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    Curcio Law Offices
    161 North Clark Street,
    Suite 2240
    Chicago IL 60601
    Ph: 312.321.1111
    Fx: 312.321.3637

    Blog

    Death of Chicago Mother Highlights Crosswalk Negligence

    Thursday, November 10th, 2016

    After a suburban Chicago mother of five was struck and killed while in a poorly marked, unnoticeable crosswalk, officials announced that they will update the Illinois publication of the “Rules of the Road” for next year to try and reduce the dangers pedestrians and bicyclists face every day in state crosswalks.

    Although difficult to understand why, official state policies do not yet specify that when the crosswalk signal is active and lights are flashing, all drivers need to stop until pedestrians and bicyclists have crossed the road. Many have complained that there is no way for drivers to know that this particular crosswalk is there or that someone is in it, as the signal is confusing and dangerous. It is important that there is visibility for all drivers from each lane to see the beacon.

    Determining Fault in Illinois

    The question in this case becomes: For this crosswalk, why weren’t flashing lights to warn drivers that someone is in the crosswalk part of the original design? And are flashing lights enough compared to, say, simply putting in a stop sign?

    Inadequate crosswalks like these bring confusion to the question of who is liable when it comes to figuring out negligence in accidents. The state of Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence rule, whereby an injured party can only recover for damages if they are less than 50 percent at fault. In addition, injured pedestrians can typically file claims against the driver’s auto insurance policy, whereby the ability for the pedestrian to recover largely depends upon the degree of their own fault.

    Municipal Negligence

    In the instance where you have an insufficiently-marked crosswalk, who, exactly, has behaved negligently and caused the accident? In this particular case, it is entirely possible for the family of the woman who was struck to consider bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against the city for failing to properly place appropriate safeguards in the crosswalk to protect its citizens. This is what is known as “municipal negligence” resulting in a safety hazard. It is the government’s job to act responsibly when it comes to maintaining the roads and crosswalks within them. While this typically involves providing the government entity with a reasonable amount of notice and time to fix said issue, in this particular case, this was not the first accident that occurred in that crosswalk, indicating that the government failed to correct the crosswalk after the initial accident.

    Accident Attorneys Who Care

    If you or a loved one has been injured in a crosswalk accident as a pedestrian or bicyclist, or if you are a motorist who has been involved in an accident due to insufficient signage, we are here to help.

    Founded in 1957, Curcio Law Offices has earned a strong reputation for representing clients in Chicago and surrounding areas. We focus on auto accidents and wrongful death in particular. We have the experience and skills to ensure that you are protected. Contact us today for a free consultation.

    Blog

    Samsung Phones Allegedly Causing Severe Burns

    Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

    In September, the news headlines have been dominated by the serious product liability issues found with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, whose batteries were reported to explode while charging. The product was just released in mid-August, and although Samsung acted quickly in removing it from the market, public concern still remains over the sheer number of products that that appear to be making it onto the market and into consumers’ hands, only to catch on fire and cause a serious injuries.

    Furthermore, Samsung will reportedly require anyone with a Galaxy Note 7 to install a software update, which would supposedly warn owners if the device is unsafe, indicating that it needs to be returned. But is this reasonable to require of customers who purchased this product?

    Severe Burns & Property Damage

    The US Consumer Product Safety Commission—charged with protecting the public from risk of injury or death associated with consumer products–issued a formal recall for the devices in mid-September, noting that the phone represented a serious fire hazard. According to the Commission, there were close to 30 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, which not only included fires started in garages and cars, but entire homes burning down. Another case involved $1,400 in hotel room damage. Out of approximately one million phones sold in the US alone, the Commission estimates that around 97 percent of them contain the defective batteries.

    Product Defect Litigation

    Some consumers have reportedly experienced such severe second-degree burns after carrying the phone in their pockets that they have decided to file lawsuits against Samsung, seeking compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering associated with the devices. When consumers bring product liability claims for issues like these, typically an investigation is done to find out why some individual products became dangerous—violating safety standards—while others did not. Whether or not the manufacturer knew about the defect (or would/should have known if they had exercised reasonable due care)—and whether this created a foreseeable risk of harm to consumers—is ultimately up to the jury in cases like these.

    The US Federal Aviation Administration has also banned the phones from checked baggage following a number of spontaneous explosions, while other airlines have gone so far as to ban passengers from using or charging the phone during flights.

    Lawyers Who Fight For Those Injured By Defective Products

    At the Curcio Law Offices, we fight for those injured by defective products. Located in downtown Chicago, we’ve helped thousands of clients and families who’ve been devastated by injuries due to companies not properly testing products, or releasing those that are dangerous for consumers, knowing that they could cause issues. We work closely with experts to determine all of the relevant details in product liability claims.

     

    If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to a defective product, contact us today for a free consultation.

    Blog

    Animal Attacks on Vacation and Liability

    Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

    No one will forget the news story that shocked and saddened so many: A small boy attacked by an alligator at Disney World in June, ultimately suffering head injuries that resulted in his death, while he was on vacation.

    New evidence has now emerged that several sources had previously warned staffers about alligators being located five feet from shore that day, far enough in advance of the attack. The fact that staffers had previous warning of these public safety hazards (the presence of alligators), and sufficient time to prevent the child’s injuries and death, arguably makes it a viable premises liability case (not to mention  personal injury and wrongful death as well), although a jury would specifically need to decide on what, specifically, Disney should have done to prevent the incident (close down the beach, remove the alligators, etc.).

    A History of Problems

    Many do not realize that Walt Disney World resorts didn’t even have alligator warning signs placed to warn visiting families prior to the incident; a basic measure that should have been taken, given the history of the presence of alligators there near the beach. In Florida alone, at least 23 people have been killed by alligators since 1973, including several children, in addition to approximately 400 people who have been bitten and injured. Given the history of issues with alligators in those waters in the state, and the fact that the company had a history of removing some alligators off the property (indicating that it was generally aware of alligators being a problem there), Disney not only should not have been encouraging its visitors to frequent the beaches, but neglected a basic duty to warn visitors of the danger associated with the property.

    Unfortunately, Chicago is no stranger to the issue of children being injured due to negligence, even if not necessarily due to alligators: many children are injured in hotel pools each year, for example, or at theme parks. Children are also injured every day at some child care facilities when caretakers fail to exercise a duty of reasonable care. In this instance, not only does the Illinois Premises Liability Act apply, but the Illinois Child Care Act, which specifies that a number of staff members at these facilities are trained in first aid.

    Contact our Cook County Animal Attack/Premises Liability Lawyers

    If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence, call 816-533-7695 or contact our team of premises liability, personal injury, and wrongful death attorneys at Curcio Law Offices in downtown Chicago. You and your family have a right to receive assistance with medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other costs as a result of the negligence. We serve clients in and around the Chicago loop and Cook County.

    Blog

    Keeping Children and Families Safe in Swimming Pools

    Friday, August 26th, 2016

    As we approach (what feels like) unprecedented levels of hot weather this summer, many families will likely flock to swimming pools to cool off and provide their children with a fun activity to fill their weekends. However, it is important to be aware that not only can your child become injured from slipping and falling at the local pool, for example, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recently closed thousands of public pools due to serious health and safety violations.

    Specifically, the most recent findings indicated that the highest proportion of closures amongst all inspected facilities involved the kiddie/wading pools, and the most common violations involved improper pH, safety equipment, and disinfectant levels. If you or a loved one will be visiting a public pool this summer, there are some precautions—as well as legal issues—that you may want to keep in mind.

    Important Precautions

    In order to avoid getting sick or injured at public pools, the CDC recommends doing the following:

    • Obtain a test strip (available from many superstores) to determine if the pH, chlorine, and bromine levels are correct in the pool. The CDC provides some guidance on what specific levels they recommend here;
    • Make sure that you can see the drain at the bottom of the deep end;
    • Make sure that the drain covers are secured and functional;
    • Make sure there’s a lifeguard on duty; and
    • Check to see whether/what safety equipment is available and where it’s located.

    It is important to note that if you or your child is attending an event organized at the pool, the organizers of the event may not always take these proper precautions to ensure that the pool is safe for the children’s group or other visitors. However, do keep in mind that the pool facility does have a duty to ensure that the facilities and visitors are kept reasonably safe; still, that doesn’t seem to prevent what appears to be an inordinately high number of children dying from drowning in pools every day. Sadly, we have dealt with some of these cases in Chicago and surrounding areas, and you can never be too cautious.

    There are also sometimes concerns regarding the level of training that the lifeguard has (or has not) received. If a child has been injured at a pool and the proper precautions have been taken to ensure that chemical levels in the pool itself were not the culprit, the facility’s policies and procedures should be investigated to see if improper training of any staff on-site contributed to the incident.

    Premises Liability Attorneys Committed To Victims’ Rights

    If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of an improperly maintained public pool, or other unsafe condition on public or private property, we are here to help. Take action quickly to ensure that you and your family’s rights are protected—contact us online or call 312.321.1111 for a free consultation.

    Blog

    Railroad Operator Negligence and Unawareness

    Monday, July 18th, 2016

    The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) estimates approximately 5,800 train accidents involving other vehicles occur across the U.S. each year. These accidents result in approximately 600 fatalities in addition to approximately 2,300 injuries.

    Unfortunately, it is estimated that at least 50% of the fatality train accidents occur due to inadequate safety devices and markings at railroad crossings with a higher percentage occurring after dark when a car actually drives into a train when a driver fails to see it.

    Many fatality train accidents occur due to railroad operator negligence and unawareness, and we have all heard tragic news reports about railroad operators falling asleep, texting or talking on their cell phones, or some that are drinking alcohol or operating while high on drugs.  

    There are many causes for railroad accidents that include:

    • Railroad operator or engineer negligence and unawareness
    • Inadequate supervision or training
    • Railroad operators falling asleep or impaired by alcohol or drugs
    • Mechanical failures due to poor maintenance

    When approaching a railroad crossing remember to look both ways before crossing this summer.  Never assume that the railroad crossing safety devices and signals will work properly to warn you of an oncoming train.

    The most common types of railroad crossing accidents that occur in Illinois include:

    • METRA trains and Chicago Transit Authority trains
    • Cargo and freight trains (the state of Illinois is considered a central hub for both freight and passenger trains)
    • Train derailments
    • Railroad crossing accidents

    Common sense tells us that when a train collides with another vehicle it is highly unlikely that any of the smaller vehicle’s passengers will survive without incurring traumatic injuries, and many will die as a result of their injuries.

    Personal Injury Representation You Can Trust

    If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to the negligence of a railroad operator, contact Curcio Law.  We will work diligently on your behalf to ensure that you or your loved ones receive the maximum compensation for your injuries or loss.

    Blog

    Toyota Expands Airbag Recall

    Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

    The Takata airbag recall has received plenty of attention recently; the New York Times just featured a story announcing that Toyota is now recalling more than 1.5 million additional vehicles in the United States, once again connected to airbag inflator issues linked to manufacturer Takata. This has any consumers concerned not only about potentially deadly car accidents they could be involved in, but product liability issues.

    While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) originally provided some leeway to the company–allowing them until the end of 2018 to prove that the inflators were safe– as well as prioritize recalls in areas of higher humidity and temperatures, this week, the NHTSA actually accelerated recall efforts (after at least 11 deaths have been linked to the defect and more than 100 injuries in the United States alone). The recall applies to front passenger airbags that could be as old as 10 years. The propellant that inflates the bags essentially degrades, causing the inflator to rupture when the airbag deploys, spewing metal and plastic fragments that sometimes kill the motorists.

    Toyota & Lexus Recalls

    Toyota has offered to replace the inflators for free, and is recalling the following vehicle models:

    • Lexus
    • Sxion
    • Sienna
    • 4Runner
    • Yaris
    • Corolla
    • Matrix

     

    The recall is totaling close to 5 million vehicles in the United States alone. Toyota also discovered a separate safety issue with its RAV4 sports vehicles regarding safety equipment in the vehicle, and had to recall close to three million RAV4s, separately.

    Takata Recalls

    Meanwhile, Takata ordered 25 – 40 million inflators to be recalled earlier this month, bringing the total recalled to over 60 million in the United States alone. Originally, the company denied that their parts had any defects, until they finally admitted it one year ago in May 2015. Which company—Toyota or Takata—is going to bear the brunt of the costs still remains to be seen.

    Your Rights

    The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act provides NHTSA with the authority to require manufacturers to recall vehicles that have safety-related issues and/or do not meet Federal safety standards. Federal law requires that each vehicle owner be mailed a letter from Toyota or Lexus informing them of their rights with respect to their vehicles.

    Product Liability, Accident, and Personal Injury Attorneys in Chicago

    With a focus on personal injury, products liability, and auto accidents, the Curcio Law Offices have been providing excellent legal representation to our clients in Chicago and surrounding areas for over 50 years now. If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence—whether that is a manufacturer, driver, or other party—contact us today online or call 312.321.1111 so that we can provide you with a free consultation (and peace of mind).

    Blog

    When Medical Conditions Intersect With Workplace Injuries & Motor Vehicle Accidents

    Sunday, May 1st, 2016

    According to a recent study, people with untreated sleep apnea—a serious sleep disorder that involves pausing while breathing or taking shallow breaths during sleep—are twice as likely to suffer from a workplace injury compared to those who do not suffer from the condition. Given that up to 25 percent of all adults between ages 30 and 70 are supposedly affected by sleep apnea, this essentially means that the chronic sleep disorder could be involved in a significant number of workplace injuries each year. Understandably, those who suffer from sleep apnea are more likely to experience injuries that are potentially related to being fatigued.

    The effect this could have on the field of workplace injuries—and motor vehicle accidents—could be dramatic; specifically, because those who suffer from sleep apnea have decreased cognitive and motor function, when it’s left untreated, they are at an increased risk of getting in auto accidents as well. The impact that this could have on others—especially those who work in particular jobs where they rely on other employees to take safety precautions—as well as everyday drivers on the road—could also end up affecting personal injury litigation, and possibly even workers’ compensation. For example, if an employee does not get their sleep apnea treated—either because their employer doesn’t provide health insurance or for some other reason—and, out of fatigue, they drop a heavy object from a scaffold above someone else, hitting this other person, then you have a medical condition potentially having a ripple effect on other members of the public.

    Implications for Employers & Doctors?

    Interestingly, the study only looked at injury claims that resulted in at least one day of absence from work, making the study’s findings particularly relevant to such issues as lost wages. In addition, these findings may also have implications for whether employers need to screen for sleep apnea in the workplace. Without a requirement to specifically screen for this in the workplace, the duty appears to fall on your individual doctor; thus, could this also have implications for medical malpractice with regards to a delayed or missed diagnosis that ends up causing injuries to you and/or others? In other words, could medical providers be held vicariously liable for workplace injuries after failing to diagnose and treat sleep apnea?

    Personal/Workplace Injury & Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

    If you or a loved one has been injured while at work or in an accident, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to find out what your rights and options are. Over the last 50 years, the attorneys at Curcio Law Offices have established a reputation as a leading personal injury firm representing Chicago and surrounding areas. Contact us today for a free consultation and we can get started helping you. Call our office at 312.321.1111. 

    Blog

    How Google Plans to Rewrite the Rules of the Road

    Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

    In the words of Mayor Richard J. Berry of Albuquerque, New Mexico: “This [Google driverless car] is going to change cities.” So what is that change going to look like? Inevitably, it’s going to change motor vehicle accidents, personal injury litigation, serious and fatal accident injuries verdicts, and probably wrongful death verdicts as well.

    But before all of that, Google is going to have to change to adhere to the federal, state, and local regulations, regarding all the basics, for example, addressing what cars must absolutely contain in order to ensure driver and passenger safety, to who is at fault if a driverless car collides with another car. As of now, Google is testing these driverless cars on the public streets in Silicon Valley, Kirkland Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona, with more cities to come, in order to gain public acceptance for driverless cars in general.

    Many people may not realize that cars with “partial autonomy” are already on the road (for example, the Tesla Model S). With that has come serious lobbying of state and federal regulators in an effort to steer the rules in the direction to the company’s liking.

    NHTSA Supports Artificial Intelligence as Drivers

    The first victory came in February of this year, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the artificial intelligence system responsible for piloting self-driving cars can be considered the driver under federal law. This establishes the precedent needed to make similar findings, such as dropping the requirement for these vehicles to have steering wheels and other parts and products that (actual) people need when they drive cars.  This has pushed Google and several allies to form the “Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets,” which will be pushing regulators for one set of safety standards to cover these specific driverless vehicles and encourage support for the technology from local businesses and governments.  

    Some Officials Still Want Specific Safety Features Mandated

    The NHTSA has indicated that it will be issuing guidelines for these cars by July 2016 after they gather public input. Amidst this announcement, some officials are pushing for driverless cars to have steering wheels, brake pedals, and accelerator pedals at a minimum, which appears to indicate that driverless cars may also have drivers in them for the time being, as well. Some point to the accident that a Google car already got into earlier this year as evidence that the world is not yet ready for completely driverless cars (and this car actually had a steering wheel and control pedals, yet it still got into an accident).

    Motor Accident/Injury Lawyers in Chicago, Illinois

    Frequently, we as the general public discover that, after technology becomes mainstream, there are safety concerns that pop up that no one could have predicted, but that can end up hurting people.

    As one of the premier personal injury firms in Chicago, IL, Curcio Law Offices has earned a formidable reputation for representing individuals in auto accident and wrongful death claims. We have the skill and experience necessary to ensure that you are protected. Contact our offices today for a free consultation.

    Blog

    What Rights And Protections Do My Parents Have In Their Nursing Home?

    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

    It is a real fear that many families live with in America today: Are my parents safe in their nursing home? It doesn’t help that news coverage seems to constantly report stories of people becoming ill or being neglected (or even intentionally harmed) in a nursing home, including here in Chicago. But what can be done to ensure that your loved ones are protected from these harms?

    There are laws designed to protect residents of nursing homes. Sadly, violations still regularly occur, and residents are typically the victims. If you have family members living in a nursing home, it can be helpful to be aware of these rights and ready to provide your loved ones with helpful information in case they should need it.

    Medicare and Medicaid Nursing Homes

    When nursing homes are certified as Medicare and/or Medicaid nursing homes, there are additional federal and state-based laws governing their rights as residents due to the connection with these federal programs. As opposed to a private facility—which still must obey the law, of course, but does not face the additional burdens associated with federal funding—residents in the certified homes must have their rights presented to them in writing and the resident must sign an acknowledgment that they received this information.

    Specific Rights

    Some of these rights include:

     

    • Being treated with dignity and respect;
    • The right to participate in activities;
    • The right to be free from discriminatory practices;
    • The right to be free from abuse and neglect, including verbal, physical, mental, and sexual abuse, as well as abuse of your property and finances;
    • The right to be free from restraints, including physical and chemical;
    • The right to make a complaint;
    • Various rights with respect to medical care, which includes being fully informed about your health status and prescriptions, involved in choosing your doctor, the right to participate in decisions that affect your care and take part in developing your care plan, the right to access all of your records, refuse participation in experimental treatments, and other related rights;
    • The right to be informed in writing about nursing home fees and services whenever they change;
    • The right to manage your money or choose the person you want to manage it for you;
    • The right to privacy and living arrangements;
    • The right to spend time with visitors; and
    • Other rights.

    To Report Abuse

    Each state has an agency designed to keep track of complaints against nursing homes and investigate allegations and incidents. This is aside from any private action you wish to bring against the nursing home for neglect, wrongful death, etc. In Chicago, that agency is the Illinois Department of Public Health.

    Attorneys Fighting For Nursing Home Residents

    If you or a loved one has been injured due to a nursing home’s negligent or intentional actions, please contact our Chicago injury attorneys at Curcio Law Offices or call 312-321-1111. You and your family deserve to be represented by individuals who care about their treatment.

    Blog

    What Should I Do If My Car Is Recalled Because Of A Faulty Safety Feature Such As Airbags?

    Monday, February 8th, 2016

    Recalls are more common for vehicle safety than ever before, it is important to stay up to date about recalls to ensure you and your families safety, with websites like http://www.recalls.gov you can quickly check if any recalls have been made on your motor vehicle.

    What To Do If Your Car Is Recalled Due To A Faulty Safety Feature?

    If there is a recall on your vehicle for a safety feature such as seat belts or airbags there are a few things a company can do to remedy the situation: Repair, Replacement, or Refund. A manufacturer may be able to repair whatever was causing the recall. Replacement of a part or for the full vehicle for a similar or identical motor vehicle may be done. Or a refund for purchased price, with some depreciation considered and taken from the original price may be in order.

    After a Recall, Can I Take Legal Action If Injured?

    If you were injured due to an aspect that was recalled on your vehicle you are able to take legal action. The recalls a business does is just one way of solving the problem, legal action is still available to remedy the situation as well. To determine specific State law requirements and laws about recall injury compensation or legal action, you should consult a personal injury lawyer.

    Contact Your Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

    Specializing in personal injury and wrongful death cases, for over 50 years, Curcio Law Offices has proven experience to assist our clients and their families in the Chicago area for receiving justice for their cases. If you or a loved one have been affected by faulty safety features in a motor vehicle, please contact the Chicago personal injury lawyers at Curcio Law Offices in downtown Chicago or call for a free consultation 312-321-1111.