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  • An Afternoon at Chicago House

    The Deratany Firm has been fortunate enough to work with Chicago House and Social Service Agency for ten years now. Chicago House offers a series of innovative programs—including permanent, community-based housing; prevention outreach; and a ground-breaking employment program—for individuals and families struggling with HIV and AIDS. Over the course of my career, I have served on the board of a handful of social service agencies, all of which have been rewarding experiences. But nothing compares with the experience of interacting directly with the people that these agencies serve. The opportunity to spend an afternoon making Christmas ornaments with the young boys and girls at Chicago House is something for which I am tremendously grateful. As I reflect back on 2013, I'm pleased to say that the time we spent at Chicago House stands out as one of the year's most wonderful experiences. Here’s to a happy, healthy 2014. And as always: Be safe.
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    Chicago House 3

    Illinois to Raise Speed Limits

    The state of Illinois released a map today showing the highways that will have their speed limits increased to 70 mph . According to the Chicago Tribune, “Nearly 90 percent of interstate highway miles in Illinois will have 70-mph speed limits starting Wednesday.” However, the highways in the Chicago area and most of the tollways will remain unchanged, retaining their 55-mph limit. Regardless of the change, we encourage drivers on the road to drive the speed limit and to be safe, especially during these dangerous winter months. Although speeding may be commonplace, accidents and injuries are usually unavoidable.

    Speed Limit 70

    Read the full Chicago Tribune article here
    Posted in Be safe, Chicago, Speeding | December 30, 2013 | Joseph Vivoda

    Train Accident in Glen Ellyn

    Our hearts go out to the family of the pedestrian hit in a train accident by a Metra train in the suburban town of Glen Ellyn, home to one of our associates and one of our assistants here at the Deratany firm. The pedestrian was hit around two this afternoon. This incident is in fact another reason why new train safety technology must be implemented on Metra sooner rather than later. Between 2001 and 2010, 156 people were killed by a Metra train according to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, 15 people annually. This year alone on the Union Pacific Metra line, there have been more than 30 incidents involving non-employee pedestrians, far too many. Congress has ordered railroads to install a new train safety technology by 2015, but companies are pressuring lawmakers to push the deadline back another few years. Read more about this emerging technology from an earlier blog here. In this authors/local Glen Ellyn residents opinion, the village, and Metra both need to take more steps to ensure safety to avoid injury or death at the train. Perhaps an under/overpass for pedestrians may help to remedy the problem.
    Posted in Accident, Be safe, Personal Injury, Safety, Train Accident | December 20, 2013 | Joseph Vivoda

    An Injury Case Surrounded by Hate

    In the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death, I have been deep in thought about equality and the many injustices around the world. Burying my nose into articles and stories about the late Mandela this past weekend I came a rather interesting quote “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” The quote reminded me of an ongoing case at my firm. The case, unlike most of my injury cases, has a theme of hate.

    A young man, the plaintiff, was out to enjoy lunch at a local German restaurant. On this particular day, however, a man by the name of David Irving, a known Holocaust denier and neo-Nazi, was having a book signing at the restaurant. As you can imagine, events such as these can quickly turn to chaos, and chaos is precisely what happened. Protesters entered the restaurant shortly after the book signing began, and shortly thereafter started causing a ruckus and throwing objects at Mr. Irving and around the restaurant. Our client, who was unaware of the event when he sat down for lunch prior to the mob of protesters entering the restaurant, was hit in the head with a bottle that was thrown and was wounded. With Mr. Irving being a known Holocaust denier, the restaurant surely should have known something was to go haywire. Had the restaurant looked at Mr. Irving’s past events they would have known events such as this were going to transpire and made the necessary precautions. We hope to hold not only the restaurant accountable for their missteps, but Mr. Irving as well.


    Foster Care Solution for a Plagued City

    I came across another pair of articles this week talking again about foster care. These come from the Arizona Daily Star, a Tucson area paper. One of the articles touches on many topics surrounding the foster care issues currently plaguing Pima County, the county in which the city of Tucson lies, and the other focuses on a possible solution to one of the many issues.

    The first of the two articles informs readers about Pima County’s most recent foster care problems. In 2009, they had nearly 10,000 kids in the system and almost 4,000 homes. Now with only 3,800 homes, there are over 15,000 foster children in need. The need for not only foster homes but foster parents as well is greater than ever. Similarly, according to the article “In the last six-month reporting period, one-third of foster families left the system in Arizona….” This drop in foster families is due to the fact that the families wanted to adopt a child of their own, though commendable, it puts the other children at risk of aging out the system and being moved around more and more.

    The second of the two articles is one that speaks loudly to me. Although it is not a complete solution, the article looks at the idea of LGBT foster parents to help fill the void, an extremely viable option. Unfortunately for these possible foster parents, certain laws in the state give preferential treatment to married , straight couples. There are also many faith-based foster programs and centers. Carol Grimsby, CEO of Wingspan, the LGBT community center in Southern Arizona, who is leading the recruitment effort was quoted in the article, “‘Many LGBT couples and individuals would really like to be foster parents,’ she says. But, ‘can you really imagine going into one of the religious organizations, even though they may be desperate for good foster parents, and knowing you’ll be turned away? It’s demoralizing.’”

    Finding more parents and beds for these kids is critical. Now more than ever are they in need of good parents, and yet, their laws and prejudices are preventing them from taking the necessary steps to avoiding catastrophe and providing care for these children in desperate need. Hopefully, this solution for a broken foster care system will soon be remedied.

    Read the first of the two articles here, and the second here.

    Chicagoland is Preparing For Winter Roadway Safety

    A Chicago Tribune article from Wednesday describes how the city and surrounding suburbs are planning on make roadways safer this winter in order to bring down the number of auto-accidents and injuries. An interesting development in ice melting technology, suburbs are now using beet juice to aid the salt in melting ice. Supposedly, the juice helps the salt stick to pavements. It also has the ability to help the salt melt ice in lower temperatures. Roadway safety, especially in the winter, is nothing that should be taken lightly. Learn more about how the area is planning for winter roadway safety here.
    Posted in Accident, Automobile Accident, Be safe, Car Accident | December 16, 2013 | Joseph Vivoda

    Happy Holidays from The Deratany Firm.

    The Deratany Firm is pleased to announce the debut of our holiday public service announcement, starring Jay Paul Deratany, Roosevelt Allen, and Joseph Vivoda as Santa Claus. The Deratany Firm would like to wish you and your family the happiest of holidays. And remember, as always: Be Safe.
    Posted in Chicago | December 11, 2013 | Jay Paul Deratany

    Train’s Emerging Safety Technology

    After last Sunday’s tragic train derailment in New York,  Metra is feeling the heat to install a federally mandated fail-safe system, the Chicago Tribune is reporting. The system, called “positive train control” or “PTC,” was first put into development after a 2008 train crash in California near the Los Angeles area. According to the Tribune, “Congress has ordered U.S. railroads to install PTC….by 2015.” However, many railroads around the country, including Metra are trying to push the date back to 2018, citing financial issues and “the largest, most complex technical effort ever undertaken.” The PTC, when installed, is designed to slow or stop a train that is going too fast and when derailment or a collision is imminent. This ability is made possible with constant communication between the train’s GPS, a satellite, radio towers, trackside signals, and a network operations center.


    Had the US government put this mandate into order after the 2003 Metra derailment on the Chicago to Joliet line, or even after the 2005 derailment on the same line, this technology may have already been put in place across the country possibly saving a number of lives, including the ones lost in this past weekend’s accident, as well as preventing thousands of injuries. Of course, this is just speculation. The cost of the technology and the complexity of the it are the PTC’s biggest enemy. The system costs well over $200 million to install on all Metra’s 11 lines, far out of budget. Understanding the issues surrounding the installation of the technology, I believe Metra should no longer continue lobbying for a longer deadline. The safety of the people is of the highest importance. Metra should also consider, with the safest and most up to date trains, that they mind find themselves with more passengers taking the train each and everyday.

    Read more about the PTC here Read last week’s blog post about the Metro-North derailment.
    Posted in Accident, Be safe, Speeding | December 9, 2013 | Joseph Vivoda

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    Case results in Chicago ILA Lake County jury awarded the parents of a brain injured child $23.3 million due to the negligence of the hospital employees.

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