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b2ap3_thumbnail_att-chris.jpgThe following letter to the editor by ITLA President Christopher T. Hurley appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times on February 23, 2017.

In his budget address, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Illinois should emulate Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. However, following its lead would come at a great cost to our state’s taxpayers. Massachusetts doctors who care for those injured on the job are the lowest paid in the nation, which raises concerns about access to quality care.

If Illinois cuts the rate doctors are compensated to treat injured workers to match Massachusetts’ levels, a patient’s choice of physicians will be seriously limited and wait times for treatment are sure to rise significantly.

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Chicago medical malpractice attorneysWhile the current rate of medical malpractice in the United States places every patient at risk, some have a higher risk than others. Among them are non-English and limited English speaking patients and families (about 20 percent of the U.S. population, or about 57 million people). Just what is this risk, and what does it mean for limited or non-English speaking citizens? More importantly, what rights do people in these communities have if they do experience a serious error? The following explains further.

Understanding the Risks

Numerous studies have been conducted on the potential harm that patients face when doctors make critical mistakes and diagnostic errors. Among them are studies that have examined the potential effects of language barriers, which have found that non-English speaking and limited English speaking patients have an overall higher risk of experiencing:

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insurance companies denying claims, Chicago personal injury lawyerInsurance companies spend billions of advertising dollars on television ads, radio commercials, and print advertising to convince you that they are trustworthy, that they will be there when you need them. Unfortunately, their marketing tactics are nothing short of deceptive; rather than honor your injury or wrongful death claim, they will do anything and everything they can to wear you down and get you to settle for less than fair compensation. If they can, they will blame you and completely deny your claim.

But their actions go well beyond the dodgy practices of denying claims and getting victims to settle for less; these same insurance companies are also one of the key players behind movements known as “tort reform” – laws and legislation that violate the 7th amendment rights of citizens by restricting their right to a jury trial for their injuries or losses.

Who Really Benefits from Tort Reform?

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tort reform, Illinois personal injury attorneysFor decades, Americans have been told that the sky is falling, that the economy is on the verge of crashing because of their frivolous claims against large corporations. But, like most carefully crafted lies, these claims are nothing more than a ploy to benefit those who wish to escape accountability. Do not be fooled; search, instead, for the truth.

Everything to Gain and Everything to Lose

Before the 1970s, large corporations were the subject of personal injury lawsuits for negligent, deceptive, and even outright illegal practices. Many were also forced to pay punitive damages, which were meant to deter other companies from committing similar acts. These lawsuits, and the forced accountability they brought with them, severely damaged the bottom line of these corporations. What they really needed was a loophole, a way to avoid large payouts and increase their bottom line.

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lumber liquidators, cancer, Chicago product liability lawyerAlthough there are regulations and protections in place to protect Americans from dangerous products, many still slip through the cracks. One such example is the laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can increase the risk of cancer as much as three times because of its formaldehyde levels. Know your risks and what you should do if you have been exposed to this dangerous product.

What is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, and strong-smelling chemical frequently used in building products and household items. These items, which include everything from clothing and paper product coatings to glues and pressed woods, can release gasses or vapors into the air, leading to human or animal exposure.

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