Widow of State Trooper Speaks Out Against Tort Reform in Illinois

Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) March 30, 2016 – Sarah Deatherage, the widow of state trooper Kyle Deatherage, spoke out against tort reform at a meeting of the Illinois state House of Representatives.

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House Speaker Michael Madigan organized the meeting so that legislators could hear stories about the human cost of negligence and how Gov. Bruce Rauner's expected tort reform proposals would prevent victims from obtaining justice.

“It is very important for our elected representatives to hear from victims of negligence,” said Paul Greenberg, a prominent Chicago wrongful death attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. “Tort reform proponents make the outrageous claim that a successful personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is akin to winning the lottery, but these victims have experienced a devastating loss and are only trying to obtain fair compensation from the wrongdoer.”

Sarah Deatherage's husband Kyle was an Illinois State Police trooper who was killed on November 26, 2012, while making a traffic stop, when he was struck by a truck. The truck, owned by DOT Transportation, was driven by a man who prosecutors say did not have a valid commercial driver's license and admitted to “mentally dozing off” behind the wheel. Deatherage has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the transportation company and the driver.

Representatives also heard from other victims, including three mothers whose children were harmed by medical errors. Two professors who study tort reform measures such as damages caps testified that such legislation would not reduce overall spending or attract physicians, but would decrease the quality of health care.

“Insurance companies and big business interests want to limit the rights of injured people by setting legislative caps on damages and restricting plaintiffs' choice of forum,” said Greenberg. “So-called tort reform weakens our civil justice system and harms victims.”

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