Injuries in Construction

Construction Accidents Result in Injuries

Nearly all construction accidents are preventable. The safety of its employees and the general public should be a top priority of any construction company. Awareness of four common construction hazards can lead to increased safety. Those hazards have been determined to be attributable to nearly 60 percent of all construction accident injuries and deaths.

The OSHA 2014 Numbers

According to the Occupational Health Safety Administration (OSHA), there were 4,679 work-related fatalities in 2014, the most recent year for which we have statistics. Fatal injuries involving employees of construction contractors consisted of 17 percent of those fatalities. Four of the most common causes of construction site injuries are outlined in the paragraphs below.



Workers involved in construction risk falling from ladders, scaffolds, cranes and other equipment that enables them to work at different heights. About 33 percent of all fall-related injuries and fatalities involve falls from roofs. Roofers and steelworkers are most often injured or killed from roof falls. About 36 percent of all construction-related deaths in the 2014 figures were from falls.

Being Struck by Objects

Tools, materials and other objects that aren’t properly secured and used at heights cause risks to construction workers below when they fall. Those risks are one of the primary reasons for hard hats. Workers might also get struck by heavy equipment like cranes or bulldozers. In the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, one construction worker was recently killed, and three others were injured, when a massive 45-ton road beam that was 180 feet long fell from a crane. About 10 percent of all deaths from construction site injuries result from being struck by an object.

Electrical Shock

It’s quite common for construction sites to work with or around electrical hazards on a job site. Sometimes the electrical source is still a work in progress. Electrical hazards must be identified, and due care and caution needs to be used by employers and employees. About 9 percent of all construction accident deaths are from electrocution.

Being Caught Between Objects

The usual construction site scenario for being caught between objects is a worker who gets pinned between a moving object, like a truck, and a stationary object, like a wall. About 2 percent of construction injury fatalities involve workers getting caught between objects.

Contact Chicago Construction Injury Lawyers

Our attorneys can help you or your family get compensation for a construction accident an injury if you were hurt due to negligence. You can call us 24/7 or fill out our online form for a consultation.

Do You Know Illinois Laws on Cell Phones and Driving?


Cell phones may have added convenience to the lives of those living in Illinois and elsewhere, but they haven’t necessarily made the roads safer. For this reason, Illinois has adopted certain cell phone usage laws to help make the roads less dangerous. These laws went into effect January 1, 2014.

Cell Phones Are Distracting To Illinois Drivers

While cell phones have made it easy for on the go Illinois residents to keep in touch with friends, family and coworkers, these devices can be a major distraction when driving a car. When a person is focused more on their phone than on driving, accidents can easily occur. Whether a driver is simply talking on the phone or attempting the difficult maneuver of texting while driving, a cell phone can take attention away from driving in a detrimental way. In order to keep the roads safer for all Illinois drivers, Illinois has enacted laws against cell phone usage while driving.

The Laws On Cell Phone Usage And Driving

1. No Texting And Driving. In Illinois, it is illegal to text and drive. Texting and driving is extremely impairing to a driver, and it is for this reason that texting and driving is totally against the law in Illinois. There are exceptions to this rule, though. If a driver is reporting an emergency situation, then it is okay to text. It is also okay to text if a driver is parked on the side of the road, or parked in neutral due to a traffic obstruction.

2. Drivers Must Use A Hands-Free Device. In Illinois, all drivers must use a hands-free device if they want to talk on the phone while driving. Hands-free devices that are permitted include Bluetooth, speakerphones and headsets. In addition, cell phones cannot be used by new drivers, or in school or construction zones.

The Consequences for Breaking Cell Phone Laws

In Illinois, violation of cell phone usage laws is considered a primary offense. What this means is that a law enforcement officer can pull a driver over simply because the officer witnessed the driver using a cell phone. Along with a citation, drivers committing this offense will have to pay a fine that starts at $75. Depending on the area in which the offense takes place, this fine can be much higher. If a driver is caught using a cell phone in a construction area or a school zone, the offender can expect to pay a fine that can cost hundreds of dollars.

If you need legal assistance, please contact us immediately for a complimentary case evaluation.

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The Ins and Outs of a Wrongful Death Suit

Wrongful Death Defined

Wrongful death is when an individual or a group of people cause the death of someone else, either willfully or by a negligent act. If the family or legal beneficiaries feel wrongful death occurred, then they may commence a wrongful death action against the party or parties they feel are responsible. The process of a wrongful death suit is often difficult and long.

The Specifics and History of Wrongful Death Suits

wrongful.....death_-1024x700Laws carried over from England to the United States known as Common Law used to forbid a wrongful death suit. The last 100 years saw a dramatic change in stance regarding this type of suit. Wrongful death suits fall under the area of Tort Law, and there are wrongful death laws in every state in the country now. By falling under Tort Law, wrongful death suits are dictated by statutes, and every state has different statutes for wrongful death claims. The function of the statutes is to define what surviving parties are allowed to legally make a wrongful death claim. Some state statutes also determine the cap at how much can be awarded in damages if a wrongful death suit is successful. There are some states that have no limit on how much can be awarded for damages, such as Illinois, which states that the jury can award whatever damages are thought to be fair and just compensation for the losses resulting from the wrongful death.

Medical malpractice, accidents resulting in death, products malfunctioning and even criminal charges include some great examples behind the rationale for a wrongful death suit. It may seem odd for criminal charges to fall underneath the umbrella of examples, but the O.J. Simpson case is a great example. Although he was acquitted of murder, he was still sued for wrongful death by the parents of Ron Goldman. People and companies like product manufacturers can be sued for wrongful death, but government agencies can also be sued. A good example of a government agency facing a wrongful death suit would be a police department. Police departments are frequently sued for deaths occurring during arrests or altercations.

Common Examples of People Allowed to File Wrongful Death Suits

Someone has to represent the deceased in court in the event of a wrongful death suit to claim injury and financial damages from the death. It is usually defined as real parties in interest such as an executor of the estate, but statutes vary for each state.

The following is a general list of people who are allowed to file a wrongful death suit depending on statutes: immediate family members, distant relatives, a life partner, a financial dependent, someone believing they were going to be married to the deceased, someone believing they were in a marriage-type relationship (putative spouse), people who suffer financially from the death, or parents of a fetus.

In Illinois, it’s more specific: the personal representative of an estate is the one who may file a wrongful death suit. This is often a spouse, a parent of a deceased child, or the adult child of one who is deceased. If there is no representative to an estate as chosen by the deceased, the court may appoint one following the death.

Classifications of Damages

There are three types of damages awarded. The first type is economic damages, which consist of the financial losses suffered by the plaintiffs resulting from the death. Non-economic damages can’t be classified as easily, but are often some sort of compensation for the pain experienced from the loss of a loved one. Finally, punitive damages are essentially a financial punishment to the respondent.

Chicagoland Wrongful Death Attorneys

If you believe you have a case for a wrongful death lawsuit and you live in Chicago or the surrounding areas, contact Theisen & Roche today. Our experienced lawyers can help your family fight for damages resulting from a wrongful death. Call (888) 845-7241 or fill out an online form for a consultation.

Person-Centered Care In Nursing Homes

Until the 1980s, nursing homes were run like institutions, with uniform rules for everyone who lived there. However, this led to widespread patient abuse and neglect. In 1987, Congress passed a variety of reforms that required nursing homes to move to a personalized care model. What does such a model of patient care mean for residents and their families?

Residents Get More Say in What They Do

Residents have an unprecedented level of say when it comes to how they live while in a nursing facility. In some residences, they can decide when they go to bed, what they wear and in which activities they participate. A resident may also have some say as to what he or she eats each day or whether or not to leave the facility temporarily with friends and family members. hands-216981_1280

Relationships Are Valued Above All Else

A resident should have a strong relationship with others living in the nursing home as well as with the people providing their care. Ideally, residents will live in units of no more than 10-15 people. This enables everyone to feel more like they are at home as opposed to in an institution. Furthermore, the same nursing aides should work with a given patient at all times to provide consistency and the best possible care.

Nurses are Empowered to Make Decisions

Instead of following care directives created by upper management, nurses are empowered to make decisions that are in the best interest of the patients, ensuring that each resident gets the personalized treatment plan that they need and deserve. This is part of a pattern that encourages culture change within nursing homes that puts everyone on one level when it comes to decision-making. When necessary, nurses and other staff can collaborate and work on teams to deliver the best possible results for residents. This will hopefully reduce cases of nursing home abuse and/or neglect.

Increased Communications Trumps Increased Funding

Research conducted by the National Institutes of Health has shown that person-centered care was driven mostly by a commitment by management to encourage changes in culture. Direct communication about proposed changes and positive attitudes toward them made it easier for nursing homes and other managed care facilities to achieve their goals. This was true regardless of the amount of training provided to staff or the amount of money allocated to achieving desired changes.

Personalized care has changed the way that nursing home residents interact with each other and with staff. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, the needs of the individual are taken into consideration to improve patient care and allow residents to develop relationships while at the facility.

Auto Insurance Coverage


Auto insurance coverage is required in 45 states, but even if you live in one of the other five, it is a good idea to carry the coverage. Failing to have insurance may expose you to significant financial risk. There are varying levels of protection you can choose. You need to understand your risks and purchase the amount of coverage you need to protect yourself if you are in an accident.

Main Types of Coverage

Insurance works by pooling all of the premiums you and other policyholders pay to the company. Since only a small percentage of policyholders will be involved in an accident, this allows the company to pay a much larger amount than you actually are required to pay in your premiums. There are three main types of coverage: liability insurance, comprehensive insurance and collision insurance.

1. Liability insurance

Liability insurance is the minimum level required for drivers in a majority of states. With this level of coverage, the insurance company will pay for damages and injuries caused to others if you are in an accident, although it will not cover your own damages. This level of insurance may be sufficient for people who drive older cars. Before choosing a liability limit, you might want to do research to make certain the liability amounts are sufficient for your needs.

2. Collision insurance

Collision insurance is designed to pay for damages to your car, as well as that of another person in an accident. If you have a car loan, you have to have collision insurance so your lender or finance company doesn’t lose their financial interest in your vehicle.

3. Comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive insurance pays for other types of damage to your vehicle, beyond those paid by your collision insurance. This can include damages due to vandalism, fire, flooding, theft or natural disasters. If you have comprehensive and collision insurance, you’ll also still have the liability portion to protect you in case of an accident that causes damage to another car.

Additional Coverage Types

There are more types of coverage that can provide additional protections to you.

  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects you when you have an accident with a driver who does not have insurance or whose insurance isn’t sufficient to cover your losses
  • Personal injury protection will pay your medical bills if you are injured in an accident
  • Gap insurance will cover the difference in the amount you owe and the fair market value of your car if it is totaled in an accident, so you are not stuck paying the difference to your finance company
  • Some people also purchase towing and rental car options through their insurance policies

Having automobile insurance is not only required in most states, it can provide you with financial security if you are involved in an automobile accident. Before you choose a policy, it is important to do research so you understand the level you really need, then save money by shopping around.

The Importance of Good Health Insurance Coverage

Benefits of Having Good Health Insurance


These days, many people are considering ways that they can optimize their health in order to lead a more productive, positive life. If this is the case for you, it’s important to know that purchasing health insurance is one of the best ways to be proactive about your objective. There are a wide range of benefits that result from attaining great health insurance. Learn more about them by reading our quick reference guide.

What Do Health Insurance Plans Cover?

A good health insurance plan should provide you with the following coverage benefits:

  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Laboratory tests
  • Outpatient care
  • Mental health treatment
  • Substance-abuse treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Pediatric services (dental and vision)
  • Preventive services (like mammograms and immunizations)
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Hospitalization
  • Emergency services


Benefits of Having Health Insurance

To get a better understanding of why health insurance is so important and the benefits of having it, consider the following facts:

  • Health insurance offsets high medical expenses
  • Health insurance includes benefits that function as preventive mechanisms, which decrease your susceptibility to accidents and illness
  • You qualify for free preventive care such as screenings, check-ups, and vaccines
  • If you have a form of qualifying coverage such as a Marketplace plan, you will not have to pay penalties that individuals who lack coverage will


More About Preventive Care

One of the biggest benefits of having health insurance is the preventive care services you can attain. Some of them include:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm one-time screening
  • Alcohol misuse screening
  • Aspirin use for cardiovascular disease prevention
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Depression screening
  • Diabetes (Type 2) screening
  • Diet counseling
  • Hepatitis B screening
  • Hepatitis C screening
  • HIV screening
  • Immunization vaccines: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Herpes Zoster, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Influenza (flu shot), Measles, Meningococcal, Mumps, Pertussis, Pneumococcal, Rubella, Tetanus, Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Obesity screening and counseling
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention counseling
  • Syphilis screening
  • Tobacco use screening


Although no one plans to suffer from injury or illness, most of us will experience at least a few mishaps throughout the course of life. For this reason, it’s very important to attain health insurance so that you can maintain your economic and emotional equilibrium during trying times.

The 2015 Volkswagen Emissions Recall


In September 2015, the EPA found that the automobile company Volkswagen had been in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. The automaker had allegedly programmed cars using a TDI system to meet emissions standards, but only while conducting tests in a laboratory. In reality, some 500,000 cars between 2009-2015 were creating emissions 40 times higher than allowed by law. What were some of the legal repercussions of this violation?

Volkswagen Stopped Making the Cars in Question

As a result of the EPA investigation, Volkswagen stopped making any vehicle that had a turbocharged diesel injection (TDI) system. The government says that a variety of models with 2.0 and 3.0 liter engines had software installed on them that manipulated the results of the test. Although the EPA and other agencies believe that they can prove that VW broke the law, it has so far been unable to get access to documents because of German laws.

The Automaker Faces Large Fines in the United States

It is possible that Volkswagen could be fined by the EPA $37,500 for each car it sold that violated the Clean Air Act standards. All told, that could result in a total fine of $18 billion. Furthermore, the government may pursue up to $48 billion in additional fines for violating standards outlined in the Clean Air Act.

Company Leaders Could Face Criminal Charges

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is leading an investigation against Volkswagen claiming that they sold customers a false bill of goods. In addition the FBI and attorney generals in 25 other states are conducting investigations of their own. As part of the investigation, the company is accused of creating an ongoing endangerment to the health and safety of customers.

Private Citizens Have Also Filed Suit Against the Company

In addition to state governments and government agencies filing suit against the company, it is also facing a variety of class action lawsuits. These cases center around the fact that the cars are worth less, as they cannot meet regulatory standards. Investors have also taken legal action because Volkswagen’s stock has dropped significantly because of this scandal.

It may be months or years before the legal cases against Volkswagen are settled. If the allegations against the company are found to be true, it could cost the company billions of dollars, in addition to the loss of prestige that the brand may experience. While it may not bankrupt the company, the fallout from the scandal could be felt for a long time to come.

Bicycle Safety On The Road


Riding a bike can be just as dangerous as driving a car for those who don’t use common sense while on the road. While some may think that there is a difference between cyclists and drivers, many states classify bikes as vehicles when creating traffic laws. In fact, bicyclists are expected to obey the same rules of the road as cars when on their bikes. What are some steps that a cyclist can take to stay safe in traffic?

Refrain From Using A Phone While Riding

Texting or talking on the phone while on a bike can be just as distracting as trying to use a phone while driving. However, in a collision between a bike and an automobile, the person on the bike is more likely to suffer serious injuries. Therefore, it is critical to keep your eyes on the road for your safety and others. In cities such as Flagstaff, Arizona, a rider can be fined up to $250 for texting while riding.

Be Careful When Wearing A Headset

The human brain is only good at focusing on one thing at a time. If you are having a conversation on your phone or altering your playlist, there is a good chance that you are not focused on the road. In addition, the use of headphones may cancel out the noise from an ambulance or other emergency vehicle that may be changing lanes or making turns. If a cyclist is trying to also change lanes or make a turn, the odds of an accident may go up if the rider is wearing headphones.

The Use of Protective Gear Can Save Lives

Those who are going to be riding bikes anywhere near cars should wear a bicycle helmet at a minimum. It may also be a good idea to wear elbow and knee pads while on a bike. When riding at night, it’s a good idea to wear reflective clothing or make use of reflectors that can be puton your bike. On sunny days, wearing sunglasses can keep the glare out of your eyes and make it easier to see cars and pedestrians around you.

Whether you are on in a car or on a bike, you have to be aware of your surroundings while on the road. An accident could lead to serious injuries to a cyclist or to a pedestrian who is involved in an accident with a bike. A bicycle accident with a car could even lead to the death of the cyclist. Keeping your eyes on the road and both hands on your bike can help you focus better on what is going on around you and allow you to get around obstacles in a safe and timely manner.

If you do happen to get into an accident on the road, call personal injury lawyers Christopher Theisen and James Roche.

About Dog Bites

Avoiding Dog Bites


If a dog is properly trained and socialized, it will understand how to approach people in a friendly and polite manner. In the event that a dog is stressed or worried, it will generally give several warning signs that it does not want to be near you. Understanding these warning signs may prevent you from getting bit and having to seek treatment. Some of these signs are listed below:

  • tense body
  • stiff tail
  • ears pulled back
  • furrowed brow
  • whites of eyes visible
  • intense stare
  • backing away

Avoiding a Dog Bite Through Respect for the Dog’s Space

Just like you respect physical boundaries when you meet a person for the first time, you will want to respect physical boundaries when you meet a dog for the first time. Never touch the dog or get too close to it without its permission. If a dog is growling, showing its teeth or barking at you, it does not want to be approached. The same is true if its face is tense or it is retreating from you as you approach.

Avoiding a Dog Bite During Play

Dogs may nip at you during play sessions or when it is happy but overly excited. For example, labradors have a natural tendency to put things in their mouths, which means that they may try to bite or grip your hand even during play. This can result in a painful bite even if there was no intention to harm you. To calm an excited dog down, you can turn your back to it. The dog will take this as a sign that you don’t want that type of attention.

Avoiding a Bite Related to Resource Guarding

Resource guarding is something that all living things do as a means of survival. Dogs will guard their toys, their food and their territory from other dogs or any other person or animal that is deemed a threat. Therefore, you may put yourself at risk of a bite or an attack by getting between the dog and its toys or its food. You can avoid such a fate by taking a few steps back until it calms down.

What To Do If You’re Bitten

If you have been bitten by a dog, you should seek medical attention immediately. For minor wounds that haven’t broken the skin, you should wash the effected area with soap and hot water. You should then wrap the wound in gauze or place a sterile bandage over it to keep it clean while it heals.

In the event that the wound has broken the skin, you will want to go to the hospital or have your doctor treat it as soon as possible. You could be at risk of an infection that could result in the loss of your fingers or toes, and it is possible to lose an entire limb if the infection is bad enough. It will also be important to stop any bleeding that may occur and reset any broken or fractured bones.

While no one wants to be bitten by a dog, there are plenty of ways to avoid them. By understanding how a dog thinks, you can take steps to interact with them peacefully regardless of how old they are or what type of breed it may be.

Preventing Accidents in Winter Weather

Regardless of where you live, winter driving can be one of the most difficult skills you will ever have to master. In Chicago, Aurora, Wheaton and the nearby region, frequent snow and ice can make even plowed roads tough to drive on without the right equipment. What can be done to prevent accidents during the winter months?

Make Sure Your Car Can Handle the Winter Weather

chicago-112222_1280Is your car ready to drive on roads covered in snow or ice? You should check your tires to make sure that they are properly inflated and have sufficient tread. Furthermore, check your windshield wipers and fluid levels to make sure that your windshield will stay clear if it snows while you are driving. Finally, make sure that your heater works properly as you want to make sure that any ice buildup on your vehicle can be melted away quickly to give you better vision while driving.

Account for Road Conditions

Some people assume that driving at or near the speed limit is appropriate regardless of the road conditions. However, if there is snow or ice on the road’s surface, you may need to reduce your speed to 30 miles per hour or lower even on the highway. This is because your stopping distance is going to be longer when the tires cannot adequately grip the surface your car is driving on. In some cases, ice can develop on wet roads as the temperature drops below freezing during the overnight hours.

Give Yourself Extra Time to Get to Your Destination

By giving yourself extra time to get to work or school, you won’t need to drive as fast to get there on time. Doing so enables you to keep a longer following distance while also driving slowly if necessary to account for poor roadways. Giving yourself extra time may also allow you to take an alternate route through areas that don’t have as much traffic. While this route may take longer to navigate, you reduce the odds of getting into an auto accident if there are fewer cars around you.

Heed Emergency Protocols

Your local or state government agencies may declare a state of emergency or issue warnings to stay off of the roads when inclement weather is about to take place. While you may believe that your vehicle is strong enough to handle even the biggest snow storm, you should heed the warning and stay home if at all possible. In some cases, it may be illegal to drive during such an event, or you may risk being stranded if you attempt to go out during a blizzard or ice storm. Typically, a storm will blow through and the roads will be cleared in less than 24 hours, so it is almost always better to stay home instead of increasing your risk of getting into a crash.

The best time to prepare for winter weather is before it begins, so pay attention to local weather reports for Wheaton, Aurora, Naperville and Chicago as we move into the winter season. Winterizing your vehicle, planning alternate routes to get to your destinations and staying abreast of weather and road conditions before you go out each day can keep you safe and reduce the odds that you get into an accident. However, if you do end up in a car accident or truck accident with another driver, contact the personal injury attorneys of Theisen & Roche, who will fight for you to receive compensation for your injuries.