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Bill Protects Against Financial Ruin

The following letter to the editor by Illinois Trial Lawyer Association President Gregory L. Shevlin was published in The Southern on Friday, May 31, 2013. It was a response to a letter on Senate Bill 1912.

The Southern, May 31, 2013
Dear Editor:
Ask the parents of a child permanently disabled by someone’s negligent behavior if a negotiated settlement to care for that child for the rest for his or her life is like winning the lottery.

It’s not. The financial needs of a family in this situation are extraordinary – a specially equipped van to transport the child, modifications to their home to improve maneuverability, and a life of paid home-care assistance and colossal medical bills.

In his May 23 editorial (“State can’t afford bill to lawsuit settlements”), Travis Akin attempted to undermine Senate Bill 1912, which will ensure timely payments of a settlement reached out of court, by arguing that it will discourage settlements and somehow over-burden our courts. His effort to impede justice for injured people is no surprise.

Akin’s anti-consumer group, Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch (I-LAW), is a front for big money special interests seeking continued financial benefit by delaying payments required by any settlement. In Akin’s deeply offensive view, fairly compensating a family for the loss of a child’s life potential is akin to that family winning the lottery. His editorial illustrates little or no understanding of this important piece of legislation, which will address delays in payment of settlements – something that happens far too often.

The child condemned to a life of disability because of reckless conduct deserves far better from our justice system. SB 1912 will help to ensure that those injured will more quickly receive their settlements, allowing them to pay medical and living expenses and not be subjected to potential financial ruin.

Gregory L. Shevlin
President, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association