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Illinois Legislature Passes Bill Increasing Attorney Fees in Medical Malpractice Cases

The Illinois General Assembly has passed a measure that would increase the attorneys’ fees allowed in medical malpractice cases, but would also prevent attorneys from petitioning the court for higher fees.

The Illinois House of Representatives voted 67 to 46 to approve a Senate amendment to House Bill 5151, and the bill now awaits Governor Pat Quinn’s signature. The Senate had passed the bill on a 36-15 vote.

In both houses of the state legislature, the vote was along party lines, with Republicans opposing the legislation. The bill was sponsored by Democratic legislators and had been pushed by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA).

Under existing law, plaintiffs’ attorneys in medical malpractice cases are only permitted fees amounting to one-third of the first $150,000 of the plaintiff’s award, one-quarter of the next $850,000 awarded and one-fifth of any award over $1 million. If approved by Gov. Quinn, the new law will provide for attorneys in medical malpractice cases to charge one-third of the full award, as is typically the case with non-medical malpractice lawsuits. In addition, under the new law, attorneys will not be permitted to petition the court for an increase in fees, something that had become routine under existing law.

ITLA advocated for the change, saying that the new bill would bring fairness to attorneys’ fees, with attorneys in medical malpractice cases being treated the same as attorneys in other cases.

The bill was opposed by the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS), and the group has urged Quinn to veto it. The group, which represents doctors, said that the bill would roll back previous reforms to the system of attorney’s fees.

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

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Nursing Home Sued in Wrongful Death Case

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against a nursing home on the South Side of Chicago after a patient, who was allegedly prescribed an overdose of medication, died.

A representative of Sonya Eli file the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that the woman’s
doctors wrote a prescription for a dangerous combination and dosage of medicine, causing her January 2011 death.

The lawsuit claims that the nursing home, Rainbow Beach Nursing Center, was negligent in administering incorrect doses of medication and failed to properly monitor the patient’s condition. The lawsuit seeks more than $200,000 in damages.

While nursing home residents should be entitled to the highest standard of care, this is often not the case. Neglect, abuse and medical malpractice occur at nursing homes and assisted living facilities all too often, resulting in personal injury or even death. For the victims and families of those who have been victimized, seeking legal representation is often the first step toward proper compensation for harm suffered.

Nursing homes in Illinois are inspected and regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The Department conducts more than 10,000 surveys each year, responding to more than 5,000 annual complaints. IDPH also issues quarterly reports of nursing home violations.

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

Google’s Driverless Car May Herald Historic Shift in Auto Safety

The driverless car being developed by Google may be the most important innovation in vehicle safety since safety belts. If Google meets its goals for reduction in traffic accidents, then millions of people could be saved from injury or death and billions of dollars could be saved.

Google’s driverless car technology uses sensors and cameras to detect the physical form of the road, read signs and watch for vehicles and pedestrians. The car uses the data to adjust speed and steering and apply the brakes.

Sebastian Thrun, Google’s lead developer of its driverless car technology, has made the claim that the system will one day be able to reduce traffic accidents by 90 percent. In 2009, there were approximately 5.5 million car accidents in the United States, with 9.5 million vehicles involved. There were 33,808 traffic deaths and 2.2 million people were injured, with 240,000 requiring hospitalization.

The financial cost of traffic accidents is enormous as well. The American Automobile Association (AAA) studied data from automobile crashes in the 99 largest urban areas in the country and arrived at a cost estimate of $299.5 billion. Extrapolating from AAA’s figures, it is estimated that the nationwide cost is about $450 billion. This includes damage to property, productivity loss, medical costs, and lowered quality of life.

Google’s bold claim is that its technology can save nearly 30,000 lives per year in the United States, prevent almost 2 million injuries and reduce costs from traffic accidents by $400 billion per year. The claim may seem extravagant, but it is based in the simple reality that nearly all traffic accidents are caused by human error. Machines do fail, but not nearly as often as humans do.

On a global scale, the potential impact on traffic safety would be even greater. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are approximately 1.2 million traffic deaths in the world each year, and nearly 50 million injuries. The problem is expected to get worse. By 2030, the WHO estimates that traffic accidents will be the fifth leading cause of death in the world, or 3.6 percent of total deaths. This would be a startling increase from 2004, when auto collisions were the ninth leading cause of deaths in the world, at 2.2 percent of the total.

The driverless car concept has implications beyond safety as well. Google claims that its technology can also reduce wasted time during commutes by allowing cars to drive faster and closer together, relieving traffic jams. According to one study, traffic jams waste 1.9 billion gallons of gas and 4.8 billion hours of drivers’ time each year. In monetary terms, that amounts to $101 billion in gasoline costs and loss of productivity.

In addition, driverless cars could theoretically reduce the number of cars needed in a community, as sharing of vehicles would become more efficient. After all, most people only use their vehicle at certain times during the day, leaving most cars unused about 95 percent of the time. The technology could have a positive impact on reducing pollution, and developing countries may be able to reduce vehicle-intensive development if fewer cars are needed.

Bob Briskman is a 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/.

Family of MRSA-Infected Nursing Home Resident Files Suit

A 90-year-old nursing home resident is once again in the hospital for treatment of ongiong ear infections caused by an infestation of maggots allegedly acquired while living in a local nursing home.

Catherine McCann, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, lived at Lutheran Home for the Aged in Arlington Heights for two years before having 57 maggots removed from her left ear in September. She has been treated multiple times since then for MRSA infections.

McCann’s family is suing the nursing home for $50,000 for negligence and emotional distress. Their attorney said that $50,000 is the extent of the punitive damages sought, but the total amount has not yet been determined because her medical expenses continue to accumulate.

McCann’s stay at Lutheran Home for the Aged cost her husband roughly $10,000 per month.

According to a CBS Chicago report, McCann’s physician prescribed ear drops to be administered four times each day by nursing home staff. The infestation was allegedly discovered shortly thereafter when McCann was observed tugging on her ear and family members and nurses observed maggots crawling out of her ear. The McCann family’s attorney said that because nursing home staff did not sooner notice the infestation, that may indicate they were not administering the ear drops as prescribed.

Lutheran Home management have denied any wrongdoing.

McCann’s attorney said that a settlement did not appear likely and that he would attempt to move the case to trial quickly because of her advanced age.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.

Major Brain Injury Study Yields Disappointing Results

A major scientific study of the effects of a nutritional supplement on brain injuries has yielded disappointing results.

The U.S. military had hoped that the the supplement, citicoline, could be used to treat wounded veterans. In products available over the counter, it is marketed as having memory-enhancing effects, and it is used by doctors worldwide in the treatment of brain trauma and strokes, despite a mixed body of evidence.

But in this, the most rigorous test conducted so far, citicoline was found to work no better than a placebo at enhancing attention, concentration, and memory.

Researchers selected 1,213 adult patients admitted to eight U.S. hospitals with brain trauma ranging from mild to severe. Half of these patients began received their first dose of 2,000 milligrams of citicoline in pill or liquid form within 24 hours of their injuries. The dose, much higher than that commonly added to over-the-counter products, was administered daily for three months. The other half of patients received a placebo in the same time frame.

All patients were observed for a period of six months. Most showed improvement in the measured mental functions, but those receiving citicoline did not show a substantially different level of improvement versus those receiving a placebo. This suggests that the improvement observed was the result of normal healing.

Over one million Americans experience brain injuries annually. There currently is no effective treatment.

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

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The 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. Briskman Briskman & Greenberg also represents injured people throughout Wisconsin, including Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Madison.
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