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What Is a Contingency Fee?

After being seriously injured in an accident, getting back to normal can be an arduous journey. You’re dealing with physical pain, mental and emotional trauma, medical bills, and maybe even job loss. The situation may be even more dire if you have a family.

Facing so many challenges at once might be overwhelming; you may not know where to turn or who to ask for help. It’s important to know you’re not alone. If your injuries were the result of another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can lay out your options and chart a path forward for you and your family.

For some people, merely the word attorney evokes images of enormous bills and surprise fees. After all, the average billing rate for an attorney is between $100 to $300 per hour, but often much higher in a big city like Chicago. Considering this is a common perception, it may come as a surprise that most personal injury attorneys will take a case with no retainer, primarily through the use of a contingency fee.

The Definition of Contingency Fee?

Although it sounds like impenetrable legalese, contingency fees are fairly straightforward. The client only pays their attorney if they’re awarded damages or reach a settlement agreement with the defendant. The lawyer’s fee is taken as a percentage of the damages or settlement agreement, and the client is left with no out of pocket attorney fees.

Pros of Contingency Fees

As already mentioned, the cost is one pro. Hiring a lawyer on a contingency fee basis can drastically reduce the cost—especially the out of pocket cost—of legal representation.

Additionally, working on contingency provides certain incentives to the lawyer that may also benefit the client.

For one, because the lawyer is working at zero cost until a settlement is reached or damages are awarded by the court, he has an incentive to achieve a payday for his client as soon as possible, when it makes financial sense for the client.

Relatedly, because the size of the lawyer’s paycheck is determined by how much he earns for his client, he has an incentive to earn the largest possible compensation for the person he is representing.

Finally, contingency fees make the cost more predictable, because the lawyer’s fee is guaranteed to be a fixed percentage of the client’s award. In a traditional fee arrangement, if a lawsuit runs longer than expected, the client can expect a corresponding rise in the attorney’s bill. Additionally, with an hourly rate a lawyer has more opportunities to saddle the client with surprise fees and costs. Thus, a contingency fee can potentially earn the client more money in a shorter amount of time than a traditional fee arrangement. Additionally, it makes the legal fees from a lawsuit more predictable for the client.

Cons of Contingency Fees

Most plaintiffs see no disadvantages to a contingency fee arrangement. If the client doesn’t prevail, the client owes nothing to the personal injury lawyer. The attorney, on the other hand, who has invested hours in a case that pays him or her nothing. Should the client obtain compensation from the lawyer’s efforts, those damages almost always exceed what the client could have obtained on his or her own.

What Are Damages?

Because contingency fees are inextricably linked with how plaintiffs recover compensation, at least a brief discussion of damages is necessary. Damages are meant to compensate the client for their losses, to put it simply. In the common parlance of the court, they attempt to make the victim whole.

Courts generally consider a few different factors to determine how much compensation a plaintiff deserves. They will look at pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of income, and even cost of care if the plaintiff sustains permanent disabilities.

Coping with the effects of a serious injury is never easy, especially if you’re dealing with financial difficulties, such as medical bills, at the same time. Knowing that your injuries were the result of wrongdoing only adds frustration. Thankfully, you don’t have to suffer in silence.

The law allows victims of negligence to obtain financial compensation through the court system. A successful personal injury lawsuit can achieve the support that both you and your family need and deserve.

The first step in vindicating your rights is consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can evaluate your case, determine your options, and give you a sense of direction in an otherwise turbulent moment.

Furthermore, most personal injury lawyers will handle cases at no upfront cost to the client by working on contingency. The lawyer is paid only if the lawsuit is successful. If the court awards the client a monetary reward, the lawyer will collect a certain percentage of that reward to cover the cost of his services. This should eliminate any amount of money the client is required to pay out of pocket for a fee.

Further, most personal injury lawyers will advance any costs to prosecute a case. For example, the cost of obtaining the police report, copies of medical records, or expert opinion fees. You would have to pay these costs on your own if you were representing yourself. The expenses a lawyer advances typically get reimbursed at the time of settlement or verdict.

Contact an attorney right away if you believe you’ve suffered injuries because of another party’s wrongdoing. Personal injury lawsuits are often complex, and may require an extensive investigation. Additionally, many jurisdictions impose a statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits, requiring that you file claims within a certain time after the accident. Call a personal injury lawyer now to make sure that deadline doesn’t pass before you file your claim.

Tips for Staying Healthy When in Public Places

Each year, millions of people suffer from colds, flu, or other viruses. Some viruses can spread easily from one person to another. Now more than ever, it is important to take care of yourself and your immune system. Try these tips for protecting your good health, as well as the health of others.

Get a Flu Shot

There are many viruses each year, and each one can affect people differently. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated annually—and while you’re at it, make sure your other vaccinations (including chicken pox, shingles, and measels) are up to date. Vaccination is especially important for those with chronic health conditions. Other benefits include reducing the severity of illness as well as the likelihood of hospitalizations and flu-related death in children.

Wash Your Hands

chicago illinois personal injury lawyerJust the simple act of washing your hands often and thoroughly will help protect you from germs. More than any other part of your body, your hands come into contact with your surroundings. Whether you are at your workplace, a store, a bus, or any public place, when you touch a surface, you risk picking up germs. According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on hard surfaces for up to eight hours.

Wash your hands several times a day. In general, wash your hands whenever they are visibly dirty, or after you have come into contact with any questionable surfaces. Make it part of your daily routine. For example, wash your hands before preparing or eating food, caring for someone who is sick, and inserting or removing contact lenses. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands after using the bathroom, sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose or caring for someone who is sick. Also, wash your hands after handling food (including pet food) or garbage, or touching an animal or animal waste.

The Mayo Clinic recommends washing your hands with soap and water. Regular soap is just as effective as over-the-counter antibacterial soaps to kill germs.

For thorough, effective hand washing, experts recommend:

  • Use clean, running water.
  • Apply soap and scrub your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds or more. Make sure you rub all parts of your hands, including between your fingers, under your fingernails, the backs of your hands and your wrists.
  • Rinse completely, and air dry your hands or use a clean towel.
  • Use alcohol-based sanitizer

An alcohol-based sanitizer is also a sensible way to kill germs and protect against illness, but only if soap and water aren’t readily available. For maximum effectiveness, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends using a sanitizer containing 70 percent to 95 percent ethanol or isopropanol.

Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Mouth, and Nose

Even if you wash your hands regularly, it is impossible to keep them completely clean all the time. You can’t see them, but germs are everywhere. If you touch something that is contaminated with germs and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you risk infection. Unfortunately, touching your face is a tough habit to break. Those who have habits such as nail-biting risk ingesting germs.

When wearing a mask, be sure to follow the recommended guidelines for safe and sanitary use.

Keep Your Home, Workspace, and Car Clean and Sanitized

You probably feel that your home, office, or car is very clean. However, we are all touching surfaces all the time. After you have been out in public, you may have gotten in your car, driven home, and along the way, touched your keys, cell phone, and other areas in your home before you got around to washing your hands. Doing so just invited all sorts of germs into your life.

Countertops, whether they are in a store or your own kitchen, can be teeming with germs. If you make yourself a snack on a contaminated surface, you will ingest all those germs. Even kitchen sponges harbor germs. They should be disinfected or changed regularly.

Avoid Touching Common Surfaces in Public Places

Common public surfaces/places that have the most germs include:

  • ATMs, PIN pads or other electronic payment terminals
  • Gas pumps
  • Shopping carts
  • Pens used to sign at a store checkout or a restaurant
  • Self-checkout terminals at the grocery store
  • Doorknobs and handles
  • Handles and other surfaces on public transportation

Use sanitizer or disinfectant wipes to clean public surfaces before you touch them and then use hand sanitizer afterward. You can also bring your own pen to use at the register. As much as possible, avoid putting your hands on stair rails, doorknobs, and faucets. Especially in busy public places, people touch these surfaces constantly, and they probably do not get sanitized enough to keep them free of germs. Instead, use the back of your hand, arms, and elbows, use a disposable paper product, or use the outside of an article of clothing. Also, do not share items such as cell phones.

Avoid Crowds

Do your best to avoid unnecessary crowds and travel. You can’t always tell if someone is sick, because people may be infected with the flu or cold even before symptoms appear. Therefore, stay away from crowded spaces if you can. If you find yourself in a crowd, try not to talk too close to people. If someone near you is sneezing or coughing, turn away and cover your mouth and nose. Breath out slowly so that you don’t inhale the contaminated air and move at least 6 to 10 feet away from that person.

Try to stay away from busy malls or performance venues. We all love to go to a movie theater or live performance, but in those situations, many people are sitting close together, and if one person has a virus, germs can spread easily and quickly.

It is easy to see why daycare or childcare centers are a frequent source of colds or flu. In these settings, young children often use their hands to touch their faces or wipe their noses. Then they handle their toys, touch every surface within reach, and touch other children, who, in turn, do the same. The flu virus and other germs can easily spread among them, especially as their immune systems are still building up. According to the CDC, flu can be especially dangerous for children, especially those aged five or younger, because they are at a higher risk for complications.

Avoid Close Contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. To protect others, cover your mouth and nose with a mask or tissue and, if possible, stay at home if you are sick. If you are caring for someone who has a contagious illness, follow all basic sanitation procedures. Try to stay in a separate area, away from the sick-room, and avoid using the same bathroom. Be extra cautious about sharing household items. Don’t share unwashed drinking glasses, eating utensils, or dishes. Also, avoid sharing linens, such as bedding, towels, or kitchen linens. After a sick person uses household items, always wash and sanitize them carefully.

Practice Other Good Health Habits

Most of the secrets to good health are just common sense. Keep your immune system in good shape by eating nutritious food, drinking plenty of liquids, getting enough sleep, being physically active, and controlling your stress level. Be careful and be well.

Broken Bones Can Result in Thousands of Dollars in Losses

Broken Bones are a Common Result of Accidents

Accidents, like slip and fall incidents or a motor vehicle collision, often result in many different types of injuries. One of the most common injuries due to an accident are broken bones. Although broken bones are relatively common, especially among daredevil youth, they can be a very serious injury. Serious fractures can end up costing accident victims thousands of dollars in treatment. Further, there can be significant lost wages.

Symptoms of a Broken Bone

Broken bones commonly occur in traffic accidents and falls. Symptoms of a broken bone can include:

  • Severe pain
  • Deformity, such as the broken limb appearing to be out of place
  • Swelling, bruising, tenderness, numbness, or a tingling sensation around the injury, or
  • Difficulty or pain when moving a limb.

Broken bones can range from stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in the bone, to more serious fractures where the bone is actually cracked and moves apart during an accident or fall. The worst bone breaks are known as compound fractures. Here the bone breaks into two or more pieces and one or more of the pieces punctures the skin and is exposed. This poses a risk of infection. Also, it presents serious issues for reconstruction and setting of the break. The goal is for the bone can mend as closely as possible to its original position.

Any fracture requires immediate medical care. X-rays will determine whether you have broken a bone and whether you need a cast or a splint to treat the fracture. It is also possible that surgery will be necessary, depending upon the location and severity of the break. Pins, screws, or other measures might be necessary to stabilize the fracture. As a result, compound and other complex fractures are the most difficult and expensive to treat.

Broken Bones Are Common in Accidents

Fractures are among the most common of orthopedic injuries, with roughly seven million people suffering bone fractures in the United States every year. The average adult in the United States suffers two bone fractures in their lifetime. Extremity fractures are the most common, usually suffered by men under 45 years old, or women over 45 years old. For women, this is due to osteoporosis, a reduction in bone density commonly found in older women.

How much will a broken bone cost me?

Even if you have health insurance, a relatively simple procedure involving a broken bone can get pretty pricey. Adding up charges for an emergency room visit, doctor’s fees, lab fees, x-rays, fees for follow-up care, braces, slings, bandages, splints, casts, clinic visits, CT scans, and other procedures can quickly push the costs over $10,000. Physical therapy, if necessary, can also add significant costs. Treatments for any nerve damage or other complications, such as muscle damage, also will escalate the cost. Depending upon your insurance policy, there is no guarantee that all—or even most—of these costs will be covered.

With medical costs constantly on the rise, any injury in an accident may wind up costing far more than you expect. Broken bones are no exception. Even with health insurance, a broken bone can be very expensive.

The Cost of a Broken Leg

Without health insurance, the costs of a broken leg can reach into many thousands of dollars

  • If you don’t have health insurance, treatment for a broken leg generally can be as much as $2,500 or more just for a break that calls for a cast. That can include an average of more than $200 for an x-ray – although that can cost as much as $1,000 – about $225 for a cast, and as much as $1,000 for the doctor’s fee, in addition to up to $200 for an office visit fee. Fees can vary depending upon where you are and what prevailing health-care costs are in your region.
  • If you suffer a broken leg that requires surgical treatment and you do not have health insurance, surgical treatment of a broken leg typically costs $17,000 to $35,000 or more.
  • Health insurance will typically cover a broken leg, but you remain responsible for copayments and coinsurance. These can amount to thousands of dollars.  This is especially true if your deductibles or yearly out-of-pocket maximums are high. This would be common with many plans on the Healthcare Exchange.

The Cost of a Broken Arm

A broken arm from an accident is common, but no less expensive. Here’s what a broken arm costs in the United States:

  • If you have no health insurance, the diagnosis and treatment for a broken arm that does not require surgery generally runs up to $2,500 or more.
  • If surgery is required, without health insurance a broken arm generally costs about $16,000 or more.
  • Health insurance would normally cover a broken arm. However, for someone on a health insurance policy through the Healthcare Exchange, deductibles could be more than $5,000. This means you will wind up being responsible for the full costs yourself.

In addition, the severity of the break is a major factor in how much it costs to treat a fracture. Compound fractures , for example, can be considerably more expensive to treat.

Other Common Types of Broken Bones

Broken Bones Can Result in Thousands of Dollars in LossesWhen we speak of a broken bone after an accident, the first thing that comes to mind is probably something like a person with their arm in a cast. But other bones in the human body can break too. In fact, if it’s a bone, it can probably break or fracture during a serious accident, like a car accident.

For example, a person may break a rib during an accident; or they may have their foot crushed, causing multiple bones in their foot to break or fracture at once. Someone may also break a bone in their back or neck, which causes its own unique issues and treatments, but nonetheless, is a broken bone.

Finally, there is the dreaded trimalleolar fracture. This involves breaking three different bones in your ankle. This almost always requires open reduction and internal fixation to repair. Our injury lawyers often see this type of fracture in slip and fall cases.

The point is, insurance companies don’t always take broken bones seriously, since a broken arm or leg can be quite common in daily life. But in reality, these types of injuries are often serious.

Broken Bones are Serious, Contact an Experienced Chicago Injury Lawyer

If you suffer a broken bone in an accident involving another party, whether in a traffic accident or an accident on someone else’s property, the other party may be legally liable for your damages. Regardless of what your insurance does or does not cover, you might be able to recover damages from the other driver or property owner, or from that person’s insurance carrier.

It is important to explore your legal options to obtaining compensation for your injuries. There is no reason for you to bear all the expenses yourself if another party was responsible. In addition, the law imposes deadlines on the amount of time you have to bring a legal claim for compensation after an accident. Don’t delay—contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you don’t lose important legal rights.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Abels & Annes, P.C.

If you have been injured in an accident, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights. The attorneys of Abels & Annes are here to help you following an accident. You can reach us at (312) 924-7575 or through our website.

Abels & Annes, PC

Bone xray image by Dave & Margie Hill

Remember to Discuss Pool Safety with Your Children

With Memorial Day bringing the unofficial start of summer, pools will be opening across the Chicagoland area. Whether you visit a public pool, a country club, or have a pool right in your own backyard, you should always remember that with the fun and recreation of swimming also comes a risk of injury and drowning accidents. Now is a good time to review swimming pool safety tips with your children and to remind yourself how to recognize possible hazards in and around pools to help prevent accidents.

Never Swim Unattended

First and foremost, your children should know never to swim alone. They should always have the supervision of an adult or lifeguard. As they get older, they should always swim with another friend who can call for help if something happens.

Pool Safety Enclosures

Pool owners should also always meet safety requirements to ensure that small children cannot wander into the pool area on their own. This includes having a barrier around the pool area with no gaps or holes, as well as a gate with a locking mechanism that is too high for a small child to reach. If you have a pool in your backyard, make sure the enclosure also prevents children from accessing the pool from inside your own house, as this is a common cause of accidents. If a pool owner does not take the necessary precautions to prevent children from falling into the pool unattended, they may be held liable if an accident does occur.

Follow all Rules and Warnings

Your children should be aware that each swimming pool is different and may have different rules to follow and warnings to heed. Common rules and warnings to emphasize include:

  • No diving in certain areas
  • Shallow end and deep end markers
  • No running
  • No lifeguard on duty
  • No glass in pool area

The only way for patrons to know which rules and warnings apply to a certain pool area is for the property owner to post the necessary signs. Owners should post highly visible and easy-to-read signage around the pool area to make sure everyone knows the proper safety conduct and how to safely behave at that particular pool. Make sure to read all the applicable pool rules to children not old enough to read. Failing to post the proper warnings may be considered to be negligent if someone gets hurt because they didn’t know the safety rules.

Stay Away From Drains

If a pool owner complies with all safety requirements set out by federal law, they should have the proper covers on every pool and hot tub drain. If properly covered, a pool drain does not pose an inherent threat to swimmers. However, it is hard for the average swimmer to tell whether drain covers are in compliance and the cover may not be completely safe. For this reason, it can be wise to warn your children to steer clear of drains whenever possible.

Non-compliant drain covers have the potential to cause serious and often fatal injuries. If the cover is not safe, it can suction a person – especially a small child – to the drain. The person can then be stuck under water to the point of drowning and evisceration can even occur. Pool and hot tub drain accidents can be extremely traumatic as a result and every pool owner should ensure that their drains are safe and in full compliance with safety laws.

Alert an Adult if Something Is Wrong

There are many, many other hazards that a swimmer may encounter that could pose the risk of harm. Your child should know to inform a lifeguard or adult if they notice anything out of the ordinary while they are in the pool area so that a potential hazard can be addressed immediately. Common hazards to report include:

  • Sharp edges of the pool that may prevent someone from holding on
  • Sharpness on the bottom of the pool that may prevent a swimmer from putting their feet down
  • Objects or tools left on the pool deck that could cause someone to trip and fall into the pool
  • Broken ladders or diving boards that may cause someone to fall in

These are only a few examples of potentially harmful conditions that should be rectified as soon as possible, or the pool owner may be held liable for any injuries that result.

What if a Pool Accident Happens?

If a pool accident happens and you or your child suffer injuries, an attorney can help you determine whether the accident happened due to the negligence of the pool owner. If so, you may have the right to seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other accident-related losses. You should always have a premises liability lawyer handle every aspect of your property insurance claim or your personal injury lawsuit, if litigation is necessary.

In the event of a tragic pool accident, you need a law firm that regularly handles wrongful death claims in Illinois. Wrongful death laws dictate who can file a claim and what damages may be obtained. Our attorneys understand how difficult it is to unexpectedly lose a loved one. We handle this type of claim with compassion and commitment so that you can focus on your own recovery.

Personal injury and wrongful death claims can provide important compensation for you and your family after a swimming pool accident. However, you do not have an infinite amount of time to file a claim and your rights to compensation do not persist indefinitely. Instead, Illinois has strict statutes of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death cases. You should not wait to have an attorney evaluate your situation to advise you of your legal rights and the best course of action in your case.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney for Help Today

At the law firm of Abels & Annes, PC, we hope everyone in Chicago has a safe and enjoyable summer. However, in the event of an accident or injury, we are here to help. Our personal injury lawyers handle a wide range of cases and can evaluate your situation and advise you of your legal options. Please feel free to contact our office online or call 312-924-7575 to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our legal team.

6 Things NOT to Do after a Chicago Bicycle Accident

According to the U.S. Census Bureau,1 the percentage of people who bike to work in Chicago increased from .5 percent to 1.3 percent between 2000 and 2010. Getting to work is just one reason to ride a bike, however, and people throughout the area ride a bike for recreation and exercise as well. As a result, there are thousands of bicyclists riding throughout the area at any given moment.

While the health, financial, and environmental benefits of bicycling are undeniable, riding a bike also puts you at risk of involvement in accidents that can cause serious injuries, including TBIs,2 broken bones, and serious tendon and ligament strains and tears.

The things that you say and do after an accident can have an impact on your ability to recover compensation. Here are three things you should NOT do after involvement in a bicycle accident in the Chicago area.


In life, it is often appropriate to apologize even if something is not your fault. For example, if someone bumps into you on the train or grocery store, it may be reflexive for you to say “I’m sorry” or “pardon me.” While this is certainly considered polite by many people, apologizing after an accident can be viewed as an admission of fault and should be avoided.

Police Report

Once in a while, we will hear about a driver trying to convince an injured biker to not file a police report. This is a bad idea. Contact the police and let them investigate and prepare a report. If a report is not made, it’s very easy for a defendant to later change his or her story or to even deny involvement in the accident.

Injury Lawyer

Don’t fail to contact an experienced bike accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. So many things can go wrong when trying to handle a claim on your own. It’s so easy to be taken advantage of, and often unrepresented accident victims unknowingly damage their own case. You certainly don’t have to use the services of an injury law firm, but you might as well call for a free consultation and learn how they can help. Click here to learn more.

Written or Recorded Statement

While the defendant’s insurance adjuster might sound very convincing, you are not required to give a written or recorded statement. Giving a statement is not recommended. These statements can later be used against an injured bicyclist. If the insurance carrier continues to demand a statement, contact an experienced injury lawyer for guidance. If you’ve filed a claim with your own insurance carrier, while they are entitled to a statement, it is not recommended that you do so without first obtaining the guidance of counsel.

Social Media

If you are active on social media, involvement in an accident may certainly seem like a post-worthy event. It is important to keep in mind, however, that insurance companies can use the things that you post on social media as evidence. For instance, if you post a picture of yourself out with friends shortly after the accident, it could be used as evidence that your injuries are not as serious you are claiming.

Accept a Settlement Offer Before Speaking to an Attorney

After an accident, you may be contacted by the at-fault party or his or her insurance with a settlement offer that seems reasonable. It is important to understand that once you accept a settlement, you will be unable to bring a claim to recover compensation later. For this reason, you should make sure that any settlement you accept is sufficient by discussing your situation with an attorney.

Call Abels & Annes, P.C. Today to Speak with a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been hurt in a bicycle accident, it is highly advisable to speak to an attorney as soon as you can. In many cases, victims are able to recover compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, loss of quality of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. To discuss your case with a Chicago injury attorney, call our office today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

Avoid Being A Car Accident Victim

There are many challenges on the road today, and since you definitely want to avoid being a car accident victim, you need to be aware of all potential hazards. This post will look at articles that provide background on various types of auto accidents and what to expect on the road.

5 Recent Car Accident Victim Posts 10 Disturbing Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

Drunk driving is a major contributor to auto accidents in the U.S. This article provides drunk driving accident statistics that we all should be aware of. Here is a sample:

  1. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults drank too much and got behind the wheel about 112 million times in 2010.
  2. One in every 7 drivers killed in a drunk driving accident in 2008 was under the age of 21 (and thus not even old enough to drink).
  3. Drunk driving accidents cost the U.S. $132 billion a year and cost each adult in the U.S. almost $500 per year.
  4. 211 children were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2010. Out of those deaths, well over half of these young car accident victims were riding with the drunk driver.
  5. Over 70% of drunken driving fatalities occurred at night

Lack of Turn Signal Use Poses Threat to Motorists

This post highlights a largely unnoticed threat to drivers and pedestrians. This threat is the national under-usage of vehicle turn signals, which could be causing as many as 2,000,000 car accidents annually. Prevention is pretty simple: All the motorist needs to do is flick on the turn signal! Awareness of this issue is one of the keys to avoiding more accidents. The article notes that it would be wise for motorists, law enforcement agencies, and car manufacturers alike to work together to improve this problem.

Distraction While Driving: A Major Cause of Road Accidents

Driving is a skill that requires our full attention to stay safe on the road. Texting, talking, eating, grooming, drinking, operating a navigation system, and many more distractions turn thousands of drivers into car accident victims every year. This post explores distraction and its role in road accidents in more depth.

Hit And Run Accidents: What To Do

Being a car accident victim is bad enough, but sometimes the driver will vanish from the scene, leaving an injured person to fend for themselves. This post discusses the tragic phenomena and what you should do if you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident.

Danger on the Road: Uninsured Drivers

Uninsured drivers are a wildcard that can set you back both physically and financially. An accident involving an uninsured driver can leave you without compensation for injuries, lost wages, and suffering. The threat is real: The percentage of uninsured drivers right now is 13.8%, which means that approximately 1 in 7 American drivers are currently uninsured! This post explores what makes them a threat and ways to maximize your protection.

Legal Assistance Can Help

Hiring a lawyer is a good idea in any of these instances. Auburn University cooperative extension notes that, “Basic car insurance policies, especially liability only ones, may not automatically cover any legal expenses you incur when filing a claim against another driver. It may also not give you automatic access to the insurance company’s attorneys. Subsequently, you may need to retain your own attorney in order to file a damages claim.”

If you are a recent car accident victim, contact Abels and Annes, P.C. and request a Free Case Consultation or call (312) 924-7575 to speak with a lawyer today.

Bounce Houses Equal Party Fun But Fail To Keep Kids Safe

Recent research has found that inflatable bounce houses, which are more popular than ever at children’s parties, fail to keep kids safe. According to NPR, 30 U.S. children a day are treated in emergency rooms for broken bones, sprains, cuts and concussions from bounce house accidents.

Bounce Houses Often Do Not Keep Kids Safe: Notable Findings

In a study published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and his colleagues found the following startling information on bounce houses and kid’s injuries:

  • The number of children aged 17 and younger who got emergency-room treatment for bounce house injuries has climbed along with the popularity of bounce houses: from fewer than 1,000 injuries in 1995 to nearly 11,000 in 2010. That’s a 15-fold increase, and a doubling just since 2008.
  • Most injuries involve children falling inside or out of the inflated playthings.
  • Many children get hurt when they collide with other bouncing kids.
  • Kids often crowd into bounce houses, and jumping up and down can send other children flying into the air.
  • More than one-third of the injuries were to children aged 5 and younger.
  • While the study didn’t include deaths, some accidents were fatal. Separate data from the product safety commission confirms four bounce house deaths from 2003 to 2007, all involving children striking their heads on a hard surface.

To lead author Dr. Gary Smith, these findings were unexpected: “I was surprised by the number, especially by the rapid increase in the number of injuries.” With the rise in popularity of any product that stimulates activity it makes sense that injuries would also increase somewhat, but these numbers should be alarming to any parent with a young child.

However, there are several things that can be done to keep kids safe at parties:

  • Bounce houses should probably be supervised by trained operators.
  • Bouncers should be prohibited from doing flips and purposefully colliding with others.
  • Since it is recommended that children younger than 6 avoid full-size trampolines, barring kids that young from bounce houses also makes sense.
  • Do not overload bounce houses with too many kids.
  • Do not allow young children to bounce with much older, heavier kids or adults.

Recent Settlements

If your child has been hurt while using an inflatable bounce house, you may be able to bring a claim or lawsuit on the child’s behalf. The attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. have won settlements in this area many times. Here are a few examples:

  • $275,000 Premises Liability Settlement. Settled case against a building owner after a minor child sustained severe eye injuries when she was pushed into a defectively designed lock box on an apartment door.
  • $220,000 Chicago Auto Accident Settlement. Reached an uninsured motorist claim settlement for two minor children who were fatally injured in a north suburban car accident. The at fault driver was DUI and crossed the center line.
  • $85,000 Premises Liability Settlement. A child incurred a facial laceration from a small nail protruding from a couch in a local coffee shop.

Your ability to keep kids safe can be prevented by products like these bounce houses. However, Abels & Annes, P.C. has represented many hurt minors and their families, and we understand the importance of recovering compensation for their injuries. Serious injuries can require lifelong medical care and treatment, which can be extremely expensive for parents or guardians. We look to recover present and future costs when representing an injured minor.

If your child has been injured, request a Free Case Consultation or call (312) 924-7575 to speak with a lawyer now.

Dealing With Injuries To Areas Of The Spinal Cord

Injuries to areas of the spinal cord are typically caused by a sudden and severe impact to the spine, and can lead to life altering disabilities. These injuries can come from many sources, such as auto accidents, workplace accidents, and even slip and fall accidents.

Types Of Damage To Areas Of The Spinal Cord

The spinal cord consists of nerves that run down the spinal column from the brain to your lower back, delivering information that enables you to move and feel. When an injury occurs to the spinal cord, this vital information may no longer reach below the site of the injury, and the closer the injury is to the brain, the more areas of the body may be affected.

One wrong move can cause a number of major ailments:

  • Paralysis- The loss of the ability to move in part or most of the body, typically as a result of an injury to the neck. Paralysis can affect your legs, chest and arms.
  • Paraplegia- This is paralysis of the legs and lower body, typically caused an injury to your mid back.
  • Quadriplegia- Paralysis of all four limbs. Typical causes of this damage are trauma from accidents, diseases such as polio, or congenital disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

Furthermore, a spinal cord injury is referred to as either complete or incomplete:

  • Complete Injury: There is no feeling below the location of the injury.
  • Incomplete Injury: There is still some feeling or movement.

Recent Research On Injuries To Areas Of The Spinal Cord

There are several ways to treat injuries to areas of the spinal cord, the most common being management, surgery, steroid treatment, and rehabilitation. Each of these offer varying degrees of success, depending on the severity of the injury and the quality of care.

However, research is moving forward on new techniques to treat spinal cord injuries, and recently a new procedure has shown some success. This technique uses precisely timed nerve stimulation through the use of magnets. For patients with spinal cord injuries, this procedure has been shown to temporarily improve their ability to use their hands, according to recent spinal cord injury research.

The research was able to produce the following success:

  • Increases in the amount of force patients could exert with a finger for up to 85 minutes
  • After stimulation, patients could also complete a dexterity task more quickly than before

According to lead researcher Monica Perez, PhD, “Human electrophysiology can be a powerful tool for developing therapies,” Perez commented. “We need to explore new targets to improve rehabilitation strategies by taking advantage of our knowledge in human physiology and their mechanisms.”

Legal Action Produces A Different Kind Of Success

In many cases, spinal cord injuries are the fault of another party, whether they are the driver of a car or motorcycle, the seller of a malfunctioning product, or a the owner of hazardous property. When such a situation exists, the victim of a spinal cord injury may have a legal claim.

As an example of the types of settlements that can be achieved, the following recent cases related to injuries to areas of the spinal cord show major success, according to the Buffalo News:

  • Erie County government paid $7 million to settle a claim from a 39-year-old woman who suffered brain damage after she nearly drowned in a county-guarded swimming pool in August 2009.
  • A Williamsville man collected an eight-figure settlement after the construction accident left him paralyzed from the chest down after a construction accident in 2004.

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, request a Free Case Consultation or call (312) 924-7575 to speak with a lawyer now.

Injured In An Accident: Significant Case Settlements

For people injured in an accident where another party’s negligence was involved, relief is often only found in resolution of the case. Part of this resolution comes in the form of case settlements, which can ease the pain, stress, and uncertainty about the future.

The attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C., handle many cases involving various types of personal injury claims, such as car accidents, work injuries, slip & fall, nursing home abuse, and wrongful death cases. Millions of dollars have been recovered for clients and their families. The following are a few of the most notable recent settlements made by our law firm.

$175,000 and $83,105 Settlements With The CTA For Workers Injured In An AccidentTwo significant workers compensation cases were recently settled by the attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. against the Chicago Transit Authority.

  1. In the first case, our client was working on CTA tracks when she tripped and fell onto the third rail, sustaining burns to her upper extremities, right leg, and back. In addition to the $175,000 settlement, the claimant received over $95,000 in disability pay while off work. Further, her medical bills have been paid for.
  2. In a second case, a bus driver was injured in an accident while on the job. She sustained bilateral leg and back injuries. In addition to her $83,105 settlement, she received over $55,000 in disability pay while missing work. Her medical bills have also been paid for.

Injury Lawyers Settle Auto Claim

Abels & Annes, P.C. works on car accident cases on a regular basis. Recently, we resolved a claim out of court in which the plaintiff was injured when an inattentive driver caused a multiple car collision.

Our client was a passenger in a vehicle driven by a friend. As they approached an intersection, they signaled to turn left and came to a stop, waiting for traffic to clear. The vehicle behind the plaintiff came to a stop as well.

The defendant was driving two cars behind our client. He failed to slow and/or stop his vehicle and struck a vehicle in front of him, which in turn caused a collision with our client’s vehicle. The force of the collision was significant.

The Berwyn Police Department responded to the scene of the collision. After speaking with all parties, the responding officer determined the defendant was at fault for failing to reduce his speed to avoid a crash. The responding officer issued a citation for driving too fast for the conditions.

Following the collision, our client had an immediate onset of neck and back pain and sought treatment at Westlake Hospital’s Emergency Department. Her x-rays revealed straightening of the normal cerical lordosis of her spine. Due to excruciating pain and tenderness in her abdomen, doctors ordered an emergency CT scan of her pelvis, which was negative. She was prescribed pain medication and was diagnosed with neck and back sprain and strain. She was instructed to seek follow up medical care and was discharged.

Unfortunately, her pain did not subside. She sought follow up treatment from a doctor a week after the accident to address the following symptoms:

  • Sharp pains in her neck and back
  • Headaches and pain between her shoulder blades
  • Significant pain, preventing sleep
  • Inability to sit or stand for more than a few minutes without pain and discomfort
  • Instances of entire back spasms, leading to serious pain

She was diagnosed with severe whiplash, muscle spasms, lumbar facet syndrome, and thoracic strain/sprain. Pain medication was prescribed and she was instructed to begin a course of therapy.

Pursuant to doctor’s instructions, she began a course of therapy to allow her to return to work with limited pain. She engaged in twenty (20) sessions and was discharged having reached maximum medical improvement.

The claim settled out of court for just over $18,500, saving our client the cost of litigation. Our office had also previously settled the claim of another passenger in the car for just over $7,200.

Injured In An Accident? Ask For A Free Work Injury Case Consultation

If you have suffered a work injury in Chicago, request a Free Work Injury Case Consultation or call (312) 924-7575 to speak with a work injury attorney now.