News & Resources

Personal Injury & Worker's Compensation News & Alerts

4.17.12

Illinois HB5823 Update

HB5823, if passed, will be highly beneficial to injured individuals with claims or lawsuits. Sponsored by State Representative Andre Thapedi, the bill was scheduled for a Judiciary Hearing on April 17 and requires health care providers to:

  • 1) Accept the rates they negotiate with a patient's health insurer as full payment for medical bills, even when an at-fault party's insurance company pays a verdict or settlement

  • –and–

  • 2) Bear a pro rata share of attorneys' fees and costs in personal injury cases

  • The bill also provides that

  • 3) If the injured person's recovery is limited or reduced due to limited insurance, comparative fault, or any other limiting factor, the health care provider has to take the same proportionate reduction off medical bills.

Adler & Adler will continue to monitor the progress of HB5823 and keep you updated as more information becomes available.

As the law currently stands, a hospital or doctor does not have to send a bill for medical treatment to an insurance carrier if the patient is the plaintiff in a personal injury case. Instead, the hopital or medical office may place a lien on the patient's file and collect 100% of the bill from any settlement or award the injured patient receives.

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If Illinois HB5823 is passed and signed into law, the your hospital or doctor has to accept the contracted rate paid by your health insurance company, which may be 50-60% of what your doctor, hospital, or other care provider may charge. While you will have to reimburse your health insurer, you will only have to pay back what was paid out to the medical provider—not what the physician or hospital charged.

For example, if a hospital is owed $1,000.00, under current Illinois law, it doesn't submit the bill to the insurance company. Instead, it waits until the end of your case, then it takes the full $1,000 out of your net settlement. However, once HB5823 becomes law, the hospital has to bill your health insurance carrier and accept the payment they have negotiated with that carrier in their private contracts. If your health insurance company has a contract to pay $500 for the $1,000 of services provided, the hospital must accept that. Your insurer then places a lien on your personal injury settlement. However, according to HB5823's Fund Doctrine, we only have to reimburse $333.34 out of the your net settlement.

The Bottom Line: HB5823 will keep more money in your pocket at the conclusion of the your personal injury case.


Illinois Courts to Allow Jurors to Submit Questions for Witnesses in Civil Cases

In a rule adopted by the Illlinois Supreme Court, effective July 1, 2012, Illinois courts may permit jurors in civil cases to submit to the court written questions directed to witnesses. This is a procedure which has been used in other jurisdictions to improve juror comprehension, attention to the proceedings, and satisfaction with jury service. The trial judge may discuss with the parties’ attorneys whether the procedure will be helpful in the case, but the decision whether to use the procedure rests entirely with the trial judge.

The rule specifies some of the procedures the trial judge must follow, but it leaves other details to the trial judge’s discretion. For instance, following the conclusion of questioning of a witness by counsel, the judge will determine whether the jury will be given the opportunity to question the witness. If questions are allowed, the jury will be asked to submit any question or questions they have for the witness in writing. Out of the presence of the jury, the judge will read the question to all counsel, allow counsel to see the written question, and give counsel an opportunity to object to the question. If any objections are made, the court will rule upon them at that time, and the question will be either admitted, modified, or excluded accordingly.

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4.15.12

Chicago Speed Camera Ordinance Update

The Chicago City Council is scheduled to vote on Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's speed-camera ordinance this week. If passed, the city will use fixed and mobile surveillance cameras to catch motorists who speed near schools and parks.

Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's controversial cameras will be limited to 300 locations, 60 fewer than previous versions of his plan. The ordinance divides the city into six regions, with each region having "no fewer than" 10 percent of the citywide total.

Instead of fining motorists $50 for going between 6 and 10 mph over the speed limit near schools and parks, the fine has been reduced to $35. However, drivers who exceed the limit by 11 mph will face $100 fines. The Chicago Sun-Times quoted Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein as saying that "There was a real concern about people getting dinged at 6 miles per hour over and paying excessive fines and, potentially, not being able to pay them."


Local & State of Illinois Distracted Driving Laws

Distracted driving causes accidents, and to help minimize those accidents, the Illinois House has passed Rep. John D’Amico’s plan to ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving. This is a primary enforcement law, which means that the police will be able to pull you for this offense alone. If passed by the State Senate and signed into law, fines will range from $75 to $150. Text messaging already is illegal for Illinois drivers. Use of cell phones with hands-free devices is still allowed, although Evanston's City Council is expected to pass, this month, what will be one of the most restrictive cell phone laws in the United States.

Assuming the ordinance passes, Evanston will have a total ban on the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices while driving, both handheld or hands-free.. Enforcement of this law will be difficult. If you feel you have been wrongly accused/ticketed for using a cell phone or texting while driving, contact your attorney at Adler & Adler, P.C.

Sponsored by State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, HB5099 prohibits the use of handheld cell phones within 500 feet of an emergency zone in order to protect law officers and other emergency workers. In February 2010, a state trooper making a stop was seriously injured by a motorist distracted using a cell phone. Costello’s bill was approved by the House and is awaiting a vote in the State Senate.

Last October's effort in Oak Park to ban eating while driving has been tabled, for now. However, State Police say they’ve issued 19,540 citations and written warnings since the Illinois' first distracted driving law took effect on Jan. 1, 2010. Among the distracted driving laws currently in effect:

  • Drivers 18 and younger are prohibited from using cell phones while driving, with or without hands-free devices.
  • All drivers are prohibited from text messaging and such related activities as emailing and Internet use.
  • Motorists are prohibited from using cell phones in school zones and construction/road maintenance zones.
  • In Chicago, all drivers talking on mobile phones must use hands-free devices. Fines in Chicago are $100-$500.

The fact a driver was talking on a cell phone at the time of an accident is admissible in a civil trial. If a driver is talking on a cell phone and gets into an accident, that can be used against that individual to show negligence. Likewise, if you are in an accident and notice the other driver was on a cell phone, it is important to tell the police what you saw— and it is equally important to inform your attorney at Adler & Adler. We can request cell phone records to verify the call time. This is very powerful evidence for your attorney to use during negotiations and/or trial. Several studies of cellphone use on the road have concluded that distraction comes from having a phone conversation, regardless of whether a driver’s hands are involved.

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Recent Results

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  • $195,000 Settlement. Workers' Compensation & Personal Injury Award
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  • $50,000 Settlement. Workers' Compensation
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Adler & Adler, P.C.
134 N. LaSalle
Ste. 1410
Chicago, IL 60602
24 Hours: (312)443-1488
info@adlerandadlerlaw.com

  

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Adler & Adler, PC serves the Personal Injury and Workers' Compensation legal needs of individuals throughout Illinois, including all areas of Chicago, from the South Shore to Rogers Park and from Kenwood to Garfield Ridge, as well as the suburbs of Darien, Hickory Hills, Oak Forest, Worth, Willow Springs, Countryside, Harvey, Cicero, Naperville, Aurora, Joliet, Evanston, Skokie, Niles, Morton Grove, Elgin, Calumet City, Urbana-Champaign, Rockford, Norridge, Waukegan, and Kankakee, and the counties of Cook, Will, DuPage, Kankakee, Iroquois, Kendall, Grundy and more.