$100,000 for CTA Bus Passenger Falling Due to Defective Overhead Strap

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in CTA Bus Claim

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Our office recovered $100,000 for a CTA Bus Passenger Falling Due to Defective Overhead Strap. Our client, a 59 year old woman, was a passenger on the bus who was standing on the bus waiting for her stop, holding onto the overhead strap. The bus driver came to a sudden stop and the strap that our client was holding broke, causing our client to fall and sustain back injuries.

The CTA is a quasi-governmental agency. There will be certain differences in filing a claim against the CTA as opposed to filing a claim against other non-governmental parties. One difference is the time limit for filing the claim. A one year statute applies against the CTA as opposed to the normal two years for everyone else. Another difference is the sheer volume of cases filed against the CTA. A CTA bus accident can involve multiples of claimants for a single incident. Yet another difference is the way the claims are processed. The CTA investigates and processes their own claims. In comparison, a claim against a private party is investigated by that party’s insurance carrier, a party not directly involved in the accident. The insurance company adjuster can sometimes be more objective in their investigation and easier to work with. The CTA adjuster is not objective. They will assume they and their driver did nothing wrong and that they are not at fault for this incident. You will have to prove otherwise.

There are other differences that have nothing to do with the law. For example, there are now cameras on each and every CTA bus. There is one camera looking forward at traffic and one camera looking backward into the bus. The video on the camera must be obtained if one is to be successful against the CTA. And, the CTA will not provide access to this video without a court order. A court order of course requires that a lawsuit first be initiated.

For this reason, CTA claims are almost always litigated. That is, successful claims against the CTA can be expected to require the filing of a lawsuit. The claimant without an attorney to represent him in court is at a severe disadvantage.

In addition to the above, the plaintiff must prove all the usual elements of his case. He must prove that he was injured in the accident, that the injury was caused by the actions of the CTA or their driver, and that the CTA or their driver had a duty to the passenger that they failed to honor. Each of these elements of the claim will be hotly contested by the CTA.

If you or your loved one was injured while riding a CTA bus, call the Law Firm of Charles J. Gale, P.C.

$155,000.00 For Decubitus Ulcers Of Nursing Home Resident

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Decubitus ulcers, Nursing Home Negligence

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Our office successfully recovered $155,000 for decubitus ulcers of nursing home resident.

Decubitus ulcers, or bedsores, result from prolonged pressure that cuts off the blood supply to the skin, causing the skin and other tissue to die. The damage may occur in as little time as 12 hours of pressure, but it might not be noticed until days later when the skin begins to break down. The skin is especially likely to develop pressure sores if it is exposed to rubbing (friction) and moving the skin in one direction and the body in another (shear), as in sliding down when the bed head is raised. Dampness (such as from perspiration or incontinence) makes the skin even more liable to develop pressure sores.

 

Nursing home residents that are immobile are at the greatest risk of getting bedsores.  This includes nursing home residents who are recovering from strokes, spinal cord injuries, nerve disorders, mental disorders, paralysis, and generally immobile residents.  Most decubitus ulcers occur in the elderly, those over the age of 70.
Nursing home residents who do not get good nutrition (malnourished or undernourished), have incontinence (problems with bladder or bowel control), diabetes, or problems with blood flow (circulation) also have increased risk.

 

A decubitus ulcer appears first as a reddened area of skin, which then starts to break down to form an open, raw, oozing wound.

Bedsores occur at areas of abnormal pressure on the body.  If the nursing home resident is sitting for a long time, this is usually the tailbone (coccyx) or buttocks area, shoulder blades, spine, or backs of the arms or legs.  If the nursing home resident is in bed for a long time, they may occur on the back of the head, ears, shoulder blades, hips, lower back, tailbone, or the backs or sides of the knees, elbows, ankles, or toes.

 

Decubitus ulcers occur in four stages.  Stage 1 has unbroken, but pink or ashen (in darker skin) discoloration with perhaps slight itch or tenderness.  Stage 2 has red, swollen skin with a blister or open areas.  Stage 3 has a crater-like ulcer extending deeper into the skin.  Stage 4 extends to deep fat, muscle, or bone and may have a thick black scab.

 

You should know that many times decubitus ulcers are the result of malpractice by the nursing home.  Malpractice can take many forms, such as failure to properly monitor the resident, or follow physicians orders regarding turning the patient on a regular schedule, or inadequate nutrition, or keeping the resident clean and dry.  The list goes on and on.

Once you begin to suspect malpractice by the nursing home, you must now prove it. Suspecting there is nursing home malpractice and proving it are two entirely different concepts. The medical records will show excellent care provided to the resident. The records will show faithful and timely bed turning, adherence to scrupulous medication schedules, excellent feeding and nutrition, constant supervision, and appropriate and attentive care. The nursing home will provide other reasons for the decline in the health of the resident. The resident has prior medical conditions. The resident is old. The resident refuses to eat. The resident is uncooperative. The resident was not careful. The list goes on and on.

If your loved one has decubitus ulcers (i.e. bed sores), or you believe your loved one may be a victim of nursing home malpractice, call our office immediately. THE LAW OFFICE OF CHARLES J. GALE has over thirty years of experience in prosecuting claims of nursing home malpractice. Call (312) 372-0300. There is no fee for the consultation. There is no fee at all unless we win and we recover.

 

$184,200 For Workers Compensation Claim From Slip And Fall

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Work Injuries

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Our office recovered $184,200.00 for a Workers Compensation Claim from a slip and fall involving a 51 year old employee injuring both shoulders.

The incident was something that happens almost every day at work, a slip and fall. In this case, the employee was walking on a surface he thought was dry. Unknown to the employee, the surface was wet and slippery, causing the employee to slip and fall backwards. As he was falling, he tried to break the fall with his hands behind him. The result were bi-lateral shoulder injuries, specifically, ligament tears to both shoulders.

In many minor workers compensation injuries, the employer will often not contest that the slip and fall is work related. As a result, the employee will receive his weekly benefits, usually two-thirds of his salary. In addition, the employee will have all of his medical bills relating to the injury paid.

But the rights of the injured employee do not stop there. The employee has the right to receive compensation for the injury itself, or the permanency of the injury. This amount is in addition to the weekly benefits and the medical bills. If the employee does not recovery this third benefit, he is not receiving full compensation for his injuries. And if the employer does offer compensation for this third benefit, many times the amount the employee does recover is only a fraction of what he should recover.

The compensation for permanency is usually highly contested. The employer will argue, naturally, that the employee has recovered fully from his injuries. He is as good as new. In fact, the employer will point out that the employee is back working at his old job.

In fact, for most injuries the employee is not “as good as new.” The medical records will usually indicate the extent of the permanency. This may be reflected in the loss of range of motion of the limb, or the loss of strength, or the inability to work at full capacity. In short, if the employee is going to receive compensation for permanent injuries, he must prove that he has sustained permanent injuries. And, the employer will be doing everything he can to prove that the employer does not have permanent injuries, or if he does, the permanency is minor.

If you have been injured at work, and you believe you have sustained permanent injuries, call the law firm of Charles J. Gale, P.C.W

 

 

$1,500,000.00 For Pedestrian Hit In The Cross-Walk

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Auto Accidents, Pedestrian Hit in Crosswalk, Pedestrian-Auto

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Our office recovered the amount of $1,500,000.00 for a sixty-four year old pedestrian hit in the cross-walk by a vehicle. The injuries sustained in the accident were severe. Those injuries included a fractured left leg, fractured right foot, fractured right ankle and a cut to the upper lip requiring five stitches. Because the injuries were severe, and the cost to the insurance carrier was going to be substantial, every issue would be disputed. The insurance carrier disputed who was at fault in the accident. The insurance carrier disputed the nature of our client’s injuries and the extent of our client’s recovery from those injuries. The insurance carrier disputed the value of fair compensation for these injuries. And, despite the enormous difference of opinion on these issues, these issues were not the real dispute in the case.

Seven months after the accident, our client was at home recovering from her fractured left leg. While at home, our client tried to transfer out of her wheelchair and into another chair. As she was doing this, she fell and fractured her left hip. The insurance carrier denied all responsibility for this fractured left hip. The insurance carrier took the position that an injury that incurred seven months after the accident was not their responsibility. We disagreed and filed suit.

The injuries sustained from the fractured left hip became much more severe than the injuries sustained from the original auto accident. As a result of the fractured hip, our client underwent two hip surgeries and incurred hospital and medical bills approaching $200,000.00. In addition, her recovery period was substantially extended.

During the litigation, we were able to prove that our client had not yet totally recovered from her fractured left leg when she fell. Our client was still weak and unstable. We were able to successfully prove that if our client had not been injured in the auto accident, our client would not have fallen and therefore would not have fractured her left hip. And of course, the disagreements did not end there. The fractured left hip resulted in various unforeseen complications, all of which the insurance carrier refused to accept responsibility.

If you or your loved one are injured in an accident, do not assume that the insurance carrier will assume responsibility for the full consequences of that accident. They won’t. Call the Law Firm of Charles J. Gale, P.C.

$284,000 for Workers Compensation Claim

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Work Injuries

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Our office recovered $284,000.00 for a 51 year old employee injured at work when the chair she was sitting in collapsed, causing injuries to the lower back.

The employee was never able to return to work and continued to receive, in addition to the above settlement, weekly disability benefits for years after the incident.  It was only after the settlement of the claim did the weekly benefits end.

The employer disputed the nature and extent of the injury, the necessity of the medical treatment, the duration of the injury and the pre-existing conditions that may have contributed to the disability.

In this particular case, the employee sustained an annular tear at L5-S1 with bi-lateral lower extremity radiculopathy.    Treatment included multiple epidurals at various levels, including L5-S1, L2-3, L3-4, L4-5, and again at L5-S1.  This was followed by a two level posterior lumbar fusion at L4-L5 and L5-S1, laminectomy, partial facetectomy, with posterior segmental instrumentation with local graft and allograft.  Complications from the surgery resulted in yet additional surgery to drain a lumbar wound infection.  Finally, a laminectomy and discectomy at L5-S1 on the left was performed.  In addition, treatment included numerous MRI’s, C.T. scans, therapy, and examinations.  The employee was eventually diagnosed with failed back syndrome.

The employee was off work and received medical treatment for over nine years.  Throughout this time, the employee continued to receive her weekly workers compensation disability benefits.  However,  the employer contested and disputed various elements of the claim, including various aspects of the injury, the treatment, the disability, and of course the value of the claim.

In long-term cases like this, failure to obtain an attorney would certainly put the employee at a disadvantage to the employer.  At almost every stage of the medical treatment, the employer was disputing the necessity of the treatment, the diagnosis, the ability to work, the significance of pre-existing back injuries, etc.  And, because the employee was a low salaried cafeteria employee, the value of her workers compensation benefits and claim was limited.  Workers compensation benefits are based upon the amount of the employee’s salary.  So, a low income employee with the identical injury as a higher income employee will receive less compensation for her injuries than the higher income employee.

If you have been injured at work, and you have sustained serious injuries, including surgery,  you have the right to a large compensatory claim.  Our office has recovered many large awards for workers with serious injuries that required surgery.  If you believe you have sustained a serious injury, call the Law Firm of Charles J. Gale, P.C.

 

$350,000 for Employee Slip and Fall at Work & Third Party Claim

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Third Party Claim, Work Injuries

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Our office recovered $350,000.00 for an employee slip and fall at work & third party claim. This recovery was not from a workers compensation claim, but rather from a third party claim.

Many times employees injured at work do not know that not only do they have a workers compensation claim, but that they also have a third party claim. They have two claims. And, failure to pursue both claims can be a terrible mistake.

The facts of the case are all too familiar. Our client, a 51 year old, while at work and on duty, was simply walking on what he thought was a dry surface. Instead, the floor he was walking on was wet and slippery and the employee slipped and fell. Like most slip and falls, his feet went forward as his head went backward. He tried to break the fall by placing both his hands behind him. The result was an injury to both shoulders, specifically; ligament tears at each shoulder joint.

This type of injury is obviously a workers compensation claim.

But, more importantly, this injury is also a third party claim. Specifically, the wet floor was caused by a third party, someone who was not a co-employee. This happens very frequently for work injuries. And, if a third party can be found to be the cause of the injury, the employee will now have two causes of action. One, a workers compensation claim. And two, and much more importantly, a third party claim.

Our recovery in the third party claim, $350,000.00, was much larger than the recovery in the worker compensation claim. There are many reasons for this. First, there is a statutory limit in the amount of the recovery in a workers compensation claim. In a workers compensation claim, your recovery is limited to a multiple of what your wage rate is. There is no such limit in a third party claim. In addition, in a workers compensation claim, your recovery for pain and suffering is zero dollars. Yes, you can claim nothing for pain and suffering! But, in a third party action, that same injury can result in a huge recovery for pain and suffering.

If you are injured at work, and a third party may be the cause of your injury, then you may have a third party claim. This means you have two claims. One, a workers compensation claim. Two, a third party claim. Call the law offices of Charles J. Gale, P.C. if you think that you may have a third party claim as the result of your work injury.

 

 

 

 

$100,000.00 For Pre-Existing Injuries That Were Exacerbated By An Auto Accident

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Auto Accidents, Rear-Ended

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Our office recovered $100,000.00 for pre-existing injuries that were exacerbated by an auto accident, in this case a sixty-five year old retired man.

In cases such as this, when the fault of the other driver is obvious, the insurance carrier does not dispute fault.  In fact, the insurance company will gladly agree to pay for all medical bills “reasonable related” to the injuries sustained.  Furthermore, the insurance carrier will agree to pay for a “fair compensation: for the injury itself.

In this case, and in almost all cases, what the insurance carrier believes is “fair compensation” and what a reasonable person will think is “fair compensation” is vastly different.  Likewise with the medical bills.  What the insurance carrier believes are bills “reasonably related” to the injuries sustained and what a reasonable person thinks are bills “reasonably related” are vastly different.

And, to complete matters, many times the injured party, such as our client, will have pre-existing injuries that were exacerbated by an auto accident.

In fact, many sixty five year old retired individuals may have pre-existing medical conditions that they are dealing with day to day.  For example, our client had pre-existing knee ailments with bi-lateral knee replacements, shoulder ailments with bilateral shoulder replacements, foot injuries with nerve relocations, hand ailments due to arthritis, etc.  To our client’s dismay, the insurance carrier used these pre-existing ailments as evidence against our client that our client did not injure his shoulders, knees, hands, etc. from the auto incident since he was already “injured.”  And, to make matters worse, the insurance carrier claimed our client’s pain and suffering was not made worse by the auto accident.

The truth is different.  Many times a person’s will have pre-existing injuries that were exacerbated by an auto accident.

Many times a person’s pre-existing conditions are asymptomatic and under control prior to an accident, only to be made symptomatic and exacerbated by the auto accident.  And, that is exactly what happened in this case.  Our client had a pre-existing hand injury that, because of the auto accident, now required surgery to repair.

The insurance carrier refused to pay for this surgery.  In fact, the insurance carrier refused to acknowledge that the medical condition, in this case carpal tunnel syndrome and De Querain tenosynovitis, were caused by the accident.

Luckily for our client, we were able to prove that, in fact, the carpal tunnel syndrome and De Querain tenosynovitis were caused by the accident.  Further, we were able to prove that the surgery was the direct result of the accident.

In many auto accidents, the insurance carrier will claim that the pre-existing injuries were not exacerbated by the accident.  The insurance carrier will claim that the pre-existing injuries that were asymptomatic prior to the accident but are now symptomatic after the accident is not the result of the accident.

If you have pre-existing injuries that were exacerbated by an auto accident, you have the right to receive not only payment for your medical bills, but also compensation for the worsening of your condition.  Do not let the insurance carrier tell you that your pre-existing medical condition cannot be aggravated by an auto accident.  Or you’re your pre-existing medical condition which not requires additional medical treatment was not caused by the auto accident.

If you have pre-existing injuries that were exacerbated by an auto accident, CALL THE LAW OFFICE OF CHARLES J. GALE.

$42,500 For Letter Carrier Injured While Delivering The Mail

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Letter Carrier, Premises Liability, Slip and Falls, Trip and Falls

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Our office recovered $42,500 for U.S. letter carrier injured while delivering the mail.

A thirty-six year old letter carrier letter carrier injured while delivering the mail sprained his ankle.  For many letter carriers, getting injured while delivering the mail can be an all too common occurrence.  The risks faced by the letter carrier are almost unlimited but this does not mean that the letter carrier is without rights.  In fact, a letter carrier has often time many rights, including the right to receive compensation from the property owner for his injuries.

When a letter carrier is injured while delivering the mail, he will automatically have a U.S. workers compensation claim.   This will compensate the letter carrier for lost wages and for payment of all of his medical bills incurred.  But this is only where the rights of the letter carrier begin.  The letter carrier injured while delivering the mail many times will also have a claim against the property owner, in this case, a home owner.

The law in Illinois provides that the owner or occupier of the premises owes to persons present on the premises the duty of exercising ordinary and reasonable care to see that the premises are reasonably safe for their use.  This includes duty to discover defects and dangerous conditions and the duty to correct dangers or to give sufficient warning of them.

The exception to this rule of liability to the property owner is when the defect is “open and obvious.”  The insurance carrier will invariably invoke this exception to liability by claiming that the defect was “open and obvious” and therefore, they are not responsible.

With all rules, there are exceptions to the rule.  And, there are exceptions to the exception.  In this case, even if the defect is “open and obvious”, the land owner can still be held liable if he had reason to expect that an invitee’s (i.e. Letter carrier) attention will be distracted, so that the letter carrier will not discover what is obvious, or will forget what he has discovered, or will fail to protect himself against it

In this case, the letter carrier injured while delivering the mail was walking up the front porch steps of an obviously defective front porch steps.  So naturally, the insurance carrier claimed there was not liability since the defect was “open and obvious.”  However, because it was reasonable to assume that the letter carrier may have been distracted, the home owner was found liable.

The injuries in this case were not serious and did not require surgery.  Nevertheless, even for this injury, a sprained ankle, our office was able to obtain for the letter carrier $42,500.00.  Letter carriers sustain these and more serious injuries frequently and many times receive nothing for their injuries.

If you are injured due to a defect on the premises which cause you injury, even a relatively minor injury, do not try to resolve these legal issues without an attorney.  CALL THE LAW OFFICES OF CHARLES J. GALE.

$82,500 for Woman Who Tripped and Fell at Train Station

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Premises Liability, Trip and Falls

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Our office obtained $82,500 for Woman Who Tripped and Fell at Train Station.

A 53 year old visually impaired woman tripped and fell while walking in Union Station, a train depot in downtown Chicago. The cause of the fall was an electrical cord that was simply lying on the ground. After the fall, the insurance carrier denied the claim, stating that our client should have been looking where she was going. The electrical cord was, they stated, “open and obvious.” In Illinois, “open and obvious” defects, in this case the electrical cord lying on the floor, is a legal defense to liability. It made no difference to the insurance carrier that our client was legally blind. Because the case was denied, we filed suit in the Circuit Court.

It was only after years of litigation that we were finally able to prevail and recover for our client. A case that to many sounds so simple and obvious was not simple and obvious to the insurance carrier. They actually argued, with a straight face, that the blind woman should have seen an “open and obvious” electrical cord lying on the floor. It did not matter to the insurance carrier that the woman was blind! It never occurred to the insurance carrier that perhaps the electrical cord should not have been lying on the floor in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic.

The insurance carrier first denied that the extension cord lying on the floor was a dangerous condition to pedestrians, even blind pedestrians. We proved that it was. When this defense did not work the insurance carrier then denied that the electrical cord was in fact lying on the floor in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic. We proved that it was. The insurance company then denied that the extension cord was in fact the cause of the fall. We proved that the extension cord lying on the floor was in fact the cause of the fall.

If you sustain a trip and fall, do not assume that the insurance company will accept responsibility. They will probably not. Most likely, the insurance company will deny everything, even the obvious. They will argue that you should have seen the obstacle. They will argue that you were not paying attention to where you were walking. They will argue that the object that caused you to fall was not the actual cause of your fall. And they might even argue that you did not even fall. And if you did fall, which they will probably dispute, they will argue that you were not hurt from the fall. In short, expect the insurance company to deny everything, from the fall to the cause of the fall to the injury itself.

If you or your loved one sustains an injury from a trip and fall, don’t assume that the insurance company will accept responsibility for the fall. Call the Law Offices of Charles J. Gale, P.C.

$65,000: FALL WHILE WALKING IN THE CEMETERY

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Premises Liability, Slip and Falls, Trip and Falls

FALL WHILE WALKING IN THE CEMETERY

FALL WHILE WALKING IN THE CEMETERY

 

 

Our client, a 62 year old woman visiting her husband at the cemetery,  had a fall while walking in the cemetery caused by the uneven ground.  The ground had been dug up earlier for burial sites but the employees of the cemetery did not properly compact the dirt, leaving a large hole which our client stepped in.  The law allows recovery against landowners who create a dangerous condition on their property.  In this case, the fall while walking in the cemetery was caused by the uneven ground,  a dangerous condition that was created by the cemetery.  And, because the condition was both unreasonably dangerous and created by the cemetery, the cemetery was legally liable and therefore responsible for the injuries and damages of our client.

To be successful in a case like this, we need to prove that the fall while walking in the cemetery was caused by a condition created by the cemetery.   Simply proving that the ground is uneven is not sufficient to prove a case.  We needed to prove that the uneven ground was actually created by the cemetery.  To do this, we needed to document and preserve the conditions at the exact area of the fall immediately after the fall.  To document the scene, we take pictures of the freshly disturbed ground and the contrast with immediate area.  An examination of the area, preserved with pictures, will show that the area had been freshly dug up, in this case, by the cemetery employees.   When presented with this clear and incontrovertible evidence, the cemetery had to concede that our client’s fall walking in the cemetery was in fact caused by a condition that they in fact created.  The result was a $65,000.00 recovery for our client.

If you have a fall while walking in the cemetery while visiting your loved ones, call our office immediately so we can get the same recovery for you!

Contact Us

Law Offices of Charles J. Gale, PC
14007 South Bell Road, Suite #254
Homer Glen, Illinois 60491

(630) 243-6409