Two New Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease Linked to an Illinois Gym
Two new cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been documented in Illinois, drawing attention to the dangers of this dangerous illness. The incidents have been linked to an L.A. Fitness workout center in Niles, near Chicago.
Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory illness caused by exposure to Legionella bacteria. It is typically contracted from hotels, motels, apartment buildings, office buildings, warehouses, production facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, and other places when people breathe in small droplets of water containing bacteria which has grown in improperly designed or maintained building water systems.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is investigating the Niles gym. The county and state confirmed that Legionella bacteria had been found in a hot tub. This incident occurred only months after a cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases broke out in Burbank, Illinois. In 2021, Illinois reported 522 cases of Legionnaires’ disease statewide, and 227 from January to September 2022.
Legionnaires’ disease cases are rare, but they can have a devastating impact. For more insight about Legionnaires’ disease, read this Q&A on our website.
Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen has collected millions of dollars on behalf of individuals and the families of individuals who have contracted Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease cases require a specialization that most attorneys do not have. If you or someone you know in Iowa or Illinois contracts this terrible disease, Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen can help you. We perform our cases on a contingent fee basis, which means we are not paid unless you recover compensation for your claim. Call Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen at (312) 346-6444 – let us show how we can deliver results for you.
What to Do if You Are in a Car Accident
Everyone thinks car accidents happen to someone else until it happens to them. There were 5.25 million crashes reported to the police in 2020, the most recent year that the Department of Transportation reported this data. In 2022, 42,795 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. The odds could catch up with you some day, especially if you in urban area such as Chicago. So, what should you do if you are in a car accident?
If you are involved in an accident – even if you were not behind the wheel when one occurred – it is essential that you take appropriate steps in the immediate aftermath. If you don’t, your trauma could be compounded by costly legal action against you. Here is what you need to do when an accident happens:
- Check for injuries, and get medical help if someone is hurt. The first thing to do after a car accident is to check yourself and your passengers for any injuries. If anyone is hurt, call for medical help right away. If you have suffered what seems like a minor injury, consider getting medical attention of some kind within the next few days. Some injuries, such as head trauma and neck pain, don’t manifest themselves right away. You may not appreciate just how seriously you have been injured until you see a doctor. Moreover, waiting too long to get medical attention could make it difficult for you to get compensated if you file an insurance claim.
- Get to safety. If your car is drivable, move it off the road. If doing so is not possible, make sure you are out of harm’s way. In an urban setting such as Chicago, there may be a lot of traffic and pedestrians — so it’s important to move your vehicle to a safe location as quickly as possible to prevent further accidents. It is not uncommon for people in an accident to suffer serious injury or death from oncoming traffic after the accident occurs – tragedies that could have been avoided by the accident victim remembering to move to safety.
- Call the police. Get police on the scene. They will verify what happened with a police report, which you may need later. The police presence may also be necessary to keep everyone calm. You might wonder whether it’s necessary to report even a minor fender bender to the police. Requirements vary by state. In Illinois, each driver involved in an Illinois traffic crash must file a crash report if the crash caused a death, bodily injury, or more than $1,500 of property damage when all drivers are insured. If any driver does not have insurance, the threshold is $500. But in the immediate aftermath of an accident, it might not be clear how much damage has been caused. It’s best to err on the side of caution. Report even a minor fender bender.
- Stay calm. However upset you are, take a deep breath and stay focused on what you need to do to be safe and to protect yourself. You may be upset that someone else has damaged your car, but by no means should you lash out at the other driver.
- Never admit wrongdoing. Do not apologize or admit fault, as this can be used against you in any legal proceedings. Even if you’ve damaged someone else’s car, be very careful about what you say. Focus on what you need to do next, not on whether you believe you are in the wrong.
- Exchange information. Get information from the other driver, most importantly their insurance cards, driver’s licenses, and contact information. A quick way to get most of what you need is to photograph each other’s insurance cards and driver’s licenses.
- Take photos and video. Document visually as much as you can, including the damage done to vehicles, scene of the accident, injuries sustained, and any pertinent information such as visible ice on the road. Do so immediately, not after the fact.
- Find out of the accident was recorded. In addition to taking a visual record of the accident’s aftermath, check to see if someone recorded it actually happen. Nowadays, there are cameras everywhere – such as security cameras on homes or businesses, traffic lights, police cameras, or even dashboard cameras on your or nearby vehicles. Or someone might have recorded the accident on their mobile phone. See if anyone in the immediate vicinity recorded the accident. Ask bystanders. Consult with neighbors and businesses that might have security cameras installed on their property. Take immediate steps to gather or preserve that video if you find it. Oftentimes security cameras automatically purge video after a finite period of time, and if it is not preserved it can be lost.
- Get contact information from any witnesses. In many car accident cases, both parties allege the other driver did something wrong. Having the contact information of someone else who was on scene provides you protection if a case arises out of the accident and you need someone to corroborate your version of events. Make sure you act quickly, though, before witnesses leave the scene.
- Keep a diary. Diary everything that happened, including expenses incurred and when/where the accident occurred. You may need this information if it becomes necessary to seek an attorney’s counsel.
- Contact your insurance company. Regardless of who is at fault, contact your insurance company. At the very least, doing so gives you a chance to describe in your own words what happened early on while your memory of the incident is clear. If your accident occurred in a city such as Chicago, there may be more complex insurance issues to consider, such as no-fault insurance or uninsured motorist coverage. Your insurance company can help guide you through the process.
- Be vigilant. Don’t assume everything that happens next will go smoothly. Sure, for a minor fender bender, chances are that the situation will resolve itself quickly and routinely. But don’t assume anything. Stay on top of your insurance company to ensure that the follow-through is happening to your satisfaction. Make sure you get that police report on file. In a serious accident, be prepared to consult a personal injury attorney.
- Avoid posting on social media. Avoid going on social media to discuss the details of your accident. What you share on social could become discoverable and used against you should any legal action happen.
If you believe you need legal help in the aftermath of an accident, call Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen now at (312) 346-6444. We are ready to assist you over the phone or in person. We perform our cases on a contingent fee basis, which means we are not paid unless you recover compensation for your claim. Call Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen at (312) 346-6444 – let us show how we can deliver results for you.
“I Am Motivated to Do Right by Our Clients”: A Conversation with Matthew Heinlen
Congratulations to Matthew Heinlen, our new partner! We thought we’d learn more about the man whose name is now officially on our letterhead. We sat down with Matthew to ask him a few questions. Read on for personal insight from Matthew Heinlen – including why he began to practice law, the lessons he’s learned, and what motivates him today.
What inspired you to enter the legal profession?
The legal profession was always in my blood. I just didn’t know it until college.
When I was coming out of high school, I was accepted into the engineering program at the University of Illinois. Over four years, I toiled away in lecture halls, labs, design projects, and internships. I appreciated the analytical rigor required to excel at engineering. But when I took elective classes, I felt myself drawn to law-related topics.
I realized that the law required not only analytical skills but a passion for people, and this appealed to me. So, while I was proud to achieve a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from one of the premier engineering colleges in the country, I knew that when it came time to take my next step, law school was what I wanted to do.
My engineering degree gave me a strong foundation to sharpen the problem-solving skills needed to be an attorney. But the University of Illinois College of Law is where everything clicked – where I could combine analytics with my interest in serving people. I knew that the legal profession was my future.
You spent more than seven years with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office after law school. How did that experience shape you?
There is no better proving ground for being an attorney than the criminal courtrooms of Cook County, Illinois. I developed skills there that I put into practice every day. I also developed an empathy for people. I worked with hundreds of victims. Victims of physical and emotional crime, business owners victimized by crime, countless family members and concerned citizens desiring justice, and many more. I began to understand what it means to be hurt by someone else’s wrongdoing. That empathy stays with me today when I represent our clients at Capron Avgerinos, and Heinlen.
Working in the state’s attorney’s office also honed my skills as a trial lawyer in a fast-paced environment. When you take a case to trial, you need to bring your A-game every time. Doing that means managing many complex moving parts and interacting well with different people, including victims you represent, witnesses, police officers, judges, and attorneys that you practice with and against. The analytical and people skills I developed in college were taken to a whole new level of learning.
Why did you join Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen?
When I left the state attorney’s office and considered what my next step would be, the one thing that I kept coming back to was the desire to continue to represent victims of wrongdoing. In our practice, I still feel I wear the white hat. I am able to represent people who need help. Not victims of crimes, but people who have been wronged by someone else or who need to be represented in a workers’ compensation claim.
Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen gave me the opportunity to stand up for people who are not in a position to stand up for themselves without getting legal help.
What lessons have you learned as an attorney at Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen?
My biggest takeaway is seeing the extreme contrast in power that exists between petitioners and plaintiffs and the insurance companies that they have to deal with after accidents and injuries – especially in workplace accidents.
The systems are already foreign and overwhelming to an injured person. Having an attorney allows the injured person to even the playing field. But the pressure that employers put on their employees to toe the company line and “be team players” leads to a reticence to do so.
Oftentimes, someone filing a workers’ compensation claim is taking on a boss or a former boss. They may get pressure not to file a case. Or the employee might be pressured to accept a less-than-ideal result. These experiences have strengthened my resolve to help our clients achieve the outcome they deserve.
I’ve also learned how to listen and understand the reasons someone might call on an attorney for help. Behind every case is someone with human wants and needs. Like getting their lives back. Achieving closure when a loved one dies. It’s important to listen first and show empathy. There is no script for being a good attorney.
What inspires you now?
I am motivated every day to be empathetic to our clients and pursue justice on their behalf. I hope that every time a client talks with me that they hear in my voice that they are more than just a file in my file drawer. That I care deeply for what they are dealing with. I am motivated to do right by them, and obtain the best result possible on their behalf.
Where do you see Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen headed? What’s your vision for Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen?
Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen has an amazing foundation, and one that does not need rebuilding. My vision for the future of our firm is continued modernization and growth in technology, while continuing to provide the same excellent service and representation that we have for the last 30 plus years to our clients.
The world has changed during the pandemic. The entire legal profession has been affected by the uptake of virtual technologies. We were already headed in this direction. We’d long ago learned how to develop a rapport with a client when you cannot meet face to face. Now we’re harnessing technology in a more fluid way, whether we’re having a videoconference, texting, communicating with secure emails, or talking on the phone. We’re also getting nimbler with the use of the cloud to retrieve and analyze information quickly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The days of reviewing paper-intensive files are done.
Technology needs to support how we work by delivering personal service. Clients tell us all the time that they cannot believe how quickly they can talk with someone here. Some companies rely on intake specialists to screen all queries from potential clients. We don’t do that. When you call us with a case, the person who answers the phone may very likely be person who will handle your case. We like to hear from our clients. We like to know what is going on with your case. Technology needs to support that personal and responsive way we work.
What are your personal interests?
My personal interests mostly revolve around my family. I have an amazing wife and three wonderful children who have their own busy lives. So, when I have free time, it is typically focused on them, and being the best father I can be. I also love sports – particularly my Fighting Illini and the White Sox. I play 16” softball and try and golf when time allows. I love to learn, and to that end I read a lot and listen to a varied assortment of podcasts.
What’s the last good book you read, and why?
The last good book of fiction that I read was called “How Lucky,” by Will Leitch. It is a wonderful story about a severely handicapped man. He is one of the more dynamic, interesting, and inspiring characters that I have had the opportunity to discover in a novel. I was heartbroken to finish his story.
The last great nonfiction book I read was “The Baseball 100,” by Joe Posnanski, my all-time favorite author. If Joe writes something, I read it. I have a deep love the game of baseball, its impact on our country’s history, and its impact on fans young and old. This book “hit it out of the park.” Posnanski attempts to rank the Top 100 baseball players of all time, and in doing so writes 100 essays that go so much deeper than an examination of their baseball reference page would allow. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Thank you, Matthew, for taking the time!
Working In the Heat
Extreme heat means air conditioning, ice cream, water parks, and . . . an increase in work injuries. According to The New York Times, the data suggest that heat increases workplace injuries by making it harder to concentrate, leading to injuries from falling, being struck by vehicles or mishandling machinery.
The data suggests that when the temperature was between 85 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, researchers found that the risk of workplace injuries was 5 to 7 percent higher than days where the temperature was in the 60s. Even more alarming, when the temperature exceeds 100 degrees, the overall risk of injuries was 10 to 15 percent greater.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concludes that workers become overheated from two primary sources: (1) the environmental conditions in which the employees work and (2) the internal heat generated by physical labor. Heat-related illnesses occur when the body is not able to lose enough heat to balance the heat generated by physical work and external heat sources.
OSHA provides the following protective measures:
- Drink water often (about 4 cups/hour).
- Take frequent breaks in a cool, shaded area.
- Limit physical exertion.
- Adjust work activities.
- Watch/communicate with workers at all times.
Arising Out of and In the Course of Employment
Workers who suffer heat related injuries and illnesses may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, an employee does not need to show that the employer is at fault. Rather, the person filing the claim needs to have been an employee at the time of the injury, and the injury needs to have arisen out of and in the course of employment.
Call Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen
Call Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen now at (855) 208-3904 if you need help with a workers’ compensation case in Illinois or Iowa. As your Illinois and Iowa Injury Network, we are ready to assist you over the phone or in person. We perform our cases on a contingent fee basis, which means we are not paid unless you recover compensation for your clam. Call Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen and let us show how we can deliver results for you.
Capron Avgerinos & Heinlen Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit on Behalf of Two Clinton, Iowa, Clients
The suit involves an explosion that occurred at a grain silo at the ADM facility in Clinton, Iowa, on January 5, 2019.