4 Iron Workers Injured In Chicago Construction Accident

The Chicago Tribune reported today that an iron beam collapsed on a construction site near Lake and Canal streets in downtown Chicago. Two iron workers apparently were on the beam when it collapsed about twenty (20) feet and two others were below the beam.

Two workers were taken in serious-to-critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, another in serious-to-critical was taken to Stroger Hospital and the fourth, in fair-to-serious condition, was transported to Rush University Medical Center.

It has been reported that the site has been closed down to allow OSHA time to come in and investigate the cause of the construction accident. First and foremost I think the whole city should breathe a sigh of relief that there were no fatal injuries from this accident and that all four workers will be in in our thoughts and prayers for a healthy recovery from any injuries.

Regardless, it is important to point out that each of these workers will be entitled to Illinois workers compensation benefits as a result of their injury. First, each of the workers is entitled to payment of all of their medical bills for treatment related to their work injuries. Second, the workers are entitled to what is called temporary total disability (“TTD”), which is payment directly to them for their time off of work due to these injuries. The payments are equal to 2/3 of their average weekly wages. Finally, assuming the workers go back to full duty after recovering from their injuries, they will be entitled to a permanent partial disability (“PPD”) award, which typically comes in a lump sum.

Another issue to consider for these injured workers is determining who was at fault for this accident. If the OSHA investigation, or any other independent investigation, determines that a third party was at fault for this construction accident, then the injured worker could have a potential civil lawsuit in the circuit court for their personal injuries, lost wages, medical bills and loss of enjoyment of life. It is premature to determine if this construction accident was caused by a third party (a party other than the workers’ employer), but it is common for multiple subcontractors to be present during a major construction project. If so, the injured worker will have both an Illinois workers compensation claim and civil lawsuit against any liable third party subcontractors and/or general contractors.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured at work and has an Illinois workers compensation case or has been involved in a Chicago construction accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Car Accidents In Illinois Are On The Rise

The Chicago Tribune reported this week a wealth of statewide traffic accident statistics. Although the number of traffic fatalities in Illinois is down from last year, the number of overall crashes remains high and has state officials worried since there has been an increase of auto accident lawyer firms being hired for  legal representation. There have been on average, 782 car crashes per day in Illinois this year. This is the highest rate since 2008. State officials are citing that post-recession traffic along with the drop in gas prices has led to the high number of car accidents. With the increase in accidents there has also been an increase for the need of car repairs at collision center shops. These repairs got from auto glass repair to an extensive collision repair.

Despite the increase in car crashes, state officials are pleased to report that traffic fatalities are on the decline.  “If the provisional numbers for 2014 hold up, we could have the lowest number of fatalities in Illinois in several decades,” said Guy Tridgell, an IDOT spokesman in Chicago. “We are confident that we will have fewer than 1,000 motor-vehicle fatalities in Illinois for the fifth consecutive year. Just 10 years ago, we were well over 1,300.”

State safety officials said the installation of more guardrails, barrier systems and rumble strips on roads, along with recently enacted traffic laws, are all having a positive impact. This year, for example, it became illegal for drivers in Illinois to use electronic devices unless they are hands-free.

Poor decision making remains a constant cause of traffic accidents. Almost a third of the crashes involved driving at a high rate of speed, while another third are alcohol related.

One statistic that was not mentioned in the article or by state officials is the number of car crashes related to cell phone and hand held device usage. I would like to see what the number of car crashes are related to distracted drivers. Although I have been impressed with the Illinois Legislature’s effort to curb distracted driving – – and I have written so in the past – – I would still like to see stiffer penalties for those charged with texting and driving which results in a death or serious injury. Although the increase in traffic due to the improved economy is definitely a factor, I strongly believe texting and driving has to be another reason we are seeing an increase in traffic accidents in Illinois.

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

Illinois Governor Signs Amendment To Jury Law

On December 19, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed an amendment (Public Act 098-1132), that changes the scope of jury law in this state. First, the new law, which takes effect on June 1, 2015, increases juror pay to $25 for the first day and $50 per day for any after that a juror serves. Second, the amendment decreases the size of a jury from 12 to 6.

These new laws have been getting mixed reviews from the media, including an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, completely denouncing the new law. The editorial basically states that the new law is a ploy by Plaintiff”s attorneys to curry favor with its jury. I take exception to the Tribune’s take on the new law. Serving as a juror is a tough burden the court system puts on its citizens. Jurors sacrifice their time away from their families, their jobs and money to serve. A minimal bump in payment for their time served is not asking too much to reimburse people for their sacrifice to the community.

I think it is unclear right now what all of the effects will be with a 6 person jury will have over a 12 person jury.  One thing is certain, a juries will be picked much more quickly, which will shorten the length of trials. And most likely juries will deliberate for less time because there are fewer voices in the room. All of these appear to be positives.

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.

Redflex Consultant Pleads Guilty In Red Light Camera Case

I wrote earlier this year about a federal investigation involving, Redflex, the technology company that previously handled Chicago’s red light camera technology. That federal investigation led to indictments against the Redflex CEO, and consultant and a city of Chicago official for all allegedly being involved in a bribery scandal. The Chicago Tribune reported today that the “bagman,” Martin O’Malley, plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to bribe a public official. He faces up to five years in prison.

The interesting issue here for me is whether this will affect the pending class action lawsuit against Redflex. The lawsuit, filed earlier this year, alleges that Redflex was unjustly enriched millions of dollars from this contract with the city Chicago because they allegedly received these funds through illegal bribes. It will be interesting to see if the transcripts from Mr. O’Malley’s sentencing hearing will be used as evidence in the class action lawsuit. I will be following this case closely.

No word yet as to whether the city has any plans on ending the use of red light cameras throughout Chicago. I don’t see a change any time soon.

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.