Illinois Plaintiff's Lawyer Personal Injury Blog- Legal News and Insights from Champaign Urbana Attorneys Koester & Bradley, LLP

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

8/25/2019

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Slip and Fall or Premises Liability cases may seem simple and less problematic than other personal injury cases, yet the damages of a fall can be severe and insurance companies are unlikely to settle in good faith.
--Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley LLP

Follow These Steps to Maximize Your Recovery for Slip and Fall Cases in Illinois

Slip and fall cases, otherwise known ad premises liability cases, are a  type of accident can happen to anyone and at the most unexpected times.  While it is possible for a severe fall to happen without the presence of negligence, in most situations, particularly with respect to commercial areas, such as stores and businesses, it is worth having the facts of the fall evaluated by a local premises liability attorney.  

Most businesses and homes are covered by sizable insurance policies.  The reasoning behind this is simple, homeowners and businesses do not want to be held personally liable for their own negligence.  For instance, if a leaking air conditioning condenser leaks water onto the floor of a business, or a home, and a business invitee, or home invitee falls on the water and breaks their hip, the insurance company, not the property owner, will likely pay for the injuries to the victim.  After all, insurance companies have plenty of funds, and policy owners should never feel bad about filing claims.  This process both protects the property owner, and allows the victim of premises liability negligence to recover.

Despite the fact that the process is simple, insurance companies are loathe to pay any sort of claims and will do everything in their power to make sure that victims of negligence go empty-handed.  This includes posting many so-called "news" stories about faked slip and fall accidents.  Even though hardly anybody fakes an injury for compensations,  Thus, after a slip and fall, or any sort of premises liability situation, it is important to take actions to maximize your recovery.

It is important to know what actions to take following the accident. The Central Illinois slip and fall lawyers at Koester & Bradley have found that certain elements can make a difference in these cases including the following:

  • Contact emergency personnel if necessary, but absolutely file an accident or incident report with the business or property owner in writing.  It is important to file a report of some kind, even if it is simply a narrative on a piece of paper.  Insurance companies and defendants cling to the lack of an incident or accident report as a way to deny liability.  
  • Record the names, numbers, and addresses of all witnesses.  This is vital because at some point, such as a trial or for a deposition, you or your lawyer will need to know what witnesses are involved.  Furthermore, trials can takes years to happen in some cases and witnesses can leave the area.
  • Obtain the insurance information for all parties.  This mans asking the business or home owner both if they are covered and by what company.  Most people do not have copies of their policy at the ready, so you or your lawyer will have to get this information from the insurance company directly.
  • Photograph the scene of the accident.  Smartphones are perfect for this purpose.  Then the photos are readily available to insurance companies, who have a right to ask, and your lawyers.
  • Hold onto all important information and documents.  This can be medical bills, medical records, accident reports, or even a journal or calendar that reveals the time and place of the slip and fall.
  • Speak with an experienced attorney before talking with an insurance company.  The insurance company will try to hold you to a story about what happened and will try to record your statement.  Refuse to talk to an insurance company without first speaking to a local premises liability lawyer.  

As always out personal injury team at Koester & Bradley is here to help you recovery for your slip and fall case, or just answer any of your questions along the way.

By: Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP

Illinois State Troopers: Protecting Drivers Across Central Illinois

7/27/2019

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Everyone who has had the pleasure of navigating the highways they pass through Central Illinois in Champaign County has no doubt been on the lookout for the Illinois State Troopers. Each day these law enforcement professionals put their lives on the line to make sure that travelers on Illinois highways are safe and secure. Illinois state troopers do far more than enforce traffic laws such as speeding and proper lane usage, they also assist individuals with automobile problems and difficulties ranging from flat tires to rescues and on-scene investigations.  In fact, Illinois state troopers are often tasked with performing complicated scientific accident reconstructions in order to prove what precisely happened to cause an automobile accident. This role is of particular importance in truck accident cases since semi trucks are so heavy in travel at such a high rate of speed.
 
Unfortunately, serving as an Illinois state trooper can be a very dangerous job. There has been much attention given to recent deaths of Illinois state troopers on the highway while in the line of duty.  These tragic accidents happen when drivers in the right-hand Lane fail to move over to the left when is Trooper is performing a traffic stop.  In March of 2019, when Illinois State Trooper Gerald Ellis was struck and killed, he was the second death of the year, with 16 other of Illinois' finest struck by passing vehicles.   In light of these accidents, the state of Illinois has passed legislation to attempt to deal with this dangerous problem. The illegal practice of failing to move over is incredibly dangerous not only two state troopers but also to civilian motorists tending to their vehicles on the side of the road. The next time you are passing the Champaign County and Central Illinois and you see a State Trooper or other motorists on the side of the road, pull over to the left hand lane and do your part to increase road safety and cut down on dangerous accidents.
 
Apart from patrolling on the highways Illinois state troopers provide a wide array a safety education programs ranging from the processor use of seatbelts, the simulations involving texting and drinking and driving. The Illinois State Police Focus much of their attention on ending distracted driving and operating Motor Vehicles while impaired since these two types A behaviorist lead to a high number of accidents across Illinois. Other Illinois State Police safety programs include Prom Night Safety, Motor Vehicle Safety, and rollover simulations which are intended to help inexperienced in teen drivers understand the deadly impact that improper vehicle control can have on themselves and other people sharing the road.
 
To combat distracted driving in Illinois, state troopers are now riding along in the cabs of semi trucks bringing their quote trooper and a Truck quote Ride Along program to the state of Illinois. The program was started in the Chicago area and and could spread to Champaign County and throughout Illinois. The intent of the program is to catch distracted drivers in the act without the trooper having to be in an easily identifiable Illinois State Police vehicle. After all, how many times have we all passed semi trucks without paying attention to who is behind the wheel? The program is part of the Illinois State initiative to crack down on distracted driving which is a major source of accidents and deaths in Illinois and in Champaign County. Koester and Bradley actively pursues and recovers for our clients and distracted driving cases.
 
At Koester & Bradley, we support our Illinois State Troopers in all of their work and remind all drivers in Illinois to stay alert and move over when a vehicle is pulled off the road.
 
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ACCIDENT
 
By: Ryan Bradley, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP

Winter Time Premises Liability (How to deal with winter time slip and fall cases)

3/06/2019

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Winter time in Illinois is certainly the high point for slip and fall and premises liability cases.  Follow these tips to keep yourself safe.

 

It's early march in Illinois and we know one thing for sure--winter is not over yet.  As Central Illinois and the Chicago Illinois area alike experience nearly 100 degree temperature fluxuations, ice and bitter cold are here for at least a few months.  Residential home and business owners should take care to prevent weather-related accidents and injuries. Accidents happen, but often weather-related accidents can be avoided by careful observation of your property and surrounding area.

What types of injuries happen during winter time in Illinois? 

  • Broken Bones
  • Muscle Strains 
  • Sprains
  • Fractures
  • Concussion


Sidewalks and Entryways 
Many homeowners are unaware that they are responsible for clearing the sidewalk adjacent to their home. While the your local government is often charged with clearing roads, typically, it will be the homeowners obligation to clear and salt the sidewalk. If you live in an apartment building, it will be the building owner's obligation to clear the areas of ingress and egress.


Business owners should take care to clear and salt outside entryways. Moreover, customers often carry water, snow and icy on their shoes and clothes that end up on the entryway floor. The business owner should take care to monitor the entrance area and make sure it is routinely cleaned and mopped to avoid slip and falls. Customers should also be alerted to the possible danger with a caution sign. 


Awnings and Covered Areas
Another area that poses risk to passersby is awnings and other covered areas. In cold temperatures, icicles hang from buildings. As temperatures rise, falling icicles may result in injury. Larger icicles falling from 30 feet or higher may result in serious injury or even death but even small icicles can cause harm. If your home or business has a covered area or awnings, you should take particular care to safely remove icicles. Individuals should take care to observe their surroundings while passing by buildings to prevent injury due to falling icicles.


Hopefully you can avoid injury as winter winds down. However, if you are injured because a home or business owner negligently failed to clear ice, snow, or icicles, from their premises, please contact us for a free consultation.  

By: Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP

Accident Avoidance for Winter Driving in Illinois

1/17/2019

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Illinois receives a wide range of winter weather from snow to freezing rain, to sheets of ice.  How can you protect yourself in the event of an accident?  Follow these tips.
-Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley LLP

Illinois has some of the Most Severe Weather in the Midwest.  Here is How to Stay Safe on Winter Roads. 

 

Winter is here, and Illinois is seeing its share of snow, sleet, and ice. When driving in that type of weather, it’s crucial to be prepared. Here are some tips on safe driving and how to avoid auto accidents while driving in the snow.  You may have heard these before, but they bear repeating.  When we counsel clients about auto accidents that take place in the winter, and especially in inclement weather, we hear the same types of stories repeatedly.

  • Try not to use cruise control when driving on icy roads.  This may seem like common sense, but cruise control causes accidents across Illinois in the winter and insurance companies will try to use the fact to pay less on your injury claim.
  • Speed up and slow down slowly and with caution.  Keep your head up and give yourself plenty of time to react.
  • Double your normal following distance. Usually, it should be around four seconds. When the roads are slippery, increase it to around eight seconds.
  • When going up a hill, make sure to get the inertia going before you reach the hill. Don’t try to power up the hill right when you reach it. When you reach the top, slow down and go down the other side with caution.
  • Never drive when you’re fatigued.  You don't have to be tired to be fatigued and be a dangerous driver.  Unfortunately this is a major problem in the trucking industry where drivers routinely drive tired and are forced to do so by their companies.
  • Keep the temperature in your car comfortable, so that you’re able to concentrate.
  • Always keep your gas tank half full. In addition, keep a safety kit with warm clothing, food, and drink. You will have a place to stay if you get stranded.  ALso, make sure you have an ice scraper. 
  • Keep your local AAA or towing company's number in your contacts.
  • Never turn on the car until you make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t blocked by snow or mud. This can cause carbon monoxide to leak into the car.
  • Keep up with your local weather forecast. Avoid going on long trips if snowfall is predicted.

If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, you’re probably entitled to more compensation than you think. Make sure to contact a law firm that has your best interests in mind, so that you’ll get the highest compensation possible.

By: Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP

Opioids: Are Doctors Liable?

1/15/2019

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In the United States, Opioids officially kill more Americans automobile accidents.  It is safe to say that Opioids have reached epidemic proportions.
-Ryan Bradley, Partner, Koester & Bradley LLP

Drug Manufacturers and Distributors share the Greatest Amount of Blame for the Opioid Epidemic

 

In the United States, opioid abuse runs rampant, and in truth large drug companies such as Purdue Pharma and distributors such as Cardinal shoulder the bulk of the blame.  Still, in certain circumstances, doctors have some responsibility as well.

Despite knowing that opioid pain relievers are addicting, the companies responsible for making and marketing the drugs continued to supply them liberally for years.  During this time, these companies told doctors that the powerful narcotics were not addictive.  Thus, many doctors were victims as well and this resulted in huge amounts of dependency.

However, the country is just starting to acknowledge our massive opioid problem and they are looking for someone to blame. If you have a loved one that got wrapped up in opioid addiction after being legitimately injured, can the doctor be held to blame?

It is a doctor's duty to take the best possible route of care for all their patients, and if they breach this duty, then it can be considered a medical malpractice case. There have been cases in other states where doctors, and more specifically their insurance companies, have had to pay millions of dollars in damages for the over-prescription of opioids. These cases often take a long time and a lot of evidence, investigation and money to fund.  Additionally, it is incredibly rare that only one doctor was prescribing opioids.  Most individuals who are seeking narcotics visit many doctors and even cross state lines to do so before turning to illicit drugs and heroin purchased on the street.  Most of the time the individual doctors are actually unaware for the amount of opioids that the addicted patient is actually taking.

In order to recover damages for a medical malpractice case of this nature, you would need to prove that the doctor prescribed a gross amount of opioids over a period of time and that the prescription kept being filled for longer than the injury needed. In cases where the doctors have been held responsible for opioid addiction, it was discovered that they fed the addiction for years without pursuing other, less addictive means of treatment.  These cases represent only a small portion of the problem as the federal government and local law enforcement has worked tirelessly to shut down so-called "pill mills."  THis means that most of the time the prescribing doctor has to rely on an accurate medical history from the compromised patient and other objective forms of determination such as drug testing.  This has put a great deal of strain on the system and made it very difficult for doctors, most of which are honest and diligent, to treat pain.

At Koester & Bradley, we believe that the manufacturers and distributors of opioids are truly the responsible parties in this epidemic.  This is why we are representing counties and municipalities in Illinois along with our co-counsel firms.  However, we are here to provide guidance to the families of opioid victims as well in every way we can.

Do you or a loved one need help?  If you believe that it was your doctor's fault that the addiction got so bad because they continued to wantonly prescribe you pills, then contact us today. We may be able to help you pursue a case of medical malpractice against your physician or provide some insight and closure about the issue.  If you are a member of a county board, or part of the law enforcement community in an Illinois County or municipality, also feel free to reach out and we will meet with you about the pending litigation. This can help you recover damages so you or your loved one can get the treatment that they need.

By: Ryan Bradley, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP

Proving Permanent Injuries in Your Illinois Accident Case

12/10/2018

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One of the keys to receiving fair compensation for your injuries in an Illinois auto accident or personal injury case is to prove that your injuries are permanent.
-Ryan Bradley, Partner, Koester & Bradley LLP

Many Injuries from Personal Injuries and Auto Accidents are Permanent--Learn How to Prove It

In Illinois like almost every other state, if you were hurt in an accident and if you can win your personal injury case, you will receive compensation for your injuries. However, if you had to endure very serious injuries, there may come a time where you reach what is referred to as the maximum medical improvement.  Typically, this determination is most often made in workers compensation situations, but it is relevant in automobile wrecks and trucking accidents as well. A determination of maximum medical improvement means that you will not heal anymore than you have already healed, and this determination usually comes from a doctor.

Does maximum medical improvement mean that I have no permanent injuries?

The answer is no.  For example, assume that you fractured your back in an automobile accident.  You undergo surgery and physical therapy.  Finally, after months of treatment your spine surgeon establishes that you have reached your maximum level of improvement.  This determination does not mean that you will not suffer the repercussions of you injury for the rest of your life, but only that you not get any better.

For some, this point of maximum medical improvement comes when they are fully healed. Their compensation stops and they return back to work and normal activities. Unfortunately, for serious accidents, this moment of maximum medical improvement doesn't mean they are fully healed. If you will no longer improve in condition, you will then be considered to have permanent impairment. In some cases, this means that person will never regain full range of motion in their shoulders, or it can be even more serious like a person no longer regaining the use of a limb. If this is the case, a doctor will examine your impairment to see if it will be considered partial disability or full disability. This percentage of disability will affect how much you can receive for the impairment.

If you have reached maximum medical improvement, but still are not fully healed, having your injury labeled as permanent will mean you can continue to collect a certain amount of compensation for that impairment. However, you can't ask for this during your personal injury case. It is something that must be accessed after the healing is done. If you suspect you may have permanent impairment, this means you need to communicate that with your lawyer so the settlement has provisions to provide for permanent compensation just in case permanent impairment does manifest.  Koester & Bradley is an Illinois leader in receiving compensation for permanent injuries and building a case for such injuries.

If you have been hurt in an accident, you hope you won't have long-term injuries, but if you do, you want a settlement that can cover it. If you have been hurt and need help with your personal injury case, contact us today.

By: Ryan Bradley, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP

How to Avoid Personal Injuries on Pedestrian Roadways

11/07/2018

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An often overlooked cause of injury in Illinois is pedestrian and vehicle accidents.

-Ryan Bradley, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP

Many cities across Illinois, including Champaign-Urbana, are taking measures to increase bicycle and pedestrian traffic.  Most pedestrian traffic is centralized in a downtown area, however motorists are well-served to keep a lookout for pedestrians on all roadways.  

What to Do After A Hit and Run Auto Accident in Illinois

7/05/2018

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Hit and Run Accidents in Champaign Urbana and across Illinois are frustrating and dangerous.  It is vital to stay cool and protect your right to compensation with a local Attorney.

​--Tom Koester, Koester & Bradley, LLP

Illinois Hit and Run Accident Lawyers Koester & Bradley

Car accidents can be a traumatizing experience.  The concentration of major State and National Interstate highways and travelers in the Champaign Urbana and Danville Areas make Central Illinois a hotbed for accidents.  Hit-and-run accidents can be even scarier. After all, the other person, who is often guilty of negligence behind the wheel and also Illinois Vehicle Code Violations, has left the scene, and you might be afraid that you won't get the help that you need. There are several things you should do after a hit-and-run accident both to preserve the safety of yourself and other passengers of the car, and to preserve your right to compensation from the other driver and most importantly, the other driver's insurance company.  Just because the other driver has broken the Illinois law and fled the scene of the accident, it does not mean that the other driver is not carrying an insurance policy which will be legally liable to compensate you or a loved ones for injuries from the accident. These things will allow you to get the help you need and will increase the chances of the culprit being caught.

Stay Put

Yes, it can be tempting to chase after the other driver. After all, you don't want the other person to get away with hitting your vehicle and causing damage and pain and suffering. Chasing after the other driver is not going to solve the problem, though. In your angry state, you may cause another crash.  Furthermore, Illinois law does not allow you to break other rules of the road in pursuing another individual.  Instead, do you best to gather all of the information and details about the other car as you possibly can and write them down as quickly as possible.  You can record these details in your phone, or even do a voice recording and take pictures.  This make the Police's job easier in apprehending the other driver and allowing you to recover.  Stay where you are, and check for injuries to yourself and others. Allow the police to find the hit-and-run driver.

Contact the Police and Your Insurance Company

Call the police as soon as possible after the accident.  Provide them with as much information as you can about the driver and the accident. Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents often catch people by surprise. You may not be able to get the vehicle's full license plate number. You may not have a complete description of the driver. Remember as much as possible about the vehicle and the driver as you can, though. Information about the direction the person is traveling will also be helpful to police. Potential damage to the vehicle may also aid the police in finding the hit-and-run driver.  Finally, make sure you have a firm description of the make, model, and color of the other car.  The Police are very good at finding cars and criminals in Illinois and even the most minor detail is often enough for them to do their job.

Additionally, your insurance company may also be liable to assist you financially and to compensate you for your injuries after a hit and run accident in Champaign Urbana or across Illinois even if you do not know the other driver's identity.  Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is purchased for this reason.

Find Witnesses

Even if you are not able to provide adequate information to the police, witnesses may be able to fill in the blanks. If possible, ask anyone nearby who witnessed the accident to stay around and provide a report to the police. Nearby security cameras may also be able to help the police identify the person.  Also, don't forget than any passengers in your car are also witnesses as well as victims.

If you were injured in an accident where the other driver fled the scene,  contact us. We will work to help you get the compensation you deserve.  If you have specific questions, feel free to visit Koester & Bradley's ever-expanding database of Champaign Auto Accident Frequently Asked questions for guidance.  

Heads Up Parents: NuVasive Magec System May Hurt Your Child with Scoliosis

11/19/2017

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Sometimes Medical Devices intended to help actually hurt.  Such is the Case for NuVasive.

Koester & Bradley NuVasive Defect Lawyers

Koester & Bradley, LLP is investigating cases involving a popular, non-surgical, device intended to treat Scoliosis in children.  Parents should be aware of the NuVasive Magec System, which was developed to treat Early Onset Scoliosis in very young children. With seven-million Americans suffering from scoliosis or curvature of the spine, the interest in the device is very high and the manufacturer has launched an aggressive marketing campaign.  Scoliosis is commonly diagnosed in children between the ages of 10 to 15, Early Onset Scoliosis (EOS) develops in children before the age of 10.

EOS is a serious medical condition because it occurs when a young child’s skeletal structures are still developing. If the spinal curvature is not treated and becomes severe, it can constrict the child’s thorax or chest cavity causing them breathing issues and restricting the growth of their lungs. Therefore, EOS treatments must control the spinal deformity while also allowing the spine to grow.

The NuVasive Magec System is marketed as an alternative surgical treatment for children with moderate to severe EOS and promises “noninvasive growth modulation.”   It is important to not that in the case of the NuVasive System, the fact that the FDA has "approved" the device, does not guarantee or warranty it safety.  The device is a magnetic controlled growing rod system, which, in theory, expands to help straighten and correct the curvature of the spine as the child grows.

NuVasive Specialized Orthopedics, the company standing to profit from the device, claims its magnetic rod technology significantly reduces the number of surgical procedures EOS patients require compared to traditional treatment options. However, clinical results have shown that this may not be accurate given the increasing complication rates.

Early issues with the NuVasive system are especially concerning given the young age of the patient population. Parents are being led to believe that this treatment option is safe for their child, but researchers and clinicians are seeing major failures with the spinal device and raising concerns regarding the device’s potentially high complication rates.

In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to receive reports of issues with the NuVasive Magec System that include:
  • Rods failing to properly extend or expand
  • Rods not engaging properly
  • Rods bending, breaking or separating
  • Fractures of the pins used to stabilize the rod


NuVasive Specialized Orthopedics, Inc., has the full responsibility to its pediatric patients and their families. The company, in order to comply with Illinois and Federal law,  must ensure these medical devices perform as indicated and do not endanger the health of the children undergoing treatment with these devices.

Due to the large numbers of these devices entering the marketplace and being implemented on children, Koester & Bradley is investigating all adverse events related to the  NuVasive Magec System.  Please reach out to us for a free review of your case and stay up to date on the other defective products cases we are presently handling.


Important Informantion You Need Before Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits

11/02/2017

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Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit is Not Simple--Here's What You Need to Know

If you’ve been injured in an accident and you’re looking to retain a personal injury attorney, you probably have a lot of questions when it comes to retaining a lawyer and filing  personal injury lawsuits. This is an overwhelming time and we understand that, so we’d like to provide you with some basic information to gather from the personal injury attorney you’re looking to retain.

Fees and Disbursements
The first and probably most important question you have is how much the attorney fees will be. Most will work on a contingency basis, meaning if you don’t win your case, you don’t get paid. Also, you’ll want to ask about disbursement fees and whether or not they’re required up front. It helps to know the financial aspect of things before you commit.

Strong Case
You want to make sure you have a strong case in order to understand if you have a good chance to recover damages. If your case is not strong enough, it’s really just a waste of everyone’s time.
Potential Damages
You’ll want to find out exactly what you can sue for, such as repair bills, medical bills, and even emotional distress. And while your attorney can give you an approximate amount, he can help estimate how much you stand to collect if successful.

Time Frame
Knowing the time frame you're under is helpful when preparing to file a lawsuit is necessary. Ask what the statute of limitations is so you know how long you have before making a decision to file your suit. You don't want to rush into your decision, but you don't want to procrastinate and miss the deadline. It's also helpful to know how long the case may last in order to plan accordingly.

For more information on filing a lawsuit,  contact us to review your case.

Illinois Plaintiffs Lawyer Personal Injury Blog by Koester & Bradley, LLP 

Legal News and safety tips with Illinois Impact from the Accident and Personal Injury Firm Koester & Bradley, LLP

Authors

Ryan R Bradley is a personal injury and litigation lawyer based in Champaign County Illinois focused on representing injured clients and businesses navigate the maze of litigation to financial recovery.  


Tom Koester is a personal injury attorney based in Champaign County in Central Illinois focused on representing the injured and victims of Medical Malpractice and Personal Injuries.