Protection against Aggressive Livery Drivers

Posted: February 24th, 2015

livery drivers, Lake County personal injury lawyerRecently, there has been much coverage in the media about the potential dangers of riding in livery vehicles. This comes in the wake of the tragic car crash which killed veteran news correspondent Bob Simon.

Simon was a passenger in a livery vehicle which law enforcement reports say appeared to be speeding down West 30th Street, in New York City. The Lincoln Town Car, which was traveling in the left lane, hit another vehicle that was traveling in the center lane. This sent the Lincoln smashing into metal barriers along the road. The vehicle was crushed in the crash, and Simon, who was sitting in the back, suffered multiple traumas and died while being transported to the hospital.

According to police, the driver of the Lincoln was an inexperienced livery driver, and also had nine driver’s license suspensions on his record.

Livery and taxicab drivers make their earnings by the number of fares they have every day. Unfortunately, this has led to a good majority of these drivers to practice unsafe driving habits, including speeding, aggressive driving, and driving while fatigued. Not only does this type of driving put their passengers at risk, but also endangers the lives of other drivers and pedestrians on the road.

Taxi and livery drivers must meet the requirements and regulations of the municipality they are located on. For example, in the city of Chicago, the Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Division oversees the licensing and regulation of public chauffeurs, including those that drive cabs and livery vehicles. There are approximately 7,000 taxicabs that fall under Chicago public chauffeur regulations.

Chicago requires that all new public chauffeurs complete a training course which is offered at several designated city colleges. They must also pass a written exam that is sponsored by the city. A driver may be exempted from attending that course if he or she meets all of the following:

  • Is 27 year of age or older;
  • Has possessed an Illinois or other state driver’s license for at least 10 years, and has never had that license suspended or revoked;
  • Passes the required written exam for a public chauffeurs license;
  • Has had a prior public chauffeur license which has not lapsed for longer than two years, and that license was in good-standing; and
  • Within 60 days of license issuance, the applicant will complete the Taxi Access Program which is offered at several designated city colleges.

Even with what seems like stringent rules, there are many people who are able to obtain their license, yet still practice dangerous driving. If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by an aggressive livery or taxi driver, contact an experienced Lake County personal injury attorney to find out what legal compensation you may be entitled to for your pain and loss.

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Nursing Home Horrors: New Laws Help Families Research Reputable Homes

Posted: February 19th, 2015

nursing home horrors, Illinois nursing home abuse lawyerThe vetting of nursing homes is unfortunately sparse. Although consumers can look up privately owned facilities to try and determine if they are a good fit for their elderly family members, the data available is usually out of date and flawed. Also, appearances can be deceiving. Residents in nursing homes across the country are systematically being neglected and/or abused, generally because of understaffing and the desire of private businesses to maximize their profit-margins.

A historical study reported that over 30 percent of nursing homes in the United States were cited for abuse violations to residents between January 1999 and January 2001. That equated to almost 9,000 abuse violations. In fact, over 2,500 were serious enough to cause actual harm to residents or placed residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury. The absence of a dedicated, independent watchdog organization means families are essentially taking a stab in the dark when choosing a facility.

If you suspect your loved one is being neglected and/or abused in a nursing home, it is essential to contact a compassionate personal injury attorney who can assist you in investigating and uncovering whether a litigious case exists.

Vulnerability

Because our elderly and somewhat incapacitated family members are living away from their familiar surroundings, they are basically at the mercy of a nursing home’s daily routines and whims. Research has shown that there is a correlation between staffing numbers and the quality of care provided in facilities. Residents are often helpless and vulnerable, and many times continually neglected. The problem is that there is infrequent, official reporting and a failure to protect residents—some may say even an ‘enabling’ of abuse at many levels.

Locally, over 100,000 Illinois residents live in nursing homes, and the Department of Public Health reports that they receive over 5,000 complaints a year.  Consider the cases that go unreported and the possible numbers of elderly residents suffering in silence is staggering.

Types of Serious Abuse and Neglect

It is gut wrenching to read horrific cases of abuse and neglect. Some of the most disturbing cases include the following:

  • Physical, sexual, or verbal abuse by nursing home staff members or other residents;
  • Neglect;
  • Abandonment;
  • Exploitation;
  • Intentional deprivation of needs; and
  • Forcing the ingestion of medication or other acts against a resident’s will

Moreover, hundreds of cases every year, just like these, only come to light after the filing of a formal complaint. This highlights the need for relatives to be vigilant about the care and services offered. Many residents are so afraid to speak up for fear of more harmful consequences; hence, there is strong chance none of these incidents would ever have been exposed.

Real Time Reporting and Transparency

A huge step in the direction of eradicating ongoing and potential abuse is the recent funding of new legislation to the tune of $11 million dollars. The funding is to help aid in the development of a system for collection of nursing home staffing levels through verifiable payroll data. This is in an effort to supplement the data reported to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services rating system, which is usually self-reported by homes, and becomes obsolete very quickly. This will help provide families with staffing numbers and therefore patient-staff ratios in facilities that they may be considering. This more ‘real-time’ data will provide more reliable information which in turn would allow for more informed decision making.

Compassionate Legal Team

The team at Noonan Perillo Ltd. has the depth of experience and the care and understanding to work hand in hand with you and your family to provide the legal representation your loved one deserves. Our Lake County nursing home abuse attorneys accept negligence cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no attorney fees unless and until we recover compensation. Call today for a free initial consultation.

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When Health Remedies Hurt: Prescription Drug Recalls

Posted: February 10th, 2015

prescription drug recalls, Illinois personal injury attorneyAdvances in medicine can be both a blessing and a curse. The availability of new drugs, vaccinations, and medical devices can be lifesaving and can help protect the community at large. However, these drugs—seen to be much needed cures or preventative measures—can also be deadly.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) continues to issue recalls on a regular basis. These can be at the impetus of the FDA, the drug manufacturers themselves, or by law. If someone you know has encountered a serious, adverse reaction to a drug, contact a personal injury attorney to evaluate your legal options.

The Risks

Consumers may suffer mild to severe or adverse reactions following the use of prescribed or over-the-counter medications. Usually, these unsafe drugs are the result of a manufacturing defect or inadequate warning label and can lead to irreversible medical conditions and even catastrophic injuries or death. Unfortunately, by the time a drug company recalls a medication, it may have already caused sickness or death.

Several reactions may include:

  • Potentially fatal fungal or bacterial bloodstream infections;
  • Cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and heart failure;
  • Suicide, birth defects and withdrawal;
  • Blood clots, stroke and death; or
  • Liver disease and kidney failure.

Compounding Pharmacies and Custom Medication

A certain sector of drugs, dispensed by drugstores and hospitals across the United States, are those that are “compounded.” These are a custom mix of drug components for patients who have specific medical needs that over-the-counter, manufactured medications cannot meet.

According to the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists, it is estimated that nationwide, 1 to 3 percent of all prescriptions are compounded for specialty treatments like certain cancers regimens and pediatric conditions. Much of the compounding is relatively straightforward—for example, the mixing of topical ointments or liquefying drugs so they can easily ingested for children. The more complicated mixing or “specialty blends” are those which are intended to be administered intravenously. It is imperative that compounded medications are not contaminated with bacteria, fungus, mold or other impurities. Therefore, the major concerns typically include safety and sanitary issues and that the mixed components are in fact FDA approved drugs. Additionally, these drugs must be manufactured in sterile conditions.

Compounding pharmacies are a particular concern to federal authorities, and recalls have been increasing at alarming rates over the last few years. FDA inspectors have observed workers wearing soiled gloves, workers wearing non-sterile masks and gowns, workers baring exposed skin, workers picking items up that dropped on the floor and proceeding to use the material, workers moving freely over open vials and syringes, mold growth in injectable medications, and a lack of sanitized space where transferring components takes place.

Public Inquiries and Protecting Yourself

In the interests of public safety, the FDA has indicated that they are committed to undertaking frequent inspections of compounding facilities and will likely issue recalls, citations, and recommend remedial actions for companies that have been in violation of best practices for the hygienic preparations of compounded drugs. In an effort to help everyday consumers be more aware of what products may cause risk, the FDA has a community outreach program available across various social media platforms to enable the availability and flow of up to date information.

Legal Recourse

Family members and loved ones who are already medically vulnerable, who suffered harm as a result of an adverse reaction to an oral drug, or who have endured serious medical injury from a contaminated intravenous drug deserve to be compensated for their injuries. Drug companies and compounding pharmacies claim their bottom line is constantly being chipped away by federal regulation. The priority, though, is that consumers need a high level of protection because a person and his or her community’s health and safety is paramount.

If you suspect your loved one has suffered harm from taking a certain medication prescribed and/or dispensed in Illinois, contact a compassionate Lake County personal injury attorney who has the resources to fully investigate and fight to win the monetary compensation deserved. Contact the attorneys at Noonan Perillo Ltd. today for an initial FREE consultation.

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