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The Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act – Where do we stand?

Web Admin - Monday, April 08, 2013

By: Jay A. Andrew

http://www.dgaalaw.com/jay-andrew.html

The Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act (“HRRA”)
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2359&ChapterID=67 was enacted and became effective on January 1, 2000. The intent of the original Act was to protect the elderly from so called “Storm Chasers”. “Storm Chasers” are contractors who move from state to state seeking repair work after natural disasters in an effort to collect the insurance proceeds. The HRRA’s five main requirements are that: 1) a contractor must provide the consumer a written contract on any home repair or remodeling job over $1,000.00 2) If that contract contains an arbitration and/or a jury waiver the contractor must get the consumer to acknowledge those provisions in writing 3)  the so-called “Storm Chaser” provisions 4) a contractor must provide the consumer with a Consumer Rights brochure for any home repair or remodeling job over $1,000.00 and 5) Minimum insurance requirements for contractors.

The original version of the HRRA stated that it was “unlawful” for any person not to comply with the HRRA. Some very creative attorneys in our state decided that this meant that consumers could use this as a shield to paying contractors for home repair and remodeling work when disputes arose and in some cases they argued that it wiped out the contractor’s Mechanics’ Lien. Thereafter, the Illinois Appellate Courts weighed in on the issue. They had different opinions on these theories[1]. The Act was rewritten in July 2010 to remove the word “unlawful” from Section. At the same time, the K. Miller Construction Company, Inc. v. Joseph McGinnis[2] case was being considered by the Illinois Supreme Court. In September 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court issued their opinion. They found that in light of the statutory amendments, a violation of the HRRA did NOT invalidate the Mechanics’ Lien or effect the enforceability of the construction contract.

Therefore, as consumers you are now left with a private right of action under the statute for a violation. The key to that action is the consumer’s ability to prove actual damages from the violation. The consumer’s attorney can attempt to “boot strap” the violation under the Illinois Consumer Fraud to obtain punitive damages and attorney’s fees. However, a finding of “bad faith” by the trier of fact would become necessary to recover those additional damages under the Consumer Fraud Act.

For the contractor, you should take a look at the HRRA and verify that you are in compliance before you head out to your next job. Your lien rights and enforceability of your own contract appear not to be in jeopardy with a violation, however, suffering through a direct action can also be a costly venture.

If you have any questions about the Home Repair and Remodeling Act, the Home Repair Fraud Act or the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, whether you are a contractor or a consumer, feel free to contact Jay A. Andrew of DGAA, LLC W: www.dgaalaw.com E: jaa@dgaalaw.com P: 847.934.6000 x14

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[1] Behl Construction v. Gingerich, 396 Ill.App. 3d 1078, 920 N.E.2d 665 (4th Dist., Illinois 2009); Roberts v. Adkins, 397 Ill.App.3d 858, 921 N.E.2d 802, 336 Ill. Dec. 946 (3rd Dist., Illinois 2010); Smith v. Bogard, 377 Ill.App.3d 842, 879 N.E.2d 543 (4th Dist. Illinois 2007)

[2] 238 Ill.2d 284, 938 N.E.2d 471 (2010)

Dealing with denied or delayed life insurance claims

Web Admin - Monday, April 01, 2013

After consistently paying premiums on a life insurance policy for years, you should be able to expect the insurance company to live up to their end of the agreement.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Many Illinois life insurance claims are wrongfully delayed or denied.  Here are a couple of tips should you find yourself with a denied life insurance claim:

Trust your instincts. A lot of times, I hear from clients who say that they had a feeling  right away that something just did not seem right from the outset of their initial interactions with the insurance company to collect on a loved one’s life insurance policy.  Maybe the insurance company inaccurately or unfairly categorized the manner of death, or claimed that the policy value was actually less than what they were led to believe.  Frequently, insurance corporations assert that some mistake on the insurance application now prevents the beneficiary from collecting on the policy.  You do not, and should not, assume that they are always right or are being completely truthful.

Don’t give up without a fight. The bottom line is that you do not have to take the insurance company’s word for it.  It could be a simple miscommunication.  It could also be that the insurance company is acting in bad faith or wrongfully denying your claim, which happens when an insurance company denies or delays a claim without a legitimate  legal justification.  Let’s face it, most life insurance claims involve significant dollar figures and insurance companies only make money if they take in more money in premiums than they pay out in claims.  Make sure that the insurance company’s denial is completely legal and justified before walking away.

Don’t sit on your rights. Justice delayed is justice denied.  While already dealing with the loss of a loved one, the prospect of taking on a colossus of an insurance corporation and its legion of highly paid lawyers can seem crushingly overwhelming.  Don’t just ignore the problem and let the insurance company win. Waiting too long to find the energy to take on the insurance corporation can sometimes preclude you from recovering on an otherwise valid claim.

Get help. You do not have to deal with the insurance company on your own. Too often,  beneficiaries inadvertently reduce their chances to recover under a policy by failing to submit paperwork completely, properly and on time.  It’s a good idea to get an experienced life insurance attorney involved if things are not going as they should.  Keep in mind that no matter how nice the person who sold the policy is, the insurance corporation’s interests are directly in conflict with yours.

If you have questions about life insurance benefits that you believe are being unfairly delayed or denied, feel free to contact Ken Apicella of DGAA, LLC. W: www.dgaalaw.com E: KCA@dgaalaw.com P: 847.934.6000.

Get to know us...

Web Admin - Saturday, March 09, 2013

Now that you know some of the ways to keep in touch with us, we thought you might want to get to know us a little...

DGAA Law, LLC is aggregate of four attorneys who complement each other in both background and personalities. Here are just some of the areas in which we practice: Civil Litigation, Collections, Corporate Law, Criminal Defense Law, Employment Law, Insurance Disputes, Personal Injury, and Real Estate Law.

We also provide services through our Online Illinois Attorney service. This service gives people the opportunity to contact us and utilize our skills directly through the DGAALaw.com website.

Kenneth B. Drost brings more than 34 years of practicing in the Illinois courts; Ken’s service areas include Commercial and retail collections, real estate law, corporate law, and various forms of civil litigation.

Colin H. Gilbert supplies innovative strategies and strong analytical skills to all of his cases; he practices in the areas of criminal defense, collections, real estate law, and corporate law.

Jay A. Andrew brings a unique perspective to the law firm in that he is both a litigator and a transactional attorney. His service areas include estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential and commercial leasing, contracts, as well as civil litigation.

Kenneth C. Apicella has earned the designations “Super Lawyer” and “Rising Star” in the field of personal injury law by Thompson Reuters, a recognition awarded to only 5% of attorneys nationwide. Ken concentrates his focus in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation.

Welcome!

Web Admin - Saturday, March 09, 2013

Welcome to Drost, Gilbert, Andrew, and Apicella, LLC! DGAA Law, LLC is a fully integrated Chicago law firm, that also has a convenient northwest suburban office on the border of Arlington Heights and Palatine.

A couple of the goals of this blog are to share information, as well as keep in touch with you, and so there are many ways for us to reach one another.

Website: http://www.DGAALaw.com
Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/DGAALaw
LinkedIn: https://www.LinkedIn.com/company/DGAA-Law-LLC
Phone: (847) 934-6000
USPS: DGAA Law, LLC, 800 E Northwest Hwy, Suite 1090, Palatine, IL 60074

So join us as we begin this journey. We look forward to hearing from you; if you have topics that you would like to see in this blog, let us know via email blog@dgaalaw.com.


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