Illinois Supreme Court Hears Red Light Camera Class Action

Last month the Illinois
Supreme Court heard arguments on the controversial red light camera ordinance
enacted by the city of Chicago back in 2003. Plaintiffs for the class argue
that cameras were approved and installed by the city prior to the state legislature
passing a law that would allow this type of ticketing system at
intersections. 

The
suit contends the technology’s implementation conflicted with state statutes
that sought to keep driving policies consistent across Illinois. It also says a
subsequent state law enabling Chicago’s ordinance — and the installation of
cameras in collar counties and the Metro East area near St. Louis — was
arbitrarily localized and, therefore, in conflict with the state constitution.

The
lawsuit further argues that since the state law (which was passed in 2006) only
applies to Chicago, surrounding collar counties and St. Louis Metro East
counties, it violates that state constitution because which prohibits
“special” or “local” laws in cases when a more general law is possible. The
lawsuit states: “because (the law)’s designation does not distinguish on
the basis of municipal population, congestion, traffic patterns or vehicle
accidents, cities like Springfield and Peoria, pedestrian-dense college towns
like Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington and rapidly-growing suburbs like Oswego,
may not enjoy the financial and claimed safety benefits of red-light cameras
because they are in the ‘wrong’ counties.”

If the
Illinois Supreme Court agrees with the plaintiffs’ arguments, then there will
be thousands of $100 refunds coming back to Illinois citizens.

I find
this lawsuit fascinating because it is looking at a constitutional question as
to whether these laws are valid. I think the more important question  is whether the cameras actually make intersections safer. Are there fewer
car accidents in these areas since the installation of the cameras? Opinions
vary on this matter. The city says, yes, that car crashes and traffic fatalities are down in these specific areas. As I’ve written on this blog
before, there have been studies around the country that the cameras actually
make intersections more dangerous and this is nothing more than a revenue
generator for cities and counties. I’m looking forward to seeing the ruling
from the state Supreme Court.

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

IL Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Injured Worker Fired For Cause

Imagine this scenario: you have been hurt on the job and your employer accepts the work accident and you relieve workers compensation benefits. At some point you do something that your employer deems as a fire-able offense, yet is unrelated to the workers compensation case. What do you do now?  What if you are still not healthy enough to return to the work force?  Based on the recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling in Interstate Scaffolding v. Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. (1-22-2010, Docket # 107852), injured employees are still due their workers compensation benefits such as temporary total disability (TTD otherwise known as off-work payments) and medical treatment. The following is the Court’s holding:

when an employee who is entitled to receive workers’compensation benefits as a result of a work-related injury is later terminated for conduct unrelated to the injury, the employer’s obligation to pay TTD workers’ compensation benefits continues until the employee’s medical condition has stabilized and he has reached maximum medical improvement.”

This is a giant victory for injured workers in Illinois. This ruling provides protection to employees and stands by the principal that benefits are related to the principal question of whether the worker is unable to work due to the work related injury.

Click here, to read the entire Supreme Court decision.

If you or someone you know has an Illinois workers compensation claim or hurt on the job, then call attorney Aaron Bryant at 312-588-3384 for a free consultation and let him help you collect the benefits and money you deserve.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Medical Malpractice Caps Are Unconstitutional

The Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state’s medical malpractice law today, saying it violates separation of powers by allowing lawmakers to interfere with a judge’s ability to reduce verdicts.

State lawmakers in 2005 passed legislation, which was signed into law by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, that established caps on noneconomic damages of $500,000 in cases against doctors and $1 million against hospitals. Illinois followed other states, such as California, that capped damages years ago.

But Justices writing said they were not persuaded by arguments used in other states. “That ‘everybody is doing it,” is hardly a litmus test for the constitutionality of the statute,” Justices writing for the majority opinion said.

Further, Justices said that what the statute allows for amounts to a “legislative remittur.” Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald delivered the judgment for the seven-member court and was joined in the opinion by Justices Charles Freeman, Thomas Kilbride and Anne Burke. Justice Robert Thomas took no part in the decision, the ruling said.

One of the many arguments made by the trial lawyers is that malpractice insurance companies are trying to blame patients who have been harmed by medical errors. They say insurance reform is what is needed to spur competition and keep physicians and hospital malpractice premiums low.

This is a huge victory for the injured victims in Illinois and finally settled a long debate. It is almost certain that this issue is not going away and that the insurance lobby will do everything in their power to overturn this ruling.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a personal injury, a Chicago car accident or Chicago workers compensation accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.