Recently, there has been a string of injuries and wrongful deaths caused by the negligence of private bus and limousine companies. This week, one such case has resulted in the filing of a wrongful death suit being filed against a party bus operator. The Kansas City (MO) Star (6/18, Rizzo, 197K) reports, “A wrongful death lawsuit was filed Tuesday against the operators of a party bus from which a young mother fell to her death in May.” The Star notes that “according to the lawsuits filed by Kansas City attorneys Lynn Johnson and David Morantz, after Midnight Express bought the used vehicle in 2010, it made ‘extensive modifications’ that included removal of some of the vehicle’s safety features.” According to the Star, “in late May, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued an ‘imminent hazard’ order that prohibited the company from continuing to operate until it addressed what the federal order termed an ‘appalling’ disregard for safety.”

If you or someone you know needs assistance after a bus or limousine accident, please contact The Law Offices of Lane Brown, LLC, or call 312-332-1400 or 1-800-LAWYERS.

What to do If You Are In A Car Accident

1. Try to stay calm:  Auto accidents can be a pretty scary, stressful time, but it is extremely important that you try not to panic and remain calm, especially if there are other passengers in the vehicle.

2.  Immediate Steps After a Car Accident:  There are a few steps you should always follow after an accident. First, put the car in park and put on your emergency lights. Do not leave the scene of the accident. Assess any injuries to yourself and/or passengers, and inspect the car for damages.

3.  Report the Car Accident:  Immediately call 911 and report the accident, giving dispatchers any helpful landmarks or signs that will help them find your location quickly. Let them know how many vehicles are involved, and if you or your passengers have been injured. You should not move your vehicle until the police come and safely guide you to the shoulder or side of the road.

4.  File the Car Accident Report:  Once the police arrive, file an accident report. Do not discuss the accident with anyone except for the police.  When you do talk to the police, be as accurate as possible about any statements that you make, as they will often be stated as either your quotes or statements that are attributed to you in the police report.

5.  You should get as much contact information as possible from the drivers and passengers of other vehicles involved in the accident, as well as contact information from any witnesses. Important information such as name, contact numbers, addresses, car make, model, year, color, license plate number, and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).

You also need their car insurance name and phone number as well, and any policy numbers they might have.

6.  It is extremely helpful to try to preserve evidence.  If you have a camera or cell phone which has a built-in camera, take  photographs of the cars’ damages and the scene of the accident, as well as any visible signs of injury. In photographing the vehicles, take pictures that show all of the damage on all vehicles  as well as damage to the surrounding scene that would illustrate what happened and how the accident occurred.  If you can, take pictures of the resting positions of the vehicles immediately after the impact, and before they have been moved. If any of the vehicles have already been moved from their resting position, take photos that show the location where each vehicle came to a stop after the collision.  Photograph any debris from the vehicles, skid marks and anything else which would help to explain what happened. It is smart and safe practice to either keep a camera in your car, or to use the camera capabilities on cell phones.

7.  Contact Your Car Insurance Company:  Call your insurance company as soon as possible. Most insurance companies provide you with a wallet-sized reference card with a 1-800 emergency phone number. You can also refer to the copy of your insurance policy (which you should keep in your glove compartment). Be sure to give the insurance company as much information as possible.

8.  Whether or not you are able to take photographs after an accident, as soon after the accident as possible, write down everything that happened in the time leading up to the collision, what happened during the accident and what happened immediately following the accident. If you or others in your vehicle have been injured, you should seek immediate medical care, even if you don’t belive that the injuries are serious at the time.  It is not unusual for serious injuries to be “hidden” by the trauma of an accident, and many serious injuries can be avoided by prompt medical attention. On the other hand, many serious injuries can turn into tragedies if they are not detected as early as possible.
Auto accidents are never pleasant, but being able follow these steps will ensure that dealing with the aftermath will be a lot less painful.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident, you may be able to take action. Please contact the attorneys of Lane Brown, LLC, or call us at 312-332-1400 to speak with us about your options. We can help. To learn more about Lane Brown, please visit our website at

The National Transportation Safety Board voted to recommend to states that they lower the blood-alcohol content that constitutes drunk driving.

Currently, all 50 states have set a BAC level of .08, reflecting the percentage of alcohol, by volume, in the blood. If a driver is found to have a BAC level of .08 or above, he or she is subject to arrest and prosecution.

The NTSB recommends dropping that to a BAC level of .05.

Each year, nearly 10,000 people die in alcohol-related traffic accidents and 170,000 are injured, according to the NTSB. While that’s a big improvement from the 20,000 who died in alcohol-related accidents 30 years ago, it remains a consistent threat to public safety. Studies show that each year, roughly 4 million people admit to driving while under the influence of alcohol.

The recommendation prompted immediate criticism from restaurant trade groups. “This recommendation is ludicrous,” said Sarah Longwell, managing director of American Beverage Institute. “Moving from 0.08 to 0.05 would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior. Other comments included: “Further restricting the moderate consumption of alcohol by responsible adults prior to driving does nothing to stop hardcore drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.”

The United States, Canada and Iraq are among a small handful of countries that have set the BAC level at .08. Most countries in Europe, including Russia, most of South America and Australia, have set BAC levels at .05 to constitute drunken driving. The lowering of blood-alcohol levels to .05 has worked where it’s been tried. When Australia dropped its BAC level from .08 to .05, provinces reported a 5-18 percent drop in traffic fatalities.

Even the lowered levels have been shown to cause drivers’ impairment.  The NTSB reports that at .05 BAC, some drivers begin having difficulties with depth perception and other visual functions.  At .07, cognitive abilities become impaired. At .05 BAC, the risk of having an accident increases by 39 percent. At .08 BAC, the risk of having an accident increases by more than 100 percent.

The NTSB believes that if all 50 states changed their standard to .05, nearly 1,000 lives could be saved each year.  It is also considering other steps to help bring down the death rates on America’s roads.

The NTSB is an investigative agency that advocates on behalf of safety issues.  It has no legal authority to order any change to state or federal law. It would be up to individual states whether to accept the NTSB’s recommendation, and up to the Department of Transportation whether to endorse the recommendations.

The last move from .10 to .08 BAC levels took 21 years for each state to implement.

If you or someone you know was injured in an alcohol or drug-related accident, the lawyers at Lane Brown, LLC will work with you as a team help you recover.  Please contact us by calling Lane Brown at 312-332-1400, or on our website, at  We can help!

When asked if they would consider driving at or above the adult legal limit of .08 for blood alcohol, teens almost always say they would not.

But when asked if they would consider texting or talking on the cell phone while driving, many honestly say they would. Studies indicating that the risk of an accident is similar for talking on a cell phone and driving at the .08 limit are eye-opening for many teens.

If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries as a result of the negligence of a drunk driver or a distracted driver, you may be able to take action. Please contact the attorneys of Lane Brown, LLC, or call us at 312-332-1400 to speak with us about your options. We can help. To learn more about Lane Brown, please visit our website at

The AP (4/11, Kageyama) reports, “Toyota, Honda and Nissan are recalling more than 2 million vehicles globally for an identical problem with air bags on the passenger side whose inflator may burst, sending plastic pieces flying.” The AP notes that “the recall for air bags made by Japan’s Takata Corp. affects other automakers including non-Japanese manufacturers, and may be as many as 3 million vehicles, Takata spokesman Akiko Watanabe said Thursday.” The AP notes that “a worker forgot to turn on the switch for a system weeding out defective products and parts were improperly stored, which exposed them to humidity, according to Honda spokeswoman Akemi Ando.”
CNN Money (4/11, Riley, Wakatsuki) also reports that “Honda said it was aware of one crash in which a passenger front airbag casing had ruptured after being deployed with too much pressure” but is not aware of any injuries or deaths resulting from the defect. Meanwhile, “Toyota said it had reports of five airbag malfunctions, but no injuries.”

Accidents involving cars, trucks, and motorcycles can result in serious personal injuries to drivers, passengers and pedestrians. The Chicago law firm of Lane Brown, LLC practices in personal-injury lawsuits resulting from vehicle accidents.  If you, your family or other loved one has been injured, please contact Lane Brown, LLC. We can help.

Your parent or other loved one is admitted to a hospital or nursing home because they are ill, or have been injured. They are there because they need assistance or care that they can’t get in their home.  Unfortunately, many times patients in hospitals and nursing homes aren’t given the attention they need, and suffer injuries because of malpractice or negligence in their hospital or medical care.

Another common concern for hospitalized patients is posed by the risk of falls.  Patients are often disoriented, weak or sedated. Common issues associated with nurses and hospitals are falls due to the lack of the use of rails or supervision during transfers. An elderly confused patient, or a patient narcotized with pain medicine or sedatives, requires full length side rails up so they can’t fall out of bed.

Rails can be important aids in the protection of patients who may be combative, uncooperative or unstable patient. The failure to use rails appropriately may be the basis for a negligence claim.  If the nurses’ notes show they did not raise the side rails, or if witnesses establish that the rails were not raised, and the patient falls out of bed and injures himself, those injuries may have been the result of negligence on the part of the hospital and the nurses. Physicians may also be responsible if the doctor was aware that the patient needed the protections afforded by side rails, but failed to order that they be used.

Nurses have an independent duty to ensure the safety of their patients, so you should look to examine the conduct of all three potential causes for the injury: the nurse, the hospital and the doctor. Nurses are trained, and need to be able to determine for themselves whether or not their patients need side rails.  If they do, they can and must follow good nursing practice and hospital policy and raise the rails themselves, even without a doctor’s order. In fact, the question of when to use side rails is or should be indicated in the hospital rules of almost every hospital, as set forth by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH). If the hospital accepts elderly Medicare-insured patients, that hospital must be certified by the JCAH, and the JCAH states that with elderly, confused, or drugged patients, side rails must be used.

Were the Nurses Too Busy?

Sometimes, the nurses are just too busy to give their patients the care they need.  Consider whether there was an emergency that required their attention to other patients.  Maybe their unit was understaffed. Through the litigation process known as “discovery”, we can find this information, and obtain the “nursing orders” in effect for all the patients on that nursing unit (floor or ward) and their diagnoses. If the nursing unit was understaffed by a hospital looking to make higher profits from lower labor costs, it’s often easy to see why patients fail to receive the nursing and hospital care they need.

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