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Record Verdict in Wrongful Death Case

A Cook County jury awarded $2.5 Million to the family of a nonagenarian who was struck by a van while crossing the street. The verdict included $1 Million for pain and suffering because the woman was alive when she was dragged 25 feet by the van. At trial, there was a dispute as to whether the woman or the driver proceeded on a red light. However, the jury did not hear evidence of a ticket given to the driver for “failing to exercise due care to avoid striking a pedestrian.” In reaching this verdict, the jury was asked to consider the quality and dignity of the life the woman led and the strong relationship she had with her family. The verdict speaks to the necessity of the availability of punitive damages, suggesting that many of today’s proposed tort reforms will only harm the families of individuals such as this woman that suffer unnecessarily.