About John Risvold

John, a trial lawyer at The Collins Law Firm P.C., has dedicated his career to fighting those responsible for injuring his clients. He focuses his practice on medical negligence, nursing home neglect, dangerous drugs & products and environmental & toxic torts. He spends the majority of his practice representing victims of catastrophic injury as a result of other’s negligence.

John works tirelessly to get the best outcome for his clients and has recovered millions of dollars for his clients. He has tried cases to verdict in Illinois and handled cases throughout the country. Prior to joining The Collins Law Firm, John defended large multi-national corporations in multi-million dollar litigation, giving him a unique insight into how cases are handled by the companies and individuals responsible for catastrophic injury.

His work has earned him numerous honors, including:
• Selected by his peers as an Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Star,
• Named to the National Trial Lawyers. “Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyers” list,
• Selected for inclusion in the Order of the Barristers
• Awarded the R. David Ray Excellence in Trial Advocacy Award,
• Listed as one of the 10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in Illinois

John is active in several professional organizations that work to ensure his clients’ access to the courts remains intact, including the American Associate for Justice, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.

He is admitted to practice in Illinois, Missouri, and several Federal District Courts.

John has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and a law degree from the University of Missouri School of Law

Practice Areas

Enverionmental & Toxic Exposure

Too many people throughout the United States are still needlessly being exposed to toxic chemicals like TCE, PCE, MTBE, PCB, VC, lead, and arsenic because corporations are recklessly dumping them into our soil and water. This contamination can lead to cancers, birth defects, respiratory ailments, weakened immune systems and other serious illnesses. In addition to personal injuries, environmental contamination in soil, groundwater, and air, or vapor intrusion will often times destroy the property values of people’s homes.

Personal Injury

When you or a loved one is injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to receive compensation for your personal injuries. Compensation for your injuries includes things like past and future medical bills, past and future lost income, and your pain and suffering.

Medical Negligence

When you go to the doctor, emergency room or hospital, you put a certain amount of trust in health care practitioners to give you the care you need. When doctors, nurses or other staff violate that trust, however, you are often left worse off than before, and likely dealing with more medical bills, negative long-term health effects and the loss of your independence.

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Placing a loved one in a nursing home is never an easy decision, but we often do it so mom or dad can get the care they need. One thing you should never have to fear is a nursing home and its employees treating your loved one poorly. It is devastating for a family to hear that their loved one has been injured or killed in a place that they trusted. If that happens, you need attorneys in your corner who know how to hold negligent nursing home operators accountable for their actions.

Why Choose John?

No Fee Unless We Win

I handle 100% of my cases on a contingency. That means you don’t pay a fee unless we win. No retainer, no money up front.

Free Consultation

If you have a potential case, I’m happy to answer your questions free of charge. We offer free consultations to all potential clients to learn how we can help you in your time of need.

Justice for the Injured

I only represent people against the powerful interests of big insurance, big corporations, and wrongdoers in Chicago, throughout the Midwest and across the country. My sole focus is getting justice for you.

From our Blog

How to Select the Best Nursing Home for Your Loved One

As the population in the United States continues to age, it is estimated that there will be 19 million Americans over the age of 85 by the year 2050. Currently, 1 in 8 Americans resides in a long-term care facility or nursing home. This doesn’t even factor in the number of people who need short-term stays in nursing homes for rehabilitation or following medical procedures or injuries.

The choice of a nursing home is an important one. In 2002 the New York Times reported that Federal studies showed that nearly 90% of nursing homes were understaffed and lacked the capabilities to handle the number of patients in their facilities. Since this 2002 study, many facilities still remain vastly understaffed.

Additionally, sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect is more common than one might think. From unwitnessed falls, dehydration, and malnutrition, to pressure ulcers, nursing homes without adequate and well-trained staff cause serious injuries or even death for residents each year.

When selecting a nursing home it is vitally important to do your due diligence and learn as much as you can about the facility. By asking the right questions and making the right observations you can ensure that you are placing your loved one in the right facility for them.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends asking some of the following questions to learn about how the facility will care for your loved one:

Questions about the Facility and Staff

Before entering the building, take notes of the surrounding neighborhood, the facilities, landscaping, and building itself. Is it clean and well kept? Is it in a nice part of town? Pay attention to the noise level, if the halls and common areas are well lit and if the facility appears clean and well kept. Notice how many nurses and staff members are working, how they interact with residents and if they are friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.

Be sure to ask:

·     How many beds do you have?

·     What are visiting hours?

·     How many nurses or staff members are working on each shift?

·     How many of those nurses or staff be caring for my loved one?

·     Do you offer transportation to doctor’s offices or other appointments, or are those appointments handled on site?

·     How many adverse events have you had in the past 3 years related to falls, pressure ulcers, dehydration or malnutrition?

·     Are the exterior doors locked?

·     Are there written materials that you can provide which explain the types of care provided?

Questions about Resident Rooms

Notice whether the rooms are attractive, well lit, clean and welcoming. Are there windows? Does the room have a private bathroom? Is it a shared room or will your loved one be in a private room?

Be Sure to Ask:

·     What safety precautions are in the room to prevent falls or other injuries?

·     Does the room have a working call button to call nurses or staff?

·     How often are nurses or staff coming into the room to check on my loved one?

·     If they need help with daily activities, such as getting in and out of bed or getting to and from the toilet, how do they get assistance?

·     What do they do if there is not assistance available when they need it?

Questions about Resident Care

Pay attention to where the dining room in the facility is, how far it is from your loved one’s room and what time meals are served. Observe other residents. Do they seem clean and well cared for, or are they unkempt?

Be Sure to Ask:

·     How often will my loved one get a shower?

·     What time are meals served and who will take my loved one to eat?

·     Will my loved one get assistance eating and drinking, if they need it?

·     Can my loved one take a bath, instead of a shower, if they prefer?

·     Can they dress in the clothing of their choice?

·     Will they receive help brushing teeth, shaving and with other necessary hygiene?

Questions about Staff

The staff members at the facility are the ones who will be providing care to your loved one. Pay close attention to how they interact with residents and how quickly they respond to requests from residents. Staff members should know the residents by name, be respectful and friendly and should always be prepared to assist residents in need.

Be Sure to Ask:

·     Do you have a full-time social worker on staff?

·     Are there skilled rehabilitation therapists on staff?

·     How many doctors and nurses are on staff?

·     What type of staffing pattern do you use? How long are shifts?

·     How often does a doctor check on my loved one?

·     Can the doctor be reached at all times?

·     What types of training does the staff receive? Who trains them and how often do they get updated training?

The choice of a nursing home or long-term care facility is an important one. You want to ensure that your loved one is getting the best, highest quality care, is treated with kindness and dignity and is never neglected or overlooked. By asking the right questions and properly vetting the nursing home and its staff you can make sure your loved one is in good hands.hospice-1821429_1920.jpg

Independence Day Safety Tips for a Fun & Safe Fourth of July Holiday

Independence Day Safety Tips for a Fun & Safe Fourth of July Holiday

It’s time for Fourth of July celebrations – fireworks, a backyard barbecue, maybe a trip to the beach. Whatever you have planned, I want to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Here are a few safety tips that can help keep Independence Day fun and safe for everyone.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

Every year people in this country are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill when it is open. Keep the lid closed when cooking if possible.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools specially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

Whether you’re headed to Lake Geneva or the beaches of Indiana or Western Michigan, make sure that you stay safe on the water. Be mindful of bad weather, rip tides and never go into the water alone. Other safety tips include:

  • Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted. Red flags mean stay out of the water.
  • Swim sober and always swim with a buddy.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect your neck – never dive into water headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Waves and rip tides can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.

Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. These currents are common in Lake Michigan. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:

  • If someone is caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, they should turn and swim toward shore. If they can’t swim to the shore, they should float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply sunscreen often. Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them, as they tend to dehydrate you, making sunburn more likely. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight. Protect the feet – the sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.

During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:

  • Call 911 and move the person to a cooler place.
  • Quickly cool their body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting them with water) and fanning the person.
  • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure their airway is clear. Keep the person lying down

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our freedom and our great country. Celebrating is important, but so is making sure that everyone has a safe and fun celebration. Enjoy the holiday. Happy Independence Day!

H.R. 1215 – Closing the Courthouse Doors to Victims

H.R. 1215 – Closing the Courthouse Doors to Victims

mederrorscausedeath12The American Association for Justice reports H.R. 1215, the massive medical malpractice bill that also applies to nursing home and drug and device cases, will be debated on the House floor next week. This is the bill that caps non-economic damages at $250,000, eliminates joint liability for economic and non-economic loss, caps attorney fees, has a restrictive statute of limitations and says that a doctor and a pharmaceutical company cannot be named in the same lawsuit.  The bill is very preemptive and applies limits regardless of the number of parties, the causes of action or the theory of liability.

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in America. Capping damages prevent victims from getting compensation for injuries that deserve compensation for. It also increases your tax burden while protecting big insurance and allowing them to profit off of malpractice.

The first thing to note is that when suing in the medical malpractice arena, you are not typically suing a doctor, nurse or healthcare professional personally. More often than not, you are suing their insurance company. The insurance companies don’t want you to know this. But it’s true.

Caps only serve to help insurance companies profit, while passing the buck to the victim or ultimately the taxpayer. Take for instance a medical malpractice case where a child will need lifetime care due to a birth injury. It could cost millions to provide care for the child over the course of the child’s life because of the malpractice. Damages caps prevent a jury from awarding more than $250,000 to cover this cost. Once the $250,000 has been spent, victims are often forced onto public aid, increasing the tax burden. This prevents insurance companies from sharing the burden of the mistakes made by those who committed malpractice. It also allows insurance companies to profit off of the malpractice committed because they know they will only have to pay small amounts for the most devastating injuries.

H.R 1215 prevents victims from getting compensated while protecting big insurance and passing the buck to taxpayers. Tell your Representative in Congress that you won’t stand for a bill that robs taxpayers to allow insurance to profit and leaves victims by the wayside.