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        Workers’ Compensation “Reform”

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        Workers’ Compensation in Jeopardy

        Workers’ Compensation law is under attack. False claims of “rampant fraud” are being used as a Trojan Horse to sneak in “reforms” that would eliminate significant workers’ rights. It is essential that we join together to fight for and protect the Workers’ Compensation Act. Illinois workers fought long and hard for the rights we enjoy, we can’t sit back and let greedy insurance companies steal those rights merely to increase their own profits.

        The following letter to the editor by ITLA President Todd A. Smith appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Friday, April 29, 2011 in response to a Tribune editorial on workers’ compensation.

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        Fraud Puts Union Pension Funds at Risk

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        Union Pension Funds and Fraud

        Corporate Misconduct and Fraud

        Union pension funds have continued to suffer unnecessary losses due to corporate fraud and mismanagement. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), whose job it is to monitor publicly traded companies and, when necessary, prosecute actions for fraud, has proven less than effective at being able to recover maximum losses on behalf of defrauded investors, including pension funds, in public companies and deter future fraud. For example:

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        Delay, Deny, Dispute… and Then Blame the Trial Lawyers

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        Insurance Company Pay Out Problems

        Hurricane Katrina

        Three years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, reports still swirl about homeowners across the region with viable claims for destroyed homes battling denied insurance payments based on fraudulent tactics of delay, deny and dispute. Yes, we all watch the reports with a sense of irritated, albeit comfortable detachment that comes from living miles away from such a legal nightmare.

        What most consumers don’t realize is that delay, deny and dispute has become an “industry standard” waiting to strike any victim of a bodily injury or property damage anytime, anywhere, including here in our state of Illinois. Attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, Ltd. fight it every day on behalf of our clients; a fight that would not be necessary if valid, supported claims were paid as promised when our clients took out their policies.

        Car Accidents

        For the innocent victim of an auto accident with even modest medical bills of $10,000 or less, insurance companies are betting that such tactics will continue to prevail and add to their fortune.

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        Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Announces Recipients of Amicus Volunteer Award

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        The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the WilliamJ. Harte Amicus Volunteer Award for 2011. These individuals are recognized for their dedicated volunteer service and professional efforts on behalf of the ITLA Amicus Curiae Committee in preparing legal briefs before the Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts during the past twelve months.

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        The Yamaha (Rollover) Rhino: UTV or DTV (Death Trap Vehicle)

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        Yamaha Rhino (Rollover) Dangers

        Most people see the popular and sporty Yamaha Rhino, a UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle) with its supped up bucket seats, a steering wheel instead of handlebars and sturdy roll cage, and instantly get visions of off-road family fun.

        But for hundreds of individuals and families across the country, the Rhino is a stark reminder of corporate negligence, allegedly responsible for catastrophic rollover crush injuries, amputations and tragic deaths…all preventable.

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        Chicago Work Injury Attorney

        Changes in Workers’ Compensation Law Affects Your Rights

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        Changes to Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

        On June 28, 2011, Governor Quinn signed into law Public Act 94-0018, which made a number of significant changes to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act that will affects the rights of injured workers across Illinois in a number of ways. This article is meant to provide you with the basic information regarding these changes in your rights. Of course, there are many details each of these issues that we do not have room to cover here. If you have any questions regarding your rights, it is best to consult an attorney. read more

        Unions v. Non-Union “Independent” Contractors

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        How Unions can Level the Playing Field with Non-Union “Independent” Contractors

        Union contractors in the construction trades have long fought an uphill battle, forced to compete at a financial disadvantage with non-union contractors who pay their employees less, offer few, if any benefits, and have historically reduced their overhead by not providing legally mandated workers’ compensation insurance.

        Amendments in February 2006 to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act significantly improved the law and imposed, among other things, stiffer fines for contractors who failed to provide workers’ compensation coverage to employees.

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        Medical Device Makers Immunized from Lawsuit by Persons They Exploit

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        Medical Device Makers Regulation

        It’s interesting to note the number of federal agency insiders stepping up to the plate during these final Bush hours, all wanting to spill the beans to President Elect Obama about the corruption and mismanagement found within the their agencies under the Bush Administration.

        For some, their actions would be gallant, heroic even, if not for the fact that their silence over the last eight shameful years often caused unimaginable pain, suffering and in many cases, the death of Americans they were sworn to protect.

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        Rating Insurance Carriers

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        President-elect Barack Obama inspired a nation to act as one voice; to collectively gather on the ground and in cyberspace so that the ultimate promise of a new direction became more than political rhetoric.  A new and undeniable mandate by an engaged people was born; a collective movement, which can and should be used to create change at the state level regarding the out-of-control insurance industry.

        The issues hurting Illinois consumers — who are required by law to maintain insurance coverage for personal property liability — are two fold; expensive, unregulated premiums and delay in payment tactics that await them when a claim is submitted.

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        Leaders Unite Against Wal-Mart Policies

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        Last month in Chicago, union and labor representatives joined political and faith-based community leaders in a first of its kind forum to discuss the alleged unfair labor practices and policies of America’s #1 private employer, Wal-Mart.

        Wal-Mart’s ability to battle back against its critics is the most successful corporate campaign of divide and conquer — laborers against consumers. Hosted by the Illinois State Labor Press Association, proponents of fair employment practices and living wage agreements hope to turn the tide in a public arena. A complete audio capture of the landmark event can be found on-line at http://www.outreachradioonline.com, which was sponsored by Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, LTD.

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