Illinois House Speaker Madigan Stands Strong Against Tort Reform

Many have heard the words “tort reform” on this blog and in media. New Illinois Governor, Bruce Rauner, has been touting tort reform around the state since he took office in January. Tort reform is the big business and insurance industry’s attempted lobby to limit what the injured can be awarded in civil lawsuits. 2005 legislation on capping medical malpractice awards was ruled unconstitutional in 2010 by the Illinois Supreme Court. The Court correctly concluded that this violated a plaintiff’s right to trial by jury.

The Chicago Tribune reported this week that Illinois Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, held a daylong hearing for the entire House allowing victims of personal injury accidents and medical malpractice to have their stories heard. This included testimony from people like Molly Akers, who told of being incorrectly diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing an unnecessary mastectomy. Testifying alongside Akers was Linda Reynolds, a Missouri resident who won a $4.5 million judgment but was not able to collect the full amount because of caps on damages in her state. Reynolds said she noticed a lump in her breast in 2003 but wasn’t taken seriously by her doctor. By the time she was diagnosed with cancer, it was too late, she said. Reynolds said the cancer has spread to other parts of her body over the years.

I applaud Speaker Madigan for standing strong against Rauner’s tort reform rhetoric. It’s funny when you hear the Governor and others beating the drum of tort reform and you have to think – – what if that was one of his family members that was misdiagnosed or involved in a catastrophic car accident? I do not believe he would just put his hands up in the air and say, “that’s life.” No, I believe he would react just like all other every day Illinoisans would. He would respond by holding those responsible for their negligent actions. Remember, anyone who has been injured due to the negligence of others has the right to have their day in court. They have the right to have their story told before a judge and a jury. They have a right to be compensated for their losses. Do not forget these fundamental rights when you go to the voting booth and who is trying to take these rights away.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

 

 

Illinois State Lawmaker Proposes Statewide Ban On Red Light Cameras

I wrote a few weeks back about Chicago mayoral candidate, Bob Fioretti’s proposed ban on red light cameras in Chicago. As an alderman, he planned on submitting an ordinance that would outlaw red light cameras in Chicago. This sentiment has gained traction state-wide, as the Chicago Tribune reports that Representative David McSweeney, a Barrington Hills Republican, filed legislation to outlaw traffic enforcement cameras statewide.

McSweeney submitted this bill based on last month’s study published by the Tribune. I wrote about that study, which in essence, concluded that red light cameras provide zero net impact or safety improvements to intersections that hold these cameras. The number of cross-traffic or T-bone collisions have decreased, while the number of rear-end crashes have actually increased. This left the Texas A&M professors, who prepared the study, to conclude that red light cameras were not making the intersections any safer and were merely a money-maker for the city.

The bill would repeal state law that allowed Chicago to grow its red light program into the largest in the nation and also targets the mayor’s new speed camera program that began rolling out last year.

McSweeney said he had not yet discussed the proposed legislation with Madigan or the Democratic leadership in the House.

“At the end of the day, it’s important that we have debate on this issue, that we get a vote on the floor and hopefully ban these cameras,” said McSweeney, who added that Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, is ready to sponsor the legislation in the Senate. “I am sure I will have a discussion with Speaker Madigan about it very soon.”

It will be interesting to see who acts first, the state legislature or the city alderman. Based on the recent press and scandals these cameras have delivered, I would not be surprised to see either a local or statewide ban of red light cameras by the end of the year.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

New Illinois Bill No Longer Requires Ticketed Drivers Hand Over License As Bail

The Chicago Tribune reported last month about a new bill that was signed into Illinois law that no longer requires drivers cited for traffic violations hand over their license to the Court as bail insuring they attend court or pay their fine. Up until the bill was signed, certain speeding violations and other moving violations such as causing an accident would require the ticketed driver hand over their license to the police officer as bail. The driver would have their license returned to them by the judge at court after either pleading guilty or after the ticket was dismissed.

Senate Bill 2583, sponsored by Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, and State Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015. “A driver’s license is an important form of identification, and without it many residents may run into problems during everyday situations when a valid ID is required,” Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement. “This common sense legislation will allow law enforcement officials to continue doing their jobs while letting motorists hang onto a vital piece of identification.”

I think this bill makes sense and held little leverage over the heads of ticketed drivers. Drivers know, or at least soon find out, that failing to show up for court or paying their fine could lead to a suspended driver’s license or sometimes a warrant for their arrest.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Illinois Governor Quinn Signs Kelsey’s Law

Back in 2011, 13 year
old Kelsey Little was walking with two friends in Grundy County, when she was
tragically struck and killed by a 15 year old driver. Shockingly, three days
later the 15 year old applied for and received his driver’s license. This news
shocked the Little family along with lawmakers and Illinois Secretary of State,
Jesse White.

As a result, Illinois
lawmakers drafted and passed House Bill 1009, which was named Kelsey’s law. The
new law, which NBC 5 reports was signed into law by Governor Quinn, prohibits any teen with unresolved traffic
citations from getting a state driver’s license.  Sources said Quinn
supports the proposed legislation. 
The new law would ask the
question: ‘Do you have a pending case in court dealing with a traffic
violation?’ If a teen answers, ‘Yes,’ or is caught lying, White’s office can
then invalidate that license application.

“It’s the kind of commonsense
legislation that will make people of Illinois safer, our lives better and my
family a little happier,” Little’s mother, Nancy Deckleman, said
after Monday’s bill-signing. “Knowing that for everything Kelsey’s been
through that something good will finally come of it.”  The new law
took effect with Quinn’s signature.

This is the type of legislation
that makes the roads safer, and will hopefully prevent other deadly
vehicle-pedestrian accidents from taking place.

Should you or someone you love
become injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago auto-pedestrian accident,
then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free legalconsultation at 312-588-3384. 

Illinois House Passes Drivers License Bill For Undocumented Immigrants

Illinois is the
governor’s signature away from new legislation that will allow undocumented
immigrants to obtain a temporary driver’s license. NBC Chicago reported
on Tuesday that the bill passed 65-46. Immigrant Drivers would get three-year
licenses, called Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses, and would be required to
take a driver’s education class and carry car insurance. Lawmakers believe
there are as many as 250,000 undocumented immigrants on Illinois roads and that
more than 40 percent of deadly Illinois crashes involve drivers who don’t have
a license.

Governor Quinn applauded
the House’s action, saying the bill will save lives as well as “help ensure
every Illinois motorist is properly licensed and empower more immigrants to
become stronger contributors to our economy. 
Illinois roads will be safer if we ensure every driver learns the rules
of the road and is trained to drive safely,” Quinn said.


I wrote about this story a few weeks back when the bill was being discussed in
committee, which you can read here.  This bill is a win win for everyone.
First, it is undisputed that there are thousands of undocumented immigrants in
Illinois that are law abiding and are working hard for their families. They
have been left hamstrung by police and in courts because they have not been
allowed to apply for a driver’s license without a social security number. These
are pointless and expensive tickets that clog up the traffic and criminal
courts. I know this first hand because I have represented dozens of these
immigrants and most of the time they are merely trying to drive to and from
work or pick up their kids from school. Second, this measure will protect Illinois
drivers and make the roads safer. Immigrants will now be able to purchase auto
insurance, and in case there is an auto accident, there will be protection for the
injured. Third, the undocumented drivers will still have to take and pass the
written and driving test, which will hopefully mean that there will be
thousands of more skilled drivers that will know the rules of the road.

Should you or someone you love
become injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call
Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation at
312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com.
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Legislation Update: Illinois Workers’ Rights Remain Protected As Workers Compensation Bill Not Called

Last week a major victory occurred for the rights of Illinois workers.  The Illinois legislature decided not to call a bill that would have dramatically stripped the Workers Compensation rights of Illinois workers .

The bill in question would have made the following dramatic changes to the Illinois Workers Compensation Act :

Limiting The Choice Of Doctor

This proposed legislation limits the injured worker’s right to choose a doctor by automatically sending them to the company doctor of choice.  The “company doctor” has the financial incentive to get the employee back to work as soon as possible, instead of as safely as possible; this means that necessary tests may not get ordered, procedures may not be preformed, and specialist visits may be limited.

Utilization Review (UR)

UR creates presumption in favor of UR which will be almost impossible to overcome.  It takes away treating doctors discretion to determine the best treatment for an injured worker.  This is a one-size-fits-all solution to an issue that demands individualized attention and treatment.

Changes In Wage Differential Claims

 Significant caps (67 years of age or 5 years) and reviewable for economic change 4 times per year. Wage differential is designed to preserve the earning power of an employee injured at work by partially making up the difference in the lost wages after the injury.  These workers no longer have the ability or opportunity to earn the wage they once did.  Wage beneficial benefits help make up some of the difference of lost wages due to a workplace injury.

Reduction of Medical Fee Schedule

This legislation reduces the medical fee schedule for procedures and services rendered by doctors and hospitals.  This reduction will result in fewer doctors wanting to treat patients on worker’s compensation.

Fortunately this bill was never called for a vote by the Illinois Speaker of the House at the end of the legislative session. The above proposals would have chipped away the two (2) most important worker protections: proper medical treatment and compensation to make the injured worker whole. The Illinois Workers Compensation Act was designed a long time ago to protect injured workers  and it is our duty as Illinois residents to continue to protect these rights.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a work accident  or believe they have an Illinois Workers Compensation  case, then call Chicago work comp attorney , Aaron J. Bryant, for a free consultation  or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com