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Defective Helicopter and Wrongful Death Lawsuit Remains in Illinois Court

A defective aircraft and wrongful death lawsuit will continue court proceedings in Illinois, ruled the Appellate Court of Illinois, First Judicial District, Sixth Division. Michael Russell flew an emergency medical service helicopter for Air Angels, Inc. throughout Cook County.

He died when the aircraft he was piloting crashed. His family subsequently discovered that one of the helicopter’s drive-shaft bearings fractured, causing the tail rotor not to work. A French company, SNFA, made the allegedly defective part, and unsuccessfully tried to keep the case out of Illinois courts.

SNFA makes custom tail rotor and aerospace bearings, and in America supplies aerospace parts to companies such as Hamilton Sundstrand, Honeywell, and the jet-engine division of Rolls Royce. The helicopter Russell flew was an A 109 helicopter by Agusta S.p.A made in 1989 and owned by the Air Angels since April of 2002. The original bearings were replaced in 1998 and again in 2002, with SNFA supplying the replacement parts.

Air Angels’ crew of pilots, nurses, and paramedics transported thousands of patients to healthcare centers throughout Illinois and Indiana. Over the last few years, they have experienced financial and other legal troubles that have caused them to cease operations in Illinois. Russell’s deadly flight was to be his last day on the job due to maintenance concerns he had with the helicopters. Over the years, he expressed concerns to his wife Gloria that “his radio had quit several times during flights, forcing him to use a cell phone instead. The heater frequently didn’t work, either. He also had found nuts and bolts lying around the helicopter,” she recalled.

Russell was an experienced pilot, with close to 12,000 logged hours in planes and helicopters, and was awarded a Purple Heart from the Army after being shot down several times in the Vietnam War in a helicopter. The crash with Air Angels seemed odd to his wife as he crashed after a routine refueling at DuPage Airport.

“He told me that if anyone ever called me and told me that he had died in a helicopter crash, to make sure it was investigated fully, because there was no way he would ever die in a helicopter crash unless it was mechanical failure and something he couldn’t control,” his wife said.

“It is so tragic for a family to lose a loved one due to someone’s carelessness, especially when it’s possible that the accident could have been avoided,” said Chicago wrongful death attorney and SuperLawyer Paul A. Greenberg, Esq. “A victim has the right to take legal action to determine who was careless or negligent.”

The experienced Chicago wrongful death lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg help families get fair compensation after a loved one has wrongfully died. They are experts at guiding their clients to recover financial losses, funeral expenses, and other costs incurred. All wrongful death cases are handled on a contingency basis, so there are no fees unless the case is successful.

To learn more, visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com or call 877-595-HURT (4878).

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Truck Accident Alert: Teens Cautioned to be Mindful of Big Rigs While Driving This Summer

Big trucks like semi-tractor trailers have big blind spots that increase the risk of an accident. This is especially true during the summertime when more drivers, including less-experienced teenage drivers, are on the road. These blind spots, also called “No Zones,” are far larger than an automobile’s blind spots. Drivers need to remember that if you can’t see the truck driver’s face in the side-view mirror, he will not be able to see you. Drivers are cautioned to steer clear of a truck driver’s blind spots – particularly on the sides – as a tractor trailer needs twice the time and room to stop.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently began a new summer campaign called “Teens and Trucks” to highlight the importance of driving safely around large trucks. The months between May and August are unfortunately noted for the most teen deaths due to auto accidents. People from 16 to 24 years old were the biggest group affected, and 4,000 of these youths died from large truck accidents.

“Do not expect that having a driver’s license is a right that comes without responsibility or risk,” said Steve Keppler, Executive Director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). “Be accountable for your actions, spread the word to your friends and parents, and help create a culture of safety. Most importantly, take the driving task seriously. You never know the impact you can have that ultimately could save your life or someone else’s.”

From partying at prom and graduation to going to a summer job or enjoying a road trip, teens must be aware of not lingering in the “No Zone” or darting in and out of traffic to rush to their destination. Pulling behind a tractor trailer can be dangerous as a trailer can brake suddenly and cause a rear-end collision. Pulling in front of them prematurely can be deadly too. Drivers need to have the whole front of the big rig in their rear-view mirror before pulling in front of them and be sure not to slow down. Otherwise, the chances for a collision increase.

“We want everyone to be safe, but as newer drivers, teens must adhere to a few simple rules,” said Anne Ferro, Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “They are: buckle up, don’t drink and drive, don’t speed, don’t text or use your phone, and steer clear of a truck’s blind spots.”

In Illinois, summertime means lots of outdoor activities and travelling to enjoy time with family and friends. The fun can be abruptly cut short by a big rig accident. If you or a loved one have been injured in a big rig accident as a result of another driver’s negligence, a Chicago truck accident attorney will help you pursue compensation for your injuries. Chicago truck accident lawyer Paul A. Greenberg has years of experience helping clients get payment for their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other costs from the guilty party. As a SuperLawyer recipient, he is respected by colleagues, insurance companies, and the judiciary as an outstanding lawyer serving the Chicago and Illinois community. The team at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg are experts at determining who is at fault and handling all the legal matters, allowing you to focus on healing and getting back to your normal routine.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago truck accident lawyer and Chicago truck accident attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.

Charter Bus Driver with Horrendous Past at Center of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In May, a charter bus driver struck and killed Justyna Palka, a young woman who was walking in a downtown Chicago crosswalk and had the right of way. She was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Palka, who previously graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009, contributed to the Chicago area while working as a graphic designer at Ogilvy & Mather.

The charter bus driver had no passengers in the bus when he hit her but had cocaine and alcohol in his system. David Soto, the 47-year-old bus driver, was arrested. During their investigation, the police found that Soto was being investigated for sexual assault and had two previous prison convictions for attempted rape and aggravated battery.

Added to that, he had 20 driving infractions from the 1988 to 2008. Also, his commercial driver’s license was suspended in August 2008 for speeding and driving without insurance. As a result, he had to get high-risk insurance to drive.

Pontarelli Group Charter, the bus charter company, alleges that they did not know of Soto’s criminal history or his cocaine and alcohol use. Palka’s parents are pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the charter bus company, alleging they should have done routine criminal and background checks as well as drug and alcohol tests.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that charter bus companies should have a driver drug and alcohol testing policy that meets their regulations. Per the DOT’s SAFER website, Pontarelli Group Charter has nine vehicles and 10 employed drivers. The DOT advises that an employer must at least test 10 percent of its drivers randomly for alcohol and 50 percent of drivers for drugs. The employer must also have a drug and alcohol misuse prevention program, and the FMCSA can inspect this program and the testing results.

In 2009, the latest year that statistics can be obtained, more than 4,000 pedestrians were killed by an automobile nationally. In Illinois, 111 pedestrians were killed. In dense, urban areas such as Chicago, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists need to be extra cautious because of all the distractions happening.

When a life is taken, families have the right to seek justice and pursue a wrongful death lawsuit for their loved one. A Chicago wrongful death lawyer can help a family get compensation for funeral costs, loss of financial support, and other costs. They can focus on handling the legal issues so that the family can spend time with their relatives and friends as they get through this tough time. Chicago wrongful death attorney and SuperLawyer Paul A. Greenberg, Esq. has years of experience handling these complex lawsuits. Briskman Briskman & Greenberg is a family-oriented law firm that is successful in representing families against those who are careless and negligent.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago wrongful death attorney and Chicago wrongful death lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.

Children’s Overdose Rates High as FDA Issues New Measurement Guidelines

Children less than five years old total more than half of all emergency room visits due to medicine misuse and misdosing, reports the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The numbers are staggering given the amount of education and oversight that exists with over-the-counter and pharmaceutical medication. As a result, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has issued new guidelines on instructions, measurements, and packaging that manufacturers should adhere to in an effort to curb child overdoses.

FDA studies showed that for medicines that came with a measuring device, there were often discrepancies between the unit markings displayed on the device and those indicated in the dosing directions. The new guidelines call for devices to have the same units of measurement as the instructions and avoid all unnecessary markings. Measurements should be clearly visible on a device when a medicine is added. And, all liquid medicines bought over the counter should contain measuring devices for a parent’s convenience. Liquid cough syrups, cold medicines, pain relievers, and digestion aids are the most frequently used medicines and thus have been prioritized by the FDA for these new recommendations.

“Accidental medication overdose in young children is an increasingly common, but preventable public health problem,” said Dr. Karen Weiss, program director for the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Safe Use Initiative.

Confusing packaging and instructions can cause parents to use household spoons or devices that did not come with the medicine, which can also lead to medication mistakes. Overall, measurement discrepancies can lead to sickness and, in some instances, a wrongful death. The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that confusion can lead to a 10-fold increase in overdose for even minor discrepancies, such as instructions listing .5 and 0.5 milliliters in various areas of their product. Dosing variations based on a child’s weight can add to the confusion. In addition to the new guidelines to reduce child overdose, experts encourage parents to redouble their efforts to keep medicines out of reach of children.

Johnson & Johnson has particularly come under fire since more than 40 of its medicines have been recalled. Their popular children’s medicines such as Kids Tylenol, Motrin, PediaCare, and Mylanta have been subject to recalls during the past year. The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention found that 46 percent of individuals did not understand dosage instructions across all medicines.

More parental education and open communication with your pediatrician, together with drug manufacturer improvements, are needed to prevent overdoses and wrongful deaths. In Illinois, Chicago wrongful death attorney and SuperLawyer Paul A. Greenberg, Esq., counsels individuals and family members after they’ve had a problem with a defective or unreasonably dangerous children’s product. Measurement discrepancies, design defects, and improper instructions can harm a loved one. At the law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, their Chicago wrongful death lawyers will tenaciously pursue a client’s rights when they have fallen victim to a dangerous product. For decades, they have taken on complex cases and helped families overcome the obstacles of losing a loved one.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago wrongful death attorney and Chicago wrongful death lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.

Heavy Trucks and Motorcoaches Still Need Heftier Safety Regulations

Tour buses carry more than 750 million passengers each year, and big rigs and semi trucks carry millions of dollars of goods. But with deadly accidents and serious injuries still occurring on the highways, there is a greater need than ever for safety education and laws in these industries. Recently, the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) held the Truck & Bus Safety Forum to address safety issues concerning commercial vehicle travel.

The forum’s presentations “advocated a comprehensive approach to safety, involving a more robust system of carrier oversight, active management of driver fatigue, and adoption of safety management systems,” said Robert Sumwalt, board member of the NTSB.

Also, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting studies designed to prevent truck rollovers and implement crash avoidance systems. Rollover and loss-of-control crashes account for a large percentage of all trucking accidents. Stability control systems could alleviate a minimum of 28 percent of rollovers and loss-of-control crashes, the NHTSA says. The NHTSA studies will also identify safety technologies that will warn drivers of impending collisions and automatically brake or slow the vehicle. The NHTSA also supports laws requiring lap and shoulder seatbelts in motorcoaches.

Many of the measures go along with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Motorcoach Safety Plan, but implementing the actions feels painstakingly slow to some. “Even where the DOT has met certain target dates for some action items, such as initiating a rulemaking to require electronic on-board recorders on motorcoaches, it still has not completed these rulemakings, which further delays the implementation of important safety efforts,” said U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ).

The DOT will be conducting random inspections of motorcoaches this summer and is also asking Congress for zero tolerance policies to give DOT the authority to take dangerous bus drivers off the road. The DOT has also launched a new bus carrier information website so that riders can check a carrier’s safety history before travelling. It shows the carrier’s and drivers’ history of unsafe and fatigued driving, substance and alcohol violations, and vehicle maintenance records.

According to the NHTSA’s latest records, 3,436 fatalities were caused by large trucks and buses in 2009. As the government looks to create and enforce new regulations, many times legal action must be taken to help an individual or their families recover from a serious accident. In Illinois, Chicago truck accident lawyer Robert I. Briskman takes on insurance carriers and trucking companies to get clients the compensation they deserve. At Briskman Briskman and Greenberg, their team of Chicago truck accident attorneys have decades of experience determining fault and helping victims get back to as much of a normal life as possible. They handle accidents on highways such as the I-94 Tri-State Tollway, I-90 Kennedy Expressway, I-290 Eisenhower Expressway, and I-55 Stevenson Expressway.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago truck accident lawyer and Chicago truck accident attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.

Railway Accidents Still a Serious Concern for Passengers in Illinois

Illinois has one of the highest rates of railway accidents in the country. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), seven deaths and 48 accidents have occurred on state railways this year so far.

In May, an Amtrak and Burlington Northern Metra train collided, causing passenger injuries and derailment of the Metra train. 12 passengers went to local hospitals but none were critically injured. Investigators are attempting to determine whether a switching error caused the collision. A switch is a set of points that guides trains from one track to another at a junction. Some switches are controlled by an individual, whereas others are controlled remotely. Incorrectly setting a switch can cause two trains to be on the same track simultaneously, increasing the chances of an accident.

“The train hit the brakes, and then it hit the brakes again, so a lot of people went flying and were injured,” said passenger Virginia Watkins about the May accident. “I’m a little shaken. I was standing up, and I felt like I was swinging around the pole.”

Other train-to-train collisions in Illinois’ past have caused death and serious injuries. Car-train collisions are the worst problem in the area though, as fatal injuries often ensue because of the high-speeds and sheer power of the train. Legal experts say that, “A legacy of short-sighted planning has placed trains and automobiles on the same grade throughout the sprawling metropolis, and complex intersections and traffic snarls only exacerbate the problem.”

Passenger train companies owe their customers a duty to maintain a safe riding environment. When a person is dealing with serious injuries or the death of loved one, they should consult a Chicago accident attorney to uphold their rights. Train companies are regulated by the FRA and are required to maintain the train and equipment, keep the train tracks clear of dangerous debris, watch for dangers at rail crossings, and employ qualified personnel to ensure rider and worker safety.

The Chicago accident lawyer Robert I. Briskman, Esq. has decades of experience helping clients in all types of accidents, including railroad accidents, hold the responsible party accountable for their negligent actions and getting you the compensation you need for current and future concerns. The law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg works closely with experts such as accident reconstructionists and medical planners to vigilantly fight your case.

Robert I. Briskman is a Chicago car accident lawyer and Chicago car accident attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.

Big Rig Incident Causes Extensive Personal Injuries and Deaths in Illinois

The Third District Appellate Court of Illinois upheld a trial court’s ruling that a tractor-trailer driver and her company’s affiliates were liable for the deaths of two men and serious injuries of another.

DeAn Henry was driving a tractor-trailer full of potatoes on Interstate 55 in Plainfield, Ill., when she realized that several vehicles ahead of her were not moving. She tried to stop her truck, but was unable to do so. Henry crashed into multiple automobiles, killing Joseph Sperl and Thomas Sanders, and injuring William Taluc. She was due to deliver the potatoes to the C.H. Robinson (CHR) warehouse in Bolingbrook, Ill.

Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, the Appellate Court made CHR vicariously liable for the wrongful deaths and serious injuries. A total of $23,775,000 was awarded, with $8.75 million for Sanders, $7.25 million for Sperl, and $7.775 million for Taluc’s negligence claims.

“Tragically, the demands of one’s job and distractions on the road can result in needless deaths and injuries,” said Chicago car accident attorney and SuperLawyer Paul A. Greenberg, Esq.

The CHR warehouse where Henry was supposed to deliver the goods had a storage facility designed to store perishable goods, such as potatoes, before they are transported to their final destination. The potatoes were ultimately to be delivered to Jewel-Osco grocery stores. Henry was in frequent contact with CHR throughout the trip, as the company had strict rules and fines if goods were not delivered on time.

She testified that “she would not have been able to deliver the load to the Bolingbrook warehouse within CHR’s schedule without violating federal regulations.” CHR would also ultimately pay her if she successfully transported the goods. The appellate court ruled that because of CHR’s heavy involvement in, and control of, DeAn’s work, she was an agent of CHS rather than an independent contractor.

“In addition to determining who is at fault for an accident, it is essential to be able to identify all parties who may be financially responsible for damages,” said Greenberg, who practices at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg along with a team of accomplished Chicago car accident lawyers. “A good lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation in order to pinpoint everything and everyone that caused an accident.”

 

To learn more, visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com or call 877-595-HURT (4878)

Proposed National Teen Driving Rules Shown to Save Lives and Money

Chicago, Ill. – Statistics show that 16-year-olds are six times more likely to get in an auto accident than drivers over 30 years old. The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (STANDUP) plans to decrease deaths and injuries by setting national teen driving laws for all new teen drivers. Many states already have some form of graduated driver licensing laws, but standardization across the country is shown to save lives and money, say the STANDUP sponsors.

“Over the last five years alone, over 40,000 teens have died in motor vehicle crashes and hundreds of thousands more have suffered debilitating injuries,” said Jackie Gillan, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “The economic and emotional costs for parents, family and friends are unacceptable and unnecessary. Studies show that the annual cost of teen crashes is over $30 billion. We could use that money to pay the four-year tuition of over a million teens at a four-year public university. That’s equal to the entire teen population in the State of Illinois. We can’t afford the cost or the horrific loss of so many young lives any longer. It’s time for action.”

When signed into law, STANDUP will require all states to comply in order to obtain federal highway construction program funds and grants. Noncompliant state’s monies would go to states that did adhere to the act. U.S. Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL) is one of the act’s sponsors and even though Illinois complies with many of the proposed changes, Hultgren knows firsthand the importance of safe teen driving, with a 17-year-old in the household. The biggest change for Illinois teen drivers will be to raise the entry age for a learner’s permit from age 15 to age 16.

“Teens face a lot of distractions when driving,” said Chicago car accident attorney and SuperLawyer Paul A. Greenberg, Esq. “These graduated rules will go a long way to protecting teen drivers and those around them.”

The STANDUP regulations would limit nighttime driving, ban cell phone use unless an emergency happens, and restrict the number of teen passengers in a vehicle. Teen drivers would not be eligible for an unrestricted license until they reach age 18. “Teen driving crashes are the leading cause of death for young adults and represent a public health crisis,” said Dr. Kyran Quinlan, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. “But we already have a proven treatment for this epidemic that would prevent thousands of deaths and injuries every year: passing the STAND UP Act. This bill will assure that every new driver, no matter where he or she lives, will have the same training, the same laws, and the same protection. This bill will save lives.”

The Chicago car accident attorneys at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg help victims of car accidents, whether caused by a teen driver or otherwise, and counsel their loved ones when a wrongful death occurs. They treat every case with compassion, tenacity, and skill to uphold their client’s rights to fair compensation. They are also experts at successfully handling insurance companies and overcoming the legal challenges as clients work to heal their injuries and return to a normal life.

To learn more, visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com or call 877-595-HURT (4878).

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The Chicago Illinois personal injury law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg represents injured people throughout Illinois, including Chicago, the Chicagoland area, Joliet, Waukegan, Cicero, Evanston, Arlington Heights, Wheaton, Bolingbrook, and Naperville, as well as other cities within Cook County, Will County, DuPage County, Lake County and McHenry County.
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