Tag Archives: Illinois personal injury attorney

Baseline testing helps doctors assess concussions in youth sports

The baseline testing assesses cognitive functioning, reaction time, memory and how the subject processes information.

The baseline testing assesses cognitive functioning, reaction time, memory and how the subject processes information.

The parents of 10-year-olds have enough to worry about raising their kids, including the risk of traumatic brain injury if the children are involved in competitive contact sports. Hockey, soccer, football and basketball players have a risk of concussions. In hockey alone, there are chances a player will hit the wall, the ice or another player, which is a leading cause of traumatic brain injury. The plaintiff personal injury lawsuits filed by former NFL players increased the attention paid to athletes and injury, from the professional leagues to youth sports. While the 10-year-old hockey players are not hitting as hard as the high school students, it is important to educate and train both players and parents about concussions and their prevention and treatment.

A baseline test makes a record of healthy brain function and balance, before a concussion.

Among the education and prevention curriculum, baseline cognitive testing allows physicians to establish the normal brain function and balance testing in a healthy state. If a child suffers a head injury or significant impact, post-injury testing can be performed and the results can be compared against the baseline test, to help determine the level of injury, helping parents, coaches and physicians determine recovery protocol and assess how long a student athlete should be sidelined during the healing process.

The baseline testing assesses cognitive functioning, reaction time, memory and how the subject processes information. Conducting the same testing some time after the baseline testing allows physicians to measure any changes in immediate recall and accuracy in recalling information. When an individual suffers a traumatic brain injury, there is a measurable change in how fast the concussed individual thinks, remembers and can concentrate; the worse the injury the more profound the change.

Teaching children to recognize concussion symptoms increases the opportunity for proper treatment.

Interpretations of some studies lead researchers to believe that girls are more prone to concussions than boys playing the same sports. Some theories suggest that girls’ necks are not as strong which could lead to easier concussions, while others think girls might be more likely to report injuries and symptoms to doctors and nurses than the boys who don’t want to claim an injury.  It is important to teach children what to look for and what a concussion is. Kristen in Ohio, the parent of a 10-year-old hockey player shared her experience in educating her child, “I kind of explained it to him that your brain is in your head and if it hits real hard on a solid spot it’s shaking in there and that’s what causes the damage,” Kristin said[i].

The symptoms of concussions that young athletes, parents and coaches can be aware of include dizziness, headache, nausea, balance, fatigue and sensitivity to light and noise. Symptoms can be less prevalent immediately following major impact and can increase in severity in the time following the injury event. If there is a time delay between injury and noticing symptoms, there can be a disconnect between the symptoms and their underlying cause, if it indeed was a head injury, therefore awareness and education about traumatic brain injury is important.[ii]

Researching and identifying baseline testing opportunities is suggested to parents of young athletes.

In educating and working to prevent concussions, experts suggest young athletes brains be protected by proper fitting equipment, skills and form training, and the use of baseline testing. Some schools and athletic organizations offer baseline cognitive testing for young athletes. In the event, however, your child(ren)’s school or sports club does not offer baseline testing, many local doctors might be available to measure and track cognitive brain functioning in healthy children to measure against follow-up testing in the event of a sports injury where there might be a concussion.

Michael V. Favia & Associates is a health law and litigation law firm focused on helping educate and prevent concussion injuries as well as representing injured clients. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit FaviaLawFirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.

[i] WBNS-10TV, Central Ohio, Baseline Testing: Critical Part of Concussion Care, by Tracy Townsend, Nov. 5, 2015.

[ii] See HNi above.

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Illinois Supreme Court: Captive insurance agents have limited fiduciary duty to clients

Illinois Supreme Court Holds Captive Insurance Agents Owe Limited Tort Liability Duty to Clients. Image by The Appellate Strategist.

Illinois Supreme Court Holds Captive Insurance Agents Owe Limited Tort Liability Duty to Clients. Image by The Appellate Strategist.

The Illinois Supreme Court recently decided a case, considering “whether an insurance company’s agent has a duty to exercise ordinary care and skill in procuring the specific insurance coverage requested by his customer.” The appellate court’s judgment was affirmed by the Supreme Court that, “imposes a duty on an insurance agent to act with ordinary care under the circumstances,[i]” where a captive insurance agent did not effectively make the proper change to an insured policy by adding a named insured on a new policy.

After a traffic collision, an insured driver’s fiancée was not correctly named in a new policy at issue.

The facts in this case are straightforward. An insured man allowed his fiancée to drive one of his vehicles and she was involved in a collision. The insurance company offered to pay the claim for loss, on the condition that the man update his policy, effectively agreeing to a new policy, naming his fiancée as a covered driver. The man accepted the offer and made contact with his “captive insurance agent[ii],” to make the change. The agent did not effectively make the change, and all that occurred was the addition of a “female” on the new policy, but she was not specifically identified by name.[iii]

Meanwhile, believing that the fiancée was a properly named insured individual on the policy, fiancée’s son was involved in a collision, resulting in a claim against the new policy when the other driver’s insurance coverage limits were reached and did not cover the full claim for loss. The issue before the trial court was whether the agent owed his insured clients a fiduciary duty to properly obtain the coverage as requested and agreed.[iv]

The Illinois Code of Civil Procedure identifies the duties of care imposed on insurance producers.

Under Illinois law, “[a]n insurance producer…shall exercise ordinary care and skill in renewing, procuring, binding, or placing the coverage requested by the insured or proposed insured.[v]

The law treats insurance “agents” differently than it treats “brokers,” the third party sellers who connect individuals with the agents exclusively representing the insurance companies. Agents do not have the same fiduciary duties to individuals the same way brokers do. The question before the court centers on the meaning of “insurance producer” as written in the aforementioned law imposing a duty of ordinary care.

The Supreme Court opinion is that an “insurance producer” could be interpreted as meaning an agent or a broker. The Illinois Insurance Code defines an “insurance producer” as, “a person required to be licensed under the laws of this state to sell, solicit, or negotiate insurance.[vi]

This Court’s opinion imposes a limited duty on insurance agents as well as brokers.

The Illinois Supreme Court held that, “The allegations of plaintiffs’ complaint fit within the specific statutory language requiring insurance producers to “exercise ordinary care and skill in *** procuring *** the coverage requested by the insured.” 735 ILCS 5/2-2201 (a)(West 2010). Accordingly we conclude that section 2-2201 imposed a duty of ordinary care on Lessaris [the captive insurance agent] to procure the insurance coverage specifically requested by plaintiffs.[vii]” The case was remanded to the original circuit court for further proceedings on the plaintiffs’ claims for loss under the policy.

For more information or legal assistance and representation in matters involving insurance coverage and litigation, you are encouraged to contact Michael V. Favia & Associates.

The law firm of Michael V. Favia & Associates is a general civil practice firm dedicated to providing personalized service and high quality representation for clients. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter and you will be kept in the loop about upcoming events and news in the firm’s practice areas including personal injury, medical malpractice, worker’s compensation, complex civil litigation and professional regulation and licensing.

[i] Supreme Court of The State of Illinois, Skaperdas v. Country Casualty Insurance Company, No. 2015 IL 117021, Opinion filed Mar. 19, 2015.

[ii] Definition: A Captive agent is one that represents only one company and effectively is under the control of that Company, e.g. State Farm, Allstate, Country Companies, Farmers Insurance Group, American Family and Shelter, to name a few. See http://www.chooseindependent.com/

[iii] The Appellate Strategist, Illinois Supreme Court Holds Captive Insurance Agents Owe Limited Tort Duty to Clients, by Kirk Jenkins, Apr. 2, 2015.

[iv] See HNii above.

[v] 735 ILCS 5/2-2201.

[vi] 215 ILCS 5/500-10.

[vii] See HNi above.