Smith LaCien LLP

Smith LaCien LLP Blogs

Blog Authors

Latest from Smith LaCien LLP

Large Malpractice Verdict Amounts Against Physicians Increase
 A surge in large medical malpractice awards targeting physicians and hospitals is part of new data released on February 2, 2024, by the global reinsurance company TransRe.
In 2023, a record number of 57 medical malpractice verdicts of $10 million or more were recorded in U.S. Of these, slightly over half reached $25 million or more. This surpasses the range of verdicts from $10 million or more from 2012 to 2022, which ranged from 34 in 2013 to 52 in 2022.
The statistics “blew away every record previously set among high medical malpractice
Continue Reading Large Malpractice Verdict Amounts Against Physicians Increase

Illinois was one of 16 states that did not allow for the recovery of punitive damages in wrongful death cases – until now. Last year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law HB 219, which amended the former law to allow punitive damages to be recoverable in wrongful death cases.
The new law makes Illinois the 35th state to allow the recovery of punitive damages in wrongful death actions. The legislation will significantly affect wrongful death cases statewide by enabling those who lost a loved one to receive financial help beyond the basic compensatory damages.
What Are Punitive Damages
Damages refer
Continue Reading A Victory for Plaintiffs in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

A sharp rise in deaths from heavy truck crashes, which are up almost 50 percent in the last 10 years, has federal officials more eager than ever for solutions. Many know what needs to be done and have a federal Administration willing to cooperate, but a lack of consensus prevents any real movement forward.
The Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are still considering whether new big rigs should be required to have automatic emergency braking systems and devices that limit how fast trucks can go.
Speed Limiters and Breaking Systems
A proposed rule
Continue Reading Truck Fatalities Crisis Calls for Bold Solutions

Despite having one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, the U.S. currently has the highest pregnancy-related death rate among developed nations. Maternal deaths rose 40% in 2021 from the previous year. Black women are particularly vulnerable, dying at significantly higher rates than other groups.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has deemed it a public health crisis, and the Biden administration has announced a call to action to improve parental and infant health outcomes.
Barriers to Care
Among the barriers to quality care are inadequate access to clinical care, health facilities with limited experience with
Continue Reading U.S. Calls Pregnancy-related Death Rate a Public Health Crisis

Last year, over 7,500 pedestrians tragically lost their lives while walking on roads. The number of fatalities shot up a whopping 77%, hitting a 40-year high.
What’s behind this disturbing trend? One major factor is the proliferation of massive trucks and SUVs. They are bigger and bulkier than their predecessors, making them harder for drivers to handle and causing huge blind spots in the front and rear. They need more time to stop and maneuver because of their size and weight.
Truck Accident Causes
In addition to a truck’s size, the condition of the driver may be a factor in
Continue Reading Trucks, SUVs Behind Soaring Rise in Pedestrian Deaths

Falls are a major cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in the U.S., affecting the elderly more than any other age group, just ask our Chicago brain injury lawyers. 
Seniors lose their balance more easily and fall off a ladder or slip on the ice more readily and lose the spring in their step. Some 80% of falls account for almost half of emergency department visits for brain injuries. People older than 65 and children under age 17 experience the most fall-related TBIs, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
An estimated 1.5 million Americans survive a traumatic brain injury. Of these,
Continue Reading Falls a Leading Cause of TBI Among Seniors

Labor Day weekend may be one of the last major times of the year for recreation on the Great Lakes, but that doesn’t mean the end of potential hazards on the lakes.
Data from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project shows that since 2018, roughly 20 people per year drown in one of the five lakes between September 1 and December 31.
And maps maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that more than half of the deaths that occur in Great Lakes surf zones — the areas of relatively shallow water near the shore where waves
Continue Reading Great Lakes Surf Zone Hazards: What You Need to Know

The birth of a child should be a time of joy, but when complications arise and birth injuries occur, it can lead to a heart-wrenching and challenging situation for families.
In such cases, parents may find themselves facing not only emotional turmoil but also the daunting task of understanding their legal rights. This is where a birth injury law firm like Smith LaCien LLP can provide invaluable assistance.
Understanding the Legal Implications
Birth injuries occur during pregnancy, labor or delivery when medical experts fail to diagnose a condition or prevent infection, make an incorrect diagnosis or treatment, misread lab results,
Continue Reading When Should You Hire a Birth Injury Lawyer?

In a significant step towards improving pedestrian and cyclist safety, a three-month-long project has culminated in a noteworthy transformation of the bicycle lanes and pedestrian crossings on Augusta Boulevard, in the Chicago neighborhoods of West Town and Ukrainian Village. The primary aim was to create a safer corridor for all road users.
One of the most striking changes is the relocation of bike lanes from a position adjacent to traffic lanes to a more secure position between parking spaces and the curb. In addition, the speed limits on the boulevard have been reduced from 30 mph to 20 mph, a
Continue Reading Recent Upgrades Aim to Make Chicago’s Street, Bike Lanes Safer

If you’ve strolled down a street lost in thought, only to find yourself enveloped in a fog of toxic aerosol from an electronic cigarette, rest assured those days are about to end.
The state of Illinois recently passed a groundbreaking law that will ban the use of vaping in all public spaces, including portions of buildings and vehicles accessible to the public. The legislation, which will go into effect on January 1, 2024, reflects the state’s commitment to curbing the rise of e-cigarette usage and fostering healthier communities.
The decision to ban e-cigarette smoking in public spaces stems from growing
Continue Reading Illinois Law to Ban Vaping in Public Spaces

When it comes to healthcare, the goal is to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. However, recent studies shed light on a phenomenon known as “the weekend effect.” It means that patients admitted to hospitals on Saturdays and Sundays experience higher in-hospital mortality rates and a lower rate of potentially life-saving procedures compared to those admitted on weekdays.
The phenomenon has been reported across various medical specialties and conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, and surgical procedures.
Reasons Behind The Weekend Effect
In an article in Very Well Health, Naveed Saleh, MD, MS wrote that an increased rate of
Continue Reading The Weekend Effect: Higher In-hospital Mortality for Patients

Combine the prom, graduation ceremonies, and summer school vacations, and you have the perfect storm for teenage car accidents. Sadly, young drivers lead the pack in fatal accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) refers to this grim season between June and September as the “100 deadliest days” for teen traffic accidents.
While Wyoming has the highest percentage of teen driving fatalities, no state, including Illinois, is immune. Any crash resulting in catastrophic injuries or death, especially to a person under age 20, is a tragedy.
Teen Car Accident Causes
Speed, alcohol, and distracted driving are considered the leading
Continue Reading 100 Deadliest Days for Teen Car Accidents Start Now

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is demanding that an airbags manufacturer, ARC Automotive of Knoxville, Tennessee, recall 67 million inflators that could explode and expel shrapnel, potentially injuring or killing drivers. But ARC is refusing to do so, essentially putting millions of drivers at risk who could otherwise get their airbags repaired or replaced.
Some 33 million people in the U.S. are driving vehicles that contain the potentially deadly inflator. In a letter to ARC, NHTSA argues that the recall is justified because two people have been killed in the U.S. and Canada and at least seven others have
Continue Reading Millions of U.S. Motorists Unaware of Airbag Hazard

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Awareness Month, joining the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police, and motorcycle safety advocates to remind all users of the road to “Start Seeing Motorcycles.”
The “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaign coincides with the time of year when more motorcyclists are on the roads. With thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year, motorcyclists are significantly overrepresented in traffic crashes and fatalities. Lawyers at the Chicago trial law firm of Smith LaCien LLP note that despite all the warnings and good intentions, crashes with injuries and deaths still occur.
Continue Reading Motorcycle Accidents Increase in Warmer Months

The Great Lakes, Earth’s largest natural freshwater lakes, are popular summertime destinations for families from all across the world. Home to cities like Chicago, Toronto, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Buffalo, the Great Lakes region is home to over 85 million people, and accounts for over $4.5 trillion in economic activity. Major cities like Chicago and Toronto are global cities, attracting businesses and tourists alike from all around the globe to their financial and cultural centers. 
As the bone-chilling cold lets up from the wintertime, the pleasant and often warm summers in the Great Lakes region draw in millions of tourists. But
Continue Reading A Deep Dive into the Most Dangerous Beaches Around the Great Lakes

It’s all too easy to genuinely empathize with other people who have disabilities but never consider that it could happen to you—until it does. Whether it’s a catastrophic accident, a grave illness, or an ongoing medical condition, disability isn’t something anyone wants or anticipates, but approximately 1 in every 4 adults in the United States lives with a disability, with conditions ranging from mobility problems to cognitive impairment.
In Illinois and other states, Workers’ Compensation insurance defines the difference between temporary and permanent disabilities in their claims. Temporary disabilities are those that improve over time and eventually allow the
Continue Reading What Are Permanent Disabilities?