New Bicycling Law Treats Bikes the Same as Cars

For years, Illinois state law has said that bicyclists have the same rights and duties as people in automobiles. But a new law recently signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner (House Bill 5912) amends the Illinois Vehicle Code to state that every bicyclist on the road is enititled to all of the rights “including but not limited to” the ones dealing with right of way. The effect of this new law is to clarify that bicyclysts have the same right of way as a car or truck would have.

While bicyclists do their best to be safe on the road, accidents still happen. The sad reality is that most bicycle accidents are not the fault of bicyclists, but are the result of other drivers who do not see or fail to yield to bicyclists.

We’ve obtained record breaking verdicts that have gained us the reputation as one of the best accident law firms in Chicago. At Donald A. Shapiro, Ltd., we are serious bicycle accident attorneys, not afraid to take on large corporations and insurance companies.

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Estate of Paula Chibe Verdict

On May 26, 2016 firm partners Donald Shapiro and Matthew Basinger obtained a $2,500,000 jury verdict on behalf of their client, the Estate of Paula Chibe in Circuit Court of Cook County, Case No. 2013 L 001037.

Paula Chibe, aged 35, was admitted to Ingalls Memorial Hospital on March 14, 2011 for back pain and was evaluated by neurosurgeon Martin Luken MD, who determined she needed emergency L5 and S1 laminectomies which were accomplished on March 16, 2011. The patient was cleared for surgery by Dr. Asma Manzar, a hospitalist. Anesthesiologist Jeffrey Yeh, concluded the patient had probable obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), based on physical exam and he altered his anesthetic approach by doing an awake intubation and avoiding narcotics, due to the increased risk of respiratory depression posed by OSA. Dr. Manzar did not note probable OSA in her evaluation. Postoperatively, Dr. Luken wrote an order for 3 to 4 mg of subcutaneous Dilaudid, and Nurse Montes administered 3mg of Dilaudid around 3:20 am on 3/17/11. Nurse Montes checked on the patient an hour later and accepted a nonverbal response as to the effect of the medication from the patient, in violation of Ingalls’ policy which prohibited reliance on nonverbal responses. The patient was found unresponsive an hour thereafter and a code blue was unsuccessful and the patient died. Plaintiff contended the Dilaudid was excessive, and that the defendants failed to appreciate the risks that probable OSA with Dilaudid would lead to respiratory depression. Plaintiff argued all providers had a duty to ensure the patient was hooked up to a pulse oximeter to guard against respiratory depression. Plaintiff also argued that Dr. Manzar and Dr. Yeh had a duty to warn the neurosurgeon Dr. Luken about the respiratory depressive effects of Dilaudid in light of the patient’s probable OSA and to advise him to order a pulse oximeter.

After deliberating for more than 3 hours, the jury returned a verdict for $2,500,000 in favor of Paula’s five children and against Ingalls Memorial Hospital and Dr. Asmar Manzar. Dr. Manzar’s insurance company had refused to even discuss settlement and Ingalls had offered only $250,000.

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Motorcycle Accidents

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to experience a deadly accident on the road than those in passenger cars. 11 percent of all roadway accidents that occur in the United States involve motorcycles and head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes.

Motorcycle accident law is a very specialized area that requires experience and expertise. For almost 40 years, the motorcycle injury attorneys at Donald A. Shapiro, Ltd. have represented those who have been seriously injured in motorcycle accidents. A motorcycle accident victim may be entitled to the following types of compensation:

• Medical treatment and compensation for past and future medical care
• Recovery of lost wages from the accident
• Recovery for pain and suffering and disability

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, call Donald A. Shapiro, Ltd. to speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer.

Lawmakers Approve Police Body Cameras

Illinois Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a set of rules last week for police body cameras. The legislation was passed in response to national controversies over use of force after the deaths of unarmed black citizens in New York, Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere.

Under the law, police in participating departments would have to keep body cameras on at all times while on a call and the recordings would be maintained for 90 days. The law would also require independent investigations of officer-involved deaths. Proponents of the law hope it will serve to reduce police misconduct and unlawful use of force. The bill now goes to Governor Rauner for consideration.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of police misconduct, contact the experienced police misconduct attorneys at Donald A. Shapiro, Ltd. today to discuss your legal rights.

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Illinois Ranks Second in Dog Bite Claims

A recent study conducted by State Farm and the Insurance Information Institute found Illinois to be second among all states in the frequency of dog bite claims. In 2014 there were 309 such claims in Illinois with $8.9 million in claims paid. Children are most likely to be the victims of dog bites. If you or someone you know is the victim of a dog bite, contact one of the attorneys at Donald A. Shapiro, Ltd. today to discuss your legal rights.

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Governor Quinn Signs 6-Person Juries Into Law

On Friday, December 19, Governor Pat Quinn signed SB 3075 into law.  The law amends the Code and the Code of Civil Procedure regarding jury service in Illinois.  Specifically, the bill does the following:

  • Cuts the number of jurors in civil cases from 12 to 6.  The amendment also requires the parties to pay for alternate jurors.
  • Increases the minimum payment for jury service to $25 for the first day and $50 for subsequent days.
  • Mirrors federal law and that of many states by reducing the size of civil juries from 12 to 6 in Illinois.  The requirement of unanimous decision is unchanged.

SB 3075 was sponsored in the Senate by Senator John Mulroe. Representative Kelly Burke sponsored the bill in the House. The effective date for both bills is June 1, 2015.

If you or a loved one have been injured, call Donald A. Shapiro, Ltd. to discuss your right to a civil jury trial.

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Cook County Courts to Allow Video Cameras

Video cameras and audio recording devices will be allowed in some Cook County courtrooms beginning January, 2015 month, Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans announced this week.  Cook County joins about 40 other Illinois Counties which allow video of court proceedings.

The pilot program will apply to some felony courtrooms at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, at 26th St. and California St. in Chicago. The Illinois Supreme Court previously approved the use of cameras in trial courtrooms as a way of making legal proceedings more transparent.

Under the program, video coverage will be prohibited in juvenile, divorce, adoption, child custody, evidence suppression and trade secret cases. Additionally, in the case of a sexual abuse prosecution, coverage of the accuser’s testimony is prohibited without his or her consent.

Judge Evans welcomed the pilot program, saying in a prepared statement “I am extremely pleased that the public will now hear and see through extended media coverage, exactly what is taking place in Cook County courtrooms.”

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Proposal to Cut Illinois Civil Juries from 12 to 6 Passes Illinois House

A proposal to trim the number of jurors from twelve to six in civil trials in Illinois circuit courts passed the Illinois House of Representatives on December 2, 2014.  Senate Bill 3075 would cut by half the size of civil juries while boosting juror pay to $25 for the first day of service and $50 per day thereafter.  The measure now moves to the Illinois Senate for debate.  If the bill passes the Senate, it would move on to Governor Quinn for consideration.

Supporters of the bill point out that the federal courts and a majority of state courts already use civil juries of this size.  Additionally, advocates of the measure state that reducing the number of jurors in civil cases would mean less citizens being called for jury duty, thereby disrupting fewer families and businesses.  The change would also shorten the voir dire process in trials, during which attorneys and the court question jurors to ensure those selected for jury service can be fair and impartial.

Should you have questions about your right to a civil jury trial, call one of the injury lawyers at Donald A. Shapiro, Ltd. today for a free consultation.

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Prosecuting or Defending a Civil Lawsuit Under a Fictitious Name

Last month, the Illinois Appellate Court issued a rare opinion interpreting section 2-401(e) of the Code of Civil Procedure, which allows a litigant to appear under a fictitious name upon a showing of “good cause.” In  Doe v Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 2014 IL App (1st) 140212, a group of plaintiffs filed complaints against Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation alleging that the defendants negligently allowed a cryogenic tank to fail causing damage to semen and testicular tissue stored in the tank. Most plaintiffs suffered from cancers which were likely to significantly interfere with their ability to engage in ordinary reproductive activities.

In affirming the trial court’s order allowing the use of pseudonyms, the court recognized Continue reading

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Steering Defect Leads to New Ford Recall

The New York Times reports that the National Highway Transportation Administration is investigating a power steering issue that could affect 938,000 2010-2012 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans, noting the company has already recalled 1.1 million other vehicles due to the defect. The Times reports that NHTSA “has received 508 complaints from owners, including four reports of accidents that occurred when the power steering assist suddenly failed, requiring ‘increased steering efforts that contributed to a loss of control and crash.’” If you or a loved one has been injured due to mechanical problem with a vehicle, contact Donald A. Shapiro, Ltd. today to discuss your legal rights.

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