derailment, but the fact that the safety equipment was not in use should be a stark reminder for other operators.


Even Minor Head Injuries Should Not be Ignored

Most of us have suffered from injuries which we may just try to shrug off. However, Goldberg Weisman Cairo clients should be aware that even apparently minor head injuries should not be ignored. According to the CDC, an estimated 1.4 million Americans each year suffer from some form of brain trauma, ranging from fall injuries and auto accidents to intentional assault.

The Potential Dangers of Head Injuries:

Head injuries can be a major health concern as the injury may be left untreated if it is misdiagnosed or it has not been diagnosed at all. However, the main risk is that the individual may not realize there is any cause for alarm, thereby delaying vital medical treatment.

There are many forms of head injuries that if left untreated could be extremely serious. A well-publicized case was that of the actress Natasha Richardson. In 2009, she had an accident during a skiing lesson. Richardson appeared fine and was walking, talking and acting normally after the accident, even giving an interview. The paramedics who were at the scene were dismissed as they appeared not to be needed. Unfortunately, just three hours later, Richardson was taken to the hospital with a severe headache and seven hours after the accident, she was in critical condition. The actress died as a result of her injuries two days later, with an official cause of death of “epidural hematoma” resulting from the blunt head trauma from the accident.

“Talk and Die” Syndrome:

This is the term used to describe individuals who have suffered from what appears a mild head trauma. As with the case of Natasha Richardson, the injured person does not exhibit the typical symptoms of severe head injuries such as confusion, headaches, slurred speech or unconsciousness. While the person may appear to be fine, there could be bleeding in the brain, which will worsen and without immediate medical treatment could lead to death.

 


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