Car Crashes into Crowd at SXSW, Leaves 2 Dead, 23 More Injured

Austin Sign

The Los Angeles Times reports that a suspected drunk driver killed two people and injured many others in the early hours of the morning on March 13th at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas.

Sometime around 12:30 in the morning on Thursday, police pulled over a man for driving erratically in his gray Toyota sedan. After being pulled over by police at a gas station off Interstate 35 for a sobriety check, driver Rashad Charjuan Owens of Killeen, Texas, fled from police and proceeded to drive the wrong way down a one-way street, and subsequently drove through a barricade meant to protect people who were enjoying the SXSW festivities at local bars located between 9th and 11th Streets. Owens drove the two blocks down Red River Street–from 9th to 11th Street–through crowds of pedestrians, and crashed into a bicyclist, a moped carrying two passengers, a taxi and a van, while also managing to drive up onto the sidewalk. Owens struck many club-goers outside of a club called The Mohawk before stopping his vehicle. Owens then exited his wrecked vehicle and fled on foot. Police pursued Owens and ultimately subdued him by using stun guns.

It has still not been confirmed whether Owens was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but blood samples were collected and are being analyzed. It is also reported that the bicyclist and one of the moped passengers were killed. Twenty-three other people are reported as having been injured during the crash. With so much harm done to so many victims, Owens will face two counts of capital murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault as a result of this incident.

Motor Vehicle Accidents Involve Many Types of Victims

Motor vehicle accidents happen all too frequently and can involve a wide variety of different victims, as is demonstrated in the report about the SXSW car crash. While the victims of motor vehicle accidents are frequently the driver and passengers of the vehicle that was crashed into, i.e., the driver/passengers of the other vehicle, victims can also be people walking on the street or sidewalk, or they can be bicyclists or motorcyclists. Regardless of whether you are a pedestrian, bicyclist, or driver of a car, track, moped or taxi, if you have been involved in an accident for which you are not at fault, you have rights against the at-fault driver.

Contacting a Vehicle Accident Attorney

If you find yourself involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, you need to contact an experienced vehicle accident attorney. Whether you are a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a motorcyclist or a driver in another vehicle is immaterial; if you are a victim and the driver is at-fault, you need to preserve your legal rights. The attorneys at Willens Law Offices can fight for you, protect your rights and procure the justice you deserve. Contact one of our attorneys today for a free consultation. We can be reached online or by telephone at 877-958-6564.

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Sepsis Misdiagnosis Leads to Girl Receiving Amputation of All Four Limbs


The Chicago Tribune recently reported a story about a little girl named Ashanti Norals and the malpractice settlement her and her family received from the University of Chicago Medical Center. If you looked at Ashanti now, you would see a happy, spirited pre-teen girl from the South Side of Chicago. She likes to gossip about boy bands and how much she dislikes her school uniform. She goes swimming, loves technology and enjoys snapping pictures with her cellphone. But Ashanti is not your average little girl. She has undergone four amputation surgeries, one for each of her limbs. A few years ago, in May of 2011, Ashanti bumped her knee while on the playground at school; the injury didn’t even break the skin. However, a few days later the pain in her knee was immense and she developed a fever. Ashanti’s mother, Erica Norals, became concerned by her daughter’s pain, and took Ashanti to the University of Chicago Medical Center. 

Upon admittance to the medical center, Ashanti had a 100-degree fever, which later rose to 104. Her blood work showed that she had an elevated white blood cell count and the pain in her leg worsened as time wore on. The doctors scheduled an MRI and attempted to manage her pain, yet she was not administered any antibiotics. On her second day in the hospital, Ashanti went into septic shock, suffered from a cardiac arrest, and had multiple organ systems begin to fail. Over the next few days her limbs developed gangrene and required amputation.

In October 2012, Erica Norals filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the University of Chicago Medical Center and the five doctors who were involved in Ashanti’s care during the first 24 hours after admission. Within the year, the case settled for $32 million, placed in a trust for Ashanti until she reaches 18. In the meantime, her mother can use some of the funds for major medical expenditures with the courts approval, such as a fully accessible home in which Ashanti can have more independence. 

Ashanti now has four prosthetic devices, which she is learning to use in place of her amputated arms, legs, hands and feet. She has mastered swimming, and is fairly good at walking, although she sometimes becomes easily tired. She can bathe herself, and clean her prosthetics, but has difficulty dressing. Her family has been the support she needs while adapting and adjusting to her new limbs.    

Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis Usually Track Back to Medical Negligence 

When a doctor improperly diagnoses a medical condition, the condition can convert into a high-risk situation for the affected patient. Such a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is usually an act of medical negligence on the part of the doctor. Doctors, other medical professionals and hospitals owe patients a duty of care, and when that duty is breached and it causes harm to the patient, medical negligence has occurred. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can have severe complications, as is told by Ashanti’s story. 

Contacting a Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you are the victim of a misdiagnosis that led to the delay of a proper diagnosis, you need to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to help you get the justice you deserve. At Willens Law Offices, our team of seasoned professionals is ready to help you. Contact us today online or by telephone at 312-957-4166 for a free consultation concerning your case.  

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Pit Bull Shot By Police After Biting Victim

Pit Bull

Over the weekend, in a South Shore neighborhood, Chicago police had to shoot a pit bull dog after it attacked and injured someone, the Chicago Tribune reports. On Saturday morning, residents of the quiet neighborhood called police to report that a pit bull was running around loose in the neighborhood. The offending dog bit someone, but it is unclear whether the bite occurred before police were called to the scene or after police arrived. The dog allegedly charged at the officer, causing the officer to shoot the dog.

Dog Bite Statistics

Dog bites are fairly common occurrences. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and that one in five of those bites requires medical attention. The CDC cites that children sustain half of those dog bite injuries that require medical treatment. Children, particularly children between the ages of 5 and 9, present a higher risk of suffering from a dog bite injury that requires medical attention, because they are small and weak compared to a dog. Males are also more likely to suffer from dog bites than females, one of the reasons being that men will often “play wrestle” with their dogs.   

Illinois Applies Strict Liability for Dog Bites

An animal bite is a personal injury, for which a bite victim is entitled to damages. Illinois has a strict liability policy for dog bites, so long as the bite victim can demonstrate the elements for that liability. This means that the owner, custodian or keeper of the offending dog is liable to the bite victim, so long as the victim can show that 1) he or she was attacked by the dog, 2) he or she did not provoke the dog in any way to cause the attack, and 3) that the victim was somewhere he or she was lawfully allowed to be, i.e., he or she was not trespassing when the dog bite occurred. 

What To Do If You Are Bitten By A Dog

  • Remove Yourself from the Situation and Report to Police. You want to remove yourself from a dangerous situation, so get away from the dog that bit you as soon as you can. It is important to keep calm as you deal with the immediate aftermath of a dog bite. While you may be emotional, you need to report the dog bite to the police.  The police will prepare a police report for the incident, which you can later use in your dog bite case against the dog’s owner.

  • Seek Medical Attention. A dog bite, no matter how small, needs medical attention. Get the bite checked out as soon as possible after the bite occurs.

  • Contact an Attorney Who Has Experience Dealing with Dog Bite Cases. It is likely that you will need an attorney to represent you in your dog bite case. Many dog bites are covered by the dog owner’s homeowners insurance, so a claims adjuster may approach you about the dog bite incident. Do not talk to them. Instead seek out an experienced attorney to deal with them for you.

Contacting A Dog Bite Attorney

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite and are in need of legal counsel, you should contact an experienced dog bite attorney to help you establish and protect your rights. Contact Willens Law Offices today for a free consultation either online or by telephone at 877-958-6564.

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