Ridge & Downes - Law Firm

  • Suing a Municipality

    When a personal injury occurs due to the fault of a municipality, such as a city, park district, township or county, you must have an experienced attorney on your side. Municipal entities enjoy immunities from most lawsuits in Illinois, primarily due to the Illinois Tort Immunity Act.

    The Act’s purpose is to immunize local public entities and employees from negligence in executing their public duties, with limited exceptions.

    One common exception is that the Act expressly eliminates immunity for acts amounting to “willful and wanton conduct,” thus exposing a public entity to liability for egregious conduct. The Act defines “willful and wanton conduct” as “a course of action which shows an actual or deliberate intention to cause harm or which, if not intentional, shows an utter indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of others or their property.” There is no bright-line test for willful and wanton conduct. Whether a public entity’s acts constitute willful and wanton conduct depends on the facts of each particular case.

    The Illinois Tort Immunity Act is broad and applies “to every kind of local governmental body; including counties, townships, municipalities, municipal corporations, school districts, school boards, community college districts, community college boards, forest preserve districts, park districts, fire protection districts, sanitary districts, museum districts, library systems and many other local governmental bodies. It excludes the state or any office of the State. The immunities found in the Tort Immunity Act also protects “public employees” from liability from certain acts or omissions performed while working at their jobs.

    Because of the protection afforded by the law there are rigid steps to follow and deadlines to meet for an injury claim against a municipality, or other protected entity. Failure to follow these steps or meet a time limit can end an otherwise viable claim. It is important to have the benefit of a knowledgeable attorney from the very outset of your case. Suing a municipality or other public entity is much different than suing an individual or business. If you believe that your injury may be the result of negligence on the part of a municipality, please contact the experienced attorneys at Ridge & Downes as soon as possible.

  • Legislative Happenings on WC Reform

    As the 99th General Assembly regular session draws to a close on May 31, 2015, workers’ compensation “reform” has been a hot item on Governor Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda. On April 6, 2015, Governor Rauner released a 38-page detailed outline of his Turnaround Agenda. Workers’ Compensation “reform” was the first and most detailed proposal in his outline. Workers’ Compensation has become a bargaining chip in exchange for any increase in the state’s minimum wage and other worker-friendly legislation.

    In response, House Speaker Madigan convened a Committee of the Whole on May 5, 2015 to discuss the compensation received by injured workers. This rarely used format allowed the Representatives to examine how Governor Rauner’s proposals would impact the individual injured on the job. A number of speakers testified, including injured workers from both Illinois and neighboring states, so comparisons could be drawn between the various State’s systems. Representatives were able to ask questions from the witnesses.

    Several of Governor Rauner’s proposals were introduced on May 22, 2015 by Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) presented floor amendments consistent with what the Governor wanted in his Turnaround Agenda in the House. Democrats unanimously voted against the proposed “reform” legislation while Republicans voted present or did not vote on this particular legislation.

    On May 27, 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted down the Governor’s workers’ compensation reform bill. We will update you as the legislative session draws to a close through our email newsletters.

  • Protect the Workers' Compensation Act

    It has come to our attention that legislation to reduce benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act will be offered in the Illinois House as early as Thursday, May 21st. Now is the time to act, protect your rights and the rights of everyone in Illinois.

    Please contact your local State Representative and explain your opposition to any Workers’ Compensation “reform.” Let your Representative know:

    You oppose any “reform” that reduces the benefits paid to injured workers.

    You oppose any change in the causation standard as the law already provides that only work-related injuries are covered under the Act.

    You oppose any reduction in the medical fee schedule as it will reduce an injured worker’s access to quality medical care.

    You believe that the recent (2011) reductions in injured workers’ benefits have not translated into savings for employers because insurance companies have not reduced premiums accordingly.

    You oppose any changes to the tort system that would unfairly change the system to favor corporate and insurance interests.

    Let your voice be heard!!!

    You can find your State Representative’s contact information here.

    A call is great – an e-mail or letter is forever.

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