Recent Blog Posts

High Charges and Illegal Fees Leave Many COVID-19 Test Recipients in Debt

 Posted on April 06, 2021 in Personal Injury

Chicago personal injury lawyer COVID-19 testing feesBy: Eddie Hettel

Timely, accurate health information is a necessity during a global pandemic. People across the country obtain COVID-19 tests for a multitude of reasons that ultimately share a common goal – health and safety. Despite their proactivity, many COVID-19 test patients are being penalized rather than rewarded by healthcare providers.

The New York Times recently reported the astronomical testing fees charged by some healthcare providers. Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan consistently charges patients over $3,000 for a routine nasal swab test. Huntington Hospital on Long Island charges patients up to $2,793 for a drive-through test. One family was shocked to learn that they had accumulated $39,314 in charges for 12 precautionary tests taken before returning to work and school.

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Supreme Court of the United States Rules That Ford Must Face Trial Where Deadly Crashes Occurred

 Posted on April 02, 2021 in Product Liability

Chicago product liability lawyerBy: Eddie Hettel

A recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States will make it easier for victims of negligence to pursue their claims in the forum of their choosing.

In Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, the Supreme Court considered consolidated cases alleging damages resulting from a defective Ford vehicle. In each case, a state court ruled that it had jurisdiction over Ford Motor Company in a product liability suit resulting from a motor vehicle accident. Ford asked to have both suits dismissed, claiming lack of personal jurisdiction. Ford argued that state courts had jurisdiction only if conduct by the company in the state had led to the plaintiff's claims. Ford argued that such a link existed only if the specific vehicle that was involved in the accident had been designed, manufactured, or sold in the state.

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How Lyft and Uber – With More Lobbyists than Amazon, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart Combined – Bought, Bullied, and Bamboozled Their Way Into a Deregulation Free For All

 Posted on March 26, 2021 in Personal Injury

Using unprecedented numbers of lobbyists, rideshare companies have quietly secured legislation (often authored in their own hand) in 41 states that endangers the safety of drivers and riders.

After spending hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying state legislatures, Lyft and Uber have been permitted to operate without any genuine oversight or concern for driver and passenger safety.  Astoundingly, their aggressive lobbying tactics have given these companies license to operate in nearly every city in America with total impunity.

Lyft and Uber’s success in slashing or eliminating safety protections for drivers and passengers is unsurprising, however, in light of the army of lobbyists they have deployed to craft legislation in statehouses nationwide.

In fact, in 2016, lobbyists for Lyft and Uber outnumbered Microsoft, Amazon, and Walmart combined, and their influence on lawmakers has continued unabated – they’ve managed to obtain favorable, protectionist legislation in 41 states.

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Hospitals Use Outdated Lien Laws to Profit from Injured Patients

 Posted on February 04, 2021 in Personal Injury

Chicago personal injury attorneysBy: Eddie Hettel

As this recent story from the New York Times documents, American hospitals routinely exploit archaic healthcare lien laws passed early in the 20th century to profit from injured patients. These laws were passed at a time when fewer than 10 percent of Americans had health insurance in an effort to protect then-vulnerable hospitals from the financial dangers attendant to providing care to uninsured patients. A noble goal though it may have been, now, in a time when health insurance is a pervasive and integral part of the American healthcare landscape, these laws only serve to exploit patients who have suffered injuries through no fault of their own. 

Medical care providers nationwide, whose ownership has grown increasingly consolidated, negotiate and execute complex agreements with health insurance companies to provide services at a discounted rate. This practice permits hospitals to enormously overcharge for services knowing that they will accept substantially less as full payment from health insurance companies.

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Big Healthcare Attempts to Deny Victims of Malpractice the Right to a Jury Trial

 Posted on January 19, 2021 in Medical Malpractice

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1691905741-1-min.jpgPrivate equity firms are expanding into healthcare at an alarming rate. In the past 10 years, they have purchased more than 4,000 Women’s Health Clinics, and current estimates have the industry owning more than 10% of the United States’ dermatology market. In the past 5 years alone, private equity has invested more than $10 billion in medical practices. And, as they expand into healthcare, they’ve brought their ruthless business tactics with them.

The private equity business model is well-known: buy loads of fledgling businesses for cheap, group them together, frantically cut costs, and sell high to a bigger investment firm. Applying that model to healthcare not only results in substandard care, but it also results in a deprivation of constitutional rights.

I am primarily talking about mandatory arbitration clauses, an industrywide favorite amongst the private equity firms. Private equity attempts to use these clauses to cut business costs by drastically decreasing injured plaintiffs’ ability to receive just compensation from a jury caused by medical negligence.

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Robinson Helicopter Company: The Deadliest Helicopter Manufacturer in the World

 Posted on November 02, 2020 in Aviation Litigation

Chicago helicopter injury attorneyRobinson Helicopter Company opened shop in 1973. Its business model: mass-produce simple, low-cost helicopters and sell them to the civilian public at an affordable price.

From a numbers standpoint, it worked.

Robinson released its first model, the R22, in the late 1970s, and it released the R44 in 1993. Both models dominated the competition and became the best-selling civilian helicopters of their time. The R44 retains that title to this day, partly due to its being one of the cheapest helicopters on the market.

But cheap mass-production comes at a cost. On top of being the best-selling civilian helicopter in the world, the R44 is also the most lethal.

Between 2006 and 2016, Robinson R44s alone were involved in 42 deadly helicopter crashes. That is an average of 1.6 deadly crashes per 100,000 hours flown, a rate nearly 50% higher than that of the other dozen most common civilian models.

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Federal court finds an Exception to Preemption in Case involving Man Seriously Injured in an Accident Involving a Broker, Motor Carrier and Truck Driver

 Posted on October 01, 2020 in Personal Injury

By:  Heather A. Begley

Chicago Accident LawyersAs trucking injury transportation attorneys, we represent individuals from Illinois and nationally who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents involving trucks. Injured plaintiffs are permitted to proceed with lawsuits against brokers in truck accident cases, according to a recent decision in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Miller v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., et al. No. 19-15981 The plaintiff suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a semi-tractor trailer. A freight broker serves as an intermediary between a shipper who has goods to transport and a carrier who has capacity to move that freight. The freight broker in the Miller case, C.H. Robinson, arranged for the trailer to transport goods for Costco Wholesale, Inc. The plaintiff alleged that C.H. Robinson negligently selected an unsafe motor carrier. The United States District Court for the District of Nevada initially dismissed the plaintiff’s claim based on the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (the “FAAAA”), finding that state law claims that are “related to a price, route, or service of any… broker” are preempted. The appellate court reversed that finding based on an applicable exception: “the safety regulatory authority of a State with respect to motor vehicles”. Congress intended to preserve the States’ broad power over safety, a power that includes the ability to regulate conduct not only through legislative and administrative enactments, but also through common-law damages awards. This is an important finding on behalf of individuals who are injured in catastrophic motor vehicle accidents involving trucks wherein a broker was used to assist in the transport of goods.

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 Posted on May 07, 2020 in Uncategorized

Chicago Trial AttorneysBy: Eddie Hettel

            On May 5, 2020, the People of the State of California filed a lawsuit for injunctive relief, restitution, and penalties against Uber Technologies, Inc., Lyft Inc., and 50 individuals whose identities remain private. The suit alleges that the defendants made calculated business decisions to misclassify their on-demand drivers as independent contractors rather than employees and continue to do so in violation of California law.

By classifying their workers as independent contractors, Uber and Lyft evade workplace standards and requirements such as minimum wages, overtime premium pay, reimbursement for business expenses, workers’ compensation coverage for on-the-job injuries, paid sick leave, and wage replacement programs like disability insurance and paid family leave.

Since the California Supreme Court’s landmark, a unanimous decision in Dynamex Operations W., Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903, rehg. denied (June 20, 2018) (“Dynamex”), workers are generally presumed to be employees unless they can overcome this presumption by establishing each of the three factors embodied in the strict “ABC” test laid out by the Court. The California Legislature’s Assembly Bill 5, which took effect on January 1, 2020, enacted to curb the serious problem of employee misclassification, also adopts this test.

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Social Distancing in Illinois’ High Court – Oral Arguments to Take Place via Zoom

 Posted on April 27, 2020 in Uncategorized

By: Eddie Hettel

Cook County personal injury attorneyThe COVID-19 pandemic has altered day-to-day life across the globe. With traditional face to face interactions coming to halt, schools, businesses, and governments have worked tirelessly to find innovative ways to continue their operations. The Illinois Supreme Court is among this group, and for the first time in history, will hold oral arguments for the month of May via Zoom teleconference.

In an effort to practice social distancing while continuing to conduct court proceedings for eager litigants, the Illinois high court has adopted this contemporary solution to keep its doors open.

Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said:

These are extraordinary times, but what we have found is that we can keep our traditions the same. Holding oral arguments via Zoom would have sounded beyond our abilities a few months ago, but now feels almost normal. The court has found that a lot of our regular work – including oral arguments – can be done remotely while still keeping people safe from COVID-19.

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Illinois Supreme Court Denies Hospital’s Petition for Leave to Appeal in Birth Injury Case

 Posted on April 13, 2020 in Medical Malpractice

Cook County birth injury attorneyIn December 2019, Tomasik Kotin Kasserman secured an appellate victory in the Fifth District in a medical negligence case involving injuries suffered by a newborn child during labor and delivery. Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court denied the defendants’ petition for leave to appeal, solidifying the Fifth District’s unanimous decision in favor of the plaintiff, Crystal Williams.

On June 3, 2007, then-26-year-old Crystal, who was pregnant with twins, went into labor. Her OB/GYN, Dr. Bradley Tissier’s office, instructed her to go to St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Belleville, Illinois where medical staff would prepare a “double set-up” delivery, i.e. a delivery which involves a first team of doctors preparing the mother for vaginal delivery with a second team ready to perform an immediate cesarean section if difficulties arise during childbirth. Twin A was born without difficulty. Twin B (Jerrin), however, was positioned in a persistent transverse lie, meaning Jerrin’s head was to one of his mother’s sides and not towards the pelvis. A baby cannot be birthed vaginally when in transverse lie. But, instead of performing a C-section, Dr. Bradley Tissier attempted to rotate Jerrin into the vertex (head down) position, failed, and thereafter, ultimately delivered via footling breech (feet down) extraction. During the delivery, Jerrin’s umbilical cord became compressed, and as a result, he suffered serious, lifelong injuries.

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