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Former Illinois Police Officer Charged With Workers Comp Fraud

A former police officer for the village of Maryville has been indicted by a grand jury in Madison County, Illinois on charges related to an alleged fraudulent workers’ compensation claim.

Richard Turner is facing charges relating to a claim he made in 2009 while employed by the Maryville Police Department. Turner is alleged to have reported suffering an injury to his back while on the job. The Village of Maryville paid employment compensation to Turner, and its insurer paid his medical expenses.

Upon discovering questionable circumstances, internal investigators with the police department determined that Turner’s injury did not take place at work. The results of the investigation were presented to the grand jury. Turner has been charged with two counts of felony theft, Class 1 and Class 2, and is also facing two counts of violating the Workers’ Compensation Act, which is a Class 4 felony. He has since resigned from the police department.

Circuit Judge Rich Tognarelli set Turner’s bond at $10,000. He faces a maximum penalty of four to 15 years in prison for the Class 1 felony, three to seven years for the Class 2 felony, and one to three years for the Class 4 felony.

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

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BLS Releases Data on Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released final data from 2011 on nonfatal on-the-job illnesses and injuries that required days away from work.

The rate of such injuries was 117 cases for every 10,000 full-time workers, which was statistically the same rate as 2010. The total number of cases with days spent away from work was 1,181,290, also statistically unchanged from 2010. This included all work injuries in state and local government and private industry.

The median number of days away from work was 8, a figure that is used to measure the severity of the work injury or illness.

Twenty percent of work injuries or illnesses requiring days away from work occurred in just five occupations: nursing aides and orderlies, laborers, janitors, police officers and truck drivers. The incidence rate for police officers was five times higher than the average for all occupations, and the rate for laborers was three times higher than the average.

Thirty-three percent of all cases were musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). Truck drivers who suffered MSD injuries were out of work for a median 21 days, compared to the average of 11 days out of work for all workers suffering from an MSD injury.

The preliminary count of fatal work injuries for 2011, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, was 4,609, a slight decrease from the count of 4,690 in 2010. Since 2006, fatal work injuries have decreased 21 percent.

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

Medical Malpractice Can Cause Jaundice in Newborns

Medical malpractice can result in many types of birth injuries, with one of the most common being complications from hyperbilirubinemia, otherwise known as jaundice. Jaundice is usually treated easily, but if it is not properly diagnosed and treated, it can lead to other birth injuries, such as brain damage or loss of hearing.

Jaundice is caused by too much bilirubin in the blood. When old blood cells are broken down, bilirubin is a waste product. In a healthy adult, bilirubin is eliminated by the liver and digestive system, but a newborn’s undeveloped liver is not always able to remove all the bilirubin from the blood, resulting in jaundice.

Individuals with jaundice often have a yellow color in the eyes and skin, and newborns should be checked for jaundice in the hospital every 8 to 12 hours after birth. Jaundice is usually treated with a special light that converts the structure of bilirubin in a way that makes it easier for the body to eliminate. A doctor’s failure to properly detect and treat jaundice can result in serious birth injuries and can be considered medical malpractice.

In 2009, the family of a baby girl who suffered from jaundice was awarded a $1.5 million settlement in a medical malpractice case. The baby had high bilirubin levels and received light therapy, but medical personnel did not provide follow-up testing until two days later, at the insistence of the mother. By that time, the bilirubin levels were three times above the acceptable level. The girl has speech problems and permanent hearing loss.

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

Icy Roads Cause Multiple Fatal Car Accidents in Illinois

Several fatalities on Illinois roads have resulted from recent icy conditions.

Four high school friends died when their car skidded out of control on a bridge and plunged into an icy creek in rural Illinois. Patrick O’Neil, the coroner for Will County, said that the driver probably lost control of the vehicle after hitting water or ice on the bridge.

The four teenagers were all from Wilmington, southwest of Chicago. They had been missing overnight before their bodies were found, and 20 people had joined in a search. Early the next morning, a school bus driver spotted a tire protruding from Forked Creek.

Emergency crews found that the guard rail was missing from the Ballou Road bridge. A dive team discovered the bodies inside the vehicle, a Mitsubishi Eclipse, which was pulled from the creek by a tow truck.

According to records, the vehicle was registered to one of the teens, Cheyenne Fender, 17. The other victims were Micalah Sembach, 15, Cody Carter, 15, and Matt Bailey, 14. Authorities are still investigating who was behind the wheel of the car when it crashed.

Micalah Sembah’s mother said that her daughter was never late, so when she did not arrive home, she knew something was wrong and filed a missing persons report with police.

In Belleville, Illinois, there were two fatal crashes in one night, and multiple other accidents causing injuries, along icy stretches of Route 13 and Route 15.

A head-on collision near the intersection of Routes 13 and 15 resulted in the deaths of Thomas Hutchison and his 9-year-old son, Zachary. Three others were injured in the collision.

In another accident the same night on Route 15, Tyieosha Dewalt, 17, and Robin Scott, 27, were both killed.

In the Chicago area, black ice was blamed for numerous minor accidents throughout the metropolitan region. Melted snow and rain combined with freezing temperatures to make for slick roadways. Accidents shut down traffic on some highways for periods of time. However, transportation officials said that warnings about inclement weather kept many people off the roads. Traffic volume was lighter than normal in the city, and major accidents were avoided.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reported that there have been 182 traffic fatalities in the state in the first 74 days of 2013, up from 151 in the same time period last year.

Paul Greenberg 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/.

Employers Who Allegedly Failed to Obtain Workers Comp Insurance Are Indicted

Three Illinois employers have been indicted by a Cook County grand jury on Class 4 felony charges for allegedly failing to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. If convicted, the employers face 1 to 3 years in the state prison and fines of up to $25,000.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) named the individuals charged as follows.

In addition to being charged individually, John Linek was charged as President of Chicago’s SMS Logistics. While Linek has workers’ compensation insurance on other businesses, he has allegedly operated a trucking business without obtaining insurance, and at least one worker has been injured.

Kevin Warren has been charged individually and as President and Secretary of the Melrose Park company Symphony Transport, also known as Big R Transport. Although Warren reached a settlement agreement to secure insurance and pay a $10,000 fine, the insurance he obtained was allegedly canceled after a few months.

Ahmed Ghosien of the Hometown company Ghosien European Auto Werks was also charged. Ghosien agreed to pay a fine and secure insurance, but allegedly failed to make payments, resulting in the cancellation of the insurance after a few months.

All those charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

The IWCC has also taken action against uninsured employers by issuing citations. The Commission has cited 199 employers for being uninsured, collecting over $100,000 in fines and resulting in more than 1,000 employees being covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

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

Toyota Settles First of Many Wrongful Death Suits

Toyota said that the company has settled the first lawsuit out of hundreds of wrongful death cases involving unintended acceleration.

The agreement was reached in a case filed by the family of Charlene Jones Lloyd and Paul Van Alfen. The two were killed when the Toyota Camry they were driving ran into a wall in 2010.

The Van Alfen lawsuit was supposed to be the first to go to trial and provide information to help resolve the hundreds of remaining cases. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Toyota said that it may choose to settle certain cases and take others to trial to “defend our product.” The company said it sympathized with anyone involved in an accident in a Toyota vehicle, but that its system for electronically controlling the throttle had been evaluated by independent investigators and found to be safe.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Toyota has settled another case, filed by a retired police officer in Los Angeles under the California “lemon law.”

Last month, Toyota reached an agreement to settle hundreds of lawsuits with claims of economic losses, for more than $1 billion. Those lawsuits came about after Toyota recalled millions of vehicles.

Toyota previously settled a wrongful death case for $10 million before the consolidation of the current lawsuits took place. In that case, an officer with the California Highway Patrol and three family members lost their lives after their Lexus, a Toyota product, accelerated to 120 mph in suburban San Diego, striking a vehicle, rolling several times and catching fire. It was determined during an investigation that the accelerator was trapped by a floor mat of the incorrect size.

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

Birth Injuries on the Rise in United States

According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there has been a startling increase in birth injuries in the United States. The study reveals that from 2000 through 2009, there was a 75 percent increase in emergencies during delivery, and post-delivery complications increased by 50 percent during the same time period. One result has been an increase in birth injury lawsuits by parents seeking compensation for medical malpractice.

The risk of complications during delivery is greater for women suffering from conditions such as diabetes, obesity or kidney disease, but women in good health can suffer from birth complications as well. Birth complications such as severe bleeding can be life-threatening for the mother, and other complications put the baby at risk.

A prolonged or abnormal labor may make a Caesarean section necessary, and if medical personnel fail to perform one or fail to perform it in a timely fashion, the result can be fetal distress, cerebral palsy, brain damage or even stillbirth.

After the publication of the CDC report, medical experts have called for better training and safety guidelines to deal with emergencies during a delivery. Some hospitals have instituted training procedures such as emergency drills. But medical malpractice still occurs, and parents of a child who suffer a birth injury should seek advice from a qualified birth injury attorney.

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

AMA Impairment Guidelines May Negatively Impact Injured Workers

As part of reforms in the Illinois workers’ compensation system, impairment ratings promulgated by the American Medical Association (AMA) are now used by doctors and arbitrators to decide the workers’ compensation claims of injured workers in Illinois. However, this can have a negative effect on the claims of workers, in particular those with permanent partial injuries.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act mandates that physicians consider the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment to determine the level of permanent partial disability. The problem with this is that an impairment is not the same thing as a disability. Thus, according to the AMA guidelines, a worker may have only a minor impairment, but he or she may be suffering from a significant disability for the purposes of work performance.

For instance, a worker with an arm injury that permits basic daily functions like eating or getting dressed may have a low impairment rating under the AMA guidelines, but may be unable to perform a job that requires heavy lifting. In addition, studies have shown that impairment rates are often misapplied due to lack of knowledge and experience on the part of the examiner.

It is important to remember that AMA guidelines are only one factor considered in determining what compensation an injured worker should receive. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will know how to use other factors, such as the worker’s medical records and future earning capacity, and evidence from medical experts, to ensure that the worker gets the compensation he or she is entitled to.

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

Pfizer Sued Over Birth Injury that Resulted in Death

An Illinois couple has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer after a birth injury resulted in their son’s death. The plaintiffs assert that their son was exposed to the antidepressant Zoloft, manufactured by Pfizer, and that he suffered from syndactyly and hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which eventually led to his death.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and names the distributors and manufacturer of Zoloft as defendants. The claims include negligence, wrongful death, design defect, breach of warranty and failure to warn. The plaintiffs request damages for medical expenses and other losses. The case is joined with other similar cases in the Zoloft multidistrict litigation (MDL).

The lawsuit claims that Pfizer had a duty to warn the medical community as to the safety of Zoloft, and that the generic version of Zoloft, known as sertraline, contained package inserts that omitted information and contained misleading and false statements. The lawsuit states that the defendants knew or should have known that drugs such as Zoloft have a greater risk of side effects in children, and that they should have provided a warning of the risks to the developing fetus if a pregnant woman takes Zoloft.

According to the lawsuit, women who took Zoloft during pregnancy have given birth to children with birth injuries, such as heart defects and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to disclose data to consumers, the medical community and the FDA.

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

Nurse Working for State of Illinois Wins Workers Compensation Award

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) has decided a case of a nurse who slipped and fell during an authorized break in favor of the worker.

The nurse, who worked for the State of Illinois, was wearing a walking boot to compensate for an unrelated injury. She wished to go out to her car, which was parked in the employee parking lot, during an authorized break. A co-worker warned her of dangerous ice and snow conditions, but she chose to go to her car anyway, slipping and falling on the way back in and injuring her arm.

The arbitrator in the case denied workers’ compensation benefits to the injured worker, but the Commission reversed, ruling that the nurse had proved that her injury arose out of and in the course of her employment.

The Commission reasoned that the nurse was on an authorized break and did not take an unnecessary or unreasonable risk by going outside to her car, despite being warned of adverse weather conditions.

The IWCC operates the court system that decides workers’ compensation cases in the state of Illinois. Cases are tried by an arbitrator initially, and may be reviewed by a three-commissioner panel. Approximately 50,000 cases are filed with the commission each year. In 85 percent of cases, the injured worker is represented by an attorney, although many cases are filed as a settlement contract without a prior application, and in most of those cases, the worker is not represented by an attorney.

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

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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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