Ryan R Bradley
Illinois Consumer Protection and Fraud Attorney at Koester & Bradley, LLP
For Illinois Consumers, Equifax dominates the headlines in cybersecurity, but Ransomware is a serious threat as well.
While large data breaches such at Target and Equifax dominate the headlines, there are other equally frightening threats lurking on the internet that impact Illinois residents. Illinois Consumer protection lawyers Koester & Bradley are still noticing a large jump in Ransomware attacks on individuals and businesses alike. In fact, last week the city of Atlanta was attached and information necessary to run the entire city was held for ransom. Are Illinois cities and consumers next?
Ransomware is a type of malware that locks your screen and prevents access to your computer and its files until you pay a ransom. Ransomware is not just a problem for large companies and hospitals, it afflicts individual and small to medium sized business as well across Illinois. It has been around in different forms since the mid 2000s and attacks both businesses and individuals with the hackers committing the fraud demanding payment in largely untraceable bitcoin. According to cybersecurity experts Tom Barker and Chris Heuman of Virtual Auditor, unlike earlier ransomware that disabled your computer, recent forms of this malware encrypt your files, which makes their recovery far more difficult. If you don't pay the several hundred-dollar ransom by a certain date, your files will be destroyed.
Champaign Illinois Consumer Protection attorneys Koester & Bradley warn that while there's no guarantee against becoming a victim, there are several measures for Illinois consumers and businesses to take to make an attack less likely and less damaging:
Back Up Your Files
Make frequent file backups to lessen the impact of an attack. We now know that for Illinois residents, and consumers across the country, it is more probable than not that you will be a victim of cyber crime. Don't store these files anywhere that's reachable by your computer because the ransomware may find and encrypt them. If you're using an external device for your backups, keep it disconnected from your computer. If you're using cloud services for backup storage, make sure they retain previous versions of your files that you can roll back to in case your most recent files are encrypted.
Backup files make recovery easier because it's just a matter of reinstalling your backups after the malware is removed from your computer and represent the primary way to reduce the damage caused by an attack.
Be Careful With Emails
Avoid opening attachments and clicking on links within emails from unfamiliar sources. If the email content from a familiar source seems unusual, it could be ransomware that's exploiting a list of your contacts. When an email is suspicious but plausible, contact the source independently of the email and its attachments.
If you have any questions about an email, even if it is from a send that you do know, verify with the sender and do a Google search for scams that are similar to the email that you received.
Keep Your Software Updated
Ransomware may exploit known weaknesses of various software. Software providers respond to recently discovered security weaknesses with new version updates that "patch up the hole." Update all software including your firewall and anti-virus. Additionally, ensure that you computer operating system, usually either Windows of Mac OS, is kept up-to-date. Moat time you can suet this for automatic updates.
If your computer gets infected, your safest bet is to erase the entire system and reinstall your operating system. After this, scan your computer with an anti-virus that can detect ransomware. Then you can load your files back into your computer from your backups. If your files and backups are infected, don't pay the ransom because you may not get your files back, or the ransomware may attack again. In addition, your money enables the criminal to continue his activities.
The above tips will reduce your risk of becoming a victim and will make recovery from such an attack less painful. If you were impacted by the Equifax breach, keep these tips in mind to further protect yourself. Finally, remember that the Illinois Consumer Protection Attorneys at Koester & Bradley are here to help should you become a victim of Cyber Attack.
There are many Dangerous Products on the Market in Illinois. Here are the Key Illinois Personal Injury Factors to Remember.
Each time you shop and make purchases in Illinois and across the country, you are afforded certain rights and protections. Many of these protections are the result of Illinois State or Federal Laws. If you purchase a product that was defective, dangerous, or improperly made, and caused you to sustain a personal injury, you have the right to file certain claims to receive the compensation and justice you deserve. Our Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer team at Koester & Bradley will provide you with a brief overview of product liability claims and what you need to know as you go through the process.
Three General Types of Product LIability Claims in Illinois
There are three different types of product liability claims. The first is a pharmaceutical claim. This is when medication contains a harmful ingredient that could cause harm to your health. Examples of these types of claims are the defective drugs Xarelto and Pradaxa which bad drug lawyers at Koester & Bradley are actively pursuing.
The second is the product manufacturing or design flaw claim. This could be a manufacturing or design flaw that causes injury. For example, a faulty cord on a blow dryer or faulty brakes on your car that caused your injury fall into this category. Additionally the dangerous and recalled knees and hips produced by DePuy and Stryker are defectively designed and manufactured.
The third is a marketing defect. This is when a company makes promises about their product that are untrue. This includes inadequate safety warnings, improper labeling or insufficient instructions. If the knowledge you have on how to use a product is incorrect and it causes your injury, the manufacturer or company could be at fault. The State of Illinois regulates these types of claims as does the Federal Government and the regulations can be very complex. This is why Koester & Bradley recommends hiring an experienced product liability lawyer locally to assist you.
You May be Entitled to Compensation for your Injuries in Illinois
If you feel that one of the above defects is enough to file a product liability claim, you can commence legal action. It's best to contact us for more information and set up a consultation to discuss the circumstances surrounding your incident. There are many components that go into a product liability claim, so it's best to seek legal representation from those who are experienced in personal injury lawsuits for your best chances of success.
The Government May not be Correct About Everything, but when it Comes to Distracted Driving in Illinois, it is.
This is not "Fake News." Throughout Champaign Illinois and across the country, distracted driving is rampant; and the many fatalities and injuries caused by cell phone use while simultaneously operating a vehicle caught the attention of employees at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In November 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a press release on its website regarding suggested efforts that mobile phone manufacturers and carriers can implement to reduce distracted driving accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
The Champaign Urbana accident lawyers at Koester & Bradley have seen these startling statistics first-had in representing the victims of auto accidents and their families.
The suggestions call for cell phone manufacturers and carriers to develop smartphones that can link to an in-vehicle system, which darkens the mobile phone screen and disables cell phone features. An effort such as this should prevent a driver from using their smartphone while driving. When a device can’t get paired with an in-vehicle system, the National Highway Safety Administration suggests that mobile phone manufacturers and carriers include a “driver’s mode” function, which allows drivers to disable their phones during vehicle operation.
Automobile accidents and safety efforts affect every driver. Many states are increasingly producing case law whereby proof of distracted driving established prima facie evidence of negligence. The case law in some states even extends to distant third parties who knowingly text a person while they operate a vehicle. Until the technology reaches a point where car manufacturers and cell phone manufacturers can combine their efforts with certainty to reduce distracted driving and increase driver safety, it’s incumbent upon a driver to utilize available technologies to reduce distracted driving.
In Illinois, and particularly in Central Illinois and Bloomington and Decatur, when you get injured in a car accident, and a distracted driver caused the crash it’s important to let an experienced personal injury attorney manage your claim. This is particularly important Your injury entitles you to monetary compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. Contact us, and get the compensation that you deserve.
Across Illinois, Scams and Cyber Threats are Targeting Seniors. Here are a few You Should Know About
Scams that target the elderly never seem to end. With the notice and attention that is given to cybersecurity and crimes such as identity theft, it is important to understand that "conventional" and lower-tech scams are still prevalent--particularly regarding senior citizens in central Ill and across the country. At Koester & Bradley, LLP, we do our best to monitor all potential threats to our clients and community as Illinois personal injury and fraud lawyers. Here are some more scams that target senior citizens. Let us know if you are aware of any others to add to the list.
Fake Anti-Aging Products
Elderly people, especially women, often feel a need to look younger. This is a result of social and peer pressure. Scammers target seniors with fake or low-quality anti-aging products. They may not work, may be overpriced, or may have hidden fees -- for example, they may offer a one-month discount option without disclosing that they will be charged exorbitant fees for monthly deliveries after that.
Fake Prescription Drugs
Similar to fake anti-aging products. These fake prescription drugs are cheap, and can often be found on the internet. They may cost less, but they may not work and may even be dangerous. There are many drugs and devices that are actually prescribed by doctors that are also dangerous to seniors in Illinois such as Xarelto and Pradaxa, so it is wise to avoid subjecting yourself or a loved one to any drug not discussed with a healthcare professional.
The grandchild scam involves someone telephoning a caring grandparent and pretending to be a beloved grandchild. They can find out the names of their grandchildren from social media. During the phone call, they'll use low-quality audio to conceal their voice, and they will cry about how they are in trouble or in debt and need money to bail themselves out. They'll often say that they can not call their "parents" because their "parents" will be angry at them.
Elderly people who live alone are especially vulnerable to all kinds of phone, mail and cyber scams, such as fake charity scams, fake lottery tickets, fake antivirus companies and so on. Make sure to warn your loved one about these common scams.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of fraud, contact us today for legal help. Finally, remember that it is always worth investigation a scam if you or a loved one were a victim even if not sure of all of the details and the legality of the situation. This is the way that new law is made.
Sometimes Medical Devices intended to help actually hurt. Such is the Case for NuVasive.
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:
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.
Cybersecurity has gained more publicity in light of recent hacks. Here is what you can do.
At Koester & Bradley we have focused our practice on helping the injured since 1895, but we also devote a great deal of time to consumer protection issues as well. While physical personal injuries often have traumatic and lasting impact on the lives of entire families, financial and fraud-related claims can also have a severe impact.
With cyber threats coming from a variety of sources, Koester & Bradley is dedicated to making sure our clients and community are continually kept up-to-date.
The Internet is full of threats, and if you're a long-time user of it, then you probably know not to click on suspicious links, to stay away from potentially dangerous sites such as porn and pirated movie websites. You may also understand that even websites that have no intent to do harm may fail to vet the safety of their advertisements. That is, clicking on their ads may send you to a dangerous website. However, even these precautions aren't enough for safe Internet use. The reason? Your browser itself may have security weaknesses that leave you vulnerable.
Cyber criminals are untiring in their search for ways to find and exploit loopholes in the software makeup of popular browsers. An example of this occurred earlier in 2017 when attackers used domain names with Unicode characters to set up phony versions of popular and trusted websites. When viewed in the Chrome and Firefox browsers, the phony website and its URL appeared identical to the real site. Criminals can also obtain SSL certificates (with a green padlock) to make their websites appear legit.
All popular browsers respond to these types of threats by issuing updates that correct the problem. Therefore, the main takeaway from this is to keep your browser up to date. If it has an auto-update feature, make sure it's activated. Another precaution is to review the privacy and security settings for your browser. One setting you should deactivate is the password saving feature that many browsers offer.
Another security threat comes from using browser plugins or extensions. These give your browser extra functionality but are created by third parties who might be untrustworthy. Your best defense is never installing them. Otherwise, you should install as few as possible. Look for online reviews of the plugins you're considering. These reviews should also provide a rating. A rating based on thousands of votes is more reliable than one based on a few. Check the reviews for mentions of malware and other security problems.
Finally, create a Google alert for news about your browser's security. This will keep you informed of the latest threats to watch for.
Use the above tips to make your Internet browsing as safe as possible. For more information or to speak to one of our lawyers, contact us.
While Drunk Driving is a well-known danger to drivers, so is distracted driving, and as Ryan Bradley explains, it does not have the negative social stigma it should.
Why Cell Phone Distraction Is as Dangerous as Alcohol When Driving
Many of the other great authors writing for the Legal Examiner have addressed the distracted driving epidemic in a number of very good posts. Now Koester & Bradley, LLP is weighing in.
The dangers of drunk driving have received a lot of attention over the last several decades. This is due in large part from the amazing efforts from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other dedicated organizations. Though it's still a problem on our roads, most people acknowledge its dangers, and many consider it socially unacceptable.
This isn't the case with cell phone distraction while driving. Since it's a new phenomenon, it's had less time to become common knowledge. In addition, many people believe their multitasking abilities enable them to drive safely while using a phone. They also generally believe that cell phone distraction isn't as detrimental to driving as alcohol. Finally, given the "all work, no play" mentality embraced by American society, sneaking in a few emails on the road is often seen as a "necessary evil."
While cell phone use doesn't contribute to a broad range of social ills as alcoholism, it can be just as deadly to motorists. This is difficult for many to understand because alcoholic intoxication doesn't stop when you finish your drink, whereas the distracted state goes away within a minute after finishing a cell phone call. However, it only takes a moment of distraction at the wrong time to cause an accident. In addition, many drivers make extensive use of their phones while on the road.
Here are two reasons why cell phone distraction causes impaired driving. These are obvious but important to keep in mind:
It Takes Your Eyes off the Road
When dialing a number, texting, or reading a text message, the eyes and the mind are taken off the road. A car moving at 60 mph will cover more than the length of a football field in the 5 seconds used when engaged in these distractions. However, because your mind is also taken off your driving, it can take up to 27 seconds to recover from the mental distraction. That's the length of 6.6 football fields at 60 mph.
To summarize, you are driving blind for more than a football field, followed by driving while mentally impaired for an additional 6.6 football fields (or about the length of a Par Five and a Par Three put together).
It Takes Your Mind off the Road
The mental distraction of cell phone use occurs even when your eyes are on the road. In order to converse, you must divert some mental attention away from your driving task. This causes a phenomenon called inattention blindness. Diverting your attention away from the road not only diverts your thinking from your driving, it also diverts some of the brain's resources away from processing visual input from the eyes. This causes objects and other details of the road to vanish, even though your eyes are focused on the road. This can make you blind to as much as 50% of the road scene. If you hear a honking horn, it may take you up to 27 seconds to respond because of the recovery time mentioned above.
If you want more information, search the Legal Examiner for more articles from other safety advocates and stay informed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Despite the Tort Reform "Fake News" Medical Malpractice Claims are Rare and Difficult
If you have recently had someone in your family become ill, injured, or even die at the hands of a medical professional, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. Despite what you may have heard though, these claims, particularly in Illinois, are complicated and require a variety of steps to ensure that each claim is valid. Medical malpractice is defined as negligent, unskilled or improper treatment of a patient by a medical professional such as a nurse, doctor, dentist or pharmacist. Here, we'll explain what you need to know when it comes to successful medical malpractice lawsuits.
Successful Malpractice Cases Mean Proving Four Elements
If you’re considering filing a malpractice lawsuit, you and your attorney need to establish four elements:
Duty to provide medical care. The first thing you need to prove is that the health care professional had a duty to provide medical care in a reasonable and customary manner for a doctor or healthcare professional engaged in the same area of practice. This is not generally an issue once the medical professional agrees to treat the patient. The complexities with respect to this element arise when there is a medical team caring for a patient.
Standard of care violation. Next, you have to prove that the health care professional violated the standard of care. Usually, the courts will combine the standard of care within the area where the alleged incident took place as well as the national standards of care. This is called the "locality rule" and is the case in Illinois. Both sides of the case will ask expert witnesses to testify as to the standards of care that have been established.
Injury sustained. Third, you need to prove the patient suffered a compensable injury. This can be a physical or emotional injury and is usually a combination of both. It is this element that begins the uphill battle against the negligent doctor and their insurance company-supplied attorney. Usually, the healthcare provider who committed the malpractice will have their own expert doctor who they will pay to testify that the injuries at issue in the case were not related to the deviation in the standard of care. This underlines the importance of retaining a competent and local attorney.
Conduct caused injury. The last thing you need to prove is that the injury was caused by the conduct on the part of the health care professional. Otherwise known as causation, this can be the most difficult element to prove and is usually the one factors argued the most in a malpractice lawsuit. Causation is established by an outside doctor analyzing the medical records in the case and determining that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the injuries might or could be caused by the negligence.
For more information on medical malpractice claims, contact us. We will sit with you, review your case and unique circumstances and advise you accordingly.
Mental Health Malpractice are possible in Illinois--but you will Need an Experienced Lawyer
When you have undergone a trauma or are just looking to improve your mental or emotional health, your first step may be to seek out the help of a psychiatrist. As such, you have a certain expectation that your psychiatrist will help to foster some kind of growth. Like when you seek out a medical professional to treat an injury, you are an entitled to a certain expectation that they will help or at least not hinder your treatment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Just like with doctors, if your psychiatrist is behaving inappropriately, they can be sued for medical malpractice.
What Does Psychiatric Malpractice Include?
The unfortunate reality is that unlike medical malpractice suits in Illinois, psychiatric malpractice can be more difficult to identify and prove. While injuries treated poorly often have physical consequences, many inappropriate actions by a psychiatrist only manifest in the mind. This causes psychiatric malpractice to be woefully under-reported because patients aren’t sure where to turn or even if they were being abused.
Examples of psychiatric abuse include:
Like with medical malpractice suits, patients in Illinois who are victimized by the negligent or abusive actions of a psychiatrist have the right to financial compensation. They simply have to seek it out. If you believe you have been a victim of your psychiatrist, contact us today. The Law Office of Koester & Bradley can sit down with you and make sure you have a case for psychiatric malpractice as well as advise you on how to gather evidence to have the best possible case.
Illinois Plaintiffs Lawyer Personal Injury Blog by Koester & Bradley, LLP
Legal News with Illinois Impact from Accident and Personal Injury Firm Koester & Bradley, LLP
Ryan R Bradley is a civil litigator based in Champaign County Illinois focused on representing plaintiffs in a variety of cases form medical malpractice to automobile accidents.