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.
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I wrote recently about
certain steps taken by Chicago officials that regulate ride share companies
like Uber, Sidecar and Lyft. Specifically, the city made it a requirement for
all of these companies to carry excess or umbrella insurance for their drivers
that would cover for accidents while driving around looking for fares or
picking up customers. This was a positive step and all of the companies put out
statements that they would comply.
The taxi companies in
Chicago were not happy and though more regulations were needed and they have
helped push through Illinois HB 4075, which states that all drivers (for
ride share companies) would be required to undergo background checks, vehicle
safety checks and have commercial insurance. Those who drive more than 18 hours
per week would need licenses and have to follow stricter city ordinances. I
think it is fair to say that taxi companies are not happy to be losing their
market share to companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. The bill will now go to
the Senate for a vote and if it passes, would be sent to Governor Quinn for his
In response to the
passage in the house, Andrew Macdonald, Uber Chicago general manager, released
the following statement.”The passage of HB4075 in its current form
destroys thousands of jobs in Chicago, slashes income opportunities for
Chicago’s rideshare drivers, and effectively shuts down uberX in
I will be following this
closely to see if there are any amendments or changes to the bill in the Senate
and whether it even passes.
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.
For years many young
Illinois drivers wait until they are 18 years old to apply for their driver’s
license in order to avoid taking driver’s ed while in high school. CBS Chicago
reported this week that the Illinois house has approved a bill that eliminate
this loophole for young drivers and would require they take 6 hours of online
driving classes before applying for their driver’s license. This would only be
required if the driver did not take driving classes while in high school.
Under the state’s
current graduated driver’s license program, teens can get a learning permit at
age 15, and a driver’s license at 16 if they have taken at least 50 hours of
classes – with 10 hours of practice driving at night.
But those 18 and older
don’t have to take driver’s ed classes to get a license under the current law.
Secretary of State Jesse White said those young drivers are taking
advantage of a loophole in the graduated driving program.
“This piece of
legislation is designed to take care of some of the issues that these young
people have missed, because they didn’t take part in our graduated driver’s
license program,” he said.
The courses would
include information on traffic laws and signs, drug and alcohol awareness, and
the dangers of texting while driving.
I love this new bill
as we have seen the last few years that many fatal traffic accidents involve
young drivers. Also, the new requirement is minimally invasive as it is only 6
hours, compared to the 50 hours required for fifteen year old to apply for a
If you or someone you
love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truckaccident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-588-3384.