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Chicago civil rights lawyersJails and prisons are designed to be unpleasant. They are punitive institutions, after all. However, just because you made a mistake and were sent to a correctional facility does not mean that you immediately lose all your rights. In the United States of America and in the state of Illinois, people confined in jails and prisons still enjoy certain constitutional protections. Being locked up may take away your freedom for the time being, but that does not mean you are entirely at the mercy of the guards. Treating prisoners in an abusive way or failing to meet their basic needs may amount to a civil rights violation that could be taken to court. If you believe that you or someone you care about has had their rights violated in jail or prison, speaking with an attorney should be your next step. 

What Rights Do People Have in Jails and Prisons?

The Eighth Amendment prohibits the use of cruel and unusual punishments.There are limits as to what means can be applied to punish criminals. Inmates check some, but not all, rights at the jailhouse door. Even if you are locked up, you still have these constitutional protections: 

  • Humane conditions - Even if you have been convicted of a crime, you are still entitled to be housed in humane conditions. Significantly unsanitary or overcrowded conditions can amount to a violation. 
  • Medical care - People in jail cannot leave to secure medical care for themselves. Prisons are charged with the care of their inmates, including necessary health care. Medical treatment inside may not be as good or as easily accessible as it is on the outside, but it must be adequate. 
  • Discrimination - Correctional facilities may not discriminate against inmates based on their membership in a class that enjoys constitutional protections anywhere else. This means that if you faced discrimination based on your race, religion, age, or other such protected traits. 
  • Complaints - Inmates have the right to lodge complaints about prison conditions without fear of retaliation. If you were punished for complaining, your rights could have been violated. 
  • Cruel and unusual punishment - The exact definition of what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment can be elusive. Cruel and unusual punishment is a rather broad category. Acts like beating a prisoner who is not resisting or using starvation as a means of discipline certainly meet the criteria. Unfortunately, these are common examples of Eighth Amendment violations rather than extreme cases, as one would hope. 

Abuse of incarcerated persons is a serious issue, both in Chicago and across the nation. Guards may see inmates as easy victims with little recourse or believe that no one cares about the rights of prisoners enough to take action. However, there is recourse through the courts for inmate victims. Filing a civil rights claim can not only help you but also help other inmates who may suffer the same injustices you did. 

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Hyde Park Nursing Home Abuse LawyerEvery senior who relies on a skilled nursing facility for their daily care has the right to be treated with respect and to have their basic needs met, every day. Sadly, this is not always the case. If your loved one resides in a nursing home, you may be worried about how to make sure they are being adequately cared for. Now that many nursing homes are beginning to allow in-person visitation again after COVID-19 lockdowns, it may be wise to make note of a few subtle but common signs that a nursing home resident is being neglected. 

If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected in a nursing home, contact a qualified attorney. Your loved one may be entitled to compensation, and an attorney will be able to help you navigate any steps you may need to take to protect them. 

What Signs May Indicate Neglect of a Nursing Home Patient? 

Signs of purposeful abuse, like major unexplained injuries or a loved one who reports being yelled at, may be clear. Signs of neglect can be harder to spot, at least until the neglect has caused major health problems for the victim. Here are some more subtle signs of nursing home neglect to look out for during your visits: 

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South Side of Chicago Personal Injury LawyerWe tend to think of car accidents as crashes between motor vehicles, but in reality, this is only one of the many ways that a motor vehicle can cause an injury. Some of the most serious car crash injuries happen when a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle. In Illinois in 2019, pedestrians were involved in around 18 percent of fatal accidents, and around 12 percent of accidents resulting in incapacitating injuries.

Injured pedestrians and their families often feel at a loss when it comes to holding drivers accountable for their injuries. However, it is important to know that pedestrians have the right to safely use the road, and they may be entitled to compensation when their injuries are caused by driver negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you need.

Driver Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedestrians are more likely to be injured in motor vehicle accidents at night and in urban areas. However, in addition to these environmental factors, some form of driver negligence is also often a contributing factor. Common examples of driver negligence in pedestrian accidents include:

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Chicago Civl Rights AttorneyA new report recently filed in federal court against the Chicago Police Department concluded the department was unprepared to effectively handle the massive protests that took place after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer last summer. The report cites what is referred to as an “unprecedented number” of complaints against the department for excessive force and numerous other violations.

Lack of Preparation by Chicago Police

The report was prepared by an independent monitoring team put in place to ensure that the Chicago Police Department is in compliance with the federal consent decree put in place by the Attorney General’s office. The consent decree provides a detailed plan for reforms that both the City of Chicago and the police department must implement.

The report found that the department did not have the necessary policies and tools in place to respond effectively to the protests. The monitoring team found that not only did the department fail to predict how widespread the protests would be, but it also did not have the necessary training, equipment, reporting practices, community engagement, data analysis, or interagency coordination in place even if they had been prepared.

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hyde park car crash lawyerCar accidents occur for a variety of reasons. Some of the more common causes of crashes include distracting driving behavior (i.e., texting and driving), driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or speeding or disobeying some other traffic law. In the majority of car accidents, fault lies with a driver who acted in a negligent or reckless manner.

However, not all car accidents are caused by another driver. Some crashes occur because of a defective or malfunctioning part or component in the vehicle. Over the past several years, car accidents that resulted in the death or severe injuries of victims have been caused by defective airbags, ignition switches, and fuel tanks. A recent recall for power steering issues on some General Motors (GM) vehicles could put the vehicle’s occupants and other commuters in danger of serious accidents.

GM Issues Recall

GM has issued a recall notice for almost 27,000 SUVs because of a software issue that could cause the vehicle’s power steering system to suddenly stop. According to the company’s announcement, if the system stops working, a driver should still be able to steer the vehicle but will likely need to use more effort to turn the steering wheel.

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dupage county car crash lawyerIt is a fact of life that no matter how safe a driver you are, your chances of being involved in a car accident are high. Insurance statistics show that the average driver will file an auto accident claim approximately every 18 years. Most people get their driver’s license in their late teens, so it is estimated that the majority of drivers will be involved in three to four accidents in their driving lifetime.

Illinois Car Insurance Requirements

When a person is injured in a car accident caused by another driver, the victim usually files a claim for damages with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In Illinois, every vehicle owner is required to purchase automobile liability insurance. The minimum requirement is:

  • $25,000 for injury or death for one victim

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Cook County nursing home injury lawyerWhen families make the decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home, they are entrusting the facility to provide the care their loved one needs with compassion and dignity. While there are many facilities that do just that, there are also far too many nursing homes that fail at protecting residents and providing the most basic of needs. In Illinois alone, there are more than 20,000 cases of elder abuse reported each year, with many of those victims residing in nursing homes.

Because of the prevalence of nursing home abuse and neglect, both the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago have safeguards in place that are supposed to protect seniors. But as one recent report issued by the Inspector General for the City of Chicago reveals, one city inspector failed miserably at their job.

Investigator Fails to Perform Nursing Home Inspections

The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) is the agency that oversees nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. The agency employs elder protective investigators who are supposed to monitor cases of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of residents at these facilities.

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Cook County parking lot car accident lawyerWhen most people think of car accidents, they usually picture a crash scene on a road or highway. Many people would be surprised to learn that one out of every five car accidents occurs in a parking lot or parking garage. Another surprising statistic is that just under 15 percent of all vehicle accidents that end up causing damage also take place in parking lot crashes. In fact, according to data gathered by the National Safety Council, more than 500 victims die and another 60,000 are injured in the more than 50,000 vehicle accidents that take place in parking lots and garages each year.

Distracted Driving

One of the most common causes of parking lot accidents is distracted driving. This is usually because once a driver pulls into a parking lot, they tend to let their guard down. They are often not as focused on their driving as they would be if they were driving on a street. Instead, they become more focused on finding a parking space. Studies show that driving at the low rate of speed required in parking lots often gives drivers a false sense of security, making them feel they do not have to be as careful and alert to what is going on around them as they would when traveling on streets and highways.  

Many drivers also tend to grab and check their cell phones once they pull into a parking lot, even if they have not yet found a space and parked. One major survey found that more than 65 percent of drivers felt comfortable making a call on their phone while driving in a parking lot, while half of those drivers said they would feel comfortable texting and checking their social media while driving in a lot.

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Chicago south side nursing home abuse lawyerMarch is National Brain Injury Awareness Month, so it is a good time to shed light on an important subject. Brain injuries can range in severity depending on the circumstances that cause them. Concussions are one of the most common types of injuries that affect the head and neck. These traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur as a result of a collision during a sporting event, slipping and falling, or a car accident. The force of the impact from a blow to the head can cause life-altering consequences. Unfortunately, in some cases, an individual can also suffer a TBI as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect. If you suspect that your family member may have been harmed in an extended-care facility, it is essential that you consult a personal injury attorney to understand your legal options. 

Long-Term Effects of TBIs

A traumatic brain injury may be considered mild, resulting in a brief loss of consciousness or a temporary change in mental status. Severe cases can cause an extended loss of unconsciousness or amnesia that may affect a person for days, weeks, or even months after the incident.

A TBI can cause a wide range of functional short- or long-term changes affecting:

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Cook County civil rights lawyer for police misconductPeople can sustain injuries in various situations, such as car crashes, work-related accidents, and slip and falls. Victims may suffer minor to serious and even life-threatening injuries as a result of these incidents. However, individuals can also be subjected to harm at the hands of law enforcement. Unfortunately, those who are sworn to serve and protect sometimes do just the opposite. With a number of recent news stories describing unjustified police shootings and use of force, police brutality has come to the forefront of many government agendas. In January 2021, Illinois lawmakers passed a criminal justice reform bill that would address how police misconduct is handled, including allowing for anonymous complaints against officers.

Pretrial Fairness Act

The state legislature passed the Pretrial Fairness Act, but the bill is still awaiting Governor Pritzker’s signature, and the governor is facing criticism and pressure from police department representatives and other organizations to veto the bill. The bill creates a more robust and progressive plan for monitoring police misconduct throughout the state, including requiring every Illinois police officer to use a body camera by 2025.

The provisions of the expansive criminal justice bill would:

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Hyde Park delayed diagnosis injury attorneyWhen people visit a doctor or go to the hospital, it is usually because they are experiencing pain and discomfort, weight loss, or other symptoms. They expect to receive competent and quality care, which includes finding answers regarding their problems. Learning how to properly treat a person’s ailments is crucial to their long-term health. A correct diagnosis must be given in order to know what treatments or medication are necessary to cure or fix certain conditions. Unfortunately, doctors do not always make correct diagnoses, and in some situations, a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications. Depending on the circumstances, a patient may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim to receive compensation for the damages suffered due to a misdiagnosis. 

Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis is one of the most common forms of medical negligence. It occurs when a medical professional diagnoses a patient with the wrong illness, injury, or medical condition. A patient’s health can deteriorate due to a lack of treatment or improper treatment. In some situations, patients can develop entirely new health disorders if they are prescribed incorrect medications. Treating the wrong condition can also lead infections to spread throughout the body, which may result in organ failure or septic shock. 

Missed Diagnosis

When a missed or delayed diagnosis occurs, it typically means that a physician fails to properly diagnose a medical condition in a patient. In many illnesses, the timing of treatment is critical. A person’s health can then worsen over time if they do not receive treatment because their condition has gone undiagnosed. For instance, a delayed cancer diagnosis may cause cancer in one part of the body to spread to other body parts or organs, making it much more difficult to treat.

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Hyde Park wrongful death attorneyFatal accidents occur on a daily basis, even when safety precautions are taken. Losing a loved one can be devastating whether his or her death was the result of a vehicle collision, a workplace accident, or a defective product. In many of these cases, a person’s death could have been prevented, which can make it especially difficult to accept. However, the family left behind does have legal options for holding the responsible parties accountable. Although a wrongful death claim will not bring your family member back, the compensation received from it can allow you to recover financially and move on. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Illinois, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within one year of the date of the victim’s death. According to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, only certain people who are related to the deceased individual are eligible to file a lawsuit and recover damages. The claim can only be brought by any of the following individuals:

  • The decedent’s spouse

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Cook County car accident attorney for collisions with teen driversObtaining a driver’s license is a rite of passage when individuals turn 16. With it comes a certain responsibility, and teenage drivers are subject to specific restrictions as young motorists. Some of these rules are put in place to prevent car accidents caused by inexperienced drivers. Despite the laws, there are various reasons that crashes can occur, including distracted or drunk driving, inclement weather conditions, and defective or faulty auto parts. Depending on the circumstances, injuries can be minor to serious or even fatal. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), approximately 2 million drivers suffer a permanent injury every year from car accidents. 

Illinois’ Graduated License Program

The requirements for obtaining a driver’s license in Illinois are regulated by the Secretary of State (SOS). Like most states, Illinois has implemented a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program for first-time teenage drivers. The program increases driving privileges and levels of responsibility for teen motorists after they reach certain ages and complete the designated levels of education and practice.

In Illinois, the process involves obtaining a learner’s permit, completing a driver’s education course, getting a restricted or provisional license, and ultimately graduating to a full, unrestricted Illinois driver’s license. Before receiving a standard license, a teen driver must complete the following:

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Cook County nursing home negligence attorney for patients with dementiaResearch shows that people are living longer than they did in the past. However, many elderly individuals suffer from cognitive impairment, such as dementia, which is a leading cause of disability and dependency among older people globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and it may contribute to more than 60 percent of all diagnosed cases. Any type of dementia can greatly impair a person’s memory and the ability to care for himself or herself. Relatives may be unable to meet their loved one’s needs, since they often require 24/7 care. That is why many afflicted with the disease must reside in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Sadly, those with diminished mental states may face an increased risk of injuries from nursing home abuse or neglect

Signs of Neglect and Abuse

Unfortunately, nursing home patients who have dementia may be targets of abuse, and perpetrators may think that they can easily be taken advantage of, since no one will believe the accusations they make due to their mental health. A perpetrator may also try to place blame on the patient for their injuries, and claim that a person’s dementia was responsible for any harm they have suffered. Residents with dementia may not be able to fully remember the abuse and tell family members or authority figures about it. 

Patients may also suffer from financial abuse. Staff members may convince a patient to write fraudulent checks, or they may steal cash or valuables from unsuspecting residents. If a person obtains a patient’s personal information, they can open credit cards or take out loans in the patient’s name. Sexual abuse can also occur, and this can lead to sexually transmitted diseases or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in residents of long-term care facilities. 

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South Side of Chicago medication error lawyerMany people take prescribed medication on a daily basis for a variety of health conditions. Individuals may also take medicine for a designated period of time after an illness or surgical procedure to combat the side effects or to avoid infections and other complications. Dosages are calculated using many factors, such as a patient’s height, weight, age, and underlying medical conditions. However, if the incorrect amount or the wrong type of medicine is given, a person can suffer serious injuries. In these cases, a physician, nurse, or pharmacist may be found liable for any damages a person experienced because of a medication error or other forms of medical malpractice

How Do Medication Mistakes Occur?

There are several reasons why medication errors take place. They may be the result of a lapse in judgment by the caregiver, or they can be due to an understaffed medical facility. Poor healthcare provider/patient communication, incomplete or missing medical records, and the absence of standardized precautions can also contribute to the likelihood of errors. It is important to note that a majority of medication administration errors occur in hospitalized children. This may be due to the fact that young people have never taken certain medicines before, so it can be difficult to determine an accurate dosage or prescription to give them. 

A few of the most common types of medication errors involve the following: 

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Chicago civil rights lawyerPolice brutality has been in the news lately, and many may think it simply involves officers using excessive or unreasonable force on suspects. However, police brutality can take other forms, including violating a person’s rights to due process, which can result in serious consequences. Examples of this include false arrest and imprisonment. Besides the psychological damage caused to a person after he or she is wrongfully arrested, other ramifications may take place. An individual could lose his or her job, resulting in significant financial problems and possible loss of child custody or parenting time. Although the U.S. Constitution states that every person is innocent until proven guilty, it is important to note that any civil rights violation is illegal despite a suspect’s innocence or guilt. An experienced civil rights attorney can help injured parties take legal action to hold police officers and police departments responsible for this unlawful behavior and activity.

Rights to Due Process

According to the U.S. Supreme Court, there are certain constitutional rights that every American has. When anyone is taken into custody and questioned, he or she must be informed of the following, known as the Miranda rights:

  • You have the right to remain silent.

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Chicago personal injury lawyerAnytime someone hits the open road in a vehicle, he or she runs the risk of being involved in an automobile crash. According to the website driverknowledge.com, approximately 3 million people are injured every year in car accidents. Here in Illinois, vehicle fatalities have been on the rise despite fewer cars on the road due to stay-at-home orders issued in response to COVID-19. Advanced technology, sometimes referred to as “driver assistance,” is aimed to prevent the number of vehicle collisions as well as subsequent injuries and fatalities. 

Alerting Drivers of Potential Dangers

In an effort to make vehicles safer, many auto manufacturers are requiring crash prevention technology to be on all their newer models. The majority of accidents that occur are due to human error. New technology within the car industry has completely changed the way cars operate. Some of these features offer modern luxuries but many provide enhanced safety systems. 

A few of the safety options on today’s newer vehicles include the following:

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Chicago civil rights attorneySome citizens may find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. In certain situations, they may even be accused of a criminal act. According to the Constitution, every American is innocent until proven guilty. When a person is suspected of committing a crime, the police will likely ask the alleged offender a series of questions. In some cases, the officer may also perform a search of their vehicle or home. If the suspect is arrested for an alleged criminal offense, they are typically taken into police custody. Part of the investigation may also include questioning or interrogation. Police must follow proper protocol during these procedures, but unfortunately this is not always the case. In certain situations, officers may use improper tactics that can harm an individual, which can be considered a civil rights violation

Police Brutality

During an arrest, police often justify using force if they claim a suspect is not complying with a request. Unfortunately, it is all too common for officers to perform improper actions after arresting a suspect. Law enforcement personnel may use different techniques to get an accused person to confess to a crime, even one they did not commit. Tactics may include torture during interrogations or coerced confessions. This illegal activity can be considered a form of police brutality. Using excessive force, conducting a strip search or body cavity search, or even sexually assaulting a suspect are also ways that police can intimidate a suspect. 

An individual can also suffer injuries if an interrogation becomes violent. In some situations, an officer may punch, slap, kick, or inflict other harm on a suspect in an effort to extract a confession. Depending on the circumstances, someone can suffer minor to serious injuries because of police brutality. Some injuries might even require surgery and can include, but are not limited to, the following:

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On May 25, 2020, people across the United States reacted in shock at the death of George Floyd. During an arrest, police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota handcuffed Mr. Floyd and pinned him to the ground, and an officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. After Mr. Floyd's death, this officer was charged with third-degree murder. Subsequently, Black Lives Matter protests have been held across the country, and these have resulted in many other accusations of police brutality involving the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, police batons, vehicles, and other weapons.

At The Law Offices of David A. Kadzai, we strongly condemn illegal behavior by police officers. It is important for everyone to respect the law, including those who are sworn to serve and protect the public. Police brutality in any form is wrong. If you have been injured by police officers, we are here to stand by your side and help protect your civil rights. Contact us at 312-229-0050 to learn more about how we can help.    

Cook County motorcycle accident attorneyNow that spring has arrived, the weather is warming up in Illinois. After being required to stay at home over the past couple months, many motorcyclists are looking forward to hitting the open road, whether they will be commuting to and from work at an essential business or seeking a reprieve from being cooped up indoors. May is National Motorcycle Awareness Month, and advocates are working to make other motorists more aware of motorcycle riders and help reduce or prevent accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2018. It is especially important for car and truck drivers to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcycle riders. Due to their lack of protection compared to vehicles, riders are more vulnerable to collisions and injuries

Illinois Motorcycle Laws 

There are certain laws that have been put in place to protect motorcyclists. In Illinois, a person must complete a required course and take a written and driving test before obtaining their motorcycle license. Additional requirements include traveling at the posted speed limit, wearing protective gear, and turning on headlights at all times, even during the daytime. Inclement weather such as rain, wind, and fog can reduce a cyclist’s visibility, so it is imperative that they take steps to ensure they are seen by other people on the road. 

Although Illinois does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets, they have been proven to help protect riders’ heads in the event of a crash. The following are a few other ways that a motorcyclist can reduce the likelihood of being involved in an accident: 

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