Articles Posted in Tips for Lawyers

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Evans v. Brown, No. 4-09-0407 (3-23-10) reversed a circuit court decision which found that a car salesman, while driving company car, swerved over centerline of highway and hit another car which then hit Plaintiff, who suffered severe head injuries. Salesman told a coworker he blacked out and fell asleep and had a car accident; and salesman then died same evening. Physician opined that salesman had suffered sudden change in heart rate due to heart attack he must have suffered a week prior. Court’s grant summary judgment for Defendant on basis that loss of consciousness was “act of God” improper, because Plaintiff had established prima facie case of negligence, and driver’s statement that he fell asleep created genuine issue of material fact, as possible inferences suggested that cardiac event may not have been sole and proximate cause of collision. This Illinois case will have an effect on automobile accident law.

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Norman v. Brandt, No. 4-09-0246 (2-14-10) affirmed a case where the Plaintiff alleged that Defendant, who offered to lead cars of friends who were heading to lake to swim, drove his vehicle “in concert” with driver of vehicle from which Plaintiff was thrown to cause his injuries and death. Court properly granted summary judgment for Defendant; Plaintiff’s vehicle was following closely behind Defendant on a narrow country road, careened off road, and rolled over in field. Despite Defendant have exceeded speed limit, he did not commit tort in concert, per Restatement of Torts Section 876, as not attempting to race, no horseplay, and did not drive in way to encourage or substantially assist other driver to driver tortiously. This case will greatly impact Illinois automobile accident law.

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Norman v. Brandt, No. 4-09-0246 (2-4-10) affirmed that a case where the plaintiff alleged that Defendant, who offered to lead cars of friends who were heading to lake to swim, drove his vehicle “in concert” with driver of vehicle from which Plaintiff was thrown to cause his injuries and death. Plaintiff’s vehicle was following closely behind Defendant on a narrow country road and careened off road and rolled over in field. Court properly granted summary judgment for Defendant. Despite Defendant have exceeded speed limit, he did not commit tort in concert, per Restatement of Torts Section 876, as not attempting to race, no horseplay, and did not drive in way to encourage or substantially assist other driver to driver tortiously. This case will impact Illinois automobile accident law.

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Ford v. Grizzle, No. 5-08-185 (2-17-10) affirmed a car accident lawsuit that filed for injuries sustained in rear-end car accident with a jury verdict for Defendant. The court properly allowed evidence of Plaintiff’s three prior car accidents and back and neck injuries, including one accident for which he continued to treat following accident in question; and photographs of Plaintiff’s vehicle, which showed no damage. Vehicle photos could help jury to assess relationship between vehicle damage and injuries, without aid of expert. Not error to allow Defendant’s closing argument remarks that Plaintiff initially sought medical bills for all three accidents, but was asking jury for only those bills related to accident in question; remarks did not infer settlement negotiations or offers. This case will impact Illinois car accident cases.

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Ford v. Grizzle, No. 5-08-185 (2-17-10) involved a Suit filed for injuries sustained in rear-end car accident; jury verdict for Defendant. Court properly allowed evidence of Plaintiff’s three prior car accidents and back and neck injuries, including one accident for which he continued to treat following accident in question; and photographs of Plaintiff’s vehicle, which showed no damage. Vehicle photos could help jury to assess relationship between vehicle damage and injuries, without aid of expert. Not error to allow Defendant’s closing argument remarks that Plaintiff initially sought medical bills for all three accidents, but was asking jury for only those bills related to accident in question; remarks did not infer settlement negotiations or offers. This Illinois case will have an impact on automobile accident law.

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A Chicago car accident that occurred earlier today resulted in the death of one man and left two others with severe personal injuries. The car accident occurred on West Congress Parkway following a police chase that began when police tried to question a man they believed might have been attempting to break into a car, and the man then jumped in a car that then sped away. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the cops were then pursuing the car and the car lost control and crashed into a tree. At this point, the investigation of the car accident and chase are still under investigation.

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Illinois Public Act 96-143 creates a new offense of operating an uninsured motor vehicle that causes bodily harm to another person. It will now be a Class A misdemeanor under the Vehicle Code. The language states that if a person “causes, as a proximate result of the person’s operation of the motor vehicle, bodily harm to another person” they will have violated the statute. This new statute will greatly affect car accident cases in Illinois. To read the entire statute, please click the link.

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Simmons v. Homatas, No. 108108 presented the question as to whether the trial court properly found that plaintiffs stated valid common-law negligence action against defendant (owner of gentleman’s club that had no liquor license and sold no liquor) where plaintiffs alleged that defendant required obviously intoxicated patron (who brought own liquor to club) to leave its premises and drive away in patron’s own car, and where patron was subsequently involved in accident that had killed plaintiffs’ decedents. Appellate Court found that plaintiffs could state viable negligence action under section 876 of Restatement (Second) of Torts, while defendant argued that plaintiffs’ only cause of action, if any, was under Dram Shop Act. This case will greatly affect automobile accident cases.

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Public Citizen, a consumer watchgroup involved in promoting driving safety and decreasing car accidents, has filed a petition to the National Highway Safety Administration to reconsider the rules propounded designating seating positions and seat belt assembly. The rule is due to take effect next month. Public Citizen objects to the inadequate safety standards.

To sign the petition.

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On October 11, 2008 in Springfield, Illinois the ISBA Administrative Law Section, the General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section, and the Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services will be hosting an opportunity for Continuing Legal Education. The program regards representing your client in drivers licensing issues at the Secretary of State. Topics will include how a person loses privileges and how those privileges can get restored in addition to other issues regarding licensing. These topics are helpful to Illinois personal injury attorneys as drivers’ licensing ramifications often follow car accidents.

For more information.