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Quick Tip of the Day: What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

2016 February 7
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by Ryan Bradley

Koester & Bradley Champaign County Injury LawyersIf you leave your home, even rarely, chances are that you will experience a slip and fall accident.  Not all slip and fall events are due to the negligence of others.  Most times when a fall occurs, nobody is at fault.  Still, there are times when a business or a municipality or city deviates from its duty keep walkways and isles clear and a fall occurs

Slip and fall accidents happen at the most unexpected times. It is important to know what actions to take following the accident. Certain elements can make a difference in preserving your rights to compensation after a fall:

·         Contact emergency personnel if necessary.  Your health is the most important factor to consider after a fall at a place of business or a public walkway.  If you are incapacitated, or believe that you may have broken a bone, do not hesitate to call a first responder.  In Champaign Urbana Arrow Ambulance and Pro Ambulance are the most common services that would be called.  Once emergency services are called, or you are at the medical care provider such as Carle Hospital or Christie Clinic, be totally honest with your doctor or nurse about the events.  Do not be embarrassed and make sure that your medical records include the reason for the fall.

·         Record the names, numbers, and addresses of all witnesses.  If you are able, ask for the contact information of the witnesses to the fall.  These individuals will be important in a lawsuit is pursued.  Do not be bashful about ensuring that the witnesses know what they saw and that you or an attorney may contact them.

·         Obtain the insurance information for all parties.  Often times in a retail setting, this may be difficult.  The on site staff may not know this information.  Be persistent and do not exit the store or venue without the information if an employee is available.

·         Photograph the scene of the accident.  This can happen right after the fall, or later.  It is best to take photographs as soon as possible.  You may be told that you cannot do so.  This is incorrect.  Do not be intimidated by a sales clerk.

·         Hold onto all important information and documents.  This includes all of the forms filled out by the store or venue in the form of an accident report. Insist that you get s copy of the report and ensure its accuracy.

·         Speak with an experienced attorney before talking with an insurance company.  Insurance companies will NEVER give you a fair settlement without an attorney.  The job of the insurance adjuster is to make sure you receive little to no money.  NEVER trust an insurance adjuster and talk to an attorney first.  Just ask yourself, “who pays their salary?” If it isn’t you, they do not have your best interest in mind.

Koester & Bradley, LLP has handled many slip and fall cases and focuses on helping residents of the Champaign-Urbana area and throughout Central Illinois.

The Syngenta Battle rages in Kansas City MDL

2016 January 31
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Illinois corn attorney Ryan Bradley

Cases filed in Williamson County Illinois can avoid the MDL

Since November of 2014, cases have been filed in Kansas City Federal Court in the Syngenta Multidistrict Litigation.  Recently, individual cases from individual farmers were filed as well.  With a multitude of cases on file not only in Kansas City, The plaintiff and Syngenta have selected individual lawsuits of 48 corn producers from eight states to be representative “bellwether” cases.  The theory behind these trials, the earliest of which will start in 2017, is to allow for a number of different fact scenarios to be decided by juries.  This process has in the past lead to a greater chance of settlements as both sides gain a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their cases.  This is not proving to be a smooth process in Kansas City.

With billions of dollars on the line, plaintiff’s groups representing the interests of farmers, and Syngenta chose from thousands of cases on file, including a class action.  What makes this scenario interesting is that major agricultural heavy weights Cargill Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Co. also claim that billions in profits were lost when China rejected all US corn shipments in 2013 since the MIR-162 Viptera trait had been marketed by Syngenta and Co-Mingled with compliant seed.

This fact is apparent in the message sent by the National Feed and Grain Association that despite the fact the US Food and Drug Administration approved Viptera for domestic consumption, it was common knowledge that China had not.  Plaintiff farmers have alleged that Chinese imports of U.S. corn had decreased by about 85 percent since November 2013.

Each side selected four states from which to draw the MDL’s bellwether cases, including Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Arkansas, Iowa, Ohio, Illinois and Kansas. From this pool of cases 48 were selected.  But this was the easy part.

Syngenta claimed that its selections included farmers with differing corn acreage, different practices regarding the use, storage and sale of corn and those with different crop protection policies, and said its selection captured a diversity in harvest seasons and proximity to export channels.  Again, nothing uncommon with a defendant believing that it chose the best cross section of cases in a bellwether.  This is where the process stopped acting normally.

Syngenta took shots at the plaintiffs’ MDL leadership counsel, saying that 15 of its 24 bellwether selections weren’t even a part of the MDL yet or had just filed their individual suit within the past day.  This contention was ultimately without merit or consequence as the Court allowed the process to continue. While the Plaintiff’s attorneys were tactical, they did noting improper.

 

The bellwether selection came just a day after Syngenta filed a third-party suit against Cargill, Archer Daniels and other distributors it says are equally guilty for making no attempt to segregate.  This is viewed as a somewhat desperate attempt to spread the blame given the fact that Syngenta and Syngenta alone caused the Viptera corn to be released prematurely.  This being said, the role of Cargil and ADM is still a relevant matter for discussion and in fact ADM was included in the Illinois complaints filed in Williamson County.

Syngenta’s strategy appears to be to shift the burden of preventing co-mingling to produces and distributors rather than to take responsibility for the fact that it and it alone marketing the trait.  No matter what the arguments, however, the fact remains that if you grew corn in Illinois in the last few years, you have little to loose by filing an action in Williamson County with the Illinois consolidation.  As always feel free to contact us with any questions.

Does Mr. Smith have a Worker’s Compensation Claim?

2016 January 30
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Koester & Bradley Champaign Worker's Compensation Attorneys

Do You Have a Worker’s Comp Claim

Mr. Smith is lifting heavy boxes for his employer, Acme, when he trips on the stairs.  He lands at the bottom of the stairwell with his boxes atop the right side of his body.  Does Mr. Smith have a compensable workers’ compensation claim?  Who is going to pay for Mr. Smith’s medical care?  What steps should Mr. Smith take if he needs to report a workers’ compensation claim?

Does Mr. Smith have a compensable worker’s compensation claim?

Yes.  An injured employee is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits if his/her accident arose out of and in the course of your employment.  Mr. Smith injured himself while he was engaged in his job duties for Acme (i.e. lifting boxes) at Acme’s place of business.

Who is going to pay for Mr. Smith’s medical care?

Acme’s workers’ compensation insurance company.  By law, the employer is responsible for the cost of workers’ compensation benefits.  No part of the workers’ compensation insurance premium or benefit can be charged to the employee.

What steps should Mr. Smith take if he needs to report a workers’ compensation claim?

  1. Mr. Smith should notify Acme of his work injury and the date and place of the accident as soon as practicable. In Illinois, notice to an employer may be given orally or in writing.  However, Mr. Smith must notify Acme of his accident no later than 45 days after the accident.
  2. Depending on the severity of Mr. Smith’s injury, he should seek medical attention promptly.

Example 1: Mr. Smith proceeds to the ER and is diagnosed as having a sprained right knee and a bruised right wrist.  His injury will not require him to lose any work. Acme would not need to report this accident to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission because Mr. Smith’s accident did not involve him missing more than 3 days of work.

Example 2: Mr. Smith proceeds to the ER where he is diagnosed with a torn right ACL which requires surgery.  It is determined that Mr. Smith will be off work for 2 weeks.  Because Mr. Smith will be off work for more than 3 working days, he should be entitled to Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits.  Acme must report to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Mr. Smith’s accident because it involves him missing more than 3 lost workdays.  Acme would need to electronically submit “Employer’s First Report of Injury” which is known as the Form 45.

Mr. Smith should hire an attorney.  An attorney will be able to provide many services to Mr. Smith such as (1) double-checking TTD and other calculations, (2) ensuring that Mr. Smith is receiving fair medical treatment, (3) acting as a liaison between Mr. Smith and Acme’s insurance carrier and (4) representing Mr. Smith at trial.

Please feel free to consult with us if you think you or a loved one has a Worker’s Compensation claim.

Suicide Risks with Generic Paxil in Illinois

2016 January 18
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by Ryan Bradley
Champaign Paxil Attorney Ryan Bradley

Adult Suicide allegations on trial in Illinois

A generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) antidepressant drug, Paxil, has failed to warn consumers of severe side effects most notably suicide. The makers of the drug claim that the Paxil Risks of Suicide, Attorney Ryan Bradley does not pertain to people over the age of twenty-four.  This contention is being tested in Illinois right now as recently a judge in the Chicago Federal court Paxil postponed ruling on summary judgment motions until after trial later this year. The case surrounds the suicide death of a 57 year old Chicago lawyer in 2010.  Users of generic Paxil over this age have found that this claim is false. Clinical trials show that Paxil increases the risk of suicidal thoughts by 700%, regardless of a consumer’s age.

Although GSK is not the manufacturer of this generic Paxil, the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, has permitted a woman to take action against GSK for negligence, products liability and fraud.  In the lawsuit, the widow of the deceased claims that GSK was aware of the increased risk of suicidal behavior for over twenty years and that the risks apply to individuals over the age 24.

If you have had an experience with suicidal thoughts after taking Generic Paxil see your doctor immediately, and if a tragedy like the one in Chicago has occurred, seek out the advice of an experienced local attorney.  In Champaign County and Central Illinois call Ryan Bradley or Tom Koester at Koester & Bradley, LLP.

Automobile Accidents and Safety Tips for Winter Driving

2016 January 4
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by Ryan Bradley
Illinois Plaintiffs Lawyer Winter Driving

Winter Driving is Tough in Central Illinois. Don’t end up like this guy.

As winter weather approaches in Illinois, it is important to consider these conditions as you prepare to travel.  Despite the warm El Nino weather, conditions could still get difficult. Driving during these harsh conditions is hazardous and should be avoided if possible. If you have no other options than driving during a winter storm, here are some useful automobile accidents and safety tips:

  • Fill your gas tank up. A full tank helps minimize condensation and will be helpful in emergency situations.
  • Plan your route. Decide on a primary path and consider an alternate route.
  • Share your travel plans with someone. Should you not arrive when expected, officials will know where they can look for you.
  • Use your vehicle’s radio to keep up with the latest weather conditions.
  • Travel with one or two others in the same vehicle. Being along is not recommended.
  • Convoy with another vehicle if you can.
  • Keep your eyes out for patches of ice. The most common places you will find these patches is on overpasses and bridges.
  • Seek refuge if the storm conditions make you too uncomfortable.
  • Should your vehicle become immobilized, don’t leave it. Instead, keep your engine and heater running for short intervals. Also, slightly open your window carbon monoxide doesn’t get a chance to build up inside your car.

For more tips the good folks at AAA have an extensive library of information. Driving during winter storms can be harsh and scary. By preparing for your trip, protecting yourself, and preventing crashes, your travels will be safer. Should you require assistance due to your traveling this winter, don’t hesitate to contact us so we can help with your case.

Dangerous Drug Topamax Causes Injuries in Illinois

2015 December 30
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by Ryan Bradley

Koester & Bradley Topomax LawyersAcross Illinois, the seizure and migraine medication, Topamax, has bees shown to cause cleft lips and cleft palates in infants exposed to the drug during pregnancy. Research shows that this drug increases the chance of birth defects to 1.4 percent, which is three times higher than the rate of other seizure drugs.  While not a shocking high percentage at first glance, this is actually a significant risk. 

While Topomax is regularly prescribed to patients with bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). It is approved for the treatment of seizures (epilepsy) in adults and children in combination with other anticonvulsants and for preventing migraine headaches in adults. See National Alliance on Mental Health.

The cleft palates and cleft lips that Topamax causes can create a number of complications for a child. The treatment can be very expensive. It may require surgery and/or assistance from other professionals. Additionally, the conditions are horrible and uncomfortable for the children afflicted with the condition.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, manufactures the drug and has been in multiple lawsuits surrounding Topamax. There have been patients of this drug that claim Johnson & Johnson knew about Topamax’s risks and failed to warn the users of its dangers.

A Janssen Pharmaceuticals spokesperson is defending the company by stating, “Since Topamax was first introduced to the market in 1996, our company has appropriately informed healthcare providers of the potential side effects for women who use the medicine during pregnancy.”

The FDA announced on March 4th 2012 it was changing the classification of Topamax (topiramate), an anti-convulsant medication used to treat patients with epilepsy, other types of seizures, and migraine headaches, to pregnancy category D. Category D drugs are those confirmed as presenting a risk of fetal injury. The FDA made the change because of evidence linking Topamax to cleft palates and cleft lips.

If you or someone you know was taken the drug Topamax and had a child born with a cleft palate or lip, please contact an experienced Attorney.

Class Actions Broken Down, They Existed before DraftKings and Fan Duel

2015 October 10
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by Ryan Bradley
Illinois Class Action Information

New territory in Class Actions

With the announcement of the class action lawsuit against DraftKings and Fan Duel announced last week and the the impending doom of Volkswagen  at the hands of numerous impending class actions sneaking into the headlines, it is appropriate to break down exactly what the heck everyone is talking about when we refer to class actions.  Hopefully after reading this brief post you can impress your friends at the next cocktail party or at the very least know what to do when you get a notice in the mail.

The Basics on Class Actions

We have all received the notice in the mail informing us that we are part of a “Class Action.”  Further, thanks in large part to John Grisham, we have all heard stories about shady and wealthy lawyers who file “Class Action Lawsuits.” Hiding somewhere in between is the truth and the following is a breakdown of what a class action is, and some common class action cases.

A class action is a lawsuit by one or a few plaintiffs on behalf of a large group that has been similarly mistreated by a defendant. Through a class action, it becomes economical to bring a suit that otherwise could not be brought. Where a defendant has improperly obtained a small sum of money from a large number of people, a class action allows a method by which all of the people may receive their money back.

Essentially, it would make no sense for hundreds, or even thousands of people to pursue individual actions across the Country.  Litigation, even for small sums of money, is expensive, and class actions allow for the prosecution of actions in a manner that is efficient and fair.  The perfect example is a defective dishwasher part.  All the damages are the same, so the cost of the repair and the replacement part are the same for everybody.  All people with the same defective part can be represented by one plaintiff and one attorney.  Contrast this with the Syngenta Corn Litigation that is pending across the country.  In this case, the damages of each individual farmer are different and a class action would be inappropriate.

In such cases, there is no fee if there is no recovery. If there is a recovery, the court determines the amount of the attorney’s fee and orders that it be paid from the recovery or as an additional payment by the defendant. Further, the plaintiffs who serve as class representatives may be awarded a class representative’s fee as determined by the court. The class representatives also receive the same money and other relief that all of the members of the class receive.

Types of Class Actions Pursued in Illinois

Examples of class action litigation include the following:

Shareholders’ Actions – class actions by shareholders of corporations in regard to losses suffered by shareholders as a result of corporate malfeasance seeking damages for loss in stock value and seeking orders directing the corporation to adopt measures to minimize losses in the future.

Motor Vehicle Insurance – class actions against various insurance carriers concerning such conduct as the companies’ specification of non-original equipment body parts in repairing their insureds’ vehicles and the failure to pay for the diminished value of their insureds’ vehicles after repair.

Telephone Service Provider Practices – class actions against various telephone service providers concerning conduct such as “cramming” (improperly billing customers for services that have not been ordered), unrequested in line wire maintenance programs, “slamming” (unauthorized changing of long distance service providers) and “bait and switch” (deceptive offers to obtain new customers). These actions are now prevalent with cell phone providers.

Health Insurance Co-Pay Litigation – class actions against certain health insurance carriers concerning deceptive and improper practices involving, among other things, the calculation of their insureds’ co-payment obligations. Several of these cases have been completed resulting in millions of dollars in refunds to consumers.

Force Placed Insurance Litigation – class actions against lenders concerning deceptive practices in the placement of collateral protection insurance (property insurance). Several cases have been concluded resulting in millions of dollars in refunds.

Motor Vehicles – the firm is presently involved in the litigation against Ford Motor Company concerning the design of the Explorer Sport Utility and against Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone in regard to the tires used on the Explorer.

Truck Bed-liners – the firm was lead counsel in litigation compelling truck bed-liner manufacturers to give warnings and fund an educational campaign concerning the dangers of static electricity causing a fire when flammable liquids are handled under certain circumstances in a truck equipped with a bed-liner.

Insurance Practices – class actions against insurance carriers concerning sales, underwriting, reinsurance and advertising practices.

Improper Billing Practices – involving the intentional adding on of false or improper charges or overcharging for goods or services.

Cruise Line Litigation – class actions against large cruise lines alleging deceptive practices in the course of billing of passengers for “port charges.”

Deceptive Sales Practices – class actions against various businesses alleging deceptive trade practices in regard to the sale of such products as gasoline and pharmaceuticals.

Collection Practices – class actions against lenders and collection agencies concerning improper collection activities including violation of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

This is not an exhaustive list by an stretch of the imagination, and if you keep your eyes out, you may find that you are part of one.  If you receive a class action notice, or think that you may have uncovered a class action, contact an attorney with experience in the manner.

Finally, remember that the next major class action is waiting to be discovered, so always be on the lookout!

If you have any ideas, or just want to comment, feel free to get a hold of us.

Stryker Metal Hip Update

2015 July 22
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by Ryan Bradley

A Settlement has been Reached, if You have not Joined the Settlement it May be too Late.

Stryker Peoria HIp RecallIn November 2014, Stryker agreed to settle several thousand claims related to both devices for$1.43 billion. But the amount is not capped, and attorneys expect the final payout to exceed this amount. This settlement encompasses cases in the New Jersey MCL and the Minnesota MDL. Depending on the nature of the injuries, plaintiffs could receive as much as $600,000 each.

What does this mean for residents of Illinois?  It means that you need to hurry and consult a qualifies Stryker Hip Attorney as soon as possible to preserve your right to participate in the settlement.  There are strict deadlines associated with these settlements and failure to act could mean that you are left out.  While the deadline to file was March 2, 2015, it is still worth contacting an attorney is you have not yet done so.

Stryker withdrew its Rejuvenate and ABG II devices in July 2012 after warning surgeons they could harm tissue around the hip and cause other health problems. The company said yesterday that it set aside more than $1.4 billion to cover costs of handling cases over the recalled hips so the settlement fell into the “low end of the range of probable loss.”

Unlike other device makers, Stryker settled before facing a trial over claims their hips suffered from design flaws and the company failed to warn patients about the devices’ risks.

If you have any questions about the Settlement please feel free to contact us.

What Happens when the Other Driver has No Insurance

2015 July 7
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by Ryan Bradley
Ryan Bradley Chanmpaign Urbana Accident Attorney

Central Illinois Accident Attorneys

USA Today estimates one in seven drivers in Illinois is uninsured. (Check out the link, it’s a pretty cool map.)  If you are involved in an auto accident in Illinois and the at-fault driver has no insurance, all hope is not lost.   You still have options. Illinois law requires uninsured motorist coverage, or UM coverage. (625 ILCS 5/7-203). Because Illinois requires uninsured motorist coverage, the driver will be held accountable just as if he or she had minimum coverage. Currently, the minimum uninsured motorist coverage in Illinois is $20,000 per injured person (up to $40,000 per accident) and $15,000 for property damage.

Furthermore while many drivers may have insurance, it is not always enough. If your claim is greater than the liability coverage of the at-fault driver, you could potentially recover the difference through an under-insured motorist claim. These policies also apply to auto accident cases involving pedestrians and bike riders.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, you should contact an experienced attorney.  Koester & Bradley, LLP has handled many personal injury cases and focuses on residents of Champaign County and throughout Central Illinois.

Country Roads, Take Me Home…But Be Careful.

2015 June 18
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by Ryan Bradley

In Illinois, Country Roads hide danger beneath the beauty.

Living in Illinois, particularly central Illinois, offers a great opportunity to spend some time driving down country carol roads. Despite the beauty country roads are one of the most dangerous places to drive–especially during planing and harvesting. It is important to understand that country roads are often used for significant farming activity and accordingly, keep these tips in mind to be 100% safe at any time of year.

Illinois Country Roads

Stay Safe on Illinois’ Country Roads

  • When the corner or an intersection is surrounded by tall corn, it is of difficult for cars or farm implements to see around intersections. For this reason, always slowly approach every country road intersection and keep on the lookout.
  • No matter whether or not there is a stop sign at the intersection, fight the urge to drive through rural intersection without stopping first.
  • High rates of speed stick always slow reaction time and can be incredibly dangerous.  On country roads, speed becomes even more deadly.  Always maintain a reasonable (and legal) speed in the country–as good as it feels to cruise through the corn fields.
  • Finally, make sure that you’re able to communicate your location in the case of an accident.  This means not only having a cell phone, but know where you are in relation to the nearest emergency care provider.

Follow these tips and go for a drive on Illinois’ beautiful rural roads.

If you are injured in an accident in rural Illinois be sure to contact an attorney that has experience in these types of cases.