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Proposed Illinois Law Would Strengthen Driver's License Suspension After DUI ArrestThe Illinois House of Representatives approved a bill that would create an additional requirement for rescinding a statutory summary suspension following an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The law would require a court to provide the Illinois Secretary of State’s office with a factual reason for the decision before the office will comply with an order to rescind the driver’s license suspension. The bill still must receive approval from the Illinois Senate and governor before it becomes a law.

Statutory Summary Suspension

The Secretary of State can take civil action against a DUI suspect before a criminal trial by issuing a statutory summary suspension or revocation of the suspect’s driver’s license. The suspension applies to people arrested for DUI who either refused the blood alcohol concentration test or had test results that showed that their BAC was over the legal limit. The suspension begins 46 days after the suspect receives a notice of summary suspension. The duration varies, depending on the circumstances:

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Should You Announce Your Divorce on Facebook?Telling people about your decision to divorce can quickly become an emotionally exhausting task. First, you have to figure out an appropriate way to bring up the subject and how much information you want to share. Then, you brace yourself for the awkward responses and follow-up questions. Each conversation is rehashing a painful part of your life. Some people have decided to announce their divorce on social media so that dozens of conversations are consolidated into one. Facebook is the most popular medium for these announcements because it is ubiquitous and does not have character limitations. However, you should take your time to craft your message and consider whether this type of announcement is appropriate for you.

Timing

Facebook is not the first place you should go once you have decided to divorce. There are people who deserve to know about your divorce before you make the news public. You obviously need to have personal conversations with your children and other family members you are in regular contact with. You should also consider personally telling your closest friends. Think about how you would feel if you found out about your best friend’s divorce on Facebook. By telling them in advance, you are showing your friends that they are important to you and that you may need to rely on them for support during the divorce.

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Workers' Compensation Complicated by Out-of-State CoverageWhen purchasing workers’ compensation insurance, employers must specify which states that the policy covers. This is not a big issue for many employers because their employees all work and live in the same state. However, employers with workers based in multiple states may neglect to include all of the states in their policies. The error could be an oversight or an attempt to save money on the policy. Employers can be held liable for workers’ compensation when an employee is injured in a state that is not covered by the employer’s policy.

Recent Case

A U.S. district court recently ruled that an insurance company was not responsible for paying workers’ compensation benefits to the family of a truck driver who died in a vehicle accident while on the job. The driver worked as a subcontractor for an Iowa-based trucking company but was himself based in Illinois. He lived in Illinois, and all of his work assignments stayed within Illinois. When the company filed a workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company denied the claim because it said Iowa was the only state covered in the policy.

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Can Ambulance Drivers Be Liable in Accidents?Illinois law requires drivers to cede the right of way to emergency vehicles that are responding to an incident as part of their duty. Obstructing such vehicles or getting into an accident can be a criminal offense. However, there are some scenarios with emergency vehicles that have less clear answers:

  • Can the driver of an emergency vehicle be liable for personal injury if he or she was at fault for an accident?;
  • What legal protections do emergency vehicles have if they are not using their lights and sirens?; and
  • Are ambulance drivers with a private service treated the same as those that work for a local government?

The Illinois Supreme Court answered these questions earlier this decade and found that emergency vehicle drivers do not have the same standard of negligence as other drivers, as long as they are on the job.

Liability Protection

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Law Would Give Criminal Defense for Breaking into Vehicles to Save AnimalsWhen civilians respond to emergency situations, they often do not have the time to think about the criminal or civil consequences of their actions. For instance, you can be arrested and sued for breaking into someone’s vehicle for the purpose of saving an animal that was suffering from heat exhaustion. The animal may have been at risk of dying, but your actions qualified as criminal trespass to a vehicle and criminal damage to property. The owner of the vehicle could also file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the vehicle damage, even though he or she was negligent in leaving the animal locked in the car. Illinois lawmakers have proposed a bill that would give people an affirmative defense against criminal charges in this scenario, as well as immunity from civil liability.

The Legislation

Illinois law allows law enforcement and emergency services personnel to forcibly enter a vehicle in order to save a trapped animal from heat exhaustion. The proposed legislation would extend a similar permission to civilians. However, there would be several requirements that you would need to follow in order to avoid criminal or civil liability:

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