Recent Blog Posts

The Evolution of "Truthiness"

 Posted on December 06, 2023 in Personal Injury

By Daniel M. Kotin

In October 2005, Stephen Colbert essentially invented the word truthiness on his TV show. Since then, his made-up word has earned an official place in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 

truth-i-ness (noun): A truthful or seemingly truthful quality that is claimed for something not because of supporting facts or evidence but because of the feeling that it is true or the desire for it to be true.

Also, in the 18 years since that satirical Colbert Report aired, several studies and articles in peer-reviewed journals have drilled down on this concept and identified a phenomenon known as the "truthiness effect." Research shows that if any claim is accompanied by a neutral, generic photograph of the subject of that claim, most unknowing people will be biased into believing that claim is true. This is a bit scary. 

Let’s look at a couple of examples. Psychologists Eryn J. Newman and Lynn Zhang wrote about research subjects being presented with this statement and asked if it is true or false:

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Illinois Supreme Court Decision May Affect Insurance in Hit-and-Run Accidents

 Posted on December 04, 2023 in Car Accidents

Chicago uninsured motorist coverage attorneyPeople who are injured in car accidents typically have options for addressing their damages, including the cost of medical treatment, property damage, lost income, and more. An injury victim can file an insurance claim under the policy of the driver who was at fault and receive compensation for their expenses and financial losses. However, people who are injured in hit-and-run accidents may struggle to receive the proper compensation. Fortunately, coverage may be available under a person's own auto insurance policy. While there are some cases where injury victims may struggle to receive the proper insurance coverage, a recent decision by the Illinois Supreme Court ensures that uninsured motorist coverage will be available to people injured in hit-and-run accidents.

In 2020, a teenage boy in Chicago was injured in a hit-and-run accident while riding a bicycle. His father filed a claim under his auto insurance policy seeking uninsured motorist coverage for an accident in which the at-fault driver could not be identified. The insurance company denied the claim, stating that because the boy was not in the father's vehicle at the time of the accident, coverage did not apply. The father took legal action to address this denial, and while a trial court initially dismissed the claim, an appellate court reversed this ruling. The Illinois Supreme Court reviewed the case and determined that uninsured motorist coverage should have applied in this situation. In its decision, the court stated that the purpose of uninsured motorist coverage is to put a person in the same position as they would have been in had the at-fault party had liability insurance. In cases where a driver strikes a person on a bicycle, their liability insurance policy would provide coverage, so uninsured motorist coverage will be available to victims in these situations. This ruling ensures that Illinois residents will be able to receive the proper insurance coverage, even if they are not in a vehicle at the time of an accident.

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Electric Vehicles Can Be Silent Killers

 Posted on June 29, 2023 in Car Accidents

Chicago car accident lawyer for electric vehiclesBy Daniel M. Kotin 

The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released data showing that deaths in pedestrian and bicycle accidents in the United States are at the highest they have been in forty years. The group attributes some of the increase to the rising popularity of trucks and SUVs. But another factor is undoubtedly the increase of essentially silent electric vehicles on our roadways.

I have been driving an electric car for about six weeks now. I have not struck anyone, but I have already experienced a handful of occasions wherein pedestrians have simply walked into my path. It has become enough of a concern that I felt compelled to do some research.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, electric cars are 37% more likely to collide with pedestrians than cars with internal combustion engines. These collisions usually occur at lower speeds when the sound of the combustion engine is primarily responsible for alerting pedestrians to an approaching vehicle. At higher speeds, the sound of tires on the roadway and wind caused by the vehicle suffice to alert pedestrians to a moving vehicle. But those other noises do not occur at lower speeds.

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I Love Our Diversity

 Posted on May 08, 2023 in Personal Injury

By Daniel M. Kotin

I recently returned from a Chicago Bar Association trip to Dublin, Ireland hosted by my partner and CBA President Tim Tomasik. 

Daniel Kotin Ireland jury trial panelWhile there, I participated on a panel with Judge Maryam Ahmed and Barrister Remy Farrell, comparing the jury trial system in the U.S. to that in Ireland. We learned that in jury selection, like in America, Irish barristers are given a number of “preemptory challenges” through which they can exclude potential jurors for no stated reason. 

At this point, our moderator, Hon. Tom Mulroy (Ret.) asked the Barrister how they handle Batson issues in Ireland. (Batson v. Kentucky was the first in a line of U.S. Supreme Court cases holding it unconstitutional for a lawyer to remove jurors from a case on the basis of their race, religion, or ethnic background.) This is a complicated issue in American courts, and it was a good question to ask of our Irish counterpart. 

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The New Normal May Not be so New

 Posted on March 16, 2023 in Uncategorized

shutterstock_1062915266.jpgBy: Daniel M. Kotin

Here we are in March 2023, and I’m hearing the drum beat of voices in the legal professional lamenting the “new normal” – a world of hybrid work schedules, and all virtual meetings, depositions and court hearings. Combine that with the advent of artificial intelligence technology, and many in our field are beginning to feel that the law practice as we know it is ending.

            These concerns are well-founded. Success in our profession is based upon personal relationships. If the simplicity and convenience of AI and Zoom replace the face-to-face human interactions upon which our professional reputations are based, then there will be little left to distinguish one lawyer from another. But I’ve had a couple of experiences over the past month which gives me hope for our future. They reminded me of the fact that genuine growth and satisfaction in law will always be in-person.

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California Judge Outlaws Uber and Lyft’s Attempt to Deny Employment Benefits to Drivers

 Posted on August 25, 2021 in Personal Injury

Cook County rideshare injury liability lawyersBy: Jessica Black

On August 20, 2021, a California judge issued a decision striking down a ballot measure in the state that had allowed rideshare companies to classify drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. The measure, known as Proposition 22, allowed rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft to deny drivers employee benefits and job protections such as the right to sick pay, minimum wage, and health benefits. It also provided a liability shield that allowed Uber and Lyft to evade responsibility for the actions of their drivers.

Ride-hailing and delivery service corporations including Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Instacart, and DoorDash spent more than $200 million attempting to influence Californians to support the ballot measure. Uber and Lyft went so far as threatening to stop providing services in the state if the measure was not passed.

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Lawsuit Proceeds Against Lyft for Failure to Disclose Safety Issues

 Posted on August 24, 2021 in Personal Injury

Chicago rideshare driver sexual assault lawyerLyft Inc. is facing a class action lawsuit brought by investors of its initial public offering (IPO). The case, In re Lyft Inc. Securities Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 19-cv-02690, alleges that Lyft failed to disclose a number of safety issues prior to the IPO. These issues include the pervasive sexual assaults by its drivers and defective brakes that affect its bike share fleet. 

The lawsuit claims Lyft deliberately failed to report the safety information in an effort to market itself as more socially responsible than Uber. Uber is also facing a shareholder lawsuit about its disclosures on passenger safety and other issues ahead of its 2019 IPO.

Both Uber and Lyft have been the subject of immense criticism because they have failed to ensure that passengers are protected against sexual assaults by their drivers. Hundreds of passengers continue to be victimized by rideshare drivers each year.

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Another Robinson Helicopter Crash Demonstrates Why TKK Continues to Represent Victims of Robinson's Poor Design

 Posted on August 11, 2021 in Aviation Litigation

Chicago Robinson helicopter accident lawyerA recent Robinson Helicopter crash has left its pilot hospitalized. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating a helicopter crash that took place just after 6:30 a.m. on August 11, 2021 in Prospect Heights, Illinois. Unsurprisingly, the helicopter involved was an R44 manufactured by the Robinson Helicopter Company.

Thankfully, the pilot and sole occupant of this latest R44 crash survived the ordeal. Reports indicate that the pilot took off from Chicago Executive Airport around 6:39 a.m. and reported a mayday due to engine failure just one minute later.

The pilot told WGN News that the engine failed upon takeoff, and he implemented emergency procedures, which allowed him to do a running landing. The helicopter’s rotor hit a pole on the way down.

Tim Tomasik, Tomasik Kotin Kasserman co-founder and partner, is currently representing other victims of Robinson Helicopter crashes. One case involves a crash that took place on October 23, 2019. This crash involved a Robinson R44 helicopter that had departed from the North Las Vegas Airport. In total, almost 600 people have been killed in crashes of Robinson helicopters since 1982.

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$34 Billion Fitness Giant, Peloton, Loses its Weekslong Battle With Safety Regulators

 Posted on May 06, 2021 in Product Liability

Chicago defective products attorney Peloton treadmill recallBy Shawn Kasserman

After weeks of resistance, more than 40 injured children, and a precipitous stock decline, Peloton has followed the advice of safety regulators and advocacy groups and recalled more than 125,000 units of its latest treadmill model, Tread+. It is now offering full refunds for the $4,295 machines, effective until November 6, 2022.

The move comes seven weeks after Peloton’s CEO, John Foley, announced that he had learned of one death and a “small handful of incidents” related to children getting trapped underneath the newly released treadmill.

Federal regulators quickly responded to CEO Foley’s announcement and learned that the “small handful of incidents” actually numbered around 40, including the death of a 6-year-old. On April 17, 2021, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, chaired by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill), issued a report that admonished consumers to stop purchasing the treadmills altogether. But instead of recalling the treadmills, Peloton held its ground for weeks, accusing the CPSC of issuing false and misleading reports. As Peloton continued to fight, children continued to get hurt, and the company’s stock continued to drop.

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Survivors of Aviation Crashes and Mishaps Can Recover for Psychological Injuries

 Posted on May 04, 2021 in Aviation Litigation

Cook County aviation litigation attorneyBy: Timothy S. Tomasik and Eddie Hettel

Contrary to what airlines often assert, in many cases, victims of airline crashes can recover for both their physical injuries and the psychological injuries attributable to the crash. Under Article 17(1) of the Montreal Convention of 1999, a multilateral treaty concerning compensation for the victims of air disasters, psychological injury alone is not sufficient for a claimant to recover damages against an airline. However, courts have awarded damages for such injuries that are “traceable to” the crash itself, so long as a physical injury is also present.

Historically, courts required a mental injury to “flow from” a physical injury to be compensable. See Eastern Airlines v. Floyd, 499 U.S. 530 (1991) (passengers on flight with imminent belief of crash in Atlantic Ocean could not recover for mental injuries alone); see also In re Air Crash at Little Rock Arkansas, on June 1, 1999, 291 F.3d 503, 511 (8th Cir. 2002) (in accordance with the “flowing from” rule, plaintiff could only recover emotional damages which flowed from her physical injuries, not the incident itself). However, these cases were decided under the Warsaw Convention, the predecessor to the Montreal Convention.

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