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Posted on in In the News

So-called Workers' Comp 'Reform' Sticks it to TaxpayersThe following letter to the editor by ITLA President Christopher T. Hurley appeared in Crain's Chicago Business on December 5, 2016.

Leave it to the Illinois Policy Institute to promote the fiction that the loss of manufacturing jobs has been driven by the cost of workers’ compensation insurance and to propose, as a solution, a right hook to men and women hurt on the job.

IPI is desperate to validate Gov. Bruce Rauner’s race-to-the-bottom pursuits – demands for changes in state law that would hurt Illinois’ working and middle class families before he will even discuss completing work on a budget the state has lacked for an unprecedented two years – and it is eager to distract from the fact that profits are growing for  workers’ comp insurers.

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Posted on in In the News

Beyond Court: Lawyer Helps Train ER DocsBy , Daily North Shore

When trial attorney Christopher Hurley successfully tried a case on a behalf of a family whose wife and mother had died from sustained hypoxia in a hospital emergency room, he could have stored the case file and moved on. Instead, the Winnetka resident decided to address the underlying problem.

During the trial, Hurley realized the emergency room doctors, while well-intentioned, were inadequately trained. It took the doctors a half hour to secure an airway for his client, who was having an asthma attack. Hurley recognized that with proper training the result would have been different for his client and others suffering similar circumstances.

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medical negligence, illinois personal injury attorneyState medical boards may be responsible for overseeing the licensing and practice of physicians, but their responsibility, first and foremost, is to the public. Yet, when looking at the large number of doctors who have committed serious acts of abuse or medical negligence and still practicing medicine, it would seem that maybe the licensing boards have forgotten their role.

Doctors Behaving Badly

While studies have shown that only about one percent of all doctors are responsible for the majority of medical mistakes, that small portion has the potential to cause great harm. Their acts – sometimes sheer negligence or incompetence and others outright abuse (even to the point of criminal) – go undisclosed to the public and, in some cases, undisciplined.  Many are permitted to continue practicing, and their patients are usually none the wiser.

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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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public duty rule, Chicago personal injury attorneysThe “public duty rule” has provided many government officials with protection from lawsuits when they fail to provide adequate government services.   A recent Illinois Supreme Court decision has abolished this rule, effectively restoring the public’s right to seek victim compensation when government employees and officials engage in reckless, willful and wanton behavior.

The Illinois Supreme Court Case

The recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling involved the death of a Will County woman. Suffering from difficulty breathing, the woman had called 911 and spoke to an emergency dispatcher, giving her name and address and requesting an ambulance.   When emergency medical technicians arrived, they found the house locked with no response, and decided to leave.

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arbitration, consumer rights, Chicago personal injury lawyersDeveloped to protect Americans from government corruption, the Bill of Rights has afforded us with many freedoms. Yet, behind the scenes, Wall Street companies are silently stripping away some of those very same rights with their muddy legal jargon, intentionally deceptive practices, and carefully planted arbitration clauses. Unfortunately, most Americans are unaware of such practices. It is not until they are completely blindsided that they realize just how much corporations are taking advantage of them today.

How the Legal Landscape Has Changed

Comprised of individual plaintiffs that have banded together, class-action lawsuits are meant to force corporations into admitting their wrongdoings (or, at the very least, paying for their mistakes). They give individuals an effective and low-cost means with which to challenge ill-behaving corporations with seemingly endless resources. Unfortunately, class-action cases have become almost non-existent now that companies have found a way to work around them with arbitration clauses.

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police body camera, Illinois personal injury lawyerPersonal injury cases stem from different situations, whether intentional or not, including vehicle accidents, assaults, negligence, dog bites, emotional distress, and more, and can include physical or emotional injury. With more victims or witnesses carrying smartphones there has been an increase in recorded evidence. The Illinois House of Representatives and Senate have both passed a bill that will outline how police body cameras can be used throughout the state. Police body cameras have the potential to bring legitimate personal injury claims traction.

The bill does not require police departments to use the body cameras, but will set standards for use, storage and privacy for all body cameras and recordings for the police departments that do opt to use them. The Chicago Police Department has already started using body cameras. Some citizens are concerned with the use, storage and security of the recordings. There is concern about neighbors asking for a copy of the recording and personal information being given to those who are not involved.

Attorney Christopher Hurley, managing partner at Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C., sees it as a way to give a voice to those who might not be believed or listened to otherwise. Police body cameras will help those involved in personal injury cases where police are called to the scene. They will be able to provide record evidence to support the victim and give them the backup they need and deserve to receive the compensation they deserve.

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DUI accident victims, personal injury lawyer in ChicagoAccording to statistics from the Illinois Secretary of State, nearly 10,000 drivers were arrested for DUI in Cook County in 2012, leaving thousands of victims vulnerable to motor vehicle accident injuries and fatalities.

In recent weeks, the Chicago Tribune reported a man was charged with leaving the scene of an accident that left a woman trapped inside her vehicle upside down. Later the woman was taken to the hospital where her left hand had to be amputated as a result of the collision.

Police on the scene were able to capture the license plate number of the driver responsible and he was taken in and held on $100,000 bond. Investigation into the case had not yet reported alcohol-related driving as a factor, but regardless of a DUI charge, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury or death is a Class 4 felony in Illinois. It carries a possible sentence of jail time of up to three years.

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